Friday, July 31, 2009


I think posts would be more exciting if we named them as the Thoroughbred world does. Thus today's title. You're welcome.

Further to today's title...while most things are going swimmingly: work, visits, Chou's new daycare, there are things that are crapping out and making me angry. Case in point - our Cuisinart coffee maker. We received it as a gift and we know it wasn't cheap and as of today I think it's finally dead. Less than four years for $100 coffee maker? I expected better. Sure, it gets a good workout daily, sometimes more, but it's not like it's a hard job to pour hot water over beans. Really.

If that weren't bad enough, we were downstairs last week and noticed a ceiling tile drooping and dripping...oh shit. We thought, what with all the extra kids in the tub, some extra water had been sploshed over the side and down side of the tub. Except that this morning after my regular shower, I went downstairs and sure enough there's a steady stream of water pouring out of the ceiling. Double shit.

There's a plumber coming in a few hours. Fingers crossed that it's an easy fix. I hate unexpected repair, oh, I don't know a whole new set of tires on the car last month? Hmm, yeah. It's been THAT kind of summer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A world unto its own

I have no idea what BlogHer is or is all about.

I just know that I really want to go.

Is that weird?

It might be because mostly people talk about the parties, and I'm in the mood for a really good party. One where I don't have to leave at 8 to put the baby to bed.

Do you know what BlogHer is all about? Can you explain it to me?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The ugly side of moving

I don't talk about Mr. Wumpus much, and certainly I don't talk about big serious stuff here on All Caddywumpus. Well, not often.

Except today. I'm just going to lay it out.

This move to Saskatchewan has been tough on our marriage. There, I said it, and admitting it and talking about it is what Mr. Wumpus and I have started doing and already it's better, so no worries, but I still want to put it out there. Why? Because I don't think this bump in the midst of wedded bliss is all that rare. I suspect that many couples go through similar things and no, it doesn't all need to be laid out on the Internets, but maybe it should be more often.

The issue is this: there is such thing as too much time together. Alone. Not having a lot of fun. Just existing. Some couples do this right - they work. live and play together and would have it no other way. Mr. Wumpus and I have always been in each others pockets, but with active, separate social lives. That was the key, we've since discovered.

Because moving here has been over three months of just us. And yes, in some ways it's been lovely. We often spend our evenings after Chou has gone to bed just sitting on the front porch, sipping wine and chatting. And we talk about big stuff, little stuff, life-changing decisions and inconsequential ramblings. I love it. He loves it.


There comes a time when the monotony of the every day gets to be a bit much and without some time apart, away or just plain having fun, it's not fun anymore. At all.

Which is where we got to these past few weeks. Our company over last week made a comment somewhere along the lines of "OK you two, knock it off" - as in, stop sniping at each other. I don't know about you, but that's bloody embarrassing and it was exactly what we needed to hear. You know how you don't notice how dirty your tub is until company comes over? Hmmm, yeah. Same thing.

Finally, the other night, I brought it up. It wasn't easy (as in, Mr. Wumpus always takes a very, very long time to give a thoughtful answer and I am not patient) but our marriage is worth it, so I waited. We admitted that we were angry with each other, irritated and annoyed with each others' nasty habits and behavior, and we agreed that neither of us wanted this to continue. We decided that yes, we need to each have fun, a sometimes-separate social life, and that while we love our little town, we're going to have to get a bit aggressive when it comes to socializing. The people here are lovely and friendly, but I think we're going to have to invite them over or invite ourselves. Also, Mr. Wumpus and I need to pursue our own interests at least once or twice every few weeks. Maybe it's yoga (for me or him), a night out, a day out, something, anything that doesn't involve the other. Because there is no shortage of together time.

And that's where in all of this, I consider myself quite lucky, too. Both my brothers in law travel quite a bit and are gone for a week straight sometimes. Friends of mine have partners that work long hours or have very full social calendars that exempt their spouse from joining. Some have to pencil in time together. So I know that while this too-much-togetherness is a bit of a strain right now, it's also a blessing.

We're better. Each day since, we've smiled more, touched more, let little things go, because even when we're driving each other to the brink, we are partners and in love. We want to spend the rest of our lives together, making our dreams a reality. That was what we promised, and we're sticking to our word. We just need to let loose a little and enjoy ourselves - apart.

Monday, July 27, 2009


If Jen P can do this at 10 weeks pregnant, I can sure as hell knock out another half marathon more than two months from now.

What the hell is my problem? I keep putting off my training, keep over indulging, continue to let myself down. I had a stern talk with myself this weekend and figured it out - I'm falling into the trap I set for myself. See, I know enough about me to know that if I MUST do something, I will. I will commit, work hard, see it through. This goes for work, life, whatever. My first half marathon someone entered for me and I trained, full of milk, sleep deprived and in humid Ottawa. My ill-fated second half I entered and promptly started running in the depths of winter, even while hurting (that was a mistake. Lesson learned). But once I knew I wasn't going to be running the spring half, I stopped training. And then really stopped moving all together.

So I did it. I entered a race. The great thing about running here? Cheapie fees (loves it!) oh and...this is the shirt:

Heck yes that's a wheat plant running...well, it may actually be barley...I'll ask the designer what their intention was. Yes, I can tell the difference.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chapter 16: Miss Independent

At 16 months, Chou Chou has let us know that she is no longer a wee babe and is instead a very capable young lady. She prefers to convey this independence with stern words, such as "No!" and lovely fits that usually involve back arching and loud wailing. But most of these cherished moments are few and far between. The real good stuff happens far more often.

The good stuff? She really is more independent and it's adorable. She likes to have jobs now, to help Mum. She tries to dress herself and wants to sweep, mix, or clean, depending on what we're doing. She wants to help water the plants and fold the laundry. We also discovered she wants to wipe her own bum - this we discovered only after fight after fight on the change table. Until the other day, she was outside, bare-bummed and playing in the water tub, when she grabbed a wipe and started to wipe herself. Ah-ha! I thought. That's the problem. Sure enough, next changing I handed her a wipe while I changed her and she was happy as a clam to help out. No screaming, twisting, arching. Ah, to figure things out is a joy.

Her sign and spoken language is expanding quickly. It takes her only a day or two to learn a new sign; words take a bit longer. She's learning "sorry" (a very important one now that she's in her hitting phase...we're working on that), has learned "please" and now signs "all done" for the end of nursing, story time, bath time and dinner. It's so nice. We have no sign for hungry/eat (she won't do it for some reason) but she does take her place at the mini-table or try climbing in her booster when she's hungry. She's trying out names too. She said "Dez!" at daycare and "Kate" when our company was here. She's also starting pointing out her own eyes, nose and mouth, not just ours and said her first French word - "dents" for teeth (pronounced dehn not dent). Her animal sounds are fun: cows moo, cats meow, dogs pant and bark but just about everything else roars like a lion, according to Chou.

Chou's dancing has taken on a whole new level of head-shaking, hip wiggling, bouncing and it makes us laugh so very hard. Water and swimming are her favorite things in this heat. She loves climbing all the way to the top of the very big slide at the park and prefers the merry go round to the swings these days. Speaking of climbing, she's on everything: all chairs, tables, stairs anything higher than she should be on, she wants UP. It's fun and cute and also nerve wracking.

The toughest part for me right now is keeping her busy and safe. The balance between allowing her to learn, help, try new things, push her physical limits and keep her from getting seriously injured is not easy. I don't want to be the mother hen who hovers and constantly intervenes but when she's careening over at full tilt towards the fire pit or off a lawn chair, I get antsy.

The big news here is that we're making the move to cloth diapers - yes, we are that granola. I've read that kids in cloth potty train faster and yes, I do feel bad for all the chemical laden, non-biodegradable diapers I've thrown out. But life is about balance. We now have our own high efficiency washer and I've got the time, so why not? Hand in hand with that is the beginning of potty training, because a) you can never start too soon and b) no diapers is still better than cloth. So far we're getting really good at having Chou sit on the potty and sing potty songs. I have no visions of a potty trained 18-month old, don't worry. I am, after all, a realist.

What do you mean 16-months isn't legal? But it's so tasty! Full disclosure: yes, this bottle was very empty before it was handed to her, but what's funny is Mr. Wumpus said, "Don't give her that. The neighbours will call the authorities and they'll take her away."

I call this the Eric Lindros. Head down, charge ahead. It often lands her in trouble, minus the concussions.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Best buds

Sweet Chou with her cowgirl buddies all the way from Fort St. John. I just hope we can see each other often enough that they'll get to be as close as us mommas are. Gosh, I love having visitors!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday shorts

Today, in haiku

Did not run today
Company is on its way
Story got written


Bah, today's weather is what I wish all of summer looked like - a bit breezy, mostly blue sky and 22 degrees. What would be even better is if I had had my act together and been out running before 8 a.m. like I planned. Argh.

Why is it so easy to fall off the wagon and so hard to climb back on?


Our dishwasher is hooked up. In all our years together, Mr. Wumpus and I have never had a dishwasher. Last night at 10 to 8 we looked around our neat as a pin kitchen and wondered what we'd do now with an entire evening ahead of us. I ironed four of his shirts. I am slowly becoming a domestic goddess in spite of myself.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hidden gem

Saskatchewan is Canada's best kept secret. Seriously. If you don't mind a bit of a drive (an easy one at that) you can see amazing landscapes, fossils, historic land marks, travel prohibition tunnels, sit in a mineral spa and sip fantastic wines at a California-worthy winery. Yes, a winery. In Saskatchewan.

The air is clean, the vistas breathtaking, the people friendly. The opportunity here is endless. This province has so much going for it, but its residents don't give themselves or the landscape the credit it deserves.

Of course, that suits me fine. I like my spaces wide open and hardly populated.

I am home.

I spent Friday morning at one of Canada's research stations. This is hard white wheat - for those of you who love white bread with all the benefits of brown bread (just eat brown, you fools).

The Cypress Hills Winery - breathtaking. And who knew that rhubarb and sour cherries could make really good wine. Trust me, I'm a wine snob and I found at least two wines I loved here. And yes, it's in the middle of nowhere.

This is Marty, one of the owners and the ideas guy behind building a commercial winery in southwest Saskatchewan. The ladies to the left are from my town - no joke! - we drove four hours away and met people we knew. Nuts!

The side of the winery that faces the actual vineyard. They built all the ponds and did all the landscaping themselves. They've nearly doubled their capacity in just two years and will reach max capacity in another two. They sell out each year by Christmas.

Yes, baby grape vines in Saskatchewan! These are a few years old, but they won't grow super tall like you see in Germany, Italy or California. Why? Because it's windy here and cold. Snow is a good insulator. The wires you see are what the vines are trained on. These plants will grow outward, not upward, and may live as long as 100 years.

Chou Chou had missed her afternoon nap and was a mess by this point.

The gates out of the vineyard. It must remain locked at all times - the fence is eight feet tall. Why? Two words: demon deer. Anyone on the prairies with hay knows what I'm talking about. Vermin!

The husband took this one of the vineyard. He's a better photog than I am.

This is Chou chowing down on dried Saskatoons (delicious!).

And within five minutes....out cold.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My bad

Um, it's amazing she still talks to me.

Jen P and I headed out for a 10 km run on Sunday. I knew we'd be slow what with her feeding a parasite and all, and I was all for it. Long, slow distance was what I needed.

The day was cool but the sun was warm and I was amazed that Jen P wasn't heaving all over the place. At that stage of my pregnancy with Chou you couldn't pry me off the couch I was so addicted to napping, and here she is signing up for a 10 km run. I promised few hills, and delivered, and I also did the mapping.

Which is where I made a boo-boo.

I had mapped out one course and it was a bit short, so I had gone in and mapped out another and it was a bit long.

Then we headed out on our run and I didn't re-check the route.


When we hit the first mile marker and Jen P needed a water break I glanced at my watch - we were right where I figured we'd be, around 12 minute miles. We kept up the pace - so I thought - but at the 5 mile mark our time was pretty slow. We finished off the not-quite-10 km in 1 hr 29 minutes...hmm, yeah, that was 14 minute miles. It's been bothering me for a few days because I really didn't think we were that slow. So I re-mapped our route.

6 miles?


Try 7.3 miles.

Sorry Jen.

But on a positive note, we DID run 12:11 min/miles. That's down right fantastic for being 8 weeks preggers, with a few climbs, in full sun. Kick arse!

Again, I'm so sorry. Hey, you're so going to be fine for the half in a few weeks! You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sage advice

Mondays (for now) Chou Chou is home with me. I still end up doing some odds and ends for work, but technically I don't work Mondays and Fridays. We usually end up doing at least two walks into town, to a park, to fetch the mail, to stop at the library. Chou enjoys the scenery, the swings, big slide and the merry-go-round. She's also an avid people watcher.

We picked up the mail yesterday and, of course, were stopped by several old gents and ladies who commented on Chou's cozy perch inside the stroller. One particular old guy must have been pushing 90, but there he was, in work boots and a worn plaid shirt, picking up the mail and getting back to work at his farm (I can only assume). As it always happens in small towns, he ran into a woman he knew on his way out of the post office.

I only caught the end of their conversation, but what the woman said as they parted stuck with me. I think it's my new motto.

"Oh, well, you bloom where you're planted," she said with a giant smile that proved, somehow, that they were words she believed and lived by.

Amen, sister.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cute overload (our week of visitors)

Many thanks to sister Scrappy Chick for all of the above photos. Oh, and the ones of my niece and nephew making faces? That would be this Go Ape game, where instead of asking for cards and going fish, you act out what the card in, silly faces. It was a hoot and an excellent way to kill hours of rain, rain, rain. Which is all it did while they were here. Phooey.

Newt at our first ever bonfire. It was cold - even with the fire we wrapped up in blankets. We were also treated to our own private airshow: WWII Mustangs were doing practice flights overhead.

Mmmm, s'mores. I ate three. Whoops. They were so delicious. Except according to Jen P, whose baby in utero dislikes all sugar. Poor momma.

The great Sunday morning banana off. I think Newt won.

Followed by the great cookie off...which was followed by the mums going for a six mile run and Chou throwing up her cookie. The husbands handled it like seasoned veterans, I think.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

There are too many posts flying around in my head

At some point I decided that I liked writing again. Even blogging. Since then, the floodgates have opened and I'm constantly jotting down this and that in the day planner to remind myself later, when I have time, to compose, edit, publish.

The issue becomes when to find that time, what to share, what to hold private, what fulfills my need to do this?

In short, we're coasting through a Sunday afternoon after the last of the much-loved guests have gone. My daughter has stunned us this week with her ability to not just speak and sign but to communicate. There is a huge difference. She signed "All done" one night after only one story (we usually read three) because she was just that tired. She now answers yes or no questions with a response, I think, she intends. She's dropping to one nap and growing up so fast.

I've also had a bit of a revelation about life, work and the balance of it all. Having Jen P out to mull it all over helped immensely. As did running six miles where I did all the talking (as an aside, that woman is my hero for knocking out six miles at eight weeks preggers and nauseous) Getting the OK from the office to go back up to full time helped too, in that I'm formulating a plan - a two to three year plan - of goals, accomplishments and fun stuff I want to do. That's another post entirely, but it's in the works.

For now, I'm basking in the glow of having spent time with my sister, niece and nephew, friends and their wee one, having our first camp fire (and three s'mores), putting the first six mile run behind me and finally, FINALLY looking forward to a great week at work.

Life is good.

P.S. Bread recipe is here, for all you wanna be granolas like me.


P.P.S. Yesterday marked my parents' 39th wedding anniversary. Funny that in my mind I always see them at their 25th, even though dad has aged and moved on. But I somehow know that had death not gotten in the way, they'd be celebrating now, and as a wife going on a fourth year anniversary and all the ups and downs we've had, I can't help but still be a little stunned by such a number. Happy, happy, in the great beyond, Mum!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Breakfast sausages and other stories

I spent the early morning at a Timmy Ho's yet again while the ole car got the once over for his safety (he finally passed after some sweet new fuel-miser tires were added). I doodled in my day planner, making lists I likely wouldn't check again and counting down the weeks to several fall half marathons trying to make a decision of which one(s) to do (more on the plural later).

Most Timmy Ho's are staffed by an eclectic mix of young and old, immigrant and not, and having worked at one myself in the past I also watch and listen to the staff, reminiscing. Sort of.

This morning, a particular little Indian woman (as in India) was the hustle and bustle behind the line. She was wee, shorter than me by a lot, quick and nimble. She also had a great accent and a booming voice...which she used to shout "Breakfast Sausage! Breakfast Bacon! Breakfast Sausage!" as each new treat was ready. Was I the only one whose mind went straight for the gutter? Probably.


I don't know what's the sadder thing - that I'm way too over the moon excited to get a sweet deal on a shiny new (but bought as a resale item) Running Room jacket, or that it was actually cool enough today to warrant wearing it. Well, it was cool enough, until five minutes in to the run I was warmed up and the sun decided to make its one and only appearance of the day.

The run itself? I went sans watch and used my song list to guess my time. I was supposed to go easy, but clearly I was pushing it. I ended up with two side stitches (that I shuffled through) and knocking a solid 20 seconds/mile off my previous few run times. Sweet.

Yes, I need to wax my brows - again - but check out the lucky find! In the colour I would have picked had I bought it new, too. P.S. I need a new head band.

My oldest sister, her hubby and two kids are coming to stay with us for a few days. They arrive momentarily and I can't wait to show them around our new place, our new town and to use their free baby sitting services.

I've also discovered, in preparing for their visit, that we are so granola. The sister and I had a quick discussion on groceries the kids like, things to make for dinner, etc. and it dawned on me: we rarely eat meat anymore, few of our dinners have origins anywhere near North America and I like it this way. Except that when company comes over I have to make an entirely new grocery list and have no clue what to make. Burgers? Sure. But we have veggie ones. Right. I'll get on that.

I'm so granola I make my own bread. Too much junk in bought stuff. I bake it in a pot so it comes out round and rustic looking. Am I a loser? Absolutely. Do I love it? Heck yeah. If anyone wants the recipe, just let me know. It's very simple - no kneading required.

Random cute picture of the day, and proof that we are white trash. Because yes, that's a ladder for a baby gate on the deck AND a queen sized box spring on the porch. It's free. Any takers? Also, I have a very pointy chin and nose.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Garbage in, garbage out

To quote one far wiser: You get out what you put in.

And so this becomes my lesson for week two of getting back on the wagon. It wasn't a complete flop - I did get in all three Shreds. I did increase my mileage by over 10%, but over two runs, not three. I ended up with two rest days versus one. Why? Because my periformus (mis? mes?) was a bit ouchy after my 4.33 miler on Canada Day. The run itself was good and I felt OK: I only walked for 40 seconds after a hill and still had something in the tank at the end. As an aside, we won't be talking about pace, because while I'm better off than where I was this time last year, this time last year I was just over three months post-partum. Ugh.

After rest day, came Shred day and then today's run. My 5.08 miles today were nice, if I can say that. It was down right cold (11 degrees C) and spitting rain, but I'm nordic somewhere in my background so all is well. I planned on doing the 4.33 mile out and back but felt like I had more than enough at the end and so tacked on a .75 miles (I had no idea that was the distance, I just went to a stop sign and back - ta da!). Does anyone else get all emotional at the end of a good run? Today felt like I got past some barrier, as if the 45 minute mark were some magical line that, once crossed, I could just go on forever.


All this good stuff is to say, I also feel down on the job this week. I didn't give it 110% on the Shreds. I missed a run that maybe I could have done. But the worst part was my diet. Mr. Wumpus brought home beer last Monday. There are few things better in life than a cold beer on a hot day, a cold beer while making dinner, a cold beer with spicy chana masala. You get my drift. We ate healthy for the most part but I have a thing for baking. I made ginger snaps, oatmeal raisin cookies and homemade bread this week. Most of it is doled out in ziplocs in the freezer for lunches, but, of course, I had to do quality control. A lot. And then we had to go for ice cream. Dammit.

In all, I'd call this week a wash. Some gains on the running end, some back sliding on the eating end. Monday's weigh in had me down two pounds, we'll see what tomorrow brings. Yikes.

This week marks the begining of Come Visit the Wumpus House. The challenge? Fitting in running, visiting, work, more visting, a day out on assignment, more running and fun into just one week. Hmph.

This one's for you Jen P. Our 2007 HBC jersey (with my kick ass number). I wore this while 4 ish weeks preggers with Chou. This year, it's your turn to be queasy on Canada Day. Tee hee! And yes, unlike Jen P, I have no problem wearing technical shirts from past races. I am that cheap.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shock and awe

Chou Chou has had a big week.

The other day she grabbed her favorite shoes saying "Shoes! Shoes!" She can put her shoes on easily now and she gets at least one leg in her shorts or pants. Shirts go over the head and around the neck, if only because she can't find the neck hole.

Last night, she crawled up on the nursing chair and grabbed her baby signs book. I watched in awe as she turned the page, paused and made the sign for cereal, then turned the page and made the sign for eat, turned the page and Blow, Blow, Blow for hot. Sure, she's made some signs before, but never just sitting reading her own book. Then she went for her counting book and woofed at the puppies and meowed at the kitties, all on her own.

This morning, she pointed out my eyes, saying "Eyes", "honk" for my nose (whoops, probably should have stuck with the word nose and not the noise), and touched my mouth when I asked.

And the best? Her very first guilt trip - she had scraped her foot some time ago and, of course, we called it an owie. She latched on to that like a pitbull. "Owie," she says, pointing at the sole of her foot. The owie has long since healed, but at every chance - changing her diaper, in the bath, while playing on the floor - she grabs her foot, points and says "Owie. Owie? Owie!"

Gosh, she's cute. As someone said to me yesterday, the problem with this age is that they're so adorable you start thinking maybe you'd like another one. Not me, thanks, but I know someone who does...

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Moving provinces has its headaches. Take the car for example: we've now had to have our not very old car safetied not once, but twice just to register him. Can you say cash grab? Um, yes. So as he (yes, he's a he) is off being looked at, I am snuggled in at the library using free WiFi and writing an article. There's a Tim Horton's across the street. I'll be heading there shortly for a coffee break.

My job really rocks sometimes.