Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Weathering The Storm

There are pivotal moments in life that forever change you. Unfortunately, one of those moments happened last night when I got a phone call from my mom. The words on the other end are ones you never want to hear, "Dad has had a heart attack".

Nothing can prepare you for that and I was in shock when I hung up the phone. I was at work, in the middle of the newscast, so I had to soldier on through the tears. Details were sketchy as I tried to piece together what had happened so I drove to Jo-Anne's house just to be with family. She was ready to go when I got there and we set off for University Hospital.

The entire time my mind was racing. A heart attack is a scary thing and I've heard both sides of the story. There are people that go on to live normal and lengthy lives and those that do not. I had no idea what to expect. Was it a good thing that he was being transported to London from Strathroy? Or did that mean it was more serious? Our drive to the hospital was pretty quiet.

As we were turning into the parking lot, an ambulance with lights and siren was approaching from the opposite direction. Jo-Anne said that was probably Dad and I got a sick feeling in my stomach. She quickly parked and started running to the exit. I followed suit and was pretty scared. After the fact, she told me that she knew he would want to see us and that is why she ran - not because she thought he was dying. It was sobering to see him lifted out of the ambulance and on the stretcher but I was glad to see him and give him a kiss and tell him I loved him.

The next couple of hours were stressful but I was surrounded by my family and that was comforting. However, seeing Dad in pain and the scared look in his eyes was something I don't want to relive. They decided to do an angiogram and inserted a stent. Dad seemed to have instant relief and was feeling much better by the time we left the hospital well after midnight.

My mom (who is still recovering from her knee replacement) is always a rock in these types of situations. It's like she knows that we all need her to be and she just pulls it together. Me, on the other hand, can be summed up by the Patsy Cline song... "I Fall To Pieces".

Please pray for my family as we make our way through this latest challenge.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Young House Love

After following the Young House Love blog for the past 5 or so years, I feel like I know them! I've watched them transform their first home and now they've moved on to a second. Their blog is full of great ideas and tips for your home that require minimal skill and dollars. I love it!

This fall, the pair released a book with 243 new ideas in a hardcover book. When they announced on their blog that they would be doing a book tour, I thought it was kinda cool that they were coming to Toronto and decided to go to my first book signing. Originally my friend Jodi was going to join me but scheduling didn't cooperate. So, I was off to TO by myself.

The day was not as ideal as I had hoped. I started off witnessing a serious crash and then continued on the highway in pouring rain. Talk about stressful! I was ready for a deep tissue massage by the time I got there. Oh ya, and I missed my exit for Ikea. Dang! Was looking forward to wandering through the Swedish furniture mecca.

However, once I got to West Elm and saw other DIY nerds, like myself, forming a line I started to get a little excited. We swapped stories while we waited and showed off pictures on our phones. We were even served hot chocolate and treats!

I finally got to the front of the line and got a book signed for me and one for Jodi. (supposed to be a Christmas present but she figured it out already) We got my photo snapped with them and I was on my way. I wonder what they think when people line up for hours to see them, some even bringing crazy gifts. Afterall, they are just regular people that started out casually blogging their DIY projects. Surreal!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Something's Missing

While visiting my nephew this week, he smiled at me and what did I see? A new smile. He was missing one of his front teeth. Mr. Peanut is growing up. What a cutie!


Until Monday, I have been fortunate to have never witnessed a car crash (other than my own). Seeing a crash that looked like it was from the movies is difficult to edge out of your mind.

On Monday afternoon, I had just fueled up and off to Toronto. I was headed south on Highbury Ave. and waiting for the light at Dundas. Usually I would be turning onto Highbury from Dundas but I had decided to get gas before I left the city.

It happened in an instant and in slow motion. A car appeared out of nowhere and I saw a streak pass on my left. My mind was racing as I wondered what was going on, why was that car going so fast, how would they possibly make it through the intersection without hitting someone...and then it happened.

The car that had passed me collided with another in the intersection and both went airborne. They ended up in a parking lot at the corner. I was in disbelief at what I had just witnessed and quickly called 911. Knowing that I couldn't handle seeing what was in the wreckage, I didn't get out of my car. Many others did, however, and helped the victims out of the car (as far as I could tell).

photo courtesy LFPress
Leaving the accident, I got on the 401 and started out for Toronto. I didn't realize how shaken I was and the scene kept playing over and over in my mind like a movie. I couldn't help but wonder the condition of the people involved and why such an horrific accident had to happen. Why was that car going so fast? I imagined how the lives of the second car changed in the blink of an eye, on what would be an otherwise regular day for them. I stopped at Woodstock's On Route to gather myself and try and put it out of my mind but it's still there. It will be for a while, I imagine.

It wasn't until the next day when I was describing the situation to someone that I realized if I had been one lane to my left, that car most likely would have ploughed right into the back of me. She crested the hill at approximately 100km/h. Scary stuff.

Read The London Free Press account here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Janice 2.0

This weekend I had the privilege of hanging out with my niece Madison. We were finally celebrating her 9th birthday after some scheduling conflicts.

Madison has been patiently waiting to work on a scrapbook with me and for months has been asking me to help her set up a blog. I thought this was such a cute idea.

We spent a few hours at a local scrapbook store and she was so excited to create her layouts. I was impressed with her progress and by the time we left she had done 18 pages!

As luck would have it, London's Santa Claus parade was this weekend. So after a quick dinner we were off to scout out a spot for the parade. We saw lots of Christmasy characters and enjoyed some hot chocolate from the thermos.

Madison is such a neat kid. I'm impressed with how mature she is and the way she handles herself. We had some interesting discussions this weekend and I'm proud of how compassionate she is for others. She has really great ideas and is a smart cookie when it comes to naming provincial capitals, times tables and spelling.

The best part about our time together was creating her blog. She was so excited. It is a private blog so only people on her "readers list" can access it, but I'm going to include her first entry here. On the way home she sat in the back seat of the car and wrote a list of topics she's going to blog about. When I asked her to read the list to me, I was impressed.

  • my first blogging experience
  • feelings
  • my Mom
  • all about me
  • animals
I thought that was fantastic for a nine year old! When I dropped her off, I told Steve I thought she was becoming Janice 2.0 with her new interests of scrapbooking, blogging ...and did I mention she likes the Beatles?!

Madison's first post:

For my first scrapbooking day me and my dad had to drive to Lambeth. When we got there I saw my aunt Janice. The scrapbooking place was called Memories on Main.  I got a scrapbooking kit for Christmas from aunt Janice. We had lots of fun scrapbooking with lots of smiles and laughs. The scrapbooking owner had a dog named Paige (that's my middle name). I wish we could go scrapbooking again. Their kid James helped me with scrapbooking. 
When we got back we had pizza for supper. Then we went to the Santa Claus parade. When we were there we had hot chocolate. Last in the parade was Santa. Before Santa we saw the Grinch twice.  It was so much fun going to the Santa Claus parade. When we got home we watched some Cloudy With The Chance of Meatballs.
Aunt Janice is helping me with this blog. Stay tuned for my next blog post.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Book It Danno.

Today I opened the door to find a cardboard Amazon box sitting on my porch. Wow, those guys are fast! I had just got an email last night that my order had shipped and there it was sitting in front of me!

For the past 5 or so years, you will have noticed a link from my blog to another blog called Young House Love. It's a great DIY blog by 2 twenty-somethings and the ideas are always great. They do projects that anyone can do and very affordable ideas too. It has become a daily read for me so when I heard they were coming out with a book, naturally I had to have it. In fact, they are doing a book signing in Toronto next week and I'm going. Woot.

I also ordered Jian Ghomeshi's 1982. If you read my blog, you know I'm a fan...and that I missed out on his book signing in London. Boo. Anyway, I'm looking forward to diving in but might save it for my flight at Christmas. Can I wait that long? We'll see.

Yeah, Amazon!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

City of (Christmas) Lights

For the most part, I am a traditionalist. Especially when it comes to Christmas. I love playing the classics, decorating, making cookies, holiday movies... all the good stuff. However, this year, I'm breaking with tradition in a big way.

As much as I love spending time with my family over the holidays, feelings of loneliness creep into my festive cheer. When you are single and don't have your own family, Christmas shines a big light on that area of your life. I have often thought I'd love to just go away at Christmas and avoid it altogether, but the dilemma is - who to travel with that is in the same situation?

This year, my answer came when my cousin Carol Ann emailed me. She lives in Kuwait and is planning to spend Christmas in Paris this year. She thought I might want to join her. Just the thought of it took my breath away. Spending Christmas in the city of lights? Yes, please. But then I considered what I would be missing at home. I have never been away for Christmas and as a traditionalist, how would I deal with that? I knew that neither of my parents would be too jazzed by the idea.

But, the more I thought about it and chatted with her on Facebook, the more I thought I should seize this opportunity. When would I ever have the chance again? I suppose this is a trade off for not having a family of my own...I can jet off to Paris for the holidays!

With the flight and hotel booked, now is the fun stuff! We are researching and deliberating how to spend our week in Paris. What I love about Carol Ann is that she likes to experience life and I know we will have a fabulous time. It will be a Christmas to remember for sure!