Category Archives: Friday flashbacks

Friday Flashback – Skiing

Today I took CJ and ET skiing. It was our first time out this year but they were zipping around like the pros they are.

Skiing has always been a part of my life (I started when I was three) and every year we would take a ski vacation with the same family friends. Some years other families would join in but the nine of us were the core group. The memories from these family trip are some of my most vivid and are absolutely among my favourites.

This is a picture of our gang (minus Dad who was taking the picture.) I’m in the green pants in front of Mom and The Sister is on the far right.

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Friday Flashback – The Sister

Flipping through old family albums it is quickly obvious she was my first friend.

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The Sister and I had our moments when we’d fight, and there were periods of sibling rivalry, but we have always been tight… as you can see from this Headlock of Love. Continue reading

Friday Flashback – Pax

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When I was young, my first pet was a hamster. I named him Super Ben and even made him a little cape to wear. Sadly, he died in the first month of owning him (nothing I did, I swear). Turns out that replacing a dead pet on the very same day that it died is a great way to alleviate a child’s grief! Thanks to Mom, I quickly recovered from the loss and named the new hamster Super Ben 2. He lived a long and full life. Continue reading

Flashback Friday – 1983

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My best friend and I were going to our first real boy/girl party. We were ten and there was going to be dancing and everything. Don’t be alarmed, this is not how we dressed everyday… it was a “punk” party. I put “punk” in quotes because we definitely looked more like miniature hookers than anything else. (The birthday boy hosted his party with Sid Vicious hair and a black leather jacket. Very punk and so cool.)

It’s been a long day and I’m too tired to reminisce, but I can’t help but question a couple of things.

First, can you believe my mom owned black vinyl boots like that. Who was she? Cher?

And second, in what universe would wavy hair and a tennis skirt make me look punk? My reference sources must have been lacking.

I do remember that we were so excited, being allowed to wear make-up… and we wore as much as humanly possible. Good times!

Friday flashback – Brigus

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My mom grew up in Brigus, a beautiful little fishing village in Newfoundland.

As a smart Catholic girl in Brigus, Mom’s career options were nurse or nun. She choose nursing school and started dating boys stationed at the Royal Canadian Air Force base in nearby Torbay. That’s how she met my dad (originally from the big city of Montreal).

Long story short… they married, settled in Nova Scotia, and had two daughters. Thus the origin of our annual pilgrimages to Brigus.

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Legend has it that when my sister was a baby she made her first trip  nestled in a laundry basket in the backseat of the old yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Ahhh, 1971… no five-point harnesses back in those days! Continue reading

Friday flashback – 1977

Me and my dad when  I was four

Me and my dad when I was four

I love this picture for three reasons:

1) The chair (my parents still had the matching couch up until 2 years ago)
2) My dad still looks exactly like this
3) I still look at him with this much love

I was going to feature a different photo today, but a school friend’s father died yesterday and I feel a burning need to write about this one instead.

Allow me to present…

11 Practical things my dad has taught me

1) You should not be allowed to drive a car until you know how to change a tire – One day, when I was 16 and newly licensed, I  headed out to use the car only to discover it  had a flat tire. Mid-change, as I was putting on the spare, two neighbourhood mothers came over to watch because they didn’t know how.

2) If possible, a man should own a classic tuxedo – Once or twice a year when I was growing up, my parents would attend a party that would be “black tie optional”. My father would look extremely dashing in his tuxedo while the other men wore suits. The Husband bought a beautiful tuxedo for our wedding and, in the long run, we have saved money not having to rent over the years. In fact, he wore it to a formal dinner this week.

3) Be a good salesperson – This is important in any job you do, and life in general. In a job interview, you need to sell yourself. As a parent, you need to sell the idea of healthy food and good behaviour. In my work, if I want the clinic staff to remember to refer people to my research projects, I need to sell the idea and “advertise” with reminders and notices.

4) Always be able to name a few great things about yourself – Dad is famous in our family for saying things like, “You know what I like most about me?” It’s this kind of confidence that always keeps him positive. For example, he might tell you that he played a horrible round of golf that day, but at least his drive off the 4th tee was spectacular.

5) Marry someone with different strengths than you – My dad is smart (look at all the great stuff he’s taught me) but his strengths are in implementation and daily operation. My mom is smart in a long-term visionary kind of way. They are a great team and complement each other’s abilities.

6) Know how to dance the Jive – Even before Dancing with the Stars made it commonplace, my dad could dance a mean Jive. He and Mom even once won a contest. As a little girl, I loved getting to dance with my dad at a party. Still do!

7) It’s important to always vote – When I was just 19 or 20, I was angry at my dad for something and, in an odd attempt to show my rebellion, I randomly yelled, “Well then, I’m not going to vote!” I remember him setting his jaw and declaring that he didn’t care what I did about blah, blah, blah, but voting was my duty and I would only be hurting myself if I didn’t. I voted then and always do.

8) When cooking or baking, keep the kitchen clean as you go – When he’s working in the kitchen, Dad always has a sink full of hot soapy water and a dish towel over his shoulder. If you’re finished using a bowl or a utensil, take a minute to wash it so you can reuse it. After using an ingredient, return it before moving on to the next step. At the end of things, you’re not left with mountains of stuff to wash and put away.

9) Don’t let not knowing how to do something stop you – Before my sister and I were born, Dad met a guy who was planning a group ski trip to Europe. They really hit it off and Dad convinced Mom that they should tag along… even though they had never skied before. This man and his family, became our best family friends growing up and our annual joint-family ski vacations are some of my favourite memories.

10) Never return a borrowed car without putting gas in it – I remember my older sister once borrowing Dad’s car and returning it with an empty tank. I don’t exactly remember the fall-out, but when I was of age and borrowed the car for an evening, I would always put some gas in it before coming home. Most of the time I could only spare $5, but that actually bought about a quarter of a tank back in the day.

11) When family needs your help, you make yourself available – Last weekend, The Husband called Dad and asked if he could borrow his van the next day to move some stuff into storage. Twenty minutes later, my dad was at our house and spent a couple of hours helping out. Just yesterday I had to call on Dad for some last-minute help to get CJ home from a  hockey practice. No matter what he has going on, if his kids (or grand-kids) need him, he is there. It’s pure love and devotion.

I learned these 11 lessons, and much more, because Dad (and Mom, of course) always led by example. Everyday I try to raise my kids  the same way.

I guess that’s just another lesson learned.

What practical wisdom have you learned from your parents?

Previous Friday flashback

Friday flashback – 1980

I’ve decided to go a bit retro on Fridays and show some old photos and share their story. Please let me know in the comments if you like the idea.

Inspired by this week’s series of faith articles on A Clown on Fire, I’ve decided to share images of my past faith.

First Holy Communion, age 7

First Holy Communion, age 7

I say “past faith” not because I no longer have faith, but because my current beliefs are very different. As a young child I was in awe of the crucifix and mesmerized by the rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. I think that is apparent in this picture.

While many Christian churches use communion as a symbolic “meal” or as a representation of the Last Supper. The Catholic Church believes that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist (the wafer and wine). You are literally receiving the “body and blood of Christ”.

I remember being vividly aware of the importance of this event. I had reached the “age of reason” and had studied the importance of this sacrament. I had also attended confession and was absolved of all sin, I was made pure and ready to receive Christ.

The white dress symbolizes purity and reminds you of your Baptism

The white dress symbolizes purity and reminds you of your Baptism

My seriousness was  because I was worried I wasn’t “pure” enough. You see, I also have a clear memory of lying to the priest that morning in the confessional. I didn’t have any sins to tell so I had to make some up!

My favourite thing about these pictures is my veil, which was also worn two years earlier by my sister. When my mother got married she didn’t own her dress, but she bought herself this veil. My sister and I subsequently wore it at our own weddings.

Do you like the idea of Friday flashbacks?