The other night we were watching a hockey game and at one point the network was showing re-runs of fighting in the NHL.  I enjoy hockey but I can’t stand to see grown men fight. I hate it with a passion and I said to my husband “turn it off, I can’t stand to watch it.”  My husband turned to me and said ” I bet you could hold your own in a fight.”  He is not all wrong, I’m not a fighter but there have been a few times in my life where I have found myself defending myself with my fists!  Thankfully, I’ve not used my fists as an adult.   One incident came to mind which I repeated to my husband and we had a good laugh.  However, the situation wasn’t really that funny, it was a frustrating time for two children suffering from the trials of their parents’ divorce.

My parents divorced when I was eight years old and eventually both parents remarried. Unfortunately, the divorce was perpetuated by my father’s affair with a woman who eventually became his second wife. When my parents first divorced my father was entitled to visit with his children once a week.  Once a week I was supposed to fit into my father’s new family, find quality time with him and act like everything was normal and we were all one big happy family.   After a few years my mother and her new husband decided to move across the country away from my father.  The deal was that my brother and I visited my father once per year for two weeks.  It was during one of those annual visits that the big fight happened.

Since my father only saw  my brother and I once a year,  he tended to treat me like a bit of a princess.  I don’t think he wanted to be the big disciplinarian when he only saw us once a year, he wanted to enjoy our visits.  One morning he took me aside and told me that to keep peace in the house that I had better start doing chores.  “What chores” I asked.  “Make your bed, help with the dishes, the general run of the mill stuff” he said.  I guess in a way I was being a bit rebellious as the house that my father was now in with his new wife and new family,  was the house where both my parents lived with their children in better times.   Turns out my “stepsister” was complaining because she had to do all this stuff and I just walked away from all responsibilities.  Looking back I get why she was mad but seriously, she was sleeping in my old bedroom, with my father at the helm, the life I wanted.

I just smiled at my father and said “sure I’ll do more stuff around the house.”  At some point just my stepsister and I ended up downstairs watching tv and she started complaining to me about what I got away with and I can remember just hearing, blah, blah, blah.  All I could think of was how she was living the life I was supposed to be living and I had to listen to all this bitching and complaining.  She was tearing me a new one and she stopped  for a brief second to hear what I had to say for myself.   I said the first thing that came to my 15 year old mind;  “That’s what you get because your mother stole my father.”  Did not go over well, next thing I knew my stepsister was flying through the air like a lioness on her prey.  I had no time to defend myself and it took me a few seconds to come to my senses.  She was a nasty fighter, hair puller, slapper, spit in your face kind of classless fighter.  I finally got my wits and threw a few good punches just as my father came down to break up the fight.   Thank God because my stepsister was winning by a mile.  My father wanted to know “what the hell is going on here,” and my stepsister told him what I said.  He just looked at me and I know he didn’t  realize I saw, but I caught the grin on his face as he walked away.

Thinking back, the situation was just as hard for my stepsister as it was for me.   This was her mother’s third marriage, she had been shoved back and forth for years and she probably felt the same way I did. I couldn’t see it at that age, too busy just trying to survive the trials of divorce.  Even though the situation was difficult back then, I learned so much about the kind of parent I wanted to be and the kind of household I wanted to provide for my children.   Hopefully my boys will never have to have a territorial fight just be be heard.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA good friend of mine went to “An Evening with Oprah,” I think I was one of the few women in this town who wasn’t there.  I like Oprah, I mean it’s hard to not like someone who does so much good with her fortune and tries to make something good out of everything she does.  She seems to have purpose and focus for humanity.  However, she’s not God and in fairness to Oprah, I don’t believe she thinks she’s God.  Society today is constantly looking for heroes and usually the heroes  are the one’s who are successful and have money.  Isn’t that a sad commentary on society?  Tickets for Oprah were between $100.00 and $395.00 per seat; my friend paid $150.00.  Why were those tickets so expensive to see a woman who wants to help all of humanity?  I’m guessing because Oprah can command the money; she’s treated like a rock star.  Having said that, I really have no idea if she is donating some of that money back to her charities or not  and  I would hope she is doing just that.  Really the average woman who is at home with a mortgage, children and working her butt off to make ends meet, can’t afford to go and spend “an evening with Oprah” at that price.    Now let’s just say Oprah is not the big rock star Oprah we know, let’s just say she is a minister in a little church somewhere in the United States and she wants to have a series of talks to share with the community her abuse experiences, baby out-of-wedlock experience , Jesus experiences and her love of her job experience .  Who would show and pay between $200.00 – $395.00 per seat – not one person.  Same woman, same stories and experiences, but as a Minister she’s not commanding a net income of $165 million per year, therefore, society doesn’t look at her in the same way – a hero!  Lance Armstrong – need I say more.  He was the big heavy hero winning 7 Tour de France,  beating cancer and we find out he lied and cheated through it all.  Obviously people in that world  knew he was cheating – just ask the guy who did not come in at the top of his game,  but he worked his ass off to complete the race in the time that he did – not one person or media outlet was looking at that guy, all eyes were on Lance.   In a way society created Lance, we only look at the winners and the winners will do whatever it takes to get there – including cheating and then we chastise them for the behaviour.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing the behaviour because at the end of the day you’ve got to look at yourself and say – I did all I could do and I was successful, without cheating, without lying and did this on my own terms.  Lance couldn’t say that at the end of the day, but the guy  who  could didn’t win –  maybe our eyes should be on that guy.

Back to Oprah – I think she’s come into her own and she has spent a tremendous amount of time trying to justify why she is where she is and finding ways to give back to society.  We’ve all watched her make the transformation from talk show host to a dynamic successful business woman, successful daytime show, network owner and  philanthropist.    Below is a video of Oprah talking about tough times and surrendering to God.  I like what she has to say and I find her to be sincere.  As much as I would have liked to have seen Oprah, I don’t think I would have spent the money.  I’m finding my own heroes in life, my children, my husband, my family and friends.  I invest in people with my time and I’m paid back with laughs, hugs and friendships that sustain me in good times and in bad times.   There is one person who can wear the hero hat and I know she would have never considered herself a hero;  that person’s name was Mother Teresa.   She could have commanded twice what Oprah was asking but never would she have asked for money for herself, she only asked us to spread the love of Jesus and she did so in the most humble, loving way – dedicating her life to the poorest of the poor and lived simply by giving back to people in society who society forgot  – a real hero!

 Each of us is merely a small instrument; all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear” – Mother Teresa




I’ve given up coffee, not caffeine, coffee!  A cup of green tea or chai tea amounts to half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.  I drink mostly green tea but I’ve started drinking chai tea lattes.  I think I’ve given up one addiction up for another because I have grown to love chai tea lattes.  However, going through the drive-through at Starbucks or Tim Hortons starts to cost me some bucks.  So here is my version of a latte:

Chai tea teabag

Milk – enough for a cup

Use either a blender or the bullet and froth the milk for a few seconds.

Put the tea bags and the frothed milk in a saucepan and heat over medium heat.

Bring to a boil (watch that the milk doesn’t burn or froth over the sides).

Pour into cups and spoon the frothed milk on top.

Voila – much cheaper than Starbucks and really good….

Note: I make it with skim milk..




I’ve always been somewhat skeptical and suspicious of strangers.  I don’t trust easy and whenever I deal with sales people, I figure everyone has a story to tell or they are trying to rip me off.  This drives my husband crazy because he says I have to learn to trust at some point.  I think my youngest son has my suspicious nature as this past weekend we met some friends and went to an Abbey Heat hockey game.  The Abbey Heat are in the American Hockey league and the game we went to see was Abbey and Milwaukee Admirals.  Ryan Walter is the GM there and he is really good at the PR game.  In his day Ryan Walter played for the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens.  Ryan rolled up his PR sleeve and walked around the arena shaking everyone’s hand, talking to all the kids and showing off his Stanley Cup ring.  Half way through the game, my youngest(Matthew) decides he wants something from the concession stand.  Off he went and when he came back to sit down, Ryan Walters was working his way through the crowd in front of us.  Matt leans over to my husband and says ” you see that guy down there, back at the concession stand he tried to tell me that he played for the NHL”, he then rolls his eyes and says “yeah right.”  My husband says “Matt, that’s Ryan Walter, the GM for Abbey Heat and he did play for the NHL.”    My son looked a little shocked and then he says “he asked me if I wanted to try on his Stanley Cup ring, I didn’t think he was real so I said no thank you, I’ve already tried on a Stanley Cup ring.”  At that moment I wish I was a fly on the wall to see Ryan’s face.  “What did Ryan say to you Matthew?”  “He asked me for what team did I try on a Stanley Cup ring and I told him the Chicago Blackhawks.”  I guess Ryan didn’t believe my son because he asked him who he knew from the Blackhawks.  My husband is a friend of one of the scouts for the Blackhawks and all the scouts got the same ring as the players.  A party was thrown and we were all invited to see and try on the ring.  Must admit, it was cool – more cool than I thought it would be.  So when Ryan Walter asked my son to try on his Stanley Cup ring, Matt had already been there done that and wasn’t all that interested.  Comical really because as soon as Ryan pulled out his Stanley Cup ring to any other child, all of sudden all kinds of cameras appeared, people crowded all around and everyone posed with Ryan and the almighty Stanley Cup ring.  Not my son – he has his own pictures..(two very happy boys pictured below!)




a bed of dandelions

Lately I’ve been sad, there has been bad news all around me.  Cancer in my family, cancer in my friend’s family, possible Alzheimer’s there as well and the list goes on and on.  The feeling of helplessness can be depressing as all you can do is reach out and be there the best you can.  No magic wand to make it all better.  Right now everything is good in our lives, the boys and my husband are well and I don’t want to spend time thinking the sky is going to fall and being generally negative.  The truth of the matter is that there are good times and bad times in life.  Everyday I pray for everyone I know who is suffering and I thank God for all the blessings I have in my life right now, I also pray for strength when things go wrong.  I’ve decided to start a new ritual that helps me cope with some of the sadness that I’m feeling, every day I find something that makes me laugh and smile.  I find a funny video, read a funny comic, laugh with the kids and my husband.  Laughter is a healer, a wonderful healer that we all take for granted.  I think for so many of us right now life is on a fast track and I feel that this fast track lifestyle disconnects us from our authentic selves.  We have to take a quiet moment and reflect on what we are thankful for and then add some laughter in there as well.  Our family has started an exercise program, we all workout together three days a week.  Last night my husband was too tired from working his shift work and my youngest decided to skip the running part of our workout.  I joined my oldest son on a mother – son jog and when we got home we did some stretching and yoga.  My youngest decided to join us for the yoga session.    All three of us side by side practising downward dog and just as I’m focusing on my breath and feeling the stretch throughout my body, my youngest son reaches over and tickles my stomach.  At first I was really annoyed because I was trying to focus on my breath and he was making it impossible for me to focus.  He then reaches over and tickles me again, this time I started to giggle and then I remembered a time when he was just a little wee toddler.  Ever since the boys have been very young, I’ve always incorporated exercise into my daily routine.  When they were really young I often did yoga at home and the two of them would stack their toys near where I practiced my positions so they could be beside me while I exercised.  Whenever I did the “cat stretch” or “downward dog” my youngest would giggle and crawl over to go under the “bridge”.  Once under the “bridge” he would reach up and tickle me and then laugh himself silly.  I had forgotten that memory until last night and listening to him giggle brought me right back to that special moment.  This very small wonderful act connected me to my authentic self and brought a moment of tranquility just when I needed it the most.  It’s important that we all take the time to smell the flowers, smell them every day by really listening to your loved ones and find a reason every day to smile and laugh.

“Walk in the rain,
smell flowers,
stop along the way,
build sandcastles,
go on field trips,
find out how things work,
tell stories,
say the magic words,
trust the universe.”

― Bruce Williamson

Below –  I call this baby yoga – picture taken  many moons yoga


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not a political person and I rarely comment on politics because I firmly believe before you have an opinion you should really know what the hell you are talking about.  Plus like my mother always said, “never discuss sex, religion or politics at the dinner table.”  Colin Powell is someone I remember well, I remember when 9/11 happened there was a feeling here that when Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke that there was level headedness amongst the chaos that engulfed the world in the coming days, weeks and months after the most darkest day on September, 11th, 2001.  It was this same level headedness that prevailed when General Colin Powell spoke to the UN security council in 2003 .   Those were scary days and there was a feeling of hysteria in the world.   The image of him holding a vial stating that this could be anthrax and declaring that  Saddam Hussein had a biological and a nuclear warfare program in Iraq seemed real.


The general feeling was that if Colin said it, then it must be true.  America went to war and they never found those weapons of mass destruction and now we know that going to war was based largely on false intelligence information.  I do believe that Colin Powell was telling the truth as he believed it and was doing what he felt was right.  I recently read an article about General Colin Powell that shows his true character in a moment of personal chaos.  In 1996, Powell was the keynote speaker at a national conference for a leading residential real estate company’s top producers.  After his talk, he called out for any questions and someone in the audience had the nerve to say this:

“General Powell, I understand that your wife once suffered from depression, had to take medicine and was even in a mental hospital.  Do you want to comment on that?” Can you imagine, an attack on someone’s  loved one, an attack on a loved one in the most vulnerable state.  Exactly what is wrong with people, why are people happy when someone else is not happy or  when someone is popular or successful it makes some people glow when they hear there is trouble in paradise.  Society can be sickening at times.  In fairness to the crowd, it is written that most  of the 8000 people in the auditorium gasped at the inappropriateness and cruelty of the question.  The best part of this story is General Powell’s answer:

He looked straight in the eyes of the questioner, paused for a moment and then said “Excuse me, the person you love more than anyone is living in hell, and you don’t do whatever you can to get her out.  Do you have a problem with that sir?”

Whatever the questioner was expecting, to shake up the great General, to make him sweat, to make him furious, or even make him cry, did not happen.  Instead General Powell handled it beautifully, threw it right back at the man in the most dignified manner.  Solid as a rock.  I’m sure the man wanted to crawl on the floor all the way out of the auditorium.  Mental illness or mental instability is not something to be made light of or used against someone to make them feel shameful.  It’s a serious condition and it affects everyone around the victim.  Family and friends feel helpless, alone and frustrated, it’s a time for support and love, a time to be solid as a rock.   All political opinions aside, I can’t help it but like a man who makes no excuses for his love for his wife and is her rock at her most vulnerable time.

Story of Colin Powell’s keynote speaker incident from:

the website of Dr. Mark Goulston


The big day for my husband and I was April 18, 1998 and it was a great day.  Just before I got married my mother had some advice for me.  She said “whatever you do don’t pick up the hammer.”   “What, don’t pick up the hammer, that’s your advice mom.”  “What the hell does that mean?”  Mom then went on to tell me, don’t do the jobs that are his jobs, don’t paint a wall, don’t hammer a nail to hang a picture, don’t wallpaper, don’t shovel the driveway, don’t mow the lawn and whatever you do, don’t take out the garbage.   I was a little confused because my mother did all those things.  “Mom you did all those things and you taught me to be an independent woman and if you want something done do it yourself.”  “Well, she said, I was wrong and I was stupid, don’t do it, if you take these things on they become your job.”  Of course I didn’t take her advice, which is fairly stupid of me, because everyone knows that moms know best.   I’ve picked up the hammer more times than I can count.   I’ve mowed the lawn, I’ve hung the picture, I’ve shovelled the driveway, I hate wallpaper so I’ve never wallpapered a wall.  Have these jobs become my job, no, but mom was right, I’ve shown some talent in some areas and my hubbie knows I can do it.  Would I have been better off pretending I couldn’t do it and he would have jumped to the challenge to make sure all of these things were done in an efficient manner!   Ha, in your dreams, I’d still be waiting..  I like independence so it’s not a bad thing that I just go ahead and complete a job, plus both of us work and two hands are better than one.  I like to think we share the work in the house.  However,  I have found myself either cleaning, de-cluttering or even painting well after midnight while everyone else in bed.  It’s then I hear my mother saying, “don’t pick up the hammer.”  The don’t pick up the hammer line applies to many more things than just hammering a nail into the wall.  For instance this morning, I decided I wanted to vacuum, very normal thing to do and should be an easy task.  My husband has a bad habit of dropping his clothes on the ground with the intent to pick everything up the next morning.  Of course that doesn’t happen and the next day’s clothes end up on yesterday’s clothes and then the next day’s clothes end up on top of two day’s worth and so on, so on…  As you can imagine this can mean a pretty big pile of clothes on the ground on his side of the bed, which really pisses me off but in my head I hear another word of advice my mother gave me, “pick your fights.”   Well the clothes thing drives me nuts, but really it’s a heap of clothes not worth the fight.  Back to this morning, I wanted to vacuum, but I couldn’t vacuum our room because of the pile of clothes on his side of the room.  Like the good wife that I am, I sorted through the clothes and put the dirty ones in the wash and folded the rest and placed them on the chair that I purposely put there as a temporary clothes storage.    He prefers the floor because he seems to miss that chair day in and day out.  After I folded for a few minutes, check out the results below, now imagine all those clothes in a heaped pile on the floor.


The whole time I was folding and putting his clothes on the chair, I kept hearing my mother’s voice, “don’t pick up the hammer”  Well I picked up the hammer on this one because I wanted to vacuum.  Life is about compromise isn’t it?  Later on I noticed that my husband had taken the clothes off the chair and had them sorted on our bed.  I know he’ll put them away at some point today.  My mother’s advice “pick your fights” so true, not worth it, he’s putting the clothes away and not one bad word between us.  For the record, I’ve stopped putting the garbage out…

rum-cake-1Wish I’d seen this before New Year’s Day – I would of made it for the festivities New Year’s Eve – my flaming bananas over vanilla ice cream was pretty yummy but this looks better…

piping dreams

rum cake 1

I know I said I was taking a couple weeks off, but I figured it would be a major blogging faux pas to post an eggnog cake after it stops being sold in stores. Have some left over in your fridge from the holidays? Looking for a New Year’s dessert for the ball drop? Do you feel unloved and underappreciated? This cake solves all of those problems that are not really problems.

eggnog cake 1

First of all, eggnog cake. I felt good about this cake. It was really simple to whip together, and the result was a really tender, light crumb, perfect for soaking up all the rum butter goodness with which I doused it.

rum cake 4

With which. I doused it. The only thing I can really compare this cake to is sticky toffee pudding. It’s a date-filled British cake, served warm with this brown sugar  glaze sauce soaked through. To die for…

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