Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My first birthday (a photo blog)

By Reesah Martens

Transcribed by my Auntie Kate (the best Auntie ever!)

Today, I turned one year old. Everyone seemed to be really excited, especially my Auntie Kate. I had heard the word "Birthday" thrown around a few times when mama was changing my diaper this morning, but when Auntie showed up with pink frills, gifts, and chocolate treats, I have to admit, I was a little scared.

Things got a little better after lunch, when Auntie came toward me with a piece of chocolate tart. She was really happy, and she was singing something. It was on fire, but she put it right in front of me. So I grabbed it. Sorry, lady, what did you want me to do? I'm one. The chocolate treat was delicious, by the way.

Downside to chocolate treats? Chocolate, everywhere. The more I got on me, the more they loved it. As I tried to get the sweet goodness into my mouth, it kinda got smeared. But come on, people. Throw me a freakin' bone here! Need I remind you? I'm one. Fine motor skills aren't perfect, so don't stand there and laugh. Wipe this shit off my face.

The presents were pretty cool, even though I got clothes. I guess that's not the lamest gift ever. It could have been books. But one question? Why did my sister get a gift? I'm confused. Is she one year old today? Didn't think so. This photo was taken before she realized she got a book. Check out the excitement on her face.

We went outside to play, which was cool, I guess. Minus the wind practically blowing me away, while mama and Auntie stood there taking pictures of me. Ladies? Little help here?

My sister Mikenah started to get rowdy, which usually means she needs her nap. Here she is, attacking Auntie, at which point I saw Auntie's underwear multiple times. Seriously Auntie, next time you decide to roll around in the grass, invest in longer dresses.

The best part of my birthday was getting to hang out with mama, daddy and my sis. Kenah and Daddy made me a cake in the easy bake oven, and we spent lots of time cuddling.

Auntie says I'm too young to let birthdays stress me out. She says I should wait until I turn 27 and my friends plan a beautiful party for me and I lock myself in my room and cry because I'm going to be 30 in three years and no one even flirted with me on my birthday. Whatever that means. Sometimes that woman's so hard to figure out. But she gives me lots of kisses, so we're all good.

All in all, it was a fabulous day. And I NEVER say fabulous. I'm one, after all.

Happy Birthday to me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sweet Willow Gilly

This is me, being proud.

Let me introduce my sister, Gillian (also known as Gilly-Bean, Donkey, Shorty and Gigi.) 

She recently started her own graphic design business and created this beautiful website. 

Pretty, well-written, and very inspirational.

Not surprising though. She's been inspiring me for 25 years. 

Please check her out (not in a pervy way. She's my little sis).

Made in Canada

I've mentioned a few times throughout this blog that I love my job. That it has perks. Sometimes really cool perks, like cuddling with an Asian elephant, judging a rib-eating contest, and meeting extra amazing people every day. I know I talk about these perks from time to time, but to restore balance to my life, keep in mind I get paid in bon-bons and honey-dipped doughnuts. Not that I'm complaining.  

I usually LOVE going in to work, walking over to my cubby, and pulling out my assignment sheet to find out what I'm going to be doing that day. It could be anything from talking to a Member of Parliament about a local issue, taking photos of kids playing at a water park, or walking around a farm in inches of cow manure while learning the ins and outs of the dairy industry. Glamour, I tell ya. Every. Day.  

The only thing that I find not so glamorous about my job is the days I have to cover court. These days are usually long and drawn out, and the benches in the courtroom are REALLY hard. I mean, come on. Think of the reporter. I haven't done anything wrong! Why am I being tortured in this inhumane way?  

Usually, the day ends with me slightly frustrated at the state of our legal system and the human race in general. I normally trudge back to the office, defeated, and pound out a couple of stories about assault or theft under $5000. 

Tuesday, though, as I sat, listening to the string of accusations against one "gentleman," a sentence peaked my interest.  

"You are charged with dumping a poutine on (victim's) head and stealing her purse," read the court clerk.  

I stifled a giggle, and thought, this has to be a story. My second thought was "I can't wait to get back to the office and tell my editor this!" My third, sadly, was "I can't believe he wasted a poutine! Shame!"

I knew it would be a story. It was too Northern. Heck, it was too Canadian.

Apparently, more than I even imagined. The next day, the article went national. Meaning it was published in SEVERAL. NATIONAL. NEWSPAPERS! Ok, it was in the "weird" section of The Sun, but still. National!

Like I said, court reporting usually frustrates me. But today? Today I owe my national byline to my day in court.

And, of course, a poutine. In all it's cheesy, steamy, salty, heavenly glory.

Read the story here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


For some reason, I've always been fascinated with airplanes. Maybe it's because I've only been on one a handful of times - the novelty hasn't really worn off yet. I know the scientific reasoning behind an airplane, but even still, the artsy-fartsy, whimsical side of my brain often takes over, and flying takes on a magical vibe. 

On sunny days, looking up into the bright blue sky and seeing a jet plane streaking across the sky a thousand miles away always made me happy and hopeful. For me, planes mean going on a trip to somewhere too far away to get to in a car. If you're going all that way, it's gotta be fun, no? 

I often look into the sky to see a plane and think about all of the people on it. I make up stories (in my head of course) about who they are and where they might be going. A tropical vacation, a European getaway, a business trip to Philadelphia. With airplanes, the possibilities seem endless, and nothing seems beyond reach. 

My flying experience is pretty limited. I went to Europe on a class trip, and I've flown to Toronto and New York. I've even flown in a bush plane in Northwestern Ontario on a tour, taking off and landing on a lake. But, being about 13 and fearless at the time, the only thing I remember is the 10-year-old boy beside me retching in his tiny, personal barf bag. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story for the paper about a program that allows young kids to explore the world of aviation for free. One of the pilots I interviewed took me up on a tour of the area to "let me get a real feel for flying."

It was exhilarating, breathtaking, and terrifying, all at the same time. 

The pilot, Yvon, was wonderful, and took the local TV reporter up as well. He explained every step in takeoff and landing to ease our nerves. As we flew, he asked Lauren if she wanted to take the wheel. As she tried to steady the plane, I felt like I was on a roller coaster. 

"Whoa, we just gained about 300 feet," he said, laughing. HA freaking HA! Yvon's son, a seasoned flier, was sitting beside me, and I'm sure he had fingernail marks on his arm after the flight from me squeezing the hell out of it. I kept asking him if what we were feeling, the turbulence, was ok, to the point where he'd look at me after every bump and dip and say, quite casually, "NORMAL!" Really, kid? Because it feels like we're about to plummet to our fiery (albeit totally cool) deaths.
As I gazed out the window, everything looked so beautiful. Trees and lakes as far as the eye could see. The only colours visible for miles were deep, rich greens and sparkly blues. The sunshine glinted on the lakes like diamonds. 

While I was up there, soaring above the world, I had a thought. What if all of the people who complain about logging companies cutting down trees in Northern Ontario went flying over our forests and got a glimpse of our lush, green, never-ending wilderness. Would they still say there are no trees left? 

Just as we flew over Pop's house, (we flew over Pop's house! How cool is that?) the nausea started to set in. Whaaaat is this? I thought. I'm a cultured, experienced flyer! This is NOT happening! Turned out it was. Turned out that also? Yvon didn't have barf bags. We were flying in his private, family plane, and his family NEVER gets sick. 

The remainder of the flight was spent biting the inside of my cheeks and concentrating mega hard on not vomiting all over the poor pilot and his very patient son.

I tried to listen as Yvon pointed out all of the open-pit mines we flew over, and explained the landing protocol. The word landing never sounded so sweet. 

To some people, this flight might seem like a minor perk, but to date, this is one of the best days at work. Even though my stomach jumped, moaned, and rumbled, I managed to keep it together and stay calm, cool and collected. Minus the squeals of excitement and random screams of terror.  

Even with the nausea and feeling of impending death, it was so, totally, uber worth it.  

I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 

After reading this post, WHO WANTS TO GO FLYING? 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

After the rain

You know when it rains all night, but clears up by dawn and everything just seems so alive, colourful, sparkly and new? When the lakes are calm, the loons are singing, and the flowers and trees seem so thankful for a new day? When life just seems so simple, uncomplicated, and pristine? And the sun glows low in the sky, promising the beauty of another perfect day? 

Yeah, me neither. 

But these flowers sure are purty.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We're all guilty of ridiculous-first-world-dilemmas once in a while. Even Pop.
Tonight, trying to decide if he should shower before bed: "It's a real struggle...when you shower twice in one day, do you wash your hair again, or just wet it? I never know."

Oh! Also! I should mention - if any of you ever meet my dad, do NOT, under any circumstances mention that you read about him on the Internet. Even if there's a lull in the conversation, and you feel things getting a little awkward, and he's staring at you with that look that says "what are YOU looking at?"
Dad does not understand the Internet. He thinks that me writing the word P-O-P online will set off an alarm to Russian spies who will come and "get my bank account number and steal all my money." Cause the Internet is "freaky," and he doesn't want to be "out there." These are direct quotes you guys!

Last night a friend who was over for a beer mentioned that he saw something about me and Pop splitting wood on Facebook. Before I could give him the "OH DEAR GOD NO!" sign, he said it, and the look on Dad's face was pure fear, followed by one very loud "BULLSHIT!"
I kid you not, people. It took me about a month to teach him how to check messages (one tiny, little button.) We had a rotary phone until I was about 18.

Almost every night, if he sees me on my cell phone, he threatens to "throw your stupid little machine off the end of the dock."
I have a feeling he's not bluffing.

So yeah, let's just keep his little musings between you and me, Internet.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to reduce me to an emotional, sobbing, mess of a woman

Get married. 
It's that easy. 
Usually, I'm a pretty level-headed, realistic person (contrary to my most recent post. There were bears involved, ok, people?). But in the two weeks before and after a wedding, I've been known to walk around singing "All you need is love" and dot my Is with tiny little hearts.
Last weekend, I was so happy to be involved in one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen. 
The sunshine, the light breeze coming off the sparkling lake as my two friends promised to love each other - all made the ceremony beyond romantic. 
Although I've known Melissa and Gilles for a relatively short time, they've been like family. 
I practically moved in when I moved to North Bay, and they welcomed me with open arms. Many a Saturday morning was spent sitting on the living room floor and drinking coffee with the weekend's flyers. And laughs. There were always lots of laughs. 
I always wondered what it would be like to have an older brother. When I met Gilles, I realized he was the brother I never had.
He used to grill me about my car maintenance, making sure I got my scheduled oil changes on time. I remember once, when I was a few hundred (ok, maybe a little more) kilometers overdue, Gilles got on the phone, booked an appointment at the lube shop for me, and made dang sure I went. I think he may have followed me and watched from the parking lot. 
Just two weeks before the wedding, my sister and I both received an email from "Papa Gilles" (as he is lovingly referred to) asking if we were keeping up with our oil changes and maintenance. My response was "don't you have better things to worry about?" 
I guess that's what big brothers are for.
Getting to know Missy and Gilles has been a blast. From dress-up parties, to movie nights, road trips, and cottage weekends, I can't imagine having more fun than I do with them. 
This is why, standing by the lake last Saturday, watching them hold hands and say their vows to each other, with all of my dear memories floating around in my head, I fell apart. In the best way possible.  
To help you understand how amazingly beautiful the dress, bride, ceremony and day was, here's a tiny peek. 

Photos by Dan. (Thanks, Dan!) 
Soundtrack is "I will follow you into the dark" by Deathcab for Cutie