Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 12 Days of "Christmas" - a new year's retrospective

Given that January was the month that I finally started my blog, I thought it time to review the year that was, and it was...quite a year. To begin, I decided to go random, and just take the first posts from each month. It's quite a 'slice' of my life from the past 12 months. If you feel like it, it might be funny to read them one after the other.

A side note about the title. My husband and I are celebrating our Christmas tomorrow, on New Year's Day. We felt more inclined to celebrate the coming year than to be full of big cheer (and, uh, I took off to Arizona to bask in sunshine, leaving my man behind too....)

January: Varied lives
February: Warm up for Superbowl
March: Summoning Spring
April: 6 weeks today - the heart should already be beating
May: The gears shift
June: My secret food addiction
July: Putting it in reverse
August: Jeez I’m busy and there’s important revelations on television!
September: The Home Stretch – and I mean STRETCH
October: False Economies…and cool professors
November: Hello my old friend
December: Take this to the bank…life isn’t lived through an action plan

Were they my best posts? No, but then, not all days in a year are great days, right?

Next up: A full read-through of my posts - followed by a review of the most notable quotes (if there are any).

Happy New Year everyone - may it be happy, healthy and full of fun and promise!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No time, so just a couple questions!

Okay. Have to pack for my desperately necessary xmas trip to Arizona, but here's the thing. I have a new purpose in my work life. I'm on a social media working group and a number of us are hoping in a few months to present a kick-a** social media strategy to the highers up in our organization. I already have a lot of ideas and a lot of fodder for those ideas, but I have specifically been given the tast to study Twitter and the potential for a blog for our 'arm' of the government.

So...followers and followers of followers...whatcha got? ideas? articles? resources and feeds I should follow? Tell and tell all, 'cause I'm gonna eat it all up!

Thanks, most respectfully, in advance.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Carol - What a ride

It's been a while since I have blogged about pop culture, but hubby and I finally made it out on Sunday night, across town, to one of the coolest 2 hours I have spent in a long time. The new 3D, faithfully rendered, but technologically advanced Disney's "A Christmas Carol" was a trippy, dippy, frightening and fun testament to what can be done with new film technology these days. Add to this the extra trip we took to take it in in IMAX, and I have to took a big film to get me in the Christmas spirit this year, but this did it.

Now, mind, it's kinda dark and scary, so it simply won't attract as wide an audience as it could (young kiddies need not apply for the IMAX reserved seats), but I thought for that reason (and for the reason that it was therefore faithful to the original Dickens tale, as a matter of this course) that it was a refreshing change from the cloying, cartoonized, saccharine treats we generally imbibe at Christmas. I loved it. LOVED. IT.

I presumed the rest of the world would too, but yeesh, these critics are bitchy Bah Humbuggers, aren't they?

So, to will have kids with sustained nightmares on your hands if they go see it, but ditch them and go now, while it is in the theatres in 3D...and if you can get yourself to an IMAX near you, alls the better.

"God bless us everyone."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Deep, deep into the recesses of social media

One of the biggest challenges to operating on the social media stage, I am beginning to realize, is figuring out how to optimize the use of the tools not to listen and interact, but to FILTER. You simply cannot follow everyone and everything out there, and you could spend 24/7 just looking for the info that you want or need. (Who has that kinda time? - Even if it is your job, which at the moment, it isn't, so lob at least 50hrs of the week off my free time right there.)

Take, for example, that I found more value this week in reading an issue of Marketing magazine (print copy) called Brave New World (June 15, 2009) that discussed how marketers can learn to thrive in a new digital landscape, than I did spending hours and hours sorting through Twitter hashtags, links to blog posts and websites and reading my various carefully selected feeds in Google Reader.

What does that mean? It means I have a lot to learn about sifting through my digital information to find the best of the best that applies to what I want to read and see. And let's just say the prospect of figuring this out is daunting. VERY daunting. But that is part of this process, right?

So for now, I am a new convert to picking up my free issues of Marketing magazine from work and reading those on the bus, as well as sifting and sorting and working with tools. Eventually I will have some sorta system, and be better at this.

But a word of caution is that I am WELL aware that in this new mediascape, you will never get too comfortable, and that the tools will be ever-changing, and so really, what you need to define is the philosophy and the key objectives for filtering, and then apply the right, ever-changing tools. Otherwise, you will be lost.

And that's just the listening part of the puzzle that is social media engagement...

Good thing I love this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gosh....I'm so not cool.

I can't take two moves forward without having technology trip me up! Tonight, I can't seem to insert a URL into my tweet on twitter through Tweetdeck. What's up with that? And then, I take a trip to my pretty little beach blog here and see that although I set up a Twitter feed that is SUPPOSED to feed my latest two tweets onto this page, it was in fact streaming, like, 15 strangers tweets on my blog?!? WTF?

And I can't figure out what's wrong! It's THESE little things that a) make me feel totally inept and incompetent and that b) make me very very veeeery frustrated and annnngry.

and THAT's not the look I was goin' for, ya know?

And for posterity sake, here is the web page I was going to tweet about 'cause I knew it would be interesting to my Tfriends...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Me 2 Point Oh

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? We've all heard the question, and now I realize what a conundrum it really is, and how legitimately it applies to a number of situations that might arise in one's life.

Take, for instance, the fact that I REALLY want to work on and launch a second blog that will document my forays into studying, using, recommending and living social media. My trials, my stupidity, my 'ah HA!' moments and my frustrations. I want to document them all - and tell y'all about it, if you care.

Ah, but here's the rub. I don't want to create a URL and drop into another templated free site, but I want to proceed with careful forethought. This is because, as a strategic communicator, I really want to build a brand. I want to target my expertise and build this new second site as the go-to site for insights, information, perspective and my personal professional brand. And I want it to have my personality, and my 'look' and especially have a URL that is memorable.

But I know there are platforms out there that I could still use that are free, and I know that using some of these would be just fine, thank you. But the process? I want to document it, and I need HELP people!

What platforms should I look at and why?
Who knows of some free custom blog designs that are really cool?
What advice do you have for me? I already have the name, and hope that the platforms I use will allow me to link into all my other engagement tools easily, but what else?

Would LOVE your comments and insights. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Take this to the isn't lived through an action plan

It's about control, isn't it, with us? We're raised believing that if we set goals, work hard, come up with a game plan, that we will be successful. We strive, oh how we strive! And guess what? In my life, that has consistently worked out and I have achieved virtually EVERYTHING I have ever wanted to achieve - and yes, I refer to my personal life experiences as well as my professional.

Men and women alike in today's generation feel this way, and believe that life, lived as an action plan, is a great approach to take. I specifically remember a special Grade 9 English and Home Room teacher (A little shout out to Mr. Leo Abbass who is now the Mayor of Happy Valley/Goose Bay, Labrador...) who said to me "Pam, you will be someone who will achieve anything and everything you set your mind to."

We are even led to believe that women's biological nuances can be controlled - our cycles through birth control, our situations through abortion, fertility treatments, etc. There are even drugs that take away our damn monthly visitor! We are IN CONTROL, right? Previous generations never thought this, but our generation certainly did and does.

What I learned today?

It's a load of hooey.

Well, okay, let me back up a bit. What I learned was that life's biggest moments are truly seredipitous, and that to try to control what cannot be controlled will result in confusion, frustration, and, in my case, just a little bit of rage. Specifically, to have suffered three miscarriages in a year has exposed me to a level of experience that is often takes others much longer to achieve. And what this experience means is that I am sensitive to how unfair life can be. In my despair, I became sensitized to other suffering that also was unfair, and saw this through new eyes. There is a reason that many of the aged seem accepting, calm, and take life as it comes. They are in on the secret.

And what is that secret? What has this new experience level ultimately meant to me? I can never see the world in the same way I used to - with unbridled optimism and a full belief that you reap what you sew and that good things will always come to good people etc. etc. etc.

This MAY sound depressing, and believe has been. But thanks to a therapy session today, what it has made me realize is that SOME things in life just will not, cannot, refuse to be, controlled. Action plans won't work.

So what can you do? Well, you can focus instead on what you CAN control - such as your time spent socializing/doing something you enjoy; such as finding jobs and opportunities in which you will thrive; such as moving more, eating better and generally having FUN.

And what will happen while you are out there 'controlling' your fun and living your 'action plan'?

Life will happen.

More specifically, I believe a NEW life will happen.

And I am going to take that to the bank.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lifting my legs

Sounds provocative, no?

Nothing could be further from the truth. I finally - YAY ME - dragged my sorry butt to a Greco Lean & Fit workout on Sunday morning. That would be well over (uh) 30ish hours ago [I don't really do math], folks!

So what, you say? Well each individual minute that passes brings a perceptible increase in my stiffness and ability to lift my legs to stand up, walk the stairs (up or down) or even sit on the toilet.

What was it like to get back to the grueling, punishing, unforgiving format that is Greco after a couple of months of sloth? I just don't have it in me to describe it. Maybe another time.

But I made it. I went. I will go again on Wednesday. I will prevail and I will take control over my health once more.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Social Media and Me 2 Point Oh!

What do you think of this title for a new blog I am thinking about setting up? The premise would be to set up a blog to discuss my 'discovery' of social media and its various tools and tricks, link to best practices, and cool info, and detail frustrations, confusion and other craziness that goes with it? If I had the blog, I would immediately start on the topic of setting up a damn blog!

Sure, I think that this blog is fine, but it is cookie-cutout, and so I was looking for some great advice on how to custom-build a blog using some of the tools out there.

Think with my new tools I would be able to find some great content on that? Not so far.

I have so much to learn. goes. I just need time and energy, and I will get it going. If you have any advice...? Any links to great how to's...??? Y'know...whatever.

Jus' ME 2.0 Y'know?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Resource for women dealing with miscarriage or a lost baby here's the thing. I want to start looking online for the best websites, resources, forums and support for women and couples dealing with failed pregnancies. There's just not enough dialogue, and there's no coordination of resources for women trying to deal.

So. Only just beginning, but here are a few pages to start:

If you know of great information, resources and any of the above, let me know. One of these days I am going to write about my experiences and those of other women. Whether an article or a book, I don't know, but there needs to be more said on this issue....

But, today was a good day. I now have an appointment with a specialist to find out why I have had three miscarriages in a row, and I also have found someone to talk to professionally to work through this past year, which I have to admit has really bruised my spirit. Time to get healthy and see what's up. Having direction and a plan to move forward helps immensely. Here's to 2010, people. Let's do it up the way we should~!

Sunday, November 15, 2009 (why I hate 2009)


At the very least, the bleeding seems to have stopped. The hideous continuous reminder of the goriest kind has passed, allowing me to at least get back to a physical level of normalcy.

holy bejeezus, though...why? WHY?????

And now, back to work. Really? Really. I can't believe that I have to drop myself right back into my life, again. Back. Not forward, but back. A third time. In ONE SHITTY YEAR.

I don't do 'back' very well. And I certainly don't know if I can handle my workload at work right now. I know I don't WANT to, and that is perhaps why the task seems so insurmountable. I just want to...what? I don't know. Wallow. Curl into a ball. Escape. Travel. Self-soothe.

It's so heavy, the thought of doing things I HAVE to do, that on other days is so easy, so simple. I guess that is what depression feels like? I know I just need time, though, and a game plan. I hope to hell I will hear from my family doctor's office with a referral to the specialists. I need answers and I need to know how long we will have to wait to start looking into the future again. I need to take care of business by cancelling appointments, getting back on some sort of track for a better lifestyle, and I need to get away and do things deliberately that will allow me to enjoy my life again.

It has been a long time since I can honestly say that I was happy, and that I was doing things in my life to enjoy life and feel GOOD. I need to put effort into the following:

1. Respecting my body again (more on that another time - too long a story to get into now)
2. Making plans to get out of the house, and not just to go work out (although that is #3), but maybe join a dance class, or finally go rock climbing again, or just put some good music in my ear and enjoy a long walk.
3. Get those good pheromones flowing again. Time to not only respect my body, but do something with it.
4. Rekindle the fun with my partner. We're fine, really, but are we great? No. We are listless, frustrated, functioning, and very very boring at the moment. We need to have a little fun. We're looking at Vegas in the spring.
5. Mental health. I don't have it right now, in case you hadn't noticed. I need to get it back, even if that means paying someone to get there.

In the meantime, though, it is Sunday night and I am dreading my return to work to face the future back once again where I started a full year ago.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Women need to talk about their experiences

Fascinating. I didn't know about this when it first came out, but in light of recent events, I found this online.

In which she...

realizes that not all third times are charming;
notes that she hates her body because it has failed her yet again;
desires to feel desire for anything else, other than what it seems she can't have anytime soon;
is so very, very weary;
just wants the process to stop and the answers to come.

Another dark day in an awful year.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hello, my old friend

I have been remiss. I love blogging, but have gotten sucked into the Twitter vortex of late, and have be adopting information and retweeting and looking at other people's information more so than postulating and pontificating on personal opinions.

Which is fine.

The thing is...I am so busy at work that I am brain dead when I get home. I've got nuthin' left. In some ways, this is a good thing, but other times, I wish I had more to say on any given evening.

But now it is the weekend, and I have had two good full nights of sleep, so ya know...I am up for the challenge, but you still aren't going to get anything too deep today - the sun is shining and it is Sunday morning, thus any blog post should be a relaxed, casual and laid back affair, I think.

So...we have a lot on the go these days. Hubby is upstairs putting together the bedframe for our bedroom set. EGAD, we will actually have bedside tables!!!! Very exciting, and the last of the pieces to complete the set. Next will be to paint the remaining walls and decorate the room a bit. It's only been, like, 6 years...!

We have also bought the various paints needed to complete our kitchen reno. THAT is exciting too, but I can't get started on that today, as I may have to head out soon to help a friend clean and 'stage' her house for quick sale. I am praying this goes smoothly for her. She and her family need a little smooth sailing, as their lives have been turned upside down lately, due to an accident that left her husband in a wheelchair. I can't even imagine how tough this has been on all of them, and so I will do whatever I can to help them sell their former home and move into the new, accessible home and bring the family together again. Life sure is challenging, isn't it?

So...for the first time in a number of years, we missed the Ottawa Wine & Food Show this year. I couldn't help feeling we are missing out, but hey...there are reasons for everything, you know?

More to come - hope everyone enjoys this last (I presume) warmish day before the cold wind whips into the city and brings with it blankets of white and the xmas spirit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New communications realities

So I have been twittering, as you know, and I have also been looking into social media as a whole and trying to stay on top of some of the tools as well as the arguments for using them. I loved this article, and in particular, what was said here:

Is digital marketing the wave of the future or just today’s in thing?
I think the key issue is not digital marketing vs. conventional marketing but rather interactive communication vs. passive communication. The trend of tomorrow will be that the consumer will be in the driver seat of communication. I call this the MSP generation—Me Selling Proposition. The brands no longer have the power, the consumer does. The consumer today (more and more) has trust (more than the companies), i.e. consumers trust consumers more than brands. The consumer also has the message in their power, meaning more than 500,000 new blogs appear every day and every consumer has a TV station in their backyard, meaning they have access to the world via the internet. Those three factors mean that the consumer has substantially more power than the brands, which is the reason why the share price of Domino’s Pizza dropped 9.7 percent in just one day due to a video upload from a consumer on YouTube. This very interactive MSP phenomena means that brands need to engage with consumers in a totally new way: a trend which is about to become a standard for all communication in the future—and not just an in thing.

Read more:

I wonder how long it will take the Gov't to universally recognize that the only way to control their brand is to simply be transparent and do a good, honest, respectable job with taxpayer money?

Monday, October 12, 2009

True multi-tasking!

FINALLY. Tomorrow, while at work, I will have a handyman at home, putting up the backsplash and our lights and various other great finishing touches on our kitchen. We took issue with poor execution on our granite counter install, and so it has set our timelines back quite a bit. Now, finally, the finishing touches can be completed, and the vision I originally had will come to fruition. Can't wait.

And all this while I am at work!

Love it.

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. I have a lot I could say on the topic of thanks, but let's keep it simple. I am thankful for my health, above all else. It's pretty damn precious.

Here's to health and happiness for everyone I know for the coming year and beyond!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Animal instincts

This week, a friend and potential coworker on some small side jobs I may do, asked me to complete an analysis of my personality. Called the Kolbe A, it was an analysis of my 'conative' index. My instinctual responses when I am in 'action mode'. The results? Were bang on. I found it really fascinating, especially given that the quiz itself I found frustrating and dissatisfying due to format, cryptic wording, and choices I didn't feel truly reflected answers I would generally choose.

Some of the most interesting 'observations' about me?

"You are terrific with future-oriented challenges and deal with the essential information without getting bogged down in the details."

I had a 9 out of 10 in the Quick Start mode, which meant that I was high on the Improvisation scale and very low on Stabilization. In lamens terms, I love and embrace change. Yup, I certainly do. Specifically, I "initiate change, improvise solutions, generate slogans, defy the odds, promote new opportunities, etc."

Even better, I am a 2 out of 10 on the Follow Through mode, which is really funny to me. But while it might be stressful for me to have to finish up all the little details, being in the low range means I am an 'adapter'. I "find ways around problems, multitask and thrive on interruption, revise approaches, diversify and am flexible".

In the Implementor mode, I am an Imaginator (not a builder). I "concoct out of thin air and deal with abstractions. I capture the essence of things and can envision the way things should be."

And finally, I am right in the middle of the "Fact Finder" mode. This implies I am an 'explainer'. I don't specialize, but neither do I generalize. I rewrite, edit and fact check. I work within priorities, start with the highest probability, and create documentation and instructions. Essentially, I am a bridge to help people who understand only simple elements of a topic to understand specifics and expert details. Pretty bang on, I would say.

Now, the funniest elements of my results related to the things that are my 'stressors'. If you know me REALLY well, you will totally laugh at some of these, and potentially, even manage to put people's names beside certain elements!

My stressors?
- having to prove my point or argue over facts
- being asked to oversimplify and/or get bogged down in details
- being overly scheduled, told to follow specific steps, or follow rigid rules
- having to repeat myself
- being asked to edit my ideas
- avoid potential risks
- conform and/or work toward known outcomes
and finally
- I am likely to be driven nuts by things or people that take too long to get to the point, aren't focused, and anything that is boring, repetitive and predictable.

The best were the Kolbe Tips, though. They said I needed to 'seize the moment when I have ideas - don't wait, or debate'. I should also 'take time to do nothing after working intensely on deadlines' (consider it done). And finally, 'self-provoke to get where you want to go. You often have to goad yourself to initiate action you desire."

Ya got me.

But now I want to know about others. Have any of you done these types of analysis? What did they say about you? I wish I had the user manual for everyone I know!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time and inclination

I haven't been writing much. I have been exploring another addictive social media tool, Twitter. It's quite the powerful play area, I must say! I have found top chefs who tweet about their days or food they are making. I have found winos who tweet about wine cellar resources (BTW COOL.)

But if I am honest, I am mostly not writing because I don't feel well. I keep sabbotaging my efforts to lose weight and get healthy again. I keep looking for things to do to be happier. I keep just kinda 'going through the motions' of my days, waiting for the next time I can try to get pregnant again. If I am really and brutally honest, I am unhappy. But it's hard to come to terms with that, when you look around and life is no different now than it was before the miscarriages, and in fact, we have more money and are in a better financial position. We have a new kitchen (almost) and our health, which jeeeez....seems like a MASSIVE blessing these days.

This week will be good though. Finally getting the kitchen moving again (granite on one side being replaces, plus the final touches on the cabinets and handles, etc.) and soon we will be able to get our handyman in again and we will then be able to tile the backsplash, replace the plug plates (bought some cool stainless steel ones), paint, install the new light fixtures, and then the only remaining item will be left - whatever solution we figure out for the patio blind/sun block. We have a major challenge because the kitchen design and the high cabinet on the left only clears the patio door frame by 1/8 of an inch. So. We need a solution to mount inside the frame and it will be interesting to see what we figure out. And believe me, with sunshine streaming in from the back of the house, we can't go long without something there. But the rest will be done, and THAT is exciting.

But it is a fleeting, external source of happiness. There's only one thing that will truly make me happy again. Being pregnant again.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For all you winos out there!

I finally get it. I understand the value of Twittering! Today, I decided to do a twitter search on my favourite topic - wine - and it was amazing the kinds of resources that came up, posted by other winos. They directed me, for one thing, to my new online cellar - - it's fantastic. Got wine at home and want to see the tasting notes? Want to manage the value of your cellared wines? Want to build a wish list and refer to it later? Ya can do it here, and that, my friends, is cool. As is the cellaring notes and optimal maturity dates, etc.

I am still working out how to build a proper network to get the most out of this social networking tool, but I can see the value in getting information you want quickly. I think the big problem is that most of my pals are not on Twitter, that I know of. None of you are, are you? If you are....ya gotta tell me, because there is only so much that Jamie Oliver or Bobby Flay can say of relevance in a day, you know?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nuthin to say

Well, obviously, that's not true. I'm typing actual words here! But really? I am engrossed in television and wine drinking and digesting a nice lovely Wednesday meal, and thinking about a tough day of work ahead, juggling all the things I want to get done, and what the heck I can squeeze into my weekend. I am also happy to have had a house full of people this morning at 7am. Yup. I was making coffee, and THEY were studying the mistakes they made on my granite kitchen counter, planning to fix them at no cost to me. Great. Let's make it happen so that I can GET ON with the rest of the kitchen already!

But I am not feeling poetic. I am not feeling philosophical. I am not feeling unique, or possessing of anything all that terribly scintillating to say. I am feeling, as I have said before, in a state of limbo, repetition, process.

I am in process.


I like that.

I actually had something to say.

I am a woman currently in process.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What is it about this summer, man?

I need to rant about the fact that ALL SUMMER LONG, any plans I make have been thwarted! I think that at LEAST 5 or six well-laid weekends (some of them full weekends-worth of events and happenings) have fallen through at the last minute or have been sabbotaged by weather or just some sorta unforseen issue/event. Add that to a few months that have just seemed to be rife with bad news - seriously bad news - and I just, you know, have kinda had enough!!!!!!


This summer sucked.

At least I get to stomp on some grapes on Sunday. Hey! Do you wanna sponsor my team? Go to this site to get the details...all the money goes to fighting Cancer!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gleeful about Glee

Satire. A good, juicy, cheeky, tonguey television show. A must see and an automatic laugh, replete with characters who make you cringe and whom you hate - much like George Kostanza a la Seinfeld.

Have to get back to Glee - my escape from a bad week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On people people...

I really look forward to managing people someday, I really do. I don't think I have a clue of just how hard it must be, but I think I have somewhat of an idea. But I gotta tell you...not everyone should lead a team. Really. Not. And... you can learn what NOT to do by example if you pay attention.

And I have to say...having someone who is not a leader leading you? NOT fun. In fact, it can pretty much ruin a good job.

It was a bad day on the job today, obviously, and I have to try find a way to make tomorrow better. Sleep should help, I hope.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Retiring a classic label


Kerry won.

I did NOT beat Kerry.

I think it only fitting that I retire the label "Beating Kerry", thus ensuring I remain honourable in my defeat.

All hail, Kerry, the queen of fitness, diet, and self-sacrifice. She will not be beaten!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Patience is not my strong suit

Holding pattern. I'm in it. Feel like I am just going through the motions, waiting impatiently for things to change. When did the joy I used to have leave me? I mean, that sounds really really harsh, but if I am totally and completely honest, I have to say that I am just not myself. I really just don't have the zest for living that I did only 9 months ago. Whether understandable or not, legitimate or not, I just can't seem to shake the feeling that no matter what laughs I have, or what I change or do that is fresh and new, it is all just shaded (jaded?) a little grey. It's not as bright as it was, or as charged with energy as it used to be. And nothing is going to change that until we get pregnant again.

I know only too well how unhealthy this attitude is, but I can't seem to change it. I know that if I simply try not to think about it, and continue on as normal, living and loving and laughing and sweating etc. (and at times I have succeeded in this mission), that I will be a lot happier, but Aries are never known for their patience.

Patience is NOT my strong suit.

So let's get going, already!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

One helluva trip...

One year ago today my new husband and I were on a plane headed for Spain for a honeymoon a few months after our wedding. It was a lovely trip and a wonderful time. And never ever to take anything away from that time, but it also marked the launch of our first forays into family planning.

It has been the hardest year of my life, when I thought it was going to be one of the best....

But. That year is now behind us, and we are about to embark on the next, with enough hope leftover for many more attempts, if necessary. I've put time and effort into both my mental and physical health once again, and hopefully that will have set me up nicely for the right environment.

And really? This stage IS awfully fun...

Here's to a great 2010...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The home stretch - and I mean STRETCH

So this is it. Only three days left of the "Waist-loss Challenge". Will I beat Leslie? Will I win against Kerry? Will I come in LAST (which, by the way, would NOT be okay with me, Ms. Competitionado. But you know, I just can't seem to get back to that time, almost three years ago, when I was SO. BLOODY. HARDCORE. I NEVER strayed from the portions. I NEVER had more than one drink in a day and when I did it was ALWAYS red wine. I was insane. And yeah...I lost 29 lbs in only 10 weeks - and 7.5% body fat at the same time.

But like I said, that was insane. And really, do I want to live like that? No. Really really not. Really. NOT. So I haven't really gone back there again. I still go back and wonder how I let myself get back to where I had started three years ago, but then, I have to stop doing that, because bad times and two miscarriage kinda screw with your emotional eating tendancies, you know?

So anyways. I've been working out. I've been MOSTLY eating really healthy. I've been naughty...just once or twice....

and you know what? That's what makes me a more interesting person to be around.

And when you're naughty, it can also mean you are stretchy, right? Flexible? Adventurous? Seriously limber? Yes....working out is such a goooooood thing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Curiosity did not kill that cat - I guarantee it

So I love my new kitchen, I really do. BUT.

(There's always a but, isn't there???)

I have learned the hard way that no matter how ORGANIZED you are, you MUST be hyper curious and double check everything. And I mean even the stuff that just seems 'duh'-like. For example. The granite installers came this morning, then said...did you know that you were supposed to put the support beams in for the suspended granite section of your kitchen nook? (Well, they kinda said that, but in broken english and some french - a Quebec company...) Nope. Didn't know that. Apparently neither did Home Depot realize. It was on the installation notes, but apparently this company won't do this. So. Did I confirm, and or think to ask if they knew for sure that this company would take care of this 'little' step? Nope.

Thankfully, we got it resolved within the day, but.

and there's always a but,

I am ever so slightly disappointed with the depth of my new added nook. the granite is EXTREMELY skinny. So much so that a full size plate won't fit on it. It LOOKS great, and from the design makes sense, but, uh, it doesn't function quite as much as I want it to, but AGAIN....I didn't think to ever ask the question - just how thick will this be? And since it wasn't on any of the cabinet design forms, it was really the granite measurement guy that I need to ask, and of course, I didn't. Should he have discussed it with me? Maybe, but then again, they also should have confirmed with me that they expected me to get the counter supports in before they arrived too....!

so yeah...that cat, if it was curious, was brilliant, and got the PERFECT kitchen, without flaws or hiccups. That, I guarantee.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life gets real

Ya know, life's been good to me. And for many many years, I sailed through year after year with only mild upsets, occasional itty bitty challenges, and some tears of disappointment. I'm starting to realize that this reality I previously enjoyed is a bit less balanced than most people's reality. Not to be too morbid, but jeez - there is a lot of sorrow, a lot of bitter disappointment, and a massive amount of pain and anguish swirling around, isn't there?

I won't deliberately point to any one item, occasion or time, since over the past while in my life it's just been one thing after another, but I'm starting to see the scales shift against my favour. And that isn't to say that it is depressing me or that I am not happy, but I have changed as a result of the onslaught of bad news. How I see the world around me has changed. And I am ever so wary and slightly edgy in anticipation of the next time the boom comes down on me or my peeps.

Does it serve as a contrast to all the greatness that is around me? You bet. Does it slide into focus all that is joyful in life...absolutely yes. It has NOT managed to quash my sense of hope. It has NOT altered my actions much, or made me lose sight of my goals, but it sure has changed the way I see my life, my loves, my friends and what is most important in my life.

A good thing, I think. A new reality. It is a very real reality...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Suprise! People can be delightful!

So this summer, shortly after miscarriage number two, I received an email from a volleyball contact out to her entire list of vball friends. The email was asking if there was anyone willing to play beach 2s with a girl who had 'lost' her partner to a bad ankle sprain. So...since I hadn't signed on for a beach league, I thought...what the hell - let's do it, and have fun. So I met the new partner, and proceeded to have a decent beach league season with her. Who is she? Well, a petite, asian, environmental engineer, who, up until this week, I knew very little about.

Turns out she's a really funny, interesting person, and it took me all summer to even know it. To celebrate the end of our beach season, we decided to head out for drinks and dinner after work on Wednesday night. So now, without further ado, two interesting anecdotes from my partner.

Story 1: Sun-dried worms

She is so funny. A discussion of the pseudo-environmental approaches of each of us in our lives - a little self-justification and pontificating on how bad others can be led to a discussion about green boxes, then composters. Then...she gave me advice, should I ever decide to compost. She said, "Don't get the worms. Waste of time. I tried, but you have to try keep them from dying in the winter, so you end up with kitchen pet worms during the winter, and they, in turn, invite the flies. Then, after all that effort, after you move the bin back outside, the PH changes in the soil, they all struggle to survive, and so they crawl out, all over the deck outside the door, and die, baking in the sun." She added..."Just little black, shriveled up sticks. Not very sustainable!"

Story 2: Time for kids
So she's 30. And like any conversation with me lately, the discussion turns to pregnancy and trying again, and she says to me, "Hey, I think we're gonna try soon too - that'll be great - I'd love to have someone go through it at the same time as me!" So far, so normal. That'd be great, right? Weeeelllll, maybe not. She proceeds to tell me that ever since she got married, her husband has been trying to get her to say she's ready. According to her, she said that in 4 years (yup - it's been four years) she would be ready. She's not so sure. So guess what she's done to put off the inevitable a little longer? She's making her husband earn it. Yes, folks, getting to baby-making status requires real EFFORT - it's a competition with a lot of sacrifice! Or, at least, that is my partner's approach to it. She has created a points system for her poor, hapless man. He gets points for making her dinner, points for buying her a gift, etc. etc. etc. The objective? To earn 1,000 points. His current tally? 20.

Like I said, delightful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hey - Why not be a BITCH?

You want to know what the heck I mean for this, don't you?'s not what you think. What it is is GREAT advice for accomplishing tough goals. Like, say, losing weight the right way, and reaching the goals you set for yourself. If you have any interest at all in this, a recent blog post by a great friend and a phenomenal trainer I know can help. Check it out.

And, if this helps, then tell me what you did, how it went, and if it's a work in progres, how it is going.

Personally, the weight is dropping off slower this time around, since the biggest sacrifice is following the 'scientific' way of eating (another whole blog post sometime for the future), but I am pretty okay with the progress. I feel better, I am noticing a change in the way my clothes are fitting, and the tone of my skin, and as ALWAYS, my energy level is better and my positive attitude much more prominent day in and day out. And THAT, my friends, is more than enough reason to be taking care of myself and working out.

And it will hopefully mean that I beat Kerry and Leslie in the Waist-loss Challenge we've got goin' on!!!

I cannot say enough about a new 'fast food' restaurant that just opened up at Centrum Plaza here in Kanata - Mucho Burrito -! It's assemby-line fast food burritos, but capital Q quality ingredients, whole wheat tortilla options, and lots of homemade healthy salsas and other great toppings. Steak, chicken breast, chorizo sausage (ok, so that one's not so healthy) - all grilled on site. It has been a lifesaver for us for a healthy quick option for dinners and lunches here and there, and I hope to heck that some of these open up in other locations....maybe downtown would be nice!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Throw-down, Hell No I Can't Slow Down!

Ah... what can motivate better than a good ol'fashioned waist-off, eh? The trash talk, the words of encouragement, the itemized lists of what was eaten and what was sweat out each day...

Two of my good girlfriends and I have a 6 week long diet and exercise competition in the works, deadline Sept. 11, with the objective of being the hot body who loses the greatest percentage of inches on 5 key body points. All three of us are/were horrified by the measurements, and yet we choose to drink a tall glass of water and sweat out the disgust. Not delve into the Hagen Daas. Kudos to all three of us.

But that still doesn't change the fact that there can be NO OTHER WINNER but me, baby!

Controlled chaos and the excitement of a new kitchen

It's a new feeling for me, just watching something like this unfold before me. I have never had the money to afford to pay others to do home improvement jobs before, and I have to say, I am both excited and bored, patient and impatient, happy and kinda unhappy (I guess - just bummed that I am sitting here while it is happening). I am off for a week, but stuck here at home. Not truly motivated to do anything big, but getting a few little things done...just kinda waiting. (And heading to a workout shortly, of course - gotta beat Kerry and Leslie in the waist-loss challenge!)

but boy, is it looking good! Just wait until you see. There will DEFINITELY be before and after pix coming along shortly, but I will wait to post them.

I will cook some SEXY food in there, let me just say...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jeez I'm busy and there's important revelations on television!

Nigel is a perv. Botox and comments on undressing young female dancers is just...enough. But then again, Nigel is a hell of a lot better than the high pitched squealing of Mary...

I'm telling you though. If I am willing to stay up until 1 am to catch a show that I missed due to volleyball, that's saying something. I am just one of those people who thinks that as much as I love words, and language, and I do what I can to express emotions, feelings, hopes, dreams, anger, sadness and other emotions, the best way I have ALWAYS felt to truly express the inexpressible is through music and dance.

Funny, but my Mom could care less about music. To her it is background noise. And although she still has favourites, she has no level of passion for music. Not so, however, when it comes to Daddy. From the time I was a baby, he not only exposed me to all sorts of great music, but did so with a fervour that bordered on fanaticism. And so I believe came my passion for music. The dancing is more just my thing. I am good at it, and love it. Wish I had a dancer's body, but I am no more a dancer than a gymnast, my friends.

ANYWAY. I digress. I get chills, cry, laugh and find myself subconsciously moving my body to the movements of the SYTYCD dancers. What a showcase for incredible choreography too....I LOVE THIS SHOW.

And that is all I have to say.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finally, the pairing I have been waiting for

OH YES. THAT's what I am talkin' about! Brandan and Kayla paired up in SYTYCD. I have said from the beginning that no one could touch either of these two, and now, seeing them together, just proves it. They blow the other dancers out of the water.

so yeah. The voters better get it right, since they were stupid last week, and got rid of my second favourite gal.

And can I say that I love disco. I pride myself on being a pretty good disco dancer, but holy crapoly....


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The case of the curiously NON skrinking stomach

HOLY CRAP I am hungry!

One bad weekend of overeating and lots of drinking, and all of a sudden your stomach is a cavernous, yawning, gaping hole that grumbles, mumbles and works every second to distract you from life as you know it. I can't even think right now!

So takes a number of days to get your stomach down to a size where the signals you get from your brain are actual hunger. Down to a point where the right portions actually become somewhat filling. I'm not there right now. But I soon will be, because I've been there, done that, before, and so I can do it again.

And I have a side bet with a friend to get me through those times when it simply doesn't matter, and what I really want is a bag of chips and maybe even a Big Mac....and heaven help me when that happens!

Monday, July 27, 2009

AMEN sistah!

Yes. Well said. A blog I follow, written by a VERY smart woman, had this to say recently.

Eating healthy is not just hard to do, it is made more difficult by our culture, which is about all things unnatural, easy, lazy, convenient, and BAD FOR US. And it all tastes so damn delicious. sigh. The constant fight continues....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesdays - now offering a better menu

Finally. Tuesdays have been one of those days that I am often home in the evening, and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING has been on television! So little time in our lives to relax and watch tv, and no, we still don't have a pvr...

So yeah... we now have Chef Ramsay's badass screaming obsentities at fumbling kitchen puppets now! Yippee!!!! I love watching people in Hell!

Monday, July 13, 2009

When personalities clash

but you can't get away...what do you do?

Just have a drink and relax, I guess.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another evening, another glass of wine

So far, so good. Eating well, played some beach volleyball tonight, and tomorrow night is another workout. I am excited to see positive change - and I know it will come, because I have seen it come before, and unless something is wrong physiologically, then the shape will come back, the stomach will dissipate, and thighs will firm up, and the energy and positivity will flow back in, and honestly? It will be VERY WELCOME....

Here's to making things happen for oneself and gittin' er' done.

My new motto: "Make Yourself Happy"

I like it, do you? If you had a current motto, what would it be?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Putting it in reverse

I'm now on the official road to recovery. I found myself heading at breakneck speed to a big town called 'Heftyville', and so now I have firmly put the car in reverse and am heading back home to 'Big-Boned but Athletic City'!

I may not be able to move my arms, shrug my shoulders or scrub my back right now, but I'm back on the "Lean & Fit" way of life. The diet, however, is 70% of the battle, and in our current - Big Mac I'm Lovin' It' - world, eating lean protein, green leafy veggies, and avoiding salt, sugar and saturated fat (I mean, SERIOUSLY) is like asking a dehydrated man trapped in the desert not to drink when offered a big, icy glass of cold water. It's truly a mental and physiological feat.

So what can a gal do? Well, one thing that worked last time I dropped all my weight was to avoid night time snacking by indulging in a long, slow, full glass of red wine. I nurse this thing each night for as long as possible so that all of a sudden I will look up and it will be bedtime. Or at least that's the theory. But right now, I am really hungry and there is a big bag of nachos and some salsa SCREAMING my name.

But I digress. Some workouts, some beach volleyball and even some swim workouts at lunch, paired with some BETTER eating, and this should work.

However it feels like a prison sentence sometimes to know that my metabolism, as it slows down, means I can't just eat for desire and flavour and enjoyment. Eating is now a science to be studied and followed, and straying will result in other, less desirable outcomes. Sad. So brutal.

But I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna look HOT, right?

I want some chips...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The best of MJ

He has rarely been a topic of conversation in recent years, except to report the bizarre, the spectacle that was Michael Jackson, however I still remember the early years, and the good music. One of my faves, unfortunately, I can't imbed here, but I encourage you to have a watch by clicking through.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot beaches and beckoning water

Ah, but I love beach volleyball. It's admittedly not my best game. My best game is indoor women's 6's, if I were to be my own judge, but there is NOTHING like being outside, sweaty, in the sun, spiking down a ball, loofahing your skin with the granules getting into every nook and cranny, and, in Ottawa, if you are lucky, you will be playing by the water's edge.

This is not a right, you see, but a rare priviledge. Most of the volleyball leagues in town are man-made facilities in farm fields, maybe, or attached to bars. Not, in itself, a bad setup, right? But I like WATER. A real, honest to goodness beach, baby! And so I absolutley LOVE the fact that I play in a league, once a week, at Mooney's Bay beach in Ottawa. I know, I know, the level of play is not super competitive, but yanno, that's O.K. this year - perfect really.

So, it is with a sad, depressed heart, that I look to the water's edge in this heat, imagining the feel of the cool, slick, refreshing agua, and realize that really - it's kinda gross. Like, really dirty water. And I'm not all that picky. I was REALLY going to get into it. People think I am nuts, but I was. But when, after two sweaty of matches of ball ended, I approached the oasis before me, I truly saw the unappealing puddle that it was. So SAD. I couldn't do it. There was so much crap floating in it, and it was all murky, and, uh....I just decided I wasn't desperate enough. Maybe if they had outdoor showers VERY near by? Maybe.

But no, not this time.

So beaches, beckoning water, and facing bacterial infections just for the pleasure of indulging in a little tete-a-tete with nature's bounty.

Thank god we're heading to a friend's cottage soon!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A new move

I'm calling it the 'reality flip'. Too many damn reality shows on at the same time! Do I want to watch next top model or celebrity jungle crap or models and athletes kayaking through a resort lazy river? GOD! So many GREAT options!!!

Really. If you are going to do reality, can we PLEASE make it a little more compelling PULEEEEASE?

At least tomorrow night I have SYTYCD! Can't wait. Last week my favourite dance by far was one that also had a very personal resonance with me. It was a contemporary number that used the music I chose as the first dance between my husband and I at our wedding reception. The song, Falling Slowly, I first heard while watching the movie "Juno" (great movie), and it just spoke to me. The lyrics are incredible, and really seemed to capture, poetically, the journey my husband and I have taken together, and the optimism we both have for our future together. It was lovely.

Watch and enjoy the beauty that is the best reality show amid a sea of wasted time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I wanna be the Thirsty Traveler

What a job. I was just wondering aloud to my hubby just how often the host of this show gets laid. But seriously. How fabulous to be paid to travel around the world and ask the following question "What kind of alcohol d'ya got around here?" wherever you go...and with all that booze flowing, I'm just thinking that 'things' just happen. A blonde chick in Sweden, and sultry black-haired minx in Morocco, a buxom babe in Northern Ireland.

But I digress.

I've thought more about it, and really, I don't think I want to be him. No, thanks. He's forced, or asked politely, to drink and eat some pretty wacky stuff. And what if he doesn't FEEL like drinking? I'm fine just to crack a good bottle of wine if and when I want a sip or two or ten.

But none tonight, because I have a big day of beach volleyball tomorrow, and need to be ready to go. Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And....before I sleep

A little amusement and some disturbing images to make you, there are some hideously stupid and short-sighted people out there.

Check out 'pubic armpit' in particular...

The mixed bag day

You know what I am referring to, don't you? The day that has some really great moments and some crapulous ones. The day that makes you feel like life is sometimes just a roller coaster and now that you are on it, you just have to hold on and if necessary, close your eyes (or ignore what you are seeing)...

So what was good? Lovely sunshine. Time on the deck with a glass of wine while I water the lawn and my now lovely garden. Getting some errands done, including freeing up credit on our Home Depot card in preparation for our very exciting kitchen reno. Getting an invitation out to good friends for a full-day social and sport day we have planned on Saturday that starts out on the beach volleyball courts and ends with drinks and food at a friend's home - very much looking forward to it. Great stuff, right?

Then there's the tough moments. Unhappy coworkers and a tough work environment. Taking a multitude of busses to get around town because I didn't have a car today, but I DID have an appointment. Which brings me to the really tough moments. Any time I now go to my doctor's, I face kids. Babies. Pregnant ladies. Lots of them. It's not a fun environment for a woman who has had two back-to-back failed pregnancies. And then the big moment, when my doctor calls my name out, and I look up, and SHE is pregnant. So pregnant that while I was suffering miscarriage, she was happily pregnant. Jeeeeeez. C'mon people! Ya gotta stop! Every day on Facebook - pictures of babies, pictures of growing bellies, status updates about baby heartbeats...and then....visiting babies at work in the's a steady stream of reminders. All. The. Time. Over. And. Over.

Okay. I'm done. I am fine. I am sure that we will eventually have a family. I have lots of hope.

And sunshine, a garden and a new kitchen to enjoy and/or look forward to.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shopping on a grand scale

It's a uniquely energizing and slightly anxiety-laden experience to spend big-time dollars on big ticket items. Like cars. Like houses. Like NEW KITCHENS! It's a unique feeling, and it is soooooo goooooood!

Husband and I had a hot date with our kitchen reno sales gal (woooohooo, a threesome for my hubby finally!) tonight to see the 3D design of the new kitchen, and go over to confirm all that we were visualizing. Not only did we love it, but it was much less than we expected to pay - and if the idea of a new kitchen feels good, spending less than you thought you would pay is simply orgasmic! Everything was so little, that we chose to upgrade further to thicker granite even. AND, it is all another 15% off right now...

Gosh... this is the best date night I have had in a long time!

Good start to the weekend - hope you have a great one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

and then there were two

I missed my man. He was away on a conference for four nights and five days, and although I used to LOVE living on my own and even today, generally love my freedoms in life, I think the timing wasn't the best, and overall I wanted him closer. So is great to have him here again.

Even if he is upstairs at the computer and I am down here in front of the television.

Such intimacy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bloomin' ell!

Wha's that, then? It's my newly renovated garden, chip chop full of growing things. And it was my soul reviver in recent weeks. Nothing so cathartic as digging in the dirt and being responsible for helping plants and vegetables grow. Regret that I didn't take a 'before' shot, but the after are the real point, anyway, so here we are!

The grass still needs a LOT of work, but when doesn't it, really? While out there, I snapped a few shots of the early blooms, but there are many others on the way.

And more...

And so all that now remains is to see the veggies pop up. Cucumbers, carrots, spinach, beets, shallots, spring onion, three kinds of tomatoes, snap peas, snow peas, 8-10 various herbs, and pepper plants - loads of pepper plants! Sweet orange, green and red peppers, habanero peppers, hungarian wax peppers, serranos, poblanos...the list goes on.

So...salsa, gazpacho soup...fresh fresh fresh food is on its way - as long as we have some heat and lots of sunshine. So..BRING IT Mother Nature, just BRING. IT.

NOW is good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Duelling Qs

You know that the summer has officially launched the first night that my husband and our next door neighbour get together to plan and execute an elaborate BBQ meal. It's not REALLY a competition, but they sure seem to try to step up their game constantly.

This Saturday was that night. Slow smoked pulled pork shoulder with a cumin spiced coleslaw, warm rosemary grilled potato and green bean salad for the main, and three different types of grilled dessert pizzas (with some cocktails and wine thrown in)... soooo gooood!

Great friends, great food and the great outdoors...fabulous.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Selling the farm

Well, no, not really. But we ARE selling old (but good) furniture to make way for the new. We have lots of great little pieces (and other, not so great items) that were for the most part either hand-me-downs or donations scattered here and there in our home, and the way I see it is that we are a two-income professional home with more than enough to afford some nicer damn furniture! So yeah...time to transform our home bit by bit, and I am excited.

And did I mention that the work week is almost over and I will be at the Nordik scandanavian spa at this time tomorrow night? That's what I am talkin' about, people!

And...I got more of my gardening done tonight, which also feels good. I can see the spinach, the beets, the beans, the snap and snow peas, the cucumbers, the shallots, the onions all coming up, and already have great tomato and pepper plants (Of any and all variations) on the go. And lettuce! I have planted a pot with arugula and mesculin mix that are coming up alongside all my herbs. Coolness. Will take pictures soon of the garden and post. Should have taken some before shots!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Very low

I am tired, sad and fat. I know I should give myself a break, with two miscarriages in 6 months, but its just so sad to not even fit into a size 16 all of a sudden. I have no clothes to wear (well, that's not true - I have pregnancy clothing). My thighs rub together when I walk and I think I will have trouble chafing when it finally (ever?) gets warm. I just can't believe how bad my self-esteem is right now.

How bad is it?

As I was walking downtown today, feeling my dress being pushed against my body by the wind, my internal dialogue told me, "Just pretend you are still pregnant, and walk tall pretending, because you still look that way. If you do that, then people won't look at you as fat, but as pregnant, even though it's not true." - lovely, eh?

I hate being in these dark places. It's not an environment I am used to. But I know it is pointless to ignore the impulse - gotta get through it to get out to the other side, right?

The weekend approaches, and that is good news. Being back at work has been hard.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My secret food addiction

I truly believe it is carcinogenic, but I LOVE a certain snack food, done up lovingly with melted butter (with just a touch of vinegar added to it), drizzled carefully over the popped goodness, and then generously and patiently coated with chemicals. Yup - I love me my popcorn with flavoured sprinkles. Made of nothing but bad stuff. And I put MUCH more on it than would generally be advisable.

So yeah...I may have had a big bowl of my secret food tonight. And I may have loved every stinkin' bad for me morsel of it.

So sue me.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Goals and Dreams - A DIY Update

So here it is, the eve of my return to work, and I can happily report that our pantry shelves are in (and look so good, they look custom) and the garden is DONE - D-O-N-E, Done! The fence still isn't completed and the house is SUCH a mess, but it feels good to have some major projects done.

I have been doing a bit of soul searching to try and figure out what snapped and why I have been obsessively working on my To Do list, and I think I have got it. Here it is:

All my life, when I have had a goal/dream, I have been able to work toward it and achieve it. I have had control over that destiny, and have rarely retreated or taken a step backwards. It's not my style. So it has occured to me that the reason I have had SUCH a hard time accepting my miscarriages is because it is a HUGE step backwards in my goals. It has felt, both times, as though I am moving backwards and having to start again, and it has not only unnerved me, it has been VERY hard for me to accept! THUS, the most cathartic response for me has been to do what I can CONTROL, and tackle the home improvements to feel like I am still moving forward with my life, with my plans, and moving towards achieving my dreams. It makes sense, doesn't it? It sure has made me feel better...

And on that note, it is time to clean up the mess from yesterday's garage sale (sold a few big items and all told, took in about $75...not bad, eh?) and go downstairs to our gorgeous new pantry to start organizing and STORING all the items in this house that have never had a place to rest. It is going to feel great!

Not as great as some heat and sunshine would, though - where is our warmth?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Now get out there and SELL, SELL, SELL!

So here I sit, in the time honoured tradition of homeowners everywhere, trying to sell my junk and old furniture outside on my driveway. Some of what I got is junk, admittedly, but some of it is memories, great furniture, and solid value-added material, but still not a bite!

Admittedly, it only stopped raining about 1/2 an hour ago, and the weather isn't exactly ripe for this, but it is an annual community event, and so I thought that maybe that would help....but perhaps I should have put up signs too....

All I know is that I do NOT want this stuff back in my house, so what's a woman to do?

NONE of this is going to be allowed back into my old workshop and onto the new pantry shelves, that much is certain.

Hope my hubby gets here with my Timmy's soon. I'm lonely!

Friday, May 29, 2009

More DIY, More Projects, More, More MORE

So many projects, so little time. Everything takes so much longer than you think it will. Seriously. I have been working like a frenzied obsessive workaholic on gardening, home projects and yup - shopping - and feel like I need double the time I have had to even get finished what I have begun. And believe me, the to do list is still skyscraper long compared to my little bungalow 'crossed off the list' list.

But it has been good therapy moving forward with plans that have existed in my head only to this point. And now that the ball has started rolling, I don't intend to let it stop. For the longest time I just looked at my list, then flopped on the couch, nabbing the remote and looking for escape from the onset of the headache I got just LOOKING at my To Do List. Now, it feels like I am getting somewhere.

And considering that in other ways, I keep taking big steps backward in my plans, that is soothing to my soul.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shopping as therapy

So, will spending $14,000 on kitchen upgrades help me through all this? Hey, we'll see! Met with Home Depot tonight to discuss how I can keep from either a) pulling all my hair out due to the headache I get when I look at my old kitchen, which is overrun with things we can't find places for or b) setting a bomb for distruction as a way of just 'taking care of it'...

So, shiny granite and a little cool storage as therapy for a broken heart? Might work, right?

Worth a bloody try, I say!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just call me the workaholic hermit

At least I am ready to collapse into bed each night, too exhausted to think too much. The dreams haven't been pleasant, though.

I just can't do it. I just can't get out and back into my life yet. Crazy how heavy and onerous it feels to contemplate. It's my life, and it is a great why so hard to face?

But holy crap, the garden is looking better and better, the fence is getting painted (but after 4 full days of painting still not done - ! - so a word to the wize for all those contemplating repainting your fence with a brush, DON'T DO IT. Rent a sprayer, buy a sprayer or hire. Seriously.), and the new toilets are now in. Nothing like a need to keep busy to strike big items off your to do list, I guess!

I have incredible family and massive amounts of friends all offering love and support, and it is wonderful, and yet I can't reach out to them. It's like all I want is my man, my home, my garden and time. So if that's what I want, I guess I have to listen to that...

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Tough day. Absolutely stunning weather. Got some great gardening done, but really didn't care. Didn't care that I burnt myself to a crisp. Didn't care that my efforts look amazing. Didn't care to eat, or hydrate properly. Just didn't care much about anything.

Some things that I do care about, though, deeply. My husband. My parents. My friends.

I'll focus on them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day three

I guess today is communication day. Time to get on the phone, and talk to key people about what has happened and buy some time to work through it. It will be the first day (hopefully) where nothing too hideous happens - it SHOULD just be status quo, which is something I can handle. Blessedly (but not happily) the belly seems to be flattening out a bit, which can't happen fast enough for me right now, and I guess it is time to eat breakfast. Total lack of interest in this, of course, but we're going to go to Home Depot this morning in order to keep 'doing stuff' while the sky is overcast. If the weather forecast holds up, I will be back outdoors a little later, and just keeping busy.

And maybe, just maybe, tonight I will have some wine, since that is now allowed.

Time marches on!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The catharsis of gardening

After 2pm today, I was finally free to think of this latest news as being on its way to over. And then...I planted. And weeded. And moved perennials. And felt better knowing that I was surrounded by life and sunshine and getting my hands dirty in order to feel cleansed. It truly succeeded in soothing me; it was remarkable.

I don't begin to know why this happened to us. Again. I also don't really know what to say, feel, think, do with myself. I certqainly can't even contemplate going back to my usual life again. It's a daunting prospect, and I think I am going to need some time in relative solitude to cope. My husband, who is hurting and so very frustrated at being powerless to help or do anything, is all I want, and even when he hugs me, I feel like I just can't get close enough. I wish I could just meld into his skin and just not be me for a little while, you know?

And now that the sun is setting and I can't distract myself anymore with gardening, I am SO FRIGGIN' THANKFUL that there is something to watch on tv to help me stay distracted - So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) - and so here I go, watching beauty in motion and emotion. Should be good...

And tomorrow will be another day.

5 am, alone and numb

Today I get to put two tablets in a less than cool place in order to induce a miscarriage that for all intents and purposes should have happened almost 5 weeks ago. Let me tell you, it doesn't feel good to know that your hopes and dreams are no longer alive but still in your body. That's about as polite and as blunt as I can be.

The sun is coming up, the birds are chirping, and I wish I could sleep because right now, that is my only hope for relief from the accidental purgatory I am in.

Not sure what I did to deserve this, but I sure wish I was not living this day right now...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Out of the wordwork to sooth my soul

So many stories! I cannot get over how many people I know have had bleeding during (and even throughout) their pregnancies! And it is making me feel MUCH better. So only a few hours to wait for the ultrasound to know for sure if everything is okay, but I am feeling MUCH more optimistic than I was. This pregnancy stuff is pretty laden with anxiety. Maybe that is part of my problem. With no medical issues throughout my life, it didn't occur to me that I might have issues with carrying a baby. Not sure why I am so naive sometimes, but better that than to be continously pessimistic and/or expecting the worst...

So...what is there to eat in this house? I'm hungry!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The power of positivity and the Internet

So after a lot of hours have passed, and a number of discussion posts have assured me that other mommies to be have experienced bleeding like mine and still had healthy babies, I am choosing to be highly optimistic about our chances that all will be okay. Maybe it is delusional (who knows, right?), but at least it is allowing me a modicum of peace of mind.

And by tomorrow afternoon, if all goes well, I will have heard a little, quick-paced heartbeat, and told what might be happening. And even if I don't have information about what is causing the bleeding, if the ultrasound reveals all is well with the baby and I hear that miniature heart pounding, then life will be good.

And that is how I choose to see my world tonight.

Price is Right and Sheer, Unbridled Fear

So here I lay on the couch, on my 'vacation week', after a weekend in Tremblant where we cancelled two golf rounds and where I REALLY took advantage of the king sized bed at the Fairmont, watching Drew Carey sporting a really hideous hairstyle and waiting for one of the most important tests I have ever had, but not until tomorrow. The day stretches ahead of me, long and full of anxiety and terror that I may be losing this baby.

I don't get it. Why again? Why the hell am I bleeding? What is WRONG, dammit?

You feel so powerless. Our bodies do some incredibly amazing things, but unfortunately you can't open them up to see what is going on, and that means you simply wait to see. That sucks. So all I have to cling to is an ultrasound appointment I have tomorrow (a pre-existing appointment, thank god) that will hopefully reveal what could be the problem, and confirm that all is well....maybe. The other option is just something I don't want to contemplate yet.

All I know is that today won't feel like much of a vacation day. It will feel like purgatory for something I did that was very very wrong.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I never thought I would be this woman

What happened to me? I became one of those people who allows all the small little jobs and messes to exponentially explode into a vast, intimidating mega-list of TO DO's.

And I don't know how to handle it. Really. It's like my personality doesn't allow me to see where to begin and how little efforts daily will get me to the end goal. I just don't know what to do. And, frankly, I don't have a husband who is helpful at all in this regard, as generally, he doesn't see the issues I see.

My mother, who comes back this week from Arizona, will be so disappointed that her own daughter let her home and garden get to this point.

Is it perfectionism? Laziness? Is it possible to be someone who can only be the idea girl and not the grinder? Am I just making excuses?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Stinky poo poo

Bad days at work can really drain you, can't they? Why, in a professional setting, do some people forget their manners, forget to be considerate, and stop seeing people as what they are - people - and not just a box on an org. chart or a way to get a (big picture) meaningless task done?

But here's the thing. When you stop to breathe, refocus and get your perspective back, it sure does make you appreciate the loveliness that exists outside the confines of your work space.

I don't know. With a baby on the way, what's important just seems to be more prominent and rise to the surface these days anytime I am faced with frustrations or days that bring me down. I mean, as we speak, I have a wonderful husband BBQing some lovely T-bones. He has made the salad (and made extra so that I can have a healthy meal at lunch tomorrow), and prior to that he left to grocery shop for said food. AND he bought me a lovely gift and a very special "Mother to be" card Sunday for mother's day ... so what was my problem again?

Right. I didn't really have one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guilty pleasures

Okay. Admittedly, I like junk food. I like fast food. I like chips and popcorn and nachos and sometimes I like chocolate and candy and baking. And ever since I turned 30 and started to gain weight, when indulging in these empty calories, I have felt mild pangs of guilt at putting this non-food into my body.

But those light pangs are NOTHING compared to how I now feel every time I indulge now that there is a growing baby in my belly. I mean, damn...everything I put in there is going toward feeding the growing person inside of me, and if they are empty calories, then SHAME ON ME, right? But, it seems, cravings are VERY hard to ignore, and unfortunately, there ain't a single green, leafy vegetable on that list of coveted nosh day in and day out. Nope, momma to be wants Fudgesickles (and they had to be the real deal), and smoked meat poutine and ketchup chips and even bloody cotton candy (a shout out to my awesome husband for stopping at that sad little shopping mall parking lot fairground to pick up a fresh bag of spun sugar in Brockville last week...!), but uh...there isn't any asparagus or spinach on that list of 'must have's'!

So for Sunday dinner, is it okay to want (and have) chicken nachos?

Even if it's not, that is what I want and so that is what I'm gonna have damnit. And the guilt can just be damned. (Besides, I had three stalks of celery, plain, just now, so that's good, right?)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Better to be naked?

So one of the challenges to pregnancy is what the hell to wear. You keep growing, changing shape, and knowing that your size is temporary, and so you economize, and get creative and do what you can not to look sloppy, spend your life savings on useless throwaway clothes, and feel somehow confortable, as your belly, ass, hips and bust expand. And I am only just starting!

Take today as a prime example. I have a wedding to go to today, and another in mid-June, and so I decided that my only solution was to find a dress that would work for both events, and maybe even be something I can wear to work. Well, I found that dress, and it's great. However, it is also a summer dress. It's rainy and chilly today...doh! I guess it was too much to ask to have a sunny, warm day that would make my outfit suitable, eh?

Oh well. I am sure I can find a pashmina to toss over the shoulders and some shoes and make it work.

But yeah...most of the time, I want my yoga pants, a tank top, a pony tail, bare feet - things that stretch and won't restrain. And don't get me wrong - I love seeing myself expand. It's really exciting and fun, but I feel sloppy and not very put together now that I have so few clothes to wear!

Better to just go naked, maybe?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making the birthing process personal

I am very happy to now say I have a midwife. How nice to know that such an intensely personal experience is going to be kept that way due to the possibility of building a close relationship with the woman (and a couple other women!) who will be with us throughout this process. The service is exeptional, and we are very lucky to have this option available to us, and to have it fully covered by our medical insurance in this province.

But jeeez! STILL no heartbeat for Daddy to hear! Apparently my little one is an active little thing (surprised?) and every time we caught a little glimmer of something (the doppler even sensed the heartbeat, even though we didn't hear it), the little dude/dudette shifted aggressively (did a flipturn and swam to the other side). At least we have another ultrasound in two weeks, so that will give him a chance to finally partake of this coolness. This time around, the baby will look like a baby in the image, too, since the first time, it was simply a little raspberry!

Ah, what fun. And, I was able to sign out Jenny McCarthy's book "Belly Laughs" from the midwifery group library, so I have some fun reading to do. Good times!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Me and Dick

If I ever needed a reminder that life continuously changes, meeting a contact from my past at a wine and food event this weekend transported me back over a decade to when I worked in film and television production. Back to a time when I worked for two seasons on a brutally crass and tasteless comedy series for the Comedy Network. Back when I worked with a man named Greg Lawrence, dressed a man named Greg Lawrence, shopped for Greg Lawrence's underwear, and dealt with the continuity issues on set, should Greg's underwear scene not look like the previous camera setup's. Very glamourous work.

So...for those who didn't know me then...I give you the best of "Butch Patterson, Private Dick", season 1 and season 2!

Bon appetit!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The gears shift

Lessons I have now learned about being pregnant:

1. If you get sick with a cold or a flu, expect to enjoy this status for a LONG TIME. You have no immune system.
2. If you have mild medical issues or tendencies towards certain discomforts from mouth all the way down to waste disposal systems, they will quadruple or get ten times worse during pregnancy. I can't REALLY politely say more, but you'll be shocked, and it will be uncomfortable...very uncomfortable.
3. Sometimes, even when you are VERY happy and know your life is wonderful, you are simply grumpy, pessimistic and weary, and impatient. Very impatient.
4. Then, all of a sudden, the clouds clear up, and the sun shines and you have more energy and feel great.

And this, my friends, is where I actually think I might be! I have been feeling much better over the past two/three days, and my energy is SO much better than it was. The sky is blue, and we are having a baby! How cool is that?

But... I still have my cough.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let the renos begin!

$800 + dollars later, we are home with two new toilets, paint for our external back fence, some screening for our patio door, grass seed and other odds and ends, and this is just the beginning! Nothing like a baby on the way to force the "project hand"!!!

Time to give our handyman a call (yup - we have a GREAT handyman!) and outline the multitudes of jobs we have to get completed this summer leading up to our first born. Looking forward to it all, actually, but it just simply feels good to have started, which for this Type A big picture thinker, is half the battle. You know the type, don't you? The ones who have wonderful, gradiose and creative ideas, but can't seem to break the process into smaller parts and GIT ER DONE!

So wasn't warm and lovely weather like I was hoping, but we got something done, and THAT feels like a ray of sunshine to me nevertheless.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Death by common cold?

EVERY SINGLE BREATH IN AND OUT, IN AND OUT, IS A GAME OF WILL - the will to make it one more breath without hacking and wheezing through another bout of coughing. EVERY night and EVERY morning - and at least once during EVERY night - I attempt to breathe through stuffed nose and sinus congestion and EVERY morning, I pray that today will be the day that I feel marginally better.

All I know is that the pregnancy books never really warned me against coming anywhere near anyone with a common cold. Who knew that a simple cold, lovingly caught at the same time my body is busy piecing together a placenta and growing a fetus, gets the complete shaft from my immune system, if running rampant through my weak but bigger every day body? Who knew that every single symptom of cold would stick around like a couch potato teenager moving back into his parents' place over and over again? I didn't. And when you add that to the extreme daily levels of exhaustion I battle against each day, it is NOT pleasant!

And NOW. NOW I have a damn headache from coughing so much!

I just keep repeating to myself:

"At least I am not nauseous."
"It will be worth it"

Right? RIGHT?


Cue the laughing babies from the previous posts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weeping over losers / My Heart's beat

Admittedly, it was an emotional night of The Biggest Loser - I mean, WOW, what changes they have gone through, and boy, those reunions were pretty heart-wrenching, but I MUST have crazy hormones because I haven't stopped crying! All the great news and the bad (Laura's hip stress fracture) - sometimes reality TV is all too real, you know? But then again, the ladies reading this blog know how great a "good cry" feels - especially if you aren't actually sad.

And I most certainly am not. Today, even though I am still hacking up a lung, was a GREAT day. Today I heard the little squishy bass beat of my baby's heart (139 bpm)and saw the little raspberry (literally - he/she is the size of a raspberry) swimming in this little black sack inside my belly. Cool, eh?

This early ultrasound was scheduled by my doctor as a means of putting our minds at ease after the miscarriage we suffered back in November. I didn't realize this was an option, but once, at this juncture - 8 weeks - you hear the heartbeat and know all is developing properly, your chances of not miscarrying are a lot better. So. Phone calls were made to the grandparents and the parents to confirm that all is well, and now the fun really starts...

If only I can shake this cold, and get a bit more energy on a daily basis, then I would be jumping and singing and full of happy sunshiny charisma. However for now I will settle for a calm peace and contentment and get my butt to bed to see if I can sleep without hacking up a lung!

What a great day, though!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My little obsession

I cannot think about anything else. Really. I am going to have to keep myself very very busy today to avoid thinking about my ultrasound tomorrow morning. I'm not nervous, really, but anxious for certain. I have been fighting just to survive this cold over the past week, and it has been consuming so much of me, you forget that my body is doing double duty. I just hope that noone has suffered for this wear and tear!

So yeah...I am very excited and can think of nothing else right now. So some gardening, some home organization and as always a nap or two throughout the day should get me through.

Tomorrow's going to be a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What do you hear in these sounds?

Okay. So all I have between hearing my baby's heartbeat and now is the long weekend. Fantastic. At 7 weeks, (and closer to 8 by Tuesday), it should be possible to hear the baby's heartbeat via ultrasound (well...maybe the traditional one, but likely via a vaginal 'wand'. Thankfully I have never been squeamish about exams and other intimate moments like this, because when you are's all access baby!), which will make our pregnancy much more 'viable'. If I am not mistaken, it is possible also to be able to detect multiples (or confirm just one fetus, too, which is fine!). So excited!

I have to say, though, that the sounds that are out of the ordinary these days are my wheezing cough, sniffling sinuses, growling stomach, and unpleasant um....poofing. That, and continuous, nonstop yawning. MAN, your body is taken over by this thing! It doesn't seem to matter how much sleep you get (although I can only imagine that if I had to do with LESS sleep, I would be collapsing mid-day each day), you are ready to put your head down all day long for a nap. I can only imagine how tough it is for Moms that already have a little one at home, or worse than that, have a full time job PLUS little ones at home. BRUTAL.

But all worth it and they SAY it goes away after a while - for me within a month or so now? (I am hoping).

So I am devouring books on the subject of pregnancy, and have duly subscribed to the proper e-newsletter baby progress updates and online reading...any suggestions on what I need to start to do now? I feel like I am in a holding pattern, because obviously it is too early to shop for anything, and the weather hasn't really cooperated to make us willing to start home projects or anything. That said, this weekend will pose the perfect opportunity to begin a couple inside jobs, so I will be tackling those.

Ultrasound in 5 days. Wicked.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is knowing always a good thing?

So I have spent some time researching prenatal testing today. I have an appointment with my doctor at the end of the month (and prior to any meetings I have with midwives) to discuss the various screening testing that you can do. The thing is...not only am I not even sure I would do anything WITH that knowledge, but to me it seems a bit counter-indicative to agree to undergo tests that come with a risk of miscarriage. I can't even imagine how I would feel if I went into this test, only to have killed the fetus - how hideous would that be?

I guess the only option I have at first is to see about early testing (called the nuchal translucency test NT) which is done via ultrasound paired with blood tests. then, and only if the results indicate I am at increased risk for Downs or other issues, will I even discuss amniocentesis. I really don't feel like adding risk to this pregnancy, and the chances are already so good that there is nothing wrong, nor will there be...

But, I THINK my doctor said that if I want amnio, that (of course) you have to book early in order to get in. Lovely. There are certainly days when our health care seems woefully insufficient, and then others - like the day I found out that full midwife services are covered by OHIP - that make me feel that the money we pay is worth it and that we are all lucky.

So...maybe it is better not knowing. Maybe what you want to do is eat right, take care to get enough rest and sleep, and simply focus on your own health and creating as healthy a life as you can inside you - and let the chips fall where they may....

What do you think?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bumps n Lumps

I can't believe it, but I am already showing! Only 7 weeks in (not even) and I absolutely have a belly that wasn't there before. And my weight has been consistent, since I dropped about 3 or so pounds initially - it isn't because I have assumed the food fairy has given me a free pass now that I am pregnant, either!

So, I have bumps where I never did before, and of course, as normally happens to pregnant women, I have two ever-growing lumps, too, that are kinda fun!

Now...if only I didn't crave a nice glass of wine on this lazy Sunday afternoon, all would be perfection!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hitting the gym

Only to watch, though! Time to head to my husband's volleyball final matches. You know, this city has pretty exceptional sporting opportunities, and the sport of volleyball is so well organized that its biggest league, the OCVL, has hundreds of teams and is so big that up in the top tier, there are former national team players, and the finals are actually televised! That said, you have to have a full team of pretty exceptional players to be at the top, obviously, and both I and my husband, although very competitive players, are this year not in the top tier. His team finished near the top of the second, or B, division, and play their match just after the initial A division match. It is bloody good ball, and we know a lot of the players in a lot of the teams, so it should be fun to go and take in all the matches this afternoon. And I have to say that I find it incredibly sexy to watch my man play and see him smash the ball down or block an opposing hard hit. Am I wrong ladies? How sexy is it to watch the man you love play a sport with authority?

Or maybe my life has, for the most part, been all about sports, so it is a personal little turn on?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

6 weeks today - the heart should already be beating

So I am officially admitting it. I am pregnant again, and so far all systems point to good health for both Mommy and baby, although it is still early. I love the perfect symmetry of the timing of this pregnancy. I got the greatest birthday gift ever when I saw those two simple pink lines on my pregnancy test, and husband is going to have the joy of seeing his first born come into the world during his birthday month in November.

It is also interesting to note that although we miscarried in November last year, before the year is up, we will have a baby. How cool is that, and how heartening to think in the big picture sense that it was only three months of waiting to be blessed once again.

So Mom and Dad to be are very happy, if a bit reserved. Mom and Dad of Mom and Dad to be are very cautious, and both sets of concerned couples are very much looking forward to the early ultrasound that my doctor has generously prescribed. If all goes well, as early at 7.5 weeks (just a few days away, really) the heartbeat can be heard, and if this is the case, the viability of the birth is high (in lamens terms, that means you don't have to wait until the end of the first trimestre to heave a sigh of relief, as the fetus is said to be developing well, and that is mostly all you needed to know). So for others who are anxious and praying for good news...just know that you CAN and you will get pregnant again...maybe even within a couple of months.

Now. What is happening with my body, you may ask (or perhaps you don't want to know, but since my body has become a vessel for growing another human life, it is a bit consuming, so, tough.)? Well, other than a bit of queasiness here and there, the big deal is the loopy, foggy, completely exhausted half-asleep semi-consciousness that constitutes my waking life these days. MAN, am I ever tired! And don't even come NEAR my boobs. They are big and luscious, but look and don't least for the time being. My poor husband...

Time for a glass of milk and an early trip to bed - I am SUCH a party right now!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Years and years

Wow - 37 years on the earth. Great, fun, energetic years full of family, travel, adventure, and lots of very lucky prosperity. Last year had huge highs and lows and this year, well, this year I KNOW it will be a crazy ride, but the most unbelievable, joyful, miraculous one. The stuff of permanent memory. Let the 37th year begin!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Inspired by my baby nephew, Andrew

That's it. There is NOTHING better in life than the joyful, unrestrained laughter of a baby. Check it out. Found these on Youtube and they will warm your heart, lift your spirits, bring tears to your eyes, and yes, make you laugh. Wonderful, heart-healing stuff, my friends!

Baby Boing
Ethan laughing