Wednesday, December 30, 2009


2009 started off with me deciding to take a daily photo of myself for the entire year. Well, it is the end of the year and I can say (more or less) I succeeded! I'm not sure what to do with these photos but it's been kinda fun. Each month I would compile them and post on Facebook and here on my blog.

Winter is not my favourite season, so January & February were spent trying to get through the snow :) (my way of saying nothing special stands out in my memory) But March was something to look forward to. Not only was it my birthday, but I also went to see Art Garfunkel in concert! Overall the concert was disappointing.... it's just not the same without his sidekick Paul. But, we were treated with a couple of numbers from his unusual son James. If you have a chance, look him up on youtube. That boy is odd.

Also in March, 48 of my coworkers were affected by a massive layoff at work. It was a devastating blow and caused much turmoil. These were people I had spent much of my last 10 years with and it was really upsetting. However, it was a working layoff meaning most of them would be employed until the end of August. As the roller coaster ride continued, most of these people had their layoff notice retracted and are still working here! What a ride.

In April my sister Jo-Anne was diagnosed with colon cancer. It seemed unreal to think that MY sister had cancer. It was just too close to home. It was an emotional journey as she waited for surgery and even after the tumour was removed and she was in hospital. However, I'm glad to report that she had a follow up colonoscopy and it was clear. She has made major changes to her diet and looks healthier than ever!

Because of Jo-Anne's diagnosis, each member of my family had to have a colonoscopy. Mine was in June. It wasn't something to look forward to but a relief to have over. I had 2 polyps removed and will need to have a follow up in the new year.

July was a busy month. Jason & I both took a week of vacation at the beginning of the month and went to see Tony Bennett and the Proclaimers (not together, of course. that would be a strange show!) We also fit in a trip to Canada's Wonderland and The Jersey Boys. It was a busy but fun week. Did I mention I got Tony Bennett's autograph?? On the Saturday night, my friend Sue had us over for a fire in the back yard and toast some marshmallows. It was fun, but on our way home a pick up truck slammed into my poor little beetle as it was stopped at a red light.

I have never been in a car accident before and the whole experience was overwhelming. From riding in the back of an ambulance covered in blood to seeing my car the next day with it's rear end all crunched in - it was scary. The next few weeks were spent filling out forms, going to appointments and looking for a car. I had no idea what I wanted as I was planning on driving my car for at least another couple of years. New? Used? VW? Ford? I settled on replacing my beetle with another beetle. After LOTS of searching, I bought an 03 silver Beetle. I wasn't sold on the colour right away and scoured Ontario for a super-cool orange one, but to no avail. My buddy Chris at Autobahn gave me a great deal, so I ended up with the more subdued version. I'm still going for massage therapy and chiropractic treatments but overall, I came out relatively unscathed. My broken nose healed nicely with only a slight bump right where my glasses sit. (so really, kind of handy!)

The end of August saw the end of my friend Murray working at /A\. I was very sad to see him go. Murray has been my confidante, sounding board, support network and general go-to guy. We still get together for regular lunch and coffee gossip sessions but it's just not the same. We miss ya Murray!

September brought the 2009 Film Festival. was a good one. The first autograph I got was Matt Damon followed by George Clooney! It was a star-studded 4 days in Toronto but by the end I was totally exhausted!

Soon enough it was October, Thanksgiving and my favourite season: autumn. Although, it always passes too quickly. A few short weeks of sunny days, crisp nights and colourful trees turns into colder, greyer days, leaves slowly falling to reveal naked trees and the need to pull out the winter coat.

It was during the fall, I decided to go back to school! For several years, I have been contemplating what to do, as the uncertainty at work continues. After thinking about every career imaginable, it was my coworker Scrappy that suggested Corporate Communications and Public Relations. I'm pretty excited about it, as it seems to be a really good fit for me. I am starting with a couple of courses in January which I will transfer to a full time program in September. I hope to do 2 more in May - August and when it comes time to be working and schooling full time, I will have lessened my load. We'll see how this all pans out :)

And, without getting too personal, Jason & I have decided to part ways. It has been an emotional time as we both still care very much for each other. This was a very difficult decision, but we are slowly working through the process.

So, as 2009 draws to a close, I look forward to all that 2010 has in store.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This year for Christmas, I wanted to give my Grammie an "experience" gift. We always enjoy spending time together and there really isn't much she needs at nearly 83 years of age. So, I checked out what was happening at the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia and the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia. I picked out a couple of performances as options and called Grammie to see which she would like to do. She said she had always wanted to see the Nutcracker. It was playing the Sunday before Christmas which I thought was perfect timing.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and picked up my guest for the evening. We went to Swiss Chalet for the Festive Special dinner before the show. I must admit we were both disappointed in the food and service. In fact, by going to Swiss Chalet, I was breaking a boycott I have had for about a year. (more on that in another post) but that is where Grammie wanted to go, so I obliged. When we were finished our meal, I went to help Grammie up from the table. It was quite the sight as the floor seemed to be slippery/greasy and my little dress shoes were sliding all over the place as I tried to pull Grammie up from her seated position. We looked like we were dancing!!

When we arrived at the Imperial Theatre, we headed right for the front. Our seats were in the SECOND row! It was great. Soon enough we were standing for O Canada. During this song, I remembered a certain story about "standing on guard" and my Grammie. It made us both chuckle and I promise I am going to post about that soon. Anyway, the performance soon was underway.

I had never been to a ballet before and was mesmerized by the dancers' ability to get up on those tippy toes! Wow. At intermission, it was cute to see all the miniature ballerinas come to the front and dance around to the Beatles songs that were playing.

We finished off the evening with a drive down the river to look at the huge homes and their light displays. Very festive indeed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Several months ago, I got an email from my friend Laurie. She knows I love CBC radio and she does too. So, when she heard that Stuart McLean was bringing the Vinyl Cafe to London for Christmas, she wondered if I would like to go. I love listening on the way home from church on Sundays and if I miss it, I listen to the podcast. So, seeing the live show would be great. We got our tickets and anticipated how much fun we would have.

As the date drew closer, we made plans to go for dinner before the show and even a walk through Victoria Park with all the lights. It would be, after all, the week before Christmas.

The day before our date, Laurie's status on Facebook said she was home sick! Yikes! It was touch and go for a while, but in the end she drugged up with Benedryl and made her way to London. Poor thing! Fortunately, I had the forethought to pick up some Halls and a packet of Kleenex for her. The Halls were definitely a saving grace during the show!!

We had a deeeelicious dinner at Felini Koolini's and hustled over to Centennial Hall for a delightful evening of songs and stories of Dave & Morley. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we decided to make it an annual tradition! Let's just hope we don't sit behind the same woman next time that kept giving us the evil eye!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why is it that every year I associate baking cookies with Christmas? It's not like I have fond childhood memories of doing this with my mom. In fact, whenever I wanted to bake sugar cookies, my Mom would say no as they were too much work. Note to self: Mother Knows Best!

Anyway, back in November, my friend Sarah and I decided that we would get in the festive spirit by making cookies and giving them to people. After some discussion, we decided that since the decorating part is the fun part, we would bake our cookies at home and then just get together to ice them. Excellent fore-thought.

Monday was the day of decorating so Sunday was spent rolling, cutting, baking, cooling - and repeat. I thought the dough would never end. Seriously! But, alas it came to an end and I was ready to fall into bed. Oh, but wait...I still needed to get "meringue powder" for my royal icing. I have never made royal icing before and had consulted my friend Claire for tips. Since there were only 3 ingredients and meringue powder was one of them.

I hit the grocery store around midnight and trolled the baking aisle looking for anything resembling what I was looking for. After asking 2 stock clerks, I resigned myself to leaving the store without it. Now I was ready to fall into bed.

The next morning I was able to locate the mysterious meringue powder at Michael's. I headed over to Sarah's house and we started mixing the icing. After several minutes of beating...the mixer started to slow down....and started to smell funny. We burned out the motor on her mixer! And guess what? The next day I burned out the motor on my mixer while making the same icing recipe. Seriously! By the time they were done I was so sick of cookies! And my arms were aching from all that piping!

However, when I took the VW cookies into my garage I knew my hard work was worth it. And, apparently I'm a sucker for punishment as Sue & I spent the day on Friday baking as well. We chose cookies that were less laborious so it wasn't quite as exhausting or frustrating.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I can't believe it, but I've almost made it through the 2009 photo of the day project. It seemed like a fun idea on New Years Eve of 2008 but I wasn't confident I would actually make it to the end. I am now into the last month and am wondering what do to with all these photos. Hmmmm, if you have any cool ideas, let me know.

The guidelines I laid out for myself were that I could not do a "retake" and if I missed a day, I wouldn't sweat it. So, there are a few missing days (including about 2 weeks when I was without my computer) but I also have a nice progression of my black eye from my car crash. :)

So, any ideas?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

So, this year I decided not to put up a Christmas tree. My first year not putting one up since I got my own tree about 8 or 9 years ago. However, my livingroom is just not big enough and last year felt really cramped for the holiday season. So, I opted to put a few decorations up, sans tree.

I got this idea while in Stratford. The restaurant I had dinner in had large Christmas balls hanging over the bar and I thought it was a good idea. So...I got to work stringing mine up from the exposed pipes on my ceiling while watching the Grizwalds celebrate a family Christmas :)

I did help Mom put her tree up a couple of weeks ago, so I did get to experience untangling lights and hanging ornaments...just not at my house.

Next week is time to start baking cookies!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Every time this commercial comes on TV, I laugh...out loud! The kid is hilarious.
So, I'm not in the habit of posting daily videos on my blog, but I wanted to share. I also think he kinda looks like my nephew Josh. Too cute!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As you know, I love the Muppets. So, when I saw this video this morning, I wanted to share. It's hilarious!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dree-ee-ee-am, dream dream dream.

I've had a couple of funny dreams lately and thought I would share them on my blog.

The other night I had a dream that Karla Ann & I were on the run from the cops. I'm not sure for what, but we were in a grocery store and I wanted to use a coupon. For some reason you had to show photo ID to get the discount. Fortunately, I had stolen my sister Jo-Anne's wallet contents and used her ID as we look so much alike. (??) That way they wouldn't have my name!

Then we were in a motor home and I was counting out pills for my dad. (?) Someone saw me through the open door and came up with 2 pennies and asked for some of my drugs. He thought I was a drug dealer! I told him I most certainly was not and slammed the door.

Then we needed to get rid of the motor home (evidence of some sort) so I drove it to the Walmart parking lot at White Oaks Mall and Karla Ann picked me up in the green beetle and we sped off!

Last night was another funny one...

I was getting on an airplane, flying home from England. I really can't remember who I was sitting with - someone familiar but the face isn't clear. I was on my way up an was really crowded and I literally bumped into Mary Colvin, the mother of one of my friends. She was apparently on her way to Australia to visit her son. (he really does live there) I stopped and talked to her and sat down in the seat in front of her. (all of a sudden we were on the plane!)

As what happens in dreams, locations and people change without seeming out of place. As I was sitting in my seat, Karla Ann appeared across from me. She was sitting with another familiar person but can't quite place them. AND...the plane had turned into a bus. gets better! All of a sudden, Art Garfunkel was standing in the entrance of the bus at the front... right beside the door. Yes, it was really him. I was totally freaking out and trying to get my camera and find something for him to sign! My camera strap was caught on something and I was desperately trying to unhook it. It was then that I realized that I had seen him earlier, and commented to Jason "hey, that guy kinda looks like Art Garfunkel".

I'm not sure if I ever got my autograph, or even a photo as my dream ended without me knowing!

Hope you enjoyed my dreams. What are some of your craziest ones?

Monday, November 09, 2009

If I didn't know better, I would've thought we flipped the calendar back this weekend. The sun was shining, the temperatures were high... the weather was gorgeous! Fall is my favouritest of seasons and I always feel that it passes too quickly. It is a few short weeks of glorious crisp days and golden leaves and all of a sudden, the trees are bare and the winds are more slicing than crisp. It's a sad reality that winter bullies its way into both fall and spring and has the lion's share of seasons. It's simply not fair.

Anyway...that was not the case this weekend. On Saturday my friend Sue & I went for a walk around the Dorchester pond. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday! Dragging your feet through rustling leaves, breathing in the smell of fall. I can't really pin-point what that smell is...but I love it. It was so nice, I left my jacket in the car and at one point, had my hoodie tied around my waist. Ahhh...sweet.

Not only was the weather wonderful, but so was the company. After an emotionally draining week for both of us, it was great to be able to walk, sharing stories and experiences, trading advice and empathy. I'm so grateful for such amazing friends in my life ...and warm, sunny November days!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today I wrestled out of my class…and lost. I don’t have a natural inclination to techie things and today my lack of ability brought me to my knees.

Yesterday I noticed something was wrong with my internet connection. I went to investigate. Hmmm, no lights were lit on my wireless router. I tried unplugging and replugging, switching plugs, disconnecting wires and reconnecting. No dice. After consulting with several of these “techie types” I determined my power supply was shot and needed to get a new one.

I mentioned this to Jason last night and he gave me an Apple Airport Express that he didn’t need anymore. “Great!” I thought. “I’ll set that up in the morning.” Ha ha ha…little did I know.

I started out by plugging it in and connecting the “Ethernet” cable. (I’ve learned that term in the past 24 hours) As you know, Apple products are designed for people like me. S-I-M-P-L-E. Apparently all you need to do is plug it in and you’re pretty much set. 14 hours later…I’m still without internet.

What is a LAN? A domain name? WEP? IPP? Why is this so confusing?!?! At one point in the set up, it asked for information that would have been supplied by my internet provider. Since I didn’t have this information, I called Bell. This did not help much!

The guy I was talking to didn’t realize until 15 minutes into our conversation that I had a wireless router. He assured me that the model of modem I have will not work wirelessly. This confused me as it had been working perfectly fine until yesterday. He then went on to say I had been using someone else’s internet. Ummmm, no. It was mine! Finally I made him realize that I was using a wireless router. Geesh!

It was then that I discovered Bell should’ve sent me a wireless modem in the first place. I didn’t even know that was possible. To add to the frustration, I had just gone through a back & forth with Bell about a month ago when a power bump knocked out my modem. It took 4 weeks to straighten all that out and now I need a different modem?

So, now I wait. Stealing internet from my unassuming neighbours ☺

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Listening to someone talk about events that are now considered history is something that you cannot get from a history book, or even watching a movie. You get a perspective from someone that actually experienced the events themselves.

Last week I found out I had lost an old friend. Gord Parsons lived in Petrolia and we would often meet for coffee and I would listen to him. He would talk about the war, his childhood in Wales, being a radio operator in the war, his hobby of HAM radio, his buddies from the war. Gord liked to talk about the war. Maybe it was therapeutic for him to talk about those horrific experiences all those years ago. Maybe he just wanted someone to listen. But, I enjoyed those times in the coffee shop.

In some ways he reminded me of my grandpa. He was also in the war, but we never really talked much about that. Unfortunately I lost my grandpa before I realized what a treasure of stories he had. I feel like connecting with Gord helped me connect with my Grandad.

Gord was well known in Petrolia. You could often see him peddling his bike around town, sitting in the corner booth at the coffee shop (or The Great Wall when it was still around) and usually with his sketch pad, paints or pencils. Gord was an artist and was often sketching or painting. I would sometimes get little hand painted cards in the mail. Sometimes they'd have a note scrawled on the back, sometimes not.

I will miss bumping into an old friend and getting the occasional card in the mail, but it was nice knowing you Gord.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving of my favourite of the year. It's a beautiful time of year with crisp days, trees changing, pumpkin lattes - ahh. Love it.'s turkey time. What is better than a turkey dinner, prepared by mom, with all the "trimmings" (I hate that term)?

I'm not totally sure where the thankfulness comes into play. I know in school we learned about Pilgrims and Indians eating a feast together but it's kind of all faded from memory. It has become another long weekend and a time to spend with family. But, a little reflection provides plenty for me to be thankful for.

This year my family had it's biggest crisis to date to deal with. My sister Jo-Anne was diagnosed with colon cancer this spring. Although it was a difficult time for all of us as we dealt with the "c" word, we are thankful that she has come through the surgery and is on the road to recovery. We don't know exactly what lies ahead, but who does? We are just glad that she is here with us and seems to be back to her usual self.

Also this year, I was in my first car accident. When looking back at the situation, there are so many scenarios that could've turned out much worse. It was scary, frustrating, an inconvenience and has had lasting effects but in the big picture, I am thankful for God's protection that night.

I'm also thankful for all the amazing people in my life that love me so much.

It's easy to complain about things but I'm choosing to accentuate the positive
...eliminate the negative.
Oh sorry... got caught up in a song there. Anyway, you get the picture.

So, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? (is it that you can't hear me singing?)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Do you watch local TV? Do you think local TV matters? Imagine for a moment if it didn't exist. There would be no outlet for local information. Missing children, health concerns, road closures, local weather, local sports, etc. In addition to that, there would be no support for local charities that look to local TV personalities to host events, and depend on the local station for promotion. Local businesses would have no where to advertise what they have to offer.

That could be the reality very soon. Conventional television is changing. Think back to when you were a kid and you had the choice of several channels. For me, it was about 3 or 4. Now, consider how many options you have to choose from. The proverbial pie is being sliced so small that is in impossible for small stations to make a go of it.

Now, for a moment...imagine that you made a really cool item. Whatever your hobby is, pretend you made the most beautiful quilt or exquisite piece of furniture. Then, someone comes along and takes it from you. (he has every right to) He walks down the street and sells it for a nice profit to someone else. How would that make you feel? Cheated? I would think so.

That is exactly what is happening to local TV stations by large cable companies. For years, they have been supplying consumers with our local signals, charging them for it, and paying us NOTHING for our product. Is that fair? We think not, so we are fighting back. We are not asking cable companies to charge you more, we just want them to pay for what they are taking for free.

For more information, visit this website. Let your voice be heard!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

As I was saying in my last post...I work with some fabulous people! I recently found this video and thought I'd share. It was part of a bigger project we put together for our Christmas party back in 2000. I think the sentiment is the same. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This weekend I attended the birthday party of one of my friends and coworkers. It was a lot of fun and I got to catch up with some of my former coworkers.

I know each office/workplace is unique and has it's own perks and challenges, but I feel I have met some of the best people in my life at my job. Our work environment is unique - the way we need to work together and the creative atmosphere that we do it in.

Of course there are always the people that get under your skin, we all have those. This place is no exception. But overall, the ratio is pretty good. From the very talented and intelligent to the hilarious, the original Cutie Pitootie (Jim Van Horne...taken over by Gerry Dewan when he left) to the "you can count on me" all around good guy. We have them all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

(These photos are of waiting last year...doesn't quite give the full idea. But, we don't usually take photos of the waiting! ha ha.)

One weekend a year, I suspend reality and enter the world of the Toronto International Film Festival. No, not to watch acclaimed films from around the world...but to wait at the red carpet to catch a glimpse of some A-list celebrities and possibly even an autograph!

It all started in August of 2000. My friend Lisa had returned from her trip to LA during the Oscars where she stood outside Elton John's party and collected a multitude of autographs! She had momentum and wanted me to join her at Toronto International Film Festival (henceforth known as TIFF) I thought she was crazy. Why would I want to go and see Canadian celebrities? Then she filled me in that it is the second biggest film festival after Cannes! What was I thinking?? Ha ha ha. It was start of an annual trek to Toronto.

Over the years we have seen A LOT of top celebrities and it's been a lot of fun. This year was no different. We started off by seeing GEORGE CLOONEY! Wow, that was a good start to the weekend. A few of the others included Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner...oh the list grows!

The TIFF weekend is exhausting! There is A LOT of waiting. Waiting on the sidewalk, sitting, standing, breathing in a lot of unidentified fowl smelling odours, and talking to many crazy people. Oh, the people! Some have normal lives like us and treat this as a once a year event. Others are a little more intense and chase celebrities year round! It's kind of funny...Lisa & I have nick names for the "usual crowd". We thought we were really clever, but after a couple of years, realized they are really just descriptors; the sisters, old man, the Americans. Ha ha ha.

And so concludes another TIFF weekend. Until next year...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The most recent addition to the Daily Photo Project. I'm actually impressed that I've continued this long. I have missed days here and there but for the most part, I'm keeping up nicely. I'm trying to figure out something really cool to do with them at the end of the year. Post a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Friday, September 04, 2009

This week I said good bye to one of my favourite co-workers.

I met Murray for the first time when I was doing my internship in Creative Services. We were shooting PR in ER at Registan Rugs with Suzy Burge and it was my first “field trip” out of the building. After we wrapped up, we went to Eastside Mario’s for lunch. We were fast friends as we discovered we both grew up on a farm and had similar experiences in our early years.

Since then, Murray has been one of my closest friends here at work. He’s been my sounding board and advice-giver. He’s also helped me move, pretty much every time I’ve changed addresses(comes with driving a truck) and given me a boost when I had a dead battery. He’s installed a hammock for me and is always good for ways to get rid of pesky rodents.

One of my favourite stories about Murray was the day I bought my VW Beetle. I was so excited to go and pick it up…I just had one problem. I bought a standard shift and I had no idea how to drive it!! So, my ever-patient friend went with me, drove it off the parking lot (I was afraid of hitting a brand new car) and spent the afternoon teaching me how to drive it!

I will definitely miss all the chats we would have in the hall, lounge, parking lot or control room discussing religion, relationships, family and everything in between. But, we will hopefully meet up for the occasional breakfast at Riverdale or Archies.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's hard to believe but my niece Abby turned 10 this July. Double digits! I remember waiting for her arrival...she was my first niece. In anticipation, I got my aunt Peggy to teach me how to quilt and made my very first (and only) quilt. (I was pretty proud of it)

Last weekend Abby came over to celebrate her birthday. It was raining and the perfect day to spend indoors. So, we headed to Clay Cafe in Stratford. It is a cute little spot that you can paint your own pottery. After browsing the selection, Abby picked a turtle trinket box. The shell lifted off to reveal a little box to keep small treasures in. I decided to do a couple of small plates.

I have to say I was surprised by how involved Abby was in painting the turtle! She took great care to pick just the right colours, outlining different spots and giving multiple coats. Before we knew it, the afternoon had disappeared and we were getting hungry. We were able to leave our projects on the table and come back to them later.

We wandered off to find some dinner. We decided on the Elizabethan Restaurant where we shared a chocolate shake, and each got a grilled cheese with fries. Then we headed back to finish off our projects. As I watched Abigail carefully painting her turtle (red toe nails and all) I realized how grown up she has become. I also see a lot of myself in Abby and I like that. John has told me before that he has often mixed up and called her Janice as she reminds him of me. Cute.

After a sleep over, we spent the afternoon with Auntie Jo-Anne, Uncle Nick and Jesse & Liam. We did the hokey pokey, chicken dance and just about every other "action song" I have in my repertoire. On the way home we stopped to take Grammie a coffee at work and finally home to Mom & Kaelyn. (the boys were on their fishing trip)

I always enjoy time spent with my nieces & nephews. Each and every one is so adorable in their own unique way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What is cuter than a four year old? I ask you this? Currently I have two 4 year olds in my life...well for another month anyway. Jesse turned four in July and Kaelyn will turn five in September. Last week I spent the day with both of them. What fun!

I was lucky enough to win 4 tickets to see "Walking With The Dinosaurs" at the JLC. So, I took the 2 munchkins and my sister Jo-Anne for back up. In the afternoon, my brother dropped Kaelyn off at my place. This tiny little blond haired girl arrived dragging a Barbie suitcase almost as big as she is. She was also carrying a Strawberry Shortcake doll that was half her size. (she travels light! ha ha) We soon set off to pick Jesse up for some time at the park.

What fun we had! The park we went to had lots of really fun equipment to explore. However, it was a pretty hot day, so pretty soon we were off to the splash pad. Jesse was a little cautious when discovering where the sprays and squirts were coming from. Not Kaelyn...she would stand directly under a stream of water! Urging Jesse to join her was a lost cause.

We stayed until both were shivering and then piled back into the car. A quick stop at home to get changed and then we went for our special dinner. Anyone in the London area should consider going to Once Upon a Teacup. It was so great! There is a closet full of costumes to try on and a fancy menu to choose from. Both Kaelyn & Jesse chose grilled cheese which was served in "sticks" and a pot of ketchup to dip in. Also a bowl of popcorn. To drink: apple juice - served in teacups and a teapot for refills! Dessert was a chocolate chip cookie served with a pot of icing and sprinkles with a popsicle stick to "decorate" with. (note: if the kids were a bit older and could handle having dessert sitting right in front of them, the meal would've been served on a 2 tier platter!)

Then we were off to see the dinosaurs. It was very exciting! They seemed real and both the kids enjoyed it immensely! What a great day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Four years ago, I was in the middle of my biggest project at work. Not only were we changing the name, logo and look of the station (from The New PL to A Channel) we were also launching a new graphic system at the same time. I had to go to Toronto for some training for a few days. It was a steep learning curve as we had a short time to have everything completely re-designed and up & running. Lots of long hours and over time, of course over the holiday weekend.

At the height of all this, my sister called me (at work) to tell me she was in labour and they were heading to the hospital. I had been anticipating this moment for a long time and didn't want to miss out on the excitement, but it really wasn't a good time for me!! After I confirmed she wasn't kidding, I somehow weasled my way out of the building until the next day.

I hit the hospital waiting room with Mom & Connie for a L-O-N-G night of waiting. In fact...I think that is the first post I made on this blog. After many hours of labour, Jesse Harding Koiter was born. I can't believe the little peanut is four years old today!!

Living in the same city, I've been able to spend lots of time with Jesse and watch him grow into the incredible kid that he is. Very curious, fearless, huge vocabulary, and LOVES Lightning McQueen. When he was learning to talk, he called me Ya-Ya. These days he is sure to point out the TV tower when out & about and calls it "Auntie Janice's tower". So cute.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Originally I sat down to write a blog post about the hassles of filing an insurance claim and all the little things that added up over the past two weeks. However, I think I've complained enough about that whole fiasco. So, instead, I'd like to comment on music.

You probably know if you're reading this blog that I am a big fan of music. Most times I'm listening and not creating it, but I've been known to belt out a few tunes. :) But, in the past few weeks, I've particularly noticed how some music can have such a comforting and calming effect.

Music surrounds us every day ...filling our ears in the grocery store, on an elevator, even while you're sitting in the dentist's chair. But, this music is not the type I'm talking about. Some music is great and you enjoy listening to it, but not particularly heart-warming. I'm talking about that feeling you get when you can sing every word to the song and it takes you back to a time or place with fond memories.

A few weeks ago I popped in a Paul McCartney DVD to have on while I was doing some house work. It had been a rough couple of weeks while my sister Jo-Anne was in the hospital for colon cancer surgery. As the familiar songs filled the air, I realized how much I was enjoying the music. It really made me happy listening to it. A few days after that, a Don McLean song (Vincent) came on the radio on my way home from work. Again, I had that enjoying-it-to-the-fullest feeling. Certain artists usually stir up this emotion in me. Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel...and usually any old country song that I remember singing along with as a kid with my dad.

What about you? Do you have an artist or a song that hits your sweet spot?

Friday, July 17, 2009

I forgot to mention that the other driver was issued a breathalyzer test at the scene. He blew in the "warning" zone and had his license suspended for 3 days. He was also charged with careless driving. When I got the police report, it said he was going 70km/h and I was going zero. So, as you can imagine, quite a jolt. I never did see him or talk to him, but my one question for him is..."how do you not see a red light AND a YELLOW beetle stopped at that red light???"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The impact of being rear-ended goes far beyond the shattering glass and mangled metal. It takes over a little space in your mind and is like a movie on a loop. This can get emotionally exhausting.

On Saturday night, Jason & I were on our way home from my friend Sue's house. We were stopped at a red light when a pick up truck slammed into the back of us. But, there was no warning! No headlights in my mirror, no tires squealing, horn blaring... I had no idea what happened. In fact, I thought some type of explosion had gone off behind us. The first thing I remember was the exploding sound and my face planted in the steering wheel. The next thing I remember, the car was down the street on the opposing side and Jason was telling me to stop the car. I still had no idea what was happening. Neither of us had ever been in an accident before and were in shock.

I remember a girl appearing at the door, insisting I get out before the air bag went off. Jason was hesitant to move me in case I had injuries, but she seemed to think it might go off any time and it would injure me more. So, I was helped out of the car and onto the sidewalk. It was then that I realized we were hit by something...someone and that I had blood all over me. The "airbag" girl gave me her jacket to stop the bleeding. She was convinced that I had broken my nose. I think she was in an accident herself...she seemed to be quite helpful.

Very soon the ambulance, police & fire arrived. During this time I was still confused as to what had happened. Jason confirmed that the truck that hit us was still there, but back at the intersection, so I never did see the driver or the truck. In fact, I didn't see the damage to my car until the next day. (probably a good thing) Jason & I were both strapped to boards and loaded into 2 ambulances.

It was such a surreal experience going in the ambulance. I always assumed it would be a smooth trip, but it was really jostly and seemed to take forever. It's really strange when you can't see anything peripherally...just the ceiling. Especially once we got to the hospital. We were wheeled into a curtained corner and waited for a while. (seemed like a long time, but maybe it wasn't) When you're the one that is in the is a totally different experience. I was wondering where all the people were that were going to help me??? I could just hear voices of people that were putting in a regular night at work, talking about vacation, kids, etc. We were just a number.

We were finally checked out by a doctor. Jason had a few stitches in his head and I had a broken nose and a black eye. I was a little surprised when the nurse gave me a package of warm wet wipes and said I could clean myself up. I knew we weren't at the spa, but come on? She couldn't even clean the blood off my face for me? I had no mirror and no idea what I looked like. It was strange. In the process of treating me, my shirt was cut off. When it was time to leave...I realized I had no shirt to wear home!! I ended up zipping my hoodie up to the top. Ironically, our cabbie for the ride home had seen the accident! Strange.

So, the last few days have been filled with phone calls, faxes, appointments, etc. My car, unfortunately, is a goner. I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed when I saw it on Sunday. I hadn't seen the crunched-in side on Saturday night. It was strange to see my little bug all twisted up like that. The truly annoying thing is that I just had it detailed - inside & out - ONE WEEK before the crash. It was a strange contrast to see the freshly shampooed seats & floor mats covered in glass and a little of my blood!

I will finish this post for now as I have so many things still to take care of. Thanks to all of you for your encouraging notes & phone calls.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I count myself lucky to have seen Tony Bennett not once, but twice in my life! On Sunday, Jason & I set out for Toronto to see the man, the legend, Tony.

I was keen on getting his autograph so we wandered around the Canon Theatre around 3:30, hoping to catch him on his way in to sound check. Several years of stalking celebrities at the Toronto Film Festival seems to have paid off. [Let me clarify that I use the term "stalking" very lightly...we don't actually stalk celebrities. We wait patiently at pre-determined locations where celebrities will be appearing.]

After checking out both entrances to the Canon, we decided to check down a dark & scary alleyway filled with stinking garbage left from the striking city workers. Ok, maybe it wasn't dark & scary but the garbage was real! We saw a sign that said "Stage Door" ...which I took as a good sign! We also saw 3 others hovering about with LP's and cameras in hand.

Less than 10 minutes later...the door opened and Tony walked out! I have to admit I was a little flaberghasted at first, but quickly composed myself and asked Mr. Bennett for an autograph. I had one page left in my autograph book for Tony to sign. At first, he ALMOST signed on the back of Jennifer Aniston's autograph. This wouldn't have been good since sharpies have some bleedthrough on the page. However, I didn't want to TELL Tony Bennett where to sign!! He quickly caught on and actually thumbed through my book! I was ecstatic to get an autograph. Jason, however, wasn't as lucky. We were both so enthralled that we didn't manage to snap any photos until the SUV had rolled away.

We returned for the concert and were treated to such an amazing performance. At 82 he still belts it out with such passion & finesse. I also think it's so adorable when he does his little dance moves during the musical interludes. During Shadow of Your Smile...he asked them to kill all the mics and sang "unplugged". Amazing!

After the show, we returned to the stage door to see if Jason could get an autograph. This time there were about 25 people waiting for Tony. When he came out, he was just great and signed everything that people had for him. This time, I was more together and was able to snap a few photos. I also was able to form words into sentences and told him I really enjoyed the show and he did an amazing job. (or something to that effect)

We left, 2 happy campers!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Since I recently posted my appearance on the Paul McCartney DVD, I thought I would include my brief stint on the longest running game show on TV...The Price Is Right! I didn't get called on down, but the guy in front of me did, so I got some good face time.

I've decided to get my 15 minutes of fame...frame by frame!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I have such a cool Grammie. Yesterday I went for a visit and was enthralled with stories from the past. She grew up in England, during the war. That's when she met my Grandad...a Canadian soldier. At just 19 years old, she got married and set off for a new life in a new country. She arrived, expecting a baby (my mom) but not expecting what was ahead of her. They moved to Sarnia and eventually Corunna and had all kinds of adventures while raising 6 kids in a small house that Grandad built himself. Adventures that included raising 3 pigs in the back yard, using an outhouse (her mother would have been horrified!) and learning all the new terminology these Canadians were using.

Grammie still lives in that house. Yesterday, it was so nice, we sat outside on the back stoop. To our left was the garage...where they lived while Grandad was building the house. In that tiny, 4 room building they spent some of their happiest days with 3 little ones. When #4 was on the way, Grammie said she wasn't coming home with another baby until they could move into the house. And they did!

I love listening to Grammie's stories, but I also love that she listens to me. She's not quick to judge and is always a soft shoulder to lean on. I see a lot of me in her and I like that.

Yesterday my cousin Josh came over and we all hung out. We ordered pizza for dinner and had lots of laughs. We were each sent home with a baggie of cookies and of course a big hug.

Do you have special memories with one of your grandparents? What are some of your favourite moments?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I'd like to direct you to my October 2005 blog entry (here). This is an excellent foundation for the story I'm about to share.

Several years ago, Karla-Ann and I were heading to Toronto to see Sir Paul McCartney. We decided to go a little early and try to catch a glimpse and if we were extremely autograph! I was completely thrilled when the car zoomed past with the former mop top waving out the window! The concert was amazing as well. forward a few years. My sister Connie gave me a Paul McCartney DVD for my birthday. Upon further inspection, I realized that it is from the Space Between US tour. Cool. I'm not sure why, but it sat on my shelf until last week. I got it out and watched the concert. I loved it. I re-ignited the Beatles flame.

I took the DVD to Jason's house...I wanted to share my excitement. He didn't think he was a big fan of McCartney, but after watching the concert, was checking to see when his next concert would be! A few nights later we decided to watch the DVD extras. I had casually mentioned I "could" be in the extras as I had seen a camera drive past while we waited for Paul. But, I wasn't expecting much.

As the camera panned down a line of fans, I said "that kinda looks like Toronto". Jason didn't think so, but I needed a second look. I rewound that scene and was sure that was the group of people I had stood for hours with. As I said "if this is Toronto...I should be at the end of this line..." I hit the pause button and would you believe the video froze on a shot of me & Karla-Ann? I totally freaked! I'm sure Jason still has bruises on his leg from me hitting him and saying "I'M IN A PAUL McCARTNEY DVD!!!" he he he. Blink and you'll miss it, but I've helped you out by grabbing a frame :D

How about you? Have you had a brush with fame you'd care to share?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

So, a week has passed since my sister Jo-Anne went in for her surgery. When the surgeon came out, he said everything went according to surprises. That was a relief. I went to see her the next day and she seemed to be doing well. (better than I was expecting) She sat up and had some lunch...macaroni & cheese and peas. It was the first "real" food she had eaten in quite some time. Her incisions (5) were small and looked like they were healing.

Over the next few days her status changed on an almost hourly basis. My mom spent most days with her. As a registered nurse, she has a 6th sense about what she needs almost before she needs it! As the days passed, and neither gas nor "the other" did not...Jo-Anne was getting more and more uncomfortable. An NG tube was inserted through her nose to relieve some of the pressure and she had an Xray, CT scan and eventually had a second surgery last night.

The doctor decided there must be a problem that after one week he wasn't seeing any "movement". So, after his regularly scheduled surgeries yesterday, he found the problem. When the lower bowel was attached to the small bowel there was a twist in the lower bowel. This was causing a blockage, so they "untwisted" the problem.

So, now we are back to square one for recovery. Hopefully we will see continual improvements over the next few days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In the past week I have had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends. Some over the phone, some over coffee, some laying in the grass - soaking up the sun. We've covered weighty issues like divorce and job loss but also laughed until our sides hurt. I have some amazing friends.

But, the problem is: as you go through life, you never stop accumulating friends. Since we have the same number of hours in a day and days in a week, it makes it increasingly difficult to keep in touch with all of them. As much as you want to, sometimes weeks and even months can go by. But, with true friendships that time doesn't matter. You pick up where you left off, fill each other in and enjoy each other's company.

I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with so many amazing people. People I have worked with, gone to school with, met on trips halfway around the world. Thanks for being a part of my life!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm following up my post about the fabric I bought to make cushions for the couch. I finally got the sewing machine out of the closet last week. For some reason I was all ready to do some sewing when I got home from work last Monday. (yes, at midnight!)

I got the machine out and changed the thread, being careful to remember all the spots it had to go through. I spun a bobbin of the colour I needed and put the bobbin in as well. Then I did a test on a scrap piece of fabric. I was perplexed when there were no stitches. I re-threaded and re-threaded the machine multiple times. I even googled my problem (but found nothing useful) Since my machine is an antique...I don't have a manual for it. By this point, it was 1:30am. I determined there was nothing I could do and headed to bed.

The next day, my mom & grammie were coming for a visit. I suggested Mom take a look at my machine and see what I was doing wrong. After a brief 2 minutes, Mom discovered I was threading the needle from left to right rather than right to left. I couldn't believe something so simple could cause such headaches!! Thanks Mom!!

Anyway, I've been cutting, pinning and stitching away and here are a few photos of my project!

Friday, May 08, 2009


My friend Sue says, that as you make your way through life, it is important to find yourself a good hair stylist and a good mechanic. If you can put complete trust in these two are set.

I found my stylist about 5 years ago. The mechanic was a bit trickier. Since my brother is a Class A Mechanic at a Ford dealership, I originally took my Ford Tempo to him for repairs. Then I bought a VW. I faithfully took it to the dealership for oil changes and repairs while it was under warranty. However, I always felt like I was being taken for a ride...and not in my car. Their customer service was less than ideal and their prices were outrageous.

A little place called "Autobahn Motors" caught my eye while driving past. It had a classic Beetle in its showroom, so it was worth checking out :) What I discovered inside was a small operation with excellent service and decent prices. I have come to put complete trust in my mechanic Chris.

Even though he knows I have no idea how a car works, he always takes the time to show me the problem, the parts, etc. and explain what is wrong. If he thinks I can drive it for a while before it needs to be fixed, he'll tell me that. If he thinks it is unsafe for me to drive it, he'll give me a loaner until it is repaired.

Yesterday I was in the area and decided to pop in and get him to check a noise that my car had been making for a few days. Even though I didn't have an appointment, he took about 20 minutes to take it for a drive and find out what was making the noise. He assured me it is nothing to worry about and sent me on my way without charging me a cent.

I think this kind of customer service is awesome. So, if you're in the London area and drive a VW, I suggest taking your car to Chris to be seviced.

Friday, May 01, 2009

More than a year after I took my beginner sewing class, I thought I'd put my skills to use. I purchased a pattern and some fabric today!

Last year I was feeling inspired and signed up at a local sewing shop to learn how to sew. I took my antique sewing machine in for a tune up, purchased some fabric, a pattern and other supplies, and showed up on a Wednesday morning. My final product was a pair of pyjama pants. I should really take a photo and post it here. They turned out pretty good for my first project since Home-Ec class.

However, after my first class, my roommate bought a house and set the wheels in motion for looking for a new place and moving. The sewing machine got packed away and forgotten about.

Recently I've been feeling like my living room needs a spruce up and decided to try my hand at some throw cushions and curtains. I was feeling particularly ambitious today and ventured in to Fabricland. I picked out 2 types of fabric and a pattern. (Sewing Patterns for Dummies - pillows) I'd like to get started right away, but I have to start my shift at work now :( I will post my progress here, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

3 down...1 to go. Of the 4 of us, I'm the only one left to have my colonoscopy. Unfortunately, I have to wait until June. (I'm kidding about the unfortunately part) Connie went last Friday and John went today. Both are in the clear. (so to speak) I talked to my brother this morning as he was preparing to go in for his appointment. He said the prep wasn't too bad but was not looking forward to the procedure. I asked for him to let me know how it went as I'm a little nervous about that too.

In the meantime, I got a phone call from my dentist...turns out I need a root canal. What? Are you kidding me? One horrific procedure at a time, please!

Anyway...John emailed me tonight to say that it was a relief to have it done. quote "To be honest Janice I would rather go through that than some of experiences at the dentist. It was a breeze and nothing to fret over." I thought it was ironic that he brought up the dentist :)

In the meantime...Jo-Anne is planning on having her surgery sometime next week. She has created a blog to update family and friends on progress. If you want to check it out, here is the link.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cancer. We hear the word pretty much every day:
There is a new cancer study.
It is ______ cancer awareness month.
Please donate to cancer research.

But, when it touches you personally, the word becomes so much more than just a word. It is a fear. Your worst fears realized. Last Thursday, my sister Jo-Anne was diagnosed with colon cancer. Hearing the words just did not seem real. I had no words to come out of my mouth. Even the next morning, I woke up wondering if it was just a dream.

This is my sister. She's a wife. A mom. A daughter. An aunt. A friend. This is not supposed to happen to her.

I've learned in the past few days that colon cancer is very rare in someone Jo-Anne's age. Also, because she is so young, her immediate family will need to be screened as well. That means colonoscopies for myself and my siblings.

On Friday (the day after her diagnosis) she went to have some blood work done and a chest XRAY. While she was getting the XRAY, she asked the technician if she knew how long the wait would be for her CAT scan and if she should just wait for a phone call. She had been told the day before that she would be put on an urgent list and it should be within 3 weeks. (Three weeks is a long time to wait when you're waiting to see if cancer has spread or is contained!) When the technician asked her circumstances, she was very sympathetic and said she would check on it. Amazingly, she came back to tell Jo-Anne there had been a cancellation on Monday morning at 9am...would she like that appointment? Wow!

So, Monday morning, she went for the CAT scan. We weren't really sure how long it would take to get any results, but I got a phone call from Jo-Anne that night. The doctor had reviewed her results and wanted to let her know that upon first look, it appears the cancer is contained. That is great news!

We are now just waiting for her to have her surgical consultation and book the surgery. In the meantime, my sister Connie has her colonoscopy booked for Friday and my doctor was putting in a referral for me today. (not sure if my brother has started the wheels in motion yet!) Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words. They have meant so much. I know it is a tough road ahead, but for now, I feel a bit of relief.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

During a trip home for Easter, my brother John (who is trying really hard to look like Gizzly Adams these days) brought his newest "toy". To John, a toy is something involved in the world of an Outdoorsman. ie: hunting, fishing, etc. So, when Jason & I arrived at Mom & Dad's I saw John, Dad & Josh prowling around down by the barn. I wasn't sure what they were up to, but it seemed typical enough.

After dinner, John asked if I'd like to come and see his new/old muzzle loader. I wasn't exactly sure what a muzzle loader was (actually...I still don't. some kind of really old gun) I wasn't really interested, but I thought I would give John a kick and see what this was all about. I borrowed a couple of layers from Mom as it was pretty cold and headed down to the barn.

John & Josh (his protege) were giving a demonstration on loading the gun. There were lots of steps and seemed pretty labour-intensive. I'm not really sure the point, other than just nostalgia I guess. The real excitement was when John asked if I'd like to shoot it. Ahhh, ya!

I took the gun and John helped me set up to take my shot. I was prepared for it to come back into my shoulder (from all my previous experience shooting a gun!) but it didn't really do that. It was LOUD though. After the shot was fired, Josh ran off to check the target (with a poor little groundhog on it) He came running back saying "you've got better aim than Dad!" Ha ha...I was shocked! Steve took a turn and missed the target and then Jason shot. He hit the target but wasn't quite as close as I was.

On the way home, we stopped in to see John's new puppies. They are pretty adorable, I'm sure you will agree!