Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Tears Tooks Me By Surprise

Yesterday I was coming home from work and discovered that I was either right in front of or right behind a motorcade that was bringing home some of our Canadian soldiers from Afghanistan. Or rather, some of our fallen Canadian soldiers.

There are at least 6 bridges between the exit I get onto the QEW and the exit home. Each one had a crowd of people standing and watching over the highway. Most of them had firetrucks and other service workers, flags, and one even had a flag that read "Support Our Troops". And I knew...although I had not seen or heard the news, I knew that some of our boys had come home. And a few tears started to slip out. Just a few.

Then I got to the exit for home and I seriously lost it. Full out tears and sobs. There was an honour guard set up and the press. And a load more people. One of these young people must have been from here.

I don't know him. I don't even know his name. But I am a military child. I grew up on bases and in military schools. I lived overseas during the Cold War. And part of all of that means that for me, this is part of my family. These young men and women are a part of who I am and where I came from. Not that long ago, this could have been my Dad or one of my friends' fathers. Or my neighbour. Or... well, you get the picture. This is my family too.

So I cried.

I got home to find my husband and the boys just getting ready to go for a walk. Xander saw that I was crying and came over and asked me why. So I told him, "A soldier died." And he leaned into me, hugged me, and said, "Mommy, I am sorry your soldier died." in the sweetest little voice.

Yes, he is my soldier. And yours, Xander and Liam. And all of ours. Let's remember each and every one. Let's honour them for this great sacrifice. Let's thank them and their families too.

But remember...they are our soldiers. Let's care most of all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No More Naps for Xander

Xander is almost 4 now and he insists that he no longer needs a nap. Sometimes we fight with him about it, but other days it is not worth the effort. So this is what I have found on some of those other days recently.

Nope, no naps required.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've been promising myself for some time that I would learn all there is to learn about HTML. I know it is not hard. I actually understand the tagging system and am pretty good with a computer overall. It helps that I know FrameMaker and was able to mess around with the tags in there. I used to do it on the old versions of WordPerfect too.

And yet, I procrastinate. I've tried 2 books. The first one was a "For Dummies" book. The second one was another kind, that seemed pretty good. I get to about the halfway point with it. The problem is that I need to be working with it as I go along. And I don't. Go figure.

I am currently working on a free online course to teach me HTML here.

I've got an Honours Degree in English Literature, a post-grad certificate in editing, and I have done a load of other courses. And here I am...admitting that HTML continues to escape me.

(I think I need something faster than 24 hours worth of lessons that most of these books offer. Sheesh.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Too much crammed in my head

Ever had so much crammed into your head and happening that you had a hard time getting it out on paper? Or in a blog? That's been me the last month. We've had Liam's birthday, my folks visiting, illnesses, and a load of other things. I don't lack for topics, but to narrow it down...that's the trick.

I've been looking for work. Today I was told that the job I was up for is now no longer available, because the company doesn't have the funds for it. In theory, I do understand this, but the big catch is that this company contacted a placement agency, went through the process of getting the job out there, discussed rates, was on the cusp of an interview...and THEN decided that they didn't have the funds. Who does that? I find myself highly irritated by this behaviour. And worse, this is the second time that I've essentially had this happen since January. Enough to make a person shake her head.

I know that the economic times are tough, but has common sense fled as well?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009


My husband and I have long had conversations about the definition of family.

There is a narrow view out there that "family" is a group of people you share blood with in some way.

I grew up in the military community. We had an extensive family in Ontario, but no one in the military, and often for years on end, we didn't even see our extended family. It was just the four of us. A small family. Or so it would seem. But we have a tendency to pick up strays along the way. People just become a part of our family, no blood required.

My husband's immediate family was also four, with a series of aunts and uncles, half-aunts, and a step aunt, plus cousins too numerous to even name. I know I haven't met half of them yet. (I have met the important ones though!)

As we've grown, our immediate family has changed; now we've added our own friends to our extended network of family. Our sons have one first cousin, plus a couple of second cousins (or is it second cousins, once removed?), but they have an extra handful of "aunts" and "uncles" who are equally important to our sense of family. Friends who are there for us and for them and who share our days and weeks, our ups and downs, and who are part of this evolving family we are making.

Sadly, some of our actual family members have become absent too. We miss them.

I know other people go through these things too. All I can say is that we all have family we are born to and family we choose.

I am so grateful for the family that Ray and I have chosen. We look around and talk about this frequently, amazed and humbled.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Reader

***May Contain Spoilers***

My Mom and I went to the movies on Sunday night and saw The Reader. First off, we went to the 19+ theater, which is a great experience. I love my kids and kids in general, but there are some times when I like to be in a kid-free zone to decompress. Add in wide leather seats and nice little tables between them, then mix in in-seat food service: movie bliss. I highly recommend it.

The Reader was great. Several days later I am still thinking about it. If you are looking for shock, lots of action and such, then see something else. But this is a thinker of a flick. Oh yeah, and the nudity. There's plenty. Not a show for kids, for sure. I giggle while I admit that I was mildly embarrassed to be sitting next to my mother during the sex scenes.

The one thing is that I keep remembering the one character talking about the Nazis during WWII and saying, "They want to point fingers and figure out who was to blame, but the truth is we are ALL to blame. Everyone knew what was going on. Everyone." (Rough paraphrase.) From what I know, that is the stark truth. Digest that idea and ponder it.

I am also struck by the conversations about and trials of people who worked as Nazis. It made me remember the man who lived down the street from us in Germany. We lived there from 1982-1986. It was still West Germany and my father was on Nato duty during the Cold War. We lived in a little town called Mahlberg. There was a man who lived 3 doors down from us. I remember him as a gentle and kind man. He loved to garden and grew the most beautiful roses, including black roses, which were actually a deep purple. Simply gorgeous. At Christmas and Easter they had us into the house and would give us kids chocolates and such. I have very warm memories of this man. They were simple times and the pleasures were simple too. ...And yet, I also know that he was an SS officer. There was a photo of him in his SS uniform as a young man in his hallway. He didn't hide it. It was there. But we never, ever talked about it. Certainly, it was nothing I knew at the time. I was only 12 in 1986.

As I have grown, I have thought about this dichotomy. In my head, Nazis and certainly the elite SS Officers were evil. My Grandmother on my Dad's side was in a concentration camp. How could I think otherwise? But both this one man and this movie make me understand a little more that a good portion of the people in this time were just people who were doing a job. A hard job. Often a job they must have disagreed with, but a job nonetheless. And further, it was a job in a time just after a global economic meltdown.

Hmmm. Economic meltdown. Familiar anyone. How desperate can bad times make people. How far would you go to have a stable job, a roof over your head, and food on your table? Would a whole country follow a charasmatic leader, in spite of misgivings? Especially a leader who promised a way out of economic turmoil?

So, I sit and ponder the characters in this movie, the people I have known, and a time that I cannot fully understand, all in an effort to ensure that such things never happen again.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Better Late Than Never!

Liam's 1st birthday party was a big success. Our house was full (okay, so that part is not hard to do) and we had lots of fun with our friends and family. Liam enjoyed his day.

Here is Grandpa Bill (Ray's Dad), Me and Liam, and my cousin Wendy and her little guy Cole. Cole is 6 months younger than Liam.

The older kids having dinner together:
Instead of a big cake, I made cupcakes and did up funky icing.

Feasting on cupcake!

Bathtime after the cake.

Opening gifts