Friday, 25 November 2016

Opportunity Knocks - Friday, Nov 25th, 2016

Happy Friday! We're back again this week with another array of opportunities from around our region.  Perhaps there's something that might interest you!

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. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Opportunity Knocks: Friday November 18th, 2016

We're back with a bite of regional 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. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Stand up and be counted!

I remember getting the "Stand up and be counted" speech as early as 10 years old.  I would hear that phrase over and again for years to come.  Dad was a big advocate of escalating an issue until there was nowhere left to escalate it.  He wasn't a fan of not getting his own way.  

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Oh Random Spark of Insanity..

Isn't it funny, how sometimes a random post can pop up in your newsfeed that will inspire your creativity, or spark a memory?  

"The Reason Why My Daughter May Punch Your Son" got my attention from the get-go for its screaming headline but more than that it got me thinking of some very similar advice that I'd grown up with. 

As the eldest daughter of a single Dad I was taught to stand up and be counted, to not be afraid to escalate an issue if I wasn't getting anywhere at the level I was at, and to always ALWAYS trust my gut.  I can still hear my Dad telling me that it would never steer me wrong,  though I can remember a great many times when I'd shushed it and gone another way and it always bit me on the butt.  Live and learn, I suppose.  

Not surprisingly, most of my friends growing up were male, though there were a few gal-pals in there.  I'd been known to give a solid punch when I'd get snuck up on to be tickled.. all part of the training.  

In my 20's I was down visiting my Dad and some of his buddies were over.  I think I was playing with the dog and I overheard one of Dad's friends ask him if he worried about me.  I was only half paying attention but at that moment one of Dad's friend's snuck up behind me and tried to tickle me/scare me (I was never sure which) but he'd caught me off guard and I'd spun around and smacked him across the back of the head.  I'd heard my dad laugh and tell his friend that no, he didn't worry about me. I could take care of myself.  

I sometimes wonder if we've done our kids a horrible disservice in advocating an observe and report attitude in an attempt to "do the right thing" or if perhaps a good punch would have ended it and burnt off some stress too.   So many stories coming home of having been labelled a snitch, or things getting ignored, and having the victim be turned into the problem.  So much frustration and eventually anger and nothing we could really do about it.  Our cries fell on deaf ears too.  

I am thankful, however, that our kids were born at a time when kids weren't all attached to their phones and tech 24/7.  There is little filter to what some will post, and what others deem as appropriate to share.  

I can only wonder what the future holds for our grandkids in this crazy instant world with little patience, and  so much anger.  Thankfully there is still a lot of love; we can only hope that it's enough to carry them through. 

Hang onto your hats! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Happy Monday.. Uhm Tuesday!

It is Tuesday. It feels like a Monday. Way too much to do, and not nearly enough time to do it in. Everybody is overrun and exhausted by a very busy weekend but the show must go on, right?

My list is ever-growing, and I know I'm the one to blame since I'm the one holding the pen but I am certain I am preaching to the choir on that one.

I was pretty jazzed to have gotten some work done last night before bed, despite an elevated pair of legs and a swollen foot. I got a jump on a bit more this morning before the day woke up.

Somewhat of a tough start to the day. I'm not fond of those nights that turn into mornings where you feel like you haven't slept at all but you know you did. Day seemed to start off in its usual fashion but then I noticed the dog had left a puddle at the front door, despite a perfectly good (and clean) puddle pad in the bathroom. Baby woke up super squishy as we've come to call it and just as I got all his wet clothing off he took a turn for the hall and went to see what grandpa was doing.

The next thing I hear is Grandma, I pee! (Oh crap!) I ask where and he says "Right there" pointing to the puddle on the floor by his feet. We were off to a fine start. Got him washed down and dressed. He wasn't happy to have missed the ritual of waving bye bye to Grandpa as he goes off to work but I wasn't taking a naked baby outside to wave. I can only imagine where that would have gotten me.

I've begun to stress about the growing to-do list that I had to deal with today, the meeting I know I won't be able to make tonight and about a milliion other things piling up for the next week or two. I am bad for looking too far ahead sometimes. While sometimes it is a great thing, sometimes is just.. isn't.

Baby wants to watch tv so I settle him into that while I get him some breakfast and his sippee cup. He gets about 2 minutes into 3 different shows and decides they're not what he wants. He doesn't want any of his usual breakfasts either. He finally settles on toast and brings me the peanut butter. I ask if he wants peanut butter and he says yes please. I make it and he says no thanks. Somewhere he decided peanut butter made good finger paint and I have to admit that this made me laugh out loud. It's hard to be mad at a child that's got a wide old grin on his face as he wiggles his tickle fingers at you..

The morning's adventures were compounded by a rather nasty e-mail from someone who clearly should have known better hot to behave but chose not to. In turn, he got a morning dose of Tammy's bitch hat. It seemed reasonable considering.

I've always considered myself to be a people person, but as I get older I find that my tolerance for rude people and being treated badly aren't very high. There are far too many people out there screaming atop a soapbox that should certainly consider sitting down and shutting up. I hear my mother-in-law telling the kids "that's be quiet please" which makes me laugh..

I guess that's the good thing about rough mornings. Mornings turn into afternoons and if you look hard enough there is always ALWAYS something to smile at, something to be grateful for.

Hang on tight Tuesday! We're ready for you!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Remembering Steve

A memory is a fickle thing.  Sometimes happy and at other times not so much; they become part of the fabric of who we are and culminate into a massive quilt that encompasses all of the people, places and things we have known in our journey from cradle to grave.  

I often joke that a mother's brain forgets things because we've had to cram so much in there over the years that some "stuff" is bound to fall out.  Similarly, I've been known to marvel at the odd memories and bits of trivial information that seems to be stuck in there for all time.  It's been known to amuse. 

I've found myself checking in with the Facebook memories lately.  They pop up daily and remind you of a variety of things.  Special occasions that were marked on that particular day, status messages that were posted, photos and memes that were shared.  

Sometimes, I find a quote that had resonated with me, or an accounting of a particular event that I hadn't thought about in a very long time.  I love having the oppportunity to re-share some of the highlights.  Particularly the #TBT style photos of our now-grown children.  Our grandkids have gotten a very big kick out of seeing pictures of "baby" Mommy.  I teased our daughter just the other day that we'd come full circle.  The children cannot imagine a time when Mommy wasn't "old".  Our daughter was not so amused by the reference as I was.  

Today the message was a sad one, and I was reminded of August 19th, 2014 when an article by the Recorder and Times' Derek Gordanier was posted indicating that colleague Steve Pettibone has been reported missing.  It hardly seems like it has been 2 years already. 

 It would later be reported that his body had been found deep in the bush not far from his abandoned car.  He was only 39.  It is a stark reminder that things aren't always as they might appear.  The seeminly happiest of folks are carrying immense loads we may never know anything about.  

I never had the pleasure of meeting Steve, but I have heard many great things about him over the years among our friends and collagues.  His passing did not go unnoticed. 

We'd all like to think that once we're gone, we will have behind a legacy that will remain long after our passing.  You may not have met the man, but you knew his work.  You knew of him.  

If you feel so inclined to light a candle or raise a glass today in memory of Steve today, please do! 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Don't Blink! Celebrating 20 Years!

August 9th, 2016  -  It hardly seems as though 20 years have passed, but they have. 

As I sit here looking at my favourite photo of you, my mind scrolls through this journey we've taken together. 

It is almost expected when you reach a major milestone that you pick out some of the best highlights of the trip to share,  I have so many of those I cannot possibly be expected to pick just a few.  I find myself strolling through the darker moments this morning - so many times when it was your smile, your hug, and your strength that walked me through the worst of it when I could not move my own feet.  In so many times before, and since,  I am so very grateful for the gift of you.

I marvel at how you went from being someone on the other end of my telephone line, to the most important person in my universe. 

It still makes me laugh when I remember how I'd planned to come out for a short while, lend a hand then return home.  It bothered me to hear of the trials you were enduring when I could help to make things better.   You've always said that I didn't come here for you, but for your 3 little bears but we both know that you were always a package deal.  One could never mean nearly as much without the other. 

20 years ago today marked the first time we met in person after many hours clocked in talking, typing and letters.  I think some part of us already felt something, but there was a matter of some 3500 miles and neither of us saw what we might want as an integral part of the equation.  I worried about my family, and your worried about yours.  Who would have thought that it would be the birthday requests of the littles that would finally seal the deal?  I guess life's just like that sometimes. 

Sometimes peaceful, often bumpy and rarely boring.  Today I am grateful for unanswered prayers and plans gone astray.   I cannot imagine my life without you and the 3 little bears in it.  

As we embark on our 21st year, our grandson is a wee bit younger than our baby bear was when it all began.  Our granddaughter, a little older than our brother bear - we have come full circle. 

Today I woke up to your smile, a kiss on the cheek and the sound of our grandson singing in the next room.   We're 20 years in to our adventure, and the best is yet to come. 

I love you sweetheart! Today, tomorrow and for always.  XOXO

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

It Takes A Village

11 years ago today we picked up the keys to our first home and moved into the village of Cardinal, Ontario. Seems to me that the welcome sign said 5000 and we joked we were going to sneak over and place a big 5 over the last 0.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Dear Mr. You..and Catching Up!

These past few weeks have just seemed to fly by and I just don't want to blink. So much on the go, and many more in the works -- we never seem to have time to get bored.  I never thought I'd be wishing for a day of good old fashioned "boredom."  I'm afraid that hasn't existed around our house since the kids were younger..  

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Living in the Medzone - It's a Mindset

It's funny how after a while of chronic med issues how your mindset changes. We seem to find a new normal with each new escalation of things and we adapt in order to keep functioning to the best of our abillities. That's my own personal theory anyhow.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Happy Mother's Day to All the Moms, Stepmoms, Grandmas and Dad!

Mother's Day is here again and my hubby's been laughing at me for weeks, though by now he should be used to it.  

Every channel seems to be full of go buy this or that for your mom, and I am fairly certain that the jewelry companies are in competition for the ugliest bauble they can make somebody buy.  I've been heard often over the years to say "Oh gross!", or "Please don't" to one gaudy piece or another.  I've never been one to want a need for a pool boy to carry some big gaudy trinket that someone felt guilted into buying.  

Besides, it's Mother's Day, right?  Those ad's sure aren't geared to a young child's pay rate..  I can't help but think we've completely missed the point all around.  

I've never been a big fan of mother's day as many of you know for a variety of reasons.  As a child, it was always a reminder of my own absentee Mom, and I hated hearing what all my friends were doing with their mom's enjoying opportunities that we'd not been afforded.  Though I'm sure there were some, I don't remember celebrating Mother's Day with Mom.  

I don't remember the year it shifted.  It was in my early teens, and I couldn't even tell you exactly what I'd said to my Dad that morning but I'll never forget the look on his face.  He hadn't missed a beat and he'd declared that of course I had a Mom.  He was right there!  My sister and I had laughed ourselves silly that Day.  The idea of Dad being Mom tickled our funny bones.  

And so began our tradition of wishing Dad a Happy Mother's Day.  

One year I took an ad out in the paper and published a Happy Mother's Day Dad advertisement in the Province Newspaper.  The lady taking the ad was sniffling as I told her our story.  Dad had laughed at me for doing so, and told me I was crazy..  but years later I'd find that newspaper clipping among his photographs and mementos.  It obviously meant a lot to him.  He'd been so proud of the blue roses that we'd had him sent a few years ago.  

As a young step-mom who'd never had children of her own it was a reminder of the children that ovarian cancer and subsequent med issues stole from me.  I always wished for just one child that I didn't have to share.  

I was pretty lucky however, our 3 little bears always had plenty of love to go around. My teddybear started a tradition of mini rosesbushes and saw that my efforts in the "mom job" weren't unnoticed.  So many of my stepmom friends aren't so fortunate.  Even now, I usually hear from all 3 kids..  and now grandbabies too.  I don't forget that I am lucky.  

I still have a variety of mementoes from our littles from over the years, including a simple strip of paper that our eldest had given me one year.  I'll never forget it. The girls had made crafts at school, but he'd never been very crafty, and as they were pulling things out he remembered it was Mother's Day and had run into the other room.  He'd torn a strip from the edge of one of his notebooks and written "I love you Mom" on it.  I thought he was going to squish his sister when she looked him right in the face and told him that was a stupid gift. I'd given him such a big hug and told him it was perfect.  I loved to see their sweet little grins.  They gave much, and asked for very little.  

Sometimes I still can't believe that Dad's gone.  You don't realize how strong your bond is with someone until they're no longer with you.  People like to tell you you'll get over it, but it's not so easy. I still hear his voice commenting on things, weighing in on tough decisions, and sometimes it's just a smartass comment I know he'd have shared.  I have no doubt where my warped sense of humour comes from.   

He'd have gotten a big kick out of me being a Grandma.  After all the teasing I got about it being payback time when the kids were growing up, it would have been fun for him to see their payback.  I used to remind him often that I'd been a GOOD kid, while our kids were driving us crazy -- there were 3 of them after all.  He'd just laugh..   

I have to believe he's up there feeding the birds and squirrels, and watching what we're up to down here.  I wish he'd gotten to meet his Great Grand-babies.  He'd have just loved telling everybody he was a GREAT Grandpa.  

Happy Mother's Day Daddy-Mom!  
You are loved, and missed. Today, and always. 


Thursday, 21 April 2016

#TBT Looking into the rearview mirror on the many adventures of the L&G Road Runner

I have to admit that when I first read Dale's welcome to the team on the Hometown TV12 Facebook page I'd laughed out loud.  On one hand I was tickled pink to be continuing on our crazy adventures but the message itself tickled my funny bone. 

"I would like to welcome Tammy J. Wilson to Hometown TV12.

A tireless worker and community supporter, Tammy will be in charge of our Information/News Department as we progress as well as being involved in the planning stages of this new business and a staff writer. 

Welcome Tammy glad to have you aboard!!!."

Thinking back over the last 6 years of my many adventures along side the Leeds and Grenville Road Runner I can't remember a time when my job description or duties list was so concise.  Though who could blame him, when I listed out all of the things I've come to do in the course of a day I couldn't put a name on what my "job" should be called either..  but it still amused me.  Sometimes you just have to take the opportunity to laugh, right?

I'd actually joked with my teddybear about all the free time I'd have and what a new experience that would be.  his response made me laugh even harder -- he didn't miss a breath and said "Yeah right!  Good luck with that!"  Ah yes, he knows us too well..but then again , who better than our respective teddybears to know just how many hours we spend with our faces at the camera or computer. 

We are so truly blessed to have such fabulous support.  I know for myself, I truly don't know where I'd be without my beloved teddybear... his name is James by the way.  It occurs to me that I have gotten so used to calling him my teddybear that I seem to have replaced his name at least in print. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about this journey.  So many ups and downs, things I'd do a little differently if I could do them again and other things I wouldn't change for anything in the world.  

I was telling someone the other day about the very first event I'd ever covered for Brocknews.  I remember heading inside scared to death that the folks inside would see right through me hiding behind my camera and know that at the heart of it all was a simple step-mom and housewife, a survivor -- but certainly no media pesonality by any stretch.  

I wasn't very far inside when someone shouted "Oh good local media is here!"  you can imagine her surprise when I turned around to see who was coming,  or how red my face was when I turned back around realizing that she'd been referring to me..  If she noticed, she was gracious and didn't say anything, thank goodness.  

But oh how far we've come since then and what a ride it has been.  

I've gotten to meet so many fabulous people from all over our region. We've met some famous faces, and local dignitaries and folks that I never dreamed I'd be chatting with over tea. 

As awesome as it was to chat with some of favourite country music artists at the Capital Country Fest / Spencerville Stampede last year, and having my teddybear pulled up on stage with his camera..  sometimes I still feel like I should pinch myself to see if it's real.  I've been equally excited to meet a variety of intrepid volunteers and local dignitaries and some of my own personal hometown heroes.  I have been blessed to call many of you friends.   

Perhaps more importantly though, it's the every day people in our community that are out there knee deep making things happen, making a difference.  "Getting shit done!" as a good friend of mine is fond of saying that get me the most fired up.  Seeking out those unsung heroes and people doing unimaginable things with little or no help or legions of people banding together for a cause.  SO many adventures to pursue..  

So many amazing things that never would have happened to us, if I'd never met Dale Elliott.  

Over the last several years many have alluded to a thing or two.  In the last several weeks I've had many comment on my committment -- my loyalty to the community and to the man himself.  Some have asked on occasion if there was a thing.. (laughs).  Sure there's a thing! It's a big one!  A love of community, of people and of telling the stories from people in our community that are just waiting for someone to come and find them and make some noise.  

It's a thing.. and it's a powerful one! 

Friday, 8 April 2016

A Surprise Smile in the Mailbox - A gift of hope.

You just never know what the mail carrier might bring.  
I thought it a bit strange when I opened my mail this morning and saw that I had a letter from the Huntington Society of Canada but I opened it right away being the curious sort that I am..
I'd heard it was going to happen, but I guess it slipped my mind. Our area's very own Erin Wade is featured in their latest fundraising letter!!  You may recall that I wrote an article about Erin's journey last year.
Seeing that familiar smile made me stop and take pause. I've seen this picture many times -- why was today any different? Perhaps it truly wasn't, but in many ways a switch had been tripped. As strange as it may sound, her's is a smile that will never leave me. I will no longer see a post or PSA for HD or JHD without thinking of that magical smile. The eternal hope, and the wish for better days -- not just a wish -- Erin and Cindy are in active pursuit of the elusive light at the end of the tunnel. That kind of energy is contageous.
This wasn't someone in a country far away, or an unknown victim. She could be the lady that lives next door, or he daughter. She could be your daughter.. and she had my attention.
I pulled out the letter and read it. I knew the story, but I read it anyhow -- I couldn't help but think that the story needed a happier ending, but I guess that's where the letter ends and the opportunity begins.  
Though the core of the story is sad, I cannot help but applaud Erin and her mom Cindy for sharing her story and not letting JHD take away that magnifcent smile and spirit they share. 
As I type this, Erin's Mom Cindy and a crew of dedicated volunteers are well underway for a Vendor and Craft Sale to benefit the Huntington Society of Canada. The event will be held Saturday, April 30th, 2016 from 10am - 3pm at St. Francis Xavier School in Brockville. For the latest details on the event visit their Facebook page.

People always say that you don't really know about anything until you've experienced it. Causes don't really connect with you unless you've experienced it first hand, either personally, or by way of a friend or loved one. I'm the first to admit I've recycled dozens of these sorts of letters over the years because I simply didn't have the money to support at the time. In hindsight I think as many were because they didn't resonate with me in any way. There are so many causes to support. Surely we cannot support everything that comes our way.

I cannot help but send my thanks to those fearless warriors in our communities that keep on keeping on despite seeminly inhuman odds and just keep on going. I am ever inspired to tell your stories.. Like many of you I see so much that needs betterment but I haven't got the means to "fix" it. For some things, I wouldn't have the first clue where to even start.
I'm here to tell you.. every person CAN make a difference..

One person, can share an story, a thought, an idea with another, and then there are two. With enthusiasm and energy come progress and before you know it the seed becomes the garden. Supporting area charity and your community is much the same concept. It is where My idea for my "Opportunity Knocks" column popped up. I have plans for its return very soon.
Today I share a story, what comes next is up to you!
If you'd like to learn more about Huntington's Disease please visit the Huntington Society of Canada's Webpage.
If you'd like to make a donation, there's a link right here for your convenice. This letter says that all donations made before June 30th will be matched dollar for dollar --- that's like doubling your investment!
But don't let a lack of cashflow dampen your enthusiasm. THere are plenty of ways you can help out without spending money you don't have. Volunteering, for example, costs nothing but time. Get connected, ask what you can do.

The simple act of sharing Erin's story is an act of kindness and compassion. Without awareness, we are all in the dark. Turning the lights on make even the scariest of nights turn to daylight.  

We need only find the darkness that compels us the most and take a step.

When Opportunity Knocks, How will you answer?

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Focus On the Positive

There are days, that sometimes stretch into weeks when it seems like there are too many negatives floating around and not enough positives.  

Too many headaches and tears, not enough laughter and smiles.  Social media is rampant with oversharing and negative rants about things that perhaps should be kept private but who is to say.. 

Today I choose to seek out the positive, the smiles, the laughter and the feel good bits of kindness that I know are out there.  

Today, I begin a new personal project of identifying at least 3 good things that happen every day and writing them down so they cannot be forgotten.  

I remember stopping the kids in mid marathon complaining session and saying "Pop Quiz - tell me one good thing that happened today"  Sometimes the answers came quickly and other times they required a little more thought..  but always the mood was brightened and our day would continue.  

Sometimes we all need that.  Don't be afraid to take what you need.  Those that truly care about you will understand.  Do the rest really matter?  

Today, I take a page from the notebook of a new stepmom with 3 crazy kids of so very long ago..  and smile.  <3 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Adventuring down the road ahead..

I woke up a few mornings ago in the middle of the night and my mind starting whirring away.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sometimes we all just need a slow down...

Happy Monday! Happy Family Day! Have a Fabulous Week!!

Ours was a busy but productive weekend. We actually managed to stay home all weekend ((Gasps)).

Friday, 22 January 2016

Late #TBT Remembering 38 and 8

I set out Thursday morning with a question posting to my Facebook page asking people if they remembered where they were 38 years ago.  I then asked if they remembered where they were 8 years ago.  Knowing the cheeky sort my group of friends and colleagues tend to be, I wasn't surprised when a variety of answers rolled in.