Sunday, January 31, 2010

Family - no place like Halifax!

I'm off to Halifax for a bit of R&R with the wee one 'little E'. It's not Newfoundland but I can tell you there are few other cities that are so welcoming!! I'm visiting with my Aunt S & Uncle C which is better than any 5-star resort! I am happy that my uncle is doing well with his MS & the stubborn streak that runs in our family seems to be doing him well, helping him keep moving!

Other than visiting with them, I am also heading to my friend who is turning 34 - where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was graduating high school... or university or something.
The weird thing is I don't feel older... I feel like I could be in University, starting that first crappy-paying job, or going on a awkward first-date. But my reality is that I'm not... I'm a married, mother of 2 who is currently un-employed (in case I didn't mention it earlier my former company laid me off while I was on maternity leave!!). Although I do love my life, I love my husband of almost 10 years, my 2 kiddies, and everything, just sometimes I wish I still had that exciting air of 'new-ness' that those formative early years provide!!

Guess it's like some say - I'll do it all again one day, just vicariously through my children! For now I'll have to find something new to challenge me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Family - YEAH!!!

I am SOO lucky to have great in-laws. Although I know it's sometimes hard to adopt your in-laws lifestyle - not that there is anything wrong or bad it's just different than how you were raised... different family rituals, different holidays, different meals - it makes you miss your mom's home cooking!!

If you read my earlier blog about my hospital adventures, you'll see that I spent many, many, MANY hours in the hospital with my son. And I am SOOO lucky to have had my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law to be there for 2 of the days - my husband was away for work!! So not only did my in-laws help me with my son being in the hospital, they helped me with my 6 month old daughter & cancelled their plans at the last minute to be there!

On days when I miss having my family close, I will surely remember those days & be thankful for having my in-law family so close & such a big part of my life!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

O Canada!

Recently I had the opportunity (not by choice) to be reminded how lucky we are that we live in Canada & have free health care!

My son had a bump on his neck, just below his ear, that I thought was a swollen lymph node due to perhaps him fighting a bug - he does go to daycare with kids, lotsa germs and he is a boy after all who would pick up anything & put it in his mouth - especially if it's a candy!! When his daycare provider told me she'd never seen anything like it in her 20 years of experience I decided to take him to his peditrician... who had no idea what it was & sent us to the hospital for tests. After a 7.5 hour wait at the hospital, they determined they didn't know what it was either - but they knew what it wasn't - an infection, so we went home.

The next day he was back to his VERY energetic self! The day after he awoke with a second lump so back to the Emergency room we went. After 12 hours & being seen by over 10 doctors (peditricians, ENTs, Infectious disease & specislists in each area) we were sent home to come back the next am for a CATscan. The next morning he had his scan & then we had to wait 7 hours to hear from the ENT specialist who told us they still didn't know what the lumps were specifically - but they had a greater idea of what it wasn't... it wasn't cat scratch fever or a bunch of things. It most likely was a microbacterial infection that is a fluke thing that reacted oddly with his body.

Now some who know would think that spending hours and hours in an emergency waiting room, see Dr. after Dr. would be a waste & others would be pissed that it took so long to not have a final answer! I think it coulda been better, but it was great as is - he saw over 25 doctors and they ran every test to determine what it was (by determing what it wasn't). Within 1 day he got a catscan to determine & they were all 100% sure that he was good enough to go home. Not only am I lucky to live in Canada I am lucky to be in Montreal - I know in many other remote places across the country (like Newfoundland) I'd have to wait weeks/months & take a plane to get a catscan!!
O'Canada you may be flawed at times, but I wouldn't wanna live anywhere else!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's in the Bag!

Guest Blogger - 'D'

I was thrilled when Paige asked me to write something for her blog! It’s funny because for the past 24 hours I have been trying to figure out what to write for Justawoman and today I go to my mailbox and came across a sweet little parcel from Paige. It was a calendar of vintage handbags from the Fashion Institute of Technology. The girl knows me and she knows I love purses!

For me purses are one of the true differences between the sexes. Men may be able to get away with a cool messenger bag and a backpack is a sure thing. But a murse? It’s sure to elicit some ridicule.

Women have adopted trousers, loafers, ties, blazers……..etc. We wear our guys t-shirts on occasion and we all remember Mel Gibson in a kilt. Let’s face it – for most of us, our outwardly appearing Saturday errand wardrobe is probably not a whole lot different than our guys’. But a purse – it will always elicit femininity.

Even when I am sleepily trudging around the farmer’s market in my sweats I usually have a nice bag. This week I am using a cute Mandarina Duck ( bag that is light grey with a slight mauve tint. I bought it a few years ago in Barcelona. For a few days after New Year’s Eve I kept using my sweet seatbelt ( evening bag. One of my faves, it’s lasted for almost ten years thanks to the rugged construction of seatbelts. They save lives and make for fashionable bags too!

I look forward to going on vacation not just for the obvious reasons but because after I realized that I had a little bit of a problem with the bag buying, I decided that when on vacation I would allow myself a purse purchase sans guilt. Last summer I treated myself to a cool silver clutch with a convertible handle from FAFA in Montreal. Are you noticing a trend? My travels are to accessory meccas!

We all know that nothing sinks an outfit faster than a bad handbag. So, ladies, I say embrace this final holdout of girliness. Even when wearing sweats and the dubious fleece we all own – carry a fabulous bag and hold your head high.
NOTE: If you'd like to read more from 'D' check out her blog Calamity D (

Friday, January 15, 2010

Point of View

A friend of mine got some disappointing news today. Now if you asked her she would say bad or devastating which got me to thinking - it's all really in your perspective. Somewhere along the way I learned that what sets one apart is not what they do in their life with the good things that happen but how they respond to the bad things that unavoidably happen to us all.

Working in the field of communications I deal with (or used to before I got laid off) with this daily. What sets a good communications person above the rest is how they deal with situations of stress, chaos and change. That cares over into all aspects of everyone's life, with children, families, friends and in-laws it's all about how you look at things.

For my friend, she wonders how she will fulfill her quest for greatness - who is she supposed to be now that her great adventure will not happen? I see that she is meant for greater things. Obviously she must move forward, perhaps a job change? take on a new hobby or interest? Go on some singles mixers to meet a new beau?? (I know I sound like the 1950's with that word, but love it anyway).

She doesn't yet see this as an opportunity... instead of letting disappointment define her, she can decide to take the bull by the horns and change her life here so she still has an amazing adventure. Either way life is what it is... we all must realize we are not limited in life happening, it will continue whether we want it to or not. We have to decide whether we jump into it fully or wait for someone to push us in!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting 'red'-y for Valentine's

A good friend 'S' gave me a surprise holiday gift (which was really a surprise & I so thoroughly enjoyed it, I started thinking why don't I do that more often... just to put a smile on someone's face). Anyway, I digress. The amazing gift was a tin full of amazing cupcake recipes & ideas for all occasions.

Amongst the amazing ideas was a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes - which I have heard lots about & when I've gone to a few cupcake shops they never have them! So of course I had to try them - perhaps they can be my tasty Valentine's Day treat for friends!

I have to say I had fun making them with my awesome Kitchen Aid and they were fairly easy too. My husband gave them a 7 1/2 out of 10. But sadly I have to say I hoped they would taste better after all I've heard. Don't get me wrong they were good but not orgasmic like others had stated. I was however impressed that they looked pretty good & they were red inside. Guess I'll have to try the recipe again... it always takes a few times to get a good recipe right!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

dinner guests

We LOVE having friends over for dinner but every time I am faced with the same problem... what do I make that will taste & look great but not take up too much time.

I wish that I could say that I am one of those people who can easily whip something up at a moment's notice that is amazing... but it is very far from the truth! This is why I am so amazed by the women I know who can so easily do this.

We rang in the New Year in Ottawa with friends when I realized I had forgotten a dip for my veggie tray. I was about to send my husband to the store & my friend 'R' says not to bother, she'll 'whip something up'. For me this would mean that I already have a dip in my fridge somewhere... but for her it means actually whipping something up from scratch! Then a few days later we stop by to visit my husband's aunt & she 'whips up' a lunch of a roasted chicken sandwich with grilled onions & mushrooms and real ginger - very tasty! Then she 'whips up' a spinach salad with clementine, pecans, tempura & a soy sauce/vinegar dressing - another masterpiece & everything fit together like we'd ordered the lunch special at a 5-star restaurant!

I find myself in awe of these women for they truly are more than 'Just a woman'! I think every woman has to have people like this in our lives which makes us want to be more, who gives us ideas and helps us feel not so afraid to try new things! Now I've gotta go find some new things to try!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Late to the Game

Ever feel like every good idea has already been taken? Or that anything you think about doing, someone is already out there doing it better than you ever could?? In my quest to find a new job & potentially a new career I have been trying to spend some time (on top of taking care of 2 kids) to figure out what it is I enjoy and hopefully something I can afford to pay the mortgage by doing.

I've always been creative or at least I've thought of myself as creative but when I think of what I'd like to do nothing screams at me. Don't' get me wrong, there are lots of things I could do but none that I think would be my 'calling' or something that could be profitable enough to be serious. I am so jealous of people who find something they really enjoy & focus on it... like an amazing friend in Toronto who decorates cakes ( and she is more fabulous than I could ever dream to be! My sister-in-law, who is the quintessential Martha of entertaining recently brought a cake to a New Year's party that is better than anything I have ever made! It was a pecan caramel cake - the recipe is in french from ricardo cuisine, but I hope to try it soon & will post it in english. It tastes even better than it looks. I soon realized I do enjoy baking but it's the sharing of the baking I enjoy more!

Even for blogging a friend of mine D has a blog 'Calamity D' which is funny insightful and what I can tell is the start of her writing for other areas like magazines! She works hard to refine her skills and her passion comes through in every post!! While she's working hard to perfect that I'm off doing a bit of blogging, a bit of baking... a bit of everything and not focusing on any in particular. How do I expect to ever find something I can do if I can't harness my split personalities - guess it's time to put back on thinking cap & try to figure it out... hopefully before someone else finds that great idea.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Earned or Entitled???

While having dinner with good friends N & D we got into a conversation about when you should tip (i.e. for what services) & if you do tip, how much?

My whole problem with tipping is that it has become automatically expected you should tip for everything, including bad service. How then do you recognize good service?? How do you let someone know their service was sub-par??

Wikipedia defines a tip as: "a voluntary additional payment made for services rendered". Key words being 'VOLUNTARY' and 'ADDITIONAL'. So why do I feel guilt when I don't tip above the norm of matching the taxes on the meal (thank you Quebec for the high taxes).

I appreciate how hard people in the service industry work - I worked hard for the money as a waitress myself for a few years. I also appreciate when someone does their job well too! For 2010 I will work on not letting myself give into peer pressure of over tipping and will ensure the tips I give are earned and a reward for someones hard work. After all I still work hard for my money so why would I give it to someone else who didn't earn it?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Who am I kidding???

About a half hour after writing my last post I was in a car on my way to Ottawa to ring in the new year with friends when I realized what I was hoping for 2010 was not gonna happen. And it wasn't even mindnight! Part of being just a women in 2010 has to be to know my limits and try to survive within them. So for 2010 the only real thing I will try to do is survive! Hopefully I'll be able to be patient and focus on positive things while staying away from the negative, but above all else I hope to survive 2010 & look back on the year with happiness and smiles!