What if?

My oldest son is in Grade 4 we have a two-minute walk to the elementary school. I  have been trying to give him more freedom. I wondered is it time to let him walk to school by himself? I just feel that there are so many what if’s? What if someone snatches him? What if a careless driver fails to see him crossing the street? What if there is a bully lurking in the corner? What if? What if?

It was just this past week, the morning was cold, and he had to be at school early before everyone else to work on a school project.  I took the leap and decided to give him just a little bit more freedom. I walked him across the busy street letting him walk to school alone. I turned my back and went home.

I sighed, and hurried back home to get on with the morning and organize the littlest for the first bell.

It was later in the morning the house was quiet, I was reaching for my second cup of coffee, and the phone rang. I saw the schools number on the phone and felt a heavy thud in my stomach.


“Hello. We are wondering where Alex is this morning?”

“He is at school.”

“No the teacher has him marked as absent.”

I felt a slight rush of panic my worst nightmare had come true and I was beginning to workout a plan in my head, “No I walked him half way to school he should be there he had an early morning project.”

“Oh! The teacher marked him as absent. She must have forgot.No worries then…”

I felt no worries! I felt a surge of  panic!What if the teacher was right? What if he was absent? What if he was abducted?

“Could you do me a favor and just make sure he is at the school? I only walked him halfway, I didn’t see him walk in, and now just want to double check that he is with the group?”

My helicopter blades were spinning like mad! I panicked thinking maybe he didn’t make it to school.The what ifs swirled in my head. I kicked myself  I should have  walked him the whole way.

The secretary returned to the phone and replied, “It’s all good! We found him! He is with the group!”

And it was with that assurance I felt a huge sigh of relief.

In this day and age there are so many what ifs! As a child I remember roaming the streets with my friends, walking home from school alone, and hanging in the trees in the woods. We weren’t supervised and we all made it out unscathed for the most part.

So what has changed?  Do you have a what if?

Lunch Wars: Bringing Real Food Back to the Schools

In  the novel Lunch Wars, Amy Kalafa, points out we need to teach our children the fundamental importance of good food. “Developing a sense of taste is not just for food snobs. The connection between healthy food, healthy soil, and healthy kids is made through the sense of taste. Teaching children to taste real food at a young age enable them to discern junk food as junk.” It is this food advocacy that needs to be prevalent in more schools. In this novel she teaches for parents to advocate for their children’s health through research,  policy planning, and taking the step forward to speak your mind.

As I read Lunch Wars it made me appreciate the elementary school my children attend for its stringent nutritional guidelines. It offers a nutritious hot lunch program offered once a month in which the meal is made from scratch from local resources. It is in this health food initiative in which children learn the benefits of eating good slow food.

The school also has a plot in the community garden were children participate each spring in the garden club learning how to grow vegetables. It’s these initiatives that teach my children between the taste of a carrot from a fresh garden in comparison to the bulk bag from the super store.

It is teaching  our children the benefits of healthy eating and how to make wise choices with their food options. As my children grow,gain part-time jobs, I won’t be able to hold their hand our control what they consume on a daily basis.  But to ban junk food completely from schools doesn’t prepare them for the real world. As they grow older we need to helicopter less and hope they do make the wise choices. However, if my child is eating a balanced diet I see nothing wrong in enjoying a cup cake every now and then.

Balance and moderation are key to a healthy diet. As our children grow we need to advocate for healthy meals offered in the high school cafeteria. I also know as parents we need to start the education early in the homes because it is not the schools responsibility to monitor our children’s diets. However, we  do need to find balance within the schools to create and provide more healthy options besides pizza and fries.

Do you think schools need to take a more healthy approach to the meal selections they offer? If, so why? Also  check out more about Lunch Wars at BlogHer Book Club and join the  lively discussions!

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Fireball Nana and her Last Heavy Lesson

My mother is a keen expert in  Catholic Guilt. She has learned the art with gusto and can summon a yes out of me with ease of a sniff or hint of illness. It’s no surprise that she learned it  from the best – her mother.

Pallbearers at the Ready - Ginger Lovellette

My Nana was a fireball of words and was an extremely sore loser at cards. It’s not that she didn’t love us but she liked to test us. Perhaps, it was by calling our husband by our ex-boyfriends names, or point out without exception when we gained weight. But she loved us in her odd way  always disappointed that we never fulfilled any of her dreams of becoming nuns, saints, or priests.

It was when she died it was unbeknownst to me that the family had decided a grandchild from each family would be a pallbearer. My Mom went to my sister and she wisely declined. As I sipped my wine our mother glanced my way ‘You can be the pallbearer. We need one from each family.”

“I don’t want to do it.”

“You have to your sister won’t! So that means you!”

“Do I have too?”

“Yes! You do!”


“We have to have someone represent us. I can’t do it! I just can’t” she sniffed and then peered up to see if I would take the bait.

“Isn’t the casket heavy to lift?”

“Don’t worry about there will be a trolley. You won’t have to lift. You just have to walk beside and help wheel it down.”

The morning of the funeral was cold with a light snow as we arrived at the church.  We walked in I waited back with a motley crew of cousins two already had a nip at the bottle, one was recovering from heart surgery, another that weighed less than a hundred pounds, one cranky as me for having to participate in the service.

We were ushered outside to the front of the church. The gentleman from the funeral home informed us that we would have to assist with removing the coffin from the hearse. It was there we all looked for the trolley to wheel her up the stairs.

We looked and then we  looked at each other – we were all to carry the coffin up the mountain of icy stairs and down the long church aisle. How could this happen? In the madness of it all I and my other cousin were placed in the front to bare the heaviest of the casket. My shoes slipped, my cousin who had a nip, “Hold on! Does everyone got her?”

I suspected he mumbled the words old trout under his breath.

We slowly walked up the icy steps, our faces beat red, puffing and panting.  Nana and the coffin were much heavier than expected, it was at that moment,  I cursed my Mom, I cursed my heels, and the coffin  began to tilt someone screamed, “Hold on! We`re losing her! Don’t drop Nana!”

It was with panic we all held on for dear life and knew if we dropped Nana it would be the end to us all. The Aunts would never forgive us and we would be thrown into our own private hell.  We all caught balanced and managed walking the coffin down the aisle. After we returned to the pews, my one cousin was having chest pains, the other was looking for his flask, and my other cousin turned to me and replied, “Nana was heavy! But I didn’t think she was that heavy.”

It’s with that is the memory of my grandmother’s funeral all six of us guilted into carrying the casket up the aisle and almost dropping Nana. I could almost hear her in heaven as she nipped her gin, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they did drop me! One of them at least could have been a nun or a priest!”

It was after the funeral I returned home that I vowed to learn to use the word No with gusto! It was that evening I toasted Nana with a glass of lime pop and gin thanking her for her last heavy lesson. If I could return to that day I would have much prefered to be in the pew mustering a tear or two  instead of dealing with the fear of Nana’s holy  ghost.

Is there a day you would like to return to and just say no?

Can Patron Saint Joseph Help Sell Your Home?

Our first home was a small little spot in the middle of nowhere we had the quiet visits of deer, moose, and the occasional bear. It was the perfect beginning to our young little family. Two bedrooms seemed spacious enough for three but with the arrival of our second child I was ready to move into town.I wanted to enjoy the luxury of spacious and convenient living.

Sadly, due to an undesirable location for the rest of the planet, two bedrooms, and a bear trap in the front yard had made our little love nest an inconvenience to sell. That is until my superstitious mother stepped in with a solution.

She handed me a statue of the Patron Saint Joseph.

“My friend told me to bury this in your backyard and your house will sell quicker.”

I looked at her sleep deprived and wondering what she was holding, “What? What is that?”

“It’s the Patron Saint Joseph. Just bury it in the yard.”

I took it and buried it in the cupboard. Completely forgetting of its existence until her next visit. She found it in the back of my cupboard searching for the tea.

“You didn’t bury this yet?”

“No! No! I didn’t!”

She looked at me, “Humph! No wonder your house will never sell!”

It’s with that I sighed and grabbed my darling three-year old to teach him a lesson in superstitions. We walked out the backdoor with one Hail Mary we took sweet Joseph and  buried him deep into the recesses of the ground.

It was at this point in my life I had two little ones under the age of three, a husband on the road for work, and a need of a weekly break to regain some form of sanity. My babysitter was a saving grace, a saint, the one rescue from the toils of spit and soiled diapers.

It was one afternoon I came home from a glorious afternoon of peace and coffee to discover my babysitter had dug out dear Saint Joseph from the backyard.

“We were playing in the backyard. Your son just started digging and kept saying he was looking for his buried treasure. Where did it come from?”

As she held the dear Saint Joseph in her hand with a perplexed look on her face – all I could do was lie. Yes! I lied out of fear of losing my babysitter! How would you react to a poorly dress woman with black circles under her eyes admitting “Yes! I did bury Saint Joseph in my back yard in order for my home to sell!”

It was with wise maneuvering and fear of judgement I did not come clean. Instead I looked at the statue, I looked at my sitter’s angelic and inquisitive face and replied , “I have no idea where that came from – Isn’t that bizarre!”

It was with that my babysitter left my home  befuddled with so many questions on her mind…

Have you ever fibbed out of fear of judgement?

My Dog’s Life

This week  took a turn from organized to chaotic. So I have given over my blog to my dog Sadie to give you a brief perspective into her life. I beg to disagree with most of her points!

If you ever listened to the Beatles songs a Hard Days Night then you already know my life in the first two lines. However, there is no sleep for me and I do work like a dog. I feel as if most days  no one appreciates all of my hard work!

Did you know that I’m rustled out of bed at the crack of dawn?  Two little giants rumble in and jump on top of me with cuddles. Don’t they realize I need sleep! I’m up all night listening to the rabbits under the step and people passing on the side-walk. I even have to listen to snores and toots!  It’s enough for anyone to have a sleepless night.

The next thing you know, the morning chaos erupts, everyone is out the door, and I’m left stuck in my crate. My owner says, “It’s because I cannot be trusted.” It wasn’t my fault the front window blinds got pulled  down by my paws and the lovely white panels were calling me to chew them into tiny delicious pieces. I’m only a dog after all…

It’s when my Mom returns home lets me out of the crate she gives me the most daunting task in dogs history. I have to work on getting rid of a closet full of shoes. Her house needs some major de-cluttering. I have been very proactive in helping solve this situation. I have been known to courageously seize the opportunity!

It is when no one is looking I  grab a shoe,  hide under the bed, and chew it until I’m caught! If I’m lucky they don’t discover the chewed shoe for at least a day! But that’s one more pair of shoes that doesn’t take up space on the shoe rack! One giant leap for interior spaciousness!

But the worst part of my day is supper! I get something dry and gross while they all eat steak! How fair is that? I have to tolerate the whole meal in silence waiting for a morsel to fall on the floor. I feel like such a barbarian!

Did you know you know she is not even paying me in treats for writing this? She’s such a cheapskate!

Phew! All of this typing has made me tired!I think I could go for a nap….

What do you think of a dog’s life? Do I have it rough?

My Saggy Bits List

I know I need to eat healthy, workout, and live a balanced life. Maybe it’s the change in the moon because I feel like Howling every time I read “You Know Your Ready When to Lose Weight”  or “How to Drop Ten Pounds in a Month.” I mean really do I need to look at another air brushed super model.

So my muffin tops and I made our own list in retaliation of this healthy feel good wellness business! It’s called My Saggy Bits List….

1) I did purchase a cheap cotton shirt and yes it did shrink in the dryer! My muffin top has not expanded!

2) I do not like Green Smoothies. No matter how you spin it. I do not love them. I would much rather eat salad for breakfast!

3) Spanx was created for muffin tops.  Enjoy it’s sausage encasing glory and strut those skinny jeans!

4) LuluLemon only has sales for size 2’s! And it’s annoying! Why does size 2 always get all the glory and the savings?

5) My thighs rub together! Isn’t that suppose to be normal?

6) One cookie a day keeps me happy.

7) Water! Water with lemon! Water with berry infused flavors!  Sometimes I just want a frickin coke!

8) I  have a fear if I keep digesting the chia seed my bowel movements may morph  into a chia pet.

9) A jelly doughnut is heaven on a cloudy and cold wet day.

10) My latest running catastrophe involved tripping over a tree root  and having some one on one intimate attention with the dirty ground. Where is the fitness glory in that tale? Sometime it’s best just to stay home and watch the View.

Now that I have vented, hammered my scale, I’m beginning to feel much better. I think I will go eat my celery stick with goat cheese.  It tastes so much better than the salty scrumptious goodness of chips.

Is there anything you would like to add to the list? I don’t want to be the only one that vents….

Dance Each Day Like Our Last

I was in a hospital bed in India was very sick, dehydrated, and hooked-up to an IV. It was around six in the morning the nurse with big brown eyes who spoke no English rustled me out of my deep sweaty sleep. She handed me the Hindustan Times, and I pushed it away.

by Elizabeth Brandon

It was so tired, so sick, I just wanted to sleep. She rustled me again, her eyes were urgent, and forced the front page into my hands. I abruptly awoke, my stomach, went queasy. This didn’t happen there must be some kind of mistake…

I glanced at the paper, my heart sank, as I looked at the crumbling towers. How could this happen? All I wanted to do was contact my family, get out of the hospital bed, and see my  work mates. I felt a rush of panic and dizziness – how could something like this happen?

The next month we were glued to the TV screens watching every tidbit of news from CNN, Star TV, and BBC. Each had their own perspective of what happened and would happen next.

It was in October the day the US invaded Afghanistan. I treated it like any other work day put on my work clothes and went to the office. My colleague and I were meeting with the  CEO of the business we were consulting and placing a request for better working conditions for his employees. He looked at us and said, ” I’m in no mood today. I have family in Afghanistan.”

You could see the pain in his eyes and the weight on his shoulders. It is there memories of what I remember from that fateful day of the invasion of Afghanistan and the months that trudged into the lion’s den.

My perspective of terrorism changed as we  sat in a political hot bed we were told  we were possible targets white and North American is was wise to not to go into Old Delhi under any circumstances. We were to be cautious at all times whether were in Market places or traveling to any destinations deemed safe.

In December just before Christmas Vacation the Indian Parliament only twenty minutes from where I lived was stormed by Pakistani Terrorists. I remember walking into the office, everyone pale, wondering  when would be the next attack and would India retaliate on its northern neighbors.

On Christmas Vacation my husband and I backpacked throughout Rajasthan. I remember looking out at the vast landscape, the road ways, and  watching the Indian tanks move to defends it borders. We looked at each other and attempted to guess the news of the day.

It was the next morning I sipped my coffee and inspected the news in the internet cafe. Only to discover our next travel destination had a detour there would be no camel safari in Jesselmer as long as there was fighting and gun shots along the border.

Our travel plans derailed we spent extra time in Udaipur. It was on New Years Eve  on the hostel roof top we danced under the stars with all of the hostel workers as well a motley crew of dirty backpacker’s one Israeli, a couple of Aussies, and a few Germans. It was that night we danced to the beat of the music with merriment we did the light bulb, we laughed, and we rang in the New Year of 2002 with hope for a better future.

9/11 shaped the globalized community and changed all of our worlds on that fateful day. Terrorism has changed the way we travel and the way we think about our world. The crumbling of the towers, the loss of life, still makes me sick to my stomach. If we are ever to defeat the chaos  terrorism has inflicted on our psyche it is by  showing no fear and living each day like it is our last.

How has 9/11 changed the way you view the world?

Are You a Hugger?

My family was never one for hugging it was one of those awkward signs of affection. It’s not that we didn’t love each other it’s just that we never hugged. In an odd way, the only people in my life that I hug is my children, my husband, and the odd farewell hug to my much-loved Mother.

It was the other day I faced two well-meaning hugging scenarios which I returned with awkward grace.  The first  was an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for a while dove into greet me with a hug. I mustered the best I could – I was frazzled, I went spastic, jumped away, recovered with a smile,  moving forward with the conversation.

My husband was in the distance chuckling at the  scenario. As I walked towards him “I know! She hugged me!”

He chuckled again…

The next day I met my cousin whom I haven’t seen for over fifteen years. He was a young sappy sprout who has decided to travel across the country to discover his freedom and find  himself. We chatted over breakfast, got the scoop on the whole family, and listened to his future dreams.

As I dropped him off to his next destination he dove in to give me a farewell hug. I dove away! The best I could muster was a punch in the arm, “Go get them slugger! I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!”

So I ask are you a hugger? Do you return the hug? Or do you find it an invasion of your personal space?

Slow Love: A Work in Progress

Slow Love by Dominique Browning is the book you want to love, you want to embrace, but at the same time it will drive you crazy.  It is her narrative voice and self-analysis which brought back my own forgotten past of lovers quarrels and games.  I suspect if I were a book at the time my friends would have slammed me shut and thrown me across the floor for constantly dwelling on love gone sour.

It’s these classic books that we have all thrown across the floor that end up on our book shelf like a distant memory. As the author moves forward with her life and downsizes her home. She is faced with the daunting of task of what is the value of worth in her own collection of books. It is here that she makes the  pain-stacking decision to move forward by parting with stacks of her collection.

A condensed library of books summarizes the  different stages of  life, who you were, who you are, and who you dream to be. It is books which nurture the soul when love has gone sour or life just doesn’t go your way. Slow Love reminds us that nobody is perfect and we are all just a work in progress like a really good book.

In the next few weeks BlogHer Book Club will be  focusing on many discussions about Slow Love. Drop in and join the chat!

All I Wanted Was My Dog

After a splendid weekend of camping the next day I soldiered through the laundry and hopped in the car ready to pick up my beloved pet from the kennel. I drove half way across the city and landed at the spot at exactly 12:05pm. I went to open the door and it was locked.

I then proceeded to read the sign on the door. We are open Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm however we are closed between 12:00pm and 1:00pm. I sighed “You have got to be kidding me” 

No one had ever mentioned this fact to us before, it wasn’t listed on the web site, and they didn’t mention it on their answering machine. I looked around the building cars were parked, lights were on, and I assumed if I rang the door bell someone would answer.

But they didn’t! I suspect they were too busy playing poker!

The location was in the middle of no where so I was left standing waiting for someone to open the door. All I wanted was my dog. It only takes two seconds to pay and then leave with the adorable pup. However, I waited, I phoned, no answer, I rang the doorbell, still no answer! At exactly 1:00 pm they opened the magical door which lead to my dog.

“Good Afternoon! How can I help you?”

” Good Afternoon! I’m here to pick-up my dog, I have been waiting hour outside, could you please go get her.”

Another girl emerged ” Is there a problem?”

“Yes there is a problem! I have driven half way across the city to the middle of no where only to discover that you are closed at the most convenient time of the day between 12:00 and 1:00pm.”

“Well you should have known!”

“I should  have known – how could I know if someone doesn’t tell me, list it on their website, or leave this tidbit of information on their answering machine. The whole time a paying customer is standing outside to pick her dog up and you don’t even have the common courtesy to pick up the phone or answer the door.”

“It’s not my problem. You should have known the time was listed on the door.”

“So what you are telling me is I have to drive half way across the city to read a  sign on the door?”

It’s with that she stomped off in a huff. I could hear her exclaiming through the walls at the girl getting my dog how awful I was….

It was at that point girl came out with my dog. I didn’t reply, I didn’t tip for the care of my dog, I left, and I will never return again. If they are in the business of losing repeat customers – I think they may have succeeded!

What is one of your worst customer service experiences? Did you ever return to that business?