Thursday, December 24, 2009

So behind

My name is Jennie, I am a delinquent gift giver. But I'm back on track now & by my calculations I still owe you (12-3=9) nine more gifts....

Here's #9. Fabulous agenda to keep life straight. Hell, let's throw in some fabulous pens just for good measure. Oooo how I LOVE fabulous pens. Especially fountain pens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where are you.... ?

Feeling very abandoned.... where are you? Trying to sneak out on the blog just because you know I have conversations with myself all the time? Come back to me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


On the first day of christmas my cousin brought to me....

one week each season at the
One and Only resort of your choice. AH, what the hell, I love you and I'm incredibly generous, so you can have a week each season at ANY resort of your choice! Some food for thought......

In an effort to honor the beauty in our own country, take a peek at this little beauty in BC (scroll down to the home on the bottom of the page) Ridge Homes. Yes Sara, I have no doubt that there are stunning places in Sask. and I know Stacey would completely relish the beauty of the prairies, but I didn't know where to begin looking. Please feel free to contribute to my fantasy.

We'd have to go together on this one most definitely:
The Plaza.

Ah... a week of sleeping in, late night talks, sumptuous
dinners (paelo of course, my CF friends!), walks in central park
the MET, MOMA, Natural History Museum, guggenheim.... what a week we would have!

Flavor of the day: resorts. Not travel, as much as I would love to, the thought of packing up my three kids & getting them on a plane to trek through jungles in costa rica, villages in italy, or beaching in Kerala is exhausting. I suspect it wouldn't be an easy for you either.

So today's offering is a relaxed week, 4 times in the coming year at a fabulous resort of your choosing. Pamper city (and I don't mean facials & manicures, I mean having someone else make your bed, cook your meals & clean up afterwards - bliss!).


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Virtual Christmas

So here at Christmas central, we're trying to scale back this year and save some money. The kids get inundated with mountains of toys from relatives (despite our pleas to keep it simple) so we don't go over the top with them. And I don't exchange gifts with friends, since most families we're close to are in the same position: with young families, or first time home buyers, or both. I think it's our demographic. And part of attempting to live more simply without the fret of intentionally wracking up mountains of debt. Of course, this never keeps me from WISHING of things I'd like to purchase for the people I love.

So here it is, I present to you: virtual Christmas. A list of the things/expereinces I'd LIKE to give you to celebrate the season if I was endowed with Oprah's bank account....

First off, flowers. A big fat bouquet (or a few small posies - have you ever had a fresh flowers on your nighttable or in the bathroom - wonderful). Fragrant ones, colorful ones, monochromatic ones - a new one delivered every fortnight. OK, see above photo, I still am not as adept as you at putting things in the right place.

Item number two. A little 'ole somethin' somethin' in the Blue Box. Just because it's fun. And the way that white satin ribbon slips off the box is like an announcement that something special is about to happen. In fact, I'll get us both one. Matching somethins somethins how 'bout?!

OK, apparently Tiffany's doesn't want me to download images of their precious (or I just don't know how), so here's a wee gift from me to you (and me to me) from my favorite Toronto jeweler, Anne Sportun....

Oh no... it's up top. you get the point.

point #1 - i suck at this technology business. lesson anyone? and

#2 i am too tired to attempt to figure it out right now with wee ones beckoning (who am I kidding, they're not beckoning, they're HOLLERING for me) and it's an hour past bedtime. Maybe this is going to be more along the lines of the 12 days of Christmas.... stay tuned, watch this space, more goodies to come.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love. Emma.


I don't have the mental energy to put my thoughts to words as beautifully as you have been doing on this blog. My thoughts are more along the stinky lines of verbal vomit. For that, I apologize. I do appreciate that I need to participate in this endeavor of ours, to inspire each other and to talk of all that inspires or touches us. For me, these are the things I care about that my husband rolls his eyes at. So no matter how dumb I feel, I will press on and post anyways. Hopefully you can pull some little gifts out of the junk I spout every now and then.

Today I was playing around on and youtube and came across a couple of scenes from one of my absolute favourite movies. Sense and Sensibility appealed to me like few have. I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan, but it isn't even the story as much as Emma Thompson's portrayal of Elinor Dashwood. Her acting is truly exquisite. I have probably seen this version at least 15 times and each time I approach the following scenes, my stomach clenches and my breathing quickens in anticipation of the emotion I'm about to feel with Emma.

In this scene, I am so moved and can so relate to Elinor's outburst. Elinor has known for weeks that Edward is to be married to Lucy Steele. Lucy told Elinor in the strictest of confidence. Elinor loves Edward and has been tolerating Lucy's feelings and ramblings of him. She finally breaks down about it to Marianne.

Elinor's pent up emotions which are the result of putting others before herself and the shock of hearing a true glimpse of her feelings spoken aloud- I just think this scene is soooo well done. There is a brief moment where Marianne tears up because she feels guilty and EVEN THEN Elinor pushes her own feelings aside to help (read: coddle) her sister through it. The single act of leaning on the cupboard for support, to push herself to her feet, almost as if she needs the strength to close the door on her own feelings to support her sister yet again.... the weariness in that action alone is my absolute favourite moment in the whole scene. Emma is brilliant.

And then the finale...



Stand Up

I totally stole this from another blog I just read, but can't help it. I think I just watched this 10 times in a row. There is nothing like a song that can bring you to your feet..

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magnificent Maya

From Maya Angelou's Letter to my Daughter....

I have made many mistakes and no doubt will make more before I die. When I have seen pain, when I have found that my ineptness has caused displeasure, I have learned to accept my responsibility and to forgie myself first, then to apologize to anyone injured by my misreckoning. Since I cannot un-live history, and repentance is all I can offer God, I have hopes that my sincere apologies were accepted.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.

Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood.

Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.

But for the grace of God...

Ah Stace,

Happy. Happy. Happy. inspiring. interesting. beautiful. I know that's what I (we?) had intended for this blog. But I was just searching for one of my favorite old songs & I came across the video, which i had never seen before. You have to watch it
FIRST for the rest to make any sense.

so go ahead, pause & watch it.....


it literally took my breath away and i felt a headache blossom. it is so intense. so ripe. so sad. love the french word for anguish - angoisse - seems to have so much more depth to convey the full force of the emotion. I think this video is important. NB so we can't pretend this is not going on in some parts of the world RIGHT NOW. this is the daily existence for some people. not people who created it or asked for it. but people who need to endure it day in day out with no end in sight, for themselves or their children. or perhaps even for their grandchildren's children. you know i'm not a religious person, sometimes i wonder what that would be like. but i do believe in prayer. in love. and in hope. i'll stop here. i'm not sure if this is the place for that conversation. every day i am grateful to live in canada. i take the lyrics to our anthem very seriously and try to never take this enormous stroke of good fortune for granted.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Canada Reads


I'm not going to blah, blah, blah about why I've neglected you and our lovely little blog for the past few weeks. Instead, I'm just going to offer you my HUGE apologies and ask you not to give up on me. I'll make it up to you.

So today I heard our lover, Jian announce that the Canada Reads nominees are to be announced shortly. I can't remember if I heard next week or December 1st. Actually IS next week December 1st? Can that be possible? -Wow. Just checked the date. I feel like I've been in a month-long coma and have lost all track of time. So in honour of our mutual love of all things Jian and of the book, should we do a co-read of all the nominees? HUGE challenge, but I'm ready to take it on. Besides, you know you'll win.

Pretty please?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1,001 questions

Hey Stace,

Missed you while you were MIA. Hope you had a wonderful time, I expect to hear about it. Any pics to post? Maybe I should win the lotto so I can send Sara of "Sarafied" to take some stunning photos of the maritimes & live vicariously through her images. Then again, if I win the lotto, I will be able to afford the time to go - and go in style. Rent a palatial getaway with ocean views for a month & have an open door policy for friends to come and stay.

Had this weird mental block that it felt like there was no point writing to you if you were internetless and unable to communicate. But you're back.... soonish... non? So, since I've encountered my first bloggers block, I'm retreating to one of my favorite activities: "survey says". But it's not a true survey, as in a poll. There's a single respondent - you - (unless any of our readers care to answer the Qs too, which would be delightful). My own personal DJ and Crossfit mentor has been playing this game via facebook with me & I wanted to get your answers too. I will try my best to keep a record to see when we get to 1,001 questions. But to begin (and this counts as ONE question):

10 things you can't live without (or your 10 favorite things)

I'll go first....

1. Crossfit, of course CrossFit. It has changed my life in so many ways. I suppose I should do an explanatory post on crossfit someday. Or steal someone else's... Here, read what the formidible ms t dot sio has to say about CROSSFIT

2. Hats. OK, hats AND scarves. Love 'em. Love 'em. Love 'em. Every season. They always fit.

3. my library card. i practically eat books & would need a mansion to house them all if I bought books. Toronto's fabulous library system allows you to browse/order stuff online & it is delivered to my local branch. Often times I've been the first to check out the book - the spine isn't even cracked. Something so exciting about a fresh new book. Not sure if that should be that I love books or my library card? Both.

4. my perfume. I truly am a scent slut. Would love to have a "signature scent" but can't be monogamous to a single fragrance - depends on my mood. Chanel Allure Sensuel, Helmut Lang, Philosophy soulmates, Perscriptives Calyx. Oh, and men's cologne. Mmmm... nothing gets my attention like a fine smellin' fella.

5. My iPod. For music & podcasts. Since I can't actually listen to an interesting program (usually CBC, BBC, or NPR)with the barbarians underfoot (or on top of me as the case may be) I download & podcast them. Esp. Jian Ghomeshi's (sp?) Q. Like having a brilliant conversation with authors, musicians, writers, & artists daily.

6. Brunch. In or out, no matter, but LOVE brunch.

7. My agenda. Every year I buy a beautiful leather agenda & my life is in it: clients, dates, birthdays, numbers, to dos, quotes, books to read, films to see, wish list. love the agenda.

8. Nice pens. Could never have enough pens (and notebooks, love Moleskine). After my MSW Petey bought me a lovely waterman fountain pen & I adore it. Makes me feels as though anything I write with it is a bit more elegant.

9. Lipgloss. Lipgloss. Lipgloss. Perhaps as important (or more?) than mascara.

ten already... whoa. Hmm... better make it a gooder.

10. ah, the most important of all: good conversations. I think that's why I love Q. I could sit for HOURS and HOURS, gabbing & gabbing. But it needs to be interesting stuff. Not necessarily intelligent high politics or literary criticism, but stuff that i find interesting (automatically disqualified: bitching about husbands & non-stop talk about kids. ugh).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lost in a Painting

Jennie Dearest,

There is a lovely little art gallery in Banff that Jacob and I discovered on one of our trips where we had enough time to do a little window shopping. A treat that isn't possible if we have the twins with us. Jake was only five or six and a painting in a window caught his eye. We ended up spending at least 20 minutes, staring at the piece entitled 'Faery Tales' by James Christensen. My understanding is that there are 24 different stories hidden within this painting and Jake managed to identify at least 19 of them.

Two trips back to Banff and we were drawn back to the gallery to stare at it again. Jonathan and I have gone to Banff for our every wedding anniversary since we've lived in Calgary and on our first such trip, Jonathan bought the piece as a family anniversary gift. VERY uncharacteristic of him, because it was most definitely an unnecessary expense. But it has brought us great pleasure and I never thought  I could say that about a piece of art. It now proudly sits in our library room, above our comfiest sitting chair. You'll often find one of the kids standing in the chair, staring up at the vibrant colours and intently studying all the different recognizable characters from childhood favourites.

Christensen has a unique style that I have fallen in love with. I don't know why. I just love the hidden meaning and references. I love his appreciation for traditional family values and his respect for women. I love his quirky sense of humour and his depiction of fairies, angels, trolls, Shakespearean characters, religious figures, etc.

Isn't this one dreamy?

A Place of Her Own

Responsible Woman

The Unopened Letter

This one reminds me of a story I recently watched on a morning news show. Five year old Elena Desserich, dying of cancer, left secret notes for her family to find after her death. Her parents compiled them in a journal of sorts, Notes Left Behind to leave as a legacy to her younger sister, to remember her by. In an interview with her mom, I heard her say that they had found two particular notes that were sealed in envelopes. She and her husband had decided that they would never open the envelopes, because (I'm paraphrasing) "they wanted the insurance that they would always still have a letter from Elena. It would never end." Incredibly sad and incredibly touching.

Back to Christensen, here is my gift to you.

The Listener

I will leave you to interpret this last one on your own. But please tell me that you understand why it so reminded me of you.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Better Way


OK, bear with me on this one. I know our blog is supposed to be about beauty and inspiration and culture and yadda yadda yadda. So I'm going to put forth the argument that this covers all three: the TTC. Yes, the Toronto Transit Commission. The buses, streetcars & subways that torontonians use to get around. I love it. Yes, you read that right, I love it. I feel as though I'm in the minority as usually people only whine and complain about our transit system. Is it comprehensive? No. Is it always on schedule? No. Granted, if I had to take it to work everyday, or if I was in a hurry, or was stuck on it in rush hour (especially in the summer, head firmly wedged beneath someone's less-than-fresh underarm) I may not be so enthralled. But because I'm an occassional user I can wax rhapsodic about it. I think it helps that my kids reignite the wonder & excitment of it.

I think my favorite is the streetcar. There's your fellow passengers, but also the carnival of everyday life that I pass by. It is a FEAST of humans: people of every size, shape, color, style, ethnicity is there. If not on the streetcar itself, then on the street. Because I'm not having to pay attention to other drivers around me I'm free to read, listen to a podcast, stare into space, or enjoy the scenery unfolding before me, eavesdrop - you name it. Maybe next time you're in TO we should hop on the streetcar to get to our resto of choice. A TTC date, all the gab with none of the hassel of driving (don't get me wrong - I LOVE driving - especially shift) but sometimes the slow way really is the better way. Wha'da'ya say - red rocket with me?

~ j. xo

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beautiful Spaces

OK Stace,

I've got to get off the music posts or this will change into a "music I adore" blog. So, for a change of pace, the beauty of choice today is... ta da... spaces. Not surprising given that being married to an architect, "spaces" take up a more than usual amount of discussion. You've seen our house. It's 100 years old & it took over seven full size dumpsters and a concrete truck IN OUR YARD to get it where it is now. And there's still a long way to go until "The Vision" is fully realized. Unlike you, I don't have a master bedroom. Hell, I don't even have a bedroom door! One day, it will be my dream house. I'm willing to wait. In the meatime, I absorb every shred of our neighborhood that I love and we look at these places for inspiration. So, without further ado, here's some beauties to feed the imagination...

Hard to include more. Apparently architects copyright many of their photos. Go figure. So these are my dream spaces. Clean lines (clean period). Austere. Simple. Nice details. Lots of windows. Preferably nestled in the woods. Sigh..... Ever creating one of these spaces, despite my desire & Peter's skills, it's highly unlikely. So for now I enjoy looking at these residences as beautiful art that fuels my rich fantasy life. Am interested to know what your ideal home would be like. Jennie xo

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nellie and Blasphemy


Today I received an email from our cousin, Meaghan. She forwarded me this link and asked if I knew it was out. Did you know??

I hope she wouldn't mind me sharing this, but she says, "I am sure Grandma is turning over in her grave but I think I will still have to read this! One reviewer said Gilbert comes off as a bastard and possibly an adulterer.  Blasphemy!! I know having Nellie as a grandmother means you have to be Anne Shirley obsessed as well."

And yes- I am!  I don't know how I never heard about this release. This is from the publisher:

From the Publisher

Adultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death-usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring her beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914-1918 …+ read moreAdultery, illegitimacy, misogyny, revenge, murder, despair, bitterness, hatred, and death-usually not the first terms associated with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed shortly before her death and never before published in its entirety, Montgomery brought these topics to the forefront in what she intended to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring her beloved heroine Anne. Divided into two sections, one set before and one after the Great War of 1914-1918, The Blythes Are Quoted contains fifteen episodes that include an adult Anne and her family. Binding these short stories, Montgomery inserted sketches featuring Anne and Gilbert Blythe discussing poems by Anne and their middle son, Walter, who dies as a soldier in the war. By blending poetry, prose, and dialogue, Montgomery was experimenting with storytelling methods in ways she had never before attempted. The Blythes Are Quoted marks the final word of a writer whose work continues to fascinate readers all over the world.

I am almost giddy, I am so excited to read this. Another co-read? (this is a must-purchase and please don't tell me you are not a fan or we can't be friends. or related).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Music One (for now)


I am SO happy you included "Falling Slowly" on our playlist. Here at home, nearly 9:00pm. Long day at work, but house is now silent as I embark on my hours of reports. So to hear Glen Hansard & Markets Irglova - heaven, pure heaven.

OK, last music post (for a while) I promise. Still preoccupied with opera, I wanted to share a conversation I had with Ella when she was 4. We were winding our way up the DVP in the beloved long gone Subaru ( so cozy & compact & intimate nestled in that space together). I was listening to Puccini's Madame Butterfly & the following conversation ensued:

Ella: Mummy, why does she sound so sad?

Me: Well honey, she's upset because she loves someone & he doesn't love her back.

Ella: Why doesn't he love her back?

Me: (not wanting to launch into the whole complex storyline of Madame Butterfly to a 4 year old). I don't know honey, why do you think he doesn't love her?

....long pause while she looks out the window deep in thought....

Ella: Maybe he doesn't like her singing.

Now, two years on I'm happy to report she's an opera lover, but it took a while.

Monday, October 26, 2009

MUSIC con'd

Oohhhhh.... I could just talk music all blog long. Great plan adding the playlist at the bottom - love being surprised by other people's music selections. I feel like I make 10,000+ decisions a day, so to just have FINE FINE music selected by someone else soothing me (or energizing me as the case may be) is a HUGE pleasure.

So, our sound interests converge on Old Motown R&B. Yes, Otis Redding is divine: how can any woman NOT love Tenderness? Remember when Ducky plays it for what's her face in Pretty in Pink? Loads of great canadian musicians, I credit jian with frequently highlighting home grown talent. Still loving U2 - caught them in an impromptu concert on top of their hotel along the Liffey while walking home from work when we were in Dublin - such a thrill! Adele: thumbs up. Ben Harper, Jack Johnson - yes and yes. Jim Cuddy - seems like a great guy. Can you imagine having a song WRITTEN for you?!! It must be incredible - depending on what they say about you I suppose. The closest I ever came was having Peter (repeatedly) dedicate this song to me when trust was difficult for me

And then our (musical) paths divide. Country is just a no go zone for me. It makes me wince involuntarily & I can't even put my finger on why. I can listen to Dixie Chicks Shut up & sing because I saw the documentary & I loved their passion & willingness to speak their mind & not back down. But otherwise, I'm a no country gal. But opera & jazz are my standbys. I sat through Madame Butterfly by myself (alone amongst 100+ other people, but I went alone) with tears streaming down my face. So powerful. And jazz is what soothes me after a crazy day. Paired with a one of our huge John Rocha glasses filled with something red (think fermented grapes more than pomegranate juice) and the tension MELTS.

So in the spirit of attempting to win you over, have a listen....

And it has NOTHING to do with maturity, or I'd still be listening to Alvin & the Chipmunks! I'll throw in one more, just because....

Are you an MJ fan?


We are lovers of the MJ in this house (okay, I'm lying. But I needed to set this clip up).

Enjoy with sound.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Am feeling a little... I don't know. Forget what I'm feeling.

Have you seen the documentary, Autism the Musical?

I have probably seen it 5 times already and everytime I do, it brings out new emotions in me. I absolutely fell in love with the different kids it profiles.

Meet Lexi:

My heart aches.

My Go-To's

Jennie Dearest,

Okay. I've been MIA. But not in spirit. I have probably started this post about 15 times since Friday, but have been interrupted repeatedly. I laughed out loud when I read your musings that perhaps this had been my ploy to get you to write a blog of your own. Can't get anything past you,
SmartyPants! Although it isn't true, it is funny.


You asked what music I turn to. I have such a broad range of favourites and ultimately, I must say that I love everything but heavy metal, house or rap. I love anything acoustic and anything with an acoustic guitar has me in a puddle. I'm not mature enough for jazz or opera, but it has a good story to tell, I'm in. Stories are what I love about country. I have been a proud country-lover since I was a little girl and can handle the ribbing about it. Anything with soul; music that makes your heart bleed because you can hear the angst in the voice or the instrument. Old Motown R&B... Otis Redding is beautiful. I realize more and more how much I'm loving new folk and if I had the time or the freedom to hit the festivals every summer, I would be in heaven. I love so much that's Canadian and am happy to say that I don't just listen out of Canadian pride. Call & Answer has always been one of my favourites. One by U2 just makes my heart soar. Here For a Good Time by Trooper is a tacky tune that has me singing along at the top of my voice whenever I hear it. Adele's voice is pure heaven and Alison Krauss in an angel. Ben Harper, Paolo Nutini and Jack Johnson I can imagine singing to me on a balcony while sipping coffee and Jim Cuddy I can fall asleep to and dream sweet dreams all night.

I've inserted a playlist at the bottom of the blog. Send me an email if you'd like the login info to add your favourites to it.

If these walls could talk

Hey Stace,

You know what I love, really love? Discovering new things about people. I know, I know, it's as though since May all roads in my life lead back to CrossFit. One thing that I love about CrossFit is that when you're there, all that matters is that you give it your all, you don't whine and whimper (OK, sometimes I do whimper), and your support your fellow CFers.

Life outside the "box" doesn't really matter. We don't ask each other "so what do you do?" (meaning, for a living). We ask, "what's your Fran time?" or "What's your back squat?". So, sometimes it is a cool, refreshing surprise when I find out the careers of my CF brothers (or sisters) in arms. For example, consider Sara. In a flukey twist of fate I discovered in passing that she's a photographer. But not just ANY photographer (no sappy wedding shots here, thank you very much) but breathtaking landscapes (who knew Saskatchewan is so beautiful?! Do you think Duff, where our grandmas were born still exists? Do I smell a roadtrip? ) and - my favorite - abandonded spaces.

She has a beautiful series of the interior of the Don Jail here into Toronto and some of A sanitorium in saskatoon. These places are so old it makes me wonder about the lives that have passed through their doors, as inmates, as patients, as employees. I'd love to know their stories, what led up to their being admitted to these places, what their day to day existence was, what they thought about. The places look so sad and eerie. Take a look at Sarafied to see Sara's amazing work.

It reminded me of our Detroit expereince this past spring. Peter & I were driving with the girls to St. Louis for them to play princess for a day as flower girls in Eric's wedding. As we were passing through customs at the border in Detroit we saw this amazing, grand old tower block that was completely vacant. You could see right through the far off windows to the gutted interior. We assumed they were turning it into lofts, which would sell like hotcakes here in Toronto.

Driving through Detroit was so sad. Keep in mind, this is a post-Obama USA and there was very little evidence of any type of American dream I would want to be a part of. More houses/buildings were boarded up than I had ever seen. Streetlights were broken, buildings were broken, cars were broken down at the side of the road, even the people looked broken. It was the most sad, depressing place I have ever seen. This is in comparison to slums I've seen in "third world" countries where the people were poor by our standards, but incredibly happy and rich spiritually and closely connected to their families and communities. Would love to send Sara to Nepal to capture some wonderful photos of the monks, temples, sadhus and the Jomson Trek we did.

I later found out from my brother that there are TONS of completely vacant and abandoned buildings in Detroit. You can check them out at
Forgotten Detroit. Here's a preview...

Amazing, aren't they?! Again, I'd be interested in the back stories; knowing what these places were like in their heyday & what happened afterwards. One of my friends talked about going to underground punk parties in some of these buildings when they were inhabited by squatters. Seems creepy to me. I can't really fathom the desire to be so destructive, smashing things (reno of my house excepted) and leaving my mark via spraypainting. Interesting. Food for thought.

~ j. xoxoxoxo


Did you trick me into doing my OWN blog?!! I know, I know, you're kinda busy with the three boys & at least three other blogs. But I need you. All day long I have conversations by myself; talk to myself, answer myself, try to hear myself think over the racket of the fruits of my loins. No easy task. So, how about this... call & answer Bare Naked Ladies Style. Oh no... here I go again... was looking for the Barenaked Ladies video for call & answer, but the only one on youtube was with Alanis Morissette, which reminded me of her video for "Everything".

Alanis Morissette - Everything

sad_but_true64 | MySpace Video

Love her haircut here. Maybe when I get sick of the wild mop I'll do this again. Gives me a good excuse to play with fun little hair clips - why should Ella & Eve get all the fun with accessories?! OK... back to the point.

See, if it was my blog I would have had to name it "The Point" or maybe, "What's the point again?" or "Where was I going with that... ?". Oh ya, call and answer. I will ask things, and you can just fire back quickies when you don't have time to write.

So I'm on the hunt for some good flicks. Spending far too much time in my brain lately (and you know how crowded & chaotic it is in there), so I need some good films to rent. Did you check out Sio's music picks on one of the other posts. BRILLIANT. She's a fellow CrossFitter (and soon to be affiliate owner - woot! woot!). But I think she missed her calling as a DJ. Max heartily seconds that motion. So hit it chica, what flicks must I see?

~ j. xo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Must MUST read.'Nuff said.

Under the weather

Hey Stace,

WARNING: Numerous attempts to write a new blog post have resulted in me writing writing writing then deleting deleting deleting as I realize that I've become way off topic. Not once, but NUMEROUS times. So, what you're gonna get here is a little peek into how my scattered, chaotic mind works. Go pee, grab a beverage (adult or otherwise) and settle in.

Weather. What a boring, mundane, banal topic. It's the thing people talk about when there's nothing else to talk about. Yet somehow the weather has such an impact on my days. It determines the pace of my days & dictates the activities. Can we walk to school with the wagon, or do I need the stroller with rain cover? Where are the kids' raincoats? Rubber boots? No playing at the park means excess energy & certain insanity. Do I have enough wine in the house to survive a rainy cold day or is an LCBO run in order? I don't really think there's any such thing as "bad" weather. For example, consider the blizzard...

[let me introduce you to diversion #1... the hunt for snowy pictures]. Went to my favorite time waster
Sotheby's Realty to look for a picture of a cute wee cabin in the snow dusted woods. Apparently this is not the type if thing Sotheby's sells. Think more along the lines of monster homes in Aspen. Not what I'm after. Then came across this nice scene in our iPhoto, one of the Muskoka cottages peter designed. Complete with spa & sleeping quarters for the massage therapist, chef, and other "help". Why do they call it "help"? C'mon, "help" is what friends do for each other. When you're paying these people & treat them VERY differently than your friends, why don't you just call them "servants"? Because it's too politically incorrect? Seems like such a glossy euphemism. Blah blah blah. Anyway, here's the cottage, it's really quite lovely. Although I would be just as happy in the smaller sumptuous boathouse.

Still, it didn't quite capture what I was after. So I was thinking, hmmm.... snowy scenes from movies... how about this one from Edward Scissorhands

Not so much. So what other movie has a snow scene...


OK... this is so not conveying what I wanted. A GOOD feeling of coziness. Was going on to think about snowy weather, or cold, rainy autumn weather as the perfect excuse to curl up inside with a good book, goblet of wine (ya, maybe if I'm sitting in the window seat of my medieval castle, boobs bursting out of my bodice, gazing across the moors. But really, isn't goblet a great word?).

Which of course leads to diversion #2. The hunt for bursting bodice pictures. Which I would not DARE to google for fear of what would come up. Great movies that these scenes, complete with castles may be found in

If James Franco is too hard on the eyes (all that HAIR), just look away and spare yourself seeing him topless. Topless, funny, we never really refer to men without shirts as topless, do we? You know, if Maxwell had been a girl (which I fully anticipated) he was going to be named Phoebe Iseult. In keeping with the tradition that all the kids have Irish middle names (Saidhbhin, Liadan, Oisin). Badly wanted one of the girls to be named Aoife (EE-fa) or Niamh (Neeve). So, I figure Eve is about as close in english as we can get to those two.

Where the hell was I going with this?! Weather. Oh ya. Under the weather. Battling a cold all week (meant I had to miss two days of CrossFit - gasp!). Cannot stand it when people write about their colds on facebook. You know the ones who use their status as a platform to whine & whimper incessantly. BORING. Yes, I did blurt something about wanting a day in bed, but if it becomes a chronic condition please snap me out of it with a long-distance slap across the face. However, on the illness topic, got a recipe for a hot toddy? Think they work? What's your cold fix? A day (or three) in bed complete with books, tissue, hot waterbottle & lemsip is not an option with the little barbarians on the brink of a mutiny. Your head spinning yet? You've suffered enough my poor cousin. Thanks for visiting the inner workings of my mind (no wonder I can't get my house looking House & Home photo shoot ready!). ~ j. xoxoxoxoxox

Thursday, October 22, 2009

OK, I've already had two coffees, anymore and I'll be doing the jitter dance and staying up 'til 2:00am. But it's only 2:42 and I still have 8,986,764 jobs to do. So the sure recharger: fabulous music. Beginning with The Stars. How dreamy is her voice?!!! What music does it for you Stace? Any other sure fire energizers on these grey autumn days when crawling into bed isn't an option?

Who I Am


You've been asking. Because you're nosy like that..
What is life like now that the kids are in school. What does it look like for me.

On my other blog, I participated in a Writer's Challenge and thought that my 'poem' (if you could call it that. I think it's just an excuse to cover up my sentences that I'm too lazy to provide with punctuation) might answer those questions.

Write a poem describing who you are and/or who you are not.

When I wake up, I am comatose
I am a hand that slaps off the alarm
I am the foot that nudges my husband to get up
I am the zombie that brushes my teeth
I am running late

When I hit the kitchen, the switch has been flicked
I am a multi-tasker
I am the short-order cook
I am the fastest diaper changer, backpack-packer you've ever seen
I am a well oiled machine

When I get behind the wheel, I am Zen
I am lost in my head, lost in my internal daily planner
I am the voice that repeatedly tells Will to quit playing with the window
I am the voice that sings Sesame Street
I am the eyes in the rear-view mirror admiring my boys

When I get to the school, I am melancholic
I am sad to say goodbye
I am proud of where they are
I am the appearance of a Wonder Woman
I am putting on a good show, thanks to my well-behaved boys

Now I am alone.
Now I don't know who I am.
Without the chores.
Without the boys.
Without the husband.
Without the clock.
Who am I?

I am not afraid.
I am not depressed.
I am not bored.
I am not restless.
I am not searching.
I am not unsatisfied.

I am entering a new chapter
I am figuring it out
I am thankful to have this chance
I am going to take care of myself
I am determined to carve out my spot
I am on the path
I am proud
I am confident

When it's 2pm, I am Mom again
I am my children.

But I never forget that tomorrow at 10, I will work at figuring out who Stacey is, again.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

For a Friend,


Please indulge me.. I didn't know where else to post this for a friend. You may hate country, but the lyrics are so appropriate.

Artist: Wright Chely
Song: Shut Up And Drive
Album: Let Me In

Shut Up And Drive - Chely Wright

Shut up and drive
You don't know what you're talking about
He's not the one
You ought to know that by now
You've got one of those hearts
That keeps changing your mind
Your heart has a way of making you stay
So shut up and drive

Don't look in the mirror
He might have that look in his eyes
The one thats so strong
It strangles your will to survive
He's mastered the art
Of looking sincere
His eyes have a way of making you stay
Don't look in the mirror

I'm the voice you never listen to
And I had to break your heart to make you see
That he's the one who will be missing you
And you'll only miss the man
That you wanted him to be

Turn the radio on
To drown out the sound of goodbye
Blink back the tears
Show me you've still got your pride
Just get yourself lost
In a sad country song
Those guys that they play
Know just what to say
Turn the radio on.

I'm the voice you never listen to
And I had to break your heart to make you see
That he's the one who will be missing you
And you'll only miss the man
That you wanted him to be

Shut up and drive
Don't look in the mirror
Turn the radio on
Get out of here
Shut up and drive
Shut up and drive
Shut up and drive

Click HERE to watch the video.

Perfection Achieved

Haven't achieved the perfect CrossFit WOD, or the perfect life/work balance, and I'm still trying to figure out how to get the perfect Bobbie Brown "smoky eye" look without appearing as an aspiring hooker. But I have discovered Sweet Almandine and executed the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe. After years of searching, I've found it. Others were too cakey or too crunchy or just plain dull. If I wasn't bleary eyed with exhaustion, I'd take a pic of what I produced. But instead, you can admire the photo on the blog - trust me when I say that mine look IDENTICAL (I kid you not!) and the taste... mmm...... you'll have to whip up a batch yourself (or grab the next flight to TO before they disappear!).

Can't Let Go

A picture says a thousand words...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Must See

Now THIS is a goody. An absolute must see.
Happy Go Lucky .

It saddens me that Poppy is just a character, thus completely obliterating any chance that she can be my friend. She is lovely and flakey and full of life. She is full of compassion and free from judgement. Everyone in her world is equal and deserves respect: a schoolyard bully, a homeless man with mental illness, her demented driving instructor. This excellent review articulately explains the finer subtleties of the movie and eloquently summarizes all that I love about the film. It's in my top ten. If you need a feel good flick this weekend Stace, this is it. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tragedy & Revelations


Hmmm…. Long day. Work day #2 of 2. But it wasn’t the hours that made me worn out & weary. Over the weekend, the 20 something year old son of one of my colleagues was in an accident. As serious accident. He was airlifted from cottage country to a major urban trauma centre. A chunk of his skull was removed to relieve the pressure of swelling & he is now in a medically induced coma. It is unclear if he will survive, or what that life may look like. I can think of little else right now.

I remember back to my kids’ most serious injuries: carseat (with infant in it) tipping off the island, landing upside down on the stairs. Lots of screaming (his) and a bloody nose. I so clearly remember the sense of panic. All three have cartwheeled down the stairs & the bumpity bump bump thud is stomach churning. But to have your child in hospital, in ICU, hooked up to monitors and drains and intubated and having conversations with neurosurgeons… I can’t fathom it. My heart and prayers go out to this mum who must be so terrified and distraught.

As I drove home last night, in the dark, with the far off city lights of skyscrapers and the CN Tower beckoning, I thought of our blog. It suddenly seemed so indulgent and frivolous in comparison to such tragic news. “What the hell are we doing?!” I thought to myself. But then slowly, I had this revelation…. This tragedy taught me that the blog IS important. It is about valuing life and not just sleepwalking through my life. It forces me to consider things differently, to reflect on things more, and to open myself up to the idea of risking judgement to share those thoughts. To search for art and beauty and humor and inspiration, because none of us know when it could all end. My career is powerful and fulfilling and I like to think that it effects change. But often times it is heavy and saturated with sorrow and anguish. Being a mother is mighty and satisfying, but it is also about giving and being selfless and rarely having my own time to reflect and indulge. Being a wife is one of my greatest joys, but my bright, creative husband does not like to deconstruct books and movies and songs to look for the meaning and richness and multi-layered textures.

So perhaps this is the space to explore meaning through creativity so that my life, and the people who share this space with me, will have some precious bits of beauty, be it books, songs, movies, works of art, food, or even a fine, fine pair of well crafted Frye boots to enjoy. And to feel connected to each other, even when 2100 miles separate us.

Sleep well.

Jennie xo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ian Brown’s The Boy In the Moon


This morning on the Q, I listened to an interview with Ian Brown, who has released a new book The Boy In the Moon: A Father's Search For His Disabled Son

Boy in the Moon 

I haven't read it yet, but now it's on my TBR list (To Be Read). Some of the interview was quite shocking, or should I say, disturbing. He talks about his moments in parenting where he felt pure despair. Of helplessness at the sheer magnitude of how much work was involved in raising his son, Walker. He described moments where he contemplated suicide and considered flying his son with him out West, to end their lives. Then the thought of all the stuff he would be lugging with him through an airport, the contraptions and apparatus that assist with Walker’s disability, the sheer exhaustion in transporting them all to another place, that if he could survive that experience, then he could survive anything.

 I can relate to that feeling. Not the suicide. I have truly never even considered that life could be so difficult or bleak to choose that route. But the feeling of that gigantic mountain of tasks, of logistical planning & scheduling, of never-ending obstacles and of navigating the minefield of administrative details that go hand in hand with parenting children with disabilities, those are feelings I can relate to.  Not to mention the years of never having a full night’s sleep, a way of life that J and I hope to never go back to.

I remember when the twins were still small enough to be carried in the infant car seats. Jake was only 19 mos old when they were born, so he was but a little toddler who still wanted to be carried when we went out. I remember thinking about the morning ahead, when I would have to drive Jake to his morning pre-school. The thought of how I would pack up the three kids and physically manage the carrying of them all to the car, with all their stuff, all while trying not to leave anyone unattended (impossible task!) – I was exhausted before even having left the house! I constantly debated not even going out, just because the job seemed so great. This of course, was even before the manifestations of their autism had really impacted our daily lives.
Had I known then, what we would be up against and how much more difficult life would get, I probably would have considered running away. But as you know, Jennie, bailing isn’t an option. You push up your sleeves, no matter how tired you are, no matter how sad or emotionally spent, and you get the job done. Even if the hubbies stand outside as bystanders while we do the gritty stuff, we know it has to be done, so we do it.

I am anxious to read this book. I respect Brown’s honesty and frankness in talking about the feelings that most of us parents don’t want to acknowledge because it would feel like a betrayal to our ‘disabled’ children.

 I also found this link about the book:
The Globe and Mail

Wanna do a co-read?
S. xo

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not so funny anymore

OK. Here we are on attempt #3,450,898,734 to post this piece which doesn't seem so funny anymore so I'm going to be brief.
(my) Prize for funniest, most irreverent CBC radio program is.... drumroll please....


Did that work?


Umm.... very embarrassing to admit publicly, but I cannot make this work. Better come show me.

Blog Tips & Tricks

You have no idea how excited I am to have you with me in the blogging world!

Here is the way to embed a link into your text so that you don’t see all the code:

When you write your blog post, click on the Edit HTML tab on top. Let’s pretend I want to write the sentence,

For a great laugh, check out Jennie.

*and we want ‘Jennie’ to be the word that links to the following web address:

Cut and paste the following code; you will use it all the time:

<a href="http://URL" target="_blank">TEXT</a>

Now insert the link you want to link to, by replacing “http://URL”

ex: <a href="" target="_blank">TEXT</a>

Now insert the text you want to hide the link behind, by replacing TEXT

ex: <a href="" target="_blank">Jennie</a>

For a great laugh, check out Jennie.



Body Composition - this time there's an audience

Stace -

Forgot to tell you I was at an amazing CrossFit Nutrition Certification last weekend. A whole day of talking gluten free, dairy free, Paleo diet with guru (and funny as all get out, mad scientist) Robb Wolf. He had tons of well grounded, peer reviewed research explaining the links between inflammation & gluten/dairy. Loads of very useful info (and the science behind it) on his website:

and on the Paleo website:

Need you to teach me how to integrate these links into the blog.

Signed up for the "Body Composition Contest" at CrossFit: Pay $25.00. Get weighed & have measurements taken (ugh). It all ends November 30th when we are reweighed, remeasured & the person who's body composition has improved the most (lost fat, gained muscle, not just weight lost) wins the kitty. So, after my ultra-indulgent weekend of mennonite-made ambrosiac (is that a made up word?) peasant bread, turkey sandwiches, Dufflet's pumpkin tarts (my idea of heaven), and many glasses of Pelee-Island shiraz I'm going hoist my heavier-than-three-days-ago arse back onto the Paleo wagon & roll with it in a serious way. I want a new wardrobe (too many of those "I have NOTHING to wear!" days) and I have no other way of financing such an indulgence. Will bore you with my progress & hopefully post some Paleo recipes links.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cuppas & Billy Bob Arsehole

Dearest Jennie,

Just look at that mug. Can you imagine if we were neighbours? Tuck the kids into bed. Leave the husband to hold the fort with the remote in hand and pop over to the other's house for a cuppa. Or even better, for a glass of merlot.

I've been enjoying this new show starring Courtney Cox, called Cougartown. The show itself is pretty tacky, but it has its moments. The main character and her best friend live next door to each other. They spy on each other through their windows, then gab about what  they saw in their following conversations. Now I think that would be too close, but the idea of having that friend that knows your business so that you don’t have to spend a ton of time explaining your back-story, appeals to me.

I know you’re not keen and you don’t think anyone cares about what you have to say, but I do. I figure this is as good a place as any to yap about all the stuff that my husband would make fun of; the arts, our travel fantasies, our latest trials and tribulations  or about something we heard on the CBC.

Speaking of the CBC. I know this is way out-dated, but I just finally watched the Jian Ghomeshi interview with Billy Bob Thornton:

Oh my Lord… what the hell?? I haven’t really done any googling to see if he ever publicly apologized afterwards or if there was talk of it all being a publicity scam. What was your take of it? He’s a jack-ass. That’s my take. Besides not being respectful to Jian, he was an arsehole to all Canadians with his comments, with no remorse. I just can’t get over it.

We are celebrating our Thanksgiving tomorrow and I believe you told me you are celebrating yours today. Let me tell you what I am grateful for this year:

1. To have found such a kindred spirit in you: start designing the tattoo: “grand-daughters of sisters”

2. To have made another re-connection in Nan’s family; I know she’s looking down and is “pleased as punch” at our new friendship.

3. That I’ve found another mom of three to commiserate and rejoice with.

Happy Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to share another cuppa with you. xo