One of the girls from my hockey team posted on Facebook recently “help, my kids are driving me nuts about Santa Claus, they want to know if he’s real, I don’t know what to say, I don’t feel right lying to my children.”  She got all kinds of answers, everything from you should tell them the truth to let them believe in the magic as long as they can.  My response was that my children are now 12 and 14 and I’ve never told them Santa is not real – he is real!  The next night she posted “help, my son is now searching google earth for the north pole.”  The responses were hilarious – everything from “don’t you know that there is a shield over the North Pole to prevent being discovered by google earth to the North Pole is in a different dimension.”

Brought me back when the boys were younger, Christmas was so special and magical.  Our Christmas is still special because we are a close family and we spend a lot of time together, but the magic of Christmas isn’t quite the same when your children don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore.  I always tell the boys that Santa is real and now they play along with me so they don’t ruin my Christmas.  When my oldest was about four years old, we were decorating the house for Christmas and after decorating the tree we had an extra string of lights.  I happened to go upstairs and walk past the boys’ room just in time to see my husband stringing the set of lights on a bookshelf in the boy’s room.  I walked in and asked “what are you doing, that looks like crap” and just then my son comes in and screams with delight “oh mommy, look daddy put cwistmas wites in my room, cwistmas wites in my room.”  He then ran around the room giggling the most magnificent giggle I’ve ever heard.  Funny thing is I was just about to say that the lights looked bloody tacky  – take them down.  I couldn’t, didn’t have the heart – my son was so happy and as he stood there looking up at the bright lights, his eyes were full of wonderment and magic.  It was a special moment and a moment he’s never forgotten.  My husband was the hero and I was in disbelief because the bloody string of lights looked horrendous.

That Christmas we had quite a few guests over several days and every person who walked into our house was greeted by a four-year old with blonde curly hair, big saucer eyes and a mile wide smile.  He grabbed every guest’s hand and said ” you must come and see the cwistmas wites in my room, come you have to come and see what my daddy did.”  He would then take our guest up to his room to show off his cwitmas wites.   It was a special time to see the magic in his eyes over those hideous Christmas lights – “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and that Christmas my son taught my husband and I the true meaning of Christmas.    Last year I posted the lyrics of “Little Drummer Boy” in pa rum pum pum.   Beautiful video below of Pentatonix singing about a simple boy with a simple gift  – enjoy!

Pipe Dream #236: To Sneak in Snacks – Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

I just had to reblog this recipe. I haven’t made this this yummy cake yet, but I’m gonna. Chocolate and marshmallows -need I say more.

piping dreams

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For your cold and chocolate fixes…

{Get a looka that crinkly icing!}

…this oatmeal cake is sure to warm you up.

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This cake is so full of chocolate, I barely know where to begin. First comes the cake layer, a dense cocoa oat slice studded with semisweet chocolate chips. The oats in the cake don’t come off as oatmeal; they just keep everything moist and hearty. Then follows a sugary chocolate icing that includes MARSHMALLOWS (cue singing aloud for joy). It’s that kind of rich icing that you almost can’t eat with a spoon because of its intensity, but then you can because its fudge rippliness is so irresistible.

choc oat cake 4

I don’t often allow myself to make this kind of “snack cake.” Too much “evening out the slices,” if you catch my drift. (Can you see how I took out that little mini edge so it would be straight? Ha.) By the…

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Raking the leaves this weekend, my children looked up at the tree of the fallen leaves and said “mom – look at the size of the wasp nest.”  We never saw it all summer,  mowed the lawn right underneath it, clipped and pulled at the bushes below the nest – never noticed the wasp nest…

“Winter is the time for comfort, for food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for  talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  Edith Sitwel


It’s no secret – I’m severely hearing impaired or a better term, I have a hidden disability.  Yes my condition is a disability, however, to my  disadvantage I look totally normal.  I can walk, run, jump, see and to a stranger, it appears that I can hear.  Appearances are not necessarily reality.  My hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss and the root of my hearing loss lies in the vestibulocochlear nerve, the inner ear or central processing centers of the brain.   Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea.   Simply put, I’m severely hearing impaired with a very good chance of waking up one morning to be completely deaf.  Cause of this impairment can be from loud noises, infection or genes and in my case the condition runs in my family.

I use the term hidden disability because it describes my situation.  People don’t necessarily notice my hearing aids (even though I never attempt to hide them) and even if people notice the hearing aids, there is no way for a stranger to understand the implications of my deafness.  Approximately eight years ago while using the phone at work, suddenly the sound of the person’s voice on the other end of the connection sounded hollow and as if I was talking through a tunnel.  After a series of in-depth tests it was revealed what I feared.  My hearing had deteriorated and there is no way to know if and when my hearing will completely leave me.   The tests also revealed that I am a candidate for a cochlear implant.   I haven’t signed on to be on the waiting list for an implant simply because the procedure scares me and it’s an adventure into unknown territory.    Right now I get by with the help of hearing aids, lip-reading and at times I piece  words from a conversation together like piecing a jigsaw puzzle.

I’ve been blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life, family and friends, but it is frustrating how a deaf or severely hearing impaired person can be treated.  I mostly ignore this treatment, but I have to admit at times it’s hard.  People treat you like you are lacking in  intelligence, or worse, like you don’t exist at all.   Sometimes this treatment isn’t from strangers; it can be from family and friends.  Lack of understanding or ignorance is at the root of this treatment and I try to remind myself of that every time an incident occurs.

A long time ago before I was married and  before I met my husband – I was in a relationship with a man for a few years.  One time over coffee a girlfriend says to me ” I’m really surprised you have a boyfriend.”  I was somewhat confused and I asked her why this would surprise her?  She said “because of your deafness, I’m surprised that you have found a man who would go out with you especially with your condition.”   It’s very rare that I am silent,  but I was stunned into silence.  My first reaction was anger and I thought “does she think that you need to hear to be loving, sensual, sexy and desired.”  “Believe me honey you don’t need to hear to be all of that and more.”   Just as I was about to blurt out something nasty and full of anger, a thought occurred to me that made  me feel sad for her.  She was relating her own fears, her belief that you have to be perfect in order to be loved.  Instead of an angry response, I said “I feel sorry for you if you think you have to be perfect to be loved, you don’t, that’s not how real love works.”  The effect was stunned silence from her.  She never said anything like that ever again.

All my life I’ve dealt with inconsiderate comments – something I’ve accepted and usually I use wit and  humour to deal with these comments.  I am at ease with my hearing loss and can laugh at some of the humorous situations that I get myself into.  I grew up with two brothers who loved to tease and what better person to tease than the hearing impaired person.  Their teasing was never about being condescending, it was about loving and accepting me as a whole.    However, in the real world people are not like that.   I can’t tell you how often, in a group setting, where I encounter the most difficulty, I’ve asked a person to repeat something and they either ignore me or wave me off like I’m not there – makes me feel left out and isolated.   When I confided at work that my hearing had become worse making phone use even more difficult a co-worker said to me  “you should apply for disability.”  My response was “disability is  for people who can’t work, I am fully able to work.” Her comment lacked empathy and after I had time away, I realized, again this was about her fears not my disability.  These types of incidences happen to me on a daily basis and I fight very hard not to feel isolated, not to withdraw myself from society and remain social.

The one positive aspect I can take from my lack of hearing is I know who my friends are, the friend who supports me whether I hear them or not, the friend who knows when I’m not hearing at a party and fills me in as soon as she gets the chance, the friend who uses my choice of communication (e-mail, facebook or skype) rather than phoning because she knows how difficult the phone can be, the friend who whispers into my ear scene by scene of what’s happening in a movie while at a theatre so I don’t miss any of the story, consequently totally screwing me up and I’ve never had the heart to tell her that I didn’t hear a damn thing she said (thank God for movie theatre closed caption devices) and the friend that takes the time to make sure we get together and purposely chooses a quiet restaurant because she knows I don’t do well in loud settings.

So Many blessings in so many areas of my life, a prayer of gratitude every day.  My morning routine is to get out of bed walk over to my bureau pick up my hearing aids and place them in my ears.  Within that split second between putting the hearing aids in my ears and turning on the device I wonder “will I hear today?”  The moment I hear sound I know it’s  a good day because today I will hear my children’s laughter, hear my youngest son singing along to the radio in the car, hear my husband’s constant jokes and teases throughout the day and  there are days if I stand very still outside amongst the trees and a bird is close enough, I may hear that bird chirping knowing that today could be the last day I hear her beautiful song.  Below a story I can relate.  A story of two girls and how they get through severe hearing impairment.  You must choose to see yourself as beautiful  and immerse  your soul in complete acceptance in this complex world – the choice is really the only choice someone with deafness or severe hearing impairment can make because any other choice means going in the wrong direction as in one of these girls….


peaceThis weekend is Remembrance Day weekend in Canada.  November 11th we honour all of the men and women, by land, sea and air, who have lost their lives to give all of us and future generations something we desperately take for granted – “freedom.”  I read this in the Vancouver Sun today, Peter McMartin is my favourite columnist, I read everything he writes – guess you can say I’m a big fan.  Today he posted a simple letter from a pilot who had joined the ranks of the air force to face the enemy many moons ago.  Tom Walmsley was this man’s name and his simple wishes for his son became a “life manual” for his two-year old son.  A life manual Tom’s son never took for granted and based his whole life on his father’s simple wishes – read below – I promise after reading it you will be filled with gratitude for what you have and cherish the freedoms we all have been given because of the great men and women before us…..May we never forget and continue to support the many men and women who continue to fight for our freedom.    Double click below: