"Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites." - Anonymous

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Hubs is currently vacuuming the basement as I type this. New shelves, less stuff on them, better organization. It looks heavenly. I feel like we can conquer anything now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to post until after Boxing Day, so I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Many Merry Christmases

(Is 'Christmases' a word? If I have to ask I think I know the answer.)

We normally spend Christmas Eve and Day with both our families. We are lucky enough that both sides get along so well that they invite each other over for celebration. And, because we came from two different sets of traditions, it has meant 12 adults and between 2 and 7 children are together for both those days. My in-laws celebrate Christmas Eve with a traditional Ukrainian 12-dish meatless meal before Midnight Mass at church and my parents celebrate Christmas Day, with a turkey, stuffing, etc.

Anywho, this year is different. My in-laws are heading to Australia with my brother-in-law and his family, as his wife is from Sydney. My other brother-in-law and his family will be staying in Lethbridge at their home. So, we are alone with my parents and my brother and his new wife for Christmas. Ah, the quiet of it all. Well, once our children are in bed.

So, a couple weeks ago, we celebrated an early Christmas with the Australia-bound folks. We gave our nieces their gifts early and had a nice, but simple meal that my mother-in-law lovingly prepared (as all her meals are). It was a pleasant, no-frills, no worries Christmas. Nobody cared that the house wasn't decorated, or that we had chicken instead of turkey. We relaxed by the fire, enjoyed good food, wine and music, and enjoyed out time together, even if it was 20 days early.

I don't know when we'll see my other brother-in-law and his family, probably sometime between Christmas and the New Year. And then we are talking about pulling together a traditional Ukrainian Christmas in January for some friends we recently made who just moved to Calgary. So, in all, we may end up with 4 Christmas celebrations!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let Me Fall

If you've ever heard this song from Cirque du Soleil, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say how much I love how the soulful, heartfelt lyrics move me.

For me, as a mother, I find this song particularly inspiring in how I raise my sons. For me, a lot of life is about taking chances and learning from our mistakes, growing from our experiences and reaching for the next step. "There's a moment when fear and dreams must collide".

As I watch my boys learn...learn to walk, run, climb, speak, play, I see the unbridled passion and excitement they get from learning. I also see them learn their limits. I've seen my oldest son learn that bouncing on his bed can result in a bloody nose. I've also seen him learn that putting crayon to paper can result in a fabulous work of art. I watch as he dances around the house and through life, stumbling occasionally, but less as each new day and experience dawns. I am only allowed to dance with him if I dance as freely. Otherwise I am holding him back.

I know that as they grow the falls will probably be from higher ground and may be harder to recover from. And helping them through that recovery is the most I can do for them. Helping them to learn the lessons brought before them is part of my role as a parent. As much as we want to keep our children wrapped in our arms and protect them from all the hardships of life, we teach them nothing this way. They need to experience the world and all it has to offer, the good and the bad.

We can guide them and be by them physically, emotionally and spiritually.

And The End Is In Sight

A few weeks ago hubs and I started decluttering our basement. It's amazing what we have managed to accumulate in 7 years of marriage. We moved into this house 5 years ago, and some boxes were never unpacked, my excuse being the lack of closet and cupboard space for storage.

I no longer have that excuse, as we now have sufficient cabinets, sideboards and bookshelves to make up for the lack of storage. (OK, I still have nowehere to put the towels for the second bathroom...) However, as hubs put it the other day, our basement looks like our storage shelves threw up. I get twitchy when I go down there to feed the cat or do laundry.

So, the adventure began...and just let me say...THANK GOODNESS for curbside recycling! You know those big boxes that your kid's high chairs came in? We've got 2 of those filled with paper recycling. 3 bags of glass spaghetti sauce jars and 1 bag of metal lids. I mean, I like making soup and sauce from scratch to freeze for future meals, but 50 jars worth? I don't think so. Plus, a few bags of plastic recycling. Ugh. Just the thought of it.

The act of cleaning it up has definitely made me feel lighter. It will feel even better when we start hauling that stuff (I should call it crap) out of there. And when we have the garage sale in the spring, I will be joyous!

Glue, Paper and Stamps, Oh My!

So, as a fundraiser for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer I make Christmas cards to sell to friends and family. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Mum, Gill, Jenny, Janet, Tavia, Evelyn, Suzanne and Joan for purchasing cards from me and a big thank you to Morgan for helping me with some lovely creations and for donating some of her supplies! I was able to put $180 towards my goal this year! I'm almost halfway to my $3500 fundraising goal.

I'm really looking forward to doing this year's walk as I missed last year's, having just given birth. It's one of the most powerful, moving experiences I've taken part in. I'm excited to be walking this year with my friend and neighbour, Lara.

I know so many people who have been affected by cancer...all types. Young and old. I think there's very few of us who could say cancer hasn't touched us in some way. This is my small way of helping out and bringing awareness to the efforts of finding a cure, teaching prevention and easing suffering.

Now, hopefully it warms up enough to start outdoor training seriously, because I am not setting foot in a mall until Christmas is over!

An Ordinary Man

I just finished the book An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina, in which he chronicles his actions during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, helping to save hundreds of people at the Hotel Mille Collines in Kigali. Some of you may recognize this as the basis for the Hotel Rwanda movie starring Don Cheadle.

As I've said earlier, my interest in Rwanda stemmed from a speech I heard given by Romeo Dallaire. I then read Shake Hands With the Devil. So, when a friend lent me An Ordinary Man I knew I had to read it.

The majority of us in North America could never imagine the horror these people witnessed, lived through, helped fight and must remember. We could never imagine how one person could do these things to another human...a child, a mother, a father, the elderly, the educated and the uneducated. All stemming from a fear of loss of power.

Resolution? What Resolution?

I obviously have not been keeping up with my promise to myself to post at least once a week. At first I thought it was because I didn't have anything to say. Now I know it's because I have too much to say.

So, I'm off to start the first of many posts that will remain in draft form until they're ready. My goal for today is to at least get the thoughts out of my head and onto 'paper'. I can clean them up and post them after that.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Mystery of Edwin Droooooooduh

On Thursday night I was able to join my husband at the theatre for a rousing murder mystery! Vertigo Theatre in Calgary is currently presenting the "Mystery of Edwin Drood", Dickens' last work, which he passed away in the middle of writing. As no notes have been found, it truly is a mystery. What happens to young Edwin? Who perpetrates the crime? Who gets the happy ending?

Truly enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to take it in. Kudos, Congratulations and Great Job all round to the entire cast (18 in all!!!) and crew, but especially to Mr. Bellamy, Mr. McKeag and Ms. Holt (who is capable of anything in my book!)

And thank you to my mother- and father-in-law who came to look after the boys so that I could have an evening out with my sweetie. When your youngest won't take a bottle and isn't sleeping through the night yet, the date nights are few and far between!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I recently finished the book "SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless" by Steve Salerno. (SHAM actually stands for self-help and actualization movement). Mr. Salerno has experience both researching and working in various areas of the self-help industry.

Food for thought! The basic concept of the book is about how the SHAM industry not only pulls in unthinkable amounts of money every year (5.7 billion dollars US in 2000 and growing) but the deeper damage that is has done to North American society. Lawsuits and divorces that are the result of the change in thinking by those who hold tight to the teachings of Victimization, Empowerment, and Recovery. Declines in educational performance. The real story behind people like Dr. Phil, Marianne Williamson and Tony Robbins and other 'thinly credentialed "experts"'.

Don't get me wrong...I'm all for positive outlooks, believing in yourself, yada, yada. However, in an industry that claims to want to solve a problem, you would think people's lives would get better. If it worked, people would not need further help from these authors and gurus. But studies show that the effect is quite the opposite. In fact, people are more likely to buy a book about a certain self-help topic (love, money, relationships, etc.) if they'd bought a similarly themed book in the past 18 months. WHAT???!!!

I don't get it.

One of my theories is that deep down, people essentially do not want to take responsibility for themselves. They want to turn themselves over to the power of the universe. A common theme in self-help is that if you believe deeply enough in something, then it will happen. Will it? Really? The quote at the beginning of the book could not be more perfect:

"Compared to the possibilities in life, the impossibilities are vastly more numerous. What I don't like to hear adults tell people your age is that you can be president or anything else you want to be. That's not even remotely true. The truth is that you can run for president, and that's all...In our wonderfully free society, you can try to be just about anything, but your chances of success are another thing entirely." Marilyn vos Savant (who, by the way, was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for Highest IQ).

I would love to tell my boys that they can be anything they want to be. I think though, that the message will more likely by something along the lines of "If you are honest with yourself and make your contributions to society, all else will fall into place."

Or perhaps people want to place the blame for their shortcomings on someone or something else. Everything is a disease these days...shoplifting, acoholism, drug abuse. And more and more often companies, fellow employees, communities, etc. are being forced to see them as such and make allowances for it (whether they like it or not).

I don't know what to think...it's obviously not black and white, is it? I just have seen so many of my friends start on this mindset that they need someone to lead them down a path to their personal greatness. And most of that leadership is laced with fluff and vague statements ("The thing you notice about losers is, they don't win" Seriously.)

I'm not perfect, nor would I ever think to be. In my mind perfection means done and I am never done. I am always growing and learning. I have many moments of self-doubt. Am I capable of raising 2 boys into wonderful, loving, contributing adults? Am I the wife my husband thought he was marrying? Am I good at my job? But, I go on. I buckle down and I work harder at those things and I excel where I can and make no excuses when I don't. And the accolades are that much more enjoyed when they're not expected, and are hard-won. Really. If you just expect everyone to realize you are brilliant, you will be disappointed many times. You have to earn the recognition.


And now, on to my next book, "An Ordinary Man" by Paul Rusesabagina. This book inspired the movie "Hotel Rwanda". After hearing Romeo Dallaire speak about his experience in Rwanda and then reading "Shake Hands with the Devil" I've been fascinated by the events leading up to and during the 1994 genocide. I am considering becoming a "sister" to a woman in Rwanda through the Women For Women International. I would become a support for her financially and emotionally for 1 year through donations and correspondence.


Last, a late "Happy Thanksgiving" to my American neighbors. I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours was in October. And now on to the excess of the Christmas season! Eeep!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Too many things going through my head...

...I'm having trouble deciding what to post on next. I would love to share our current decluttering efforts as we prepare to develop our basement. Or perhaps the song I've discovered which really inspires me in how I deal with my boys. Maybe my thoughts on the book I've just finished reading. Or update my inspiring quote.

I find I get the urge to post at the most inopportune times. Like 5 minutes before the baby wakes up from his nap. Or just as I should be heading out the door to pick up our older son. Or when I should be making dinner.

I'm seeing this as a sign that I need to take some time to declutter my brain on a regular basis. So, in the spirit of forming a new habit, my goal is to share a bit of my thoughts at least once a week. I'm sure some weeks will be short and sweet, while others will be a virtual spewing forth of ideas and blather.

So, check back often, enjoy, or not, but be kind. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Latte and a Good Book...

...oh yeah and that scrumptious chocolate-chunk cookie.

My absolutely fabulous husband kicked me out of the house tonight for some forced relaxation.

So, I wandered down to the local coffee shop and got my usual, a vanilla bean latte, larger than usual this time though, and a cookie and sat down with my current book.

It's been a while since I've had a chance to do this. With a 2 & 1/2-year old and a 4-month old at home, when I manage to get out of the house by myself I usually feel the need to run errands. However, tonight I had no warning...no chance to prepare for this unanticipated solitary enjoyment.

I feel I haven't had the opportunity to enjoy the coffee shop by myself in what seems like ages. And our community is so much like a small town. I parked myself at a window looking out onto the main street and watched people coming and going, to and fro, from the pub, to the pizza restaurant, from the sandwich place to the liquor store, picking up kids from dance lessons, ambling arm in arm, dogs on leashes.

In this economy and the ridiculous housing market in Calgary, we're fortunate to be able to live in a community we love. So many of my younger colleagues are having trouble entering the market...a very sad state of affairs when two professionals cannot afford a decent house in a reasonable neighbourhood!

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this was supposed to be what a wonderful hubby I have and how much I enjoyed going for my coffee tonight (as opposed to grabbing it at the drive-thru with the kids in the car) and contemplating STUFF.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My 28-Day Journey

I just finished a 28-Day Journey with my dear friend Paula. While I have to admit I'm skeptical about the majority of the self-help mechanisms out there, I enjoyed the self-discovery that took place over the past month.

Paula has a wonderful way with words that made us think over and over of how we can live our lives to the fullest, and how that is different for everyone. Our "gifts lead to our gold" as she says, and everyone's gold is different. How we perceive, and react to, the world and people around us is often determined so early in life and Paula is so great at encouraging us to just let go of those previous binding ties. In her way, she has restored the concept of faith. That by believing, we can see.

Paula is currently working towards a certification in life-coaching and I wish her all the best on this new endeavour. I know the road she's taken has been winding and, at times, foggy. But, she has seen her essence and knows how to share that with the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So it begins...

I am brand new to this world of blogging...bear with me as I stumble through. I'm not entirely sure why I've chosen this particular form of Internet expression. I've been a Facebook hold-out among many users, don't have my own webpage to speak of and usually prefer to connect with my friends and family by phone or in person. Perhaps I just needed some sort of 'creative' oulet...someway to make myself heard by the masses. A way to get my thoughts out that gives me a bit of closure to each day and clears the head for a new one.