Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shooting for the Stars - My New Year's Resolutions

1.  Put away the Easter and Halloween decorations sitting at the bottom of the basement stairs.  Either that, or officially designate the area at the bottom of the stairs as seasonal decorations storage space so that I can stop feeling guilty that they aren't put away.

2.  Measure the cubic space occupied by the 20+ boxes and bags of clothes that the kids have outgrown that I need to sort through to determine if they have to be returned to someone or not so that I know how much of my mortgage has been going toward storing this monolith.  Just 'cause I'm curious.  :-)

3.  Sort through outgrown clothes and return to rightful owners.

4.  Have emotional farewell party, and tearful goodbye speech for my kids' cute little too-small clothes.  Wanna come?  There will be wine.

5.  Send invites for farewell party to the box of single socks in our closet and the bag of things that need to be returned to people.

6.  Return the 2 library books on gift wrapping that I signed out in 2004.

7.  Google "saw shark" and "hammerhead shark".  Have been meaning to do that.

8.  Stop procrastinating and look under our bed to see what's there.  Tentative complete-by date: prior to emotional farewell party in case I need to open up the invites to B-listers.

9.  Stop hitting "remind me later" and finally take the tour of my new and improved Yahoo Mail already.

10.  Learn how to transfer my 3000+ irreplaceable pictures and videos of my family and friends from the last 2 years from my phone to my laptop or memory stick.  They're messing with my Twitter and Words With Friends.

11.  Develop new strategy for increasing my winning percentage for Roll Up The Rim To Win.  Possibly propose new "work from Tim's" arrangement with supervisor for the month of March.

12.  And finally, take the advice of my good friend Monica, and ensure that I find humour in every single day.  There's plenty of it there - whether I see it or not is up to me.

A Happy and Humourous New Year to you all!  May the year 2013 bring you lots of love, light and matched socks.

Everyone Sez...

Well, Kaycie is going to have to give up some of the lime light.  Most of the people living in this house are making me laugh these days, and I don't want to forget any of it, so I'm dumping it in this blog whenever I remember.


On Becoming Famous...
While recalling the day's events, Kaycie shared with us that she was teaching her friend, Nidhi, how to be famous.  While stifling a snort, I asked Kaycie what steps were needed to become famous.  Her reply was, "Well, first, you need to sing.  And then you need to start giving people autographs."

On Hanukkah...
While I was getting dressed, I bent over to put my socks on, and she gently touched my back.  It tickled, so I asked her what she was doing.  She said, "Don't worry.  I'm just pretending to light your back on fire."  I said, "Say what?!" and she said, "Oh, it's just that I love lighting things for Hanukkah."  Don't ask... I have no idea. My kids are obsessed with Hanukkah for no obvious reason.  :-)

On Being Special...
My daughter has an interesting eye.  1/4 of it is brown, while the rest is blue, and a good backgrounder to this little story is that she is extremely proud of this eye.  Here is a picture:

While I was at the dentist recently (and my friend Tina reminded me tonight that I tend to have a lot of fun at the dentist office - I had forgotten!) for a cleaning for me and a filling for Kaycie, my hygienist was extremely accommodating about having Kaycie with me.  Having little ones of her own, she was fantastic about letting Kaycie watch what was going on in my mouth, chatting with her as Kaycie explored every nook and cranny of the room, asking a never ending stream of questions.  The longer my cleaning went on, the more confidence Kaycie was filled with, and she was eventually doing what she called "the dentist dance" for the all of the hygienists, who then called the dentist come come and watch.  This escalating spiral of nonsense grew and grew as I lay helpless in the chair with sucker tubes and dental instruments hanging out of my mouth, rendering me incapable of interfering.  I kept attempting to ask Kaycie to sit on her little chair and just watch, but we all know how that goes when you have a hygienist working on your teeth - and frankly, she seemed to be enjoying every moment.  Finally, Kaycie bounded over to the hygienist, stretched over the tray of tools so she could get close to her face, and grabbed the upper and lower lids of her eye, stretched them apart, leaned in closer and said, "I'm the special one in our family!"  Luckily I didn't laugh all of the contraptions in my mouth clear across the room, but I strongly suspect that my hygienist would have understood because she literally snorted and couldn't stop laughing as she choked out the words, "I'll bet you are!".


On Unexpected Turns of Events...
A bit of a back story:  After I had put Knolan down for a nap, he seemed to be asleep for about 20 minutes, when suddenly I heard him yapping away to himself.  As any parent knows, nap time means break time and since Knolan normally naps for 2.5 to 3 hours I eventually went into see if I could either coax him back to sleep or see what was wrong.  When I went in and smelled that familiar waft in the air, I realized he needed a quick diaper change and hopefully he'd be back to sleep in no time.  After our quick change, a short cuddle with some books and quiet songs, I whispered, "are you ready to go night-night?"  Knolan nodded his head and wrapped his little arms around me.  As I gently laid him down in the crib and kissed his forehead, his eyes suddenly widened with panic, his soother dropped out of his mouth and he exclaimed, "No, no, no!  What you doing?!  What happening!?"  So funny.  Thankfully, he slept another hour.  :-)

On What's Happening...
We were at our friends' Tina and Geoff's house for dinner and our two little guys Knolan and Kiran were sitting beside each other, trapped in their booster/tray seats.  I can't exactly recall what it was that prompted this exchange... perhaps Geoff got up to serve another AMAZING course of food, or maybe someone took Kiran's sippy cup, but something had indeed "happened".  Kiran kept looking around murmuring in his sweet little voice, "What happening?  What happening?".  That's when Knolan gently put his hand on Kiran's arm, leaned in real close to Kiran's face, opened his eyes wide and said, "I don't know!" with a level of confusion that matched Kiran's.  The part of this that was so funny was that the two of them haven't said a word to each other in their lives.  LOL


On Finding That Once Again I Had All The Lights On And Was Typing In Bed At 1:00am...
I'm back into my old routine of typing and surfing the net late at night now that we have a proper laptop again. I am gifted with the ability to sleep in any type of light and with pretty much any level of distraction.  Ken, however, is not.  The other night he woke up to find me typing away with the closet light on, the TV on, the bedside table lamp on, and of course the laptop screen glowing away.  I hadn't noticed he was awake until I was visually assaulted with a blinding strobe light coming from the other side of the bed, aimed right at my eyes.  Startled, I looked over, and there was Kenny with a big dorky grin on his face, repeatedly hitting his phone's flash button as I kept trying to shield my eyes from the light.  He looked at me, pretending to type, and said, "Oh hi!  Don't mind me, I'm just sending a few emails."   Hardy har har.  Point well taken.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I have vivid and weird dreams.  Sometimes my dreams are so memorable that I find myself wishing there was some sort of technology that would allow you to record your dreams to share with others.  At least that way I could prove I wasn't making them up!

Often my dreams will cross into my waking state.  There is, for example, my sister's favourite story of the time I dreamed that my phone was a bomb and I tried to diffuse it by sitting on it... only made more hilarious by the fact that my phone was a pickle phone.

And my husband will eagerly recount for you the times I have talked aloud through my dreams, begging him to try my lasagna, or to look at the hundreds of spiders crawling on the floor, or describing someone standing in the corner.  I feel badly for him because it seems to me that most of the dreams that seem to trigger this half awake/half asleep thing are pretty creepy or scary!  And if you know Ken, you know that he doesn't sleep well once he's been good and creeped out.  Please click here for a refresher.

Most of my dreams, though, seem to be completely not linked to reality... at all.  I have a theory that it's because I sleep on my arm a lot.  I often wake up with a numb hand, and I read in a journal once that if your blood flow is interrupted during sleep, that your dreams will be more vivid and colourful.  I have elected to extend that theory to include "less bound by laws of time and space", "more insecty", and "more shape shifty".

I have had dreams where I was a time traveller, where I could jump on a trampoline right up to outer space, where I was a black and white cartoon character and I could speak French, where I was a centaur in the 1500s (no comments from anyone who knows about THAT little gem!) and many, many more.

My last really weird one was about me going to the movies.  The theatre was unique in that any time someone needed to go get a snack or use the washroom, they would "pause" the movie.  I thought this was fantastic because I needed to go do some errands!  So, I jumped up, they paused the movie, and I headed off up the street to do some shopping, of course.  As I was walking, an old lady kept pestering me, trying to get me to give her money.  The more I resisted, the more she lunged at me.

I know that this dream sounds like pretty basic stuff, but they usually do start out pretty normal.

Anyway, I turned to look at her, when suddenly this giant glob of earwax shoots out of her ear and onto my arm and it turns into this baby scorpion.  I freaked out and threw it back at her.  When it landed on her, it scuttled quickly back into her ear.  I walked away, thinking about my errands, and when I grabbed my purse with my pincher and unzipped it, I suddenly realized that I had turned into a scorpion.  By the way - I now know that my pinchers would technically have been called pedipalps... because I looked it up... because that is what I am all about.... Googling EV-ER-Y-THING.

So, I kind of freaked out, and figured I should get away from this old lady much faster, and I strapped on my speed skates and I tucked one of my pedipalps behind my back and I swung the other pedipalp like a pro back and forth as I leaned low and forward and pumped my legs in time with my pedipalps (I really like this new word!).  I was gaining speed and suddenly I felt alive!  Like I knew I was meant to do this for my entire life!  Well, I guess the Olympic talent scout agreed, because I suddenly looked to my right, and there was a man skating beside me, flashing his Olympics ID card, talking to me as I skated.  He said that there would be no need for me to go through the normal qualifying process - that if I was willing, I could represent Canada as the only female scorpion speed skater from North America.

It was all happening so fast... first I was at the movies and now I would be competing in Sochi, Russia!  I, of course, jumped at the opportunity, and headed back to the movies, where they started up the film again, as if nothing had happened.

I could honestly fill a book with stuff like this.  Most of them don't phase me all that much.  I wake up, shake my head, think, "what the hell?" and then just carry on.  But some of them are completely terrifying.  Those ones often follow a theme of constantly trying to get away from something.  Sometimes it is a city full of tornadoes, and I just keep running from building to building trying to stay alive. Sometimes I'm in a house, and every time I look at a window, something terrifying is looking in at me, and I lunge and close the drapes, only to turn around and see that thing looking at me through another window.  I did have a terrifying one this week about this strange couple trying to kill me, but they were kind of crappy assassins.  For example, instead of cutting the brake lines on my car, they would just rig the car so that it kind of had a soft tire, or a dragging muffler, and I would have to try to drive the car to the mechanics, and on my route to the garage, they would put together these elaborate obstacles that would slow me down or stop me in hopes that I would be trapped in my car, too afraid to come out and face them, and that I would eventually starve to death.  While I was dreaming this, it was completely and utterly frightening, but when I woke up, it seemed so laughable.  :-)

And then there are the flying dreams!  Aren't they the absolute best?!  It is so easy for me to fly in my dreams.  All I have to do is take a few running steps and then jump so that I am parallel to the ground and I just have to flap my arms to get a little height and then I am good to soar!  It is so disappointing to wake up from those ones, but the feeling of flying is so worth it!

I really should try to write some of these down.  I tend to remember the ones that I share with people, but if I don't manage to tell someone about it within a few minutes of waking up, the dream just sort of crumbles to dust, in a way, and I never seem to be able to remember more than a fleeting moment of it later in the day.  I suppose I could jot some of them down here, as long as they don't reveal too, too much about my psyche.  :-)

The bottom line, though, is that I am simply astounded at what the human brain can do while it's sleeping.  I honestly could not make up the stuff I dream about if I tried, but for now I am happy to be a confused observer of my sub-conscious once my heavy eyelids shut for the night.

I wonder what I'l dream about tonight?  And for goodness sake, someone please tell me that they have absurd dreams too!  :-)

Friday, December 21, 2012


I went through a bit of a crazy week last week.  My days were jam packed. At work I was focused on our 5 year business plan, our budget reforecast, planning documents for a new project, and a whole bunch of other stuff.  I was also immersed in 2 projects for a board I sit on, and I was getting ready for Christmas and  3 weeks of vacation (yay!).  I was working well into the night and most mornings I was up and working at 5am.  With most of my time dedicated to work and volunteering and secret shopping, not much time at all was being spent on caring where I tossed my dirty laundry, putting things away or eating on socially acceptable surfaces.

I don't know how many heels Achilles had, but one of my many Achilles' heels is dealing with stuff.  By "stuff" I mean things that come into our home and things that I use.  I remember my mother-in-law once saying that when she came home from somewhere, she didn't feel right until she took a moment to put everything away.  And I looked at her with such admiration and awe.  Let's just say I have no internal chip that drives me to put things away.  

I would say that the most common theme for me is bags.

For example, last December we returned home from our two family Christmases and I did what I do every year.  I put everything down in the front hall and collapsed into bed.  In the next day or two I consolidated the gifts into bags and dropped the bags in different rooms depending on what was in them.  Kaycie's bag of toys got hung on her bedroom door, the bag of our stockings, gift bags and tissue paper was put in our bedroom until I could get a minute to take them to the basement, the normal bag of last minute Christmas cards and paper and tape and pens that I annually tote around everywhere was thrown on the kitchen table.  That practice comes in handy in many ways.  For example, this summer when I needed tissue paper, all I had to do was move a basket of folded laundry and a bag of baby clothes to find some tissue paper!  AND... you can imagine the glee Ken and I experienced when we found the contents of our stockings when we decided to clean our bedroom this past September.

I need help.

Bags seem to be my coping mechanism for things I can't get to right away.  A bunch of notes from Kaycie's school come in - I stuff them in a Sobey's bag and hang them on our mail organizer for later.  Knolan dumps a chocolate milk in his lap, I stuff his pants in a Zellers bag and hang them on the railing to the basement to throw in the laundry later.  I think I might do my hair in the morning, I stuff my velcro rollers and a hair dryer in a bag and throw it on the newel post at the top of the stairs so that I can blow dry my hair downstairs in the morning without waking anyone up.  I have a bunch of crap that I need to bring in from the car - I fill up a tote bag, bring it in the house and hang it on the closet door knob.  I buy groceries - I put away the perishables, and put a bag full of toiletries on the steps to go upstairs.

But for as much as the joy of finding 8 month old Jolly Ranchers and Christmas scratch and win tickets is basically unparalleled, there is the good, there is the bad, and there is the ugly.

Good = "Ken!  Look!  Gift cards and cash from our birthdays!!!"
Bad = I still don't know where my hair dryer and velcro rollers are... and it's been about 4 months.
Ugly = You haven't smelled gross until you've smelled month old chocolate milk.

Anyway, back to last week.  It was about 3:00am and I was still up, sitting in bed with my laptop working away on a spreadsheet, eyes glazed over from the week that felt like it would last forever, 12 empty glasses on my night table, three bags on the floor beside the bed (one with garbage in it, one with papers to recycle, and of course, one with a baby gift for our neighbour's daughter who is now almost 3), unopened mail all over the place, laundry (dirty? clean? who knew, really) all around the bed, and papers all around me in bed and on the floor.  Ken wakes up all bleary eyed and stunned, slowly realizing I hadn't gone to sleep yet, and that this wasn't the first time this week. He stumbled to the washroom and on his way back found me hanging my papers for work the next morning in a bag on our bedroom doorknob and then climbing over my crap pile to get back into bed.  He wanders into the hallway, looking around and then comes back into the bedroom, looked at me with half-amusement and half-eye-rolling and said, 

"You are a garbage city Blair Witch."

To which I responded with a delirious, unstoppable laughing fit. 

I mean, the analogy was so perfect.  I was so focused on work and commitments in those days, that I was almost on autopilot, compulsively working, building a nest of garbage, clothes, empty yogurt cups and water glasses around me, scaring my loved ones, and leaving bag talismans on every available doorknob.

At least we were both laughing.  I was laughing so hard that I was silent laughing.  It was awesome.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Day I Made a Big Dramatic Threat to Run Away From Home

*Disclaimer - As with most of my posts, I am sharing my stories as best I can remember them.  I know I am prone sometimes to embracing inaccurate memories of my childhood, but I figure that's what the comments section is for.... my family can always leave their corrections below.  :-)

The more Kaycie starts to express herself and vocalize her pleasure or displeasure with life at the ol' homestead, the more I find myself wondering when she will decide to run away from home... just like her dear old mother.  Actually, when I think about it, she is probably pretty close to the same age I was the night I decided to unleash some serious runaway drama on my family.

Lord only knows what it was that was eating me.  When you're a kid, everything seems like a big deal... after all, you only have so much control over your life and a small portfolio of decisions you are allowed to make.  Whatever it was, though, it really had my overalls in a knot.

Wait... I have a strange feeling that I was feeling like no one in my family was paying enough attention to me (me? wanting attention? no!).  Anyway, I think I had stewed for a good day and a half when I decided the solution was to run away from home.

Now, my only research on running away from home consisted of the careful study of the dog from the hit Canadian TV series, "The Littlest Hobo" (excuse me for a moment, while I lamely wipe away a nostalgic tear) and representations of train hobos from cartoons.  All I knew was that train hobos had sacks on sticks, and the littlest hobo always kept moving... never settled in one spot for too long.  Good tactics to know!

So, after sulking around our house for an hour or so, looking as sullen and misunderstood as possible, I sidled into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, a jar of peanut butter and two pieces of bread and went upstairs to my sister's room.  While I made a peanut butter sandwich, I filled Tharen in on my plan.  I was running away.

My sister was always fairly practical, so as she listened, she only wanted to determine if she could find me if she wanted to visit, and also if I had enough provisions.  I assured her that things would be fine on both counts.  My plan was to spend my first week in the barn behind our house, and after that, I was going to move my camp to our neighbour Christa's (who has changed the way I shop, by the way!) house - probably in their screened in porch - so I would be close by for a while.

As for food, I had a rock solid plan.  "See this sandwich?" I asked while ceremoniously and gently laying the sandwich in the centre of a bandana and tying up the four corners to fashion the first of the many, many, many cloth sacks that I have made over the course of my life.  Just ask my husband.  When clean laundry gets the best of me, I declare - "let's just make a hobo sack!" and I throw all the clean clothes onto a bedsheet, tie up the four corners and toss it in the corner of our bedroom.  Hey... at least it's contained and cat hair resistent! 

Oh yes... back to the sandwich.  I said to my sister, "I am going to cut this sandwich into half every day and eat one half and leave the other half for the next day.  You can always half something, so I will never run out of food!"  As my sister looked on skeptically, I was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, looking off into the distance, nodding my head and relishing the genius of my plan.  In actuality, I had totally stolen the idea from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie rations his chocolate bar to savour a taste every day when he was dirt poor.  I think I got a lot of my "genius" ideas from books I read as a kid.  Like the time I appointed myself the emergency medic for the junior yard in elementary school and brought a first aid kit to school daily.  Somehow that idea was inspired by the Encyclopedia Brown series.  Strangely enough, I was embraced as yard medic by my schoolmates for three days straight until I got sick of handing out bandaids and missing precious jungle gym time.

Anyway - feeling very confident in my plan, I tied my sack onto a metre stick or something equally "found" and I walked the long walk downstairs to announce my departure to Mom and Dad.

I stopped dramatically at the doorway to our living room and cleared my throat.  Mom and Dad looked up and smiled.  Then Mom said something totally reasonable like, "Hmmm.  I see you have a hobo sack.... what's up, honey?"  I declared that I was running away due to the disproportionate amount of attention everything else in the house got in comparison to me.  And then I just stood there... because OF COURSE I didn't want to sleep in the barn now that it was dark outside!  Squirrels lived in our barn!  And it was probably haunted!

Mom, the skilled communicator that she is, calmly and empathetically said, "Wow.  I'm sorry you are so upset.  Do you think you have eveything you'll need?  Where will you go?"

Slowly I began to reveal my plan, and with the intuition and precision of master negotiators, Mom and Dad deconstructed my plan with me until I came to the conclusion on my own that I would stay home for the night and talk out how I was feeling with Mom and Dad.  I sat and ate my sandwich and snuggled with Mom while we chatted. 

I might have my details of the evening all messed up, but two things are for sure... thankfully, I never did end up having to sleep in the barn, and the sweet relief of feeling loved never felt more awesome than that night.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Again I am inspired by my friend - and colleague in volunteer management - Faiza (who has a blog that never ceases to inspire - visit her at It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day!) who wrote a blog post about National Volunteer Week.  In it she referenced her life's purpose - Helping.  It took my breath away.  It was so simple!  I feel like I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out what I care a lot about... what I am passionate about... what kind of mission could make me bounce out of bed in the morning.  And then I realized that I think I share something in common with Faiza - a desire to help.

I don't know where this urge to help comes from, but I know that it's nearly impossible for me to ignore - almost like a reflex.  Sometimes I find myself seeing this trait as a "negative" and I do struggle to make sure I balance out my own needs with the needs of others.  But I know why I do it.  The satisfaction I get from helping someone is so life affirming.  And I mean everything from helping a colleague with a jammed photocopier (which I am TERRIBLE at, by the way - absolutely zero mechanical skills!) to helping someone who has fallen to volunteering at a shelter.

Supporting and loving each other is important to me and I don't understand why you wouldn't want to do that for a fellow human being.  After all, when you boil it all down, we're just all passengers on this ball of dirt whipping around the sun, and for me it would be far more important to uplift someone while we're all here together than to put others second to your own needs and desires.  And I do believe that it will all come full circle in some way - if I sacrifice something to offer my help, I really do believe that whatever I sacrificed will be balanced out in some way in the long run. 

Oddly, I feel like 'helping' has been a bit of a theme for me this past week or so.  I helped a panhandler whose cane and coin cup were dashed out of his hands by a woman rushing past him.  I stopped everything for a moment in time on Sunday to hug someone as hard as I could whose family is in crisis.  I helped a bunch of lost students find a pub they were looking for. (hee!)

But I've also been the extremely humbled and grateful recipient of a lending hand.  This week I learned about the capacity that my co-workers have for giving and caring as they insisted on dropping everything and helped my department to get to the end of a busy week.  I learned about the depth of care that my husband has for me and our children - he parented on his own this week to allow me to spend much needed time on our volunteer awards event and still found time to do things like show the children snails "kissing" on the sidewalk and teach them how to play air guitar.  I learned that I have an incredible network of friends and family who astound me with their ability to send a supportive email or text at the most perfect moment in time.  And I was brought to tears by the compassion our vet demonstrated as he helped me with the difficult decision to euthanize our pain-in-butt-but-truly-beloved cat.  And I feel a bit embarassed to say that with the exception of the lost pub students, I cried after every single one of these helping/being helped moments.

Helping is so important... what better thing could you possibly do with your day than help another person?

As is the case with most of my helping experiences, I had one today that once again re-framed everything for me. 

I had left work a little bit early not feeling all that well... likely a bit worn out from weeks of planning our annual volunteer awards event at work - this is, after all, National Volunteer Week, and the event was our kick off to NVW!  On my way home to settle in for the evening, I came across a woman lying on the road beside her wheelchair and her friend, who was inconsolable.  A couple of passers-by were there who had stopped to try to help.  I jumped out of the car to find out what I could do.  What I experienced over the next 30 minutes left me feeling despondent and introspective.

This woman was breathing but in terrible pain and the general consensus seemed to be that she may have broken some bones.  She could not answer our questions and seemed to be in a state of shock.  Blood was running from her elbow and she was shaking from the waves of pain she seemed to be enduring.  Her clothes were dirty, her nails were dirty, and as I let her squeeze my hand to bear the pain, I noticed her wheechair.  It was old... really old.  It was rusted and threadbare.

As we waited for the ambulance to arrive, my attention became divided between this woman and her friend.  Their friendship was noteworthy - she seemed to be in her 50's, and he seemed to be in his late teens or early 20's.  I never did find out his name, but he was crying so hard that at times he said he thought he would vomit.  He was apologizing to her over and over again, but she could not answer - her breathing was too belaboured.  As we waited, he explained that he had been running along beside her wheelchair on the way home from the corner store, having fun and running circles around her - pretending to chase her to make her laugh.  He stopped short in front of her, and she had to slam on her brakes and she flipped out of the wheelchair and onto the road.  They were neighbours, he said, and her name was Carol.  The more he agonized over being responsible for this incident the more he revealed.  I think he didn't know what to do, so he just kept talking.  He said they lived in subsidized housing a few blocks away.  He said that she took regular medication, but she has some sort of coverage that was running out and that she was worried about paying for it.  He was worried that she was mad at him and that their friendship was in jeopardy.  And most heartwrenching for me to hear - he was terrified to go home because of how furious his father would be about this accident.  I didn't hear anything that made me think he would physically be in danger, but the more I pieced together, the more I realized that this one moment of simple and uncomplicated joy that the 2 of them were sharing had suddenly transformed into a moment with utterly significant consequences for them both.

When we could finally get Carol's breathing to slow down, I asked her if there was anything she could think of that I could do to help.  She finally uttered her first words and gasped, "Get me a new elbow."  I feel bad, but I burst out laughing.  She didn't laugh, but I am certain that she meant it the way I took it.  I just kept holding her hand and trying to reassure her friend that everything would be ok.

When the ambulance arrived, I got to live out the ultimate helper's fantasy.  The paramedics put me in charge of holding the stretcher still.  :-)

As they put Carol in the ambulance, there seemed to be much commotion.  Carole was starting to panic about money.  We didn't know what to do with her groceries.  Commotion about the fact that she apparently had no one close to her that would go with her to the hospital and commotion about what to do about her wheelchair - she needed it at the hospital, but it wouldn't fit into the ambulance.   No one had the means to get it there, so I offered to put the chair in my car and follow them to the hospital. That was the plan, and as the ambulance pulled away, me and my band of strangers tried to collapse the wheelchair, but found we couldn't and it wouldn't fit into my car.  So, Carol's friend ended up having to walk the wheelchair home and ask his dad for help - the other passers-by volunteered to walk with him, so I know he wasn't alone.

All of this reminded me that gratitude should be my order of the day - every day.

I was teary eyed over the fact that I was given yet another reminder of how much I take for granted.  If I flipped off of my bike, my only concern would be whether someone could call me an ambulance - and that is traumatic enough.  I would know that I have family and friends and neighbours that I could call on and count on.  I would not have to worry about the berating I would get if my father found out I had been horsing around and caused someone harm.  I know with absolute certainty that I would get nothing but unrestrained support and love.

All I could take away from this was the hope that maybe I had helped in some way even though I was feeling helpless about it all.  I am worried this will come across as obnoxious, but even though I was feeling helpless, somehow I felt like no individual task I did at work today was as necessary as what I could offer Carol and her friend today.

So why did I write all of this?  What is the point?  I'm not exactly sure.  It just seemed like too much of a coincidence that I came home emotional about this experience, only to have Faiza sum up what she knows to be her purpose in a single, impactful word that resonated with me so strongly.  I think maybe it all just made me feel like maybe I don't have to be a CEO or accomplished in my line of work to be important in this world... that maybe helping is as important as anything else and it's ok to be driven by it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Final Yolk Tally

Mmmm.... I just finished the most yummy crustless quiche.  This quiche was thanks to my friend Ashley, who readily supplied me with the recipe when I put out the call for recipes that call for 5 potentially double-yolked eggs.

This afternoon the kids helped me whip up this quiche, and I have to say... we were pretty excited to crack open the 5 remaining eggs in my magical carton.  So, we grabbed our remaining eggs and recorded the whole thing for posterity.  Well, who am I kidding - I was recording it for 2 reasons:

1. To prove I wasn't making it up.
2. To provide the footage to the press and to the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in Niagara Falls and to the Guinness World Book of Records.


Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, here is our mini documentary entitled, "The Final Yolk Tally":

I think that more than half the carton is pretty darn cool.  I don't think I'll be going on an autograph signing tour any time soon, but at least my kids think this was one of the coolest things that's happened to them all winter!

Now go enjoy the Oscars!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Saturday Night Egg-stravaganza!

We found out Knolan has pneumonia a couple of days ago, so my Saturday evening plans shifted from fun night out at Ken's cousin Bethany's house with his relatives to me staying home with Knolan so that Ken and Kaycie could go visit.  I love seeing Ken spend time with his cousins, so I was happy to volunteer to stay home so that we wouldn't have to cancel on Bethany and her husband entirely.

While I was spending my Saturday afternoon and evening at home with the little guy, my mind kept drifting back to eggs.

Why?  Well, you may recall my recent diversity exercise that resulted in double yolked egg confusion last weekend where I cracked 2 eggs in a row that had 2 yolks in them.  Since then, I've used 2 more of the eggs from that carton, and to my surprise, they too had double yolks!  Both of them!

That's 4 out of 5 eggs from this carton that have had double yolks!

So, I have been DYING to crack open all the eggs in the carton all day. 

Finally, after I put Knolan to bed, I decided I could at least make a pile of muffins and use 2 more of the eggs to see if I could continue my double yolked egg-stravaganza.  Here is the video I made of me cracking my eggs into my muffin mix:

My stove top needs to be cleaned AND I sound
like a lonely nerd in this video.

2 MORE DOUBLE YOLKERS!  6 eggs from this carton have been double yolked!  This is crazy.  Either that or they are completely un-rare and all of my friends who grew up on a farm are secretly snickering at me oohing and ahhing over my carton of eggs. I swear that the carton says that they are just normal, run of the mill eggs.  My sister-in-law, Kerry, may be right... I might have to stop buying lottery tickets because all of my luck is just pouring into this one weird carton of eggs.  :-)

You might have heard me declare at the end of the video that I was putting all of my big plans for the night (laundry and SNL) on hold to bust open the remaining 5 eggs.  Once I shut off the camera, though, I thought better of it and decided that I couldn't just waste the eggs, and I couldn't think of anything I was willing to make that required 5 eggs and would keep overnight.

So... you will just have to wait for the update on tomorrow's episode of.... "All my Eggs".  And trust me... I am using all of those eggs tomorrow!  Know any great egg recipes? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kaycie Sez... (Knolan Sez is not far behind!)

I am excited because Knolan is starting to talk.  A lot.  His favourite greeting is, "Hey baby!" and he loves to say, "Bye bye... ab dood day!"  (Translation: Bye, bye... have a good day!).  And of course, since he is closing in on the terrible 2's, he is all about "NO!"  Fun times.  :-)

As for Kaycie, she is, of course, still spouting out lots of interesting stuff.  I have been collecting these ones for a while and finally managed to put them all in one spot:

While playing floor hockey with her cousins and Ken:  "No, Daddy, I'M the goldie."

After she had wandered into our bedroom late one night and announced that there was something weird going on with her foot, we took a look at it and reassured her that it was just a wee bit of dry skin on her toe and there was no need to be worried.  She seemed ok with that and went back to bed.  About 20 minutes later we heard her little angelic voice call out from her room:  "Don't worry Mommy and Daddy.  I chewed it off!"

When I was buckling her into the van and didn't realize I was leaning on her leg:  "Ow Mom!  You're crankling my bones!"

While reaching in to ever so gently lift her out of her booster seat after she'd fallen asleep in the car, she shouted out in her sleep:  "No YOU'RE the evil one!"

While brushing her hair (a little too roughly apparently!):  "MOM!!!  You're hurting AND devastating me!"

And there is a recent development.  She has been working on this roster of jokes that make ZERO sense and revolve around the word "reflection".  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine!  Here's a sampling (all of which result in hysterical laughter from the joke-teller):

"Why did the T.V. poo a lot?  Because of the cowboy's reflection! "

"Why does the princess curtsy a lot?  Because she always kisses and has a reflection!"

And the one that perplexes me the most... she makes a flatulence sound with her mouth and then says, "That's not a toot... that's my reflection!"   (If she is anything like I was when I was a kid, she just likes the way the word 'reflection' sounds and is looking for any and every opportunity to say it out loud.)

I should add one thing.  I am always a little worried that people reading this blog think I am mocking my child.  I'm not.  I honestly get so much joy out of the strange things that she says because it reminds me of how innocent and literal and funny and creative kids can be and I get so sad when I forget the things Kaycie says that make me happy and make me laugh from my toes up.  I think I kind of wish I could go back to being 4 years old some days and experience life the way Kaycie does.  Can you imagine life without all the filters of work and household responsibilities?  I can't believe I wanted to grow up so fast, and now I am silently begging the universe to let my kids stay little forever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Diversity Now! (...or maybe now?)

I am always looking for visual ways to help my kids learn about the world around them. Any time I've had a tough time explaining something to Kaycie, I try to find a way to show her with toys or pictures to make it a bit easier to process.  And after a teachable moment successfully comes together, I feel so, so happy that I've been able to pull together a great moment in parenting in that big sea of uncertainty on which I continue to bob along in my little lifeboat (hoping desperately that a compass or map might float up alongside the boat!).

I  recently stumbled across an article (and judging by the comments section, it was a tad controversial on a small scale) indicating that various studies have shown that because we are living in a society where many children get "shushed" for pointing out someone who looks different and where children are told that everyone is equal, but are not told much more, that we are not doing our children any favours.  That by putting our children in diverse environments and assuming that this will - by osmosis - teach them that diversity is natural and good is faulty reasoning. 

This got me thinking, because in the past few months Kaycie has talked to me often about kids at school, the people she likes, the regular day to day disagreements that her friends get into, the things she hears.  It is all very interesting - in fact, hearing her ramblings about her school day is often my favourite part of the day.  I have heard her ponder aloud sometimes about the colour of her friends' skin - nothing really inappropriate.  I have talked to her about how how the colour of someone's skin does not make them any different from anyone else and that when she makes friends with people that it should be about whether she likes them, and not about how they look - whether that is how they dress, the colour of their skin, the length of their hair, or whatever.

The article made me think that maybe I could start looking for opportunities to talk more openly with our kids about diversity and different cultures.  I thought I would start small and start visual by using an exercise referenced in the article.  The article suggested that you show your child a brown egg and a white egg and talk about how the colour of their shells are different, but that when you crack open the eggs, they are identical on the inside.  Then you can have a discussion about how people are the same on the inside, but are all different on the outside.

Well... if you have been reading this blog long enough, you will already be assuming that this exercise didn't go exactly as planned.

While I was making breakfast this morning, I showed Kaycie a brown egg and a white egg.  She was very interested to see that they were the same shape and texture but different in colour.

She eagerly watched as I cracked open the white-shelled egg to see what was inside.  She has seen me crack open a zillion eggs, but I loved that she was just as excited about this zillionth-and-one egg.  We cracked it open and looked to see what was inside:

Ta da!  I asked Kaycie what she thought we would see when we opened the brown-shelled egg.  She declared quickly that we would see the same thing.  I readily agreed with her, and we had a nice little chat about how she might look different than one of her friends, but that they were just the same on the inside and that on top of both of them having muscles and bones and what have you, that they both also probably loved their parents and liked to play outside.  So, we decided it was time to crack open the brown-shelled egg to take a look.  As I brandished my egg cracking skills and poured the egg into our dish, I said, "See?  They are just the s..." 

I stopped dead in my tracks, and then I couldn't help but laugh at what I saw:

A double yolk?!  I have never, ever, EVER cracked open a double yolk in my life.  It just figures that this would be my lucky day.  LOL

As we looked at my little visual exercise together, Kaycie looked at me with a bit of a bewildered face.  Oh yes... we were learning.  I had better think fast on this one!  I said, "Well aren't we lucky!!!  Those eggs were SUPPOSED to look the same on the inside, but eggs are a funny thing and very, very, very rarely an egg has TWO yolks inside!  It hardly ever, ever, ever happens... can you believe that this happened to us when we were trying to see that people are the same on the inside?  I can't believe it, can you Kaycie?"  She was grinning from ear to ear and agreed that she couldn't believe our luck either.

So, I suggested that we crack open another brown egg and that she would then see what I was trying to show her... that we are all identical inside.  So, we excitedly cracked open another brown egg.  It was then that Kenny came running in from the other room to find out why I was bellowing, "Oh for the love of Pete!"  As Ken, Kaycie and I all peered into the griddle (we had run out of microwave poaching spots), this is what we saw:

I couldn't believe my eyes.  Kaycie and Kenny of course thought this was hilarious, but I was reeling trying to figure out how to rescue my precious teachable moment!  And in case you think I am making this up, here is my side-by-side comparison:

Slowly I cracked a third brown egg - subtly checking the carton to see if it was labelled "FRAGILE: extremely rare double-yolked eggs" - and held my breath as we all looked to see what came tumbling out of the shell.

A single yolk!  And I proudly showed off my single yolk egg, holding Kaycie's angelic little face in my hands and saying, "See?!?  We really ARE all the same inside!"

It was then that I realized that I actually had a way BETTER lesson sitting right in front of me.  Our bizarre egg cracking expo allowed Kaycie and I to sit down and talk about how all eggs might be different colours, but inside they all have yolks and egg white - sometimes there might be a different number of yolks, but that's just like people.  People are all basically the same inside - we all have a heart, a brain, blood, etc, but our insides can be slightly different because we all have different personalities too.  Some of us like to ride bikes, and some of us like to play guitar, and some of us like to colour, and so on.

Luckily Kaycie did not wonder aloud if Knolan might have 2 brains or anything like that.  But she did say, "Yeah!  Like the way I like princesses and Knolan likes to break things with his hockey stick!  Right, Mom?!"

All I could say was, "Right, Cutie."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's a Veritable Parliament of Owls!

Ok... there is definitely something in the air today, and in some ways I am being very literal!

I had originally planned to write a blog post today about a life affirming encounter I once had with an owl, when things started to get very weird.  So weird, in fact, that I had to re-write what I had already drafted so far for this post.

I've been wondering what to write about for a few days now, and I finally had a moment of inspiration and decided on the story of my favourite owl encounter.  At last... an idea!  Woo hoo!  (Did you notice how I cleverly injected an owl-like sound effect in there?)

Well... did you? (Via)
Within an hour of deciding what to write, I noticed a headline on one of my news feeds that read, "Owl stops traffic in Ontario town."  (If you would like to read about the traffic snarling owl, just click here.)  Now, you don't really hear or read about owls every day, so that really caught my eye... especially given my recent landmark owl decision!  So, I did a bit of a double take and then carried on with my day.  I was, however, kind of amused that the topic of owls had surfaced two times in one day.

I was in for an even bigger surprise when I got home and settled in for a night of writing and Facebooking only to see this on a co-worker/fellow blogger's status update:

"Tomorrow doesn't look busy enough. I think I'll add a tetanus shot to the schedule, seeing as I just got attacked by AN OWL."

My eyes bugged out at yet another owl reference!

I hastily commented under her status, "This is SO crazy. I am literally writing a new blog post about owls right now! So weird!" 

... and then, unselfishly remembering that alongside the word "owl" she had written "attacked", I quickly added, "By the way... are you ok?" 

Turns out the owl did draw blood, but overall she is fine.  How crazy, though!  Gillian, the victim of this airstrike, will thankfully live to see another day.  Lucky for us, too... Gillian is a talented and relatable writer and you should check out her blog, "Finding My Weigh" right after I finish my owl story.  :-)

So, after this crazy, owl infested day, I am feeling extremely motivated to share my own owl moment with you.  This story dates back almost 10 years now that I think about it, but I remember that day so vividly.  I was working at an employment centre at the time and my job involved regular travel out of the office into the community for meetings. 

One particularly sunny day, I had plenty of time before my next appointment, and so I took a longer route to my destination, travelling through a neighbourhood Ken and I had looked at a few times when we were house hunting.  I recall being particularly calm and content that day - my windows were rolled down, I was listening to the radio and I was feeling great!  As I drove along, I soaked up the sights, gawked at houses I liked, and watched people doing whatever it was they were doing that day.

As I drove past a 7-11, I happened to glance upwards.  I literally gasped in awe when my gaze settled on an owl that was perched high above the hustle and bustle of the intersection.  An owl!  In the city!  In broad daylight!  I quickly pulled my car into the convenience store parking lot and maneuvred my car into a spot where I could sit and look at the owl for a bit.  My neck craned, I sat and sipped my coffee and watched this mysterious creature as it silently kept vigil over the neighbourhood.  I was in awe.

I am not lying when I share with you that my eyes welled up as I sat there.  Here I was in one of the biggest cities in the world, and I seemed to be the only one who noticed this majestic bird nestled in the concrete jungle.  I felt like the owl and I were sharing this fleeting moment in time - not sure when it might decide to take flight - and I was absorbing every moment with joy.  How lucky was I to have noticed it?!  Had I not looked up, I would have missed this awesome sight.

Eventually, I realized that I needed to get going,or I would be late for my meeting.  Like a complete nerd, I did a minature little wave goodbye to my owl and headed out of the parking lot and on my way.

Later that afternoon when my meeting was over and I was headed back to the office I decided that I'd take the same route back that I did on my way to the meeting.  If there was any chance at all that the owl had decided to stick around I really wanted a chance to take another look.  In my heart, though, I was sure it would be gone.  When I came around the corner and saw the owl still on its perch my heart skipped a beat!  How could it still be there?  I pulled my car as close to the owl as I could and strained forward to look at it.  Suddenly my face turned beet red.

I haven't shared with you one important little detail.  My precious owl had been sitting on top of a billboard.


I had sat in my car in the middle of a busy parking lot and cried over a plastic owl?!  I was mortified!  If I could have tunnelled underground and disappeared, I would have in a heart beat.

Of course, I then started to overreact and I suddenly became paranoid that everyone in the parking lot knew what I had done, and so I started acting all weird, pretending I was looking in the air for jets passing overhead or a solar eclipse. 

Once I was satisfied that no one was standing by waiting to mock me mercilessly, I zipped out of that parking lot as fast as I could, vowing to never again to be so naive! (Yeah... good luck. LOL)

And of course, I had a good laugh about it on my way back to work.  :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kaycie Sez...

My little noodle Kaycie brings me so much joy.  Knolan does too, of course.  The two of them made me laugh so many times over the holidays... and let's just say that this year we really needed a few laughs to help make the season bright.

Again, I am lamenting that I didn't write them all down as they popped out of her mouth, but Kaycie kept us chuckling over Christmas with a few crazy quips.

1. While snuggling on the couch, trying to help her calm down after a post New Year's Day meltdown (culprit - lack of sleep), I tried to get her to focus on something and asked her to listen to my heart beat:

Me - "What is my heart saying?"  (expecting her to say something like "buh bump, buh bump")

Kaycie - "It says it likes the sound of your voice"

Me (heart melting) - "What else does it say?"

Kaycie - "It says it loves you."

Me - "Anything else?"

Kaycie - "It says it likes alcohol."

2. Some of you may recall her 2010 renditions of holiday classics.  Well, she had one more this year.  I overheard her last week sitting at a piano singing:

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why.  Jesus Price is coming to town!"

3. Excerpted from her letter to Santa Claus:

"... and my brother has been good this year too, except for that time he hit me in the face with my baptism scroll."

(true story!  That scroll was pewter and left a bruise.)

Wish I could think of more, but if more come to mind, perhaps my New Year's resolution will be to jot more of these down.  They really do make me smile!

Happy New Year!  Wishing us all a wonderful 2012!