Sunday, November 18, 2012


There is this sense of peace you get when you let go of the tension, the weight, the fear you have been carrying, even though you have been in denial that you have been shouldering it. That is how I am feeling now.

Laura had surgery on Friday. It wasn't major, just some adjustments really, to repair the hole in her ear drum and release her tongue-tie. She is fine and is back to her usual self already. I am not surprised. She is a resilient kid, full of a quiet determination that shall serve her well no matter what the obstacle.

The procedures were elective. She could have gone on alright without them. Maybe that's why I was so anxious. It was my call to make. Did I need to put her through this?  A general anesthetic?  A degree of risk?  What if something went wrong?  So I spent much of my Thursday in a bit of a fog, random morbid thoughts of what-ifs and is-this-the last-time-I-get-to worries going through my head.  Reason won over my fears but I carried the weight. 

Friday rolled around and Laura was so good.  Yes, she was anxious at times.  The staff at CHEO are amazing and know all about how to work with kids and their anxious parents.  I love CHEO.  I love her doctor.  The surgery went quickly and well.  I am so thankful.

CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic photo from Citizen

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dinner fail, again

I opened my fridge, looking for something to will me to make it for dinner tonight.  The fridge is full but there is nothing to eat.  Both a parenting and cooking fail moment.  My random thoughts?

Do potato chips count as a vegetable or grain product?  Why are there chips in the fridge anyway?  I don't even want to know what's in that container at the back.  We did pasta last night so that is out.  Too cold to barbecue something.  Hmmm.  One kid won't eat eggs so an omelet won't work.  Salad, yes!  That's a good idea... in theory... but the lettuce is getting old and I don't do icky lettuce.  Cheese..  Maybe there's something I can do with cheese...  Um, no, not that cheese.  What exactly was I on when I bought buttermilk?  Did I have a Martha moment of baking fantasies at the store?  Seriously! 

On it goes.  I settled for fish and chips with frozen veg.  Thrilling.  They ate it and it wasn't Halloween candy.  So I suppose it isn't a real fail but I need to get some planning and fridge cleaning in this week.  I obviously can't leave dinner to inspiration.  It just doesn't end well. 

This is NOT my fridge... I'm jealous

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Simon's Cat

My cat was 'helping' me write today so I thought this might be appropriate.  Mrrrowww?!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Almost an Amber

The first thing my sister said when I was talking to her on the phone this afternoon was that she was, "MUCH better now that K is home safe."

It turns out that K did not get off her school bus.  No one noticed her get on, including her brothers.  The bus driver hadn't seen her and there were no kids left at school.  Not knowing is so scary.  The wheels went quickly into motion, the school and bus company were doing all the right things.  The oldest brother calmed my sister while younger prayed.

And then it was over.  K had been on the bus, slumped down and involved so deeply in her book that she missed her stop and hadn't noticed people looking for her.  Innocent mistake with serious consequences.

I am processing this whole surreal event now.  I can't quite do it and will not allow the worst to come to mind.  But there is innocence lost.  For K for sure, but for me too.  I always am so optimistic.  I have enough happy endings in my life to believe in the good of people and of the unseen hand making everything work out right.  What if...?  I can't go there.

I know this will effect the way I parent a bit.  I have not focused much attention on those 'street smart' skills for my two, letting them just be kids.  I have issues with some of those messages based on fear, but it is time that I make sure my kids know better how to help themselves and make the good choices.  They deserve that confidence on their way to becoming independent.

That's for tomorrow. Tonight I am so thankful my niece is fine.  Tonight I have a very clear perspective on what matters.  They are so precious.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seeking Warmth

It's official.  The first flakes of winter are falling, the wind is picking up and it is time to accept that winter is on its way.  Today I am thinking about what is actually nice about the arrival of the season. Top 5 right now?

  • Sitting by the fireplace.  It's gas which lacks some of the charm from the wood burning type, but it is convenient and warm.  I put in on most evenings and curl up nearby. 

  • Sipping hot coffee.  OK, so I do this year-round but it brings even more comfort in the chilly weather.  The trick is to cut myself off after 5 cups or so, which doesn't always happen.

  • Home made squash-apple soup.  Yum!  This stuff warms me inside and out with the flavour and smell.  A definite cold weather staple.

  • Fuzzy socks.  My popsicle toes appreciate the comfort and it makes me smile. 

  • Warm thoughts of hotter times.  Las Vegas, Caribbean, cottages, summer... plenty of memories to keep me smiling and remembering the times I felt too hot. 

So bring it on winter!  I'm ready for you!  ... sort of.  I'd better find my boots, Where's my toque? Do I really have to shovel that? 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

50 Shades of Awesome

And, in case you are wondering, none of them have to do with that 50 shades, at least not on this list.

Last month I slept in a tent in the back yard with my kids, because I promised them that fall camping with the Guides/Scouts was not so bad and we would prove it.  That counts for at least 10 awesome points, right?  Did I mention I even did a fake campfire with real stale marshmallows on the porch.  And that was also the night that the neighbour decided to throw a drunken party on his porch so, yay! Wildlife too!  I slept maybe 2 hours.  Awesome.

I volunteered to help run this pumpkin auction thing to raise money for charity.  I had fun with it last year but sickness, fatigue, technical issues and lack of help had me running ragged this year.  *Sigh* It came, it went, money was raised and I toughed it out.  Awesome.

That same weekend I got to go to Scout camp, luckily only for the day.  I decided that I wasn't up for packing for the overnight and sleeping in freezing weather with a cold.  It rained all day and we hiked.  Owen only melted down twice but he liked it.  Awesome.

There's a whole lot of effort that goes into the things we do for others sometimes.  Sometimes it feels wonderful, like I am getting as much as I give for the time.  And sometimes it sucks, I am drained and I wonder why I bother putting out the effort.  There's no payment for this time and I don't get a badge.  I do get the odd 'thank you' and hugs from the kids but it doesn't always cut it. 
So I am getting better at taking time for myself to build up the "Awesome" reserve.  Laughing with friends, seeing an amazing concert with my sister, hiking in the fall leaves and soaking at Le Nordik spa are among the things that I am feeling less guilty about doing.  I need that time.  It matters to me and helps bring balance.  Feeling recharged - Awesome.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My karate kid

She has found something that works so well for her.  I am so happy.  Her confidence is growing and she is proud. My karate kid.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shifting from "Um?" to "Ohm"

Today I went to yoga class at the gym.  I think the last time I went was sometime in September and then all hell broke loose in life and I forgot to breathe.  I was WAY overdue, just like I'm way overdue to make the schedule that tells me what I should be doing instead of Angry Birds after I drop the kids off at school, but I digress.  Today I pretended Yoga was on my schedule and I went.  And it was good! 

This class was a real yoga class instead of some yoga-fusion-I'm-too-skinny-and-fashionable-to-be-here type class.  I felt like I belonged and I came out stretched and energized.  OK, stretched, energized and a sore hip but that happens when you are about 35-ish, so whatever, wine has helped with that.  Why is it that I just don't do this yoga thing more often?  Where is my willpower?  Along with NaBloPoMo routine, I'm going to try to make the gym & yoga thing a routine.  It helps and I want to feel this good more often. 

Now that the feel good stuff is done, here are some yoga cartoons borrowed from the net:

by Betsy Streeter

by Dan Reynolds

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Here we go!

I have stumbled into November and remembered that it is National Blog Posting Month time again. This is when blogger dig into their writing will and post daily on the topic of choice.  Perhaps it is good that it snuck up on me and took me by surprise.  I have no time to fret about it so will just launch in.

What to post today?  How about the traditional kid Halloween pic.  Works for me!  So "Super Mario" (shouting "Here we go!") and "Nice Witch" (she just has too squishy a heart to turn anyone into a toad) are getting set to rake in the Halloween loot. It was fun and I got wine and treats.  The rain held off for the trek so everyone was largely happy. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WW - The Art of Kitten Tipping

OK, so Wednesdays are supposed to be wordless but I have to share the story behind my silly grin over the kittens....

To say that my sister is outgoing is a big understatement.  She thinks nothing of striking up personal conversations with random strangers and is completely genuine in doing it.  So when we were at a restaurant the other day she struck up a conversation with the handsome waiter.  We were just talking about the mound  of rescued kittens they had inherited and were looking to give away. 

She turns to Dan, the waiter and says, "That was a great meal and would you like a kitten?"  He paused.  It is not likely that every day customers offer kittens for a tip top-up.  He says, "Well, actually, yes.  Does it catch mice?"  The conversation continues. 

Skip ahead and the next day, Dan came to the farm to collect the orange fluff-ball.  (We had forgotten to bring the kittens to the restaurant.)  So is another typical day with my sister and why my life is never dull. The end.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - MFA Boston

 This is the sign in the Contemporary Art section at the amazing Museum of Fine Art in Boston.  Set the mood nicely if you ask me. 

(My apologies for the annoying layout of these photos.  Arrrrggghhh!  I need to update my blog in a big way and find a better publishing program.)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Sunset

Here is a piece of our wonderful holiday.  This sunset was taken from our balcony at our resort in South Yarmouth, Cape Cod.  Stunning and peaceful.  My whole being relaxed at this lovely spot.  Details to follow in another blog post. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nine and Crafty

Yep, my darling Laura is nine now. We had a party at Gotta Paint and made stuff. We ate cake. We had a spa day. She got her ears pierced and is growing up. Life is good. Some photo evidence of it all...

Choices, choices...

Shhh... artists at work

Electric red-dye-number-5 tongue

Girls gone wild! (with paint brushes)

Pottery creations before they were fired.

The after results.  Gorgeous!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fear Conquored

If you asked me a year ago if Owen would ever be able to go on a plane, I would have said a resounding no. He has a phobia. It is impossible to bring up the idea of flying because he goes into panic mode and then retreats. There is no reasoning through a phobia. That door was closed tight, locked and bolted. 

When he was smaller we took a flight back and forth to Mexico. He did just fine and he was just 5. Then we went to Florida when he was 7 and everything fell apart. There was turbulence and the plane tilted as it turned to the airport. Something broke in him and he couldn't handle it. For some children with ASD, certain sensations are felt more intensely. For him, it is proprioception or the feelings of movement that overwhelms him at times. Planes move in unpredictable ways. He panicked on the way home from Florida and I squeezed him tight in my arms, warding off what I could of the hell he was going through for that terrible flight. After that, there would be no more planes. Ever.

There are many sides to my boy.  Owen loves learning about the world. Geography, thanks to his unfortunate genetics, is in his blood. Owen loves playing in the ocean, digging his feet into beaches, experiencing the magic of Disney, and has a curiosity about history. He wants to be there. There is the motivation. So we chatted about wonderful places that there are to visit. We watched travel shows, ate different foods and sent postcards from our own journeys. He wants to go too. 

Options are available to get through a plane trip. Some people choose to sedate reluctant flyers. Perhaps that would work but I would rather cure the cause, not just treat the symptoms. We were lucky. Our physician practiced a technique called EMDR. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)  It allowed Owen to work through his feelings and cope with it. It worked. The change in his feelings was remarkable.

We booked a "test flight" and Owen helped me work out the details for the flight as well as our super-Saturday day of travel and fun for just the two of us. He was ready to try and we took the leap of faith. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time. Checking through security was uneventful thankfully and we walked the whole airport about 3 times before boarding time. He was anxious but by admitting this, telling the flight staff and pulling out the bag of tricks, he was fine.

Anxious but excited on the plane

He did not want to see the flight take off so he wore a sleep mask. We played some favourite music in his earbud earphones and he put his head on my shoulder. Twenty minutes later we were cruising in the air. Games on the 3DS and chatter kept him happy for the short flight. There was turbulence but it didn't phase him. For landing he just wanted the eye mask and the shoulder to keep him feeling fine. He practically danced off the plane.  I am bursting with pride at my boy and how he worked trough this huge accomplishment. 

The rest of the day was filled with taxi rides, subway rides, great food, a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame and a long Via train ride home. (I wasn't about to book another flight in case it all was a disaster.) An exhausted but extremely proud boy rolled into bed that night. I couldn't be happier.

An expensive day it was but the benefits were priceless. We are now thinking about where to vacation next. There is no longer a 'but' or 'if' in our plans, just a 'when'.  The door is wide open and the possibilities are endless.

Snacking on our Market picnic and playing DS on the train ride home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Since I seem to have forgotten how to write, I won't. I'll just post a pic or two and spare you my inability to write something coherent. Your welcome.

Here are a few photos from our time at the cottage.  What a beautiful and enjoyable spot.  Great for the body mind and soul.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This time its Laura.  Everything is setting her off right now. 

The latest is a mega-melt because I had the nerve to seal an envelope for her birthday invitations.  (FYI - the right thing to do is to tuck the flap thing in and not stick it!) Earlier it was because she wanted to bring an empty peanut butter jar to pick strawberries instead of the baskets they provide.  Horrors!   Tears flow when I say "no" or don't have an instant play date for her.  Never mind if I attempt to help her with homework.  She melts as much as a toddler right now except there is no stroller I can strap her in at age almost nine.

Sigh.  And we are no where near the teenage years.  I need wine and Calvin and Hobbes to see me through.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vegas Baby!

Windy night in Vegas
The trouble with going away on a wonderful holiday is the return.  I love to be home with my family and at least the weather was decent this weekend but I am still half-stuck in the Disney World for Grown-ups that is Las Vegas.  I can't capture it all as I would like for the blog but I can give a few snap shots.

Sisters are awesome.  I travelled with my wonderful little sis Sylvia in honour of her turning 40 this year but I feel like I was the one getting the gift.  We laughed so hard our faces hurt.  We let go of all responsibilities, explored and ceased the day.  We grew closer.  I am so happy to have shared my trip with her.

Vegas gives a new definition to BIG.  You think you know what a hotel with over 5000 rooms is like?  Think again.  Wow!  It is big business here, even in economic down-times.  Walking around the hotel, pools casino and shops within the hotel is exercise, let alone exploring the strip.   Pack the comfy shoes to go the distance. 
view from the balcony
Little NY
Love those neon lights!

They do a show like no other.  We enjoyed the Cirque de Soleil production Ka.  Unbelievable.  There is no way they can defy gravity like that.  The show was captivating and a fascinating experience. Many of the shows are free like the amazing fountains at the Bellagio.  Very cool.
Caesars Palace

Not all things awesome are in Vegas.  We rented a car for a day and drove to the Hoover Dam. The desert is so beautiful and the Dam is an amazing structure.  Wow! 

Dam that's BIG

Hot! 105 F and it went up.
 The city doesn't sleep. And neither should you unless you can't move anymore.  We enjoyed all the pleasures of the city until alcohol slushies could not revive us.  (Ahem, some details omitted - WHIVSIV you know.) 

Thank you Las Vegas!  I will be back.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Of Tulips and Turtles

The rain has stopped and the temperature has climbed up to the point that I don’t need mitts.  It was a perfect day to venture to the Ottawa’s Tulip Festival gardens.  Although I’ve been to these parks before, I am still amazed at how gorgeous the blooms are.  Here’s a sample from my measly point-and-shoot.

turtlesTulips 2012 019Tulips 2012 044Tulips 2012 030Tulips 2012 022Tulips 2012 048Tulips 2012 045Tulips 2012 046Tulips 2012 053Tulips 2012 056Tulips 2012 059Tulips 2012 028