Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Annual General Madness

Hmmm I don't think that's what AGM actually stands for although from the vantage point of my desk it can sure feel like that sometimes!

Annual General Meeting....... a meeting no one really wants to be at.....

At least that is how it feels most often.

You don't usually get a crowd jumping up and down at the thought of spending an evening at an AGM.

I have come to dread it myself.

So many hours of work to get ready.  So many papers to be assembled....minutes, financial reports, slates for the Board and the Parent Advisory Committee....... coffee and goodies to order and this year, in a first for our organisation....we had to find a venue!

We are THAT big now!

And yet today as I was editing and reading my report, that chronicles the ups and downs and twists and turns of the last year in the life of the SRCC, I found a new perspective on the dear old, much maligned AGM.

I imagined that if the SRCC were a baby, a child, then the entries in its baby book would be all the things we talk about at the AGM......that the AGM allows us time to stop, take a look at how we've grown and changed from year to year.....to remember the milestones we reached, laugh at some good memories and shudder a little at some missteps...... but without this moment, this meeting, we might never stop to contemplate and celebrate and take stock.

So I am embracing the AGM at 7pm at the Nature Park tomorrow night...... and looking forward to gathering our clan together and having a moment.....I promise it won't drag on....there will be chocolate......and coffee.

It also gives us time and public space to thank each person who plays a part in the work we do and on a day when our neighbours to the South are all about Thanksgiving it seems fitting that we do a bit of that ourselves.

Plus its a legal requirement and no one wants to have to post bail for the Board of Directors now do they?

Happy AGM day Society of Richmond Children's Centres......... It's been quite a year!

Also posted at www.richmondchildcare.org

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Darling girl

This happened yesterday.

I watched my beautiful girl try on a prom dress.

Of course I knew this day was coming.....I knew I would be in a change room with beautiful gowns and my daughter trying on dresses this year.

But like many things in this parenting journey I just didn't know it was going to happen yesterday.

And despite desperately holding on to my outward composure my inner Mom was yelling "HOW did THIS happen?"

Too fast...... just too fast for my heart.

She walked out in that dress........ a beautiful gown that fitted perfectly.... my heart beat a little faster. I snapped some photos to distract from the tears in my eyes.

I wanted to say "Take it off" at the same time as "I'll buy it now"

I watched her looking at herself in that mirror.  I know she's looked at hundreds of dresses online already.  Many of her friends have their dresses already..... there is a whole instagram feed on this topic!  She took a selfie to share with friends for their opinion.

We lingered......we loved it but how wise is it to buy the first dress you try on?  What if there is something better out there?  What if there wasn't?

I saw the doubt in her eyes the longer she looked in that mirror.

We walked out without it.

And as the night went on she was happier and happier that she hadn't bought it.

And I was sadder and sadder about why not.

She wants a dress that makes her look thinner, that flatters her more......I get that....of course you want to look amazing at your Prom......but the message that thin is better, thin is the goal, the point of the dress is heart-breaking.

She looked amazing.  She IS amazing.

More than ever I wanted to hold her tight and tell her just to be true to herself.  To trust herself .  To know that she is beautiful not just in her mothers very biased eyes but in the eyes of so many.  I want to kick the world for its stupid messages that stop girls eating so they can conform to some unrealistic dress size....so that they despise parts of their bodies.

We had a long teary chat later last night where I tried to use my Mama voice to drown out those other lies.  Tried so hard to help her see herself as worthy and smart and beautiful and kind.  At 17 she is jaded and hurt by feeling she falls short on so many of the worlds standards.

Just like when she went off to child care, to kindergarten, to camp, to Grade 8......I have to let her find her way in the world, let her be exposed to who and what is out there, to hear messages I disagree with, despise, but I, we, do not have to let her do it feeling alone.

I WILL walk alongside her and speak the truth, stay close enough to catch her when she stumbles or falls, be enthusiastic and joyful when she is down, listen to her voice and her heart and her hurt, love her, hold on to her....we will laugh and cry..... together.

SO very soon she will be on her own, maybe next year, maybe in a couple of years....but for right now she has me, she has us.....you?

We will find the perfect dress - the dress that makes her feel amazing, on top of the world.....and with any luck she'll know it's just a dress, for just one night, and it DOES not define her.

My darling girl.....I love you to the moon and back.  All of you.  Always.

Friday, November 21, 2014


I have been battling a cold all week and today I succumbed to my bed...... hacking away, listening to the radio.... while a big rainstorm raged outside......I needed the rest.

I won't bore you with the gong show of the week ..... and I wish I could say I have confidence that the week ahead will be less of a gong show but it's our AGM......and that is one of my least favourite events.

One great part of this week was that, despite a raging sore throat, I went with my dear friend SG to see Fleetwood Mac..... I knew about 6 of the songs they sang in the 3 hour concert and I think I was the youngest person there...... but I really enjoyed it.  They are rocking old people.....really amazing...very quirky but fun.

I was also nominated three times on FB to participate in various photo challenges but seeing how nutty my week was I am doing the challenges here - 7 photos of things that make me happy and 5 black and white photos.....

Here we go.......

Happy 1

Happy 2

Happy 3
Fun, Friends and Adventures

Happy 4

Happy 5

Happy 6

Happy 7

UGH - that was HARD........ I need 7 more.........or 70......

B&W 1

B&W 2

B&W 3

B&W 4

B&W 5

That was a fun couple hours trolling through old photos...... hard to believe it was almost a year ago that we left for South Africa..........

Off to take something to stop the hacking and get some rest.

Good Night.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I took this photo this week.  It's a "sleafie"

It illustrates what happens to my face, my skin, when the mercury hits the minuses and the furnace starts to blast.

No amount of oil of anything would combat the total exodus of every moisture particle in my face, hands..... any exposed skin.

It's been very chilly this week and bathing in moisturizer is expensive I would imagine so I do what I can to combat the dry, redness...... I should have shares in chapstick..... but there are days I feel like my face is a crunchy leaf about to crumble into pieces.

But on these days where my red nose could be employed if Rudolph falls ill if it were not for my watery eyes as my contacts try not to freeze onto my eyeballs ...... on these days, this chapped face and these chapped hands are a small price to pay........ for bright, sunny days.

Oh the bluey blueness of the cloudless sky, the final end of Fall colours, the crispy, smoky, night air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the snuggling down under the covers ahhhhhhh at the end of the day......

It has been lovely.

And in our house....very busy...... The Fall has blurred by and now December is staring me down.

Last week was as zooey as short weeks always are.  Always.  I had grant deadlines and the system kept crashing.... I taught an ECE evening class for a friend on Thursday and Friday I helped Allan prep for a Robotics competition on Saturday that all us Byres were at......all day.... except when David left to play a cup soccer game (which they won 3-0) and Lindsay went to work.....and then both kids babysat last night!  I became one with my Mazda booting back and forth across the City - Mom's taxi is about to start charging!

David's robotics team made the quarter-finals and in a total heart-stopping heart-breaker lost by one point!  So close.  I was so impressed with how far they have come and how good their robot is at playing the game and also how well they conducted themselves after the loss.

How cool is their school gym?  Go Wildcats!

Allan  with David's teams robot

Programming the bot
We are so very proud of Miss Lindsay who got a new job in a tightly contested application and interview process and will very happily be working in an Out of School care program with early elementary kids two afternoons a week.  This is great experience for her as her future goal is to be a child psychologist.  Speaking of which we continue trying to navigate the post-secondary application process - I am thinking there is a niche market for a post-secondary broker service....like a mortgage broker..... you go in... state your goals, marks, budget and the broker finds the best places, submits the applications which then come in their droves and we simply pick the best fit and Voila! Anyone want to step up?  Anyone?

Fisher Allan was out at it again today while the kids and I went to Church and then I cooked up another big batch of bolognese sauce to help get us through a couple of dinner times in the busy week ahead.

Lindsay has her first 4 shift week of work while keeping school work going, Allan has dog class with Spanner, David has soccer and I am off to see Fleetwood Mac with a good friend on Tuesday.

Before another week arrives we will have a quiet, cozy night in, start up the gas fireplace and have pancakes and sausages for dinner.

The temperatures are rising and the rain will be back and while my face will be happy we will be eagerly awaiting the return of the cold and the bright and the sun, chapped faces and hands be damned!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Standing there..... a reflection from Juno Beach

David, you were recently in France and as part of your journey there you visited the coast of Normandy..... Specifically you visited Juno Beach  and the Canadian Centre there...

What were your first impressions?

At first it seemed like just another museum......but as the guide started telling us the story of what happened, the bunkers etc....I realized that this, this war, had been a much bigger deal than I had ever thought.

What specifically made you stop and think?

When the guide told us first about the defences the Germans had made, their fire power and their confidence in their ability to repel any invading forces......Incredible that any invasion succeeded.

When I started to listen to the numbers of people who died on Juno beach coming into that first rush....It was so shocking.

Obstacles littered the landing beaches

How did it feel to stand on that Beach?

It felt surreal.....it was such a "normal" scene.... there were ,fishermen, people walking and yet so much history was all around, it was a battlefield, so many died.......hard to wrap my head around that.  

There is a new movie at the Canadian Centre at Juno Beach.... how was that?

It was impactful, such vivid footage of people rushing onto the beach and being shot down.  Hard to imagine what those young men, who had been trained for this invasion must have felt as they were told to jump off the landing craft into the water and told to run......

How did you feel after that movie?

We all felt shocked and surprised.  Somber......sad.

The next day you moved on to the Canadian and American cemeteries.  How was that?

The Canadian cemetery we walked in to was surprisingly just on the side of the road, nothing very showy or remarkable but once in it it was striking just how big it was.... it took forever to walk across.

Reading the tombstones and their messages was hard .....the hardest part was the ones with no names...that said "Known only to God"....they fought the war and no one knows their names... that is so sad.

The American cemetery was also huge but more official, had a parking lot, signs, a proper museum with security.... it felt over done at the beginning.  But once in the cemetery,  in the park,  it was again shocking and terrifying how many crosses there were covering acres and acres.  Even though it was grand and huge, here it felt personal and about the graves, about the soldiers represented.

As this part of trip ended what did you take away in your heart?

I took away a new understanding of  what was sacrificed for the freedom of a country other than our own.... what sacrifices were made for people far away from Canada by Canadians.

How is this Remembrance Day different for you?

I have something different to think about...... "Lest we forget" has a new meaning..... all we have is some graves on the side of the road in France and there really should be more. They gave their lives as a sacrifice for the greater good of the world.  I feel there should be something closer, here in BC that is a better memorial.

As we were talking it was 11:11am....... we paused...... David is clearly moved by this experience.

(all photos by David)