Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Bring on the new year!

I know y'all aren't used to the chatterbox being so quiet, and I've had a number of friends and readers message me over the last little while to see if I was OK and why I hadn't updated my blog in a bit. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

And Unto Her A New Chapter Is Born!

A year ago today in a flurry of enthusiasm, and waves of brainstorming, we signed papers and embarked on a new adventure, the opening of a Gallery. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thankful Thursday - Build It Up And Tear It Down!

I guess I don't talk about it much, but to be honest I don't really think about it very often either..   

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The End of An Era - The Balloon Floats Away

A recent photo of Marj outside of the store
The news came as a shock to some, and the confirmation of rumor to others. The end of an era in Cardinal - Cardinal's very own party girl Marj Kempffer announced her retirement October 1st.  

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Catalyst of My Dreams #TBT 1986

I thought I’d share a personal Throwback Thursday this week.  My #TBT as it were, is a group photo of my grade 11 Journalism class at Centennial Sr. Secondary in Coquitlam BC from 1986.  

This is where a great many enthusiastic students got their first taste of what being a writer was all about. I was just 15 in this photo. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Municipal Elections 2014 Turn the Page..

Another municipal election campaign has come and gone.  

While there were a few big surprises, for the most part things went the way many of us thought they would across the region. 

Overall, some new faces, some returning and with any luck, a new season of progress is on the agenda.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Pondering on 24..

Today marks the birthday of a young man who once made a simple request that completely changed the course of my life.  Of course we didn't know it at the time..  

Thursday, 16 October 2014

On Birthdays and Reflection

I'd started writing this post in the early morning hours of my birthday, but as has become the norm lately, something came up and I had to put it aside.. and before I knew it we were headlong into a busy family long weekend...  but that's the way it goes sometimes, right?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Celebrating 20 Years!

I've been sitting here for the last half hour thinking about the events of the last 20 years.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Step Aside Purple ~ The Pink Parade is Coming!

My biggest giggle of this week came when someone delivering something to my house wanted to know why I had a little pink sign on my lawn.  Honestly, at first thought I thought that he was being a smartass -- so I didn't miss a beat in telling him quite plainly that I had a little pink sign, because she didn't have a bigger one! 

On Snap Judgements and Makeup Tutorials

I've heard often that in our "new" world of social media, that people aren't interested in reading anything much longer than a couple of paragraphs - I've often joked that you've lost many folks 140 characters in -- we're busy, often TOO busy..  and I get that, truly, but sometimes even the most chatty among us get sucked into the vortex of flipping to the next thing before truly checking out what lies right in front of us. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Opportunity Knocks ~ How Will You Answer? : September 5th, 2014

We're back with a whole host of volunteer opportunities, and requests for donations of tangible items.  

Our community is a very busy one. We have a whole host of volunteer opportunities, as well as some requests for donations of items that various groups are collecting.  I'd like to do my part in reminding people that giving back isn't always about money - though there is certainly opportunity for that as well - and it's not always a life-long commitment of hours - sometimes, it is saving bottles, or soup can labels for a fundraiser, perhaps repurposing still usefull items to an organization that needs it,  or even donating un-used craft supplies to an area program or project.  So many initiatives that most aren't even aware of are out there just waiting for you to answer their call. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Thankful Thursday: Gratitude - What are YOU Thankful for? #GRATITUDE #TT

It has been said that "Gratitude creates it's own attitude" and with all of the negativity that circles around us daily, sometimes we all need to take a step back, perhaps only a half-step back and pause - take a deep breath - reflect and begin again. 

Take a moment to identify at least one thing that's good in our lives. 

While some days we may find that our plate is running over with reasons to smile, for many of us, there are far more reasons to count for being tired, stressed, frazzled, and wanting to find some kind of disconnect from everything.  Regardless of our current situation or circumstance, we have all been there at one point or another.  To be brutally honest, we've all been there, and it's very likely, at some point we'll all be there again.  

If you're one of the lucky ones who hasn't been "there," it is likely that someone you know, or someone close to you has been..  so you know what I'm talking about.. 

In any case..  

I'd like to declare this THANKFUL THURSDAY ~ and would like to encourage you to take pause.  Think of one thing that you are grateful for today, and share it. 

Sometimes that one thing, may be the reason you wear your smile for the rest of the day.  Sometimes that "smile" you share, will be the reason that someone else begins to smile too. 

A smile costs little but affords so much.  Give one away. :) 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

On Death and Dying - Nanu Nanu.

Am I the only one listening to the press conference concerning Robin William's death and shaking my head?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ruminating on What NOT to Say..

This post started out as a response to a cousin's Facebook post this morning.  Where many times I'll come across something and think -- ooh there's a blog post in there somewhere -- time has been pretty short lately, so often those pearls get cast aside and forgotten about until the next time.  This one resonated on a soft-spot though, and I thought I'd jump right in. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Opportunity Knocks ~ August 7, 2014

It has been some time since my last post, but there haven't been too many submissions until this week.  This either means you are all keeping very busy this summer, which is probably a very good thing! 

Before too long the kids will be back to school and summer vacation will be over for another season ~ enjoy it while you can! 

Does anyone know of a local school or group that still collects Campbell's soup labels for fundraising?  Please let me know!

Do you have an opportunity to share? Please send it to tammy@easternontarionetwork.com! 

Thank you for supporting me in my efforts to support all the wonderful things happening in our communities.  

Cheers!  ~ Tammy 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Longing for Someday ~ Someday is no longer a day of the week..

It is oddly amusing to me that a day that by its own definition should bring much happiness and merriment to all -- simply does not -- In fact, quite the opposite it has long-since been a source of sadness and a stark reminder of all that had been taken from us.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Opportunity Knocks - June 25th, 2014

Here we are already at the end of June! Where did the time go?

School is closed for Summer, but we're still out here plodding away..  

Do you have an opportunity to share? Please send it on in ~ tammy@easternontarionetwork.com 

Thanks for supporting my efforts to support the great things happening in our communities. :) 

~ Tammy

Monday, 16 June 2014

Celebrating Father's Day

It was pointed out to me that I was remiss in posting my annual Father's Day Blog posting. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

On Mom: For Mother's Day..

No, I don't want to tell Mom I love her for Mother's Day!  There! I said it out loud - finally.  Does that make me a horrible human being?  Maybe..  it may be the one time someone will say I'm a lot like my mother and not get an argument out of me.  The commercials have been grating on my very last nerve for several weeks now, ranking right up next to those repeated "Sometimes I just don't feel fresh" ads.  Enough, already! 

To be honest, I rarely speak of her, mostly because she really hasn't been a very big part of my life in any fashion.  Every once in a while something will happen or someone will ask and I'll find myself looking for some acceptable reason to explain away why I don't have a Mom.  Truthfully there isn't one. 

In my teens I remember my go-to being to say she was dead. I'd gotten tired of telling people the truth. I didn't want to be that girl who's own mother didn't want her - I didn't want people to know she'd run away from home.  In the end those 3 little words became so much more effective because inevitably the person asking would be shocked into a stunned silence, and for a little while there would be peace.  That worked well until one day my Dad heard me say it and scolded me for talking that way about my mother.  I never understood it, but as much as he was mad at her for leaving, and for staying away from us -- he'd never let me bad mouth her.  

In my heart, I believe that man loved her until the day that he died.  Of course it's my own personal theory, but he dated a couple that even kind of looked like her over the years - he never truly got over her betrayal or her leaving.  

I won't ever forget the day she left us.  From finding Dad in her "spot" in the kitchen when I got up, and being ushered into their room to talk..  seeing Mom put everything into two of the biggest boxes I had ever seen.  All the questions that came from a curious 10 year old and no real answers coming back. 

I remember my grade 6 teacher calling me to her desk one afternoon and quietly asking me if I was OK - one of the neighborhood kids had told her that my Mom had left me and she wanted to know why I hadn't told her myself.  I won't ever forget the look on her face when I looked her right in the face and quite matter of factly said "Well, I didn't think it was any of your business!"  She sure didn't like that.. 

To say the least, Mom and Dad were never able to put their own "stuff" aside so that we could have the best of both of them. I say we, but for the most part it was just me - as far as I knew my sister was non-the wiser to any of it.   Perks of being 8 years my junior I suppose.  

Sure, we had visitation on and off over the years - but all too often one or the other would cancel or change the plans with no notice.  I cannot count how many times we'd be all ready to go only to be told we weren't going and that was just 'it."  For quite a while she lived in close proximity but we weren't allowed to visit, and didn't have a phone number for her (her choice).  

I used to blame Dad for her absence, but with the exception of having moved back home briefly at 18, 21, and then when I had my chemotherapy at 24 ~ I have been on my own since I was 16 years old.  I'm 44 now, at what point do you realize that  blaming Dad for everything doesn't fly anymore?  At what point do you pick up your part of the compost, put it to pasture and move on with the day?  

It is a matter of record that Mom and Dad didn't work as a couple. That was old news, LONG ago.. but the part that gets me.. the part I worry that I'll never get past is not knowing why she never looked back for her babies.  What kind of a person does that?  If Dad was truly so horrible, why did she leave her children there?  So many things don't make sense.  Sadly, even as adults, she doesn't feel that we are owed any kind of explanation or understanding. 

I remember bugging the snot out of my Dad one time, because I wanted to visit her, and he didn't want to take me.  They'd had a fight and he wasn't to go withing a certain distance of her place.  I was persistant and he finally relented.  He dropped me outside and told me he'd wait down at the end of the street. I rang and waited. Finally, Mom answered the door and I said Hi Mom - all she'd say was that she had called the police and they were on their way.  I remember bawling into the intercom telling her that I just wanted to see her..  and then turning to see the police coming and running down the sidewalk bawling my eyes out.  I was so scared at seeing the police coming to get me (so I thought at the time) I ran the wrong way.  Thankfully Dad was watching up the street for me and caught my mistake.  I won't ever forget that look of despair on his face, he never wanted to see us cry.  He could never understand why Mom did the things she did - or in more cases didn't. 

That's not to say that Dad was innocent in it all - they both made mistakes - a lot of mistakes..  but Dad gets bonus marks for staying with us and putting up with us bitchy parts and all and never walking away.  Though I often wonder why he didn't.  We weren't an easy assignment, far from.  He stood tall through every lady friend or housekeeper that sent in Children's Aid making one claim or another because he'd given them their walking papers and I was so tired of the inevitable question that would always come -- Did your father every touch you?  
I hear myself channeling my friend Lorna, who would have chided something sarcastic like Oh yes, because My Mom left, that means my Dad is automatically a pervert!  Riiiight!    Boy, I wish I'd learned sarcasm earlier in life.  

What can I say? People are stupid and more importantly - Stupid should HURT.  (Thanks to my friend John, for the use of one of his favorite quotes) :) 

When I think of all we had to endure for the sake of our adults, I find myself wondering how much differently things could have all played out with just a little bit of understanding and compassion for the kids that loved them both. 

I always dreamed of the day we'd find each other, we'd have a heart to heart and whatever came next would be OK because we'd finally be a family again.  Thanks for reminding me that ours is not the stuff that dreams are made of.  

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Opportunity Knocks - April 30th, 2014

It's been a little bit since my last opportunity knocks.  Things have been a little nutty in my world, and rather than send out the same postings I thought I'd give your eyeballs a break.  

Here we are with a brand new compliment of opportunities for you to pitch in, in your community! 

Do you have an opportunity that you'd like to share? Please send it to me at tammy@easternontarionetwork.com

Thanks in advance! 

~ Tammy

Friday, 4 April 2014

Opportunity Knocks - April 4, 2014

Well I held off on posting this week's Opportunity Knocks to bring you my Autism Awareness Month post yesterday so today I thought I'd start with getting back on the proverbial horse and sharing your weekly dose of where we can pitch in.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Autism Awareness Month - World Autism Day

A Child is diagnosed every 11 minutes with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In a single day that's 131 children that are seeking love, understanding and support for the differences that make them unique. Are we ready?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Opportunity Knocks - March 26th, 2014

It is wonderful to have such a wonderful response to my new project!  I've had several people contact me to thank me for taking this on, though it is my pleasure to be able to shed a little extra light on a sampling of our area's efforts.  

I hope that you'll share this post from wherever you might be reading it with friends, fans, and followers so that together we can put our social media to work and spread these community efforts far and wide. 

Do you have an opportunity that you'd like to share? Please send it to me at tammy@easternontarionetwork.com

Monday, 24 March 2014

It Happened 30 years ago today...

Do you feel old yet? I know *I* sure do! 

It first happened a week or so ago when my youngest daughter messaged me and told me that she'd finally seen "The Breakfast Club" at long last.  I have to admit here that I'd chuckled a bit, because I have only been referring to it as one of my favourite movies of all-time for most of her life..  but better late than never, right?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Opportunity Knocks ~ Your Chance To Get Involved!

I had originally hoped to get this column launched for Friday, but sadly as with most things in life we sometimes get waylaid.  I often joke that I'm not behind, but rather ahead of the game for the next round..    I'm not sure if that's entirely accurate, but it occasionally makes me feel better..  :) 
Do you have an opportunity that you'd like to share? Please send it to me at tammy@easternontarionetwork.com

Friday, 7 March 2014

Opportunity Knocks - A New Project.

As many of you know, I've often referred to my medical saga and "My life as a guinea pig", and have been known to quip about having donated all the parts I'd intended to, to science..  

Even after all these years, I still find myself grateful that I get to wake up each morning knowing that the mere fact that I'm living is a gift..

This fall, I will have the chance to celebrate 20 years since my diagnosis with ovarian cancer.  It was the first, but not the last time a doctor would tell me that I was lucky to be alive and almost died.  Sure, there have been other medical trials and tribulations since - sometimes seemingly more than my share -  but I am here.  That in itself is worth a happy shout out!  

I am a firm believer in the "Pay It Forward" movement.  With so much to be grateful for, I've always thought that it couldn't hurt to throw a little good karma out into the universe now and then.  So many out there just seem to busy to take the time,  or think that giving back means digging into your wallet, or many hours of volunteer time, and though it certainly can include those things, it is so much more than that.  

In working with EON, I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to promote the great work going on in the community, and shed a little light -- often seeking out that little light -- to share the message with our readers.  I consider it my own personal "give back" project. 

Honestly, if you have the opportunity to make a difference, and you don't use it, that opportunity is wasted.  I try not to waste much. 

There are as many opportunities to help out, and to give back to the community as there are different people in that community.  It could be as simple as a short periodic phone call, or a small time commitment,  perhaps a particular festival event,  or it could be as simple as saving requested items for a community project.  

In the weeks that come, I will be featuring a variety of area opportunities to help out, give back and support the communities we live in.  If you have an opportunity that you would like to share, I encourage you to share it with me at tammy@easternontarionetwork.com.  

Look for the blog each week, in conjunction with "Follow Me Friday" on EON's Facebook page, and Twitter.  

Visit our main page at www.easternontarionetwork.com 

Friday, 28 February 2014

Remembering Dad..

It has been over a year since you left us, and still, I have days when for a moment my mind 'forgets' that you're gone...  and I'm left with this feeling of scolding myself because I let myself forget again..   

Of course I never really forgot.. but when someone is such a driving force in your life, the sudden removal of that person leaves an empty cavern and it's not a surprise that you've left tough shoes to fill. 

There are still so many days when something comes up, or something happens ~ a song on the radio or a conversation with a friend and I think of something you'd say, or something you would typically do.. and I'll laugh out loud..  sometimes cry..   

I have picked up the phone so many times to share this or that with you, sometimes even getting as far as dialing your number before it clicks.. and I'm left with that empty feeling again.  

From a young age, you always said that one day you would be gone and you wanted to make sure I was going to be "OK."  To be honest, I'd heard it so often I always thought you were full of crap.  Surely my Dad was going to live forever.  Yes, I knew one day you'd be taken ~ but that day was light years away.  How wrong I was..   

You were our Dad, and our Mom too.  When Mom left, you remained.  We were just 10 and 3.  What a stretch it must have been for you to be raising 2 young girls alone at a time when it wasn't so widely talked about.  You were always fond of saying that you stuck with the ship.  No matter what life threw at us, you were always there in our corner, sometimes cheering us on, sometimes giving us a much-needed kick in the butt (even if sometimes we didn't know we needed it.)  I could never imagine a life without you in it, yet here we are. 

It is days like today Dad, on what would have been your birthday, that I'm grateful that you gave me a sister.  We don't always see eye to eye, but she may be the one person on the planet who truly gets the warped sense of humour that you gave to us. 

I often wonder what you'd think of the way things have gone.  I'm sure that the air would be some technicolor shade of blue..   you'd have liked that at least..    

I love you Dad.  I miss you.  You are always in my heart, and on my mind. 

Happy Birthday.  XO

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A little bit of kindness can go a long long way..

Over the last year or so, I have had the opportunity to have a number of conversations with friends, family and colleagues about the state of our world, and how even a little effort can solicit a wave of change. 

More recently I’d seen a few reports of the wave of #Neknominations that had gone horribly wrong, and then found myself inspired by a couple that put a positive twist on the whole movement. 

I first saw this one: 

Before a friend shared this Canadian version..  we don't know which one came first, but really it doesn't much matter..  

It got me thinking again about paying it forward, and how often something as simple as a smile to a stranger can set in motion a whole series of events.  We've all heard stories of people who reconsidered suicide after someone showed them some kindness -- a smile, or a few kind words.  
We all *need* that in our lives. 

My life (so far)  has had a variety of ups, downs and some serious medical issues.  Over the years I've had many lessons in what love and friendship look like, and what it means to care -- truly care -- about someone or something. 

Ultimately words are empty, it's the actions that carry us through.

So with that in mind, I have been approaching a variety of community initiatives and fundraisers and offering to pitch in.  I've held some fundraisers offering my discount, offered a variety of incentives for my classes and products involving the donation of a non-perishable food bank donation to name a few. 

Though I haven't really been publicizing it, I have tried to do at least one thing every month.  For quite a while things were very busy so my donations were more of a time and effort in volunteering variety,  but lately I've had the opportunity to be a little more involved. 

Nobody said that the efforts had to be huge..  Just that an effort had to be made.  Even $10 raised, is $10 more than they had before, right?

This month, I'm offering a draw for a free card class to anyone who brings in a non-perishable food donation to any one of my classes or events. 

I am also putting together a product basket for both Stampin' Up! And Epicure Selections to be donated to a couple of community projects.  Every little bit helps! 

Things have been pretty hectic and crazy in our world for the last while, between family illness and catching up on everything that we missed while we were away..  but still there is a strong desire to continually put some good karma out into thew world.  I like to think of it as my personal thank you for surviving everything life has thrown at me thus far - I cannot help but be grateful for all I have experienced and all that I have, despite sometimes overwhelming circumstances and odds.  I am one of the lucky ones that gets to call myself a survivor! 

Are you doing your part to help out in the community you live in? 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Facebook Turns 10 Today!

If Facebook were your online friend, you would have received a notification to remind you that today your friend is celebrating their 10th birthday.