Friday, December 21, 2007


I have to confess, Tom and I are not Christmas people.

For years we did our best to feign holiday cheer, mostly because we gave birth to Tyler “Christmas is my middle name” Ryan.

Maybe it’s just part of the natural order of life, an innate desire not to become your parents. So, if your mom and dad are two old hippies, Tyler’s only option of course is to embrace Tradition.

Because we love and adore our son, we spent years baking Christmas cookies, hand-painting ornaments, decorating trees, and listening to chipmunks singing “Jingle Bell Rock”. We would drive for miles and miles (and stand in line for hours and hours) in order to buy the last Ninja Turtle action figure in the Texas panhandle.

Tom and I were constantly living The Big Lie - that there really is a Santa Claus - and the only way to show your true love for your family was to obligingly spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on them.

Merry, freaking Christmas!

But like most things in life, you can only fake something for so long before it all becomes too much. So, several years ago, Tom and I decided to finally come out of the closet and admit to the world “Sorry Christmas, but we’re just not that into you.”

The great thing is, it allowed us to really think about who we are, and determine what we think is worth celebrating. In our case it happens to be our family’s health, happiness, and the Winter and Summer Solstice. And oh yes, (to a lesser degree) the Spring and Fall Equinox.

So, from our family to yours, we sincerely wish you a Happy Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year (at least in this hemisphere).

Tomorrow is the re-birth of longer and sunnier days. Tomorrow is when Mother Earth rises from her wet and windy slumber, stretches her long, pale arms and proclaims “Okay, time to wake up and liven this place up a bit!”

Now, that’s something worth celebrating!

Make no mistake, half-way around the world, in a Bangkok high-rise, the Spirit of Christmas proudly lives on. I like to imagine our little Tyler drinking eggnog by the fire, crooning along with Bing Crosby, and hanging up the mistletoe.

You know? - there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

Merry Christmas baby boy, we love you.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Just Call Me Grace

Before I tell you about my latest stupid person trick - there are two things you should know about me. I am quite shy - and a very big klutz. It’s a scary combination.

It happened last week at work, when I decided to go powder my nose. As I was leaving my office I tripped and performed a face plant – catching my chin on a table edge and knocking myself silly. It’s true what they say, your life really does pass before your eyes - in slow motion – and in my case it looked like a really bad Saturday Night Live skit.

To make a long story short, while I was bleeding all over my office floor, my colleagues insisted on calling an ambulance. Paramedics soon arrived at our building - along with the entire Vancouver fire department.

Every introvert's nightmare. I was so shaken up by the whole experience that I didn’t even have time to check out the firemen, (who my female colleagues assured me were “quite handsome”.)

Sitting in the ambulance, barreling down Burrard Street towards St. Paul’s Hospital wasn’t exactly my idea of a joy ride, and the truth is I can’t even remember if they turned the sirens on. But I will never forget how incredibly kind everyone was to me.

To Cindy, Carla, Dana and Willy - thank you so much for taking control and helping me. You guys rock and I am a better person for knowing you.

To Chris and Steve, thank you for making me laugh – and helping me find the humour in an otherwise embarrassing situation.

And thanks also to Raymond and Ray - for assuring me that life would continue, (even if I had to miss the power lunch with Paul Henderson) – and reminding me that all true Canadian’s proudly wear a five-stitch scar on their chin as a badge of honour.

I guess I’ll have to tell everyone I gave up my body, blocking a hard slap-shot.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Where the Hell is KL ?

Today my game was off – I should have gone back to bed and started over – maybe it would have helped.

It started with a 2:00 am phone call from my son, of which I have absolutely no memory. Fortunately he followed up with an email, smart boy knows when I’m talking in my sleep.
The gist of his note went something like this – I’m in Kuala Lumpur – need money – oh yeah, love to Dad and the pugs.

For anyone who has ever had a child traveling around the world, you will appreciate how well you get to know the good folks at Western Union…..let’s just say that we’re on a first name basis. So it stunned me when they pointed out I had made a mistake on my form - informing me that Kuala Lumpur wasn’t actually in Malaysia – and insisting I fill in the blank with the correct country.

This took me by surprise, as I’m pretty confident in my geography. I’ll spare you the details – but at the end of our “is too / is not” conversation - I was doubting myself. I finally called Tom on the cell phone, who was able to get a concierge to look it up and confirm that I was right.
Maybe Western Union should require all of their employees to watch Carmen Santiago.

It reminded me of the time that Tom and I lived in New Mexico – a state that most people have no idea even exists. New Mexicans love sharing stories about people who think they are located in South America. One of my favs was the time I tried to mail a package from Florida to Santa Fe, and had to convince the postmaster that it really was part of the good old USA.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Eye Spy

After months of denial, I finally broke down and bought a pair of reading glasses.

I’ve always prided myself on having 20 / 20 vision. In hindsight, I probably should have used it for the good of man kind –working as fighter pilot or a sniper - careers that require excellent eyesight. Not to mention that I was often smug, pointing out to Tyler that his need for glasses certainly didn’t come from my side of the family.

But like most things in life, you don’t always know what you have until it’s gone. In my case, it happened over night….literally. It’s as if I woke up one morning and couldn’t read anything that was close to my face. At first I made all of the usual excuses – tried to blame it on fatigue and stress - anything but the fact that I’m getting older.

To add to my humiliation, I’ve discovered that reading glasses are made for people with small heads. Trust me on this. Imagine Mr. Potato head with a tiny pair of glasses and you get the general idea. I am feeling most attractive.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow Angels

Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful white world – cause for great excitement in our little home. If you’re in the south or Midwest and reading this, you’re probably wondering why a Canadian would get excited about a little snow. Contrary to popular belief, Canada isn’t the great white north. In fact, the west coast enjoys a temperate climate – never too hot or never too cold. When we do get snow it stays in the mountains and rarely falls in the city.

My fascination with snow goes back to my childhood. Winter in West Texas can be bitterly cold, but it rarely snows. When it does snow, everything comes to a standstill – no school, no work – due to the fact that most sane and rational people are terrified to ever attempt driving in it.

Once my Dad was having trouble getting me and my two brothers out of bed, as a last resort he told us it had snowed. We shot out of bed like rockets, only to find it had all been a ruse. Granted it was in the middle of July – but we really wanted to believe. Guess we weren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer.

And who can forget the wonderful snow cream my Grandmother used to make – think ice cream but made with snow. The rule was you never made it with the first snow, as it cleaned the air of pollutants – so if it was a one snow winter, you were totally out of luck.

Even though the pugs and I are loving the snow, we’re really missing Tyler…..nobody loves playing in the snow like Tyler.