Tag Archives: Canada

11 things for which I am thankful

Thanksgiving centerpiece from our backyard.

Thanksgiving centerpiece from our backyard.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers!

We hosted both sets of parents for dinner yesterday and now I’m taking a moment to put my feet up and reflect. I have so much to be thankful for…

11 THINGS I’m thankful for

1) My dog – Is there anything better than the unconditional love of a pet? He has only been with us for six months, but Dexter has quickly become a full member of the family. He came to us as a chained dog who didn’t know how to show affection. Now he is quick with his kisses and never wants to miss out on a family hug. He’s also learned how to play without getting rough. I’m thankful for the daily smiles he brings us.

2) My country – We are about to vote so I’ve been reflecting on my country a lot recently. Although there have been some things that we haven’t done right lately, I still feel supremely lucky to live in Canada. We owe a big part of our happy and healthy lives to the fact that we were born and live in Canada and we try to instill this appreciation in our children as well. My time off with my babies, our healthcare, our beautiful wilderness, our clean water… there are a lot of Canadian things for which to be thankful, eh?

3) My job – I have a great job. It pays well and has excellent benefits. Also,  I only work four days a week so if gives me a day off to get all of the other stuff done. I love my time spent with patients and truly like my coworkers. I’m thankful that I get to do something that I enjoy and that I’m good at doing it.

4) My creativity – This isn’t something I’ve always appreciated or used effectively, but it has now become a keystone in my life. Whether it is painting, knitting, felting a necklace, or writing, my creativity is an outlet that helps keep me mentally stable. It allows me to step away from the everyday and reorganize my psyche. I’m thankful for the way that my mind and hands connect.

5) My neighbours – We moved into this house when I was pregnant with ET and CJ was not yet two. It quickly became a home. We are surrounded by wonderful people who look out for our kids as if they were their own and the boys have best friends to play with everyday. Our neighbours are friendly and funny and I love spending time with them. I’m thankful for their friendship and for their kids who keep my boys occupied.

6) My friends – I can be a hard person to be friends with. Sometimes I’m distant or distracted, or even downright unresponsive. Still, have the most amazing friends. They are supportive and loving and make my stomach hurt with laughter. I’m very thankful for those that have persisted and not allowed me to push them away.

7) The Sister – I have the most wonderful sister. Sometimes I just sit back and marvel at the pure love that seems to shine from her. She has laughed in the face of misfortune and come out more radiant than ever. She may be the kindest person I know and I’ve been the luckiest of people to have her in my life. I’m thankful that she has always been with me as my steadying force.

8) The grandparents – It is so wonderful to watch my children interact with their grandparents. We are fortunate to be living near them and they have contributed so much to the raising of the boys. CJ had a project to do this weekend about spending a million dollars and part of it was to interview an older person to find out what you could buy with a million dollars fifty years ago. This turned into a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner conversation of reminiscence among the grandparents about  the cost of haircuts and movies which led to a hilarious discussion about moonshine and barnyard stills. I’m thankful the boys will always remember their grandparents’ laughter.

9) The Husband – Not only did he set a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner table, he also cleaned the chandelier! More importantly, he is the one who is on the ice every weekend morning at 7 AM helping to coach the boys’ hockey teams and on the bench in the afternoons running the defence. He is the one who is taking courses to be the best Cubs leader he can be and helping the boys build their Cub cars and earn badges. He is the one who is checking the math homework and listening to them read (his French is much better than mine!) While I may be the parent who makes sure that the kids are fed and clean, he is the one who does everything else. I’m thankful to have such a great partner in parenthood.

10) My boys – Except for ET’s current broken arm, my boys are healthy and have always been so. (Excuse me while I go knock on wood.) Whenever I’m grumbling about the toys strewn about the basement or sports equipment left in the driveway, I stop myself and remember those who aren’t so lucky to have rambunctious boys running around making messes. I’m thankful to have loud, loving and happy kids.

11) My life – As you can see, I have a blessed life full of wonderful people and gifts.  I’m thankful to be alive and surrounded by love.

What are you thankful for?

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11 reasons I’m sick of winter

Templeofcats.com

Templeofcats.com

Apparently spring is on its way, not that the official date of the vernal equinox has ever mattered here in Nova Scotia. Our winter has a serious attitude problem and will hang around as long as it damn well pleases… thank you very much.

Usually I don’t tire of the snow and cold until at least the end of March but I think that the trip to Florida might have tripped a switch in my brain a few weeks early. This is all to say that I’m tired of winter and just want it to go home.

11 reasons I’m sick of winter

1) Fighting with the kids over snow pants – I know I’ll have the same complaint in the summer with regard to sunscreen and hats, but a certain eye rolling eight-year-old is really getting on my nerves with his daily no-snow-pants campaign.

2) Trying to stuff liners back in boots – Why are those removable liners such a breeze to remove and such a bitch to get back in? My fight with them in the morning inevitably leads to a bent back nail and then my hands smell like sweaty kid feet.

3) Wet stuff drying on radiators – We have beautiful old hot water radiators throughout the house but all winter they are draped with hats, mitts, jackets and snow pants. Oh and those boot liners, of course.

4) Static electricity – I now live in fear of opening any door with a metal knob and folding clothes full of fleece sweatshirts just makes my skin crawl. I feel like the cat in the picture.

5) Hockey gear – Starting on Friday evening, The Husband and both boys spend the majority of the weekend on the ice. There is a pile of sticks in the corner beside the front door that never moves and all weekend there are huge hockey bags in the foyer that just get stepped over until they’re put away on Sunday night. Say nothing of the furnace room in the basement where the gear gets aired out through the week on “sports trees”.

6) Noisy boys inside – How I long for the carefree days of summer when the boys and their friends would be outside until I called them in for bed. I would even feed them just by tossing food outside. These days, the weather is either too wet or too cold. After an hour, even I can’t force them to stay out any longer. I’m currently in the process of building a shrine to the real estate gods to thank them for our basement.

7) Salt stains – Who doesn’t hate the stiff white hems of pants that have soaked up the melted slush of the sidewalks and that horrible white crust that forms on your black leather boots? It also makes it harder to find your car in a parking lot because everyone’s paint now looks to be the same dirty shade of grey.

8) Dark and grey days – The days are finally getting longer, which is a good thing because months of waking up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark have caused my other senses to kick-in to overdrive. Have I mentioned the stinky boot liners?

9) Dry skin – My trademark black clothing, while slimming and easy to coordinate, only serves to highlight my seasonal full body flakiness. I’m also wearing away the door jambs around the house with all of the back scratching I’m doing.

10) Getting out of a warm bed – It is an internationally well-known fact that I’m not a morning person. Add frigid air and a cold floor into the mix and that snooze button is being hit at least three extra times before I will admit to being awake.

11) Talking about the weather – In warm weather climes, what do people talk about in elevators? Seriously, how do you break the silence with strangers if you don’t have the windchill to discuss?

Yes, I see the irony in my last point.

What do you hate about winter?

Remembering the 6th of December – Montreal Massacre

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Just after 4 p.m. on December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine arrived at the building housing the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife.

He entered an engineering class and ordered the nine female students across the room and directed the men to leave. No one moved at first, believing it to be a joke until he fired a shot into the ceiling. Lépine then opened fire on the women, killing six and wounding the three others.

For 20 minutes, Lépine moved throughout the school, shooting and reloading. When one wounded student asked for help, he unsheathed his hunting knife and fatally stabbed her three times. Lépine then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

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Fourteen women were killed. Continue reading

Camping in Kejimkujik

My three boys have just driven away to go camping in Keji. I couldn’t go due to work commitments.

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Kejimkujik National Park is where I grew up camping with my family and where The Husband and I developed our backcountry skills. We fell in love with long hikes and heavy packs and took on much bigger challenges.

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3 letters that change your life forever

I work in medical research and, up until very recently, my long-time gig was Motor Neuron Disease. More specifically, I worked in clinic with people who had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). You may also know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS can be hard to diagnose. The early signs of the disease appear to be various other things and it isn’t until all of these other illness are ruled out that doctors begin to think of ALS. I once had a patient who, because swallowing problems were his first symptom, was scared he had throat cancer. By the time the diagnosis of ALS had been made, he and his wife told me they wished it had been cancer.
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A woman of a certain age

My Chatelaine magazine came today. Whenever I see it bulging out of the mailbox I’m filled with a strange combination of excitement and pathos.

I’m excited because, well it’s exciting to get mail that isn’t from a corporation or the government. Plus, there is always the hope I’ll find a great three ingredient meal that can be whipped together in 10 minutes and is guaranteed to please the whole family.

The counterpoint to that thrill is the depressing fact that there is a Chatelaine in my mailbox. Continue reading

Images of me

Don’t get too excited; there are no actual images.

My new passport was just delivered by our mail carrier. I’m sorry I’m not home more often to greet him. I could tell he was also glad to see me and shared in the fun of a new passport by his jaunty greeting, “It’s your passport!” He seems like a lovely man. Continue reading