Crazy? Why, yes, I am.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Mustangs and Jeeps.

The first new car I purchased when I graduated from college and got a job was a dark green 1991 Mustang Coupe. I was driving a Mercury Tracer that my Dad bought for me.


Mine was a two-door but it was dark blue and missing the quaint European-inspired landscape. Dad taught me how to drive stick in this car and this vehicle got me through college.

I had my eye on a sports car and the Mustang had my name all over it.



Unlike this photo, it wasn’t a 5.0, but as this photo shows, the salesman thought the driver should be male. When I told him I wanted standard transmission instead of automatic, the conversation started getting awkward. For him.

“I don’t think you want a standard,” he said, with a knowing tone in his voice. Patronization was the order of the day.

“Actually I do.” I responded. “I’m driving a stick now.”

He’s not listening to me.

“You know, when you bring that car back to me, I’m going to have to sell it as a second car, you know the second car of the household, and that’s usually the wife driving that car, and women just don’t drive standards.”


I give that statement a moment to settle and then I state the obvious.

“Last time I checked, I was a girl. I’m looking at buying this car, not selling it, and I want it to be a standard.”

I loved that car. We called it The Ditch Pig because it was rear wheel drive and it loved the sides of the roadway. When First Born Son came along, we knew we couldn’t keep The Ditch Pig for long. The little bucket seat was barely fitting in the back seat and when the time came for FBS to be front facing, the car was going to have to go. We traded my car for my Dad’s 1990 Lumina.


What I lost in a model year, I gained in a proper back seat. We kept it for a couple of years then moved into a couple of other vehicles. When my Dad was done with The Ditch Pig, Little Sister traded him for it. It was fun to drive and lasted forever.

After the Lumina we had a number of family-friendly vehicles. We even took FBS’s goalie bag to shop for an SUV so we knew it was big enough to handle the oversized bag. Many a weekend we had FBS and Second Born Son’s hockey bags stacked in the back. Vehicles were merely modes of transportation. It had been a long time since I was as excited about driving as I was when I bought my first car.

Then it happened. FBS bought his truck and while he was finalizing the deal, I found myself stepping into a Jeep for a test drive. SBS came with me because was getting sick of all the truck talk. We loved it. Only problem was, it was a two-door and as long as we have a 6’2 kid at home, he needs to fit in our vehicle! The timing wasn’t right and as much as I loved the Jeep, it just wasn’t time.

The reminders were all around us. The Big Guy kept pointing out every. single. time he saw a Jeep. Then we saw THE Jeep.

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It was in a parking lot at Wasaga Beach. I turned to TBG and I said, “THAT’S the Jeep I want.” It was big, it was aggressive looking and had attitude. I was in love. I think I scared TBG, but he was secretly pleased at the same time.

With a little research, I find out it’s a special edition – the 75th Anniversary Edition Unlimited to be exact. A limited number of 2016 and 2017 Wranglers have some custom features that made for a pretty impressive ride.

But, we did already have a vehicle and again, the timing wasn’t right.

Then this happened.

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Perhaps it’s difficult to see, but this was my latest vehicle. It is exactly one car width too far to the right. It’s almost in the flower bed. This is not good. I was trying to back up to gain some moment for a drift ahead of me, when the granular snow pulled me off the driveway. This has never. happened. before. To me, it was a sign.

In January, with some inspired timing, I noticed a new 75th Edition was being discounted at the same dealership FBS had purchased his truck. A couple of phone calls and we had ourselves a deal.

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure we actually had a deal until we were leaving the dealership and were driving the new vehicle home. I gotta say, there was a little bit of shock settling in.

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Yes, it’s black. Three out of the last four vehicles have been black. Yes, TBG likes to wash cars. It has features I didn’t know I’d want and a couple I’m pretty sure I don’t need. Regardless, I’m thrilled with it and love driving again. TBG loves driving it, and while SBS was a little hesitant at first, he’s enjoying it as well. The only draw-back is we had to postpone his driving test so he can have a couple of months to get used to the new wheels.

For the most part, people are usually pleased to hear that someone has a new vehicle. The odd one (emphasis on odd) looks at this beast and thinks I’m going through a mid-life crisis. I would suggest that this is actually what all grown ups aspire to – having the things they can enjoy while they are still young enough to enjoy them. God! That sounds like I’m really getting up there! I just feel that you shouldn’t have to wait until you are retired, or until the kids are married, or until….whenever, before you enjoy some fun things in life. I’ve told TBG that this vehicle is going to last me a long, long time. We’ll enjoy driving with the top down in the summer, and I’ve already put the 4-wheel drive to good use this winter.

So I’m ok with people saying I’m crazy for wanting this vehicle. They don’t have to like it, and they don’t have to pay for it. I’m doing both, gladly.

They probably couldn’t get up into it anyway.

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When is “Sexy” Ok?

Who would have thought Dancing With the Stars would have stirred up a deep and profound conversation about female sexuality in relation to society?

DWTS is easily one of my favorite shows, partially because it’s one of the few programs that The Big Guy and I watch together. Truth be told, First Born Son and Second Born Son have been known to drift in and out to watch a couple of minutes as well, but I doubt they would admit it without prolonged interrogation.

This season that wrapped several weeks ago featured a great cast of celebrities, including American Simone Biles, who is a gifted Olympian in Gymnastics. The girl is AMAZING. Other gymnasts have taken part in the program, and done very well. The first week alone proved that she and her professional dance partner would go far in the competition. Her feet flew, her jumps were massive and she could pull out any trick in the book to wow the audience.

While some would write the show off as reality dance competition, it has come to mean more to the participants. Year after year celebrities discuss the evolution they go growth, the growth as a person.

After a few weeks of being dazzled by the tricks and flips, the judges were asking Simone for more. “More,” they would say, with urgency, asking for emotion and connection. She would take their notes with a fair amount of confusion on her face.

Finally, her partner explains during their following rehearsal, that the judges want her to be emotive, and sexy.

<PAUSE> Simone is 20 years old. For most of her life, she has been training to be an Olympian. This does not mean discovering how to feel comfortable in her skin in a sexualized manner. This means that the only thing she sees when she looks at herself, is a machine that must be in peak condition to be better than her competition. The costumes they wear, while somewhat revealing to the novice spectator, has no emotional or sexualized meaning to the athlete, outside of the flag or national colors that are incorporated into its design.<PLAY>

So smoldering looks? A come hither glance? Hell most 20 year olds don’t do that well, never mind one who will tell you up front that she’s been shelter in a world of competition and practice since she was a child. Emotionally she was stunted and she was becoming more and more aware of this each passing week.

Here’s the rub: another contestant, The Real Housewife of Beverly Hills reality star Erika Payne, known for her overt sexuality, was being chastised for showing it. Was it because she was 20 years older than the young Simone? Was it because she was mature enough to know what she was doing?

It occurred to me long after Erika Payne was eliminated, that for some reason, society is okay with a woman owning her sexuality, within reason, and when society deemed it appropriate.

And “appropriate” was a moving target. If you are younger, and hopefully naive, you can get away with a little more demonstrative. If you cross that line, and seem to know what you are doing, (read here “mature and/or experienced”) you will be told it’s inappropriate. Even younger women who are overtly sexual are accepted or their image is rehabbed. Think I’m off base? May I remind you of Kim Kardashian? I rest my case.

I felt sorry for Simone at the end of her run, which happened to be only a week after the very public instruction to tart it up. She didn’t know what to do, and her frustration was evident in her next performance.

She is back to prepping for the next Summer Olympics, which is more in her comfort zone. Hopefully society will stop criticizing her “hotness” and focus on the other use of her body, being an extraordinary athlete.


Vacation. Holidays. Days off. Rehab…

We spend all year looking forward to a handful of days where we can get away from the routine of early mornings, commutes and emails – or whatever your equivalent is. The past few years, we’ve been purposefully NOT making plans for our holidays. We’ve ask the boys what they want to do on our days together, and it’s usually been a great experience. This year was no exception. However, I did get my request in first – to the Scenic Caves in Collingwood. While we’re there, we should do the zipline and the suspension bridge!

Great view - foreground and background!

Great view – foreground and background!

Unfortunately, First Born Son was unable to join us, working 18 hour days six days out of seven. So we took lots of pictures to make him jealous…he still had more fun at work, he said!

One of the many amazing caverns.

One of the many amazing caverns.

Second Born Son didn’t know what to expect, but ended up loving the gorgeous, natural wonder.

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SBS tried out the highlight of the trail – Fat Man’s Misery.

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Finally, it was time to move on to the zipline. This was my idea. I thought it would be cool. And, admittedly, that feeling cooled tremendously at the top of the launch tower, looking at half a kilometre of cable. That one glorified rope was all that held me from a a forest of treetops. And my son was about to launch beside me. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?!?!?

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

As I’m getting the last minute instructions from the staff (which, btw, I’m clearly incapable of absorbing) the only thing I see is the cable that disappears into the canopy of trees below me. I hear SBS enthusiastically repeating the instructions being fed to him only 10 feet away. He’s not afraid. He’s excited. I’m questioning his intellect and his ability to see. As soon as the gate releases, the two of us head out of the launch platform and I vaguely hear him saying to me something about being “gone”.

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Half way through the way down, SBS is gone and I can focus on the view, the controls and the fact that I can actually relax and ENJOY the experience. However, it not until I’m at the bottom platform that I realize that not only did I LIVE, but I LOVED it! I’d freakin’ do it again!!!!

Entering suspension bridge.

Entering suspension bridge.

The suspension bridge was no biggie after the zipline. Sadly, some ass felt it was necessary to grab the hand cable and get some sway going. Wanted to impress his daughters. Managed to traumatize more than one youth participating in a day tour.



The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

We then followed up with a great day at the market AND two days at the beach.

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It’s a jam-packed week – without a minute of it planned in advance. Can’t wait for the next week! Only four weeks away. Not that I’m counting! 🙂

When is More Simply Too Much – Archive

This isn’t the first incarnation of The Bowery Girl, and I’ve been having a blast going through the previous site and reviewing my posts. Here’s one I had to share, and hopefully you find it timely, given that it is Wedding Season…


Monday, May 17, 2010

When More is Simply Too Much
Since when is “more” better?

I prefer to err on the side of “less” especially when it comes to public displays of affection, demonstrative actions etc. unless it is something truly funny. Funny needs to be shared.

But lavish, meh, not so much.

So I’m standing in the bridal salon that I shall not name because I’m still mad at them, waiting for the rolly polly seamstress. In the wall of mirrors I’m watching a tiny young woman leafing through wedding dresses. Honestly, she weighs about as much as my thigh. She’s with her mother and while the young woman is very collegiate looking, her mother looks very tired, dishevelled and not nearly as current in her wardrobe as her daughter.

The woman sits in the middle of the room on the bench and watches her daughter fanning through the gowns and I notice she only looking at short, strappy styles. I figure she’s having a small wedding and doesn’t want to overpower her small frame with a large gown. In my head I’m giving this girl a lot of credit – she’s going to spend about half to three-quarters what she would have spent on the larger dress.

I’m annoyed at the mother, who doesn’t seem engaged in this time with her daughter. Instead of revelling the time to being with her to pick her wedding dress, the woman looks and acts like she’s afraid to touch any of the dresses, and that she’s not buying into the idea of the wedding at all. I’m annoyed big time. If I’ve learned anything in my many trips down the aisle, it’s that the wedding is not about anyone other than the bride and groom – egos and attitudes need to be checked at the door.

Then grandma walks in. Wiry white hair cut bluntly that frames her face, makeup stylish appliced and a kick-ass outfit that makes the mother look even more frumpy. Her artisan jewelery plays off beautifully with the chic hand-crafted wrap and dark-wash jeans she’s wearing. She looks impecable and carries herself with an air of sophistication reserved for Katherine Hepburn. As soon as the woman walks in, the young girl starts to squeal, and the mother stops talking entirely.

Grandma fawns over the young girl, pulling out various dresses and suggesting various alterations to make the dress “her own”. My pleasure at seeing the older woman relishing the time with her granddaughter comes to a screeching halt when the younger female corrects the sales associate.

“Oh, this isn’t my wedding dress,” she said. “I already have my wedding gown.”

dead air

“This is for after the service – and pictures – for the reception,” she clarifies. Now I understand why Mom is hanging her head. She can’t afford this. And the daughter – a recent grad, can’t either. So thank goodness Money Bags showed up.

“I LOVE my dress,” she said. “But I just can’t imagine wearing it ALL DAY!” she gushes. “I mean it’s SO big and SO heavy, I would just DIE wearing it ALL DAY – it’s going to be too hot!”




So you are getting married at the end of June – you’ve picked your dress – DON’T YOU PICK YOUR DRESS BASED ON WHEN YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED? I felt like asking, “What are you wearing, Angora wool? RAYON? PIG IRON??”

Unless this woman is marrying a multi-millionaire, she is about to start her married life under a grave misapprehension. It’s clear she wasn’t raised with a lot of money, but money is around her. She is having a wedding with TWO wedding gowns because, after all, didn’t Jennifer Lopez or Katie Holmes do that? The cost of having a second dress was over $750 – how much did you pay for your initial gown? Likely between $1,200 – $2,500 – and I’ll bet the farm it was closer to the top end amount. So now, you are looking at well over $3,000 AND TAX just for one day.

Because there was no time to order the dress in, the girl was negotiating the cost of alterations and the sales rep was having a dandy time trying to calculate how much it would cost to alter and cut down a sample dress. Grandma never blinked at the cost. She only concurred with her granddaughter – one dress simply would not DO! Mom just sat there like she was watching it all happen to strangers.

I wondered if she had tried to instill a sense of frugality in her daughter all these years, knowing she had limited resources. Had her mother then trumped her and usurped her rights as a mother when she felt she had the overpowering right as a grandmother? Did the daughter see this dynamic and play one off the other? At what point would the grandmother stand down and let this girl see things for what they are? Maybe the girl was embarassed that her mother was not in the same world as her grandmother was, but I daresay, unless her grandmother planned on supporting her for the rest of her life, the young woman’s wake up call was going to greet her the morning after her honeymoon.

It’s a disturbing trend, young people starting out expecting the best of everything. My parents were the most fortunate of all their friends. They had saved enough money to buy a house when they got married. Many of their friends had to rent an apartment for the first couple of years, finally saving a down payment in time for the first baby to arrive.

Homes were furnished with miss-matched furniture and dinnerware, save for the nicer items they received as wedding gifts. You worked hard and gained throughout your marriage. You had goals and dreams and set targets for yourself, including one day, GASP, buying a NEW car.

When did we decide it was ok to start at top? Newlyweds moving into homes that are fully furnished and model-home ready. Neither of their cars are more than 3 years old. A trip up north or to Niagara Falls is not be considered a worthy honeymoon, and if it didn’t include either a cruise or a number of spa treatments (for both of them)it simply wasn’t worth writing home about.

Methinks we need to adjust our expectations. Otherwise, what do you have to look forward to, other than a mountain of debt and a divorce decree?


Another stretch of radio silence and I do apologize for that. I was visiting with a dear friend the other night and we were catching up after a long stretch of our own brand of radio silence. We discussed spouses, kids, family members and jobs. Sadly, a lot of the discussion was rather sad, and stressful, but to a certain extent, we both realize that no one gets through this life unscathed. I learned a long time ago to stop asking, “It couldn’t get any worse, could it?” because the answer is sometimes frightening.

Neither of us talks like this on a daily basis. Neither of us is the type to drop our heads, pop our lips out in a pout and whimper “why me?” It’s just that every now and then, a girl has gotta vent!

About a year ago I was fortunate enough to see a motivational speaker who called out a large group of people on the human nature flaw of self-pity. He pointed that drama is toxic, talking about others (gossip) is toxic, ranting is toxic. He also stated the obvious – that everyone who lives this life will face challenges. Some are small and annoying, some are large and life-changing, but EVERYONE will have them both. People who ask “Why me?” should then ask themselves, “If you not you, then WHO?” Does any one person deserve to have an inordinate amount of trials and tribulations so that others may have less??

Part of what makes life sweet, are the sour moments. Think about it. You cannot appreciate the light without the darkness. If you were given an existence without hills and valleys, you would undoubtedly, be bored – not to mention unfulfilled. Each of us has a journey. Whether it’s to learn a lesson, share a gift, have an experience, and we all have our crosses to bare.

Every now and then, it seems like my plate is overflowing with “character building” situations; but I also acknowledge how blessed I am, how good my life is, and how much I have to look forward to. There are days that are challenging, but they come with days that are wonderful. I’ll take the sour with the sweet.

Bound by the ‘Lift & Separate’

We had a major development in our house last week. If you are aware of the phrase, “Happy Wife, Happy Life”, you know that a momma who is uncomfortable is not a pleasant person to be around. So imagine my unbridled enthusiasm when I found that after 30+ years of daily discomfort, my days of irritation were over!

What was the source of such annoyance, you might ask…

[PAUSE] If you are one of my sons, or my nephew, isn’t this a good time to go clean your room? Study for a test? Wash your hair?? [PLAY]

…a BRA!

Ironcially, the bra celebrated its 100th anniversary last week. Now some of you, particularly of the male persuasion, might say, what’s the big deal about wearing a bra? Don’t all women wear them?

For starters, let’s make it relative. Imagine wearing a jock strap that is perhaps too tight around the waist, or maybe the cup doesn’t fit your “jiggly bits” as well as it should; maybe it cuts in or rubs on your delicate skin. Now imagine wearing that apparatus every day from roughly 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. You’d be a rather annoyed individual as well, wouldn’t you?


Now bras were considered an improvement over corsets, which I agree is progress, but only relatively speaking. For women who have narrow rib cages and popularly sized cup measurements, most off the rack bras are fine. Those those of us who have some specialized requirements, bra shopping is right up there with swim suit shopping and jury duty as a form of torture.


Now men will look at a Victoria’s Secret model and think, “She looks so happy, there’s no way that bra is anything but comfy!” To which I reply, “That woman is being paid an obscene amount of money to look like that, and do you think it’s a coincidence that her expression is of wanton desire? SHE WANTS SOMEONE TO TAKE THAT FREAKIN’ BRA OFF SO SHE CAN BREATH AGAIN!”

ONLY Katy Perry can get away with this look...

ONLY Katy Perry can get away with this look…

But when a girl can find a bra that fits, she buys five of them and hangs on to them until there’s nothing left!


Now I fully understand that the bras of 2014 are a quantum leap from those endured by our mothers and grandmothers. We now have padded bras, water bras, bras with straps that adjust to various necklines, and bras with no straps at all.

Choices, choices!

Choices, choices!

But sometimes the vast array of choices means it’s hard to find what you need. And sometimes what you need changes too, am I right ladies? Maybe you want a sport bra, but end up with a Herculian band of elastic that flattens you out like a pancake. Maybe you are a nursing momma and have to have something that is easy to adjust with one hand, so you don’t have to put the baby down. Maybe you want to simply avoid the dreaded “headlight” condition, and want a bra that allows you to leave something to the imagination. Maybe all your bra needs to do is bring your mammary glands back up to the altitude they were when you were 20.


Instead, it can take years to find that one bra that doesn’t pinch, bind, rub, chaff, itch or gouge, only to have that style discontinued, and you have to begin from square one all over again! Makes you feel a little more sympathetic for the women in your life, doesn’t it? Good! My work here is done.

So now that I’ve found something that actually fits me, I’m heading back to the store to buy another four! It could be another 30+ years for me to find the next comfortable bra!

Road Trip!

To say I was a bit excited when The Big Guy agreed to go away for the weekend would be a serious understatement.

You see, it’s been six and a half years since the last time the two of us went away without les enfants. The purpose was to visit The Big Guy’s niece at university in Kingston, since the poor girl doesn’t get home too often and visits from family are even more rare.

I was so excited, that I didn’t even give him a hard time when we left over an hour late from our mutually agreed upon departure time. I simply programmed the GPS and slipped behind the steering wheel.

That’s when we hit the first bump in the road — pun intended. The Big Guy is old school when it comes to driving. He’s not a fan of the GPS and reaches for the map every time. I agreed to the “scenic route” he wanted, keeping off the 401 on a Friday afternoon is a no-brainer for me! However, when he started arguing with the GPS lady, I knew we were going to have problems. While the route he opted for was lovely (hard to fully appreciate while driving) we were losing light fast and needed to stop for dinner. Passing several opportunities, I begged him to decide on a location. Losing strength and hallucinating platers of food, I was relieved when The Big Guy declared that a tiny roadside diner with a full parking lot was our destination. What made it special from the dozen or so eateries we had passed? Hullo – the parking lot was FULL!

Upon entry, I knew we were in for an experience. It was like stepping back in time to when smokers could kill you indoors and drinking and driving was politically correct. The decor was part corrugated steel wainscotting, part rough cut lumber. The Big Guy was THRILLED! My doubts were reinforced when I entered the ladies’ room.

NEVER a good sign!

NEVER a good sign!

Take a good look at this picture. Exactly what is going on in that stall that required the occupant to use such force that they broke the lock on multiple occasions?!?

Then there was the rest of the bathroom decor…

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Hey, I don’t have anything against a good karaoke session, but one has to question the half naked females used to promote it (cropped it out of shot!!). Don’t even START me on the Halloween poster! Top it off with that lovely chemical toilet smell and you can imagine how I anticipated my meal.

In spite of my reservations, the food was amazing. It gave me a little pain to say so, but The Big Guy nailed it. Chicken Marsala – that’s all I need to say about that!

While The Big Guy flirted with the waitress, which earned him extra serviettes and wet wipes, I realized that the sun had set. So much for the “scenic route”. Determined to stick to his plan The Big Guy insisted we could still take the path less traveled. We stuck with this less than bright idea for about 45 minutes, when I begged him to let me hit the 401 so we could arrive a the hotel the same night.

Long trip short – the four hour drive we were anticipating morphed into a 7 hour adventure. Yes, we are still married.

It was a wonderful weekend of food and family, landmarks and laughs.

The Big Guy's first selfie. After all, his arms are longer than mine!

The Big Guy’s first selfie. After all, his arms are longer than mine!

But like all good things, the weekend came to an end and it was time to head home.

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While the return trip was much shorter, it was dinner by the time we got home. Imagine my surprise when we walked in the door to this…

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Yes folks, that’s two teenaged boys making dinner in a spotless kitchen! I managed this shot just before losing consciousness.

I think I’m going away next weekend too!