This is where we live…

 While I was writing my final post of the season to our Hockey Mom blog (feel free to read it at www.shotfromthepoint.wordpress.com) , I was listening to a Stompin’ Tom Connors music CD.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Stompin’Tom but he does seem to be following me around.  My first born loved to be read/sung to every night from the book called The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Connors.  Now, that tune rings in my ears all the whole hockey season long and it seems to make it into every year-end team hockey slideshow.  Recently, I also discovered a song he wrote, I think especially for me, called Hockey Mom Tribute.

 There is another song on that CD which has struck a chord with me and now I can’t get it out of my head – even with all the stream of Michael Jackson songs played today during his Memorial.  Maybe it’s because he mentions the town where I spent most of my youth.  Maybe because he makes life seem so easy and carefree.  Maybe because he makes Ontario sound like it’s full of such gosh darn nice people.  Mostly it makes me think of lazy hazy days of summer – whenever it gets here.  It’s called North of Old Lake Erie.  I hope Tom won’t mind me sharing the lyrics with you…

Stompin tomNorth of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee
Ontario, I’ll have you know you’re all the world to me.
From Cornwall to Kenora my heart will always be
North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee

North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee
Ontario, where trilliums grow beneath the Maple Tree
In the land of lakes and rivers always calling me
North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee

North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee
The world can go to Mexico, to Rome or Tennessee
But every time I travel the only road I see
North of old Lake Erie, South of Moosonee

North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee
Ontario where lovers go in blissful harmony
To a cottage in the valley, nestled in the trees
North of old Lake Erie, South of Moosonee

North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee
If you’re a stranger looking for the chance of being free
In every town or village a welcome there will be
North of old Lake Erie, south of Moosonee

North of old Lake Erie, South of Moosonee
Ontario I’ll have you know you’re all the world to me
From Cornwall to Kenora my heart will always be
North of old Lake Erie, South of Moosonee

 …might make me a full-fledged fan yet.

 Text abbrevI consider myself multilingual.  Studies support the fact that, as a result of speaking 3 languages, I should be able to up them other languages quicker than a unilingual person.  So when I recently attended an Internet Safety and Cyber Bullying workshop at my daughter’s school, I was pretty disappointed at my inability to crack the code of texting lingo.  Of the 20 or so abbreviations the presenter displayed, I identified four (4).  Quelle misere. 

I guess I should cut the new generation some slack.  I heard today that abbreviating is certainly not a new phenomenon to this generation.  Certainly the greatest linguistic revolution in our lifetime would have been the modernization of the English language that the Americans undertook.  It was also interesting (and came as a relief) that when asked why they abbreviate words, most teenagers and young adults (cited as those most likely to use text language) will tell you, “because it’s cool’.  So of course they actually have to know how to spell the word correctly to know that they are being cool by spelling it incorrectly (or abbreviating it).  Oh, how I recall the thrill of reverse psychology I used on my parents when I was a teenager.  I’m going to chalk this one up to yet another typical adolescent attempt at speaking in ‘code’.   We invented pig latin didn’t we?

Lest I be labeled a hypocrite, though, I better ensure I don’t use too many abbreviations myself.  From now on, dinner is at 6 post meridian sharp.  When my neighbour asks for that pork loin recipe I better diligently write out tablespoon, teaspoon or better yet, millilitres.  Heaven knows I would feel much better about telling the world I weigh about 60 kilograms!  

Oh well, I really must be going.

Post script:  I mean, G2G

Post post script:  Still confused? Help is at  http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php


This article summarizes, in pictures, what housing you can find for $350,000 in various cities across Canada.  I know there’s a lot more behind the story, of course, because most people are rarely just look for a roof over their heads – at least those in a position to invest $350k in that roof.  So when I first cruised this gallery of photos, the first thing that struck me was how riduclous this housing market has become.  Compare the beauty of the 6 bedroom, 2.5 bath, in-ground pool old charm home in Saguenay, Quebec versus the 748 sq. ft. 1 bedroom, 1 bath, shared rooftop patio in Vancouver….same price.    Obviously fewer are flocking to the employment mecca of Saguenay compared to Vancouver…but it really make me wonder what people are really looking for when searching for a home.  Trendy neighbourhood or proximity to employment?  Competitiveness or community?  Luxury or safety?

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in Vancouver… clearly the housing market will keep that wish boarded up for a while longer!

Guess what?  McDonald’s is offering free coffee for the next two weeks.  Seriously!  No offense to McDonald’s but that’s kind of like me saying I’m only going to eat one potato chip.  Have you ever been to McDonald’s and only ordered coffee?  I’m sure their Director of Revenue Generation knows this.  Since I cannot resist McDonald’s fries (and their BigMac wrap is not so bad either), I will have to steer clear of this freebie.


However, I also hear that Starbucks is offering free coffee TODAY ONLY, Earth Day, to those who bring in their own mugs.  Perhaps they have not seen my mug?


Read about the coffee wars at:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090420.wfreecoffee0420/BNStory/National/


Where was all this free coffee during Lent when I was forced to live caffeine free for a couple of days?  I was unable to blog – or do much else – during the Caffeine Emancipation Era.

stats-picToday Statistics Canada released its most recent report on the consumers’ price index (CPI).   Though the CPI only rose 1.2% since March 2008, due largely to a decrease in transportation costs over that same time period, the increase in food costs is staggering.  Considering what we went through during our Lent Project, I should not be surprised.

Statscan reports that:

“Food price increases were widespread in March 2009 compared with March 2008, with large price increases observed for fresh vegetables (+26.5%), fresh fruit (+19.3%), non-alcoholic beverages (+10.2%) and cereal products (+11.0%).

A 12-month price increase of 54.9% for potatoes pushed up vegetable prices. This occurred largely as a result of poor harvests in Canada that led to a reduction in supply.

Price increases were also observed for meat (+7.6%) and bakery products (+7.4%). Meat prices rose mainly because of higher beef and chicken prices.

See the full report: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/cpi-ipc/cpi-ipc-eng.htm


For us Canucks, this increase in food costs was the largest reported since November 1986.  Hmmm…. what rings a bell about that era?  Wasn’t there was a recession going on?  I was still keeping the taps flowing and the bartender gainfully employed at Ruloff’s in Collegetown then so I don’t really remember feeling the pain (ok, maybe the next morning).   Fast forward to 2009:  job loss is on the rise making disposable income on the decline, those who have jobs certainly have seen their wages frozen or even scaled back (unless of course you’re paid the minimum wage in which case your hourly wage increased a whopping 8.6% in March to $9.50/hour) and yet food costs rose and overall 7.9%!   In the United States, interestingly, the trend is the opposite with the US Bureau of Labor Statistic reporting an ongoing decline in the food index.  I don’t get it?  Haven’t I been reading in all the newspapers and magazines that our Americans friends have been feeling the pinch way more than we have?   I obviously could have paid more attention in Econ101.


What’s this mean for the average [Canadian] family?  Well, we could eat less or make more.   I vote to make more.  No, I do not mean make more money (though that would obviously solve the problem but appears unlikely this labour market).  I mean make more food – together.

I referenced this briefly in a previous blog during our Lenten Project about the Working Poor Diet (see “I’m crazy but not alone”).  I am convinced I need to pool some resources:  financial and human.  Stay tuned as I explore the social, economical and nutritional benefits of communal cooking (and I don’t just mean my whine club).  

My never-ending quest for self-improvement falls well short of achieving perfection at housework.  While unlikely that anyone would compliment my spotless house, hopefully, mention or two can be made of a fun, loving home.
As I continue to work part time as an HR consultant, do haphazard tasks for 3 minor hockey teams and public school councils, dabble in a social club or two, co-author an hockey mom support group (aka www.shotfromthepoint.wordpess.com), maintain a stocked refrigerator and semi-clean laundry basket, all the while frittering and fretting at parenting and marital bliss, it seemed fitting to chalk up these challenges in a space called the dust bunny chronicles.  Read ’em and weep laugh.

About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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