Category Archives: Lists

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

11 potentially interesting things about me

shark dive

For a couple of the blogging awards that I’ve been given, part of the deal is that I’m meant to answer 11 personal questions and/or tell you 7 interesting things about myself. I’ve been putting this off because I hate doing stuff like that. However, if I want to be an upstanding citizen of the blogosphere, I need to complete this social contract.

Because I’m oddly fond of lists of 11 things (and I hate the lack of control of having to answer random personal questions) I’ve combined and modified the challenge. Today, I present to you…

11 potentially interesting things about me Continue reading

11 things I misunderstood as a kid

A couple of days ago I overheard the boys talking and had to clarify that when someone says, “I’d bet my life,” you don’t actually kill them if they are wrong.

This got me thinking about some of the misunderstandings that had me quietly worried when I was a kid. Continue reading

11 reasons my husband is an amazing dad

1. He read and sang to the boys in utero and his voice could calm them better than anyone’s after they were born.

2. He gagged at the very first poop in the hospital, but he stuck with it and never looked back.

3. He got excited about how the sun would bleach out the cloth diapers as they hung on the line.

4. He once caught toddler vomit in his hands while cooing “It’s okay, Baby, it’s okay…”

5. His lullaby to the boys was James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James.

6. He is never afraid of being silly.

7. He always has more tolerance with the boys at bedtime than I do.

8. His “be grateful that Mommy makes you this yummy food” speech is superb.

9. Every week he individually sits with the boys while they divide their allowance between three jars; save, share and spend.

10. He has as much fun playing with Nerf guns as the kids do.

11. The boys love his weekend oatmeal, and I love sleeping in while they eat it.

Happy Father’s Day, to all the great dads out there.

11 signs that summer is near


1. My neighbour’s spectacular rhododendron is brightening up our side view.

2. The slug collecting has begun.

3. Baths have become mandatory every night (see above).

4. The school bags are being held together by spit and a prayer.

5. I find myself barbecuing rain or shine.

6. The kids are complaining that it’s still bright out when they’re going to bed.

7. The hockey detritus in the porch has been replaced by cleats and shin pads.

8. Muddy handprints can be found on every surface of the bathroom.

9. Skinned knees have tapped out our band-aid supply.

10. Facebook tells me it’s hot in Toronto.

11. The sunscreen battles have begun.

It might sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. It’s just that the kids are tired of school and I can hardly stand to pack another recess snack. In short, we are ready for summer. The Freezies are solid – so bring it on!

11 things that happened today (in the order in which they happened)

1) The sun shone – we’ve had too many grey days lately.

2) I had “Happy Birthday” sung to me 5 times before 8 am – one was a call from my parents, the other four were my six-year-old.

3) I reconnected with friends on Facebook and got some great birthday wishes – thanks everyone! Love you.

4) I had a fantastic day at work – everyone was in a great mood (I think it’s the sun!)

5) I didn’t make dinner – we ordered in Thai from the amazing restaurant around the corner.

6) My kids gave me a wonderful card – they had worked on it in their rooms to keep it a secret.

7) BDN (beautifully dressed neighbour) and family knocked on my door – hubby played guitar while they serenaded me on the porch. It was wonderful!

8) My family gave me an iPad mini and keyboard – they are fantastically supportive of my writing!

9) My sister called and played a hilarious recorded message from my brother-in-law – she married a great guy. We have a double-date on Friday!

10) My best friend called from Waterloo – she made me laugh until my belly hurt!

11) I snuck into the kids’ rooms and gave them extra kisses – they both had their animals snug in the crooks of their elbows. So cute when they’re asleep!

It was a good day.

12 things I know about my kids

I may grumble about my crazy little boys but I have loved having a seven and five year-old. The major change over the year has been their huge leap in independence. It’s the little things that make the big difference. Our eldest now gets himself ready for school and will prepare toast or cereal for himself and his brother. Meanwhile, the young’n has become self-sufficient in the bathroom and can finally buckle his own seatbelt. Ahhh… small but mighty miracles.

As they both have birthdays approaching, I thought I should take a moment to reflect on these ages before they are gone. This is what I know for sure. Continue reading