Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beware Montreal ~ This is NOT the Food You're Looking For!

I have to say that in our line of work and spending the amount of time immersed in social media that we do in the course of a day that we see and hear a lot of things.  Like with most things, some of those things make you laugh, others make you cry and then there are some things that once you see, compel you to want to take action -- to do SOMETHING -- to make things right.  Such injustices should not be allowed to continue.  Right? 

I have seen some truly magical things occur on Facebook over the last year or so.  Animals returned to their owners, missing kids and runaways brought home safely,  criminals caught and huge amounts of awareness and community support to be shared.  Similarly the same is also true of customer complaint and outrage.  The old adage of she told two friends, and so on and so on still holds true – only now when two friends are told the echoes march around the world at rapid pace.  It never ceases to amaze me the truly stupid things that people do and actually expect that nothing will ever come of it.  Customer Service, much like common sense seems to be a really selective thing in our current population.  Another one of those things I just cannot explain but it drives me batty. In any case, I digress..

A good friend of mine shared a story, that a friend had shared with her regarding a recent visit to a local restaurant. As it goes, The party was 2 adults, 2 children, and 2 toddlers.  They watched the rude hostess set a table for 4 with 6 places.  When they asked for an additional table due to space constraints she was very visibly annoyed to have been asked.  (The restaurant was not busy, or full – it was suggested perhaps a 60-70% empty ratio at the time) so there should have been no reason why this simple request could not have been accommodated with little effort.

Sometime later a waitress finally came to take their order.  It was explained that both the Mom and one of the small children had some dietary restrictions due to their celiac disease in that they could not eat gluten.  While in the past they had been accommodated without any incident today they were told that what was on the menu was all that they had.  The family placed their order for the 4, while options for the two were considered.  After waiting 20 minutes the waitress comes back and is again asked if there is anything she might do – perhaps a plain chicken breast, something – ANYTHING – the kids are hungry.  To which she was told that there was nothing. 

Speaking to the store manage was of no help either.  After watching the waitress essentially insult her to the manager in plain view of the customer and other patrons the manager attends the table with what was described as a ridiculous smile to ask what’s going on.  The problem is once again explained, enunciating that previous visits to this particular restaurant have been accommodating and without any such difficulty. 

The manager tells the family that they don’t serve people with allergies here.  Mom explains that they don’t have allergies, that once again it’s a disease called celiac, and that they cannot eat gluten products.  She wasn’t even allowed to finish her sentence when she was sternly reminded that “We do not take any chances whatsoever and won’t serve people with allergies.”
As the family got up to leave the manager says “Sorry about that”, and the aforementioned rude hostess yells after them “Have a good Day”.  

I should point out here that a tab for a 6 person meal could  easily have netted the restaurant a sizeable sum, plus tips ~ but for a little consideration to food sensitivities this family with small hungry children to feed was turned away because nobody wanted to make a little extra effort.  Honestly, if their policy is truly to be unwavering in accommodating their clientele shouldn’t there be some kind of signage to indicate this?  Perhaps a big sign that says “No Substitutions” at the very least – but certainly something that would indicate on the first steps in the door that this is not a place where there is any wiggle room for change. 

This restaurant “Scores Vaudreuil” is in the Montreal area, but honestly it could have been anywhere.  Without trying particularly hard I can think of several friends who for a variety of reasons have dietary restrictions, myself included.  While every effort is made to make good choices for ourselves and our families there will always be those times when you want to go out for a treat, or life brings you out and about when you’d normally have been home.  Surely the kind folks in the SERVICE industry would be a little more accommodating of the people they serve?  Apparently not.   

Mom was happy to later report that another local restaurant “St. Hubert Vaudreuil” located just off Charles Street happily offers a “Gluten Free Menu” at the same cost as their regular meals.  They have been educated in contamination and even took the time to warn of possible cross contaminations.  Thumbs Up for St. Hubert Vaudreuil!

Since hearing of this story, news of the incident has been circulating around the social networks as we knew it would.  Another Mom shared an experience of the same restaurant wanting to charge the woman an additional $4 to take home a portion of her quarter chicken dinner that she hadn’t been able to finish.  The meal had already been paid for, and thinking she could make a sandwich with the leftover the next day, she was going to take it home with her. Apparently this restaurant has a new rule.  If you want a doggie bag, there is an almost $4 charge to bring home what’s left of a meal you have already paid for!  Incredible.  A letter to the head office went unanswered. 

So take note hungry people of Montreal and weary travelers.  As the saying goes Be Informed – Know Before you go!  This is not the restaurant you are looking for! 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cheers to another trip around the sun ~ The GP..

Isn't that always the way.. 

Just about ready to sign off the end of the post and there's a click, a whirr, and the monitor blue screens. (Sigh).  So where was I.. 

Ah Yes.. 

18 years..  Where did the time go?

It has been many months of going for a test then waiting 3 weeks to get the results. I'd finally been put in queue for surgery but was in a holding pattern waiting..  that last morning I'd been up all night, I couldn't eat, couldn't drink for getting sick and I was admitted through Emergency instead. Spent that first day in the hallway, so great to be sick and feel like you're on display. 

I don't think that I'd allowed myself to really think about things. In fact, it wasn't until I was lying in my hospital room that evening; my dad and aunt had arrived to visit and the surgeon thought that despite my best objections that it would be a good idea for me to tell them the news.  I hadn't admitted to anyone, not even myself that I was scared, and no tears had fallen up until the point that I had to tell Dad the news. I didn't want to tell him, I didn't want him to worry - in hindsight I think too that the idea of telling Dad made it REAL.  Thankfully the surgeon stayed, because once I dropped the initial bomb, she was able to explain the rest - I don't think I could have at that point. 

I remember being on morphine and trying to explain to a nurse how that "nice lady" that had come to visit with my Dad was *not* my Mom and after having revealed that, well no I didn't know where she was.  The nurse had come in talking about my Mom and Dad and was ready to call the doctor because she thought I was tripping on morphine - meanwhile I was trying to figure out how my mother had been there and I hadn't seen her, and who had even told her I was there.  I cannot help but think of Dad's laugh when I told him that the nurse thought that Auntie Eileen was my Mom and how he'd laughed even harder when I told him that I'd told the nurse that she was his sister and that was just gross..  

I was thinking of Auntie Eileen this morning too. God I wish I could call her and celebrate this day with her too. I have to believe that somewhere up there she's looking down and smiling ~ she was there ~ she'd remember. 

5 1/2 pounds of cancer and my right ovary they removed that day. I recall piling pounds of hamburger individually wrapped on my counter and realizing just how BIG that really was. 

A second surgery the following year took a pound and a half more of me, and most of my left ovary but turned out to be non-cancerous in the end. Just one more snatch and grab for this year's body part donation I guess. 

Ovarian Cancer - Germ Cell Tumor - Chemotherapy - just the start of the new medical knowledge I would come to learn, that I never cared to know. Lymphedema, PCOS, Diabetes II among the treasures to follow. Years down the road I would come to call this journey, "My Life As A Guinea Pig"...  

All in all I find myself looking back over most of those years as much of a learning experience. In some areas it was a real crash course in the way things are. Amazing how you find out who your real friends are - and I'm every-so grateful that I have a few. From Jim and Matt who 
came down and brought me a Pumpkin bucket with "real food" inside ~ back in those "Young" days when we still called McD's "food"..  That pumpkin bucket lived on my IV pole for the whole 13 days I was in hospital ~ it gave quite a few a real chuckle and along with the big teddybear slippers my Dad bought me as an early birthday present helped earn me the nickname "Sunshine" because I was always smiling and wandering the halls as though I was there by mistake.  

I still laugh when I think of Jim "babenapping" me with a group of friends to go for coffee just to give me a break, and how grateful I was that the nurses were willing to cap the IV port and let me leave for a little reprieve.  There I sat with balding head, wrist bracelet and my port-o-cath as my friends told everyone who came by that I was out on a day pass.  People must have thought we were crazy, but we had so much fun!  

I still have the bulldog that John left on my TV when he'd arrived to find me gone, bed and all for a test.  He'd gone out to his car trying to think of how he'd let me know he'd been there, and came in with a stuffed bulldog that he'd had as a mascot in his car that I always teased him I was going to pilfer..  He knew that if he left that behind I would recognize it instantly. He was right!  

At that time, Tequilla Sunrise was still in full swing, and there was a whole host of friends that lived in that little box, including great new friends like Mary, Dallas and Ardith that I'd met in the Carcinoma and Survivor groups that I'd talk to regularly.  Never underestimate the value of hearing "I know how you feel", from someone who actually does. I never realized how often we say that particular phrase just trying to empathize without really having a clue. It became one of my biggest pet peeves..

I spent a lot of of my time in hospital in a room across the hall going through my phone book phoning friends. I never wanted to disturb my room-mate. It was so much better than sitting in my room, and you could only pace the halls or watch SO much tv.  The rest of my time was spent writing, and listening to CD's or the radio passing the time.  

I never thought I was in denial, but I always marvelled at how whatever person I ended up bunked with each time was always so much worse off than I, and wondering if they did that on purpose.  Dad used to call it my holiday because I'd go in with a bag of my clothes and personal effects, and the other bag (read anvil) packed with notebooks, books to read, CD's and a ghetto blaster that Tom lent me (and then later told me to keep) that was a constant reminder that I had friends who cared. 

Another awesome friend John, came to my rescue just a few days after hospital release to help me move unexpectedly. I never thought we'd get so much stuff moved in his car, but it would have rivaled National Lampoon's vacation.  We never did take any pictures but let me assure you it was quite the sight! 

I remember having a conversation with one of the nurses at the cancer agency. She wanted  to know which of these guys was *mine* and she'd been so surprised when I said none of them. I never told her that there was one that I'd hoped would one day be mine, but there were very few that actually knew that information.  I didn't want to jinx it, I guess. 

Made me laugh to think that the nurse thought I was such a player because I was single and had "all these guys" coming to call.. the truth is, that I've always had more "guy friends"  that girls.  Maybe it's because I grew up in a single parent home with my Dad and my little sister, I always related to guys better than girls ~ who knows.. but it is what it is.. I'm not complaining.. 

Even now, after spending most of 2008 in hospital, after having my gastric bypass and having complications relating to my asthma and wound care afterwards - having to stand and walk again, nerve damage and a leg brace ~ and more recently adding a gall bladder surgery to the mix If I look at it rationally I can see many good things that came out of all of my medical drama. 

I am ever amazed at how being faced with a serious surgery puts you in a mode of personal reflection, looking at where you've been and where you're going and often where you *thought* you'd be by now.  I cannot help but think that someone up there has a twisted sense of humor and is trying to remind me that life is short and that I need to work on my bucket list. 

I found myself marvelling this morning that when our youngest was being born I was well into my planning for my surgeries. She turned 18 in May ~ it really doesn't seem like it has been that long..  in so many ways .. when I became her Stepmom, she was only 2.. wow.. time really does fly. 

Some of my biggest memories of that time period are of me berating myself for not having attained many of the things I'd wanted for myself in this life - at least not "yet". I remember one journal entry from my second cancer surgery where I started out with "Here we are again.." seemed like rather
my anthem at the time.

We all run through this life as if today is the first day of the rest of our live and there is an unlimited supply remaining for us to draw on.  The truth is, that nothing is certain. We could  walk outside and be run over by a bus without a moment's notice or a routine check-up could uncover something we weren't even aware we had.  Nothing is promised. Cherish every day as if it were your last, because one day it will be. 

There are things in our lives that we all wonder after-the-fact if we should h ave done them differently - should I have said yes to that date, or passed up on an opportunity, but let your friends laugh as they may at your choices.  Every one of those peaks and valleys in the road was something you wanted at the time, and each one of them helped to shape you into who and what you are today. 

I used to spend a lot of time in "What might have beens", wondering if I had done this or that differently how things might have been different. What could I have changed in myself to create  a different outcome - though I've come to realize that while in some cases that might have made  a difference, for many more it wouldn't have done a thing because it was never about me in the first place. My biggest regret in life is not giving myself the credit and support to pursue the  goals I wanted for myself.  I spent way too much time worrying about what others thought, and how things would be perceived and it cost me much. 

The same could be said for my apparent affinity for chasing the wind.  Like a dog with a bone there were times when I just would not let an idea go.  Ironic that the best things in my life came to me when I stopped looking, and he found *me*.  

This last round of med-drama seemed so much different to me somehow.  I wasn't at all worried, I went in confident that this was just a speedbump and tomorrow we'd carry  on right where we left off. 

Maybe it's just that I finally feel like I'm on the right path.  I have the man of my dreams - my teddybear - and the 3 (not so) little (anymore) bears that he shares with me.  So many trials and tribulations that that cuddly ol' bear has seen me through ~ I cannot help but feel grateful.  I'm not sure that any other stand-in in his place would have done the same. 

I am working in local media - a life-long dream finally realized - there are some truly remarkable people doing awesome things in our communities if only you take the time to look.  I am fortunate to be among those that get to seek them out and shine a little spotlight on them.  

I am an active volunteer in our community working with a variety of tasks, groups and organizations - some in just a brainstorming capacity but I really enjoy that.  

Not everything is exactly as it could be or perhaps should be, but so long as there is room for improvement or advancement there is much left to do.  At least the toes are pointing in the right direction for a change. 

In true "Me" fashion, I didn't go about getting any of it the way that I planned, or even in the order  I thought they'd get here.. but I suppose the important part of the message is that I'm not that 24 year old little girl anymore dreaming of what could have been and what might be, but this 42 year old is taking it one day at a time, and plodding ahead. 

I didn't take the easy way out, or the direct route - in fact I definitely took the long way around but in the end the only thing that's really important is that I finally made it HOME and for once I'm right where I want to be. <3

Hang on tight ~ The best is yet to be.  <3

If you've been around for a while you know that this is the time when I normally announce what my not so RAK of this year will be.  Every year I've tried to do something a little different, last year we had the vendor
fair (for example) to benefit the Food Bank.  

This year with all of the med drama in our lives - not just with me but with our Dads also, as well as the basement reconstruction I decided to keep it a little more low key ~ however tradition is tradition. 

So be sure to check my blog/Facebook/G+ for both Epicure and Stampin' Up! from now until my birthday ~ there will be a variety of specials and promotions running.  The biggest perhaps is that for every purchase placed through my demonstrator websites from today, September 24, 2012 until Oct 9th, 2012 - I will donate my commissions from all orders placed to the Canadian Cancer Society. There will be other promotions in addition to this, but you will have to watch for those..  



Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Spare Parts - We don't have any Stinkin' Spare Parts..

Well maybe one or two anyhow...  I'm gonna run out of parts to donate to science soon though, I swear!!

Have been getting asked all day if I'm worried about this surgery.  Honestly, the answer is no - not really.  We've been so wrapped up in the med-drama of our loved ones lately that I really hadn't given it a lot of thought.  Though a few well meaning nurses in Vancouver kept telling me I was crazy for putting off my surgery and if it burst I'd be dead ~ but a few well placed "I only have one DAD, I can always book another surgery!"  made it clear they weren't getting anywhere with that line of conversation and it stopped.

You know me, I've never had any trouble putting *me* last on the list..   It was a wee bit of a shock to realize Monday that this long anticipated surgery had kind of snuck up on us while we weren't thinking about it.

In all honesty, I don't anticipate any problems.  In fact, if they can do it laperoscopically I could even be home tomorrow night!

Can't help that little voice in the back of my head though that wonders if that lucky horseshoe that lives up my arse is gonna pull me through one-more-time..  hardly seems fair or just this trip I've been on since I got Ovarian cancer for my birthday all those years ago..  but I suppose without those crappy times I wouldn't appreciate all the great things in my life nearly as much as I do.  I have gleaned more medical knowledge than I ever wanted but some of that sure came in handy during our stint as hospital groupies over the last few months.

I was remembering today sitting in Pre-Op waiting for that first cancer surgery, and berating myself for all the things i had on my list that I wasn't sure if I'd get the chance to do. So many times over the years I've had that conversation with myself - how many times do you have to be told "You almost died" or "You're lucky to be alive" before you get working on the bucket list?  Seriously though - what did you expect - I am after all a natural born BLOND.  <G>

Not much of this life has gone according to "plan" but I have finally attained some of the goals that I'd chosen for myself way back in high school.  Amusing to me how many of the fundemental "Wants" although tweaked a little over the years haven't really changed much.

Someone reminded me the other day of one of the first events I'd covered for BNTV ~  upon arrival I'd overheard someone say "Oh good local media has begun to arrive" and I'd turned around to look and see who had come."  just as I realized that *I* was who they were referring to - OOPS!  In my heart I will always be a people-loving multi-hat wearing chatterbox ~ all the rest is icing on the proverbial cake.

Though many of the gifts received came when I wasn't expecting them, and looked a lot different than what I thought I'd ordered there is no question that someone out there was looking out for me.  I am truly blessed.  I cannot help but be grateful for that.

I have a wonderful man, 3 great kids, and a few awesome friends and colleagues to call my own.  I even have a few family members willing to admit that we are related - Life is good.  :)

Here's hoping that in a few weeks we'll all look back on these past few months and look back on it as a distant shot in the rearview mirror..   I said it at 24 years old upon receiving news of the big C and I'll say it again today at 42 ~ I'm not *done* so don't count me out just yet.

My to-do list is so long, I'm gonna live forever..  <3

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Greetings From Far Far Away...

Hey everybody! 

Thought I'd take advantage of a few moments of "stolen" internet at a local Denny's near my Dad's place.  I never realized just how dependant we are on our tech and gadgets until we got out here and didn't have an internet connection, or any of our usual "toys".  I can now confirm that I will not die without my internet connection, but I sure don't like it much!!  ;) 

As several of you know I am currently out in the Vancouver BC area taking care of things while my Dad is in the hospital.  I'd expected to be home this week, but it looks as though I'll be extending a week or so, and likely coming back in a couple of weeks.  

I'd like to take a moment here and thank everyone who has taken the time to e-mail, text and call to see how we're doing and to let us know that you're thinking of us, and that we are missed.  It has been a wonderful calming force in the midst of the craziness that has been the last couple of weeks.  

You might be amazed at the whackos and craziness that crawl out of the woodwork when someone in your family becomes critically ill.  Seems everyone wants to stake some kind of claim to knowledge and a piece of the proverbial pie.  Some days it's a simple annoyed headshake and other days I just want to scream obscenities from the rooftops that end with - he's not dead, he's not dying.. so (BEEP!)   At last count my Dad now had 3 fellows that claim to be just like the son he never had, and many more that seem to be hosting a fan club I'm sure he's not aware he had.  It boggles my mind.  To be fair, some of them have actually been rather entertaining - LOL.   

It's the ones demanding intimate details, and individual emails, phone calls and what not that get to me.  Many long days, and restless, sleepless nights later - all with no internet I might add - and apparently I'm supposed to be sitting at the bedside tweeting personally each new breath or bowel movement.  Sorry folks, that's just not my style.  Knowing how unappreciating Dad would be of a gossip festival in his honour, I have respected his wishes.  Few in his own circles even know what's going on - that's the way he wanted it.  And so it is done.  

So I'm a bitch.. ah well..  it's ok, I can handle it.  I'm just the way my Daddy made me. From today, until the day they cart me away what will be a colorfully decorated (maybe stamped.. LOL) box..   I will tend to and care for my family and friends to the best of my ability..   and protect them til the end.  <3 

Have been trying to post regularly to facebook via my phone - but for some weird reason that's not working so well - longer messages seem to cause the phone to glitch and they vanish and I just don't have the patience to do them again.  I'm also noticing that I cannot post on my business pages for Epicure Selections, or Stampin' Up!  though I can tag them.  So very weird.. 

Thought I'd throw out a quick special..   From now until I return to Cardinal,  I will be offering a FREE SHIPPING special for all orders placed through my website.  That's a 10% savings for you.  The savings will be returned to you on your next order however, as I have no way to give a coupon code for the demo web site.  That gives you a couple of weeks to save a little bit on all that you fancy..  

My new catalogs are in, and by the time we get home my Holiday Minis will be in also..  I cannot wait to catch up with all of you!  

Will try to pop in, in a few days..   If you need to reach me in the meantime, please send me an email to  which I can view on my phone, or text if you have the number.  I'll get back to you as soon as possible.  

Cheers and Inky Hugz coming your way! 

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Aaron's Story ~ Pause for Thanks..

I noticed the following posting on Aaron's page shortly after posting, and thought I'd share it also for anyone who might be interested..  

Deepest thanks to everyone who is responding to the accident last night and the post this morning. Your prayers and well wishes are gratefully received.

We are pulling together as a family and your support means so much to us.

The post was written to explain the situation to family, friends and the good folks who read these updates. I was getting so many messages and calls, I couldn't face the thought of repeating the story dozens of times. I did not expect it to be spread as far as it did.

Please use this opportunity to take good action in your community.

I won't be writing again until things have cooled down.

To the media, I appreciate your offers of an interview but at this point we are coming together as a family and our focus is on healing, I am sure you understand.

To all the many medical and law enforcement heroes, thank you. You have all been nothing short of amazing and our family thanks you. Words will never be enough.

To the drivers, be at peace. We all make mistakes. Sometimes small things turn into big things in the blink of an eye. There are consequences, but there shouldn't be demonization. Use this moment and all moments after to strengthen your community. There will be a price to be paid, just make sure it's worth it. Again, none of us will ever live a faultless life.

Thank you again.

Take care of your families and fix any rifts as soon as you can. Express love as often as you can. Appreciate every moment you have.

Thank you.

Pause for thought.. Aaron's Story

I was alerted to the story of Edmonton artist, Aaron Paquette and his family via a post made by a friend, and though I wanted to share Aaron's story, I had no illusions that any words I might write could be more fittingly written than those that Aaron wrote himself. 

I hope you will take a few minutes out of your busy day to read his words, and to pause to reflect on how quickly and senselessly the people we care about can be injured, broken, and simply taken away from us because we as a people are in a perpetual rush.  

I find myself thinking about some of the odditites I've seen lately on the few outtings I've made these past several weeks.  I'm still in limbo waiting for surgery so more often I've been a passenger and not the driver, but I am ever amazed at the casual stupidity of people.  

We've all been warned not to text while driving ~ but should we really need to be told that putting on nail polish or makeup while you're driving isn't a great idea?  One fellow actually had an obvious novel opened across his steering wheel as he drove..    one word fella..  AUDIOBOOK ..  ok well maybe that's two.. but still..  

As of this posting, Aaron's post had received 3552 "likes" and had been shared 6891 times.  I hope that it had made you pause for thought, for even just a few moments. 

Wishing your Mrs. a speedy recovery and return home.  <3

Aaron's post..  as posted via his facebook page.. ( For more about Aaron and to watch for further updates feel free to check out his Artist's page: )
On Wednesday May 30, 9:10pm a body was shattered.

The body was that of my dear wife. She was just finishing up an evening jog with a friend when she was struck by a vehicle. It hit her and then ran over her, pinning her body beneath one of the tires.

Her friend was screaming at the driver but he was unaware there was anybody beneath the car.

Police and Emergency Medical personnel lifted the car from off her.

I was not yet aware of any of this as I was at home. Our 1 year old baby asleep in his crib.

Backtracking events leads us to the road snaking through our neighbourhood (she was only a few blocks from home), and a yield sign that was mostly ignored.

A car and an SUV had a contest of who could be more impatient, or who could text best while driving. Exactly what was going on in the two drivers’ minds I doubt we’ll ever know. But lack of concern, lack of precaution led to the accident. That we do know.

When I arrived on the scene there were dozens of people who had poured from their houses to see what was the matter. Emergency vehicles were on scene and my wife was in an ambulance.

She was alive. I asked her if she knew me and where she was. She looked into my eyes and blinked twice. Her whole body was shaking from the shock.

That’s when I noticed her wrist was snapped in half.

Her face was bloody and beginning to swell.

A couple of hours ago, after a long night of tears and waiting, we found out the rest. And there will be more to come.

Deep cuts, contusions and road rash all over her body and across her stomach.

All her ribs are broken.

There are tubes draining the blood that is gathering between her ribcage and her lungs.

Her liver and pancreas are lacerated.

Along with her wrist are broken fingers. This is her left arm. She is left handed.

She has fractured vertebrae. The worst is the T11. It’s obliterated. They will fuse the vertebrae around it with metal plates. There will metal plates holding her wrist together.

She will live.

She has many surgeries ahead and a long road to recovery. It’s uncertain yet if there will be any loss of limb function or if there will be any long term effects from concussion.

She will not be snuggling with our baby for a very long time. She won’t be doing any of the things she loves.

She loves to teach. She has a grade 3/4 split class. She was so excited to get back to them after her maternity leave and now she won’t be back for a very long time.

She loves to run. She was going to run a half marathon in two weeks.

She loves yoga.

She loves dancing.

She loves playing with the baby.

Right now she has tubes all over her, keeping her still, sedated, and alive.

Because someone couldn’t wait three seconds at a yield sign.

Because someone wasn’t paying attention as they drove a 1500 pound weapon.

I’m writing this to let everyone who is going to ask know what happened.

But I am also writing it to ask everyone who reads this to realize that as you scan these words someone is performing surgery on my beautiful darling.

Please slow down.

Please don’t text.

Please be patient.

And please remember that every time you sit in that car you take responsibility for lives you will never know except in passing. Literally.

Pass by. Pass by. Be aware and pass by.

And please, pray for my wife and especially for our little one who already misses his mommy.

We are blessed.

She is alive.


Please share this. Please let this horrific night make difference and save lives.

Please slow down and drive safe.


Monday, 21 May 2012

There once was a mellow muffin..

Glen "Jeans" Zadworny, Nov 18, 1968 - May 18, 2012
Woke up to the news this morning that a long-time friend had passed this weekend.  I read and re-read the article and friends notes, but somehow it just cannot be... 

Glen Zadworny ~ Angus Jeans, or simply "Jeans" as he was known way back when, was a BBS Pioneer, who like many of us invited friends and strangers into his home via his C64 Bulletin Board system and 300 baud modem.  Mellow Muffin he called it, and he himself, was the Mellowest of all.  

He was a sweetheart, a good friend with a big heart, who never minded lending an ear to a friend.  I know I bent his ears plenty of times..

In the 20-odd years since I first met him, I've never heard anyone utter an unkind word about him.  Truly there aren't many people that can take that claim.  He was one of a kind, a cherished friend.  

"He will be missed" hardly seems adequate enough to describe the weight of the loss of someone that you visited with regularly for so many years, though I didn't know him as well as some. 

I went searching for photos of Glen this morning.  Found myself remembering how quickly he'd manage to duck and turn when he saw the camera.  I had a great many photos of the back of his head. He had some amazingly long hair back in the day.

I snagged this photo from his profile - the mischievous grin and thumbs up so totally reminded me of the happy soul whose spirit and life I'd always took for granted would be eternal.  He was way too young to be taken so soon, so many weren't even close to 'done' with him yet. 

Somewhere in there there's something poetic in the fact that he died doing something that he loved but that seems little comfort. I cannot help but think of his wife and daughters ...  from this distance I can do little but send hugs and well wishes, and hopes of peace.  That hardly seems enough.

I would imagine that somewhere among the clouds there's one helluva modem meet going on.  Jeans, and all of the friends that have gone before him.

There will come a day when we too will come to join him, the great modem meet in the sky ~ I can't say for certain whether the venue will be a Denny's, a Retro Lesters, or perhaps one of the legendary modemmer BBQ's,  but one day we will all meet again..  

Until then, Sweet Dreams Aj.  <3


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Reflections & Celebrations

It's May 19th, 2012 and though for most people that date wouldn't mean a darned thing, in our world it's a very special day. 

Today's the day that our baby bear turns 18!  

(The Daddy unit precludes me from shouting this from the rooftops until 2:36 PM - which is the time stamp on her arrival into the world.)  I suppose you could argue that this timestamp was foreshadowing the future, since if given her way she'll be in bed today until at least then. LOL  

Has it really been 15 years since our little blond haired beauty with ponytails atop her head was running around the house with her "Dumpa Damn" and her buddy Buzz Lightyear?  No, it just cannot be..   

It confounds me how the same time period can seem like decades at times, and in others as though just a few fleeting moments danced by.  

I was reminded this week of a promise we'd made several years ago - we were living in the crazy teenager zone - and hubby and I were joking with his parents that if we survived to see our baby turn 18 that there would be much celebration and merriment.  We joked about buying ginger-ale for Papa, and Champagne or perhaps Baileys for the rest of us.  

Funny though, now that we're here, it hardly seems appropriate - or necessary. 

I've been going through our collection of photos over the last several weeks in preparation for an all day Crop.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words..  I could surely facilitate "War and Peace" in our albums.  The era of digital photography has only made that moreso and where we may have taken 2 pics trying to get a shot we might take 5 or more.  The results are often goofy, and serve to give a great deal of amusement in going back to look at them.  We've sure had some fun.  

One photo is standing out in memory for me today - a picture of a very young Caelly, sitting on the floor in the middle of the apartment.  One her head she's got my big hair clip, and on her feet, she's put on her Dad's running shoes.  I kept telling her that Daddy's shoes are too big, but she insists that her feet fit.  I wish now I'd gotten pictures of her actually trying to walk around in them.   Just one of many precious moments I have been blessed to share in. 

Some people would say that since I didn't give birth to them, that they're not mine - we're not related ~ I have some choice words for them ~ but the long and short of it is that family isn't just the people you were born to, it is the people that you meet and surround yourself with along the way that make this ride worth while.  Garth had it right when he sang about Unanswered Prayers..  I will forever be grateful for the luck and technology that led me here to this place.  In true "me" fashion, not much went the way I thought it would. In fact, it was when I stopped looking that my dreams found me.  Not in my wildest dreams could I have ever planned this one..  

Nothing in life is guaranteed, and though it hasn't all been sunshine and roses ~ being a "Mom" and sharing in the raising of the 3 little bears has been one of the greatest highlights of my life. 

Caelly ~ I hope that today is the start of a whole year of sunshine smiles and genuine happiness.  "Teemy" loves you baby. XO 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mother's Day 2012 ~ My Annual Post.

Happy Mothers Day to all my Mom, Grandma, and Stepmom Pals! If you are fortunate to still have your mom in your life.. give her an extra little hug today. She has earned it. ♥ So grateful that my teddybear doesn't mind sharing his with me. We are truly blessed :)

On Mother's Day, I have always sent out a very special shout out to my Dad, and to all the Single Dad's who made the supreme sacrifice of taking on a job that was never intended for one to do alone.  

I cannot imagine what kind of terror was going through Dad's head when he realized that he would be raising his two girls, then just 10 and 3, on his own - Why he didn't drop and run for the hills to save himself,  I may never know. Some might argue that he's a sucker for punishment ;)  

It couldn't have been easy raising 2 girls solo, particularly during a time when not having a "Mom" in the house seemed to have such a stigma on it.  I remember friends not being allowed to come over to play anymore because there was no "Mom" and a birthday party disaster created because I invited random kids from school when none of my friends were allowed to come and I didn't want to hurt my Dad with that truth. Didn't seem to matter that we'd arranged for my cousin to come and stay for the party.  Somehow the absence of a mom-unit made Dad a perv..  I never got that logic.  People are weird.  

Dad and I didn't always, and don't always see eye to eye but through the good, the bad and the ugly he was always a constant.  No matter what we always knew that we had a home to come home to.   

So much about that time both intrigues me, and eludes me - so many questions unanswered and songs left unsung.  Sometimes, I cannot help but feel sad for all that we missed.  

As a teen, Dad used to blast me for telling people that my mother was dead.  He'd say she was my mother and should be respected as such, but I found that once people learned she was gone that they didn't ask the hard questions that I had no answers for.  It just seemed easier somehow. 

I am reminded now of a time in my early 20's when after many years of non-contact I saw my mother walking down the street. Emotion got the better of me when she walked on by like she didn't even know me, and I'd turned on my heels and screamed at her.  She didn't even miss a step, but the friends I was with at the time were horrified to learn that this woman walking by was in fact, my mother. 

When I reflect on all of the time wasted, in chasing the wind, and wishing on the might-have-beens, it just makes me sad.  No child should ever have to grow up wondering if their parents love them, or why they weren't wanted anymore.  The awesome story that 'might have been' remains unwritten, but I suppose it could be argued that we never lost something we never truly had to begin with.  

She may have given us life, but for reasons unknown to me she closed the book before she got to know the women that her babies became.  She will never know our families or our children - her grandchildren - or watch their stories unfold. When I think about it like that, it is hard not to think that it is she who has missed out, and continues to miss out - so many cherished moments that she hasn't been a part of. 

I am fortunate now to celebrate Mother's Day as a Stepmom to 3 of the most wonderful and amazing children that God put on this earth.  I didn't give them life, but I have made them a part of my life and though it's had it's moments over the last 15 years, I cannot imagine a life without them in it.  There isn't anything I wouldn't do for them, and I would defy anyone who would say that after all these years that they're not *my* children also.  

Sometime family is just as much about the friends and loved ones that you meet along the way, then those you are born to.  Maybe therein lies the real message, the real truth.  It is not as much about the life you were born to, but that which we make for ourselves.  Perhaps in your leaving, and all the words left unsaid much more was taught and said than was evident at first glance. 

Today is Mother's Day, a day traditionally marked by my sister and I by a commiseration of all we've lost and still don't understand. 

This year, despite being knee-deep in the midst of yet-another med drama in my continued journey - this life as a guines pig - I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for our Daddy-Mom who instilled in us the importance of family and always being there for one another.  We haven't always agreed on what all that entails, but just to know that there is someone out there who loves you and would do anything for you is often enough. 

I am blessed with a wonderful teddybear, and with 3 (not so) little (anymore) bears that he shares with me.  I have the world's best in-laws and some of the best friends around - many who stuck by me since the very beginning.  When I look at all I've been through to get here, and where I've ended up, I cannot help but feel grateful. 

Turn a different corner, and who knows where things would have ended up!  ;)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

OMG - You Can't Post That! Greetings From the Zoo!

When I decided to create my blog, I'd promised myself I wasn't going to be one of *those* people.  You know the ones that create a blog and then never get back to it?  Or one of those other people..  You know them too -  those ones that see some mind-boggling need to post, twitter, and generally text-to-life a play by play of every mundane event in their universe. 

I love my friends and family, and I have to say that I'd be among the first in line to carefully claw your eyes out with a spork in defense of those that I care about ~ but I just don't WANT to read hourly postings of "I looked out my window, my car is still there" and other clearly marked postings that scream out "Please help me, I am bored to tears!" I feel like responding and saying "Great, thanks, now I am too!"..   but as with most bits of cheeky sarcasm,  it would probably fall on deaf ears, and having to explain it would ruin everything. 

I actually have a few dozen posts that I started in Word or Notepad when the mood struck, but then something or someone came along and the moment was gone.  Often by the time I get back to it, I find that while the idea is still viable and relevant to me, that I am just not in the mood or headspace to complete the thought.  That's happening way too often lately I'm afraid. 

Sometimes I look back and what I wrote, and find myself thinking - OMG I can't post that in (gasp) public.. and other times I think - nobody will want to read that crap and ultimately in the end they sit in the bit bucket.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of way back in the early days of writing, how I'd sit down and crank out pen-pal letters, poems and creative writing like it was going out of style. I wrote because I enjoyed it immensely.  It didn't matter to me if anybody ever saw it, or what anybody thought of what I wrote.  Getting it out of my head and onto paper was the focus. Wow.. did I really say paper?  Hard to imagine a time where I didn't have e-mail and my word processor to record my thoughts..   Ha!  

I was starting to feel that same kind of burnout with my crafting and it was actually my teddybear that clued me in to that.  I was getting to a point where I was preparing for classes and workshops, but I wasn't actually taking time to craft for me -- what got me into all of it in the first place.  Once I realized that, I started scheduling time to actually dig out my toys and play for nobody else but me more often. At my last crop, I actually made a few cards and worked out a few color ideas that I'd been tossing around.  It felt good to get it out on paper. 

Seems to be the way for a lot of things though - In the hustle and bustle of want to do, and need to do - the lines get blurry and often the personal needs and wants cross over and much needed respite and release are lacking.  I've had to admit a number of times lately that I am not the juggler I want to be, and just how much it irks me to let anybody down.  Often it's my perception that I've let someone down though in the end it's me grumbling over not completing the list I made myself that's the problem.

We suffered some tech-issues in our house between our VOIP line, and my computer taking turns PMS'ing, and occasionally choosing to head out and party together, I was getting pretty annoyed with the whole darned thing.  Toss in some med issues, and life drama on top of it and it's not a big surprise to anybody peeking in that some things are getting lost in the shuffle.  I'm working on that. Baby steps..  

This week I finally got my surgery dates, and I've begun tucking everything else in and around it in true "me" fashion trying to make the most of every one of those little white boxes on the calendar that are just begging for me to put something on them.   Usually several somethings gang up on me all at once and I'm forced to choose between multiple opportunities and outings or rescheduling my own things to take in someone elses'.. 

There so much about my life right now that is wonderful, and don't get me wrong - I am blessed and eternally grateful for all of the blessings that have been given to me - but some days I would just like the opportunity to hit the Snooze button of life and Pause it all - for a week, a day, an hour..  and just breathe...   but don't we all want that?