Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When other people sing about their babies growing up

The first part of my blog name, gluten free, is my dietary lifestyle. Another HUGE part of my life is the songbird part of my name. :) I started singing at the age of five when my father hoisted me up on a stool and played guitar while I sang God Gives Us Mothers one mother's day in the chapel on the base in Bagotville PQ where we were stationed. Thus began a life-long love of music and singing and something very special which I shared with my father for the rest of his life, but that's another blog post for another time.

By the time I was twelve, I had my first voice teacher and I studied singing privately until I was eighteen. In recent years, I have found a wonderful teacher and rediscovered my old love of singing. At a recent masterclass, one of her other students sang the Abba song; Slipping Through My Fingers. I nearly lost it. In fact, I made it quite clear that I could not be the next in line to sing as I needed a few moments to get myself back together. I have been an Abba fan since high school when my friend discovered her parents' LP and a group of us fell in love with the band as though they were new. I have memories of them being on tv in my childhood, but can't say I was ever a fan before this time. Still, I had not heard this song ever until I heard it in my friend's car while we were driving along a New England highway on the way to meet up with some other friends. It was oh so poignant at that time and even more so with my first born getting set to graduate this June.

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see whats in her mind
Each time I think Im close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when shes gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I cant deny

What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
(slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see whats in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers...

Slipping through my fingers all the time

Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile...

The first line about her going off to school with bag in hand reminded me of a sleepy eyed Melissa who had taken to sneaking in to sleep at the foot of our bed and her comments to me when I was concerned about her getting on a bus to go to the private school where we were sending her for Kindergarten. This bleary eyed little girl told me not to worry. A few days later, she got on that bus and never looked back. Of course, there were the times she fell asleep on the way home from a full day of school and had to be awakened by the bus driver. I look at the photos we have of our girls and I look at them now and it seems like another lifetime. I remember them, but it somehow doesn't seem real. Before long, this sweet girl who is growing to be more her own person every day will leave us. I've always believed that my job is to raise my girls to be independent, but when I think about it just like the song says, I have to sit down for a while.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I've been awfully quiet, I know

Been kind of sick and miserable. Nothing too serious; just a sore gland on the right side of my neck and feeling kind of wrung out. This is when I realize I should save a bunch of back up posts on days when I feel like writing a lot. Maybe I will start doing that! :) Will try to write something today...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Time for the Winky Linky Follow again, courtesy of Mommy Who Loves Giveaways!

I'm new to these hops, but already have begun to get some new followers. They are also a really great way to find other blogs out there which you might not find otherwise!

Here are the guidelines;

This hop is designed to introduce bloggers to the new Linky Followers widget, which can replace GFC and has lots of bonus features too! Not only does Linky Followers keep track of all of the blogs you are following, but it also allows you to organize blogs into categories!!
If you don’t have a Linky Followers account (it’s free), please head over to the web site and sign up! Once your widget is on your blog, please link up here so that others can follow you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If you aren't clicking the Superlucky Button, why not?

There is no easier way to get points that can be converted to gift cards and Paypal cash. Once again, I think there would more opportunities for my American friends than there are for me up here in the Frozen North (actually the wet north - think Seattle weather) Anyway, if you are even thinking of signing up, here's the link. Happy clicking! ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

When your babies grow up

I was just reading a mommy blog where a woman said she grew up with her firstborn. In many ways, I feel like that with mine. I was twenty-one when I got pregnant with Melissa. The situation was not a good one; I was rebelling against my strict upbringing and a heart wrenching break-up from the second person I thought I loved and would marry. (Oh, youth) I was living with Melissa's father; but I didn't love him, I was only fond of him. I had even reached the point of being ready to break up with him when we found out for sure I was expecting. I'd had several negative tests, including ones in the doctor's office, but I had a nagging ache and no period. Sure enough, a blood test confirmed that I was pregnant and when an ultrasound did not show the little munchkin's presence, I was sent for an emergency laparoscopy. I had to sign a paper saying that, if the little one had settled in my tubes, they would terminate the pregnancy. Toughest thing I ever signed in my whole life. When I emerged from surgery, the anesthesiologist gently told me that I was still pregnant and that everything looked fine. So here we were; not in love and pregnant! Oy!

My parents came to see me in the hospital; anesthetic makes me very ill and I was kept overnight because of the profuse vomiting. When the older gentleman in the next bed fell (and I think, coded!) when they were helping him to the bathroom, I was very quickly moved to another room for the night. There I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts and sore from the surgery. At least I wasn't throwing up anymore, though!

Much of my pregnancy is a blur. My mother encouraged me to consider adoption. My father was as gentle and kind and loving as always. My half-sister, whom I really hardly know, communicated through our mother that she was disappointed because I would probably never finish college now. I broke up with Missa's father. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a hellish year for my parents, really. Mom moved me back home, but we fought a lot and were both so stressed that it was not good for either one of us and she finally told me I had to leave again. My poor father was often stuck between us - a position he was likely used to since my relationship with my mother had always been fiery. Man, I loved my father! Eventually, I went to the local crisis pregnancy centre and was placed in a "shepherding home" for as long as I needed it. I lived with an amazing and kind lady whom I still see around town from time to time. I am very thankful that God provided that home at a time when I needed to be very selfish and learn to care for myself. Gail never said, as my mother had, that I was NOT the first woman to ever be pregnant. Honestly, the first time, you really feel like you are!

Finally, Melissa Catherine Filgate was born. I gave her my maiden name because I knew I would raise her mostly alone and, except for steady child support and visits from her father while she was younger, I pretty much have. She was a challenging baby; did not sleep well, had so much energy and did everything early. I remember reading that babies sleep a LOT. Well, this kid hadn't read any of the books and she did things her way! We had a rough go, Miss and I, but eventually we found hubby and he has been her daddy since she was two and a half. She really thinks of him as Dad because he has been the one who raised her, supported there, cleaned up when she was sick, cuddled her when she was frightened and just been a real dad.

Now that girl is getting ready to graduate and I'm not even 40. Where did the time go? I miss cuddling that wee girl on my lap, but I sure love the amazing young adult she has grown into. We laugh and talk and she is my best friend. I never dreamed that it could be like that after the tumultuous relationship I had with my own mother. I can't imagine life without her and have always told her that, even though she was unplanned, she was NOT an accident. God knew what I needed, even if that something (or someone) was a squirmy, active little girl who never knew how to stop. I'm so glad He let me have her for just a little while.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Couponing - it's a full time job!

I don't think I ever realized how much time and effort goes into couponing - at least in the beginning. After several weeks of reading couponing blogs, scanning sites for new printable coupons and getting a ridiculous number of e-mails before determining which ones are really worth my while, I have reached a point where I may actually have too many coupons - at least of a certain type. Between coupon searching and surveys, I'm on my laptop a lot. However, we actually looked at the flyers last week and realized that we didn't actually NEED anything except fresh veggies and fruit for the week. That's a small victory, because the less time we spend in the store without planning, the fewer impulse buys we are making. That's good news.

Now surveys are a whole different animal. I'm a member of several sites and I actually ended up dropping a couple because I was constantly being weeded out early in the process and never getting anything that actually paid. Now I have reached the point where I get a few good ones a day and, while I won't send my teenaged daughters to college on the income, I very quickly earned a couple of Amazon gift cards for doing things I already do anyway. Win/win if you ask me. It's certainly not a get rich scheme by any stretch, but being rewarding for goofing off on the laptop or getting to tell my bank what I REALLY think about them is all good for this girl. :)

This really cracked me up when I saw it on Facebook this morning. Hopefully, it will give some other coupon addicts a smile. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alexa Blog Drop Hop

Found this on The Mommy Who Loves Giveaways who, by the way, always has fabulous giveaways on her blog. Check her out here! Here’s how it works:

1. In order to participate, you MUST have the Alexa Toolbar (having one also greatly helps lower your score.) You can download it in just seconds HERE. (It is a small, non intrusive toolbar)

2. Visit as many of the blogs on the linky as you can.

3. When you visit a blog, you MUST allow the page to fully load then click a second page.

4. Leave a comment so your visit will be reciprocated!

5. Feel free to tweet or share this however you’d like. The more people that know about the hop means more potential to lower your Alexa Rating. Happy Hopping!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gluten free cooking software giveaway!

Head on over and fill out the rafflecopter form for the chance to win Cook'n 10! Aglutenfreemom has also done a review complete with photos so you can see how it looks!

A Blog What?

A blog HOP. What a great idea! I'm always looking for fun new blogs to follow and ways to drive people to my blog while I am at it. :) As a new blogger, this is a really cool tool which I have just discovered. If you are passing through and want to link up with some lovely ladies, try this! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bach, beauty and Cola?

I take my voice lessons in a small town about 45 minutes away from my small town. It's not much fun in the winter time when the rain is heavy and the wind blows, but on a clear day, like today was, the drive is pure pleasure. As one nears the little town, the mountains on the mainland come into view and the salt water of The Straight of Georgia washes up on the rocks. I am reminded just how blessed we are to live on this beautiful island on Canada's west coast.

Driving home has been especially beautiful the last few weeks. The sun is not quite setting as I leave and the snow on the mountains is pinkish in colour. Last week, there was even a nearly full moon hanging over the mountains. People were pulled over to stare at the beauty. :) This week, I was driving along lost in thought and listening to the B Minor Mass. There is a great quote about not needing medication for depression if one listens to the B Minor Mass, but I can't find it right now. Hmm. Anyway, as I am in my reverie, I am interrupted by the kerplunk of my iPhone which is plugged in and from which Bach is pouring. It's my daughter telling me we are out of Cola. Seriously? There is such beauty and peace in the world and the thirteen year old is after Cola? Well, I guess that's the way of the modern world. ;)

One Night in Vancouver

So, Sat night my thirteen year old and her fourteen year old friend went to Pacific Coliseum for the Simple Plan concert. I was a wreck, believe me. It didn't get better when they texted me early to ask me to go get them because the standing room tickets they had brought about just exactly the kind of scary environment I was afraid it would! Anyway, while they were at the concert rocking out to These Kids Wear Crowns, Marianas Trench and All Time Low, I had plenty of time to think about the hotel where we were staying.

First of all, on check-in we had issues. Now, my friend had made the reservation and used my hyphenated name because that is my facebook name. This is funny because I have been getting called by my maiden name ever since I checked in. I've been married for thirteen years! lol We had quite a time because even though I spelled out my name; “F-I-L...” the guy was typing “P-H-I-L...” something I haven't dealt with since I got married. Lol. Before that, I'd had parking drama – there is nowhere in front of the hotel to pull in and check-in and my GPS had taken me to the front door instead of where I could park! I'd had to pay to leave my car then went back to get the girls and move the car several blocks out of the way back to the hotel because of one way streets.

Now, the room was FREE to me, as my friend's boyfriend works for Fairmont Hotels, so I feel bit guilty complaining, but perhaps I expect a bit more from a $300/night room, even if we did get it at a discount! Let me start out by saying that the staff has been fantastic and I have absolutely no complaints there. What I do take issue with is charging that kind of money for room, charging crazy amounts of money for food and beverage and then nickle and diming things like internet. Yup, our $300/night room (plus the $50 I kicked in to upgrade for a suite and, oh yeah, parking is THIRTY TWO DOLLARS a night!) does not provide any kind of free internet. In fact, Fairmont charges $16/night for internet! I managed to get “cheaper” internet for $9.99, but really? The signal keeps getting dropped and it takes me ten minutes just to get back online! For ten dollars? And, oh yeah, it's $8.00 for a bottle of water? Oy.

At any rate, the hotel itself is beautiful and historical. It's also in a neighbourhood where there is a Tiffany's across the street, so not quite my speed. It was built in the twenties and took ten years to build. That would never happen these days! The historical photos in the main floor hallway are something to see. I'll have to see if I can find any online to share.

I guess I have rambled enough for your Monday post. Off to do some other lovely thing I have no doubt put off just to sit and write. Have a great week!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I am the best mom in the world - most recent chapter

Okay, maybe just the best mom in my girls' world and, truth be told, their world is pretty small. This weekend's crazy adventure is a trip to Vancouver so that my thirteen year old and her best friend can go to the Simple Plan concert. They aren't really there to see Simple Plan but rather the guest bands, Marianas Trench and All Time Low. Sarah has been stalking these guys online forever and found out when they would be in Vancouver so that she and her friend could go. The reasons this makes me the best mommy are plentiful. First of all, I convinced Daddy that all Sarah really wanted for Christmas was a ticket to this concert. ;) Then, I talked to besty's mom; they currently live about three hours from where we live so we had to be able to work out logistics. Today is the real test, however. I don't drive in the lower mainland. In fact, we live in a small town on Vancouver Island. I often drive in Victoria, but it is a relatively small city and I lived there before, so I know what I'm doing there. Vancouver, not so much. Then there is the hour long drive to the ferry and the two hour ferry drive. See where I am going? (I'm also a convention mother, but that's another post for another time)

Now, we get into how my friend is also up there for the best mother in the World award. Her boyfriend works for Fairmont Hotels. Can you see where THIS is going? So, as a gift to her daughter (and really a wonderful and much appreciated gift of thanks to ME) they have booked a room at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Sweet! A $300 room for a deal for them and they will not accept my money. Maybe I should review the hotel tonight? After all, I will just be pacing the floor hoping the girls are staying out of trouble. I think I feel a whole other blog post coming on...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Package from Hershey's? Yum!

I've been spending some time online doing surveys and entering giveaways. It's like a new passion along with my couponing. Last week, I was invited to a survey with Hershey's chocolate. I was then invited to be part of a study; they would send me the new product and I would let them know what I think. Well, I said yes and forgot about it. I'm sure a lot of people agreed to get free chocolate. So, today when the Purolator guy showed up, I had NO idea what was in the box. Sure enough, inside was a small bag with the new chocolates for me to try and a notice that I would be contacted via e-mail to answer some questions in a few days.

Let me just start by saying that you can't go wrong with milk chocolate and almonds in my book, so when they told me they would send me chocolate squared with two almonds in each one, it was a no-brainer. I will also admit that I am more of a Cadbury fan than a Hershey's one, but who is going to argue with free chocolate? Not me!

Okay, so they probably aren't gluten-free, so I only had two...

Here is the plain packaging. They don't want the people in the study to be influenced by the packaging and it is actually not finalized yet.

Well, they are pretty darned good. The milk chocolate is melt-in-your-mouth good and there is a great nut to chocolate ratio. My daughter and I agree that we don't usually care much for Hershey's milk chocolate as it seem to be waxy a lot of the time, but that is not the cse with these. If these come out on the market, and I'm pretty sure they will, you might like to get them, particularly if you are into pre-portioned chocolate goodness.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Every ending is a new beginning

I truly believe this. So why does the end of my three year relationship with my singing teacher make me so sad? I can't answer that. I can tell you that she told me herself that when she closed down her studio a few years back, there were tears on both sides. I also can't tell you why having one of the most amazing lessons I have ever had with her almost felt like having sex one last time with that guy you are breaking up with - so bittersweet. I do know I have grown to love her and that she is more than just a teacher - she is also a friend and mentor and even a bit of a mother figure. She has also been my connection to an entire music community in the town where she lives which is about 45 minutes away from my home. Through meeting her, I have become involved with a musical theatre group which is putting on a fundraising show in March. I have learned to be much more aware of my voice and my body, to listen - really listen when I practice, that I am better than I believe I am. Through her, I met a lady who is now my daughter's voice teacher (and may soon be mine) and who is an absolutely brilliant pedagogist. Because I knew her, I am a better singer, have more confidence in my ability and may just have the courage to move on to new things. I think that counts for an awful lot. I'm sure going to miss her.

Gluten free chocolate cake? Oh yes.

My new and very dear friend whom I met through recent involvement with a musical theatre group sent me a chocolate cake recipe which sounds divine. Since I am getting back to all things gluten free (tired of paying the painful price in spite of the docs who say I am fine) I thought I'd post this!

I logged in to Facebook one day to get this message;

Hey lady... you looking for a gluten free chocolate cake recipe??? Get the new Readers Digest ... there is an excellent recipe! made it tonight ..supereasy-supertasty-......really!!!!

Of course, I replied that I would go find the recipe for myself. :) Her reply was this;

...well I could just give you the recipe....598ml can of chickpeas...washed rinsed and put in food processor, 375ml semi-sweet chocolate chips , melted, 4 whole eggs, and 3/4 cup of sugar....all together now.... 9 inch cake pan... 350 in oven for 40 minutes or until set.... let cool and dust with confectioners sugar.... tasted delicious when still a little warm... but more flavour when all cooled....enjoy!!!!!

Now, given that this friend cornered me at rehearsal yesterday to see if I had tried this recipe yet, it must be a real goodie. I'm posting it here first and will give a review once I have actually tried it myself! :)

Making money online?

It's a real joke, isn't it? I mean, the internet makes someone billions every year, but the rest of us? Hmm. I always keep my eye out for ways to make a few bucks here and there because I don't need to get rich, but I sure like having my mommy play money. There are a lot of fun ways to do things you do online anyway and make points and get gift cards and things (like Swagbucks which you can click on to join through my widget) but they take time, especially if you live in Canada where survey options are pretty limited. Still, it's fun and I have already earned a five dollar gift card with no real effort on my part.

My new enterprise is Yup. An adult store. I will be adding a separate blog to this account and there I will review products, post links and just generally have fun. My main motivation is to earn free stuff, which I can easily do just by spending a few minutes every day promoting products with links and Facebook likes, but if people want to buy anything, I can get some credit or even a few dollars that way too. Now to get some followers and let the fun begin!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fighting with Social Media Today

So I started my day by cleaning out my very full inbox today. I enter a lot of contests, follow a lot of blogs and do a lot of couponing. It keeps me busy and happy. What did NOT make me happy was finding out that my Twitter account had been suspended. The only reason I can guess for this happening is that following a large number of people in a short time sends up some kind of red flag with Twitter. Well, here's the thing; every person I followed had asked for people to follow them. These are like minded people sharing similar ideas through blogs and other social media. Anyway, I wrote to Twitter asking what the heck had happened since I didn't even get an e-mail from them warning that my account would be suspended. Now on to this evening. I'm on Facebook playing games. Fun, right? Kill some time while dh watches tv and wind down before bed. No. Of course not. There are several people who have turned Facebook into their place for causes. This is their right and they can make all the groups they want, but when I log in and the first thing I see is two grinning idiots who have hanged a couple of dogs, I want to puke. Yes, I know that cruelty to animals happens. Yes, I know that not looking at those pictures won't make it go away. I also know there isn't a damned thing I could have done to save those poor pooches and, given the chance, I would sure as Hell have tried. Now all I have is that image burned into my retinas and a sick feeling in my stomache. Kinda like when the person who works at the animal shelter thought it would be a good idea to share the picture of the piles of dead cats which the shelter had euthanized that day. Yeah. Because with six pets and two kids, I am DEFINITELY not doing my part. Grumble, grumble. I was having such a good day, too!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RIP Sweet Dennis

One of my favourite "old guys" from the golf course where dh is a member and I work summers passed away a week ago. I'm really going to miss him.

Dennis was eighty years old and quite deaf, but always so very cheerful. He played nine holes of golf several times a week because he didn't want to get up early enough to play the first nine with his group! lol I started calling him my boyfriend last summer and he told me that he'd told his wife about us. I asked what her response had been and he said it had been; "Good luck!" They were married over fifty years and he always said only the best things about her and insisted that he was lucky that such a great lady would have him. He told stories about what it was like when the war was on in Europe, about making sure young ladies got home safe from the drive-in and often gave me generally interesting glimpses into a time gone by. He was always so thrilled that I had taken the time to look at the tee off sheet to see if he was coming to make his decaf fresh in time for him to come in for it.

I clearly remember the day last summer when he showed up and told me he was "pissed off with my doctor!" For a man who never said more than darn in front of me, those were strong words. I soon found out that his doctor had insisted Dennis do a driving test and was pretty sure he would not pass. Well, the inevitable happened; Dennis took and failed his driving test and lost his license. On one hand, I was glad he and those around him were safer, but I was sad to see a man who was still so young inside lose his independence. It was this my husband and I were discussing last Wednesday night; how long a man would want to live once his freedom was gone. It just so happened that my sweet "boyfriend" left this world that very same night. So here's to you, my friend; I hope the golf course in Heaven is friendly to you and I'm sure going to miss you!