My Sweet Marie

Archive for July 2011

Yesterday was the second last day of July and even if I didn’t have a calendar, I’d still know it by the weather! You can always count on some good hot and sunshiney weather in July! That is exactly what we got and thank God for that as we had friends over for a BBQ! Originally we thought we had Heidi and Blake for the night but as it turned out, it’s tonight they are coming over! So with a Saturday free we called Anita and Tom who happened to be free and voila, dinner party planned!

 Anita and I have been friends since the high school days and Tom well, he got thrown in when he married Anita! That was precisely 22 years ago as Friday was their anniversary! Their wedding day was exactly like yesterday, warm and loads of sunshine and not a bit of a breeze!

We started out with some Sangria poolside, catching up on each other’s summers so far, kids and families! We both know each other’s families so well that there’s always lots to catch up on! The first drink went down way too fast and we reloaded taking our time to enjoy all the fruit in the Sangria! I’m pretty sure the fruit was more potent than the Sangria. It was white Sangria, so white wine with peach juice, blueberries, strawberries and two cans of snack sized fruit cocktail for sweetness! Sounds weird but it was goood!

For dinner, Denis smoked some baby back ribs for 4 hours then finished them off on the BBQ, man were they good! We sided the ribs with a bean salad, spring mix salad, Ontario sweet corn and some great shrimp kebabs that Anita brought! We definitely had to hold off on dessert as we were stuffed to the gills as Mom would say!

Shortly after dinner we threw all caution to the wind and went for a dip! The pool was a warm 86 degrees and was more than welcoming! We floated about on our noodles and cooled off in the cool summer air, life is good! Once cooled off we retreated to the patio again and dessert was served! I did the ‘cream puff mountain’ served with some fresh berries, caramel, chocolate and strawberry sauces! Why do we insist on doing this to ourselves?

We challenged the men to a game of euchre, girls against the boys and last night we let the men win! I don’t know if it was the wine, the food or company but we could not get our game together! Usually the girls win but I guess it was time to let the boys have some glory, although we’ll likely never hear the end of it!

We topped off the night with a few fireworks, that were left over from Canada day, followed by a chimenea fire and some more stories of life moving on in each other’s absences! Our children are grown, theirs still in school, but we’re all parents and still bask in the pride of parenthood and those stories never get tired, no matter how old they are!

Happy summer to you all!

 

Sweet Marie

I haven’t posted a ‘marriage advice’  blog in a long time and thought it was due when I came accross this article by Dr.Phil in ‘O’ magazine from March of 2003. I hope Dr.Phil doesn’t mind me re-posting his words!! Here’s his 6 rules of ‘listening’.

Rule #1: Insist on emotional integrity
You gotta tell it like it is! You must insist that everything you say, imply, or insinuate is accurate, and if your partner challenges you on those messages, you must step up and own them. Mean what you say and say what you mean. You don’t have to tell people everything you think or feel. But you do have to be accurate when you choose to disclose.

Suppose you’re upset. When your partner senses that and asks, “Is something bothering you?” emotional integrity requires that you won’t deny the message you’re sending verbally or otherwise by saying, “Nothing is wrong; I’m fine.” You may not be ready to discuss it, so the accurate answer might be, “I don’t want to tell you right now; I’m just not ready to talk about it.”

A lot of couples flagrantly violate this principle. Then they say, “We have trouble communicating.” Of course they do—they both lie like dogs! And while we’re on the subject: A material omission—leaving out something of crucial importance—is as much a lie as any actual misstatement.

Rule #2: Be a two-way, not a one-way, communicator
A one-way communicator talks but never listens and pays no attention to whether the listener appears to be “getting it.” For her it’s all about the telling, as in, “What I want you to do is go out there, get this work done, give these people this message, put those kids to bed, and come back in here.” If that’s how you communicate, all you know is what you’ve said, and you haven’t got a clue about what the other person heard. Result: conflict.

But as soon as a one-way communicator asks for feedback, look what happens:
She: “Here’s what I’d like you to do: A, B, C, and D. Does that sound okay to you?”
He: “Well, L, Q, R, and P don’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”

No wonder they’re not getting along—they’re not even talking about the same thing! When she checks to make sure that he has received the message, she uncovers a communication glitch. By soliciting feedback—by giving as much weight to what is heard as to what is said—you put a spotlight on the issues you, together, need to clarify.

 
Rule #3: Establish a motive
Whether you’re talking or listening, you need to be clear about why something’s being said. Motive and message are important. If you’ve got a husband who says, “You’re like the Spanish Inquisition. You’re always asking me these questions and bugging me all the time,” you need to look at what’s behind those words. Is he trying to make you feel guilty because there’s something he doesn’t want you to see? Or are you trying to control too much of his life because you are insecure? In answering those questions, you’ll figure out the motive and be able to move on from there.

Rule #4: Check in with each other
You and your partner must agree to test each other’s messages and respond honestly. No more b.s. Ask your partner, “Is what you’re saying really the way you feel? Is that true?” Remember that when you ask the question, you have to be ready to hear the true answer. And you’ve got to be willing to take the same test yourself. If asked, “So you’re really okay?” have the guts to say, “No, I’m not,” when you’re really not. Ask your partner the questions that will confirm his or her feelings.

Rule #5: Be an active listener
Most people are passive listeners. If you intend to become an active listener, you’ll need to master two important tools. A famous psychologist named Carl Rogers called them Reflection of Content and Reflection of Feeling. I don’t agree with a lot of what Rogers taught, but he hit the nail on the head with this one.

Reflecting a speaker’s content means that you listen to the person; then you give him or her feedback that makes it clear you’re receiving the factual message—but as you’ll see, it ain’t all about the facts. Here’s an example of someone’s getting the information but missing the message:

A: “Sorry I’m late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the street and was hit by a car.”
B (reflecting the content): “So your dog got hit by a car?”
A: “Right.”
B: “Is he dead?”
A: “Uh-huh.”
B: “So what did you do with the dog’s body?”

In that example, Person B establishes that Person A has been heard, which addresses a fundamental need for A. But B has clearly missed the point.

To be an active listener in an emotionally relevant situation, B has to do more than just reflect the factual information that A has conveyed. Reflection of feeling tells your partner not just that he’s been heard but that you have “plugged into” his life and experienced it in some way, which is essential to his satisfaction. Reflection of feeling sounds like this:

A: “Sorry I’m late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the street and got hit by a car.”
B (reflecting the feeling): “Oh, my gosh—you must feel terrible.”
A: “Well, I do. We’d had the dog for 12 years, and my kids really loved him.”
B: “I’m sure they must be so upset; I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

Being able to reflect the feeling, not just the content, is essential to the success of your communication.

Rule #6: Evaluate your filters
When you and I engage in conversation, I can’t control how well you communicate; I can only control how well I receive what you’re telling me. I can go on the alert to things that may distort the messages you’re sending me—I call them filters. To be a good listener, you’ve got to know what your filters are. Maybe you’re coming into a given conversation with an agenda. Maybe you’re judging the speaker and don’t trust him at all. Maybe you’re angry. Any one of these psychological filters can dramatically distort what you hear.

Filters cause you to decide things ahead of time. You may have prejudged your partner and decided that he’s a hound dog, that he doesn’t love you anymore. Result: No matter what he says to you, you’re going to distort it to conform to what you’re already thinking, feeling, and believing.

Take an inventory of your filters. If you’re not aware of them, you can defeat the best communicator in the world because you’ll distort the message, regardless of how well it was sent.

Those were all Dr.Phil’s comments and I especially like numbers 2 and 5! It is so easy to spew your feelings but to listen what the one you love has to say isn’t always easy especially when they are pointing out a fault of yours! I hope this has been helpful to all the married or committed folk out there! I know I liked it!

 
Sweetest regards,
Sweet Marie

I’ve been away for a few days, sorry to not blog but a girl just needs a rest now and then! My hubby and I were off to Port Burwell for some camping fun! We arrived on Friday on the last stretch of the heat wave! It was remarkably cooler in the park then in the city for sure but still very warm.  We put a fan in the tent and at least for the night we had a breeze.

Camping for us means slumming it, eating when and if we want and if you know me, there’ll be food most of the day! We ate really well and had a few drinks now and then too! Nothing like a campfire to inspire drinks and dogs! I’m not a huge fan of hot dogs as I did the plant tour one year of a huge maker of hot dogs and that turned me off of them for a long time. The smell of them grilling over hot coals though usually makes me momentarily forget those nasty memories! splashing ketchup on the bun in the dark , getting it all over your tee-shirt, classic camping move!

We spent all three afternoons at the beach and had great weather for that! We had heard rumors that there was a nudist beach at Burwell but never did see it….till this trip! What a hoot. On Saturday the beach was packed and we walked quite a ways to get a quiet spot away from all the kiddies screaming in the lake, but alas we found a nice quiet spot. We noticed that beyond this spot there many umbrellas but we thought this spot just fine so stayed put. After about 15 minutes here , I said to Denis, is that a naked bum there? I swear I saw a man’s behind…and I was right. Turns out, if we had walked about another 2 minutes we would have been on the nudist beach!

For the rest of the afternoon we watched people walk just pass us and then strip their clothes, I kid you not! Call me immature but I loved it! I got a real kick/laugh out of it!  We watched as these two young women walking and talking heading right for the beach and I said watch this…sure enough, one of the women looked up and poked her buddy and pointed, you could read her lips…she says”They’re Naked”!! They turned so fast they didn’t see the guy flagging them over! Oh that tickled me too! It was way more entertaining than my book!

Melanie and Jim and Holly visited us at the beach on Sunday, we had a little picnic and played on the beach for a while. It was great to see them and to experience Holly’s glee to play in the water! She was just squealing with pleasure while we ran hand in hand on the beach! You gotta love these moments in life and be grateful for them. I know that I am.

Well, back to my laundry, it’s piled to the ceiling, everything smells like a campfire or worse! You have to wonder sometimes if all the packing, unpacking, the laundry and all the work in between if a holiday is worth it. To me, anytime you get to spend time with the people you love, is time very well spent!

Happy summer all!

Sweet Marie

If I had been in a coma for a while, I think I’d still know what season it is here in London, On. Let me clue you in!

  1. Wet towels and bathing suits lying all about.
  2. Denis’ Hawaiian shirt hanging behind the bathroom door.
  3. Floaties floating all over the place!
  4. Patio set all set up just waiting for some butts to relax in them!
  5. Flowers, flowers, everywhere!
  6. Screeches from the pool!
  7. Lemonade and sun tea heavily stocked in fridge!
  8. Loads of ice in freezer(for the lemonade and tea!)
  9. Stock of popsicles and freezies at the ready.
  10. Festivals,festivals, festivals!!

Happy summer everyone, hope you are having a fun time and beating the heat!

sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

Two weeks in and things are going well at Camp Sunshine! Heidi is finally taking a liking to the pool bit by bit. On Friday she had a huge ha-ha moment when she was able to touch bottom with tippy toes, the grin that lit up her face and mine was worth the weeks of her hanging on by my neck! I am not kidding you, the girl would have a death grip on my neck, she was petrified! I am not surprised as her mother, Melissa was afraid of the water too. I blame her father,my husband! Why not, he doesn’t write this blog!

My campers, Emily, Heidi and Blake are getting to know each other well and easily laugh at one another now or at me, whoever is funniest at that moment! On Friday I took them all to Springbank for some wading pool and park fun! It was a huge hit and we’ll be going back. Emily who is 8, liked it as much as Heidi who is 4! Blake is much braver on solid ground which I am fine with! I’m glad he’ll let me hold his hand while we wade through the kids, babies and toys! They played on the play equipment for a while and got good and hot then as soon as the wading pool was open they were like fat kids on smarties! We played for quite some time then it was time to take Blake home for lunch and nap time, we must have worn him out as he had a 3 hour nap!

While Blake naps, the girls have been enjoying the crafts too. We paint, paste, colour and read and write in their journals daily. I think what they like best though are the special crafts like making jewelry and papier-mache! They love to make a mess, the messier the better. This week coming up we’ll be making rock candy which is a kind of experiment that will take a whole week, but the fact that candy is in the title got me huge points on their fun scale!

While the girls play ‘house’, which girls have been doing since life began, Blake roams about and finds trouble! He loves to watch the fish in the pond, pick raspberries, swing in the swing and especially play in the wagon! He dumps his cars in there and then will jump in and play with them for a while! He is happy to just be so I just let him do his thing and I keep a very close eye on that young boy! No worries of him going near the pool as he’s not fond of it but you just never know right?

Anyhow, I need to go and surf and find more craft ideas as these girls keep me busy with them! Happy summer to you all, hope you’re having fun too!

Sweet Marie

Is it just me or are the mosquitoes plentiful this year? I hear that because of the wet spring, the mosquitoes were able to lay many eggs and now are hatching and multiplying like rabbits in spring! We have lived at this house for 15 years and never have I had trouble with mosquitoes until this year! We have sandy soil so not a great place for them to mate, hatch or live! But this year seems different for sure. I have heard many people complain about them too so I’ve decided to compile a list of ways to deal with those bites!

  • first, try to avoid sitting water in your yard in bird baths, ditches, buckets or ceramic pots.
  • mosquitoes love the twilight hours… wear a bug repellant if you’ll be out in those hours.
  • Try applying a cool compress on the bite such as an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a washcloth soaked in cold water to keep yourself from scratching.
  • Wash the infected area with mild soap and water. This will provide temporary relief from the itch and will also wash away any bacteria on the skin.
  • If the itch is unbearable, topical anesthetics containing pramoxine take away pain and itching.
  • Anti-itching medications such as calamine lotion and cortisone creams can relieve itching for a significant period of time. Homemade remedies can also be helpful. Applying vinegar or a paste made of baking soda and water to the bite is effective.
  • If you are one of the unlucky few who experience allergic reactions to mosquito bites, anti-inflammatory medication containing ibuprofen such as Motrin, Advil, and Alleve can reduce redness, pain, itching, swelling and fever.
  • If you feel dizzy or nauseated after you have been bitten, it could be an indication of a severe allergic reaction. It is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately.

I hope these tips will be helpful to you and if you have other ideas for me, please do comment and I will post them!

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

 

Eight years ago on July 11th, the lives of many people changed by the loss of my nephew David.  David was the first-born grand-child in our family. My mother went completely crazy when David was born and she wasn’t alone! We all lost a bit of our minds on that day. We were so excited and happy. His first Christmas was epic, my poor sister Monique opened gifts for what seemed hours for this little baby boy! This young man was lost to us on July 11th, 2003 in a tragic motorcycle accident. Our lives changed that day. David will never be forgotten, he lives on in our memories and in our stories.

 Please share with me, your stories, I will post them on this blog for all to read and enjoy. David was a man of great humor,musical talent and intelligence, and was taken away from us way to soon. I have written a little poem for you all, let me know what you think.

 

DAVID

 

The year was 2003

When you were set free

 

You were taken from your mother

Left behind a father,

And a broken-hearted sister

 

Life goes on for us all

But today we pause

To remember a young man

Who left us 8 years ago  

 

Your aunts and uncles recall

A baby yay tall

 

Your cousins hold memories

Of you at the parties,  

                                                                                                        the whoopee cushion

 hidden under Meme’s chair!

 

Your friends write on Facebook

Stories of trips you all took

Of gigs that you played

And how they wish you could have stayed!

 

If we could turn back the clock

You’d be the first to rock!

Sadly though we cannot

Instead, memories of you, are all we’ve got!

 

                                                                                      David Bouillon Apr.26/1978 –July 11/2003