Saturday, December 03, 2011

december 2nd

Today's cookies is Ginger Snaps..very very yummy!


9 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounces dark brown sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces molasses, by weight
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 ounces finely chopped candied ginger
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, clove and salt.

Place the brown sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg and fresh ginger and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add the crystallized ginger and using a rubber spatula, stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined.

With a 2-teaspoon-sized scoop, drop the dough onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan approximately 2 inches apart. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 minutes for slightly chewy cookies or 15 minutes for more crisp cookies. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired, and allow the cookies to stay on the sheet pan for 30 seconds before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all of the dough. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. If desired, you may scoop and freeze the cookie dough on a sheet pan and once frozen, place in a resealable bag to store. Bake directly from the freezer as above.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

Last couple of years we have done a Reduce Reuse Recycle Christmas for several reasons. I love baking, I love this time of year to do all of my family favourites cause of course there are no calories in Christmas baking :) I thought I would do something different this year and do a 12 days of baking with my fans :) This way I can share with all of you the fun parts of my traditions. Here is day 1:

Shortbread Cookies

3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk, about 1-inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes, until firm but still pliable.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut with a 3-by-1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don't trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. If there are still bits of unmelted chocolate after about 5 minutes, return to the microwave in 5-second intervals, stirring, until completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle or dip 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it. Place the cookie back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and let stand at room temperature until the chocolate has firmed up, about 20 minutes.

You can also just cut them in circle shapes or just leave plain sprinkled with colored sugar sprinkles or just plain. Make them your very own. This recipe makes about 3 dozen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Herbal Kitchen

I bought this cookbook last year and already my book is already very well used and dog eared. A dear friend of mine taught a mini class about 18 months or so ago on starting a herb garden. Mine have flourished and those little 4 little Styrofoam cups have developed into these huge pots that I get to use all year, chocolate mint, real mint, spearmint, lemon verbana, oregano, thai basil, regular basil, purple sage, regular sage, rosemary, Italian flat leaf Parsley, chives, thyme and so on.

I have been using these fresh spices for years and years buying small pots of them or those supermarket foam containers of them but have wanted to have my own. I know what to use them in the regular stream of dishes but I knew there should be something way more that would allow me to make meals using my herbs better.

Hence this book.. I love it...LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!! Any herbalist should have it in their repertoire

Tonight I brought some lemon verbana home and made this awesome lemonade.. it is soo incredibly yummy! I am drying some spearmint right now for herbal teas in a while. Then there is this chocolate mousse cheesecake that I will be using my chocolate mint to make it with... I am salivating as I imagine how great it will taste. GET THE BOOK and try the recipes out.. see if your library has a copy if you want to take a look at it first or find it in a book store, look at the pictures/recipes and copy down a couple of ones you would want to try out, try them at home and then you will be hooked.

Let me know how it turns out!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cranky and then there is CRANKY

I just want to go on record and publicly apologize for any crankiness I may have shown towards and of you these last couple of weeks. My Rheumatologist has taken me off of one of my medications for the FM as it no longer was giving me the relief I needed. Adding to that was a very wet winter/spring which makes me ache on a normal day, bad pain days with my spine, an unexpected surgery last month and it has turned me into a not so smilesonly anybody :( I have to be off the medication another 2 weeks before I can start the new one and even then it will take a couple of weeks before we know if it works or not.

When I was reading the side effects for the new drug one of the first one was suicidal tendencies... I thought.. wonderful... brings on a whole new meaning to getting up on the wrong side of the bed. So am glad today was the last day for 2 whole months at the Centre. Someone told me today if I was so tired why didn't I just go to bed? DUH.. why on earth did I not think of doing that????

I would like them to come and say the same thing to me in another week from now!

I am my own grampa

Ok now you all know how much I love genealogy even though it sends me over the brink of insanity most days. I came across this poem that I thought I would share with you.. now seriously if you did not even chuckle reading this you are very sad :)

Many many years ago
When I was twenty three,
I got married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
And soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse,
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle,
Then that also made him brother
To the widow's grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son,
Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
For he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife,
She's my grandmother too.
If my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it,
It simply drives me wild.
For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!
Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Reads

Considering this is the first day of summer I thought it only fitting that I post my books I want to read over the summer....or I should say HOPE to read.

Patricia Cornwell - Port Mortuary
Tom Clancy - Rainbow Six

Tom Clancy - Dead or Alive
Robert Ludlum - The Bourne Objective

That is it.. just 4 this year :) Looking forward to some beach time, suncreen, hat and my book.. no interruptions allowed!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FRESH by Anna Olson

I got this signed cookbook by this author who has had several shows on WNetwork about a year and a half ago and use it so much that it never gets put away. Just sits on the counter from one day to the next. She breaks it down into 4 seasons. Everyone knows what to do with salads in the summer but what do you do in the middle of the winter when all you see is carrots and cabbage?

I work really hard at only buying produce from my 100 mile radius (although I do admit bananas and avocados are the exception to this rule) and she makes it very very easy.

Tomorrow we are having friends for dinner and this is on my menu :)

Tender Greens with Marinated Cherries in Almond Vinaigrette
Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken
Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta with homemade vegetables and Parmesan
Homemade Berry Sorbet made with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goat yogurt

Every single item is organic right down to the spices and oil... I am salivating just thinking about it!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Round 2

You know how I posted a while back that I had fallen and banged my head on the car frame and cement hard enough that I gave myself a concussion? Well my doctor had sent me for a cat scan to make sure I didn't have a skull fracture and they noticed I had a nodule in my thyroid gland. Which in itself is not really abnormal but because of my previous cancer they had to investigate. They sent me for a nuclear scan. I actually had one large nodules and a couple of little ones. The dye went through the small ones with no problem but not the large one so they sent me for a fine needle aspiration biopsy.

The radiologist warned me that because of the sheer amount of blood in the gland that they don't always know if they got enough tissue until pathology gets it and I may have to go back for a 2nd one. Which was what I was expecting would happen. He said 5-7 days. 3 weeks later I was still waiting. I finally got called in my doctor's office for the results yesterday. The confirmed the nodule, they confirmed it was a solid mass, they gave the size of 1.6 X 1.3 X 1.2cm. It went on to say that although there were not enough cells in the biopsy to positively say the cancer was back, there were enough to say there was something very abnormal there.

So now I am on the wait list to see an Endocrinology Surgeon. The good thing is he is at St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver which is the best in BC. My other surgeon is also the Chief of Surgery there and I know she would not have slackers on her team so that is really good as well. My doctor said what will probably happen is they will go put me in surgery, remove the nodule and half the gland so that they can actual do a thorough dissection and biopsy. She said I can live on half a gland without taking any medication. If they find the cancer has come back then they will go in and remove the other half of the gland and will reevaluate at that point.

End result: back to waiting once again... I have mentioned how little patience I have right?... I have no idea how long it takes to get an appointment to see this type of specialist and I would imagine everyone that sees him has the same urgency. Will have to wait and see. Will keep you all posted.

I am thankful for my family who continue to rally around me and just keep stiff upper lips just believing in faith and that I am totally invincible :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sask vs BC

We have now been here for 21 years. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, in other ways it seems like a lifetime. We have tried over the years, to go back to Sask to visit family every year or year and a half. We have tried countless number of times to convince our families to come and visit us for a change instead of always us going back east. We keep telling everyone that gas costs the same, it takes the same amount of hours to drive, it takes the same planning to save money and book vacation time away from work etc. But it never seems to work.

This year alone these are family events that have come our way to go to Sask:
-I went back to my mom's in February to help her get to doctors etc as she had been ill and I was very worried
-Keith's dad's 80th birthday party May long weekend
-one of our nephew's wedding August long weekend
-One of my uncle's and aunt's 50th anniversary September long weekend
-the daughter of a very close friend of ours wedding mid September

Every time we fly back it costs us over $1000.00 between airfare, hotels, food etc. Because of my spine and FM, I do not do well in other beds. I don't even do well in my own bed. I pace a lot most hurts to lay down so after an hour or so I am up for a couple of hours then back to bed for another hour or two and the night goes on. Because of that, it is very difficult to sleep at someone's home and stay quiet. Which means hotels so I can move around without waking up other people.

No matter how we work it, we are going to hurt someone's feelings at not being able to attend something. We are going to get "well you went to that one why can't you come to this one". And that is not even taking into consideration our own immediate family's needs. We have not seen our one son and his family since May of last year.

In an ideal world we would all live in the same small town with everyone within walking distance. In the real world Keith and I continue to play the eenie miney mo game and wait for family to switch roles with us and come west for our family events.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who Am I?

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I won't look back, let up, slow down or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity, I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on my presence, walk with patience, I am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast and my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinched in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, phone at the pool of popularity, and meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, and work till He stops me. And when He returns to His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. my banner will be clear. That is who I am.

Monday, May 09, 2011


So here is my todo list for today: My time is so limited and every minute is consumed with this Yard Sale for the Cure I realized I had not posted in here for awhile so here I am :)

-take granddaughter to Noisy Reader at school - check
-spend time with grandson - check
-change bedding from winter gear to summer gear - check
-finish laundry - check
-find a generator
-convince truck rental companies that I NEED a truck for the 27th and 28th for my event to pick up tents, tables, sound equipment and all the stuff from the lockers and to do it for free at month end
-find a place that I can get walkie talkies from, my sound place does not have them
-follow up on calls to potential sponsors
-contact the volunteers who signed up to see if still available as no answer from emails sent
-get handouts ready for meeting tomorrow afternoon
-get an assistant - check (see photo below)
-try and undo what new assistant did on my laptop as now every time I go to do something it asks me to allow it first..ugh

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pain in the Neck

Well you guys that thought I was just a big pain in the neck hehehe here are the results of my cat scan from my fall(which is NOT the results of the scan for my cancer check up)

C2-3 Only the inferior margin of this level was included on the study and there is a small posterior disc bulge or disc protrusion seen at the superior margin of the scan

C3-4 A moderate sized disc complex ix seen at this level. To the left of the midline, this abuts the left anteriolateral margin of the cord and there is some mild stenosis as a result. There is mild left neural foraminal narrowing.

C4-5 A small central disc protrusion is seen at this level and minimal associated osteophyte formation is seen at the superior margin of the disc protrusion. This is causing mild mass effect upon the anterior margin of the thecal sac

C5-6 There is a small focal central disc protrusion at this level as well, causing mass effect upon the anterior margin of the thecal sac

C6-7 A small broad based central disc protrusion is seen at this level causing mild mass effect upon the anterior margin of the thecal sac

C7-T1: The canal is partially obscured by artefact from the shoulders. There is mild osteoarthritis in the left facet joint

and my day begins...............Now I just need to find someone to translate that into English

Monday, March 21, 2011

3 Years and Counting

On Friday March 18th at 8am it made 3 years that I have been cancer free... 3 years and counting. I have an appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday and if that goes well, I will be able to stop my 6 month checkups and do them once a year now. I have spent a lot of time thinking of these past 3 years and I realized I never talked about the surgery, my thoughts at the time or sharing of myself.

I had (being a Cloutier and all) closed myself off pretty good after I heard the "you have breast cancer" words. It is not easy dealing with cancer in my family more so then most other families. Our success rate is not that great. I lost my dad to it, my only sister a few years before I was diagnosed. It was difficult having to tell my mom that I had been diagnosed as well.

As I lay on that OR table trying to remember to breathe while the anesthesiologist was unsuccessfully trying to start an IV, I promised the nurses that I had better wake up after the surgery otherwise my sister in law who is an OR nurse would come back and kick some serious butt.

As the drugs started to work and I could feel myself sliding under I thought of my would have been her birthday that was so young to die at 37 and I silently told her I wish she was still here. I felt that she was watching me and that she would make sure I was alright to not worry.

The blackness kicked in and I went under. What seemed like just seconds I had closed my eyes I was hearing people telling me to wake up. I felt immense pain in my chest. I tried to speak but there was some tube in my throat which was bothering me a great deal. The nurses would tell me to settle down, that I was going to be fine but I needed to settle down. They said the airway tube was to help me breathe as my one lung had collapsed during the surgery. I made a sign that I wanted to write something down. They got me a clipboard and paper. I just wrote in big letters KEITH. They knew he was my husband but told me that I was in recovery and that he would not be able to come in. I was getting increasingly agitated, from some reason for not being able to move my legs, from the pain in my chest, from my not being able to breathe on my own. I wrote his name on the paper again and put several exclamation marks next to his name.

They told me again I was in recovery and I needed to calm down. I tried pointing at my legs..I guess they understood I was asking why I couldn't move my legs. By this time the nurses had gotten one of my surgeons to come in to talk to me. She explained to me about my lung, about the fact that the veins in my arms kept collapsing on them plugging the IV fluids and that they had to start them in my feet and when I kept thrashing around and had snagged the lines on the bedding a couple of times they finally had to strap my feet down to keep the lines in, she told me I had started hemorrhaging on the side that had the cancer in and that surgery took a couple of hours longer then it should have.

This did nothing to calm me down..nothing.... I was expecting to go in, spend a couple of days and go home. Again I pointed at the clipboard..and she just looked at my face then told the nurses to get Keith. He came in very worried expecting the worse. He just took my hand, kept brushing my hair off my face, and told me he loved me over and over again. I finally knew I was going to be ok if he was there to stay beside me. When he told me nothing would get him away from me I fell back asleep...that and a couple of very strong shots of narcotics.

By the time I came to again I had been transferred to a private room. I was still hooked up with my airway and the pain was still intense but Keith was still sitting there holding my hand. I went in and out for several more hours. It was early morning when I finally woke up for real. I had written a note to Keith a few hours earlier telling him to go home. I laid in the bed just thinking when I realized I was feeling very wet. I thought it was from perspiration but I was only wet underneath me so I rang the buzzer. The nurse came in and I pointed at my sheet. She turned the light on and saw I was laying in blood. She called the other nurse to call in the surgical resident and got some dressings. My dressing, which went completely around me, was soaked in blood. Not a good sign. The resident came in and noticed my right side was very swollen and assumed some of my stitches had given way.

They brought in an ultrasound machine and saw that I had developed a hematoma that was 6cm X 4cm. It had plugges up the draining tube so all the blood had to go somewhere so it just kept backing up till the area was so swollen it popped my stitches. He called in the surgeon who came back in. She has a wicked sense of humour and walks in after getting the scoop from the resident and says "You are just determined to go down in my history books right"...yup that is it exactly!

She had to go back in and clean the site up and redid the stitches. The anesthesiologist and she decided that my lung was re-inflated enough to take the tube out and just keep me on an oxygen mask. I woke up again in the recovery room but wasn't nearly as anxious this go around. I slept in and out most of that day and when I woke up I noticed Keith was there. We talked for awhile and he just sat with me when I dozed off and on. I remembered forcing him to go home. At one point in the middle of the night I called the nurse to tell her I neede3d to go to the washroom.She told me I had a catheter in there was no need and I told her she had better check it because I NEEDED to go to the washroom. She checked and sure enough that tube had blocked itself out. She said she would remove it and put another one in. Uhhh thanks but no..I did not need any more tubes in me I already had the oxygen mask, 2 draining tubes, an IV and a blood bag in my feet. She finally agreed. I had to sit at the edge of the bed for a few minutes to get my bearings and that was when I noticed a hard cover pink journal sitting there.

I figured the hospital gave it to all breast cancer patient and asked the nurse and she said it wasn't theirs. So when I came back I asked to sit on the chair for a bit so they could change my bedding and I went through the journal. I have been writing in journals for decades and here was this pink one with the pink ribbon emblem on it. Inside was a very long letter from Keith. It was so heart warming and touching that the nurses were crying when I was reading it out loud for them. He told me how much he loved me, that my breasts did not define who I was, that this was just another blip on our relationship radar.

4 pages of thoughts and words and pure love that came from his heart, mind and soul. Now you have to understand that Keith is not a writer, he is lucky if I can get him to sign his name to cards that I send out. I decided I was going to use this journal just for my journey, the good as well as the bad. All my cards, emails, and notes would go in here. That journal became so fat at the end of my first year it became my source of sunshine that first year when I had to have 6 surgeries in 10 months.

My family never gave up on me. My daughter, my mom and sisters in law came with me for my surgeon visits. my 4 year old granddaughter that I babysat would tell me when my drainage bags needed to be emptied and on days when I could not keep my head out of the puke bucket she was there with tissue and wiped my face cause she said she was my nurse. The women from church came day after day to clean my house and bring me meals. When I kept telling them I was fine and could take care of myself they ignored me and just came anyway. Not easy as a woman to accept help. For some stupid reason I felt it made me weak if I accepted help.

The people at my work (considering I had only been there 2 short weeks) never batted an eyelash as they covered my shifts. I was too stubborn to believe how badly I was. I refused to give into this disease. It was not going to take me down. I tried a support group once and never went back. I don't know if it was just this particular group or if all were like that but I have never been around so many negative people at one time. I could not see how being with so much negativity was going to help me in my recovery. I knew I had a huge support team that would bring me so much more positive reinforcement I left and never returned.

Every six months for the last 3 years I have gone for checkups and tests. This past Wednesday I had one lest nuclear scan and if all goes well, I will have graduated into a yearly maintenance and tuning checkup. I took this disease and turned it into a positive thing by helping others going through this process. I started volunteering with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I started fund raising...every dollar I brought in meant one more day that my mom, my daughter, my granddaughters, my sisters in law, my nieces would not have to be sitting in their doctors' offices and hear those words "You have cancer". This will be a fight that I will continue with my every breath.

People tell me all the time that I need to slow down, that I do too much... well in the words of Tim McGraw..."Live like you were dying". My life is too short to be spending it in bed, sitting around worrying about what might be, will the cancer return, what if I die...that's not me. I was at a Breast Health Series this past month and one of the speakers who was a Radiology Oncologist stated that people who say they are cancer free are not being honest with themselves. She went on to say that once you have had cancer you can never be free, you can be in remission but you will never be free from it.

I beg to differ. My grandchildren believe I am cancer free and that is good enough for me. If anyone wonders what it is that gets me through my day through all I have been through..what motivates me, what makes me beleive...see the pictures below and you will get your answer to that. Thanks for listening and letting me unwind.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Calling All Talents!!!

Hello Everyone!

I am putting out a call to all you wonderfully talented people out there!! I am hosting the city's very first community wide Yard Sale for the Cure on Saturday May 28th at Hawthorne Park in Surrey (10550 144th Street) to raise money and awareness for breast cancer! It is going to be a day filled with so much activity that you will want to bring a chair to hang out with us so you don't miss a single thing. In fact never mind bringing the can just buy one there hehehehe.

I am looking for volunteers to assist...

-volunteers for the actual day to help set up, sell items, take care of the cash, take down etc (I need about 30)
- volunteers to be a part of the Executive Planning Committee (no experience necessary just need a willingness to learn and execute the plans (I need 5-6)
-someone who knows how to call an auction, you don't need to be able to do it at lightening fast speed just be willing to auction off items that will have been donated from businesses for us
-are you in a local band or know someone who is looking for some free play time and have a captive audience to listen to them that would be willing to play for part of the day or throughout the day
-do you have a clown costume or know someone who would love to dress up to entertain the children
-volunteers to do some face painting for children

If this is something you want to get involved in or want more information or know someone else that I can contact please just message me through here or call me on my cell 604-644-9934 or email me at

Thanks!! This will be such an awesome day!! This event is actually going to be the template to market throughout Canada and I get to be the pioneer to start it all :) Must be all my experience with talking hehehee. Right now people have just been doing their own private yard sales to raise money as I have for the last 2 years but now the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation wants to work at this so that it is ONE large one in one central point and we will be the founding city! Doesn't that just excite you?? And want to make you want to be a part of this amazing event?? You know you do.. just pick up that phone and call me for more information! There will be media coverage there interviewing us taking pictures of us and who knows you might be the celebrity of the day!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Busy Busier Busiest

I had a "heated" discussion today of how people are getting detached from social circles, no one gets together with friends to go hang out, go to movies, have dinner etc...I was told that it is because people are busy? And then I got told that the reason we don't get invited is because I am always "too busy" or so people think. Really? That is the reason? Because people think I am too busy?

I don't get that. I have the same 24 hours in the same 365 days that I had 20, 30, 40 years ago..that has never changed. I think I do a whole heck of a lot less now then I ever did.

10 years ago I was a hotel Controller responsible for millions of dollars, accounts payable, accounts receivable, yearly budget, payroll...if it had a dollar sign on it I dealt with it.

20 years ago I moved here..what I left behind was a full time nursing at a hospital, in my "free" time I worked part time as a councilor at a sexual assault centre, part time at a walk in medical clinic, part time at a farmers market from May to October. I also was in the Stake AND Ward Primary Presidencies at the same time and raised 5 teenagers with a husband who was out of town for many many days

30 years ago I had 5 children under the age of 8 and I was going to school full time to be a nurse.

Yup I guess they are right. I am more busy then when I was younger...although maybe it's that new deodorant I have been using....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Family Ties and Hurts

As most of you know I had to take an unexpected trip home this past month to take care of my mom as she has gotten quite ill. I used up my airmiles and we only have maybe enough to make one more trip to Sask...which would be ok if we had only one more to take this year but we don't. Here is our agenda for the next 6 months
-Keith's dad 80th birthday celebration May long weekend in Saskatoon
-one of our nephew's wedding July 30th in Saskatoon
-our "goddaughter's" wedding Sept 18th in Saskatoon.

Not to mention keith's last natural aunt is on palliative care in AB right now and I spoke to his uncle very very early this morning and it just days or even hours at this point. She is on palliative care at the hospital and are only trying to keep her comfortable as possible.

Our oldest nephew's wife (on Keith's side) is also on palliative care with her cancer so we know her time left on earth is limited.

In an ideal world we would be able to fly back for all these planned AND unplanned events this year but with Keith not working since October, no matter what we choose to attend someone in our family will be chocked and hurt that we are not going to be at "theirs". I was told I needed to set priorities, that by doing that I can make the decision on what we are going to do. I probably will have to go back to mom's once we know the results of the angiogram, To be my priority is to our parents, At both being 80 and 81. I don't know how much time is left with either of them. With Keith's dad losing his only brother less then a year ago this will be very hard on him saying goodbye to his only sister now.

In an ideal world, we would have unlimited financial funds to pay a thousand dollars to fly back there 6 more times in the next 6 months but at only getting 70% of his wage from WBC and having to pay deductions on back amounts on top of that as we only just found out on the weekend we would have to pay this, and as we do not use our credit cards except for emergencies, we don't even collect airmiles fast enough to be able to use them.

No matter how we decide this, we will be hurting a few people and it could cause irreversible damage.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I can't sleep as usual and then remembered Keith telling me when I got home that my mom had called to chew his ear off for 3/4 hour. He said she was so very excited I was coming down and for such a long period of time. 2 whole weeks. I have not been away from Keith for that length of time since before we moved to BC over 20 years ago. But he continued to say she was worried about me coming and when he asked her why she said they had to close the road into town. Apparently there is so much snow there that the deer have come to town to get food from the bushes etc in people's yards. There have been so many deer that they closed the road and drivers kept hitting them.

I had to chuckle thinking of my mom wrestling with deer while standing at the side of the highway waiting for the bus to stop there with me. My mom is a creature of habit and routine. She hates change with a passion (hmmmm that sounds awfully familiar). I already know my routine once I get there. Up at 8, have porridge for breakfast..none of this instant package stuff but the kind you cook for half an hour. Then a walk outside in the ton of snow. Dinner at 12 sharp...notice I did not say lunch...nap after dinner and forget the fact that I am a grown woman with 15 1/2 grandchildren., while I am there I am there as her daughter and that means nap at 1. I always lay in bed thinking of great what am I going to do but in seconds I am usually asleep...another walk in the afternoon, then supper not dinner at 5pm... then just hang out and bed by 10. and no staying up late reading a book nope nope nope..bed time means bedtime.And usually I wake up thinking thinking oh my goodness I fell asleep and slept all night. I wake up because I can smell the coffee pot, the porridge cooking, toast in the toaster and the clink of the up I go.

2 weeks of just talking, there is no cell service, no internet, no Facebook, no files, no emails, I am going to go insane. But 2 weeks of doing nothing but visiting with me mom taking her for her tests and doctors appointments but I have a feeling this visit will do ME more good then it will do her :) Moms... they always know best don't they? No matter how old one gets one always needs their Mommy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shoe Fairy

Dear Shoe Fairy

I know you haven't seen me for awhile and I thought I should explain it to you ...I should be brave and do it face to face but i know what would happen.. your soft velveey voice gets calling me from outside a mall saying Salllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyy where are you.....,,And you keep on saying it over and over in that hypnotic voice of yours until I walk trying on trazillion pairs of shoes.

Let me explain...awhile back, Keith and I sat down and talked for a very long time about what we could do to get some funds back into our banks was a sad state of affairs when we woke up one day to find out that we were now middle aged.. and we needed to get funds into our retirement fund as well as padding up our savings accout
As our mission for 2011 is to NOT buy anything new but socks underwear and bare necessity groceries and that is it. Period. So I have stayed away because I have no restraint when it came to shoes...But I know you have been working extra hard at getting to me but although I have you up on a high pedestal, cause you know you rank right up there with tooth fairies, Easter Bunny and the Man himself Santa Clause....I have had to stay away to keep my resolve.

But I wanted to let you know that I think of you every single day..I miss you dear Shoe Fairy but I will be strong as resisting you as I can so farewell till now and I will see you January 2st 2012!!!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I have been deleting my in-box for 3 days now, deleting mail that I have no idea why I saved them in the first place, others the information was now obsolete, moved some from my in-box to their proper folders .... just mindless work while I watched tv late at night.. then all of a sudden I came across an email from my Aunt Inez who passed away from her cancer about 2 years ago. We talked on the phone so many times when I was first diagnosed before I told my mom. She was my surrogate mom as I bounced ideas off of her on how to tell my mom that her 2nd daughter had been diagnosed...we spent many hours talking both on the phone and through emails...she even called me early the morning I was leaving for my mom's to give me some more moral support.. telling me she loved me and that everything would be all right. ...we talked about her cancer and how she had made the decision to not do any more.... that she was tired of fighting... but she told me that I needed to fight this with every breath I had to not ever give up that I was made from a different cloth then the others. ..She told me she loved me one more time as I had to leave for the airport...that was the last time I spoke with her on the phone... and tonight as I re-read her words..the tears slid down my face as I remember her love and her no nonsense words...It was only after she passed away that I realized she was only 12 years older then I am...not old at all...much too young to have passed before her time... In the words she spoke about my only sister Adele that passed away from her cancer....she is in a better place without any pain and is watching your every move and will be there to protect you....Auntie Inez I know you are in a better place without any pain and I know you are watching your family as well....needless to say this is one email that won't be deleted

Sad News Good News

well good news/sad news...sad news I didn't get the position at the CBCF that I had gone for BUT the good news is after meeting with me this week they were so impressed with my organizational and managerial skills ( I did say it was a 90 minute interview right?) they wanted to offer me a completely different one!!!! I have the opportunity to work with this project and set the template so that it can be used Canada wide!! AND the event is in May NOT October which should make my executive committee feel a whole let better :) I am pumped!!

Grown Children

When you have children there is something you should know,a very confusing thing that they don't tell you. You see so much of yourself in them, you see your ironic take of the world, you see your smile, your walk, your sense of humour, and you think they're you. But they're not you and they shouldn't have all of your baggage, your fears, you insecurities and your life experiences because that's not fair. They should have their own. I am so proud and so impressed and so in awe of them. I just want them to go out there in the world and fly.. they can fly..

You can be a parent and you can be mom and dad..there is a difference but as parents we don't/can't always tell the difference. My mother in law told me when my children were teenagers and driving me crazy that to appreciate them because I would be more stressed when they moved out but at the time I couldn't see it. Now I do.. I worry a lot more now. Before I worried about whether my daughter would be asked on a date, I worried about a son passing a big test, I worried when they missed curfew, I worried when they had a fever. But I knew where they were at night, I knew they had a safe roof overhead, at home I knew they had enough to eat, they were safe. Now I don't know this.

At times I see them make the same mistakes we did and I want to shake them and say SNAP OUT OF IT! We did that, been there, not going back there again because the end result is not a good thing but I see them making the mistakes anyway. And you can't do a single thing about it. That is when the parent part is supposed to kick in. But I am not sure how to do that. As a parent you need to let your children fly and watch them from afar. But as a mom and dad, or let me rephrase it, as a mom I don't know how to let them go. That part was never in any instruction manual I got when I first had a child. Oh wait there was no manual. Maybe that is why I have the problems now.

Now I worry about whether or not they have enough money to look after themselves; I worry about whether or not they have enough food for their children; I worry if when I ask them if everything is ok and they say yes if they are just telling me that; I worry that they WON'T ask us for help and try and do it on their own.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I do what I do and why I love it

In each family there is one who is called to find the ancestors. They put flesh on their bones and make them live again to tell the family story, and to know that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not just gathering facts but breathing life into all whom have gone before.

We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: “tell our story.” So we do. And in finding them we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before and felt at home? I have lost count. How many times have I told my ancestors, “you have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.”? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I sense “the old ones” give birth or marry or die and I do not feel afraid – they become real because they were real.

Genealogy goes to who I am and why do I do what I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference, and saying “I won’t let this happen.” The bones here are my bones and the flesh is my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors accomplished – they succeeded and failed; they struggled; they survived. How often have I heard hammer ring on anvil and armor and tackle rattle in the dark – not once have I been afraid.

It goes to respect to what they were, who they were; their hardships; their losses; their never giving in or giving up, their will to go on and build a life for us. It goes to deep pride – they fought to make and keep us what we are – the best of us at least. It goes to a deep understanding that they were doing it all for us -- that we might be born and be who we are; that we might remember them. And so we do – with love and gratitude and pride – recording each fact of their existence because we are them and they are us.

So as a scribe, I tell the story of my family. It is up to the one called in each generation to answer the call. I had no choice. It was merely inevitable. And so I took my place in a long line of family storytellers. That is why I do family history, and that is what compelled me to do it. I know others will be called in turn to stop, reflect and restore flesh to bone; life to those at rest...until is my turn and I gladly take my place with those who have gone before me.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Shopping vs Saving

This past year has been a year of ups and downs. We had been caught up in credit card debt when Keith lost his extended health benefits at work so had been using it for my treatments but finally stopped that. In the spring we had finally managed to pay off all our debt. Not a penny was owed. But it really emptied out our savings etc. Then Keith got hurt at work and has been off since the fall. Although he is getting Compensation it isn't the same amount as his wage so belt tightening came into effect. Then just before Christmas we got hit with a $2000.00 bill thanks to the RCMP and ICBC which put us in the hole.

So after much discussion between us and after reading a post from one of my sons of an article he had found somewhere we have decided to not buy a single new thing for one year other then groceries and gas for the car obviously. The only item of new in regards to clothing is underwear.

Which means no eating out.
No movie night out
No "let's go check this out"

The only exception to the rule will be our grandchildrens' birthdays.This will be in effect until the end of this year at Christmas.

This will by far the hardest thing we will have to do since we said goodbye to our children when they have moved away. But we took our TV away for an entire year when our children were younger and we all survived then I am sure we will survive again.

Our thinking is Keith is 57 years old, we no longer have anything in our savings for retirement, if we get hit with another emergency we will be in trouble. So it will be a year of gritting our teeth, of being the bad guy when one of us wants something and will be interesting to say the least.

Wish us luck :)I want to check out the Surrey area and see if anyone else is doing this so we can do a support group

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 in Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I planned my mother's 80th birthday

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for this year?
I rarely make NY resolutions but this year I have made 2: let go of the little things that really do not matter in the grand scheme of things and continue on last year's resolution of being more patient as I obviously did not get it right yet

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
yes one of our sons and daughters in law to Conall

4. Did anyone close to you die?
our 10 year old cat died a couple of days ago

5. What countries did you visit?
stayed close to home this year

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
a home business that makes money

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Msy 21st. It was my mom's 80th birthday. She had never had a birthday party in her life and we were able to bring in some of her cousins from all over Canada some of which she had not seen since she was a little girl

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Reaching 2 1/2 years of being cancer free

9. What was your biggest failure?
putting so much burden on Keith

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
nothing new that wasn't there before

11. What was the best thing you bought?
well we didn't actually buy it but we got a new car from one of our neighbours!! And just because I am so special :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
my granddaughter Senthia who started grade ELEVEN!!!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
an RCMP officer who decided to insist that I was driving inebriated a couple of weeks back and made me take a breathalyzer test not once but twice!

14. Where did most of your money go?
what money?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
the birth of our new grandson!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Today I'm Going To Change The World by Johnny Reid

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? same
iii. richer or poorer? same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
gotten on my knees, listened, not insisted that my point of view was the only correct one

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Nope, I was already in love.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Survivor, Amazing Race, CSI's

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No Comment, hate is a bad word, and I would just as soon work on that one privately

23. What was the best book you read?
uhmmm my mind is blank right now but I have Diana Gabaldon's new book as well as Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive sitting on my book shelf calling me so loud it is giving me a headache.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I could listen to music that wasn't country

25. What did you want and get?
finish the year cancer free

26. What did you want and not get?
to get off my medications

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Extraordinary Measures

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
we went camping as a family and I am 54

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if our extended family had come out to visit us

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
same as always, comfy casual

31. What kept you sane?

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
hmmm can't think of anyone

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

34. Who did you miss?
my children/grandchildren in Alberta

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Janet C.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
That I can delegate and still live

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.







2011 Resolution

Last year I had decided I would be more patient with others.. that was it... man it has been a hard year but I hoped I did at least attain a small part of that. I have been thinking hard for the last month on what I wanted for this year that did not start with the letter P and finally I came across it without a shadow of a doubt. I am going to let go to the little things, I'm going to try and not be such a perfectionist (egads another P word)and I am going to try and change the world by changing me..stay tuned so you can keep track of how I am doing by the end of December. I should have asked one of my readers to keep track through my posts this year and grade me on how I did with keeping my patience???
thanks Johnny for the inspiration!

Happy New Year Everyone!