Bollywood · Brampton · breast cancer · Canada · children · hot · Michele · Music · stress · Summer · Toronto

The Frozen North?

I thought Canada was supposed to be cold. That’s why I packed more cardigans than t-shirts for my visit to Toronto.  I’ve been here a week, and the temperature has been in the high 70’s or 80’s every day! Jeez Louise, I felt like I was on the bayou one day, it was so muggy & hot. I kept listening for a jazz band to start playing, or frogs to croak; instead, I heard Indian & Scottish accents, Bollywood music, and saw seagulls overhead.
I’m here in Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, for the summer, staying with my BFF Michele and her family. As my readers know, Michele is going through chemo for breast cancer. I’m came up to help her out, give my support, and entertain her if at all possible. She and her husband have three boys, ages 14, 4 & 2, so I’m trying to help with them, as well.
This is not an easy time for any of us. Stress levels are high, and there have been moments in the last week when I wanted to scream. I know I cried at least once, but I did it alone, in my room. Since they were tears of frustration & exhaustion, they were especially annoying to me.
There have been many tears here this week, as often happens in a house with little kids. These children  cry and scream a lot more than usual, and I’m not sure if that’s due to the tension of their parents, or their father’s parenting style.
I never understand parents who holler at their little kids “Stop crying!” as if that will work. Especially when the child has had a tantrum, and is at that point where they cannot physically make themself stop; what they need is to be held, and soothed. Shouting never works. I find myself very frustrated here, because I want so much to help, and yet I can’t really interfere. I have been given the go-ahead on some things, but not others. Some of teacher skills are being used, others, ignored or contradicted. 
I have to remind myself “they aren’t your kids, not really your problem, nobody really asked for your advice,” and keep my mouth shut. If I can do that, and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum, all will be well.
I may need to send home for more warm weather clothes, though. It’s hot here in the frozen North!
Air Conditioning · camping · Fun · Summer · Swimming

Summertime Fun?

I have never been what you’d call an outdoorsy person, always preferring to stay indoors, or at least in the shade, with my book, while others are splashing in the pool, or tanning, camping & hiking. I’m perfectly happy to sit around the pool with a frosty beverage (preferably served by a hunky Bruce Willis look-alike!), chatting with friends, laughing at the girl who fell out of her bikini top, or talking about stupid movies we’ve seen. Here I’m comfy, happy, and seldom sweaty.

I’ve spent several summers without the advantages of air conditioning, and that doesn’t bother me much. Since I’m usually about 10 degrees colder than everyone else in the room, I actually prefer things a little warmer. (I wear socks & sweaters year-round, for pete’s sake!) So when someone says to me “Well, there are cool-weather camping & hiking spots,” I say “So what?”

I do not want to hike. I’ll walk to the bus stop, and from there to the bookstore, the library, the cafe, anywhere else I need to go. I’ll walk on the treadmill for my exercise, but I don’t like it! Walking is a form of transportation. If I want to know what’s at the top of that mountain, I’ll read National Geographic.

I do not want to camp. I am a human being living in America in the 21st Century; there is no need for me to live in a hut, to pee in the woods, to sleep on the ground. Unless you are Jeff Probst, and I’m gonna get a million bucks at the end, I don’t really want to play in the woods! And let’s be honest, 20 seasons of watching people suffer on Survivor hasn’t done a lot to change my mind.

Cement ponds are a whole other subject. I’m not a great swimmer, and in fact, my one big fear involves fast-moving water. I’m not scared of pools, though, just shopping for a swimsuit. I’d say it’s been five years since I’ve owned one; last summer, for my one foray into the pool, I wore shorts and a t-shirt! I can’t spend this entire summer on the sofa, and I like to be dressed appropriately, so I’ll be buying a swimsuit soon. I won’t like it, and may not even look at myself in those dressing room mirrors–I’m sure they’re circus castoffs!–but I will get in the water.

I still won’t hike, or sleep on the ground. But I’ll swim. So, can we shut up and have a summer now?