Monday, May 30, 2011

Siamese Snuggle-buddies

I couldn't resist.  How awesome are these cats!!??

Mystery Box = Family Fun Time!

I meant to post a picture of this a while ago, and I guess I had thought I already did.  But looking back through my posts I now see I have made a GRAVE oversight.  Below is the science project that Gage had using Hydrolics and whatever the -olics is that uses air.  Pneu something I think.  Anyway, it was a family affair utilizing some skills of Eric (mainly), mine (mostly just my financial investment) and Gage's. 

Gage decided he wanted to do the Mystery Box from the Call of Duty Video games (Zombie maps) and the hydrolics would be what he used to push the teddy bear up through the top of the box.  If you don't currently play COD then you won't get the symbolism of the teddy bear, but whatever.  It was a BRILLIANT idea and one Eric and I ran with.  We picked up accessories to glue down to help decorate the box that are also symbolic of the video game.  This picture is missing the final piece of the puzzle, the cymbal monkey.  We were still letting the paint dry, so just envision a cymbal monkey in that empty space. 

When we were done I think we were all quite pleased with the end result.  Gage walked away with an 82% on it.  I'm pretty sure it will take up residence on his shelf in his room with his other video game trinkets. 

Shedgar to the Second Degree

So here's an updated photo of our little adequately sized pretty box shed. It's just about finished now.  The shingles are up and all Eric has left to do is one final board of 'siding' on the back of the building.  Then, it's PAINTING time!  I think for now I'll paint it white with black trim and a red door.  Just like my house!  I know, adorable isn't it? 

I'm so proud of Eric.  He designed it, sorted out the materials required to construct it, did up a spread sheet with the costs of the entire project and then built it!  He's so handy, my man.  He's already been approached by a neighbour to build one for them as well.  Good job honey!! 

EA$Y & RO@N!

I found the above assignment the other day while I was cleaning up.  I tend to go through all of Roan's work from school as there seems to always be a hidden gem in there somewhere. 

Just to catch you up before I make my comment...Eric goes by the nickname EA$Y and has for as long as I've known him and probably for years prior to that.  He has it tattooed on his knuckles so Roan is also well aware of this alterego of Eric's. 

After reading the above assignment of Roan's, if there was ever a doubt in Eric's mind as to how much Roan idolizes him it should be gone now.  Maybe constantly thinking about stuff like this will help to extend Eric's patience with Roan and his forgetfulness. 

Big Brothers SUCK!!

Enough said.

Friday, May 27, 2011

An Amazing Decade

I can't believe the last time I had my own little itty bitty baby, to cradle in my arms, was ten years ago.  I am finding it really hard to grasp that a decade has gone by already.  Roan has turned 10 now and I'm finding myself longing for the little 6 month old version of him to return.  Because I've written a letter for Gage around his birthday I find it only fair to do the same for Roan.  I've not shown Gage his letter and at this point I don't plan to.  It is my hope that one day when they are older and feel so inclined to learn more about their mother that they'll be able to go through this blog and catch of glimpse of the person I am and was outside of just being their mom.  But for now, this letter is to Roan and what it has meant for me to be HIS mom. 

Dear Roanie:

Roanie.  Roan Balogne.  Roanie Balognie.  I can still call you all of those things because you're only 10.  Only 10.  Wow.  Ten.  Double digits.  I knew this day would come, I guess I just never expected it to feel like it's flown by.

Monday, May 21, 2001.  Victoria Day.  I worked until 5 p.m.  My last day prior to going off on maternity leave.  You were due on the 24th.  I still had a few days to prepare.  I was wrong.  You came early.  I remember everything to do with actually having you that night.  I know 'they' say the second childbirth is always easier than the first and of course I was skeptical, but they were right.  You were so much easier coming into this world than your brother.  For me anyway.  I remember thinking how appropriate it was that you were 7 lbs, 11 oz.  since a regular hangout in your dad's and my teen years was 7-11.   But what I remember most of all was looking into your brilliant face and meeting you for the very first time.  I remember being afraid that I wasn't going to be able to love you like I loved Gage and being so glad that I was SO wrong.  I felt an instant bond to you.  I was immediately in love. 

I remember the days to follow when I would feed you and just cry.  Cry from the obvious influx of hormones but cry because you were so amazingly beautiful and precious and small and mine.  Mine to protect and take care of.  That uncertainty and fear that I wouldn't be successful in ensuring you remained safe in life.  I'm sure every parent feels it at some point.  I could sit and stare at you for hours on end.  We spent many early morning hours alone together in a quiet house while everyone else slept.  Just you and me, keeping each other company.  You were the cutest baby I had ever laid eyes on. 

You were a cuddly baby, unlike your brother.  How I loved the feeling when you would nuzzle your face into my neck.   Everything about you...  You fit perfectly into my arms like they were made for you and you were made for me.  When you started to smile, it was the best smile in the world.  It was an untainted smile.  And man, your belly laughs would melt my heart.  They still do.  I loved how much you loved your brother and how he could make you laugh when no one else could.  I loved hearing you call for me even if it was in the middle of the night.  The sound of the word "mom" in your little voice was music to my ears.  I miss your little pitter patter and watching you toddle around the house.

You are my sensitive child.  The one who wears his heart on his sleeve.  The one who shows his love no matter what.  The one who only sees the good in me, in all of your family (expect for Gage).  You are one person who's love I will never question.  You tell me and show me all the time.  I hope I do you the same justice.  Your sensitivity is what frightens me though.  I worry that I'll be unable to protect you from the disappointments in life. 
You are my child that will face uphill battles with a disorder you never deserved to inherit.   I will fight everyone and everything each step of the way to ensure your life is made as simple as possible so you have just as many opportunities as the rest of the world.  I don't want you to have to struggle through things the way your father had to growing up.  There are means and solutions we can take advantage of to better your way of life and as your mother and protector I will ensure you have them.  No one will ever love another human being like a mother loves her child.  No man will ever understand the bond a mother shares with her child.  And no one without their own children will ever understand the burning need a mother has to protect her child at all costs.  Mothers sacrifice so many things in their own lives to ensure their children are happy and content and it's hard for us to cut the ties that bind.  I may be guilty of being too easy on you but you're mine and I have every right to be easy and no one will take that away from me.  And what I cherish the most about you right now in life, is that you still want to hug and kiss me goodnight.

I look to you and admire who you are already and you're only 10.  You are a  wonderful friend.  A friend to everyone, no matter what. You do not judge and you are not cruel.  You are helpful and kind.  You are a good kid.  There is nothing malicious about you. You don't do things just to hurt another person.   It bothers me though that because you are these ways you generally expect that others are as well and I know in life, that's going to come back to bite you from time to time.  You take people at face value and have a hard time seeing past their words to read their actual meanings. 

You are my imagination boy.  You are full of stories, and images, and dreams and hopes.  I love that most about you.  You still see the world through the eyes of a child though occasionally the 'real' world sneaks in once in a while.  You are inquisitive by nature.  You ask question after question until you can grasp the answer to the best of your ability.  There are many times when this can lead to frustration on both your part and for the person you are questioning, but I never want you to stop asking your questions.  For it is at that point that we'll have lost you.  The questions and always wanting to learn is who you are.  I am proud of your abilities to draw and I hope you never lose the desire to make art in whatever form you deem best.  I hope you continue to try to better yourself and don't get caught up on a negative self image.  You are already so good, it is obvious that you'll only get better with age and time. 

You may forget things from time to time and have to be reminded quite often to do things, but deep in your heart you are a good soul and that's all that's really truly important.  Your limitations can be frustrating, I won't lie, but I understand it's out of your control and I'm doing my best to remain level headed and understanding of your disorder.  I'm trying to teach other people in your life to do the same.  It's not as easy for them, like it is for me.  It all goes back to that comment above about the tie between a mother and child... But rest assured I will never allow someone to put you down or intentionally make you feel bad about yourself and what life has handed you.  I will not fully understand what you go through each day, but I will do my best to support you in every way possible while you go through it.

You are a good boy.  A great boy.  Aside from the odd struggle we have with your ADD, you are an easy boy.  You don't deliberately do things to get into trouble.  You want to do right by me at all times and make me smile and laugh.  You are always eager to please.  I don't ever want to see you berate yourself and critique yourself.  I want you to know how amazing you are, in all ways.  You're learning coping skills right now and provided you can get a grasp on what that entails, you are going to do so well in life. 

I am most proud of you.  I was so proud of you when Grandpa was sick in the hospital and I'm so proud of how you've dealt with his untimely death and how you've helped me work through my grief as well as stayed true to your own.  He was also so proud of you and loved you will every fibre of his being and I can only pray that you will never forget him.  I hope you grow up to be just like him.  You already have so much in common. 
So to my baby boy, these past 10 years have been wonderful with you in my life.  We've crossed a few struggles along the way and you've taught me to be a better more patient person and mother with each step.  You've taught me that the little things don't really matter and there isn't any use getting stressed or upset by them.  You've taught me how important it is to make time, find time to do the silly mundane things we, as adults, take for granted.  You've taught me to enjoy things that wouldn't normally peak my interest but just because you like them.  You make the time we spend together better. 

I hope in my heart that you continue on the path you are currently and you remain a good person, who loves everyone.  I hope you never lose your zest for knowledge or your desire to draw.  I hope the little things will always excite you.  And I hope you always see past people's faults and continue to love them with your whole heart despite our flaws.  I hope I never disappoint you and I want you to know I will always be with you.  I promise to cover your back, fight any battle along side you, wipe your tears, listen when you need to talk, look for the answers to your questions I don't know, kiss away your pain, hug you every day and make sure you always know how much I love you and adore you.  I can't wait for the next decade together. 

Love you so very much,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Run Gage Run!

A month or so ago Gage participated in Track & Field with his school and won 1st place in 100m and 200m dash.  These wins propelled him on to a citywide Track and Field day where he competed with all the schools in Niagara Falls.  Knowing he was progressing on he wanted some specific Nike track shoes.   I agreed to get these 'magical' shoes for him as his graduation gift because I'm sure you can imagine, they weren't cheap.  He believed that they would make him run faster.  That's obvious isn't it? 

Anyway, yesterday was the citywide Track & Field meet and Gage was there running the 100m, 200m and Relay Race.  He walked away at the end of the day placing in all three.  First in 100, second in 200 and the Prince Philip team finished first in Relay. I'm a proud mom.  He did so good!  Maybe those shoes were the cincher!

Next he moves on to DSBN on Monday, June 13th to compete against schools throughout the Region who placed as well.  I think I'll take a lieu day that day and go watch the races. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Loyal Fan Beyond the End

I'm not a hockey fan to say the least.  My dad enjoyed a good game once in a while, but through the years I haven't noticed too much that he watched it frequently.  However, that being said I cannot think of my dad and hockey without Vancouver Canucks coming to mind.  Regardless of how that team has played through the years my dad has been a loyal fan.  Never jumping onto other team's bandwagons, he was always true to the Canucks. 

So I can't help thinking that them finally making it into the actual Stanley Cup finale this year, for the first time in many, has something to do with my daddio out there somewhere guiding that puck. 

I haven't really sensed any presence around me since he passed away and I've been trying my best to be diligent in paying attention.  Aside from a few dreams, a couple of them heartbreaking, but one nice one, I've gotten no real feeling that he's with me.  Perhaps I know why.  Maybe it's too hard for him right now to be right with us.  So maybe he's focusing his time coaching the Canucks from the big blue sky so they can take home that elicit silver cup.

So for my dad (as I refuse to jump on any band wagon) I'm really hoping the Canucks take it all the way this year and proudly hold up that Stanley Cup like they truly deserve.  For the players on the team, my fellow Canadians, their true fans and for my dad, who's loyalty to them never faltered, good luck.  Please do this for him.  He deserves it. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Our black cat is better than your black cat!

Shakey wanting to go outside, badly.


Got my insurance money on Friday so we've started the rebuilding process of the shed, the fence and the railing.  Since all my shit is scattered about my backyard and it's enough to make my neighbours grow to hate me we decided starting with the shed is the best choice.

Picked up most of the supplies on Saturday and got all of the below completed in a few hours before we had to leave for our tattoo appointments.

Eric and the Dude are working on it at the moment and the back wall is done now and so is the front wall and door frame.  Next up the roof.  We'll just have to pick up shingles and the siding on Tuesday when the Depot is open again.  I can't wait to put all my stuff inside the pretty box.  My OCD is killing me with this backyard mess.

Next on the docket:  Fence repair then front porch railing.  After that, side gate and new fence across my driveway creating another lovely patio area to sit out on all summer.  I'm so looking forward to some nice weather and flowers, planter containers and baskets and decorations, oh my!

A Gift of Life

On Friday, I was requested to go into work early because we had a nurse coming to do an eye enucleation that they had missed at the hospital.  This type of procedure is rarely done at a funeral home, but since she was a donor and the family consented it's tough to pass up this chance.  I've only ever encountered this procedure one other time in my 15 years in this career and frankly that was back at the beginning of it when I was doing my apprenticeship. 

Enucleation is the removal of the eyeball(s), but the adjacent structures of the eye socket and eyelids remain intact.The purpose of this procedure on a deceased person is so the cornea can be used for a living person who needs a corneal transplant through a surgical operation called keratoplasty.   Basically giving sight to someone who otherwise does not have it.  A definite good thing.

Of course anyone who knows me is aware that I would be all over watching this and doing anything I could to assist or help with the procedure.  The nurse who came to do it (this is a volunteer position with the Trillium Gift of Life Network) was super awesome, friendly and informative.  She walked me through the entire procedure as if I was one of her students.  It was actually quite informative.  I've posted a diagram, to the left, of the procedure from start to finish.

Unfortunately, because of the time period from her actual death to the time the nurse was able to get to her to remove her eyes was too long, they were just going to be used for student teachings.  Still a worthy cause though.  

So while I was excited to learn something new, there is a more worthy reason to this blog post.  If you have been generous and signed your driver's license as a potential organ donor, please make sure you tell someone.  Preferably the person who would be in charge of making any medical decisions (prior to your death) and estate decisions (after your death).  It's a very awkward moment for a nurse to approach you immediately after a loved one has passed away and ask for any organ donations.  The time frame is so sensitive and the opportunity is often lost because of a fear of upsetting an already distraught family. 

Armed and Ready

Yesterday Eric and I went to get a new tattoo.  It's been 10 years for him and probably 2 years, easily, since I've gotten one.  Man, I was long overdue now that I think of it.  Anyway, we've been tossing the idea around for a few weeks now, almost jokingly.  But tattoos don't always have to have some deep personal meaning.  Sometimes they can just be fun and remind you of a certain point in your life.  Right now, I slay zombies. 

So, since we are Call of Duty Zombie killing fiends and it was in fact the day of Rapture we thought it would be appropriate to arm ourselves with a sweet Ray Gun.  So that's what we did.  Nothing romantic about our matching tattoos as our friend Anthony, who always kills zombies with us, also got the same design. 

Here she is, all sweet and shiny!

Pew!  Pew!  Pew!

I have an appointment for two Saturdays from now to get another piece done on my back.  One that I'm really looking forward to having on me.  I'll post more details about that one, with a picture when it's completed. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cutest Decade!

Happy 10th Birthday Roan...your own letter will follow. I promise.  Love you tons and tons.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fourth Grade Love

The other day I was cleaning up and stumbled across the following note Roan sent to his 'former' girlfriend.  She had dumped him because she was mad at his friend Mitchell.  One can't blame her for being angry with Mitchell, he brings that out of people... but why should that warrant a dumping of my sweet boy Roan??

Anywho, the note seemed to work because they are once again the golden couple at school.  He is a man who is straight to the point and of few words.  I love it!!  I especially love the broken heart in the crossed out circle picture.  That's pretty sweet.  And the double negative is good too.  "Don't show no won" would insinuate that she should show everyone right?  And the actual note itself is pretty amazing.  My kid is truly awesome. 

He's a catch I tell ya!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From a mother to her son

Monday was my oldest child, Gage's, 14th birthday.  It seemed somber this year based on the fact that a main player in his life is no longer here to help him celebrate.  I wasn't up to having a party and frankly it turns out, he wasn't either - a couple of friends to sleep over was all he really cared about. 

So on top of his new Blackberry from me I wanted to write him a letter:

                                                    Dear Gage: 

You've just celebrated your 14th birthday and I pause to catch my breath and take a moment to reflect on how much my life has changed since Friday, May 2, 1997 at 3:31 a.m.  After all this time I remember that day quite vividly.  More than any other day of my life to be honest.  It's the day I became a better person.  It's the day my life took on a new meaning, a better meaning.  It's the day that changed my world.  A world that used to revolve solely around me.

After 9 months and 23 hours of actual labour, I was finally able to meet you face to face and hold you in my arms.  I still remember the overwhelming feeling that came over me as I looked into your face.  You were perfect.  Everything about you was perfect.  The whole image is still crystal clear for me.  Your little grey eyes squinting up at me, how remarkably well you were able to hold your own head up, how you instantly calmed down when you were layed on my chest and I spoke to you.  The beats of our hearts in unison.  Just the overall feeling of smallness in my arms.  How I had never had more of an urge to protect anything in my entire life like I wanted to protect you.  I just wanted to curl up in my bed surrounding you and stay there forever.  I have no true analogy to describe to you what having a child of your own feels like, but I hope one day you will also be blessed with this gift of your own.  There is nothing like it, nor will there ever be.  I felt that day that someone had removed my heart from my body and gave it life of its own and the moniker Gage. 

I look back on the past 14 years with an overall fondness.  I have regrets, though very few, of things you've gone through in your youth.  Nothing extreme, just stuff I really wished you hadn't of had to deal with at such a young age.  I guess I have hope that it happened so young that your memories are vague or non-existant.  You were and are a good boy.  You were my boy.  A mama's boy through and through.  You were independant from the start, never having a problem sleeping in your own bed, or away from home at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  You crawled at 5 1/2 months and walked at 8 1/2 months on your own, though you didn't cut your first tooth until you were 11 months old!  You didn't use 'baby' words and it was so entertaining to watch a one year old say dinosaur or helicopter.  Laughter was never absent when you were around.  You would mistakingly refer to Coca Cola as Coca Lala, and raspberries as razzbooties, spaghetti as spagootie, Grandpa and Geepaw, and if we tried to correct you we were scolded.   I can still hear the sound of your belly laugh from that era and it stops me in my tracks to hear you laugh today.  It's nothing like I remember my little boy sounding.  It's now the laughter of a young man. 

I remember your first day of elementary school and I can't believe that in September you'll already be attending your first day of secondary school.  I remember the weather and what you were wearing and all the smaller versions of the kids you still go to school with.  I remember you weren't afraid.  And I wasn't either.  I knew you'd do just fine.  You are outgoing and easily made friends, as you still do.  You never played shy.  By the time the teacher came to get you and bring you into the school you had already made friends with Braeden, who was having a hard time on his first day of school.  I didn't have the normal tears in my eyes that my baby was growing up and heading to school, the tears in my eyes when I walked away were from pride.  How proud I was of you for stepping up to another child who was scared and trying to make them feel better.  I was proud of the boy you were becoming. 

During difficult times in my life you have kept me 'sane'.  You have given me the will to get out of bed on those hard mornings and work through my issues.  In a not so dramatic way,  you have given me reason to live.  To better myself.  I worried about you when your father and I split up.  I feared you were just going to become another statistic and get caught up in all the mess.  You worked through it, both well and not so well, but you and I got stronger because of it.  You were a good big brother to Roan when he was a baby (maybe not the best big brother now, but surely a typical one).  You would do the silliest things to make him laugh and I find it interesting how you don't understand why he always wants to be around you.  You were his hero -everything he strived to achieve in his early years.  He looked up to you.  I wish you understood this more because I actually believe you would treat him better now if you did.  I know in my heart that as you both get older your relationship will change even more so and I know it will be for the better.  I am truly grateful that, in the big picture, you two have each other. 

I was worried when Eric entered our lives, worried how you would react or if you would accept him.  I worried if he would like you.  I'm so relieved that you have welcomed him into our fold.  I love the common banter you and he have together (usually at mine or Roan's sake) and listening to you nerds talk video game talk together.  It's truly because of you that I decided to learn how to play Xbox but most importantly Call of Duty.  I felt it was a way that you and I could hang out that wouldn't cramp your teenaged style too much.  I really enjoy those times we spend together and wish we did it more often.  I get a sense of calmness and happiness when I stand by watching you, Roan and Eric get along, laugh and talk. 

I love that you are still comfortable telling me most everything that's happening in your life and I hope that never changes.  I hope you know I won't judge you and will always listen to you.   I have so much I want to teach you but don't even know where to start or if you'll even listen when I try.  I guess I believe I'll be able to stop some 'pain' or heartache in the future if I teach you the ways of girls now.  But I'm a realist, I know that won't be the case.  I stand back proudly and know that if I was a 14 year old boy I'd be just like you.  You have turned into a male version of myself.  You are popular and it comes easy for you.  You're funny and handsome and are one of only two people who could get me to like pop music and hip hop.   I love to watch you play soccer and love how good you have gotten through the years.  I love that you have passion for things even if one of them is video games.  I remember driving home after dropping you off at your first boy/girl dance and crying.  Crying at your impending loss of innocence.  Knowing that going forward things are going to greatly change.  I dread your upcoming grade 8 graduation for a couple of reasons:  the obvious is Grandpa not being there to root you on because I know how proud he was of you and I'm sad that he's going to miss out on so much that is still ahead of you.  The second is my fear that you'll pull away from me and I'll lose the closeness that we currently have.  That unspoken bond. 

I hope you never feel like you can't talk to me or tell me a stupid joke or a funny story or cry with me or hug me or tell me you love me.  I hope you are never embarrassed of me or ashamed of me.  I hope you never stray from who you are and what you believe in.  I hope you use your mind and consciously think about how to better yourself and not lazily just glide through life.  I hope you understand how important you are to so many people.  I hope you end up meeting and falling in love with a wonderful girl who makes you smile with your whole heart.  I hope she likes me.   I hope I like her.  I hope she loves you as much as I do.  I hope you make the right decisions and when you fumble and make a wrong one, I hope you learn from that mistake.  I hope you never feel alone in the world because you aren't nor will you ever be.  I hope you know you can always come to me for help.  I hope you understand that no matter how old you are, you will always be my Gagey-bear. 

I love you and would lay down my life for you without a second thought.  You have done me proud in your first 14 years of life and I anticipate that you will continue to make me proud as you become a wonderful man. 

With all my love,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sad State of Affairs in Williams Pub

My 10 year old already knows what cooked heroin smells like.  There is something seriously wrong with that statement.

The other night me and LB decided to meet up at Williams for a delicious beverage and chit chat and Roan wanted to join me.  He was forewarned that he would be bored but he still wanted to come.  But low and behold excitement prevailed.  Some sketchbag (after foraging through the cutlery at the kitchen window) stopped and asked some random woman behind us if she was finished with her coffee spoon to which she replied yes after trying to take in exactly what he was asking and frankly trying to understand why he was even asking her.  He then proceeded to the washroom where he remained for approximately 10 minutes.   I quickly deduced that he was cooking heroin in there and shooting up.  LB thought maybe he needed it to scoop out hard poop.  Perhaps he was constipated.  Of course Roan just wanted to use the washroom.  (I didn't let him, secretly I knew I was right, LB was wrong)  After 10 minutes he stumbled out of the washroom clearly messed up and left the coffee bar.  Roan immediately headed for the bathroom where he stopped short of entering because it 'stunk' in there.  I asked him if it indeed smelled like poo (cause LB has been known to be right once in a while) and he said no, a burnt sugary, syrupy smell.  Like a sweet burnt smell.  I said, oh good Roan, now you know what heroin smells like, stay away from it.

I should have let Roan open the door to the washroom and toss random spoons at the guy, while he was in there, like he originally wanted to.

The Natural

I have never at any point in my life felt close to tears after a UFC fight until I just watched the Randy Couture/Lyoto Machida.  I've never kept it a secret that I love Randy.  He's a stand up guy, always gracious, a gentleman always. I have so much respect for him as an athlete in simply that department alone.  The fact that he is an amazing fighter with tons of accolades behind him only enhances that.

I was so disappointed that he was beaten by Machida, but again, he handled it gracefully and Machida did as well.  If he had to go out losing, he lost to a great opponent and didn't pull a Chuck Liddell and lose 4/5 times in a row before Dana White handed him his walking papers.  A great winner and an even better loser.  I'm sad I won't see Randy fight anymore but I hope we see tons and tons of him doing coverage and commentary in the future.  He's an awesome guy.

Dancing Queens

Went out last night with my gaggle of friends to the best most sketchiest bar in Niagara, The Cairn Croft, for some drinking and dancing.  It was awesome to let loose, laugh, dance and sweat it out.  Even a pall of sadness can't defeat the gift of friends and the act of dancing (even IF the music was left to be desired).

Eric was a saint and gave me permission to go get my groove on even when Gage was having his own gaggle of friends over for his birthday last night.  Thank you honey!!! We all appreciated it.

It doesn't seem to matter how much older we get, or how our lives change (babies, etc) we still own the night when we head to the Croft.  If ever any of us are feeling down on ourselves that is the be all and end all place to be to boost our self esteem.  We were celebrities last night and not as a result of trying either.  It just is what it is.  hahaha

It was a shit show at best and a wonderful night.  You can stalk my pictures through this link if you like.  We always try to depict our festivities through photos and most often we are successful.  ENJOY!!!

Family Hour

Went for breakfast with Eric and Ryan on Saturday morning to some retro diner in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto before heading home.  This is a picture I snuck of the family sitting having breakfast together beside us.

Not one of them is speaking to each other. They all have their own electric device melting their brain.  So sad.  While I was sitting at Ryan's waiting patiently for him and Eric to finish what they were doing so we could go eat I happened to come across a book in a magazine about creating memorable dinner and dinner conversations with your kids...I just passed by it, but then after sitting beside this family I think there might be something to it, so I starting searching for what I had seen and I found the following book.  I'm pretty sure this is the one that was critiqued in the magazine, but if it isn't it accomplishes and addresses the exact same issue.  I've added it to my wish list on Amazon and I'm going to pick it up in hopes of making our dinner conversations more entertaining than they currently are most nights. 

Blood on their paws

I kind of thought that come spring I'd only expect ants to invade my house but over the past two days we've found two massacred mice in the house.  I guess I should be grateful that the kitties found them first, but still....EWWWW.  I wonder if it has anything to do with our shed being blown to smithereens and their former nesting place now abolished.  Just a thought.

Turning Luck?

For the longest time Roan has talked about finding a four leaf clover or rather his desire to find a four leaf clover.  He didn't really believe that they existed, thought we were busting his chops and trying to pull a fast one on him.  So the other day he and his friend Kyle decided to look for four leaf clovers after discovering a clover patch and much to Roan excitement and delight the first clover he picked happened to be the elusive four leaf clover.

I am hoping that based on how things have been going for our family over this past month that a four leaf clover depicting good luck is exactly what we all need at this time. Fingers crossed!  Wait....if I cross my fingers will that good luck symbol counter balance the four leaf clover?  I'll uncross and rely solely on the wilting clover.

News Radio

Last week while I was at Massey Hall to see the Pixies, I noticed on their sign that Joe Rogan was coming to town and doing a stand up gig. It didn't dawn on me that the UFC was finally coming to Toronto so it made sense that Rogan would also be in town.  Anywho, I asked Eric if he'd like to go as part of his birthday present and of course he did.  We headed there after work, grabbed a bite to eat and met up with Jon and Laura.

The show was fantastic.  I haven't been to too many comedy shows in my life but Eric and I like to watch comedy specials and from time to time we come across a gem.  We've seen all of Joe Rogan's and to date he hasn't disappointed.  We were worried that he'd recycle a lot of his old material but that wasn't the case at all.  It was all new material and a lot of it inappropriate and of the 'cross the line' rating.  Definitely not family rated or for those who are too sensitive.  He had two openers and both of them were great as well.  A night of lots of laughs and another perfect evening of distraction.

Be gone, or someone will drop a house on you too!!

Last Thursday I had my ass handed to me while I was driving to work in the morning.  The Niagara Region was experiencing some strange weather conditions resulting in 90+km/hr wind gusts.  The combination of Mother Nature and the Garden City Skyway (a very large and very long bridge) proved to be too much for my poor windshield.  At one point I was almost certain that the wind was going to lift up my car and politely place me on the other side of the bridge, thus plummeting to my death via the Welland Canal but thankfully that wasn't to be the case. 

I knew I was in a little trouble when I had passed the last potential escape route prior to going up the bridge and seeing the following on the highway:

"Vicious winds on bridge, please reduce speed."

I've NEVER seen that posting before.  So I immediately got that sick feeling in my gut and of course, reduced my speed (after getting the hell away from the large transport trucks that were swaying all over the place).  The next two times I happened to be on the highway and going over that bridge on Thursday I noticed they had continued to downgrade the warnings from the above to:

"Strong winds on bridge, use caution." to 
"High winds on bridge, drive carefully."

Anyway, the real reason for the post... I got a phone call from Eric just before 10 a.m. telling me he was pretty sure we were going to lose our shed during this 'storm' and wondered what I thought he could do to try to salvage it.  With the strength of the wind and the size of our shed there wasn't anything realistic that Eric could do to try to save the inevitable.  So we shrugged, laughed and hung up.  About 2 minutes later I received another phone call to let me know the shed was officially wrapped around my back fence and making its way into my neighbours yard.  

Eric headed outside to do his best to keep the shed from causing a lot of damage to the fence and my neighbours yard.  It was hard to work in that strong wind, especially by himself.  

Shortly following that last phone call from Eric, I got a desperate phone call from my sister trying to find Eric because a 60+ foot pine tree had fallen from their neighbour's yard through their back fence and was now propped against my mom's house on her back awning.  This type of situation just reinforced to me how much my dad is going to be missed, because even though Eric pulled through and was more than competent to handle the situation, out of habit, my dad would have been the first person both Dawn and I called had he been around.  And that made Holly sad on top of stressed on Thursday.  Sigh...  Anyway, we shall persevere.  

There goes the shed, through the fence.

After I got home Eric and I took a spin over to my mom's house to check out her situation and we discovered my brother had popped by and cut the 'tip' of the tree off to get the weight off the house.  Her backyard was pretty much completely full of pine.  And she's got a decent sized yard.  After we left there, we did the drive through the neighbourhood to survey the damage and it was pretty severe.  St. Catharines I think still fared the worst though.  We (at work) were without power for 10 hours and I know there are still others in St. Catharines without power even as I type this.  I had to make funeral arrangements in the dark.  That was a first and interesting to say the least.  Like going into a funeral home in the day time with the building all lit up isn't hard enough...

This picture to the right is the yard that runs along the left side of my backyard.  They ended up with about 5 of those trees down, and in the process ripping out their back fence as well.  Thankfully they didn't fall into my back yard as well because it already looks like a tornado ripped through it since all the shed contents are sitting in my yard waiting for the insurance adjuster to come take a gander.  I should be seeing him on-sight early this week.  So while this has been an enormous pain in our ass, I know we fared quite well considering the extent of other people's damage and all those citizens in the United States that were in the path of all of those tornadoes.