So since this blog is fairly new, or this version is new to many I thought that I would do a little into to myself. If you’ve been checking out the site, lurking in the background, come out, it’s nice to meet you! While this seems super easy – talk about myself – it actually is one of the hardest things for me to do in general so there have been now SEVEN versions of this exact post and over a week of work and now I just need to finally post it and be happy that it is out there!
1. Where am I from is who I am
This is two fold and each place is equally as important to me. I grew up in the rural village of Charing Cross, Ontario, 42.3327° N, 82.0971° W. A small dotting of houses, a general store, a cafe/restaurant, railway tracks running through the end of the village and the most influential place of course “the park” – consisting of some play equipment, some horseshoe boxes, and the baseball diamond. The ball park is where I have the most memories with women who I played with on the same team from the time we were 5 or 6 until we were about 19 or 20! The slow pace of growing up in a farming community – my maternal grandparents farmed as well – gave me a grounding that I am still thankful for today. From just after birth until I was in college I lived off Country Road 10 in a raised ranch house with half an acre in the backyard to make my own. I worked in fields in the summers and learned the value of the land that we live on. I road a bus twice a day from kindergarten to OAC year except for the occasions when someone I knew who had a car would drive by my house in the morning and pick me up.
The second place has featured in my life since I can remember as well, and is located just 15 minutes down the road and while it was just a place for day visits growing up – when I was in grade seven my parents bought a cottage there – is Erieau, Ontario 42.2600° N, 81.9157° W. Now Erieau compared to Charing Cross was bustling in the summer, cottagers from Toronto, surrounded by water, always something to do – of course until Labour Day weekend when 1/2 of the population of the village boarded up their “summer homes” and when back to wherever they were from. It afforded me exposure to different people that Charing Cross and my rural life in general usually didn’t. I learned that being “a local” is a great thing and meant that there was something you had in common with others and bonded you over being those who never left. I worked at the marina, I contemplated teenage angst at the lighthouse, I spent more time in boats then in cars. For those of you of my generation Erieau is the Canadian Dawson’s Creek and of course I had my own Dawson and Pacey as well. I also love that my children can go back with me and experience some of the magic that the village has to offer (although they are ‘summer kids’ so their experience is also something that is completely different from my own as well!)
These two places shaped my entire life. They gave me the values that have gotten me to this point in my life – along with the fear that someone’s parent was watching! They have grounded me in a way that I am thankful for and they have surrounded me with people that to this day call me out, love me unconditionally, are those I turn to when I need it most.
2. My Role Model is my Grandmother
What can I say about Grams? She will inevitably get her own entire blog post at some point. She raised seven children – six boys and my mom – on a rural farm, while doing just about everything that we would now call homesteading. I learned to milk a cow from her, to collect eggs from chickens, to make jello salad for all the chaotic family dinners that would mean that there were adults at one table and kids at another in a completely separate room.
She is strong, 93 years strong. She has taken care of everyone around her. I watched her show her commitment to those she loves as my Papa passed away from cancer, then when she took his mom into the farm house and cared for her until she passed as well. I watched her help raise my younger cousins when the work of ushering those who were sick into the other side was done. She lived and raised children through wars, epidemics, new lives, deaths, and never once have I heard her ungrateful for any of it.
She gets super annoyed that I always have a camera in her face, especially when she is with my boys, but other than the hundreds of letters I have from her that she has written to me over the years since I left for college the images of her are among my most prized possessions. I want to be as humble as she is, as generous with my time, as loving to my family and as strong in my convictions.
3. I hate my food touching!
If it was socially acceptable I would carry a divided plate with me at all times. I have several childhood friends who also have this issue so I blame it on them! Enough said.
4. I photograph and write so I can be seen but also stay hidden
Oxymoron? Yes. I am an introvert. I deal with social anxiety and have for as long as I can remember. I have always felt like I am just a little on the outside of every social group I’ve ever been part of, with the exception of a few people with whom I feel completely at ease no matter what the situation. I take my camera everywhere I go for a couple reasons – it allows me to capture moments as I see them – it also allows me something to hide behind when things become difficult. Especially at the rink this has become a survival method for me. While I hope there is a time that I don’t have to hide, I also am grateful that I have skills that allow me to care for myself while also showing people around me part of who I truly am.
5. I HATE Mushrooms – but this was not always the case!
When I say HATE it is not a strong enough word for the visceral dislike that I have for mushrooms. If there is a hint of them in anything I will hunt them down and pick them out or I will just refuse the entire dish. Apparently though when I was little – two or three – this was not the case, my parents love to tell everyone how they use to have to eat their mushrooms first so that I wouldn’t steal them off their plates. There is no photographic evidence of this at all. I remember growing up down the road from a mushroom factory that was growing these little fungus things in piles of manure and thinking “who the hell chooses to eat that!”. NOT ME!
So there is it – the good – the bad and the quirky. This was tough, send me some love, tell me something about yourself that I should know!