We’ve Moved

We’re so glad you stopped by to visit The Pear Tree Blog! We recently made the decision to incorporate the blog into the main site, in an effort to streamline things and make all the stories easier to find and read. We hope you will join us there for more stories, missives and photos. Thanks for reading!

Picture This

I was walking past the Kelowna Court House recently, and was smitten with all the blooms surrounding the building. I had to take a picture and capture the vibrant colours. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to find at least one moment of exquisite beauty every day – I’d say this one qualifies.

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This post is part of a series inspired by SouleMama Amanda Soule that runs Fridays and features a photo of the week accompanied by only a very few words. It’s just a snapshot of a favourite small moment. Feel free to leave a link to your own – I’d love to see it!

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Interwebbing

We at The Pear Tree were delighted to get a nod today from one of our favourite bloggers, Julia of Hooked on Houses. As part of her weekly “Fun Weekend Links” feature, Julia mentioned this Pear Tree post. So we want to say thank-you to Julia, and encourage you to head over and check out her other fun links!

Picture This

The weather in these parts has been temperamental this week, leaving me craving some signs of spring. This shot was taken as an option for our April banner on the main site, but not used. I thought maybe a splash of colour was just what we needed to end a rather dreary week, weather wise. And what do you know – as I post it, the clouds are parting and the sun is breaking through! Why did I wait so long?

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This post is part of a series inspired by SouleMama Amanda Soule that runs Fridays and features a photo of the week accompanied by only a very few words. It’s just a snapshot of a favourite small moment. Feel free to leave a link to your own – I’d love to see it!

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Earworms

Have you ever had an earworm? Okay, that’s a silly question because of course you have. Everyone has. You may not have known that’s what you had when you had it, but there was no mistaking you had something and it drove you right round the bend.

Earworms are sneaky and contagious. They slither into your ear and stick in your head and then torment you for hours or days. Most times they start off pleasant enough, and we don’t mind them being there. But after the first few minutes enough is enough and the more we want them to leave the more stubbornly they cling.

The term “earworm” is hardly new and so of course you already know that I’m not talking about a parasite here, that physically wriggles into your head (if you’ve had that experience, best to keep it to yourself). The earworm I mean is a song or tune – or sometimes a phrase or expression – that sticks in your head and haunts you all day and all night, over and over like a skipping record. They’re also known as a sticky tune or a cognitive itch.

Advertisements are specially crafted to be earworms, I’ve heard. They’re simple and catchy and easy to remember – unlike, say, Bach’s Sonata No. 5 in F minor, which is beautiful but more difficult to pinpoint in terms of a catchy tune.

Songs from musicals, pop songs (especially from the ’50s) and nursery rhymes, with their distinct rhythms and words (“round, round, get around, I get around,” etc.) are also obvious worms.

When I was jogging, I used to – much to my great annoyance – get “Three-blind-mice. Three-blind-mice. See-how-they-run. See-how-they-run.” and other lame-but-rhythmic nursery rhymes that I hadn’t thought of for years, playing out in my head to the rhythm of my footsteps.

Other ones, however, have been more random. I remember, my last year of university, I got the phrase “precious little point” stuck in my head for close to a month. I wasn’t actually as discouraged as it sounds – it just had this catchy, poetic sound that stuck in my head.

Another one I remember was “Mike said it would be like this,” a promotional phrase for the CHBC weatherman, Mike Roberts, more than a decade ago. I’d wake up in the morning: “Mike said it would be like this.” Get in the shower: “Mike said it would be like this.” Pinch my finger in the door: “Mike said it would be like this.” No offense to the man himself, but I wanted to scream, “SHUT UP ALREADY MIKE!!!!”

Then there was the “Tetsuro Shigematsu,” worm. Tetsuro Shigematsu is the name of a radio broadcaster who was (at the time) hosting the now defunct show Round-Up on CBC Radio 1. Tetsuro Shigematsu: say it once to yourself. No, don’t, or you’ll be saying for weeks, every time you blink your eyes or swallow.

Now that I have kids, I get more juvenile songs and phrases stuck in my head. For about 10 months, ending close to a year ago, my son refused to tolerate anything but the soundtrack to Cats (the musical) in our car. Every time we got in, it was Jellicle Cats this and Old Deuteronomy that. It got to the point where, even when I wasn’t driving, I’d find myself humming the tune for Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat or Rum Tum Tugger.

Surprisingly, I haven’t had an earworm in a while – at least a week. Not one that haunts me for days or weeks on end, anyway. But you never know what weird, catchy thing could get me started. If only there were a pesticide for this kind of pestilence!

Early Influences

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Guess Who Lives Here, copyright 1949 by Random House, Inc.

I grew up on Little Golden Books. The older ones – like How Big and The Little Book and Bow Wow Meow. Like most kids, I was taken in as much – if not more – by the illustrations as the words that accompany them. But it wasn’t until I re-discovered them, as a mother, that I realized just how deeply some of these books may have entered my psyche.

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Where Did the Baby Go? copyright 1974 by Western Publishing Company Inc.

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Where Did the Baby Go? copyright 1974 by Western Publishing Company Inc.

Not long ago my son, Oliver, received a Little Golden Book Collection of nine classic stories illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Eloise was a frequent illustrator for the 68-year-old publishing company, and her style was both whimsical and rich with detail.

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Baby Listens, copyright 1960 by Random House, Inc.

According to a write-up by her daughter Deborah Wilkin Springett, included as an introduction to the book, Eloise drew much of her inspiration from her own home, and regularly featured her children and grandchildren when they were still small.

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Where Did the Baby Go? copyright 1974 by Western Publishing Company Inc.

Looking, now, at some of her artwork, I continue to be taken in by the pictures – but for different reasons. The detail of the wallpaper, a china pattern, a household of antique furniture and accessories, or a street full of heritage homes now captivate me.

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We Help Mommy, copyright 1959 by Random House, Inc.

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We Help Mommy, copyright 1959 by Random House, Inc.

Did an early study of such style unknowingly seep into my subconscious and influence the style of home I now try to emulate? Or the way I love to dress my babies?

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Guess Who Lives Here, copyright 1949 by Random House

Or the dishes I use to feed my pets?

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My Little Golden Book About God, copyright 1956, 1975 by Random House, Inc.

I am smitten with this patio – small, like mine, but with more brick. And I, too, keep my garden in pots.

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From A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, copyright 1957, by Random House, Inc.

I would be quite happy in this house.

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From A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, copyright 1957, by Random House, Inc.

Of course, there are myriad influences all around us. But knowing that the first glimpses into these worlds could possibly have some baring on later taste just gives me one more reason to choose such books for my own kidlets. That, and they’re just endearing reads.

Picture This

I’m calling this one “The Artist’s Apprentice.”

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This post is part of a series that runs Fridays and features a photo of the week accompanied by only a very few words. It’s just a snapshot of a favourite small moment. Feel free to leave a link to your own – I’d love to see it!

Welcoming Spring

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The days are growing longer and warmer, and to celebrate we at the Pear Tree House have been getting out of the house more. Whether it’s a trip to the park near our house or our little back yard, the fresh air and sunshine have been luring us out. We’ve been running, strolling, climbing, chasing, crawling and, on the rare occasion, just sitting still and soaking it all in.

Indoors, we’ve been preparing ourselves, mentally, for the Big Clean, where we dust off the proverbial cobwebs, polish up the windows to let the aforementioned sun in and re-arrange the furnishings a little to keep things fresh.

We’re also continuing to tweek the Pear Tree website – a task that, like keeping a house, never seems to end, and always evolves to keep things interesting.

If you haven’t yet noticed on the sidebar to the right, we also welcome a new sponsor this month: Kelowna Museums. Please check out their site by clicking on the button. There is a schedule for current and upcoming events, which includes the Neighbourhood Nosh, a free wine tasting event held the first Thursday of the month (including tonight) from 4-6 p.m. at the B.C. Wine Museum and VQA Wine Shop. While work continues on The Laurel Packinghouse, the B.C. Wine Museum and Neighbourhood Nosh is located behind the heritage building, on Ellis Street.

In the mean time, we’ve got a line-up of tantalizing spring inspirations for you to check out this month, on the main site as well as the blog – so keep on checking back!

And how are you welcoming spring?

Road Tripping

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“Every great journey begins with a single mistake.” Or so the saying goes.

Earlier this winter I had an unfortunate incident involving a cup of coffee and my lap top computer. The good news was that it was under warranty – but the closest shop we could find that would honour the warranty was in Kamloops. So, instead of paying a courier to transport the computer the two hours north, we decided to take a family day and drive it there ourselves.

I love driving – a declaration that no doubt stumps my mum and my grandma, both of whom had to endure bitter complaints about road trips both long and short. But I do, now, and if I wasn’t so insistent on playing with words for a living I’d probably be a long haul trucker or bus driver. There’s just something about the open road, the long drive, the eternal ribbon of asphalt, that never ceases to beckon.

The weather, when we embarked, was lovely. We were graced with a blue, spring sky that looks alluring but doesn’t bare the heat of summer. We stopped at the Starbucks near our place before officially launching out, to enhance the feel-good aura of it all with a grande something. Que the music (a round the world musical journey supplied by Putumayo).

The traffic was pleasantly light as we soared along the road, winding our way beside Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake toward Vernon, and then beyond into the more wild countryside through Falkland, Westwold and Monte Lake.

When we got there, we dropped the computer off, ate lunch, played at the Riverside Park for a bit, and then piled into the car to return home. It may sound like a long way for so little, but we’re talking about someone who has, on more than one occasion, driven to Vancouver and back (more than four hours each way) for lunch.

It was a good drive. In addition to the music, we talked, looked for wild life (the most exotic thing we saw were some llamas – everything else was horses and cows), told stories and sang songs. Sometimes we just sat quietly and absorbed the landscape or contemplated thoughts such as how lucky I am to be married to a man that’s just plain amazing on so many levels, and to have two very small children who don’t whinge and cry like I did on trips that last more than 15 minutes.

I don’t believe in portable DVDs or MP3 Players or other technological tools that keep kids quiet but solitary. I think in 10 years my kids might hate me for that, but in 20 it will have paid off.

I was almost sorry to arrive at our destination. Given an unlimited supply of fuel, an absence of bills to pay and the right sort of company (say, that amazing husband and two kids I mentioned) I could have just kept going. It seems there’s always more to see – another corner to round, another road to cross. As soon as I find a way to make money from doing it (that doesn’t involve air brakes, 18 wheels or passengers), I think I could become one for the road.

Until then, I’ll just wait for my next excuse to travel. Hopefully it won’t involve a saturated motherboard.

Picture This

I remember a time when I didn’t have to sweep toys off the couch before I could sit down. I wouldn’t trade having to now for anything.

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This post is part of a series that runs Fridays and features a photo of the week accompanied by only a very few words. It’s just a snapshot of a favourite small moment. Feel free to leave a link to your own – I’d love to see it!

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