Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Parenthood: Our Version

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much." Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

"Parenthood, particularly parenting children with serious, chronic health needs is the perfect job for someone who has not yet had a nervous breakdown, but has always wanted one." Me, 2010

It is no secret that our two oldest children fight Type 1 Autoimmune Diabetes everyday. Ellie was diagnosed in January, 2008, the same week that her baby sister Katey was born. Later that year, we received the heartbreaking news that Bradley's immune system had already attacked his pancreas, and that diabetes was imminent for him, too. Since that time, and often under the haze of sleep deprivation, my attitude about how we'd handle it has gone through many incarnations. At first, we just tried to learn as much as we could, master the equipment, and keep the kids upbeat and happy. After that, I "decided" that diabetes would not be the planet our world would revolve around. We had a great life before diabetes, full of fun, friends and laughter, and I would not let that change. I would also not talk about it, post things on Facebook about it, or let it have a negative impact on all the wonderful parts of our lives. Three years later, I realize how impossible that was. I tried not talking about it. Shrugging questions off with, "Everyone has a battle, this one's ours, we are lucky in every other possible way, including how sweet and kind our kids are..." blah blah blah. That's what I did for the first year.

After the rough first few months, both kids were doing well. They accepted their bi-hourly blood checks, needles and food restrictions and scheduling. Kate was still just a little nursing baby when Ellie started Grade 1. Being in school for full days provided many challenges, and most days, I had to drive to the school 1-2-even 3 times/day. Kate never had the chance to finish a nap in her crib for the first 18 months of her life. I'm pretty sure she's still bitter about that.

The first year wasn't easy, but the kids remained happy, well-adjusted and healthy-ish.

The first hint that maybe I wasn't doing emotionally as well occurred at a work Christmas party of Gary's. I've always loved all types of parties - I even dig the fake, small talk! Gary and I have always been considered pretty fun people, if I do say so myself...(insert Sarah Palin you-betcha wink here). A few work friends I hadn't seen all year asked about how the kids were doing. Right there, in the posh and trendy surroundings of a downtown Calgary "IT-SPOT" I started to cry. At a party. I could not stop. Truthfully, it was my first night out in over a year, I was dressed up, happy to be out and and had a lovely glass of champagne that the wait staff refreshed. I didn't drink a lot... I didn't have to. Something triggered my tears - probably a combination of champagne, exhaustion, and deep, deep sadness over what this disease had done to our kids' lives. (In addition, I had just recently realized that Type 1 Diabetes had been the disease that killed Julia Roberts' character in Steel Magnolias).

The raw emotion and tears that hit me that night lasted about 2-3 days. I cried to Gary about what diabetes had done not only to our kids' bodies and their little lives, but also what had happened to our lives as a family. We rarely saw people anymore. I became very isolated. When your kids have chronic conditions, you don't feel comfortable talking to people about it, because you feel guilty saying anything that could be construed as a complaint. It's not complaining; just stating the facts about the new realities. In addition to that, some people become uncomfortable around you. Not because you are talking about the disease (I didn't) but because when they look at you and see an otherwise healthy-living, loving, happy, engaged and educated family who have had their lives ravaged pretty randomly by a wayward immune system... it makes them fearful. Fearful that the same thing could happen to them.

You know how awful you feel when you hear someone has cancer? And then you find out it's lung cancer and that they smoked for 35 years... there's almost a feeling of relief, like, "ohhh... dear... that's terrible. But they DID smoke. 'I' don't smoke..."

It's ugly, but true. The opposite is also true. When disease hits (especially young people) and it was no one's fault, not preventable and nothing that could have been done to change things, it makes some people uncomfortable.

After the crying episode, I briefly saw a therapist. The JD Clinic at the Children's Hospital had recommended therapy for us as soon as we'd received the first diagnosis with Ellie, but there was truly no time. Plus, there was no one to watch the kids so that we could get there. Children with chronic conditions, and also their parents, are more prone to depression because of the relentless nature of the disease and it's round-the-clock care. No matter how great you do with levels or a crisis one day, you start from scratch the next. Parents are more prone to divorce and a myriad of other issues. You live with full throttle anxiety and worry, and a great deal more responsibilities than parents of healthy children. Can you imagine testing your kids blood before giving them even a little Christmas mandarin orange, all day, everyday? Then measuring millimetres into a syringe and giving them needles every time they eat a meal, then worrying it might be too much insulin and that they might pass out, or worse? Not to mention the grander worries about their longterm longevity. You are literally in charge of making sure that the people you love most in the world, live. It can make for raw nerves, so therapy is wise.

I think therapy is the greatest gift you can give yourself. I have yet to meet a person without some issue. It is not something to turn to in times of crisis, but long before that. Tantamount to taking a car you care for in for regular oil-changing/check-ups. I haven't been in 18 months, and I could probably use an hour, but I'm writing this instead.

We realized this school year, that with the best of intentions, we have not done right by the kids in downplaying their conditions to the world. Especially at school. I won't get into it all, but a few incidents at school have really changed our perspective. Then, on Nov 4, Ellie had a grand mal seizure while getting ready for school. Afterwards, she passed out and vomited for several hours. I called 911 right away and she was rushed to the ACH. She remembers none of it, thankfully, but it was the worst experience of my life. I thought we might be losing her. I feel sick just writing about it. We are pretty sure it was the result of a series of severe low blood sugar she was having at night. We've made some changes and now test her and Bradley several times through the night.

Ellie is doing well, and does not like talking about/hearing about "the incident". Since it happened, and maybe because Gary was working out of the country at the time, I feel scared to be the only adult in the house. I also feel overwhelmed sometimes and afraid often. Gary has been away much of the fall. I've also become more open about diabetes on Facebook, and emails. When parents call and ask if our kids can come over for a playdate after school, instead of making up an excuse, I tell the truth. They can't.

It's hard, if not impossible, to find an original thing to say about parenthood. It's all been said, and it's all soooo cliche, but... it's been the best part of my life. The supply of my daily doses of laughter, love, hugs, messy rooms and dirty faces - once the sole responsibility of my husband, now come from the kindest, smartest, sweetest little people I always wanted to have as a parent. I love em from their toes to their nose. That we have to test their blood every two hours, then calculate the amount of insulin needed for that level, in combination with the amount of carbs they are about to consume, then make sure they eat all the dosed food, then make sure afterwards that their blood/sugar levels don't fall low, or high... and deal with that appropriately; well that is just our dues for having these little people bless our lives. And bless it, they do.

Therapy has not cured me of the odd, instantaneous tearing up episode (they still happen, not often), but it does provide perspective.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The FlyOveriest of all the Flyover States"

It's been ages since I've logged in/blogged in here. I subbed right up until the last week of school, then headed home for an impromtu visit to NS with my eldest. We'd received bad news about the health of one of my grandmothers, so I decided to go home for quick trip and it was wonderful. I got a great visit in with both of my grandmothers, my own family, lots of aunts, cousins, and of course, some great friends. Sadly, the week after I got back, my other grandmother passed away. I could write a book on her - she was a great lady and was 97.5 years old. She didn't complain about one thing in her life - ever.

Ellie and I had a great time in NS. When we came back, my husband's parents were here and spent 2 weeks in Calgary. Gary's father helped him build a shed. Gary loves doing things with his Dad. So does Bradley. So that was nice. Then one of my ALL TIME best friends, Charla, and her husband Chris came out for a visit. We all love them and it was super fun when there were here. Their visit ended the morning after we went to our friends' wedding, which was another fantastic time. By then, my poor body was exhausted - my overworked liver most of all, lol, so I spent a week eating only veggies quinoa and trying to exercise as much as possible.

Then, we packed up and headed south of the border. Gary is working a great deal in Gillette, Wyoming; "The Energy Capital of the USA". His company has several condos down there, and Gary was feeling bad about being away from the kids so much while they were off of school, so we spent a weekend driving (and shopping...) through Montana, and 14 hours of driving later, we arrived at the condo. We were pleasantly surprised to find out the complex had a beautiful pool and hot tub and gym, etc. We didn't know that and were only going down so that we'd see Gary in the evenings. Considering he worked 12-15 hour days, 6 days/week, the pool turned out to be a lifesaver. The kids LOVED it. My friends in Calgary kept me informed of how awful the weather was in Calgary, so we were pretty pleased to be in Gillette.

Although only there for 2 weeks, I could write a book about Gillette, it's people and it's total AMERICAN-NESS. People were friendly and considered us to be big city folks. Where we were staying housed many people who were there for the coal and gas industries, so we also spent a lot of time with Americans from all over the USA. Everyone was nice. But, for the first time in many visits to the States (I even lived there for almost a year in the mid 90s) I did notice big cultural differences between Canada and the US. That is worth a few posts alone.

I enjoyed our time there and wouldn't want to be unkind, but the Wyoming landscape around Gillette isn't what you might expect. A little less Montana and a little more prairie-ish hills covered with sage bushes. That, combined with its' lack of TJ Maxx and Targets inspired me to affectionately refer to it as "The FlyOveriest of all the Flyover States".

We spent Gary's day off driving to South Dakota, through the Jewel Cave National Park, to Mt Rushmore, then onto Rapid City, for more shopping splendour. We also had our anniversary dinner there, at a great Mexican restaurant called On the Border. The northwestern Midwest is full of great Mexican restaurants, and obviously some great Mexican people.

I know this is long and boring, but it seemed strange to just jump in and start blogging again without some sort of update. And leave it to me to make a short story long.

Now we're back in Calgary with two weeks left until school. It's full of appointments. My baby boy starts full day school - Grade One- and I feel anxious about it. He'll be in charge of doing his own blood/glucose tests on his own. But, he's excited. Plus, he's got about 6 new Star Wars shirts (compliments of our US shopping) to wear. We even found a Diary of a Wimpy Kid shirt for him. It says, "I'M PRETTY MUCH THE BEST PERSON I KNOW". It gets lots of laughs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Pianist

Today was a long-ish day. It started at 4am when Gary left for work in Mexico, and it didn't stop until after 7:00 when we got home from swimming lessons. I was trying to get all the kids' teeth brushed and read to and tucked in, all the while Ellie was playing the piano.

She loves to play the piano. She practices a lot. A lot. It's loud. Sometimes, it sounds great, and sometimes it sounds like an accompaniment to a descent into madness. I had Kate and Brad upstairs and had asked Ellie to get off the piano about 10 times. I came downstairs, ready to tell her FIRMLY to get upstairs.

But, I looked at her little body sitting on that piano bench, so focused on her music that instead I went over, sat down by her and told her how great she sounded.

"Do you want me to play something for you, Mummy?" Of course, I said, I'd love that. So, we sat there side by side, snuggled-ish and she played several songs. She played some nice ones very well. And, she was so happy. So was I.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Pencess Dress!'

I've never watched Dancing With the Stars before. But we caught an early episode this season, and all of us in this house - Gary, myself, Ellie, Brad, Kate and Liezel, were mesmerized by Kate Gosselin's dancing (yes, mesmerized is probably the right word). We watched it, rewound it, and watched it again (what would we do without dvr?) And so we were hooked. I actually really like the show. We get the early feed from Detroit, so it's on at 6pm and we all snuggle up and watch it.

Except for Katey. As soon as she hears the DWTS music, she runs up to her room, then emerges in a dress as either Belle, Cinderella, Snow White or Aurora, with matching plastic princess shoes. While Dancing with the Stars is on, Kate provides the real entertainment by dancing around the living room in her princess dress. "Look me, look me! I Pencess." We all love it. You can feel the happy in the room.

Real happiness isn't a tidy house, quiet kids or a spouse who cleans up after himself. Although, who am I kidding - those things help after a long day... and while I'm at it, I could do with less pee backsplash in the bathroom. Bradley, I'm talking to you. At least I think I am. My real, raw happiness comes from these shared, lovely funny moments, and my conscience awareness of them. I want to remember all the details. These are, as they say, the best days...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bradley's new favourite joke

Ellie is obsessed with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. Which means that Brad is also smitten with them. I thought the books might be a little too old for Ellie; let alone Brad. Bradley's new favourite joke, courtesy of DoaWK...

Boy goes to the Dr's office. Says he needs a new bum, because his current bum has a crack in it.

Cue roars of laughter.

*Please note: Mom insists they say Bum instead of Butt when telling this joke. The book says Butt.

** Further proof that no matter how much a mother can try to discourage her kids (boys especially) from potty humour, it is a futile effort.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You're a nerd. Embrace it.

The other day, Ellie was recounting a story about how one of the girls in her class was talking smack about one of their male classmates, who is crazy smart, reading at a grade 7 level, and Ellie's classmate called him a NERD.

I said, "That's not very nice - the poor kid. What IS a nerd, anyway, Ellie? Do you think he's a nerd?"

Well, Ellie replied, he's probably a nerd.

Gary pulled Ellie in and said, "Ellie, guess what.... YOU'RE a nerd."

"Your mother's a nerd, I'm a nerd, YOU are a NERD, Brad is a nerd, and Kate is probably going to be a nerd (although, she might be a female wrestler - the jury is still out...)

"Nerds love books. You are a nerd."

I told Ellie, nerds can also be funny and wear pretty clothes. So, now she's a proud nerd.

"Guess what Mommy.... I'm a nerd!"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Like a lot of Canadians, I've been following the political goings on south of the border pretty closely. I feel strongly about healthcare for all. The campaign in the US against universal healthcare clearly illustrates several points. One, that people can be talked into or out of almost anything when bombarded with daily misinformation and propaganda, a la Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and their friends at FoxNews. Second, most people who oppose healthcare for all, already have it for themselves and their families. 'We've got our's' so you and your children are on your own. It speaks volumes about their world view. 'You've had arthritis? Your child has had cancer/diabetes/acid reflux? Well, that's a pre-existing condition - no health insurance for you!' Which leads to the saddest point - that most of the opponents of healthcare do not care about their fellow man, as long as they are taken care of themselves. How un-Christianlike, for a a group that largely identifies itself as Christian. I'm not particularly religious, but I respect much of what the bible says. Christians who are against health reform should consider the following inconvenient verse...

Deuteronomy 15:7. If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

I've discussed this at length with people who oppose universal healthcare, and their argument boils down to money. It will cost too much. Well, the American insurance companies make billions of dollars in profits. Billions. In. Profits. That may be a moral stomach turner for some, but it's a fact they are not going to part with that money and will (and have) spent millions if not billions lobbying in Washington to protect their profits.

Following the passing of health insurance reform last week (called Obamacare from the fair and balanced right) the airwaves were bombarded with anger, vitriol and violent language unlike anything I've ever heard. After everything that has happened south of the border over the last decade, it's mind-boggling. Remember what the right did to the Dixie Chicks in 2003, because Natalie Maines said they were embarrassed George Bush was a fellow Texan at a concert in London on the eve of the Iraq War? Think about what they endured for years after that for ONE REMARK made off the cuff, and then listen to the hate, fear, lies and spewed by Hannity, Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, etc, etc. These people have a strong following; thus we have the tea partiers. Remember when anyone who dared speak about against the Iraq War debacle was accused of being unpatriotic and vilified as hating America?? I guess criticizing the president is only okay if the republicans don't get their way.

Last weekend, I received an email from one of the American political blogs I follow. I read lots of political blogs, from both the right and left. This one did not come with an author named, so I will just pass it on. Consider this a love letter to the tea baggers...

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, Now you get mad?

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and
appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate
energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...oh hell no.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I haven't seen many of Sandra Bullock's movies... the last one I loved with her in it was A Time To Kill. But, I like her a great deal based on years of watching her on Leno, Letterman, etc, etc... I never found her marrying Jesse James that strange... because I also found him to seem quite kind and intelligent. Of course, this is also based on what I see on latenight talk shows. I don't even know what he does... something like American Chopper...?

Anyway, they're all over the fluff news. Yesterday, I was volunteering at the kids' school for HOT LUNCH DAY. It's a BIG DEAL. Afterwards, I was talking with some of the teachers and someone mentioned "poor Sandra Bullock". I said that I wished I'd gone to see The Blind Side in the theatre, to throw some love her way the only way I could. One of the teachers said The Blind Side is still at the cheap theatre up the road.

Well... my older kids are busy, and Kate is home with the sitter about to have a 2 hour nap. I could totally go see The Blind Side. Alone. In the middle of the day. On a school day. Escandalo!! So I did, and I liked it a lot. I thought I'd feel guilty, but I didn't.

So that brings me to... what in the hell is wrong with Jesse James? He has been texting, or 'sexting' for years, but up to and even including the few last months that brought us Tiger's texts. Who has been sending sex texts since Tiger's car hit that tree? JJ must be an idiot. And have you seen these skankolas? The first one is just repulsive to me to even look at. The others look... trashy. The first one's tattoos make me itchy. Granted, I'm not a tattoo person. I don't hate them; I'm just not getting one myself.

Obviously, not every man (or woman) who cheats on their spouse is a bad person. People cheat for lots of reasons. Jesse James has 3 children. The youngest, Sunni, has been raised by Sandra Bullock since she was an infant. By bonking - I guess we're up to 4 now - of these women, he has really jeopardized the stability of this little girls' life. To say nothing of how unbelievable the timing is, with SB having just won the oscar. She thanked him often - very sweetly, and I think sincerely... ugh. I hate to think of how she must have felt. I'd hoped there might not be a Tiger-like menagerie, but we're already up to 4...

And speaking of Tiger... what is wrong with him? Really. I mean really. What an asshole. Have you read the texts he sent to one of the girls, which she has now released and posted on her own website. Some of them are just filthy and misogynistic. I am no prude. But those texts... man. There is no way Elin will be able to get past those. I hope not, anyway.

The Tiger Woods story is one that I would like not to be interested in, but I can't help it. Trashy and unimportant news, clearly, but it is/was compelling enough that after years of not doing so, I finally gave in and added TMZ to my bookmarks.

What bothers me the most about Tiger Woods? Well, back in December, it bugged me when I heard how cheap he was; to his mistresses but more so, to the wait staff in restaurants. Asshole. But, now I think he probably has some degree of socio-pathos to his personality. Easy to say now that I never liked him, but I never did. I am not a golfer and I've never watched him play, ever (that won't change). I thought he was boring and uninteresting. Not now. Now I wonder what makes a man, with two sweet babies at home, go and pursue girl, after girl, after girl, after girl... I don't care that many of the girls are employed in some sort of sex trade. That doesn't make them any sluttier than your average girl who enthusiastically has sex with married men. There's more dignity in being paid for sex outright, than doing it with a longterm plan of saving texts and lawyering up with Gloria Allred, in order to fake-cry your 15 minutes of fame out of trash tv. "I thought I was the only one"... boo effing hoo.

The really gross part of this is that he had unprotected sex, over and over, with teams of girls; all of whom live high risk lifestyles, sexually. Then, he went home to his wife and BABIES. Where is the guilt? I can see this happening once. You're out, drinking, your guy friends are there, girls are all over all of you... I can see how that can happen. But, the next day, when your 3 yr old looks at you and says, "I love you, Daddy", don't you just hate yourself? Really. Every time I see the same footage of Tiger at some big tournament, and walking over to his wife, mother and baby girl, who he takes from his mother and kisses on the face, I wonder who was he last kissing, and where. Gross.

How big a narcissist do you have to be to think you are above catching (and then passing on) something from the two prostitutes you just paid to have a threesome with you?

Tiger is an asshole.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Katey

This post is for mothers. And, a few fathers.

Kate is ready to potty train. Every time she pees, she tells me a moment later. "Mama, I pee..." When she is creating something more significant than pee, she hides. She hides, but only where she can still see me. Like, in my closet, with the door half closed, but peeking around the corner. One of her favourite places to do this is between the chair and the tv stand in the living down. She crouches down, focuses on hiding from me/watching me, and fills her diaper. Then she announces it.

These are signs that she is ready to potty train. So, today we tried. And a half hour in, we had pee in her potty chair. "Mama! I pee in potty!" "Bradley, I pee in potty! Look my pee!!" Proud moments for all.

But, pee is all she will do. Reluctant to do anything else on the potty but pee. So, to encourage her, I moved her potty chair to one of her top secret favourite places for hiding and sniping. Took her diaper off and watched her walk to her potty in the private location. She sat on the potty, and we gave her the privacy she desired.

What we didn't see was her then go and hide behind the potty and poo on the floor. Which she did. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style. So, we'll put the potty chair away for a few more weeks and try again soon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Up in the Air...

George Clooney.

I like him. He's my only traditional celebrity crush. He's no Gary Salsman, but in Up in the Air, he's a close second. Very close.

It's my favorite movie of the year, so far. And, not just because it reinforced our decision to not move to Omaha this time last year.

Watch this movie if you get the chance. Gary loved it as much as I did, and George C isn't even on his list...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is this normal? Abnormal? Or abnormally early...

I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been feeling sad and haven't wanted to write a downer posting. I've been sad about a lot of things, but I'm only going to talk about one (for today, anyway...) Because, I just realized yesterday why I've been more .... let's say.... emotional, than usual. And it's not just how depressing I find the news (no one is less cut out to be a real world news junkie than me, but that's for another day).

I miss having babies. I mean, actual babies; infants.

Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother. Love it. And, I don't suck at it. I love kids, mine in particular. In the last 8 years, I have often parented alone; for weeks on end. I have never really minded or complained. Gary travels a lot, and until this year, we didn't even have a babysitter. Ever. Except for 2 evenings before Kate was born, we just didn't go anywhere without them. My friends can attest to my patience. Well, with children - not adults - especially adults I am married to. Again, another post for another day.

I am not a Martha Stewart-inspired, crafty, good-soulfoodcooking type of stay at home mother. I don't download craft ideas, then spend 2 hours at the table doing them with the kids. But, I color a lot - I'm an excellent colorer. I play games. I read a lot. I talk a lot. Hold the jokes. And I love them a lot. I hug em and kiss em a lot.

Over the years, we've spent a lot of time traveling. Spent several months, several times living in hotels with toddlers. That won't mean anything to people who don't have toddlers. Imagine living in one room with a 1 yr old and 3 yr old, or a 2 and 4 yr old, who both have to nap. No toys, no tv, just you, two little ones and some books. I did it a lot. It wasn't easy at the time, but looking back, they are some of my best memories.

Living in Trois Rivieres, PQ was the not the highlight of places to live, socially. But, Bradley was born there - before we even finished unpacking, and Ellie turned 2 and 3 there. I was lonely for adult company, yet looking back, it was one of the happiest times of my life.

A major life lesson that we've been smacked in the face with, over and over again, is that life rarely gets easier or less complicated. You know the expression, 'life is what happens when you're busy making plans'... so true. Tacky and true. Hopefully, I don't sound too knowitall-ish, but when the kids were smaller, I really was aware of this. I daily said to Gary, or my Mom, that I felt so happy and lucky and that these were the best days of my life. Which brings me to my sadness....

Am I past the best days of my life? I can't be. I'm 36. My kids are 7.5, 5.5 and 2 years old. Aren't I too young to be feeling this way? Is this a normal or abnormal feeling? I think it's a normal feeling, but that I am having it abnormally young. Knowing that I'm not going to be "birthin' no mo babies" makes me cry. And, I hated being pregnant. I think I miss the quiet joy of watching a 3 yr old push a 1 yr old around in their laundry basket-boat. I miss the sweet cuddling that comes with breastfeeding. I miss having little ones playing in the house all day, with no frantic running around to various lessons. I also miss the quiet of peace and tranquility, ie NO FIGHTING. Ellie and Bradley did not fight until this year. They just didn't. They never, not once, got on my nerves. Gary never came home to a wife who said, "I have to get out of here before I lose my mind". We really didn't have bad moments, let alone bad days. They played, played, played and then played some more. My Little Ponies, Pollies, Barbies, Store, LPS, and then Lego. Total BFFs. Now, Bradley is not so into being told to play with girl toys, and Ellie usually has her nose in a book. Which hurts Brad's feelings. And, all of this bothers Kate, arguably still a baby, who does not appreciate not being included. Which she rarely is, because she destroys all their things. It bothers her. She does not express this through gentle gestures. She screams. She really screams. Poor Katey. I don't think being the baby is the cozy family position previously thought. I have a lot of guilt about her. She was born at the beginning of our diabetes - induced chaos. Ellie and Bradley have lately both started saying things like, "Remember how great life was before we had diabetes?", or when I'm tucking them in, they might say, "I wish no one in the world ever had diabetes". Last night, I was snuggling Ellie in bed, and telling her how when she was in my belly, I used to hope and pray that this little baby would be a sweet baby girl and that is what she is - my sweet and perfect little girl. And she said, "But Mom, now I have diabetes."

Maybe that is what I am really the most sad about.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A little news

To make a looong story short, I contacted one of my old teaching friends from my Lord Beaverbrook High School days because he is one of my references and I was using him as a character reference for my volunteering at CIWA. Well it turns out he is now the principal of the high school in Lake Sundance, a nearby community, coincidentally down the road from our kids' school. Ellie and Brad don't go to school here in Lake Chaparral because they are in French Immersion. Anyway, my reference encouraged me to contact the CBE (Calgary Board of Education) if I was interested in returning to work. Talking to him convinced me that going back to teaching part time is just what I need to do. I'd like some part time work to offset our recent childcare expenses and I always liked teaching. But, the CBE has a surplus of teachers and is not hiring anyone. Not even substitutes. They have too many employees, so I have low expectations. My ultimate goal is to work in ESL at the Jr -Sr high school level. This is a long term goal.

The one area the board has a need is in foreign languages(including ESL). This is where my checkered past comes in handy. I was fluent in Spanish and used to teach high school Spanish. I am also qualified, ON PAPER ONLY, to teach French. I would not teach french; I am not good enough. But, I can read it and am qualified to work as a French Interpreter for the ladies I've met through my volunteer work with the CIWA.

Anyway, I applied via email to the board, stating my background and my current volunteer work at the CIWA in ESL, and my desire to teach ESL part time. So, I got called for an interview last Wednesday and was downtown 15 hours later being interviewed. Because of my cover letter, I'd assumed it was for ESL work. I researched ESL the night before. Crammed ESL, really.

Arrive to the interview surrounded by trilingual 22 yr old teachers fresh out of school. "Where's your portfolio?" one of them asked me. I don't have one, I replied. "Well, you seem very relaxed..." she said. I'm old now and have nothing to lose, I told her. I was very nervous 12 years ago when I came here for my first interview - you'll do great, I told her.

Still thinking I was there to interview for ESL jobs, I coolly followed the lady who came to get me from the waiting area into the interview. We sat at a small cafe sized roundtable with a computer in the middle. We sat down, and the lady asked me, "Why don't you tell me why you want to return to working for the CBE?" Well, I said, I last taught high school almost 6 years ago when I was pregnant with our second child. My husband was transferred to Trois Rivieres, PQ in May of... The lady interjected, "Why don't you tell me all of this in Spanish". It was not a question; it was a suggestion. So, I started all over again in Spanish. In my mind I was thinking... CRIPES - I guess I should have been reviewing Spanish instead of ESL last night. The interviewer was typing every word I said. I rambled on in Spanish, until I got stuck on a word I couldn't remember. The word was 2004 and I kept thinking Deux Mil... FRENCH! I couldn't think of how to say it in Spanish to save my life. This horror went on for a bit, then she asked me to talk to her in French. I said, why don't you ask me something, and I'll answer you in French... No, she said, just talk to me in French.

Okay, that's like someone saying to you, "Say something interesting to me, right now". Pressure.

It is then that I realize this is not going well. It's actually going badly. Very badly. She is not one bit interested in me for ESL work - they must need Spanish and French subs and teachers. That's the only reason I'm here. I'm screwed.

I was then asked if I might be interested in teaching Elementary French Immersion.


Um, no, not really. My French is not good enough. It never was. Spanish perhaps, but I need to work on that, too. In fairness to the lady, she was just doing her job - interviewing possible language teachers. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was there to interview for ESL qualifications... No one could ever accuse me of overselling myself. I like to put myself down, lower the bar, then surprise people when they find out I'm not an idiot. It's worked well for me for 36 yrs.

It got even worse, but I'll spare you the extra details. Take my word for it, questions like, "How do you assess students, and how do you respond to those assessments?" were not answered well by me. She did compliment my Spanish, and that was the highlight. The interview ended with her telling me that if I was successful, I would be put on the Sub list. If not successful, I would be able to reapply in two years. If that happens, she suggested I take some courses through Alberta Ed. So clearly, I'm not getting it. No sub list for me.

I thanked her for her time, all the while thinking, I just bombed that interview. I came across as such a fool, I am not considered decent enough to sub. And, I don't even want to sub! Feeling dejected, I met Gary for a coffee in his building. I mean, it's shame to waste a trek into the downtown core and not do something cool, like having a SB coffee with my handsome husband in his suit. I don't even like Starbucks coffee, but I like to go there. I told him I bombed. I really bombed. I am not even going to get on the sub list. A week ago I didn't want to sub. Now that I screwed up, I really want to sub. Rejection, or the smell of it, is a great motivator. I started to see all the pros of subbing - no real responsibility longterm to students, I can choose at which schools I would work, when I would work, and that is a real plus with Ellie and Brad's medical issues.

I want on that sub list! And, being on the sub list at least allows me access to intra-board information and eligibility to apply for real jobs - like ESL or even back to teaching Spanish. And now I have to wait 3 weeks to find out for sure.

So, last night Gary went to check the mail and came back with a letter for me, very thin, one page, from the CBE. Clearly a PFO letter. I opened it, and it started with, "We are pleased to inform you that.... "

So, I'm on the sub list. I'm good enough to sub. Phew.

I really wanted to get on the freaking sub list!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

She might not be a b*tch, but she looks like one...

I shop at the Superstore. Loblaws for you people in Ontario. I've often swore, weekly at times, that I will never go back there. The lineups are ridiculously long (in Shawnessy especially - although the Mackenzie location is much better; for you south Calgarians...) and much of the clientele is rude. Ask anyone in Calgary - this is true. We eat a lot of ethnic food, organic food, supplements, and other things that can only be found at the Superstore. Plus, I can get my Oil of Olay body cream there. Bonus. (scent = heaven)

Anyway, it is an annoying place to shop. Carts must be rented, for free ultimately, for $1. I buy the $2 coins whose proceeds go to the Children's Hospital, but fit the carts, and I buy them about once every 2 weeks, because Gary always loses mine.

So, today I went to the store. The kids were all sick and I needed to get them lozenges, etc, so they stayed home with Liezel. I did my shopping and was out of there in 20 minutes. It was pretty pleasant. It is also usually pretty pleasant when I have the kids with me. They are seasoned shoppers. But, I was alone and efficient. And happy. Not to be alone. It was sunny; I was quick - it was good.

After I unloaded my groceries into the van, I walked away from the Honda to take the cart back and to retrieve my little $2 coin. A lady (who wreaked of smoke... not that there's anything wrong with that, but she did...) came up to me smiling and said, "I only have 65 cents. Would you take that for your loonie?" I didn't have a loonie, I had the charity coin, but I smiled and said "Sure."

"Thanks a lot", she said. "No problem. Have a great day," I replied.

As the lady walked away from me, I heard her say to her friend... "I'm surprised she gave me this token. She looks like a total bitch."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meeting Ellie's hero...

After watching part of Bill O'Reilly's condescending interview with Jon Stewart earlier today, I had a feeling that I had a rant in me and that I'd blog on it... and I probably still will, but not tonight. Because something lovely happened for Ellie today.

She had her regular weekly appointment at the Children's Hospital this afternoon. We go there for many reasons, but lately Ellie's been going a lot because she is seeing a psychologist. No, nothing dramatic or wrong with her "in that regard"; it is pretty standard for children with chronic diseases to see psychologists, for a whole host of reasons. Ellie is going in order to deal with her crippling and terrible fear of her regular blood screenings at the lab. It is awful. I mean awful.

Anyway, a brief background. Ellie is a newshound. Not sure where she gets it. Every single night at 5pm, without fail, we watch our local Global Calgary News. If I happen to forget, she reminds me. This is to the annoyance of her younger siblings, who are less interested in watching the news and would much prefer for Ellie to play with them while I am getting the grilled cheese-es ready. I MEAN, getting dinner ready. Ever since I told Ellie that I met one of the anchors, Gord Gillies, at a charity event in 2007, she has a strong fondness for him. Not a crush, but not totally unlike a crush. She always says, "Hey Mom, there's Gord...!" If Ellie is not in the room, Bradley will yell, "Hey Ellie, Gord's on!"

Sidenote: When Santa made an early stop at our house back in late November, Ellie was so excited and thrilled that she insisted we call Global News. Which we did, of course (thanks to our friend Rob, btw... he does a great Gord Gillies).

So, there is a Radiothon going on at the ACH (Alberta Children's Hospital) all week. Country 105FM is broadcasting live there all week, Global News has their on air personalities answering phones all week, and there are loads of other local celebs and families of patients participating by sharing their stories.

You can probably guess where this is going. While Ellie was alone with Dr. K, I was sent away for 15 mins, so I went downstairs, went to the pharmacy and shop and then observed a familiar face. Linda Olson. She is the female news anchor who works alongside Gord. She is pretty on tv, but absolutely stunning in real life. Then I saw him. Gord Gillies. Answering the phone. I thought, I can't wait to take Ellie down and point him out. I noticed the time and ran back up to the 3rd floor. Once there, I thought, "Hey... these guys are donating their time for sick kids. That is good of them. I had met Mr. Gillies before, and found him a delight. I have a sick kid who loves him. What are the chances, if I asked nicely, that Gord Gillies would actually come over and say hello to Ellie?"

I flew downstairs and mentioned all of the above to one of the organizers, then ran back upstairs to Dr K's waiting area.

When we finished our appt, we went downstairs and the organizer I spoke with gave me the thumb's up. She said, "Gord finished his shift at 2pm, and just went up to the Diabetes Clinic to find Ellie. (How nice??) Wait here, he'll be back.

Well, he could not have been kinder or friendlier. Ellie was awestruck and quite shy and nervous. But thrilled. Gord talked to Ellie for quite awhile, and even gave her his card, and wrote his personal number on it, so that she could call him anytime she wanted. He wrote on a pair of furry ears that he gifted her, and then chatted with me. I am guessing he does a lot of charity work. He asked a lot of pertinent questions about living with chronic illnesses. It has been my experience that parents of special needs children open up quicker and easier with strangers in talking about the realities and issues (and problems... ) related to their kids' illnesses than they do with people they have regular contact with. I know I often try to downplay how diabetes has affected our lives, because we are so, so very lucky in every other aspect of our lives.

Anyway, many of the staff of the radiothon started to mill around, watching Ellie and Gord with smiles on their faces. One lady left and came back with a photographer. They took a few pics and will be sending some my way. Hopefully I will have learned how to upload pics to this blog by then. I don't have high hopes, though. I set the bar pretty low for myself, especially in all areas computer related.

Ellie was just so excited and happy. It was a really nice moment for her and one that she'll remember for her whole life. Meeting Tommy Hunter in the Sydney KMart when I was 11 was a highlight of my childhood. (... well, he WAS really nice to me...) Everyone likes to feel special every now and then.

Anyway, the clip of Jon Stewart on Bill O's show was just on TV again. I don't have another post in me tonight, but I do feel a rant coming on soon. Maybe I'll call Gord Gillies and see what he thinks about this interview. I do have his number and he did say call anytime...

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's not a secret; we just didn't tell anyone.

Enter with caution; this one's a loooong one....

It's been a month of big changes in our house. I don't really know where to start.... back in September, one of my dearest friends here in Calgary called me. She had recently had her third baby and had hired a part time Nanny to help out while she was on maternity leave. The Nanny would work for them full time once my friend returned to work. My friend knows our family very well. She suggested that we hire her Nanny 1-2 days/week, temporarily, for the fall. Gary was going to be gone for 7 weeks, we were going through a rough patch with Ellie and Brad's juvenile diabetes, and were spending 2 days/week at the hospital. I had a few other issues on my plate, and because we live so far away from our families, we have no back up support at all with the kids. I know many people are in similar situations, but a lot of other people aren't. When we are at the hospital with the kids, there is poor Katey, not getting any naps, spending her time, unhappily, waiting with me. The last time I had dental work done, Ellie and Brad were in the room with me, and Kate, 18 months old at the time, squirmed on my belly while the dentist worked his magic. Don't even ask about the dreaded annual... "rhymes with tap" test, because they come to that, too. I digress...

After much fence-sitting, we hired "E" one day/week. It would soon increase to 2, sometimes 3 days/week. I had a lot of anxiety going into it, because anxiety is part of my charm. I thought I might feel funny being in the house with someone who was paid to help me out. I felt uncomfortable with my position as "ladyboss" which is how E refers to her female employers. I knew that I respected Canada's foreign worker program and how it assists qualified workers from disadvantaged homelands (in this case, The Philippines) to find work in Canada and eventually become citizens. But, again, I felt torn. Life is just so random... that this lady who would soon become a good friend to me was working in my house bothered me. Life isn't fair. If our birthplaces were reversed, I'd be working in her house; not her in mine.

To make a long story short (not my strongest suit...) E was with us for over 3 months and we all loved her. Gary too. During long weeks, or even a full month that Gary was away, I could go for a run, in the middle of the day when she was here. I got my haircut, alone! Best of all, I was finally able to regularly volunteer in Ellie and Bradley's class each week, and they loved that. While Gary was gone, it was a comfort to me to have another adult in the house through the night. When Gary was here, we went to our first movie together in 7 and 1/2 years. We met for lunch a few times. It was fanfreakingtastic. I often joked, only really half joking, that if I ever wrote a book, I could title it, "Lessons my Nanny Taught Me". There are many quotes from E worth printing, believe me. She has been working fulltime for my friend's family now for a month. We miss her, but she is happy, has a wonderful 'ladyboss' and family who love her, and we are still in touch. So, a happy ending there.

Except, it kind of sparked something inside me. I've been home raising 3 babies for almost 8 years. And, the last 2 years have really put us to the test. Ellie's being diagnosed at the same time Kate was born, and then Bradley's subsequent diagnosis... oftentimes the stress, anxiety and raw nerves have been palpable in our house. Kate was a twin and before we lost her twin, we'd planned to hire a nanny to help us out that first year. Gary travels a lot and works long days - he was terrified just considering leaving me to nurse twins all night, then take Ellie and Brad all over the place the next day for months on end. Once there was only one baby, we thought a nanny was no longer necessary. But, in light of the eventual special health needs of our oldest children, all of our family and our close friends who spend real time with us have said that we probably needed the nanny more with the reality we are living now, than we did with the reality we imagined with twins.

Boy, this is getting long. My apologies. If you've made it this far, there really must be nothing to watch on tv. Having some part time help made me realize how isolated and lonely I've become for adult company. Most of my friends have long since gone back to work. The lunches and playdates that maintained my social life when Ellie and Brad were preschoolers are gone. Kate naps everyday from 1-3pm, while Brad is at Kindergarten... my schedule is limited. But, I craved doing something. I wanted to volunteer somewhere. My biggest natural interest was in working with women newly immigrated to Canada. But, JDRF was also on my radar, as is the Red Cross. So, I called them all. I first heard back from JDRF. I spoke for almost 2 hours (2 HOURS!!) on the phone with the head of JDRF Calgary. She said I should forget volunteering and come down to interview for a job with her. I was adamant about not wanting fulltime, and that was what the position called for, but she thought she/we might be able to work something out. We weren't. It was fulltime or nothing. So, nothing it was. At the same time, I was seeking part time help; a part time nanny. I know that is a luxury. I know I am lucky to even be able to contemplate hiring a nanny so that I can go volunteer somewhere. But, we can't hire teen babysitters like everyone else can. There's no dropping them off at the grandparents or cousins while we take someone else to the hospital. We need an adult who can comprehend the gravity of juvenile diabetes.

We couldn't find a part time nanny. Understandably, nannies in the foreign worker/live-in caregiver program are all seeking fulltime work. Then, we met Liezel. Because we had a crazy week of Dr's appts, Liezel came for an interview with us AT THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL. She met us there!! And we all loved her! She's a bit too cute for my personal taste, but so, so lovely. That was a joke, btw. Mostly a joke, anyway...

So, we've hired a nanny and she's moving in this weekend. She will live here, in the basement ensuite previously used by visiting grandparents, uncles and friends who enjoyed more wine with dinner than would have been responsible to drive home with. (That's true.) She'll work 5 days/week, starting this Monday. And I am working 2 days/week at CIWA - Calgary Immigrant Women's Association. It is a volunteer position, working as a translator in an ESL course for immigrant women who are studying Early Childhood Care. This will enable these women, most from tragic backgrounds in refugee camps, to work in daycares, despite language barriers. I am pleased and excited.

The whole time E was with us, I didn't ever drop into conversation that we had a part time Nanny.... it wasn't a secret, I just didn't tell anyone. Obviously, my close friends knew, as did my parents. But, I'd gotten a few bitchy comments from one individual and it disinclined me to be too open about it.

I know I'm lucky. I know that some people will change their opinion of me. I know life is unfair. Some countries are rich, and others still have people starving to death. Or selling their child, to feed their other children. I know life is unfair when I give one of my kids a needle that they get 4 times/day, but still cry through, even though it keeps them alive. I worry a bit about what some people will say. Gary, a bit tougher than I, says, "**** 'em. Who are they to judge us, and what we face, alone..." He has a point. Other marriages have not weathered half of what we've gone through. I know, cue the violins...

I should add that all of my friends who knew we'd hired some help have ALL been wonderful. Most have hugged me and said 'It's about damn time!!' I love them for that. Just one miserable person put in a good effort to make me feel bad. But, I've been tuning her out for years and she's crazy anyway. No, seriously, she's crazy. B*tch be trippin'. For realz.

I'm so gangsta, sitting here in my turtleneck/cardie sweater set.

Before I sign off, I have to mention the horror in Haiti. I have a co-dependent personality and compulsive brain when it comes to bad news in the world. I have a hard time getting it out of my mind. That's why I haven't been writing anything here. No one wants to hear me go on and on about this tragedy and what we've decided to do about it in our house. But, we certainly hold the people of Haiti in our hearts and minds and hope for some relief to the unimaginable suffering there. There's now more orphans in Haiti than there are people in the province of Nova Scotia. We received a call today from the Red Cross thanking us for our donations, and the lady told me that Canada has contributed more than any other country on a per capita basis. Yet another reason to be fiercely proud of being Canadian.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who's pee IS this?

So, Kate just turned 2 years old. Because she is constantly mimicking her brother and sister (for better AND for worse...) she seems older at 2 years old than her older siblings did. She's close to potty training, so I've taken our little wooden potty chair that I bought before Ellie was even born (sniff sniff) and set it up in our bathroom. I encourage her to sit on it, get comfy on it, etc. But, so far, she is not that interested in doing anything there other than perusing the odd book, usually upside down.

I was getting the kids into the tub yesterday, and while her diaper was off, got Kate to sit on the potty. Then, she went into the tub.

Fast forward to this morning. I was getting out of the shower and noticed that there was a tiny bit of pee in the potty. Did Katey pee in it yesterday, and I somehow missed it? I started to get excited, thinking Kate peed in the potty. I yelled downstairs, "Hey guys, who peed in Kate's potty?"

"Whaaaat??!!..." everyone yelled back. I said, "There is pee in Kate's potty. Who's pee is this?"

"Oh", Bradley said, "That was me."

"Why did you pee in Kate's potty?"

"Because Mommy, I wanted to remember what it's like to be little."

He's five.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Family Secrets Revealed...

So, I'm not really going to reveal any family secrets (there's no really juicy ones anyway). I just wanted to get my mother's attention. Hi Mom!

I'm not sure what my parents thought when I told them that I was starting a blog, considering that some of my Facebook updates have made them cringe (just a little...), but they are pretty great people and have always supported me and my brothers in whatever we've done. The closest thing we have to a family secret is that my parents and I don't see eye to eye, politically. But,that is hardly a secret. And, it is so common in families that it is practically standard. Remember, 40-50 years ago, our parents' parents thought the Beatles had "crazy, hippie hair"? Hello Marilyn Manson and Insane Clown Posse.

Funny story... 18ish years ago, I'd moved back to my Mom and Dad's house in the spring, following my first year away at university. I was broke. Jobs were few and far between and I'd applied for many of them. One day, I got a call from someone who asked me if I'd like to work the upcoming election, on election day. 12 hours at $5/hr, which was minimum wage. 60 bucks!! I was thrilled, if not very informed about what I'd be doing. I was told to be there for 8am, and I was there at 7:45 at the polling station. My job for the day was to sit in a car with Rich, a very well known character in my hometown, and write down the names of everyone who walked into the polling station. Great. I could do that. I was making $60 for this? Awesome. Just sitting in a car with Rich for that long was an education. In life.

So, the day was over and I came home. I talked to my Mom and Dad for a few minutes, then said,"I'm going to have a shower and go to the Liberal (wrap -up) party up at the hall." My Mom said, "Lori-Dear, do you think that's a good idea?" I was bored, lonely and missing my friends and would have wanted to go to any party, anywhere. Saying, yes, I thought it was a great idea, my Mom told me, "Well, you just spent the day working for the Tories, and it probably wouldn't look right."

"I just spent the day working for the conservative party???" WTH??? Does anyone else know I did that?? Even then, I was liberal minded, if not associated with the liberal party. But, wanting to adhere to my internal system of good taste, I did not go to the party. It pained me. I stayed home, and probably ate several bowls of cereal. Over the years, my politics have further evolved. The more I've travelled, the further left I lean.... I'm sure I'm now what the 'gentil' and soft-spoken Bill O'Reilly would call a leftist loon or pinhead. Considering the source, I'd say, "Bring it, Bill.. I ain't skeert..." There's no way he buys half of what he says.... everyone has their price.

'Cause, when you're broke, you're broke. And, 60 bucks is 60 bucks.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The one thing I have in common with Meryl Streep

I love Meryl Streep. Most women in my demographic love her. From Kramer vs Kramer and Out of Africa to Doubt and Julie and Julia, she's magnificent. I've never seen Sophie's Choice (if I couldn't handle it before kids, I certainly can't handle it now). Watching her in interviews, I am struck by her down-to-earthiness, her great sense of humour and her colourful language, which I love. Seeing her recently, wig-less, in It's Complicated with Alec Baldwin, (who I also love, despite that ugly voice mail) I realized I have something in common with her... bad hair. The exact same type of hair. Hair that has gotten worse and worse with each pregnancy and birth, and all that goes along with that.

So, I have the same hair as Meryl Streep. Makes me hate my hair just a little bit less.

Speaking of Julie and Julia, I need a point for this blog... my original idea had been to start cooking new recipes that I haven't done before, that are both healthy and animal friendly, if not totally vegetarian, and write about the results (okay, very UNoriginal, I know.... )

I already eat a very healthy diet. Frustratingly healthy for some in my inner circle; particularly those in my marriage. I've never been a meat lover, so it's easy for me to avoid it. No white flour, no white rice, no pasta - period, and no junk food and no fast food, ever. I love coffee, but haven't had any (decaf) for a week, and I haven't had caffeinated coffee in months. Decaf coffee alone is not at all bad for you, nor is regular coffee bad for most people, but I only like my coffee very sweet, and very creamy. Not milky. Creamy. Must be creamy. And, I love chocolate. I eat a lot of it, daily. After the food, chocolate and wine overindulgences of the holidays, I had a hankering to do a cleanse. I always do one after a vacation or holiday season. Because, I luuuuve my liver. The liver is the donkey of the body, overworked and underappreciated. It deals with all the food and junk we eat, drink, and medicines we ingest. So, the supplements were started, the coffee was gone, wine was long-gone, and the cheese.... would keep.

But, do you think I can stop eating chocolate this week? No. I can't. I've had two pieces of this extraordinarily good chocolate fudge here while typing! (Plus Gary loaded up on good Christmas chocolates he found at the grocery store 1/2 price after Christmas... that's not helping). But, you know what I think Meryl would say?

She'd say, "**** it, Lori, life is short." And, she's right.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Mom, is your 'blob' ready?"

So, one of the things that has inspired me to start a blog is this cutesy new MacBook we recently purchased (shout-out to the Best Buy Boxing Week sales!). I finished the first entry several days ago, but have had no time to get to the actual creating of the blog; the choosing of colours for text, background, font, pictures for the profile, etc... If I don't soon just get to it, this will soon be a blog about creating a blog. On blogger. Not even on my own. So, I've chosen some simple colours and font just to finally get started.

Spent most of the day with the kids at the Children's Hospital. We received a lot of snow today, so the roads and conditions were terrible. On the long drive home, we were constantly hit in the windshield by flying rocks and stones. "We" don't salt the roads here in Alberta. Actually, we don't even plow the roads here in Alberta. Instead, they sand the roads with finely ground gravel. Trust me, it's not that finely ground. Few windshields make it through the winters unscathed. Anyway, every 5 minutes, a rock would hit the van and scare me. Thank God I don't drink coffee anymore (well, none with caffeine in it) or I would have been jumping and squealing each time. Caffeine does not bring out the best in me. I can provide a long list of people who have unwittingly startled me, and can back this up. Anyway, I was wishing I was driving Gary's truck, when this hummer flew past me, cut in front of us, spit a load of gravel onto the windshield... yadda, yadda, yadda, we have a 2 foot crack in the windshield of the van. Our poor Honda didn't stand a chance against that Hummer. Hummers are obnoxious, aren't they?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So, I guess I'm starting a blog...

Ha! For years my husband has been trying to convince me to start a blog... and for some reason today, I decided to try it. It's pretty ironic that I am starting to blog at this stage in my life, since I really can't think of anything that I have going on in my life that would be of interest to anyone other than my Mom and Dad.... I have done some blog-worthy things in my life - I lived and taught for two years in Mexico, lived in the exotic state of Maine and went to school there, got married (yes, that is blog-worthy to some these days, lol) moved to Calgary in -40 degree weather - and yes, that was definitely blog-worthy to a winterhater like me, started having babies (and I don't have to tell anyone how many blogs there are about THAT these days). Eventually, my husband's work took us to Trois Rivieres, Montreal and then Paris (for the record, Paris was my favourite of our temporary work stints - no offence to the Hell Angels who were in neighbours in TR - also blog-worthy...).

After returning to Calgary from France with our two kids, we decided to have another. Maybe because of my age, maybe because I had worn out my fertility good luck, the third time was not easy. We had several miscarriages, eventually being pregnant with twins (one of whom is our wonderful Baby Kate). We lost one of the twins, and the rest of the pregnancy was extremely difficult. Bedrest is not as sweet as it sounds, especially when you have two young kids. I am not recounting any of this to be a debbiedowner; just to make the point that these were all blog-worthy times in my life.

Then, the week that Baby Kate was born, our oldest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Those first few months with a newborn and sick older child were off-the-hook with stress for our family. There is a lot to learn with Type 1 Diabetes. Again, a blog-worthy series of events. Not that I had time to even shower, but that's not the point. Eventually, our son Brad was diagnosed with the same disease when he was 4 yrs old, and while it was very sad for us, it was not the devastating news it was the first time round.

In the last two years, many people have told me I should have a blog about raising two kids with Juvenile Diabetes. But, I am not interested in that. It holds little interest to anyone who doesn't also live with this type of diabetes. Plus, it can be a downer. And, we have happy lives. Our day to day lives are impacted every hour by diabetes, but we don't let it dictate everything we do. Or don't do. The truth is we have a lot of fun and lots of laughs.

I'm thinking about taking a cooking class, a decorating class, and every second day, I think of looking for a part time job. Just when I am convinced I should try to find a flexible part time job, I look at Kate and get kicked with guilt. My friend jokingly suggested I be a webcam girl. What's funny about that is that I think my neighbour is one.

It's late, this is way too long and boring for anyone, but at least the first post is behind me. Now, I can start complaining how if I see Sarah Palin refer to the "Real America" one more time, I will sick Tiger Woods on her. I actually have his number from my waitressing days. That was also during a previous, extremely blog-worthy period of my life. But, there was no internet then. Thank goodness for me and my reputation. I would hate for my name to be in the same sentence as the name Jamie Jungers.