Monday, September 21, 2009

And on that farm he had a...

There is something about fall in the country that reassures me I wasn't completely insane to move to what can sometimes feel like the middle of nowhere. For one thing, everywhere I drive it feels like I'm floating around in a painting. Then there is the never-ending list of scarecrow festivals, fall fairs and other excuses to eat homemade pies. Here are a couple of countrified things that have charmed me recently.


Sleepy, snuggly, baby sheep! My mom pointed out that these guys look like they should be posing in some kind of Jesus portrait.


Giant horses!


Friendly (hungry) goats!


Baby pigs!


Impromptu rural jam sessions!

And, last but not least,



overalls and unicycles!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Staying positive


Rogue sunflowers growing out of a downtown flower basket

A recent fantastic and touching post over at Just Playing Pretend, and a couple of conversations with friends lately have got me thinking about how we all cope with life's major and minor disappointments and how we choose to face our more challenging days.

A friend of mine recently described me as "hilariously positive" in the face of heartbreaking situations. It's not that it just comes naturally, but making the choice and doing the work that makes it possible seems to, if only because I've been forcing myself to do that work for as long as I can remember. Even if the only thing to latch on to is a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, or even just the fervent hope that there is indeed a light there at all.

About two weeks after I arrived at the newspaper here for my very first job as a reporter, both the reporter and editor took off on maternity leave, leaving me the sole member of the editorial team for the month until the editor's temporary replacement could arrive, and I spent every morning before work miserably retching and heaving with stress.

And while there was certainly some acknowledgement of the fact that it was overall a miserable time, in the form of the occasional (daily) rant to my mom, for the sake of my sanity (and so that mom would keep picking up the phone) I tried to find the humour in the situation, brainstorm some kind of solution, or just remind myself that things could be worse. That even when one or two things in my life are truly terrible, there are billions of people in direr straits. Knowing this, I stuck it out, and I got through it and I'm really glad I did. Every time I do something like that, it's just one more little victory to prop me up when the next challenge comes along.

I guess it's just about grabbing on to anything at all you can be grateful for, even if it doesn't seem like much. There are few things so terrible (knock on wood) in my life, that I can't find some part of them to laugh at.

All of this is not to say that I'm a rabid rainbow sparkle purveyer of warm fuzzy giggles, flitting around like some kind of deranged tooth fairy (although, that would be sort of awesome) and demanding that people going through some serious depression or tragedy just look on the bright side already. I understand that it is healthy and important to acknowledge when things are unbearable, and I understand that what those unbearable things might be, differs for everyone. And yes, sometimes I get stuck in a funk that is especially hard to climb out of for no particular reason at all.

I just know that in my life, for the most part, I can't justify spending my time moping. If nothing else, I'm alive. I'm safe and (relatively) healthy and there are people who love me. There are times when I feel, in short, like crap, but what right do I have to go around scowling at people? What good would that do?

Sure, misery loves company, but so does happiness. And she's a much more accomodating hostess.

*Please bear with me. Sarahbration is experiencing technical difficulties. IntenseDebate or blogger has once again swallowed a bunch of your lovely comments and I can't figure out how to get them back. I'm set to try one last thing and then it's goodbye IntenseDebate, which is a shame because I liked being able to reply directly to your comments.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Enjoy

My mom is always turning up interesting things on the internet and passing them along to me. Last week she sent me a link to this video with this note: "Somehow there are so many things that remind me of you - teeth, hair , earrings, bicycle, smile, closet -in this funny little video - I love it!"

I loved it too, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. (If I'm way late to the Lenka bandwagon, forgive me. Having no exposure to tv can leave me a little behind once in a while)



It's true, especially when she's on the bike, if I squint, that could be me circa every morning riding downtown to the dress shop two years ago.

Anyway, I've been bopping around singing this in my head almost nonstop since she sent it. And really, uncanny resemblences aside, you can't go wrong with muppet tomatoes in your music video.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A snapshot (and my 100th post)


I turn around from the mirror in time to see Sparta's eyes wander the kitchen cupboard contents and light up upon spying a packet of those long "cigarette" cookies.

I whip my toothbrush out of my mouth long enough to exclaim, "ONE cookie! Not two cookies! My grandma gave me those and we have to make them last," as he reaches for them a little more enthusiastically than I am comfortable with.

I'm not always so possessive about food, but Sparta can take down a bag of cookies faster than I ever thought possible. We tried buying a bag each recently, which only resulted in him finishing both his bag, plus half of mine before I had time to say, "mmm, chocolate-chippy."

I give him a toothpaste-y glare to let him know I mean it.

He responds by shoving two of the cookies in his mouth and protesting, "but baby, I'm being a walrus!"

How can I argue?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In other news...



While taking a stroll with the fam recently, I turned around to find three baby ducks following me around. My mom says they probably imprinted on my laugh. Make of that what you will.

video

Anyway, they were hilarious and still small enough that they made little "peep! peep!" noises instead of quacking. Feel free to commence with the "aww"-ing.

*For some reason, IntenseDebate or Blogger seem to have eaten all of the comments for this post. Has anyone else experienced this?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Say, Cheese!

Poor Sparta had to work for most of the long weekend so Monday when he finally had the day off, I was determined to take advantage. After a brief consult with google maps, we set off up the coast in search of a new beach to explore/nap on.

The drive was lovely, gold and green fields, lovely old stone farmhouses and a Suessical landscape of whimsical wind turbines and monarch butterflies as far as the eye could see.

The beach was cute and clean. It was busy but not over-crowded and we quickly found a spot to set up camp.

However, in my planning this idyllic day at the beach, I forgot one thing. Sparta? Not exactly a beach person.

While I emerged from path through the dunes, beaming right back at the sun and humming happily to myself while getting down to the business of whipping off my clothes and making a Sarah-shaped indent in the warm sand, Sparta greeted the sun and surf with a suspicious squint and the keen observation that: "There's sand everywhere. And children."

And once he had spent about five minutes reclining on his beach towel, he wanted to know "What exactly do we do at the beach?"

My suggestions of swimming or relaxing, listening to the sound of the waves and basking in the sun were not met with enthusiasm. See his attempt at relaxing:



So, I tried to entertain(torture) him by making him play Victorian Parlour games with me until the Minister's cat became an angry, beligerent, child-killing cat and I realized he was longing for the time when sand in his shorts was the most annoying thing he had to deal with.

Fortunately he perked up when he remembered that I had packed us some snacks, and although he adamantly refused to jump in the lake with me, he was cheerfully skipping stones by the time I finished splashing around and tackled him with a soaker of a hug.

At that point, I would have called the day a success.

Little did I know, it was about to get 84-thousand per cent better, because on the way home, we discovered this magical place:



where I purchased no less than four fancy, locally made cheeses for under $20. Smoked havarti, carmelized onion cheddar and Thai curry cheese? Where have you been all my life, cheese and butter co-operative?



In case you're wondering, The Clash CD cover makes an excellent impromptu cutting board, and it is never a silly idea to carry a cooler with crackers in it around in your car.

*I've added Intense Debate to the blog to try and make replying to your comments easier but I'm not sure if it's too much of a hassle for people to sign up etc. I'd love your feedback, so comment or shoot me an email at sarahbration@gmail.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little brother's big weekend


This weekend my baby brother turned 19. He also moved 8 hours away from home for the first time and got ready to start his first year of University.

I'll miss being greeted by various and sundry affectionate insults when I head home for a visit every week or so, and I know the house must feel strange with both of us gone now.

I realize he's technically been an "adult" for a year now, but I can't help but think of him as the little moon-eyed ball of energy he was at say, age 8, getting up from the dinner table to entertain us all with his own very original choreography, consisting of him pulling the bottom of his shirt up over his face, sticking out his belly and flailing his arms to whatever music happened to be playing.

Now he's taking law. The mind boggles.

Anyway, Happy birthday Lemur! I love you, I'm proud of you (Ew! Blech! Disgusting! Get it off me!) and I'll come visit soon.

P.S. I totally recommend reviving that t-shirt face dance for frosh week. What better way to become instantly popular (or, you know, wind up viral on Youtube...either/or).