Monday, January 30, 2006


When my sister asked me if I wanted to go through some of the clothes she'd received as hand-me-downs (expensive, brand-name clothes, I might add) to see if I needed or wanted any of them, I said "no thank you. I have enough clothes."

Wow! Enough. I truly have enough. It was good to say those words and realize that they were true. Not just in the area of clothes, either. It's true for furniture, kitchen gadgets, and all kinds of other stuff too. I have enough.

Oh sure, if I started to think of it, I could find things I'd LIKE, but even that list isn't very long right now. I feel content with what I have. My closets are full enough, my cupboards are full enough, my house is full enough.

It's a good feeling - to realize that you are content. It helps that I've made a decision to not bring anything into my house unless I am prepared to get rid of the same number of things from what's already there. It makes me think twice about accepting things - even the things people give me. It's a zero sum game - acquisitions in equals dispersements out.

Yes, I have enough.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Said between sobs while she wanders around the house naked after her sister beat her into the bathtub... "I'm going to get my Barbie suitcase," sob, "and I'm going to pack it and move somewhere where I NEVER have to take baths AGAIN!" sob

I've never had a kid who threatens to move away from home as often as she does, and she's only three. And the scary thing is, sometimes I think she'd actually DO IT! Fortunately, tonight's not the night, because she's now cozy and clean in her pajamas, still in my house. Whew!

(If anyone sees a three year old wandering past their house with a Barbie suitcase please send her home.)

Sometimes it just sneaks up on you

Sometimes, when you’re driving home in the dark, on the way home from your mom’s house where you’ve heard one too many “God’s truth” opinions voiced, the kids are laughing and playing “hats over” in the back seat of the car, it hits you and all you can do is let the tears flow because you remember a moment, a conversation, a pat on the shoulder, and you long to have him back.

This time, it was the election. I wanted to hear his opinion. I wanted to see him reading his Maclean’s magazine and wondering what might be in store for our country this time around. I wanted the voice of a man who liked to listen to other peoples’ opinions, challenge them, disagree with them perhaps, yet always respect them deeply. I wanted to thank him for raising me to have an opinion, a voice, and the confidence to believe in it even if it was different from his own.

I wanted it so badly I could almost taste it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

You know what's embarrassing?

When you want to make a treat for the kids, and you make something called "So easy they're embarrassing squares" and you screw it up. Now THAT'S embarrassing.

Guess I should have paid more attention to Ms. Taylor back in Junior High home ec. class. :-(

Monday, January 23, 2006

Weekend bits

- Maddie had her first big-girl sleepover last night. At her Mémère and Pépère’s house (Marcel’s parents). Her first time alone. No sisters to keep her company. She was so excited when we left – grinning broadly at her independence. I think it was harder on the rest of the family than it was on her. When we got home, and her big sisters were getting ready for bed, Julie came downstairs crying because she missed her little sister. Sweet :-)

- We went skating on Sunday. For a Canadian family, we’ve been sadly remiss at not getting our kids on skates earlier in their lives. Nikki and Julie can barely skate. Julie started taking lessons last week, because she thinks she wants to play hockey next year (it’s all part of her “wear black, play drums, don’t give a hoot about fashion” attempt at establishing her identity). Unfortunately, though Julie’s been taking lessons for a couple of weeks, Nikki was still more natural on the ice. Though she’s not a sports nut, Nikki has a more natural tendency for athletics than Julie.

- We rented “March of the Penguins” this week. Nikki’s homework over the weekend was to write a movie review, and that’s what she picked. Not a bad pick, I’d say! We’d seen most of it at Christmas time, but missed the last 15 minutes. It’s an incredible movie. And the extra documentary (about the filming of it) on the disc is almost as good as the main movie.

- I finished reading “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” last night. I got it for Christmas (okay, so I bought it for myself, wrapped it, and put it under the tree to convince the girls Marcel bought it for me). Anne Rice took a dramatic departure from vampires and wrote a fictional account of Jesus Christ’s life as a seven year old (after her own conversion experience). It’s not riveting, but it’s certainly interesting enough to make it worth the effort. If nothing else, it was a mind-expanding experience trying to comprehend what Jesus went through as he grew up and discovered the incredible mission he had in life.

- Sometimes I hate Saturdays. I usually have so many expectations of getting all kinds of things accomplished on Saturdays, and more often than not, I go to bed exhausted because I’ve been going non-stop, and yet I’m disappointed because I have so little to show for it. This Saturday was no exception. All day, my goal was to sew the cushion covers for the chair in Nikki’s room. But I had to clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, feed the kids, make sure the girls did their chores, take Julie to skating, etc., etc. first. At 8:00 at night, I finally sat down to sew. I got one cushion cover done before I was too exhausted to sew any more. Maybe next Saturday…(BUT at least my bathrooms are both clean. Or they WERE until last night when the girls brushed their teeth and neglected to clean up the toothpaste spots.)

- NO MORE ELECTION CAMPAIGNS!! Yay! Today is the election and so we no longer need to listen to the election promises, the attack ads, the political pundits, the predictions, etc., etc.

- I find myself strangely happy that we’ve finally returned to more normal weather around here. It’s SUPPOSED to be cold and sunny in January. Mild, cloudy weather was starting to feel just a little too strange for me. Bundling up in long underwear, head bands, hoods, and mitts just feels more natural. And Maddie’s rosy cheeks after an hour playing in the snow just looked the way a Canadian kid is SUPPOSED to look in the middle of January. (That’s not to say I want to settle into a deepfreeze of minus 30 for the next 3 months!) Of course, it’s supposed to be plus 3 today, so it doesn’t seem we’ve entirely normalized yet.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's there, it's there!

As of today, I can proudly say "I have been published in the Globe and Mail." Yup, my article is on page A20. Check it out if you happen to be wandering past a news stand today (in Canada, that is). You can read it online here, but since most of you have already had a chance to read it in my blog, you don't have to feel obligated to read it twice. It IS kinda fun to see it on a page with the Globe's banner across the top, though :-) Okay, so I'm a tad narcissistic - I like to see my name in print!

I was secretly hoping it would appear in Monday's paper, when I was flying to and from Calgary. I've always had this little fantasy of being on a plane and looking across at the person next to me to see that they were reading something I'd written. Casually, because they didn't know I was the author, I'd make reference to the article or book and say "so, what did you think?" In my fantasy, they would ALWAYS wax poetic about how brilliant the writer was, etc., etc. (Hey, it's MY fantasy and I can MAKE people cooperate!)

So on Monday, when the person next to me started perusing his Globe, I eagerly anticipated him turning to the back page where the Facts and Arguments section always appears. (It was a 7:00 a.m. flight, and I didn't know yet whether it was there or not.) I prayed to the little fantasy gods for it to appear, but the fantasy gods must have been distracted working on Stephen Harper's fantasy because it wasn't there. (For my non-Canadian readers - it appears ol' Steve will be our next Prime Minister.)

Oh well, I'll just have to assume that SOMEWHERE in the Canadian skies, SOMEONE is reading my article and smiling. :-)

Note: In the editing process, they screwed up one of my sentences so that it means something slightly different from what I intended, but I'll forgive them and just continue to bask in my glow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just a little fun

Here's what happens when you let 8 & 9 year olds at your toes...

And here's what happens when you let a 3 year old at your digital camera...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

In sickness and in health

Warning: this post may cross the line into "too much information".

For more than twelve years now, whenever I get sick, Marcel has stood above me, often with his hand on my back, while I vomit violently into the toilet. It's not a pretty sight - believe me. (Is it EVER pretty to watch someone vomit?) And yet, he stands there patiently, holding me up if he needs to, carressing my back to let me know I'm supported.

Why does he stand and watch me? Well, I have a strange tendency to pass out when I vomit. I'm not sure why. The doctors aren't even sure why. I just do it, and then I wake up on the bathroom floor disoriented and often messy. My dad did it too. I guess it's hereditary. I got a few traits from my dad - most of them I'm proud of - but this is one I could have done without.

This weekend was no exception. He heard me, late last night, and he ran up the stairs to take his place behind me. Twice. Fortunately, I didn't end up on the floor.

Sometimes, we take each other for granted. Like every married couple, I suppose. Sometimes, we go for stretches where we forget to be nice to each other. Sometimes we focus so much energy on the kids that we forget to save any for each other. But then I get sick, or hit a bump in the road, and I remember why I love him.

I can't take that for granted. I can't just overlook the fact that he has had to watch this year after year, and he never complains.

He's my man. He picks me up off the floor when I need it. He cleans me up when I get messy. He sticks by me. For that, and for all those other things he does for me, I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Thanks, buddy.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I just got word that my article on polarization (see post below) will be published in the Globe and Mail - Canada's major national paper! Look for it in "Facts and Arguments" sometime next week (I'll let you know when it's there).

Okay, I'll admit it - I'm a little giddy. I've been published several times, but this is the first time in a national publication of this magnitude. My simple little words will reach over 360,000 households!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I had to do a little blurb for church last Sunday, and after I did it, I kept thinking about the topic I'd chosen - polarization. I ended up writing this article...

Polarization, Politics, and People

“Taxes would be lower if you voted for us.” “We won’t destroy the surplus like the other party would.” “We’re not corrupt like the other party.” “They’re making empty promises – we’re not.”

We’ve heard all the rhetoric. It’s the same every time there’s an election. We’re good – they’re bad. They’ll destroy the country – we’ll build it up. We’ll look after you – they’ll let you fumble through life alone and abandoned. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Here’s what I hate about election time – all these campaigns, the debates, the speeches, the brochures, the websites, the townhalls – they all promote one thing. Polarization. Almost every word out of the campaigners’ mouths is an attempt to distance their own political party from the other political parties. The golden rule of every campaigner is “at all costs, find a way to stand out above the crowd.” Take no prisoners, leave no stone unturned, don’t worry about who you offend along the way – just get it done and come out on top. In this campaign, it seems especially nasty, because parties are not only distancing themselves from each other, they’re also making a point of distancing themselves from the former leadership of their own parties.

It’s not just campaign time either (although that’s when it’s most accentuated). Watch the House of Commons in session some time and you’ll see it there too – the name-calling, the blame games, the nasty passive-aggressive (or downright aggressive) attempts to besmirch their opponents. And, to some degree, we as the Canadian public get on board and polarize ourselves against our neighbours and friends too, simply because we vote for a different party.

What I’d like to know is… isn’t there a better way to run this country? Do we have to build our country on polarization? Shouldn’t Canada’s international reputation as polite peacemakers reflect our government as well? Do governments HAVE to resort to oppositional tactics to accomplish anything good in this country?

Recently, I read an article in Time Magazine that gave me some glimmer of hope that, at least for some things, polarization doesn’t need to be the order of the day. In the article, it tells of how Former President George Bush (senior) and Former President Clinton are working together to mobilize the American public toward a charitable response to last year’s tsunami and hurricane Katrina. An interesting thing happened along the way – the two presidents, on opposite sides of the political arena, actually discovered they LIKED each other and a friendship developed. They dine together occasionally (even when the media cameras aren’t following them), and they take boat rides on Former President Bush’s speed boat. The photos connected to the article show a congenial pair, each of them reaching out at some point in the conversation to pat the other one’s knee.

Another interesting thing started happening – the American public started to respond to their requests, not because of the power of persuasion of the two former politicians, but because there was something about the collaborative effort and the resulting friendship that appealed to people. If it’s possible for two political opponents, who campaigned against each other, to work together and become friends, than there’s still something good about the world. Yes, it’s entirely possible that the whole thing is a well-crafted public relations scheme, but there’s a part of me that really wants to believe that relationships can bridge the gap between political opinions.

As a manager, I’ve done a fair bit of hiring to fill positions in various organizations. Every time I go through the hiring process, one of my top priorities is teamwork - the successful candidate must show an ability to work effectively in a team. Will you support your other team members? Do you contribute to group effort and collaboration? Do you build people up rather than tearing them down? Do you “play well in the sandbox”? Potential employees don’t have to share exactly the same opinion as the other members of the team (in fact, it’s often better if they don’t), but they DO need to figure out ways of working together.

On January 23, wouldn’t it be revolutionary if we could elect the party that shows the best efforts in collaboration, bridge-building, and teamwork? Wouldn’t it say something good about our country if our government was known for its ability to contribute to the strength of the country and to other countries by the principles of teamwork?

Oh, I like healthy debate and productive discourse as much as the next person. I like the sharing of ideas and the contribution of varying views. It’s an important part of the process of separating the “wheat from the chaff” – even in an effective team. But at the end of the day, when the debate has been completed, I want the players to be able to say “I may not agree fully with the conclusion, but I will support it for the good of my country”.

I suppose it wouldn’t make for very interesting campaign promises – “If you elect me, I promise to find ways to work with the opposition and the other members of my party to build the best country we can build” or “Vote for me and you vote for collaboration”. I suppose it’s a little watered down, but maybe it would promote a new brand of government – one that we could all believe in.

Maybe if we all approached this campaign as managers of our country, trying to hire the best employees for the job, we’d ask interview questions at the townhalls and debates that would help us determine which of our candidates “plays well with others”. I don’t know about you, but I’d welcome a government that didn’t resort to name calling and blame games. Let’s hear it for teamwork!

Monday, January 09, 2006

New look

I thought if I gave my blog a new look, it might inspire me to write something. So far... nothing.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So soon?

Oh dear. It’s only January 4, the weather is still quite lovely (though I’d sure like to see the sun for a change), and yet I’m getting hit with a serious case of the January blahs. It’s been hard getting back to work after a nice holiday. My energy is sapped, I can hardly drag my body out of bed in the morning, I feel unmotivated and uninspired, and I’ve succumbed to the temptation of the “wishes”.

I wish I had a winter holiday to look forward to. Somewhere warm and sunny.
I wish Christmas vacation weren’t over and I could be at home with my kids.
I wish I could quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom.
I wish I could make a decent living as a freelance writer. Or consultant.
I wish I could motivate myself to exercise so I’d have more energy.
I wish I could stay in bed in the morning instead of responding to the alarm.
I wish I didn’t have to be a slave to the pay cheque.
I wish I didn’t eat so much when I’m feeling blue.
I wish I felt more inspired.
I wish something exciting would happen so I’d feel invigorated for awhile.
I wish the sun would come out.
I wish…
I wish…

Oh well. It’s no use wishing. This is my life, this is what I’ve got for now and not much is going to change in the near future. Just gotta suck it up and make the best of it. I suppose there ARE some things I could change – like eating less and exercising more – but I’m too busy wallowing in self pity to try.

Yeah, yeah, I know I should count my blessings, it could be worse, “always look on the bright side”, blah, blah, blah. Spare me the platitudes – I just wanna wallow for awhile. I’ll be better soon… like maybe March.