A New Challenge!

Posted by Ian On June 5, 2009

I'm pleased to announce that I have started my own little company - mare ad mare, which is latin for 'sea to sea' and part of the Canadian motto (check the cover of your new passports). Our goal will be to build a fresh new brand of clothing for Canadian (and wannabe Canadian) girls. I will be using this blog, much as I have in the past - to continue showing people around the globe (over 50 countries now!) what it's like to be a Canadian girl, tracing the footsteps of our 3 girls as we explore more of this great place we call home.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Now for big girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Fall shirt for Canadian girls

A big pile of leaves for you here! As a Canadian summer turns to fall, the leaves change colours and then fall off the trees. Kids rake them up and play! So go on, Jump into Fall with this Orange T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Pass the Marshmallows!

Summer shirt for Canadian Girls

Summer in Canada is the time for camping, camp fires and of course - Marshmallows! Get ready to go roast some in this summer yellow T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Spring shirt for Canadian Girls

After a long Canadian winter, spring can never arrive too soon! Pull on this Spring Green T and go planting girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

It's not ALWAYS cold in Canada...

Winter shirt for Canadian Girls

How many times have you had to tell someone that it's not always cold here? Well, sometimes it is cold - but to make your point, grab this little winter blue T and let them know that it's not just snow and ice up here all the time! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Girls, grab this little white T, and go get your kiss ;-) Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Last night I attended (and read) at Blog Out Loud Ottawa at the Raw Sugar Cafe. A little different for sure - but had a great time doing it. I wasn't really nervous about reading, til I actually got started...

It's not like I'm not used to speaking in front of large groups - I've presented in front of hundreds at user conferences and company meetings. And I used to play in front of 10's - sometimes 100's of people when I was singing/playing bass in my punk band. So I shouldn't have been nervous. But this group was a little different from my typical audiences. I had to read in front of fellow bloggers - 95% of them bright, intelligent and talented women - which was more than a little intimidating I have to admit.

I read terribly. I was the last up for the night - was a late addition, so I think I screwed up the closing order a little bit, as I'm sure more were there to hear Dani than me - but I'm glad Lynn let me read.

I read about my last day with my former company - titled 'my not so short goodbye'. And like the title says - it wasn't a short post... I read it and timed it, by the 8 minute mark I had barely finished Portugal - so had to pull out the editing pen. Most of what was cut, was project specific work stories - but I hope some go back and read it all - there's some pretty good stuff in there! It was the end of the night - and I think I tried to move almost too quickly through it - I speak fast enough as it is... But it was a little weird being in front of a crowd, yet having to stare down at this piece of paper and just read. I had to adlib a few times - just to be able to look out and engage the crowd(hope noone would be sleeping or sneaking out). Those were about the only moments up there where I actually felt comfortable! Usually I'll have a slide show, or white board behind me - with only a few notes or points to keep me on-track, where I'll provide filler to keep the speech flowing - but I didn't have that luxury here. Maybe if there's a next time - I'll bring some props or a projector to help me out.

It was definitely different - definitely fun. Some great stories too, and I've got a brand new reader list to catch up on now. Hearing the stories right from the source allows you to get to know that person that much better - know where they're coming from - so it will definitely help me get into their blogs faster!

It wasn't the first time I had performed at a coffee house - but it was the first time I did it relatively sober, without a bass in my hands and have an actual recollection of the night the next morning! Oh - and we didn't wreck the place! Here's a shot of me the last time I played a coffee house... over 15 years ago...

You don't want to see the 'after' pics...
Well - more Dance Finals than summer vacation really... but not for lack of trying!

The club where the girls dance decided to go to finals this year, and so 2 weeks ago we headed off to Collingwood. Normally this would be a 6+ hour drive from Ottawa to Collingwood, but we decided to break the trip up (5 in the car - plus dog is too much for that long of a trip) and head to North Bay for a night to visit my parents. A couple of 3.5 hour trips later - we were in Collingwood.

The finals were held at the Blue Mountain Resort, a pretty big resort - with a number of condo/hotels and a nice little village to walk around at the center. There's a conference center right there on-site, plenty of restaurants, groceries, a Beavertails and Starbucks right there - so no need to head into town even and it was all walking distance. Was nice that we didn't have to do much driving while there, and could focus a little more on the finals and some relaxing...
The resort itself is a 'ski' resort, although the hill is pretty small. It's reported as Ontario's biggest ski hill - which really doesn't say much for Ontario skiing. There are a number of runs, but the hill is only 450m high with a vertical drop of just over 200m. But we DID NOT GO FOR SKIING - it is summer after all...

We did go up the hill to look around - could see Georgian Bay from the top and all around the area. Nice view. The hill in the summer is used for hiking, mountain biking and downhill biking (which looked pretty fun).
Here's a pic from the top, village below and Georgian Bay in the background.

Rebekah actually joined us for the trip! (I think she was hoping for more sun...) Was pretty bored for most of the week, until she started hanging out with some of the older dancers that she knew from school.

Here is a quick clip of the resort and some of the views from the hill. clip

When we booked, we had hoped to have the first part of the week for dance, the second part for vacation - but the first half extended to Thursday to compete in the overalls - so it was more 75% dance, 25% vacation. Which ended up being ok - because the first part of the week, the weather was crap. We were able to sneak a few swims/hottubs during the few moments of sun in just about 20c weather... but Friday was great, hot and sunny, great for hiking and swimming.

As for the dancing...

Both Emma and Meghan competed. Emma only had one solo, and was done on morning 1. She did her best routine yet, but came up a little short against another girl from Elite. She was very happy with the way she danced - so it was all good.

Meghan did an amazing job on her solo, landing her tripple spin and all of her holds. She eventually won 1st overall in her category and a photographers award for the most photogenic routine - check out some of the pics!

Many of her other routines (solos and groups) did very well, getting high scores and one of the numbers competed in the dance-off. So overall - a great week for Meghan!

Highlight of the week?
I think the girls would agree that the highlight of their week, was their workshops with Lisa from So you think you can Dance Canada! They each had a couple hours with her and learned a short routine in jazz funk - check em out...

Emma with Lisa - clip

Meghan with Lisa - clip

Dance is over!!!
No more dance for the year now... well, there are some summer practice sessions... but last night we found out that Emma has been asked to move up to Meghan's competition group - so she is EXTREMELY happy about that!

A final note - the year end recital for Elite went off well (prior to finals) and the parents number survived the back-to-back nights (with just the appropriate amounts of alcohol). As promised - here is a pic of the Dance Dads in all their glory...

If you can guess which one is me - you get a prize...

I received a nice little note over the weekend from our friends that had moved to town from Germany. I wrote a little about their arrival back in February - New Canadian and since then, they have settled in somewhat and are enjoying our rather crappy summer, but are definitely looking forward to some heat... Hope this week is good, as their kids and ours are on a week long summer camp with the YMCA.

Back to the note... he had wanted to post it on the blog, so I was more than glad to oblige!

Dear Ian and Sara,

Today, I completed my first 6 months in Canada! These months have been hectic and challenging but surely enriching. Even though they are dark clouds in the horizon and lot of uncertainties, we still think that coming to Canada was a great choice.

We enjoyed our very first Canada Day celebrating with your wonderful Canadian family and hope to take pleasure in many more such days in your generous land: Canada.

We thank your family for all you have done to help us settle down and feel at “home“ in this new Country, Continent, Culture and all the things that come along. We have travelled and lived around the world: France, Japan, India, Belgium, Germany (where we first met) and now Canada… We sound like professional travelers? Yet every move is tough and consumes a lot of energy. But this time it has been smoother, and this is thanks to the McMartin family, for their time and goodwill in helping us.

Thank you, Merci

Arabinda and family

I hope that they continue to enjoy their lives here, especially as the 6 month 'honeymoon' phase fades in the rear view mirror... the next 6 months will contain another decent chunk of winter. The first winter is nice, unique - all good, but I guarantee that next winter they'll be cursing the snow, after having shovelled for the 100th time, just like everyone else!

For now, I'll let them enjoy the summer (as crappy as it's been so far) and let them know that we were very glad that we could help them get settled, and we're even happier that they're here to stay.

Just a little late for a Canada Day wrap-up, but it's been a busy few weeks...
We had a pretty tame Canada Day. I took the girls to Canada Day in Kanata to see what was going on, we had hoped to have our shirts on display, but we couldn't work out the insurance details in time... no biggie - we just went and had fun instead.

Carnival Rides

Ah carnies... those barely safe rides that go from place to place, weekend after weekend came to Canada Day in Kanata again this year. The girls like the rides - well, the smaller ones... they're slowly becoming a little more brave with each passing year - but we're nowhere near ready for Canada's Wonderland yet. They took on the Octopus and Scrambler, but I couldn't talk them into the Salt'n'Pepper shakers, or even the Ferris Wheel... too high... Meghan wanted to go, but Emma wouldn't budge! (clip)

There were some bouncy things around the corner, so the girls decided they wanted to give it a try. There were 4 or 5 of these things, so we found the shortest line and 10mins later the girls had a nice little race. (clip)

We lucked out too, as just a few minutes later - we could see the air coming out of it as the whole thing started to collapse. I would have been some pissed to have waited and then watch it fall apart just before my turn!


Yummy Beavertails - a must have at any Ottawa event, or anytime wandering around downtown - at least for our girls. Beavertails are flat pastries covered in a variety of sauces - but the standard is Cinnamon and Sugar. We snagged a Cinnamon/Sugar and a Maple tail - the girls devoured them in seconds. Called Sara a little later - she had decided to stay home to prep for our guests, but made us bring one home ;-) (clip)

We didn't stick around for the whole day, so we missed whatever fireworks that might have been there and Loverboy... yes, they're still alive... was told by one of Meghan's friends who saw them - that they looked very old, and the singer was looking tired from trying to run around. too funny...
Now downtown Ottawa is another story. Tons of people pack the hill to see Sarah McLachlan and the fireworks

We're not quite ready for the crowds yet, but maybe next year...

We finished off our day by having our new Canadian friends over for beers and a bbq. It was their first Canada Day - so hope they enjoyed it!

    About Me

    My photo
    It's not about the money you make, the toys you have, the clothes you wear - it's about the life experiences you go through, the challenges you face and the stories you tell... Having just moved back to Canada (after almost 8 years in the U.S and Germany), we have lots to show our girls and our friends around the world about Canada. We're going to be telling our stories, hope you enjoy our adventures. Mare ad Mare means 'sea to sea' and we want to show the world, from Sea to Sea - this is what it's like to be a Canadian Girl!