His name was Wayne and I met him years ago at Manning Park, BC.  My mother-in-law has a cabin in Manning Park and my husband and I spent many weekends at the hill when the boys were younger teaching them how to ski.  Wayne was the bus driver, he drove guests from the hotel to the ski hill daily many times a day.  I never really had a chance to stop and talk to him at length as he was always dashing from here to there.  I would run into him on the way out of the cafeteria as he stopped for a quick coffee or on the way out of the ski school office as he gathered up his passengers.  Every time I walked past Wayne he would give me a huge smile and stop for a second to ask how I was doing, how Drew was doing and the boys – never once did he not stop.  After our ski day was done we would all pile into our vehicle and head down the narrow mountain road back to our cabin only to drive by Wayne in his bus as he was heading back to pick up the last group of skiers to take them back to the hotel.   He would whip right past us but not without a big smile, honk of the horn and a greeting.  That was Wayne, he was a bus driver during the winter and in the summer he worked in the park’s campgrounds.   While camping at Manning one summer, a staff vehicle pulled up to the site across from us and I noticed it was Wayne.  When he realized it was our family he gave us a big warm smile and came over to ensure we were all well.   After talking to Wayne you were always left with a special feeling, Wayne just had that way about him.  He was genuine, he wasn’t kissing your ass, he wasn’t phony, he wasn’t trying to find out the latest gossip, he was just a really nice guy.  A couple of weeks ago I was saddened to hear that he suffered a heart attack and passed away.   Wayne’s memorial was this past weekend and my mother-in-law attended.  When she got home, Sunday afternoon, she told me that the memorial was packed with people, “wall to wall of people” she said.  Staff members, customers, people from the area, people from far away – they all came.   My mother-in-law said that some of the staff of Manning were surprised that so many people came.  I burst out laughing and my mother-in-law laughed right along with me.  Society can be so trivial at times, people are impressed with positions, money, fame and so many people are only kind to people who can get them somewhere.  Wayne didn’t care who you were and he never worried about positions or money.    He genuinely liked people and people genuinely liked Wayne.  I didn’t even know Wayne’s last name until the memorial was announced on Facebook, but when someone mentioned Wayne at Manning  you just knew what Wayne they were talking about.  As my mother-in-law was waiting to enter the room where the memorial took place, she recognized the man standing beside her.  This man has been coming to Manning Park from the States for a ski vacation for years.   “I’m surprised to see you here” my mother-in-law said.  With tears in his eyes he said “I had to come.”  Wayne built a life out of love, kindness, simplicity, honesty, empathy, compassion and people came.


Two years ago I blogged about the new additions to our family in our new furry friends.  My youngest son wanted a dog so badly and I kept saying no to a dog because we are way too busy to be dog owners.  I  Grew up with dogs and I know how much work is involved.   A couple of years ago we were invited to a dinner party and this friend had chickens in his backyard.  They were friendly chickens and Matthew spent the whole evening chasing  bloody chickens around, holding  and petting his new feathered friends.  On the way home he kept saying he wanted a chicken as a pet.  Of course I said no to the chicken but I felt so guilty and in an emotional state I blurted out he could have a guinea pig.

The next day when I got home from work, Matthew was waiting at the front door – “mom let’s go get my guinea pig.”  Off we went to the pet shop (first mistake), went into the little cubbie hole where the guinea pigs were  kept with the boys(second mistake), listened to the sales girl tell me that we needed two guinea pigs because they are social animals and they need company while we are not home(third mistake), and then the girl continued to tell me that guinea pigs are not much work and they just eat lettuce, hay and pellets (fourth mistake).

I get to the truck to my awaiting husband, who by the way wanted nothing to do with the purchase of a guinea pig,  and as  I climb into the cab he is holding his fingers in the shape of an L and calling me a loser because I bought two guinea pigs .  He was right because when  we arrived home, set up our new furry friends  in their cage, the excitement lasted maybe  a few weeks and then my husband and I seemed to be on our own taking care of two guinea pigs.  Guinea pigs are interesting animals as they are very smart – smarter than I realized.

The one guinea pig, I’ll call the white one, wanted his hay on  a particular  side of the cage only and then he would take all of the hay out of the container and  spread all over his cage, consequently spilling out of the cage onto the rug.   Every day I would move his hay to the other side and fix the hay back neatly into the container.    The white one or, the great one, would then go and move the container back to the other side of the cage and then spread the hay all over again.    I would then come along and fix the container and  hay back in the original position.    After the third or fourth time of fighting with the great one over his hay,  he stopped looked at me (I swear he narrowed his eyes) and moved the hay container again,  only this time he backed all the way to the back of the cage and the made a mad dash and  buried himself under the hay only to come out the other side effectively exploding the  hay  all over the cage, literally exploded in my face.   He succeeded in having hay all over his cage and at the same time telling me to pound sand.  He looked at me with a look that said  “come on whatcha  gonna do about it now.”

Yep – I have two kids who can have attitude, I have a husband with attitude and for $24.99 you too can buy a guinea pig with a bad attitude.  I found myself talking to my bad ass guinea pig that day and I  said  “you keep up that attitude buddy, I’m gonna open the front door and give you your freedom, that’s right your freedom to run outside with the dogs, cats, raccoons, eagles and owls  – just keep it up and you’re a free guinea pig.”   Unfortunately,  my son heard me and went running to his father and said “dad we can’t leave mom alone with the guinea pigs, she’ll kill them!’

As time went on the dark guinea pig became ill, he somehow managed to catch an inner ear infection (very common with rodents), then he got scurvy and then mites.  My husband and I  were constantly looking after a sick guinea pig as he went from one illness to another.     So much work and not to mention the money that went out on medication to take care of a $24.99 guinea pig.  After some time and a lot of TLC, our sick guinea pig got better, not perfect but better,  and all seemed to be well with the little guys, I have to admit I was warming up to them, and then all of a sudden the great one fell ill.

Back to the vet, more medication and  more money except he didn’t survive.  The night he died his breathing became very shallow and we knew he wasn’t going to make it – my husband held that little guy on his chest and talked to him all night.    After calling me a loser for buying two guinea pigs and wanted nothing to do with them,  he loves our guinea pigs and felt so bad for the great one.

We buried him in our backyard and not even an hour after the burial the boys (all three of them) starting bugging me to buy another guinea pig.  I put my foot down, no bloody way was I buying another guinea pig – one was enough – no way.  Our surviving guinea pig went into a depression – he wouldn’t come out of his house, showed us only his butt for days, the boys and Drew were worried he was going to die and they kept pressuring me to buy him a friend.  No way, ” he’s pretty lucky, he could live in South America, I hear they eat guinea pigs there.”

Eventually with lots of love and attention he got over his depression and the little sickly guinea pig is still going strong today.  Still way too much work and not enough help from the boys and every now and then when I ask my son to clean the guinea pig’s cage and he doesn’t, I threaten Matthew and tell him he’s going to find his guinea pig sleeping with the fishies,  sends my son  running to find his dad  every time  “dad, mom is threatening to kill the guinea pig again!”



My boys have been so fortunate with the influence of their grandmothers in their lives.  One of my favourite pictures of my mother-in-law with the boys and the bottom picture is my favourite of my mom with Matt.  We are blessed to still enjoy my mother-in-law every day.  My mother has been gone since 2010 – hard to believe how fast time goes..Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn article I read on the internet prompted this post.  It was Jada Pinkett Smith speaking out about a controversial picture of her daughter Willow(fully clothed) lying in bed with a shirtless Moises Arias.  The picture did not depict sex, however what makes it controversial is the fact that Smith’s daughter is only 13 and Arias is 20.  What is she doing hanging out with a shirtless guy on his bed by herself!  Smith essentially was saying that the media was making it out to be something it’s not  and I’m sure that is true but lady your daughter is 13  – she should not be hanging out with 20 year old men.  Further along in the article there is an earlier comment from Will saying that he and Jada Pinkett don’t believe in discipline – they don’t send their children to their room and they don’t take luxuries away for punishment.  As a matter of fact his fifteen year old son said he wanted his own house and Will said that he is a big believer of letting his children make their own decisions.  I can’t agree with him more, I do believe that  eventually you have to give your children the freedom to make their own choices and support them, however, you really need to offer them guidance and direction.  You can’t just say “oh – ok so you want to live on your own now at 15, let me go buy you a house.”  “oh you want a car, let me go buy you that car.”   Children need to learn how to be responsible and that means they have to learn that things don’t come easy.  We are building characters, not robots.

When our family first moved to this neighbourhood I found it a little too cozy for me.  We live in a double cul-de-sac and it seemed like the neighbours just opened their doors and let the children run.  The problem with that is young children need direction when things go wrong.  Yes they need to squabble, yes they need to solve their problems and figure out how to get along, but there is a time when parents have to step in.  When we first moved here my children were five and three years old.   Way too young to be out on the street by themselves, but so many parents did just that.  Consequently, I was outside watching all the time and it didn’t take long for problems to arise.  Once the boys were a little older I wasn’t out watching them as much and I remember one time when my oldest was around eleven years old,  I was dusting the front room when I heard an argument between my son and a boy in the neighbourhood.   I don’t know what the argument was about but I looked up in time to see the boy from down the street take a run at my son and kick him right in the crotch.  My son then grabbed the boy and threw him to the ground.  The boy got up and ran home crying and then  my son came in crying and was worried he would be in trouble.  I said “you’re not in trouble, you defended yourself and quite frankly I’m very proud of you, with your temper, I’m surprised you only threw him to the ground.” He told me he wanted to beat him up but restrained himself from doing so and ended up just pushing him to the ground.

Within minutes the boy’s mother shows up at my door screaming that my son pushed her son to the ground.  I approached her calmly and told her that both of our sons had an argument and her son chose to attack my son by kicking him in the crotch and I reminded her that this was not the first time her son had struck out at my son.   What happened next astounded me, she said, “yes I know my son told me what he did, but your son should have taken it and backed off.”  Wow,  my son should have taken her son’s abuse and backed off!   I was floored and I said to her “I don’t know what planet you live on, but here in my world when someone kicks someone else in the crotch, they are looking for trouble and they better expect some reaction.”  She then calls my son a bully because he threw her son to the ground.  I repeated the fact that her son kicked my son in the crotch as hard as he could and that I witnessed the event.    She then says to me  “it doesn’t matter, your son should have backed away.”  To top things off  she said ” I also question your parenting ability as you let  your children play hockey.”  “You must question most of this town’s parenting abilities because a lot of kids play hockey,”  I said.  My son has a bad temper and there have been quite a few times when he was younger I asked him to go to his room, not so much as punishment, more so as a cooling off period during some of the struggles he and I have endured as he is a very stubborn and determined child who doesn’t always want to listen or do what his parents ask him to do.  During those episodes there has been yelling and doors slamming due to the height of his anger and frustration coupled by the fact that I won’t put up with crap from my children.  Let’s just say where this neighbour’s house is located, she most surely has heard some of our family squabbles.  I don’t really care and I’m not about to change the way I do things because she’s a nosy neighbour.

During the argument about her son kicking my son in the crotch and in her opinion my son should have lied down and taken it, she brings up the fact that she has heard our squabbles and then says “we don’t believe in disciplining our children.”  I said , “good luck with that honey, tell me in ten years where that gets you.”  She then went on to make more comments about our squabbles and I abruptly stopped her and told her that it was none of her business how my husband and I choose to raise our children.  She then had the nerve to say “that since we call ourselves Christian she thought that I would teach my children to walk away.”   Exasperated I blurted out ” I don’t see what your son kicking my son in the balls has to do with my religion and furthermore, our religion teaches us to forgive your son’s actions not take it.”   Finally I ended the conversation by saying  “that since this wasn’t the first time her son attacked my son (the first time my son didn’t defend himself) that for now on when he comes onto my property and he touches one of my boys, my boys have my permission to defend themselves and if you or your son has a problem with that then keep your son the hell away from my property.”  She took her son and walked away but eventually  she did what cowardly people with no discipline do, she spread lies about me and my children around the neighbourhood.  I really couldn’t have cared less because I’m not really interested in people who stand around and talk about other people all day and besides I’ve got enough friends, I don’t need more. The situation worked itself out, her son moved on and so did mine.  We are different people with different lives and I accept that we are not all the same.  Interesting as I don’t make any judgments on how she raises her children with no discipline or direction but she is judgmental of how I raise my children.

God has a way of revealing things to me and his revelations always come when I least expect them and in the most spontaneous way,  yet they speak volumes in making me understand that there is a greater purpose in life and not everything is as it seems.    A year after that incident, I was picking up my recycling bins after the recycling truck had gone and as I was walking toward the house to put the bins back in the garage, an envelope flew out of one of the bins, literally up in the air in front of my face and fell  to the concrete in front of my feet.  I bent over to pick up the envelope and as I turned the envelope over, I realized it was addressed to my neighbour. The envelope was empty, but the return address listed on the left hand side of the envelope clearly  told me that not all was well in that woman’s house.  I’m not saying our family life is perfect nor do my husband and I always make the right decisions as parents, but we don’t pretend to be perfect and we know that we don’t have it all worked out.  Clearly trouble in paradise – only her family doesn’t yell or scream and slam doors.


sunset collage

Waiting for those summer nights, nights to sip cocktails in the open air, smell the fresh scent of the green grass and watch the sun set in all its might…..

“Time goes by at the speed of life
Slower than a slow dance
on a hot summer night
Faster than the skin breaks
on the edge of a knife
And we just go on at the speed of life”
― Jude Cole