Invigorating Promise of Crayons…and Ibuprofen


crayons and advilLong ago as a child, and then as the parent of young children, I distinctly remember the exhilaration of opening a brand new box of crayons. Each and every untouched, sharp-tipped implement was resplendent in colourful glory, and so very full of invigorating promise. There was no limit to what would become of the combination of colours and the ensuing marvels each would surely produce.

Now as middle-aged adult, I have been revisited by that familiar feeling of promise, even more revitalizing than that which came with the crayons. Now, each object of my affection is identical to the other, with no flare, fun or variety, but still, the certain precursor of great things to come. As a middle aged adult, when I open a bottle Advil, and the certain consequent alleviation of aches and pains, give promise of my day will unravel in soon improve.

Life sure does change!


Teenage Driver

outa gasAfter our son left for university last fall, my husband and I got re-used to having full access to both our vehicles, all the time…until our 17-year-old daughter got her licence a few months ago.  Now, we’re back to sharing.

Although we’re confident in and trust her skills on the road, we really have to deal with this nasty little habit of hers.


Summer Haircut – the More Endearing Dog

before and after

People can’t stop nuzzling my dog after her haircut!  I think it’s because fewer unknown nasties are hiding in her long coat, but my daughter is certain it’s the puppy-like physique the absence of hair shows off.  Either way, it’s amusing to watch and wonder about our the new-found fussing.

More about life with this crazy dog:

⇒Because we weren’t already busy enough…

⇒14 and Counting

⇒Putting the Brakes On

Easy Balsamic Dressing



This homemade dressing is such an awesome, easy, inexpensive alternative to store bought.  With only five ingredients that you likely have on hand, you’ll get great taste along with the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you’re feeding yourself and your family.




  • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Choose a container that shuts tightly, since you’ll need to vigorously shake the dressing before each use.

Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper and pinch of sugar to the bottom of the container.  Add the vinegar and mix.  Add the oil and mix well.  This dressing is best enjoyed the next day.

Store in the fridge

  • salad
  • grilled vegetable marinade
  • drizzled on salmon
  • sandwiches and wraps
Switch or Ditch
  • This dressing is just as good with red wine vinegar, instead of balsamic
  • Some people always use olive oil when a recipe calls for raw oil.  I do really like the dressing with olive oil, but it becomes difficult to use when refrigerated, so I am in the habit of using vegetable oil.



Grilled Vegetables


It doesn’t get any easier than this:  no recipe required!

Chop up whatever vegetables you like, mix with a dressing, or even just plain oil for the purists,  throw it all in a BBQ wok, and toss frequently.  There  are no rules (though I do recommend a bit of oil, that’s not even necessary!)

I use this basic balsamic dressing.


Here’s how it looks done!

fresh 2

A Smoothie…With More

smoothieI LOVE smoothies and have always relied on them to get fruit into my kids.  My daughter says she hates milk, but when in a smoothie, she will temporarily put aside her disdain, and fully enjoy the sweet, cool, creamy goodness.

I don’t use protein powder or almond or soy “milk” but I have recently started adding a handful of baby spinach leaves.  I was amazed to see that, once blended, there is absolutely no sign of the green leaves. So simple, and best of all, a very healthy boost of vitamins and nutrients.

This Basic Smoothie
  • Frozen blueberries, about 1 cup
  • 1 scoop of Greek yogurt
  • Milk, amount depends on how thick you like your smoothie
  • Handful of baby spinach leaves
Switch or Ditch

SO many options!

  • My daughter’s favourite smoothie is made with strawberries, bananas and mango.  I buy frozen mango and strawberries (when not in season) and freeze peeled banana in chunks so she can grab them from the freezer and pop them in)
  • regular or Greek yogurt…I prefer Greek because it’s creamier, and has more protein
  • sometimes I will add dried powder milk, when I have concerns that my daughter has not been drinking enough milk


Middle Age and the Miata

Miata editAs I swerve, merge, brake and cautiously accelerate my way through a human race in which social strategising seems the norm, I find myself arriving at a number of conclusions. One particular discovery that my teenage kids regularly and graciously – if you happen to consider chortling and eye rolling gracious – help me to realize: in the highly unlikely case that I ever was, I am no longer the least bit cool.

But, not only am I un-deniably un-cool, I seem to have acquired an actual aversion to cool. This became especially apparent a few months ago when my husband and I were the recipients of a generous hand-me-down from my father-in-law, a renowned lover of big-boy toys. The gift: a 1990 convertible Miata.

Although the words a stereotypical woman might use to describe this vehicle are “cute,” “shiny” and “red,” there are far more descriptive (perhaps even expletive) words that make it painfully – literally and figuratively – obvious that I really do not even come close to budging, let alone burying, the needle on the Cool-ometer.

After spending most of my life attempting to blend into the background, this fire engine red Miata effectively obliterates any sense of security I derive from the anonymity I hold comfortable and dear. And, although I really do like and enjoy the car, just about everything about it provides not-so-friendly reminders of my age and accompanying emergence of physical challenges.

The simple act of getting into the car requires precisely choreographed moves to execute a smooth and painless entry to avoid hitting the frame of the car…which reminds me of a car better suited for a shelf in a store. This was a lesson learned along with other mishaps which include, but are not limited to, a bruised knee, swollen fingers and forehead abrasion…all before the key was even in the ignition!

Although I’m well practiced at driving a standard transmission, our four-door practical family car is much easier to operate than the gear shift in the almost-antique two-door Miata. When changing gears in the Miata, I routinely rev its engine, each time cringing and cowering, desperately hoping nobody hears or sees me. A younger, cooler driver would offer this as a bold and intentional exclamation, smart enough to realize it’s more subtle than shouting, “Look at me!” but not quite clever enough to realize how ridiculous they look in such an obvious attempt to appear cool. For me, the revving is about how my middle aged, sluggish synaptic connections disentangle, journey from my foot on the clutch, all the way up to my brain, re-engage and head back down to my other foot on the gas…that, and an anxious attempt to avoid the more conspicuous of two results: stalling.

And of course, what goes in must come out again. I suspect that 20 years ago, my appendages and somewhat smaller self to which they were attached would have flowed in and out of that seat with fluidity and ease. Now, as I inch ever closer to half a century, extricating myself from this car is an embarrassing exercise that involves laboriously grasping parts of the car, hoisting, balancing and rocking until finally my limbs are free from the tiny compartment that some car designer – whose real job as a contortionist – mistakenly and ridiculously thought provided adequate room.

When I lament about the effects this car has on me physically, my husband recommends that I focus instead on the many positives of riding in a convertible. He, who lacks hair but not humour, encourages me to sit back and enjoy the wind whipping through my greying tresses as we drive through the lovely, fresh air. Once, when I wasn’t feeling particularly care-free about that aspect of riding in the Miata, he suggested that I might consider tying on a sheer kerchief, like the ones our grandmas wore, if I felt the need to protect my hair from the wind.

I’m thinking this car may be steering our relationship in a new direction, which may be a little more heated than cool!

Want to read more about getting older?

My Dear Friend, Denial

⇒Playing Through the Ages