Monthly Archives: January 2013

Times They Are a Changing: Death and the Tooth Fairy

When I first started this blog I wasn’t sure exactly how much to talk about the people in my life.  Up until now I have kept most things pretty generic and the people nameless.  If you are the 3.5 people who read my blog (I am being generous, I think) you may know who they are but because I didn’t specifically ask their permission or even let them know I was writing about them, at this point I chose not to name them.  I did name my sister-in-law, Joanne in this recent post but she’s um, deceased and no longer gets to speak for herself.   I mean no disrespect.   Joanne and I are good.  I digress.  What I’m trying to say is this blog really is a work in progress.  While I’m not naming names this particular post gets personal.  That’s a lot of “P”s.  Ready?  Here comes another one… I’m pissed at my sister.

Yep!  I found out yesterday by way of her Facebook status that my aunt had passed away.  Now I know my aunt had been sick, she had a form of stomach cancer.  We all knew it was only a matter of time though clearly I wasn’t prepared for yesterday’s announcement.  I’m not sure what bothered me more, her death and the suddenness of it or that the cyber world knew before I did and before I had a chance to tell my children.   I suppose it was both, I mean this is my aunt.  My younger cousin’s mom.  My dad’s sister.  We shared so many family holidays and celebrations together growing up and she joined us at the family BBQs and parties as my kids grew.   I felt cheated.  How did my sister know already?   I checked my email.  My father had left a message for everyone so he could go to the hospice to be with my aunt, his other sister and my cousin.  Aren’t there family spoiler alerts on Facebook?  I know my sister didn’t mean any harm.  She was posting away her life like we all do.  I wish she had chosen to wait.  My big girlie found out the same way and she was none too impressed, either.   Heavy sigh.

Then last evening I read an article about the Tooth Fairy and how someone,  somewhere did a study saying how all lies are bad lies. Children are confused and have a hard time processing the inconsistencies between their parents telling them lying is bad, don’t lie and the “hey, guess what I’ve been lying to you about imaginary childhood icons in the name of fun or to change your behaviour and that’s bad and wrong and will scar you and render me and other parents completely untrustworthy in their children’s eyes.”  Again, I digress.  I completely scoffed at it but it got me thinking about exposure and our current state of social media.  We are surrounded by the whole world.  It is literally at our finger tips and feels like things happen in our own backyard when they happen half way around the world.  Children will find out about the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus earlier than we did as children simply because the information is there in ways we just didn’t  have 30, 40, 50 years ago.  Things are changing. Things have changed.

So while I showered away the rough day I had because I also chipped a tooth, dropped my bag in the mud, found out my aunt passed away via facebook and shattered a wine glass,  I thought we really have no control over these things the way we once did (or thought we did). Information is power and it’s already out there.  Whether you are ready for it or not.  So Sister, we’re good.

Auntie Barbara you were loved.  You will be missed.

Daily Awesome = Crossing Guards

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

I was driving home from work tonight, in the rain and fog.  I saw our 2 crossing guards decked out in their trusty yellow rain gear from head to toe with their spiffy, bright vests.  One looks like Santa.  It’s true.  The other guard, an older gentlemen as well was escorting his little charges across the intersection.  I was waiting patiently watching these two girls cross when they suddenly stopped in the middle of the cross walk … and hugged the crossing guard.  Then they toddled off on their merry way.   I smiled.

Arrrggh! A Pirate’s Life For Cancer

This past weekend I participated  in “My Sister’s” Pink Pajama Party, a dinner and fundraiser for the walk against women’s cancer.  Cancer is such a horrible, evil disease.  It affects so many people, too many people, with a stunning ripple effect.  I have seen its personal devastation.  I have been consumed by the ripples.  My sister-in-law, Joanne found the lump in her breast in 1999.  At the time she was young, healthy and was going to kick cancer’s ass. Sadly, we didn’t know it then but Joanne would not survive.  It was seven years later when the summer faded and so too did our “angel” Joanne, as her body succumbed to the ravages of a ruthless disease.

During her illness and since her death in 2006 there have been many “find the cure” related activities and opportunities I could have participated in.  I participated in very few of them.   It’s fine for other people.  It just never really sat well with me, my own personal issues.  There was one event however that I have consistently been able to do and that is “My Sister’s” Pink Pajama Party.  What makes this evening particularly special for me is the people I share it with.  My mom, is the matriarch of the group and secures us tickets every year.  I am able to attend with my fabulous sister.   Then there is my brother’s wife,  my “new” sister-in-law.   While she’s no longer “new” I have yet to figure out exactly how to describe her when I am explaining about her and Joanne.   She is one of the most gracious and kind people I know and has done so much to help us heal as a family.  Not better.  Not worse. Just different.  We are lucky enough to have her crazy, wonderful sister join us and then rounding out our unique, little, sorority is my sister’s best friend, who has been around long enough, she might as well be a sister.

Laughter is good medicine.

I feel so grateful when we get together.  We can celebrate the ones who are gone.  We can support “survivors” and we can hope for a cure.  Plus there are laughs.  Such big, belly laughs.  It’s good for the soul to laugh that much.  We have so much fun.  Who doesn’t love a theme night where you get dressed up in your pjs to go out?  Then THEY make dinner.  There is dancing and prizes and did I mention fire fighters?  Oh Yes!  There are nekked fire fighters. Well, maybe not nekkid but they dance without shirts!

This year there was a table decorating theme.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bunch of dollar store items.

Pirates Rock but cancer sucks really bad eggs.

A treasure map.

What? Pirates like pretty bows and feather, right?

Drink up me hearties, yo ho!

Of course we needed a plank! Arrgghh!

We “pillaged” other tables and stole some of their table decorations by knife point, all in good fun of course.  We even managed to nab us a fire fighter.   The table next to us was having just as much fun watching us pillage and plunder.  They decided to steal our whole centre piece… so we made them our crew!   The company was great, the evening was fun and while cancer sucks and makes me mad and I miss Joanne, I am so happy to share this special night with my “sisters”.

Oh and just  in case you thought I forgot about the firefighters…enjoy!

photo: Tina Daquano

photo: Tina Daquano

photo: Tina Daquano

Daily Awesome = Found Keys

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

I hate that feeling when you’ve lost your keys!  You go to where they should be and grrr, gone!  So you retrace your steps.  You pat down your pockets once, twice, maybe three times a charm.  This was me this morning.  I went from room to room trying to find my keys.  I even looked in the fridge…well you never know, right?   Then it occurred to me.  No.  Did he?  He did.  The Evil Genius had left 5 minutes before me and started my car.  So no the lost keys wasn’t a great start to my day but finding them in a toasty warm car was awesome!

Proud Mama Moments

When are you most proud of your kids?   We all want what’s best for our kids.  We all want them safe and secure and we want success for them.  I am certainly no different but I think sometimes I am just as proud during the moments when they are not necessarily doing things well or being as successful as they want.

Truthfully I think this is something we are missing in our current society of not wanting any harm, physical or mental to come to our children.  The ability to let them fail, falter, mess up and not come to their rescue is building essential life skills.  I try very hard to incorporate this into my children’s lives.  I don’t get them up in the morning any more or make their breakfast and if they forget their homework, oops! Oh well.  Earlier this week, my swimmer girl did not have a  great weekend at the pool.   She still amazed me though with her ability to overcome the upsets and disappointments that unrealized expectations can have to finish the weekend on a positive note with a final, strong race.  I was a proud mama.

During this same weekend my oldest daughter, my big girlie had her own set of disappointments.  She decided to audition for the youth company of our local musical theatre group.  She has had some experience in theatre through local camps and activities and loves to sing and dance.  She practised a song she had done before and even though suffering a cold she decided to go ahead with the audition.  In front of people.  Singing!  I don’t know about you but this is not something I would expose myself to.  Big girlie knows she’s not the strongest singer and after the auditions she thought her chances were pretty slim.  Still she was hopeful and upbeat.  We were to hear back the next day if there were any call backs…  *crickets*  So the next day big girlie asked if I had heard anything?  The phone didn’t ring and there had been no email when we heard my niece, her cousin got a call back (yay!).   By the end of the weekend knowing callbacks had been scheduled and completed she was resigned to the fact that she didn’t make it.  Was she disappointed?  Of course. And pretty much that was it.

While I have always supported and encouraged them in things they try,  I think I was prouder in those moments knowing that my girlies survived the pitfalls and trials of life and that they did it all on their own.   I did nothing to “save” them.  Sure I offered some “maybe next time” talk but mostly they recovered on their own, knowing it wasn’t the end of the world.  Yes, this makes me a pretty proud mama.

The Psychological Edge

Our swimmer girl has really “clicked” this year in terms of initiative in controlling her own swim career (do you call it that?)   She’s 11.   She was swimmer of the month for her group in December and that just seemed to kick her into overdrive.  She has taken it upon herself to do her own dry land training.  She created her own after school program including;  jumping jacks, sits ups,  push ups, planking  and running stairs.  Who does that?  Phew!  I’m tired just typing it.  Physically the changes in our swimmer girl in less than year is amazing.  She went from a  solid, cherub faced child to a tall, lean tween seemingly over night.

This past weekend she had a swim meet and it was her final opportunity to qualify in any events for Central Regions.  Having an older sister in swimming also has advantages.  Big girlie had an aquablade, a spiffy, “high-tech” fabric swim suit (read:expensive) that she got a few years ago.  Swimmer girl was allowed to use said aquablade and pranced around the family room feeling its slippery, sleek material.   All decked out in the aquablade and team gear my swimmer girl was all set to kick some butt in the pool.

We were cheering on side lines in our fan t-shirts, sweating like usual.  It’s amazing going to a facility with ice rinks and a pool.  Other parents are in coats and boots.  We are in shorts and t-shirts.  Day 1 – a bust.  No new PBs (personal best) but on pace with some consistent times.  I was sure the psychological effect of the suit would give swimmer girl an extra little boost.  I’m pretty sure she did too.  Day 2 was the big event.  The 100FR was what  she really wanted to qualify in and again – a bust.  Man, she looked tired and even added time.  After two days of not so great swims she had one event left, the 200FR.   No, she didn’t get the time she needed but she ended up with her only PB of the weekend and a spectacularly strong finish to end the meet on a positive note, shaving almost 6 sec. off her previous time.  Afterwards she told me she knew she was being optimistic in trying to get a qualifying time that was about 10 sec from her current time but she went for it anyway.  After what could have been a disappointing weekend my swimmer girl never ceases to amaze me with her sunny attitude.  I think her brain is wired with rainbows and unicorns.

Daily Awesome = The Pee Race

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

I realized today how silly this is and the strange things I do to amuse myself.  Am I that competitive or do other people do these kinds of things?  The pee race is a game I play quite often.  Not everyday.  I usually get a medium coffee in the morning.  Today, however was  a formerly known as x-large kind of coffee day.  When this happens I find I get down to about the last 1/4 – 1/3 of a cup at about the same time a) it’s getting cold and b) I have to pee.  I proceed to the microwave and hit about 30 secs.  Then, you guessed it.  On your mark.  Get set.  Go!  I see if I can pee and wash my hands in the amount of time it takes to get back out to my warmed up coffee.  I suppose this makes me a dork.  Today I lost!  I giggled to myself and it was kind of awesome. 

Formerly Known as X-Large

I dislike the fact that Tim Horton’s changed their cup sizes.  To to me the “new” Large does not adequately describe the amount of coffee.  In my opinion it was a lot of coffee and therefore was far more impressive when it was called X-Large.  Now I have to call it “formerly known as X-Large” coffee in order to get my point across.

Daily Awesome = Purge

How does one get so much pleasure from something so simple?  The daily awesome is not so much in the technical definition of “awesome”  of expressing awe in the remarkable or outstanding but more in the informal sense, that sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate some of the common, everyday things we take for granted.

 Today I got rid of 8 (EIGHT!) bags of used clothing, coats, boots and schools bags from when they kids were little until now.  Like a heavy sigh a big purge feels good.  We need to tackle more of course.  There is always more.  As a society we are a collector of stuff.  For now I am happy with our purge and hope the donations eventually go to a good home.

Please Kill Me

-

I believe this pic might just be self explanatory.  Fashion forward or fashion victim?

-

I might like those boots…for me!

-

Now THAT is a dapper dude.  I think those are orange rubbers.