Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a trip to the dairy farm

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to be breastfeeding our baby. There are so many benefits for both of us. It is a small sacrifice in the big picture. Day in and day out, it is a time that I can spend with the baby and enjoy. He is quite playful and comical during his feedings lately. He will play hide and seek and peek-a-boo while he takes a break. Other times, he leisurely sips away like he's enjoying his version of an aperitif. I gotta say that it isn't always wonderful being occupied for almost 8-10 times per day- especially on days when I have a huge to-do list. However, I remind myself to exercise patience, as it is one of the most natural things a mother could give to her young. I often joke when whisking the baby away in my arms while excusing myself to my guests- "sorry, time to take a trip to the dairy farm", I say.

The next time I pass a farm, I will wave and blow kisses to these wonderful and patient creatures. Geeeeeeeeez.

bug boxes

What random thoughts I have swirling in my mind. Today on my way home from a friend's, I got thinking in the car about all of the fun things I can do when I open my day-care.

Bug boxes came to mind.

I used to love collecting any little creatures from spiders to toads, ants and potato bugs and my favourite of all- salamanders! Mostly I would house them in baby jars or margarine containers. My attempt at keeping them in their natural habitat would be to yank out some strands of grass from the earth and viola! Home sweet home! I am sure it would have been more advantageous to feed them, water them and give them some breathing holes! I always forgot those details and would often wonder why they didn't live past a few hours. Poor little critters!

My biggest and most successful achievement was an old mandarin orange box that I transformed into a small landscape for my salamander collection. I put lots of dirt in there with a little pond of water. I couldn't determine their food source so I just gathered whatever I could think of that might appeal to them. Crushed up potato chips, ants, grass, beetles, etc. I looked after them for several weeks and they were thriving! I was amazed! I considered myself to be one great care-taker. It was the highlight of the summer for me. Waking up in the morning, I'd run out to greet my friends in the garage! After a few weeks, the novelty wore off and I became pre-occupied with something else. That happened a lot when I was a kid. I forgot about my friends in the orange box and God knows how long it was before I went back for them! They were all dried up and resembled the hard & stiff, plastic toy lizards I had inside. I felt so ashamed!

After remembering this story, I don't think I could ever encourage taking little creatures as hostages! I just couldn't stand it.

On to the next idea.....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

the Window Man

Okay, after much blushing, I can laugh at this! It was the highlight of my day, in fact. I am sure it wasn't for dear old Mr. Window Man! He got the surprise/shock of his life today! We have had major renovations happening at our place for the last week. Looking good but God Almighty, enough already! Please leave. Now.

We are having all of our windows, eaves, soffit and fascia replaced... blah blah blah.

There has been a man hanging around our blind-free windows for days now and I can't keep up to his movements around the house! Fischer is amused because his interpretation is that there are life-size mobiles dangling in our windows. Each time he sneaks a peek at "the Window Man", he smiles and squeaks with amusement.

Today after my shower, I thought I heard him at the back of our house. The coast was clear!You know where I am going with this. I ran with my towel wrapped around me into the bedroom to change as quickly as possible. You guessed it! Towel drops to the floor and who pipes up on a ladder? I was mortified and I am sure he was too! That'll teach him from over-staying his welcome and hanging out in people's windows all day long!

I am over it. I really am.

Monday, January 22, 2007

not as advertised

The king size bed we bought the other day was tested out today! It failed miserably! My husband was drawn to this bed because it promised for a steady and solid sleep... no waking from your wife's tossing and turning, wine drinking or bowling tournaments. You see, the commercial demonstrates a bowling ball being tossed down onto the mattress and the sleeper remains un-disturbed. The memory foam is supposed to soften the fall or commotion. The other demonstration was a wine glass full of red wine sitting on the bed while a woman jumps up and down on the bed like a lunatic- the glass remains full!

Tonight, I wanted to test my own theories about this bed and prove my husband wrong! We weren't brave enough to sip wine in bed so I asked him to go and get us two big bowls of cereal- corn pops to be exact! We never eat sugar cereal but it was a special event to be had in our new bed! Picture this- there we were, sitting on the bed, taking turns eating our corn pops while the other one bounced on the bed. Result- never cry over spilt milk, I tell you!

Not as advertised, I am afraid. Nevertheless, a comfortable night's sleep still awaits us.

Good night!

Friday, January 19, 2007

men and their "BIG" ideas

I was talked into a king size bed by my hubby this week. Price tag- you don't wanna know! I mean, this was a small fortune but I have been assured that we won't have to buy another one for some time. I should think not! If one part of the bed suddenly gives, we have plenty of mattress to last us a life-time!

Reasons I am not convinced this was a good idea:

a) I am not sure if I will ever get used to having a step-stool beside my bed
b) I won't be able to afford new sheets. We better take care of the ones we bought and sleep on bare mattress when they're in the wash!
c) I already have "bed head" in the morning, let alone the wind blown look because the ceiling fan suddenly feels really close!
d) My husband was actually disappointed when he saw it because he thought it would be bigger- OMG! The man wants the bed to accommodate his wing span!
e) Not only is there plenty of room for the both of us, G. can have a harem and be the big Babba! NOT going to happen. Ever.
f) I have lost my night-table because there is no space left in the room. You walk in to one big BED-ROOM literally. It is a room with a BED. That's it. Pretty much.

Enough reasons? Ahhhhhh!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Sister

I have never had someone write a story about me. Today, I checked my sister's blog and there it was. I have asked other family members if I can display some of their writing here because it seems to be something a few of us enjoy. To reflect and to write.

I share this with you not in an attempt to "self congratulate" but rather to show you just how wonderful it is to have someone know you completely like only a sister could. In reading this, I also have come to understand that I guess we really do develop our personalities at a young age and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Thanks Care for giving me a tender glimpse of what it was like growing up with me. WOW. I love you forever and a day.

Some siblings don't find friendship and unconditional love in their lot, in eachother. But I am a lucky one. I have. It is strong bond with my one and only. Her name is Laura. Isn't that a pretty name? Old fashioned but Classic. Humble but Elegant. Welcoming and Down to Earth. And named after the middle name of our Grandmother. So she is well named. As a little girl, I thought of her as my own dolly much of the time,Thumbalina as my Mom called her. A doll that I could feed real pie to, and she loved it. And so the nickname PieFace from our Dad.

I remember right from the beginning of her. I remember she smiled easily and her face always looked happy. Even when she cried, she'd smile. I remember her eyes welling up when she was happy to see me. Thankfully, that was often. And for some strange reason I seemed to understand what that was back then,that it was happiness. I knew she was happy and I 'd tell her that..." Yes, your happy to see me, aren't you Laura? "Lunch times of chicken noodle soup in pink plastic bowls,and Laura having to be tied into the big kids chair is a vision I still recall easily. And she was always braver than I for being the younger of the two of us. She jokes about me scaring her with the "hamburgler"but honestly, she wasn't afraid of much. When I was too chicken to go down the basement and get potatoes from the fruit cellar, I could always convince her to do it for me. Convincing her was usually in the form of a threat to tell about her and Stefan kissing,but it saved me many times from having to go down those stairs and it worked for years...until she confessed to our mother that she kissed that Stefan.

For years we abandoned our own rooms and slept in the spare room together. Again, I was a chicken. I'd beg her to sleep in the spare room just one more night. And she always did. And she put up with a lot, I peed the bed till I was 11. I only remember her complaining once and that was the time I blamed her for the wet bed.

Laura was a bit of a tomboy growing up. Was never fond of hair brushings usually quite dirty from a full day of outside play and just ...always up to things. If she wasn't clearing the nicknacks out of my room thinking I'd never notice them in her room, she'd have some concoction in the blender, some lost animal hidden in her room, or she was organizing some "Main Event" andputting all her little friends to work while she gave orders.

She'd have a new friend daily. She could meet a new friend anywhere. At the park, bike riding or just walking up that long street Norway Ave. but she'd bring them home for supper. And she'd sit smiling from ear to ear at them at the supper table, telling stories and offering them her last bite of food. She was good friend with many, many of them. The kind of kid that would smile at you with a fondness in her eye that made you feel like you were the best friend ever. She still has that little Beav smile,the one where her eyebrow raises just a tad and her cheeks indent in the lower corners.Yes, I know my sister well, from her smile right down to her feet.

Scavenger hunts,hikes that lasted until dark,and night long games of hide and seekand kick baseball,sleepovers and theme parties were part of her personality. And still are. To me, Laura was a little girl that you had to call 20 times to come in for supper,she never sat still to eat proper,and in minutes she was out playing again. She was extremely easy going most times but she had a temper and could beat the molasses out of me. I deserved it becausefor some reason I got a kick out of teasing her. It was usually about her height, she was always the tallest girl in her class or her big feet ( I am sooo sorry for that Laura). I'd tease her until she got to the point of her red explosive face and then I regretted it. A straight and thorough hair pulling (her famous move)never stopped me from egging her on the next day though so, like I said I deserved it.

She was always a helper of mankind from a very younge age. She loved older people, and animals and earthy things for as long as I can remember. I am quite sure she would still climb a tree in a dress. She has always been strong and brave,and would stand up to anyone,or any cause she believed in. She was a born leader. As she grew up,her fiesty stayed but sometimes bossy personality softened. It only comes out when experiencing bad service or injustice towards her fellow man. She is still full of mischief andonly last week scared the molasses of out of my son,just for kicks.

She learns best hands on, by doing it, not being told how to do it. But rolling up her sleeves and trial and error. She is a wife and a mother now. And a great one. But she is so, still that little girl,that loved playing tricks,getting dirty,and eating pie, one sliver of each kind.
And being the very best person she knows how to be. Herself.
By Carrie

Sunday, January 14, 2007

what do you wanna be when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to be.....

Well, for most of us this sentence isn't realized. It is put off, second guessed, ruled out and other times ridiculed or ignored. For others, it gets tweaked a bit and only a select few really become that person we wanted to be when we grew up. I know for me this changed a lot through the years but the general theme was to work with people and to serve them well in some small way.

When I was a little girl, aside from the typical "I wanna be a teacher or veterinarian", I knew that I wanted to try to make a difference in people's lives. I used to say "I want to help people with their problems", not knowing the precise title or occupation that entailed.

Later, I learned this resembled the occupation of a social service worker but it could also mean family member or friend because they, too, need to be helped out with their problems (I did too at the best of times).

I suppose you could say I followed my dream. I know some people felt I wouldn't be compensated well enough from a financial stand-point to deal with such challenges. My response - that's not what this was about. It was to help people. However, in hindsight, the people I worked with actually "helped" me. They helped me find my way.

I learned to be humble. I learned compassion. I learned about human nature in all of its glory and defeat. I learned best by doing, be seeing, by witnessing, by listening. I began my career wanting to save the world. I took on way too much at times, I lost lots of sleep, I shed tears, I had trouble drawing clear boundaries when I wanted to go to the endth for people. I learned about people's struggles with codependency, healing and truth. I learned that we really are equals in this world - the same vulnerable human beings who fear the same things and want the same things out of life. I learned that people's choices were their own and most importantly, I had to learn that it really wasn't about me.

I gave people their power back. I put it back in their laps when they wanted me to make their decisions for them, I held their hand when they faced their fears, I celebrated them when they rose to the occasion of life and moved out of the darkness. I waved goodbye when it was time and I was a refined "ice breaker". I was just my plain old real self and it worked with most people. I learned to have a reliable sense of humour when things went array and I learned to forgive myself when I made mistakes.

Eventually, I went from amateur and naive helper of people to a more self-assured and seasoned veteran. I learned when to say yes and when to say no and when to walk away from situations that may put me at risk.

I have been afforded the opportunity to have worked with over 1000 people in my career! I have been threatened a dozen times, sworn at frequently but hugged more often. Now I have decided it's time to hang up my hat and call it a day.

"If you love and serve man, you cannot, by any hiding or stratagem, escape remuneration".
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feeding Time!!

Today after getting a pep talk and some solid advice from my best friend Siobbhan (Godess and Mother of two), I arrived at a good conclusion- it's time. The baby has put me through the ringer the last week waking up through the night and re-claiming newborn status with the need to be fed every two hours!! Cluster feeding aka growth spurt for this little babe. I am persevering but I think this baby is trying to tell us something- he needs more!! We gave him his first taste of cereal tonight and boy did he love it! He was so excited he went cross-eyed and squeeled with delight. Furthermore, he did not reject it and we couldn't get the spoon in his mouth quick enough. As you can see from the pictures, it was not long before he took over. The spoon was in his hand as he smothered it all over his face mostly but eventually it made it to its destination! Yummy for him and so delightful to watch!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

lions and tigers and bears

The Wizard of Oz is my favourite movie of all times. I don't think it will ever be replaced.
The singing, the dancing, the performing, the magic of it all.

As I have said before, if I were any one of these characters, I would play the lion and ask for courage. Why? Everyone needs a great dose of courage in this life.

Sometimes I am afraid of my own shadow and its capabilities. I have to ponder things from all angles and analyze the molasses of out it. (note: I am trying to use more appropriate language since it's so easy to use filler words like crap- ooops, I said it).

May I trust my gut more. A recent study said you really should go with what your gut tells you. Often times, people ignore what their instincts have told them. I will listen to you more, gut. I promise. You are right most times. I value you.

Sometimes I fear the unknown. What does it matter- it's going to happen anyway! Instead, may I try to embrace the unknown and know that I have more control over my own outcomes than I realize. I must breathe good things and feel good things and they will happen. Forget about wasting my money on fortune tellers, I may get good enough and be able to forecast my own fate. In addition, may I just enjoy the here and now. Often times, I look way too far ahead. By the time I get actually physically get to that time, I am way past that concern and it's irrelevant. I have moved onto other things.

Most times I fear loss. This is a big one. I must work really hard at this. Why is it that I think about this way too much? I know it's big for most people but it's really big for me. Some things we just don't have control over and the inevitable happens. We loose things that matter to us- people and things. People obviously being the important one here. If I could gather up all of the courage from OZ, I would get better at this. It will take some time.

I will just follow the yellow brick road and find me some courage.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

the price of a miracle

I stared at the shoes on the shelf in front of me. "...none of these are Bass Weejuns, Dad!" I exclaimed. "Well, there's plenty of choice here", he said. "Pick one that looks like them - these are penny loafers."

I was feeling so frustrated, so angry, so humiliated. Why did I have to have wider feet than the average gal. Why did I have to shop in an old lady's shoe store - Naturalizer's was not the place I wanted to be!

I apprehensively selected a black pair of "fake" penny loafers. I will be the laughing stock of the school, I imagined. We left the store and my stomach began to ache as I anticipated the thought of having to actually wear the darn things.

Next day comes. I wear my winter boots and shove the new shoes into my knapsack. I get on the bus and sit beside my friend Sandy. I began telling her the story as I am distracted mid-sentence. There across from me is a preppy girl sitting with her legs crossed. On foot- the shiniest, most beautiful pair of new Bass Weejuns. They were burgundy with tassels. I stared at them in awe, as I told my friend the saga of my new fake shoes. She and I both looked down at our feet and up again at each other and smiled. Almost a reassuring smile that said "We're in this together." Neither of us had an authentic pair of Weejuns.

I arrived at my locker- Brebeuf High School. Grade nine. Students distracted and rushing the halls, I pulled on the shoes and threw my boots into my locker. I began walking. If there was any way I could have hid my feet, I would have. They felt like they were 5 feet long. All I could see were my sorry looking shoes. I suddenly felt weak. I quickly walked into my home-room class. Science. We had lab seats - you know, high stools. Great, I now had to sit with them displayed so the whole world could see them! I put my head down until the teacher commenced our lab lesson. The end of the day drew near and I was longing to be back at my locker switching into my boots for the long bus ride home. It had been a very long day. Thank God, that cute Grade 10 guy Sean didn't come to class today. I seek him out always and today I played it real low key.

Sandy and I hopped on the bus and before I knew it, it was time to say good-bye. My stop was next so I stood at the bus door talking to her about our plans for the upcoming dance. There was no way I would wear these shoes to the dance. School was bad enough. I waved good-bye and off I went. I walked home from the bus stop practically dragging my knapsack behind. I still had my lunch from today. There was no way I had any appetite. Maybe I would go on a hunger strike to prove a point to my Dad that this was one of the most devastating experiences in my life. Maybe he would give in and buy me a new pair of shoes.

The next day came. I went through the motions. I never did homework in the ninth grade so it was not abnormal to leave my knapsack untouched in the evenings. Something was different. As I pulled out my lunch from the day before and replaced it with my new lunch, I peered inside. "Wait a minute," I said to myself. I was missing a shoe. This couldn't be! Maybe it fell out onto the floor as I emptied it. I looked around. Panic mixed with excitement. The shoe was gone!! I now had only one terrible shoe. I was going to be late for the bus! I had to think quick. I grabbed for another pair out of the closet and rushed out the door. I would look for the shoe after school. I am sure it will turn up.

Days went by and the shoe was still missing in action. My father glared at me from the corner of his eye in disbelief and did not buy my story- AT ALL. How could I have lost one shoe? I wondered the same thing. I had very mixed emotions. My father knew how much I hated those shoes but I knew they weren't cheap. I felt bad. I felt worried. I felt happy. I felt relieved. Months passed and the shoe was never found. It must have fallen out of my knapsack when I was walking home on that infamous day. Someone was looking out for me. It was a miracle but it left me feeling somewhat torn. My credibility remained in question but I really did loose that shoe- innocently at that.

The price of a miracle, I suppose.

Friday, January 05, 2007


"There's no place like home" - Judy Garland

I am proud to say that the Steeltown is my home-town. I moved away six years ago but it's only been recently that I view Hamilton in a different light. I have many memories of the city. Mostly good but some bad. When I left, I felt it was time to experience life outside the place that had been home to me for 26 years. I have no regrets but I do get home sick from time to time. Though I still remain in Southern Ontario and not too far from home, I crave spontaneous moments with family and friends. I used to love dropping in to see people on a whim, going for coffee with a friend I bumped into at the mall or calling my mom crying that I had a bad day and she would be racing over to rescue me in a moment's notice. Now visits have to be much more coordinated. The benefit of living away is that you can have ample amounts of slumber parties though and be an overnight guest often. It is great fun!

For a time, my heart-strings were often tugged at when I returned to the city. I would reach my destinations and complete any business or visiting I had and then it would be time to depart. I would rarely just cruise around because there were so many places that would remind me of this memory or that person and so much has changed. It would be difficult to go down memory lane - probably because I just wasn't ready for it. I knew the time would come.

This past week, I needed a fix. January does this to me. It is often a very reflective and sentimental month for me. I imagine because we have entered a new year.

I drove around the city yesterday from west to east, north to south. Though it was just baby and I on this joy ride and he didn't understand much, I still talked aloud and narrated a few points of interest. I savoured the ride. I smiled most of the time. I actually laughed out loud a few times too. I also cried. Alot in fact. Not tears of sorrow but just plain old thankfulness. I passed a bus stop where I had my first kiss with my first love. A bench where I sat and shared skittles with a homeless man named. A park where I attended my first outdoor music concert without adult supervision- Jane Sibery at the Festival of Friends. We got her autograph and my sister cried! The hospital that I was born which overlooks the city. The cute little house where my Dad was raised in the north end. I could still see my Grandmother on the porch waving goodbye. The old restaurant my parents used to run on Barton Street. The old Consumer's Distributing Store where I would pick up the catalogues for my "Wish List" every year. The small street that I thought was named after my Uncle Lorne. The hill that my best friend and I would zoom down on our crazy carpets. It seemed so big back then! I also passed the cemetary where some of my friends and family are laid to rest. I passed my old Catholic Girls High School that has now been converted into a nursing home. Oh my goodness, the old variety store that I used to buy bags of penny candy was now boarded up. Oh there's that old pizzeria where my sister and I used to work and where she met her high school sweetheart and future husband. I could smell the yummy italian aroma as I drove by. I passed the market that I occassionally used to go to with my Grandma on Saturday mornings. The bar that I used to frequent with many good friends on Friday nights is still there. The college that I attended for two years has expanded. So many memories. So many great moments in my home-town. A place I will love returning to often. A place I will always call "home."

Thank you Hamilton. You have been good to me.

Monday, January 01, 2007

our planet, our earth...

January always has me thinking about the bigger picture for some reason. Our world and our place in it. Have you ever begun to imagine that for every care or concern we own, there are a million, trillion other ones being created in the minds of others outside of ourselves?

It is easy to be self-consumed. Good or bad. We seem to think we have the best of blessings and the worst of sorrows. This blog is a perfect example. While I use it to get things off my chest, I always use it as a forum to pronounce my gratitudes, my fears and my cares in the world. Today I will think for one moment outside of myself. If we all did this, that is, to think outside of ourselves for one given moment, what would that amount to?

It would be a whole lot of energy used towards expanding our level of consciousness. Sometimes its easier to keep our world small and simple because its safer. I encourage you to keep doing that because I think if we allowed the big picture to stare us in the face for too long, we would all go mad.

Look for beautiful things to surround yourself with. Be gracious. Be kind. Most of all, take some time to contribute to the greater good though. If we all make an effort to improve our planet, perhaps it will pay off a little bit.

Who am I?

I am a woman. I am someone's daughter. I am a baby boy's mother. I am a taurus. I am loyal but sometimes stubborn. I like to daydream. I am mostly joyful. I am a lover of the outdoors, wildlife, art, music and babies. I am a believer. I am a good cook, housekeeper and play-mate. I have a dislike for small talk and left-overs. My passion for justice can sometimes be exhausting. My mom says I am her baby. I feel discouraged about the way the world is going. I feel excited about chocolate and what I want out of life. I feel blessed for having an amusing family and some pretty fascinating friends. I am fearful of loss. I am grateful for knowing peace and love. I am saddened by violence but encouraged by compassion. I am inconsistent at times. I am always hopeful. I am still afraid of the "boogey man." I love cheesey pizza too much. I enjoy picnics in the park. I love the shade but adore the sunshine. I ride my bicycle with no hands sometimes. I smile alot and try not too frown too often. I am a student of life. I love ice-cream but I am lactose intolerant. I still eat it though once in a while. I could loose a few pounds but I am strong. I like myself. I miss my dog and my cat. I was married once before. I have no regrets. I am married again. This time I am committed to "for better or for worse" and everything beautiful in between. My dad says as a kid, I was a defender of the underdog. I still am. I don't read enough but when I do, I savour the last chapter and grieve the end of the book for a couple of days before I start a new one. I learn best by doing. I fall alot but I always get up, dust myself off and try again. I love to dance. I have suffered from depression. I believe in earth angels. I have one very charasmatic sister. I don't save money very well but I live well within my means. I enjoy food and wine and good company. I love to hear stories- especially true ones. I am not always on time. I worry too much sometimes. I respect my elders. I love whole heartedly. I try to speak less and listen more. I hate shopping for clothes but love shopping for anything else! I love pottery. I respect the environment. I answer to Pie-face, Beav, Lola, Girlee and Ms. Sensible Shoes.

Nice to meet you 2007

If 2007 were in fact a person this is what I would say to him/her. Hello 2007, it's very nice to meet you.

Though I don't know you very well yet, I consider you to be very important in my life. I hope you are generous, compassionate, thoughtful, wise, conscientious and fortifying to people I love. I hope you afford us lots of time to get to know you before you are gone and replaced by someone called 2008. I hope you can be well spent and economical. I hope you are gentle with people's hearts. I hope you are filled with calm and splendor.

I hope we can make beautiful memories with you 2007.

Happy travels. May your journey be bright!