Monday, January 31

Themed Music Monday

What a cold weekend. it spring yet?

I have had lots of time to come up with new Music Monday ideas, and so I am going to do a few themed ones. I can not take credit for this first one, but I thought it was so clever I just had to share it.

So this first themed Music Monday is dedicated to all my sisters out there. For all you ladies who have suffered just like I have over the years. I can't wait to see if any one can guess the theme.



UB40- Red Red Wine 

Leona Lewis- Bleeding Love

Frank Sinatra-ive Got the World On a String

Sunday Bloody Sunday-U2

Pearl Jam-Even Flow


I am grateful for everyone who came over to help Drew with his video for school. Especially Chip who was sick. Thanks for coming. 

I am grateful for Uncle Dawson's visit this weekend. Like always it was wonderful to see him. 

I am grateful for perspective.  

Saturday, January 29

Nora's first Eyebrow waxing

This morning after Nora and I dropped Seth off at school we had to make a quick stop at our Pediatricians office. He wanted to check out her eyebrow to make sure it was healing well. It has had a few setbacks in the form of re-opening due to falls, so he wanted to make sure things were well.

When we get called into his office he of course does the regular Hi, how are you doing.
Nora loves Dr. McGonigle so she always chats it up with him. She tells him she is thirsty, that Dad put baby socks on her feet this morning instead of big girl socks: "Silly Daddy," and that she is happy to see him this morning.
She tells him she has a cough. It's adorable.

Nora climbs up onto the little seat where she sits every time. Dr. McGonigle asks to see her eye and she lifts her hair to show him, and out of nowhere he grabs a piece of the glue that was on her eyebrow and yanks it.

I can not even describe the howl that shot from my poor little darling but I am sure many women out there know what I am talking about, because we all either did make that same noise, or wanted to the first time we were waxed.

I am actually not sure who was more surprised; her or the Doctor. She threw her hands up onto her eye and whaled, and the doctor jumped back a little and said, ooh my I thought it would be unattached after almost 3 weeks.

I of course was calm the entire time, and told Nora, Listen, you will need to get used to making sacrifices for beauty. Because really, inner beauty is nice and all, but no one can see that; outer beauty is what matters most.

Poor little thing only has half an eyebrow on that side now!


I am grateful Dawson made it up safely - only 3 1/2 hours late.

I am grateful for good friends.

I am grateful for delicious food.


Friday, January 28

Blues Clues for 4 and a half hours

Drew drove Seth to school this morning so I could catch up on the stuff in the house, it was a nice change to get to stay in PJ's all morning.
I did laundry, listened to music and wrote while Nora played Blues Clues after breakfast, for 4 and a half hours to be exact. 
She runs upstairs, waits in her room while I hide 4 little paw prints on random things, then she comes downstairs to find them.
Nora was having so much fun all day, she did not get grumpy once.
File this one away in the very successful day file!


I am grateful for the funny old neighbour that I have who often makes semi-rude/weird comments to me; he came out the other day and complimented my noticeable weight loss and followed it by saying he hopes I don't lose my boobs - they tend to be the first thing to go. He's always good for a chuckle.

I am grateful for how much I am enjoying my new Jamie Oliver magazine that I got today!

I am grateful that I'm one week closer to NYC. 


Thursday, January 27

Seth Is From Africa

I was driving home from picking up Seth and completely out of nowhere Seth says to me.
Do you know you are not my real mom?
I'm shocked, but I have learned this kid has a wicked sense of humor, so I play along..
Why do you say that Seth?
He says, I am really from Africa.
I giggle, well, I was going to wait for a more appropriate time to tell you, but I guess you are too smart for us and figured it out on your own.
He is smiling pretty big now,
I ask, so what is your real moms name?
He says Ms. Danielle (funny that is also his teachers name)
Ooh, is she nice?
I smile at him and ask, When will you be going back to Africa?
Next Tuesday.
I think for a minute,
Seth, can I ask what gave it away that you are from Africa.
He points to a dark mole beside his ear, See? I am part black.

There it was, I roar in laughter!
I have one funny kid!



I am so very grateful for whoever sent me the beautiful flowers today. They are gorgeous. I would also like to thank whoever got me the Anthro gift card, I bought a beautiful hat with it. And last, a huge thank you C for the team Canada Jersey signed by Jennifer Heil (the Olympic skier), Nora loves it!. I am feeling very spoiled.

I am grateful for Physio guy who let me shoot hoops tonight at physio. You are such a good friend to me, thank you... I loved the hoops so much that I will overlook the fact you had a 15 year old boy (assistant) ultrasound my a$$ tonight.

I am grateful for the dear teachers my children have.

I am grateful for my friend who got a long awaited response from a letter she wrote; regardless of whatever happens, I am truly grateful she got it.

I am grateful Drew is able to work from home some days. It's such a simple thing, but I like it.

I am grateful the 30 day shred seems to be working well, my pants felt a little loose today.

Wednesday, January 26

Cougar Town Basketball

This past weekend Drew and I and the Brits went to a U of A basketball game. The U of A played Manitoba and we watched both the girls play and then the guys.

It was wonderful to watch basketball again. It does something to my soul watching it; it brings out such a wash of energy, youth, and passion in me. While I watch I forget there are others around, I am completely fixed on the game. I feel the excitement of every play and the disappointment of missed ones. I get angry when a team is unfairly treated by the refs. And it brings me to tears when the impossible was achieved.

For that brief hour I am no longer 32, I have no back or ankle pain and I could and would happily go up against their biggest girl.
Now listen I know 32 is not old, most of the time I don't feel old at all,  but in this setting of university basketball where the majority of the people there just had their 18th birthday I could easily run for mayor of cougar town.

With age thought I see the game a little differently,  I see the wisdom that I don't think I could when I was younger. I see what Coach Rita was talking about all those years.
The game is so beautiful to me. I can't wait for the boys or the girl to start playing. My heart aches for it.
Drew and I are planning on catching a Knicks game when we go down to NYC in March. I cannot wait! To watch an NBA game is one of the things on my bucket list.

As enjoyable as the game was to watch, the *cough* highlight *cough* was the "dance team" that looked like a group of 12 year old girls in their older sisters clothes and makeup. It was like watching the dinner party episode of The Office, that's how awkward it was for me. Further emphasizing my ranking in cougar town.

All in all, it was a wonderful night. I think I am going to find a gym to play in sometime this week; maybe Physio guy will play ball with me tonight.  (If you read this PG, hint hint)

Nora has become quite the "story teller" as of late (I am using that instead of fibber, or the L word, because at this age they don't lie, they are just creative). Well that is what I am telling myself anyhow. 
The other day while her and I were driving to pick up Seth from school (it was just her and I in the truck) She told me she was thirsty, so I handed her a half full bottle of water. When she had enough she said to me, mom I am done, I looked back just in time to watch her dump the rest of the water onto the the floor. 
I yell Nora, why did you do that?
She looks stunned, she points to the empty seat beside her and says, "It wasn't me, it was Gabe!"  


I am grateful Drew picked up Seth today and took Nora with him, it was nice to get to spend some time with the older two this afternoon when they got home.

I am grateful I was able to go to bed at 10 pm last night and not 1am. We are trying hard to get to bed at a more reasonable time.

I am grateful for how beautiful it was today. I changed into shorts (in the house) and had the windows open and everything.


Tuesday, January 25

Snowboarding training for 2014, Family and Warm Weather.

This past weekend was so warm; Saturday at around 1pm it was +4 degrees. It was sunny, and beautiful. I loved every minute of it.

We took the children out for the afternoon so Ethan could practice more on his snowboard. We keep telling him if he plans to make the 2014 Olympic team he needs to work a little harder and be more focused. He keeps giving us some lame excuse about being in grade 3, which we obviously don't accept and tell him he should not let anything get in the way of our his dreams. Even grade school! I love that he just laughs at us.

It was a good day.

Ethan getting ready for half-pipe training.

Pretty much the exact position Nora stayed in all two times that she skied.

Seth brought a little teddy bear home for the weekend from school.  So of course he came along.

Please keep in mind snow gear adds a couple pounds.

Gabe hoofing up the hill, one of a thousand times.
It was such great fun, I even made a snow angel. I hope next weekend is just as beautiful.


I am grateful for all the laundry I was able to get done.

I am grateful for how good Gabe did on his spelling test Friday - what an improvement!

I am grateful for good family fun.


Monday, January 24

Turn It Up For Monday!

I have discovered yet again how brilliant I am. This obviously comes as no surprise to anyone, but let me explain.

Drew is in school again. He is working on his degree in Disaster Management with a minor in homeland security from Jacksonville State University in Alabama (his school mascot is an angry chicken, they call them gamecocks, it makes me giggle).
Anyhow, he is in school again. Drew runs the province during the day, and after the children are in bed he works till all hours filling his brains with every possible emergency known to man and how to fix it.
Some of the really cool classes he has taken that are my personal favorites are weapons of mass destruction and hostage negotiation.
I enjoy these classes of his because I get to read the textbooks too, and sometimes I can help Drew. Like the time in his Geology class I actually answered a question for him (and got it right) because I had watched the movie Twilight and recognized the terrain in the west coast. (True Story)

This semester Drew is taking an oral communications course and he has to videotape himself 7 times giving different speeches about a variety of topics; and 3 times he has to do it in front of an audience. His first video was just an introduction, but his next assignment is due this Friday and he was not sure what to do the lecture on. (This is the part where my genius shines through).
As he was deciding what to do the lecture on (the requirement was that it has to be explaining/demonstrating something and have at least 3 steps to teach) I suggested why not teach us how to fold a fitted sheet.  As a side note, I've watched Martha Stewart arrogantly fold fitted sheets with very little trouble.  Almost mocking me because I can't do it.

I am brilliant because I hate folding fitted sheets, I am too short to do it, and if I just got him to figure out how it could forever be his job!  (Maniacal Laughter.)  I amaze myself sometimes.
He is over in the living room right now practicing! And all my fitted sheets are folded beautifully.  Again, insert Maniacal Laughter.  He runs the province and repairs natural disasters but is folding my fitted sheets!

So for this music Monday I have a varied mixture of styles and beats. Some songs I remember dancing to with my mom when I was younger. It was her birthday this weekend and I wanted to play some songs for her.

Simon and Garfunkel is one of my all time favorites. My dad Steve listened to them, so we listened to them. Excellent group to sing along to on road trips.

Simon & Garfunkel-Cecilla

The Temptations is one of the groups on the album from the movie The Big Chill. Our family listened to this tape every road trip. 

The Temptations-Aint Too Proud To Beg

Obvious classic!

Abba-Take a Chance On Me

Happy Birthday Mom!

Now for something a little more recent...

I had this tape and played it so much the tape in the cassette would no longer play it was so stretched out. I love this group.

House Of Pain-Jump Around

 This song reminds me of very late nights driving an old ambulance on back roads in the middle of nowhere northern Alberta. It was the only thing that kept me awake.

Blur-Song 2

Late night request!

Coldplay-Viva La Vida

Plain and simple brilliance!

U2-Sweetest Thing

Tasha told me about this song. Love it!

Joel Plaskett-Nowhere With You


I am grateful that as I am typing this I remembered the tooth fairy needed to make another appearance tonight.  That's two times this week and I'm proud to say I didn't forget either time! I mean the tooth fairy didn't forget.

I am grateful for the beautiful warm weather we had this weekend!  We had a wonderful time playing together. 

I am grateful for my visitors who stopped by Sunday night.  It was good to catch up.


Saturday, January 22

The Magical Power Of Bread And Cheese

Let me tell you about the magical place English Sam found right here in Edmonton. (5028-104A st.)

This is exactly what everyone needs to brighten their cold and snowy days.

This beautiful Italian Grocery store was not only huge, but filled to the brim with beautiful meats, cheese, baking, black Truffles (that are located in a locked cabinet), anything you could possibly have wanted to try after looking through Jamie Oliver's cookbooks (or could not find to make them in your regular grocery) is in this magnificent store. 

Sigh....There is also a little lunch area so you can eat before you spend 2 and a half hours going up and down every isle. I bet you I spent at least 20 minutes at the baked goods area alone.

I came home with a rather large box full of treats and things for my family to try. It was glorious! The second I got home from picking up Seth I started cutting into the different loaves of bread I picked up, piling the olive and tomato bruchetta on every slice. 

Fresh Prosciutto-Parma and glorious cheeses to wrap around asparagus, coconut water, stuffed jalapeƱo peppers, Creme Fraiche... it has been a very good night. 

The perfect way to start off the weekend!



I am grateful for delicious food that makes me happy and is pleasurable. I believe that is how food is supposed to be. I think there is an aspect of this life that is lost when you take away the experience of the culinary arts. There is so much people will never understand about culture, beautiful cultures, if they never try new things. There is a tangible difference in sharing a wonderful meal sitting around a table vs eating fast food grease in a car while rushing somewhere. I am grateful for beautiful food.

I am grateful for the sun. When there are days and days of cold, snow, and dreary skies that seem like they'll never end you wake up one morning and out of nowhere the sun peeks through reminding us that he is not gone forever. Reminding us that not too much longer and the snow will be gone, telling me/us to hang in there. 

I unrolled my window to feel the heat and power on my face. It was glorious!

I am grateful for feeling like myself again. (Without being rude or nasty, but always trying to be honest) I find a few days of every month a huge struggle (Drew has informed me it's normally 8 days). The best way I can describe it is I lose perspective and feel like something I am not. I am very angry, short tempered, agitated, sad and tired. My back hurts more then normal, I feel withdrawn and can be hurtful to those around me. Sometimes I feel like it is a sick joke being a woman, like my body has not given so much already. I can't wait to have a heart to heart with God about this aspect of female life one day. I have a lot of questions around this topic. 

I am always so grateful for the day I feel like myself again. 

Friday, January 21

A typical night of baking

So I pulled out all the stops and decided to make Drew a really fancy little cake (from one of Jamie Oliver's magazines) now that plums are available at the local grocery store.  It took almost three hours to make two desserts, and the end result was... one oven fire, watery eyes, difficulty breathing, and nobody liked any of the desserts except me.  Nobody in our house, anyway.  Thank goodness for the Brit's who salvaged my self esteem a little bit.

I'm not exactly sure that Jamie Oliver or Julia Child would be very pleased with my oven work.  But I thought the plum upside down cake was fantastic, if I do say so myself.


I am grateful for the pair of pants, undies, socks and shoes that were all on sale at Baby Gap that I had to purchase after Nora had an accident in the mall.

I am grateful this week is almost over.

I am grateful there was leftovers so I didn't have to make anything for dinner for the kids tonight.


Thursday, January 20

In Bed By 5pm

Today my 10 day stretch of only getting 5 hours of sleep a night caught up with me. I was in bed by 5pm. 
Actually I was sent to bed by my husband because I think he was tired of my grumpiness. 
To be honest, I was getting sick of it too. 

At the moment I have woken for a few minutes to eat something, blog, then head back to bed. 

So for today a simple quote:

"The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook."
William James 1842-1910

Funny story about quotes, when Drew and I lived up North and worked for the ambulance service there Drew was interviewing for a supervisor job with the company. We were both excited and we even went out and bought him new clothes (pants with pleats in the front from Marks Work Warehouse) and a new tie. The day arrived and I was so excited for him all day. 
When he got home I just attacked him with 1000 questions. He said it went really well and then told me, he even  liked my quote. 
I asked, you quoted something? What did you quote?
He said I used that really good quote from the movie The Rock.

I gasp, became very quiet. 
You did not actually quote a movie?
I sure did!
I asked him what quote?
He says the quote (which I am not going to repeat because it is that embarrassing)
but not quite as embarrassing as the fact that he said the quote with Sean Connery's accent.

Can you even believe he actually got the job. And then took over as the General Manager later?



I am grateful for Drew. I was a bear today and he took over everything and let me sleep. 

I am grateful Ethan trusts us enough to talk to us and tell us things that are going on with him. I feel very humbled that he still likes us enough to share personal secrets.

I am grateful I will feel better in the morning. 

I am grateful for Pepsi, I was able to make it through today. It was ugly, but I made it through. 

Wednesday, January 19

Today I Single Handedly Mortified My Poor Son

All of my children have nicknames. Even my friends children have nicknames from me. I have no idea why I've done this... I just have. 
I have always found nicknames fun - different - easier maybe? Because obviously my friends daughter named Ella Rae is WAY harder then my modified Elle-bella... I know it's weird.
Did you know I came up with all of my children names from movies I was watching when I was pregnant with them.

(Side note, I am not sure if I have already mentioned this fact about my children's names, if I have and I am repeating myself, I am really sorry. Let's face it, the older I get the more some of these stories are going to get recycled.)

When I was pregnant with Ethan we watched Mission Impossible.... I am not sure I would have done this after Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch, but who really could have anticipated that level of strange?
Gabe (Gabriel) was named after Heath Ledger's character from the movie The Patriot.
Seth was Nicolas Cage's character off The City Of Angels.
Nora was from Pete's Dragon, had she been a boy, her name would have been Leonardo DiCaprio's character Archer, off Blood Diamond.

So not only do they have their given names, they have been lovingly tagged with their nicknames.
Ethan is Mr., Sir, Little Man, or Little Bear.
Seth will forever be baby Seth, which in itself is strange because he was 11 pounds 6 ounces and 23 inches long when he was born, so really we should call him toddler Seth or small giant Seth, but baby Seth has stuck. We also call Seth Sir, and Mr., as well as Bubba.
Nora is Missy, Sister, Little miss, Nora Bora.... as I am typing this I feel so bad for this kids, poor things.

Then there is the main character of today's post Gabriel.
We have always called him Gabers, or Gaber-Babers. Our children have never said anything to us about the things we call them, I guess I never really thought to ask.

This afternoon I went in to go have a talk with Gabe's teacher, to catch up, and just say hi. On my way out, Gabe was getting dressed for recess and all his friends were standing around him waiting for him so they could all play.  I walked past and smiled at him, then I said, see ya Gabers.

As I walked further I could hear the roar from all his little friends "ha ha GABERS" I could hear all of them taking turns calling him GABERS in a mocking and laughing way.

I just about died for him.

I wanted to go back and say sorry, to try and make it better.... but I clearly had done enough. What on Earth was I thinking? Why was I not thinking!?

I think I would have possibly caused less harm had I licked my finger and wiped his face, or if I would have asked if he needed to "tinkle".

I just humiliated my poor little boy in front of his peer group.
Well there goes 100 dollars for a therapy session in 10 years.

SUCK! I feel so stupid, and all I can do is laugh and shake my head.

I am madly baking him something right now to make up for this. I am going to be saying sorry a lot tonight!



I am grateful for the beautiful sunshine today. It was bright and cheery all day. I really perked up with the warmer weather too. It was only -7.

I am really grateful that we did not have to go back and get more stitches as Nora re-opened her head wound when she fell and hit her head tonight.  Thankfully the bleeding stopped with a little pressure.

I am grateful all my boys have such wonderful and caring teachers. 

I am grateful there was not a ton of chocolate in my house today, or I would have been in trouble.

Tuesday, January 18

50 cm Of Snow, But My Heart Is Well!

Today started out as one rough day.  
The alarm clock went off and I did not want to get out of bed. The air is dry and cold my back aches and so does my ankle and knee. My skin is dry, cracked and sore and I have to crazy glue it together so it does not bleed. (true story)
Drew had an early morning teleconference so I by default (because I don't have fancy phone calls to make) got to drive all the boys to school. 
I drove all the boys to school because we have received 50 cm of snow in the last week and I did not want any of my boys to get lost in the snow on the way to school. You laugh, I have 6 foot snow piles on my street.

When I drove Seth to school today it took me 2 hours to get was a long day of driving.

But there were a few rays of sunshine throughout the day (figuratively not literally). The sky was a bleak dull grey for the majority of the day.

After dropping off Seth, I met my friend Amanda for a visit. I laughed until my eyes were watering as we caught up. Amanda is one of those friends that it never matters how much time has gone past, you just pick up conversation right where you left off. She does my heart well. Amanda is a friend who I feel 100% safe with. I never feel judged by Amanda, and I love telling her my parenting stories (good ones and ones that can be improved upon) and I love hearing hers. We just laugh and roll our eyes. Amanda is the kind of friend everyone should have, and want to be.

After Amanda left, Nora and I spent the day at the mall. I decided the snow was too bad to risk a road closure, so we stayed in the city until Seth was done school. It was long, and my stroller is HORRIBLE to push around. After hours of mall walking, popcorn eating, dodging a weird lady trying to convince us we need haircare products but won't listen, princess store browsing (Anthro is my princess store, and the Disney store is Nora's), watching skaters, and checking if there was a movie to watch to kill the time but there wasn't... It was finally time to pick up Seth.

On the way home from the city, I was almost smashed by a semi when he selfishly decided he needed both his and my lane to drive in. Thankfully by some miracle he heard my screaming and veered at the last minute. My heart was pounding, my knuckles were white, and I was encouraging him very loudly to drive more carefully. I wanted to wave some driving technique hand gestures at him as well, but my babies were in the truck and I was seriously scared of getting into an accident if I let go of the wheel. It took me the rest of the hour drive home to calm down.

When I finally dragged my sorry butt out of the truck into the house from a long day in the city, exhausted and grumpy Drew reminded me that tonight was the night I had booked to go out with Wendy! And that perked me right up!

Wendy is my friend that every other month goes out for dinner and goes shopping with me. Wendy has been retired for some time now, she use to make costumes for theaters, she is a very talented woman and has such an eye for art and beauty. I love shopping with her she teaches me so much. We often eat at the same place, we both like it there.

When I first moved to this town Wendy was one of the very fist women I met, and we got along famously and have ever after. She always brightens my day. We chat about her son, she listens to me complain about parenting, laughs and tells me men never change and always makes me smile and feel better. She tells me about her daughter and the story of when she passed away, we both cry.

Wendy never tells me to be quiet. She always gives me permission to speak freely and honestly. She encourages with wise words and I always feel a true deep love from Wendy that is hard to explain. She understands me. Wendy walks with a cane now, actually her doctor told her she needs to carry it and she does what her doctor tells her...she carries it. She walks a little slower now then she did before, but that is only her body. She is as spicy as they come, and I love her for that. Everyone should have a Wendy in their lives. She does my heart well.

Then tonight, when I returned from my evening out with Wendy I called my dad Steve to wish him a Happy Birthday and without skipping a beat, my mom hands him the phone, tells him it's me and he says "what the hell do you want" I roar with laughter and so begins our 30 minute conversation. My dad does my heart well. the end of the evening I have completely forgotten the long day of driving and all the snow.



I am grateful for all of the laughs I had today. They were much needed.

I am grateful for the clean house I came home to tonight. 

I am grateful for the people in my life that carry me along.

Monday, January 17

Music Monday and Happy Birthday JONES!!

It could not be more perfect that my dad Steve's birthday is on a music Monday. Because it was Steve that really taught Dawson and I to love all types of music and movies. I grew up with a vinyl record player and we listened to Fleetwood Mac, Ozzy Osbourn, The Big Chill, The Beatles and Rod Stewart..... he was a true connoisseur of good and classic music. I have had a crush on Silvester Stallone since I was little from watching Rambo thanks to Steve. 

Happy Birthday Steve-O! 

You are one cool guy. I love you! I love that you still play pool with your friends and that you can beat anyone in the world in a game of darts. I think you are such a cool grandpa, and you make me laugh all the time.  I love that you don't look a day older from the day I met you and still do your hair the same way you always have. I love that the humor and sarcasm you have spent years teaching me will, without fail, appear when you answer the phone, hear it's me, and say, "what do you want dog face?" I love that you play with my kids, and they know without fail that you will have lifesavers candy or gum for them. I love all the tunes we listened to growing up and I love that you are you. Happy Birthday you old fart! Man you are still as ugly as ever!

For this music Monday I really felt the need to roll up my sleeves and make it a good one. I am starting to lose my mind, I am feeling caged, and I really need to move.  So this week crank your volume and get dancing! I have another long MM, but well worth your time. It is my gift to you, who might also be on the verge of wall climbing soon. Hang in there! 

I love this song.  It's so catchy! 

Sweet Thing-Change of Season

Slightly obnoxious song... slightly overplayed I think. But still super catchy.

Natasha Bedingfield-Pocketful Of Sunshine

Love this song! First heard it on Grey's Anatomy. Excellent soundtrack CD by the way.

The Bird And The Bee-Again And Again

Also off of Grey's.  Another excellent tune.


One of the best groups of all time! I heard they are coming out with a new album soon. Which I am really looking forward to. Gwen Stefani can rock like no other girl. My sister-in-law Kelly and I went to her concert when she came to Edmonton - it was amazing.

NoDoubt-Just a Girl

Good song to dance to. 

Avril Lavigne-Girlfriend

This song means a lot to me. Not sure exactly why, I just really like it.

KT Tunstall-Suddenly I see


I am grateful for music. It picks me up when I need it most. It is the wind beneath my wings... sorry that was horrible.

I am grateful for the snow blower we have. It was a gift from Drew's dad years ago, we love you Grandpa!

I am grateful for our treadmill, So very very thankful! The kids are thankful too. A tiny little bit of exercise in this disaster of a snowstorm.


Sunday, January 16

Saying Goodbye To Mr. Galloway

You won't hear me complain about living in Alberta, Canada much. I think it is a wonderful place, until it snows.
Although I will happily take the white stuff over spiders and nasty snakes and pretty much everything I see on Billy the Exterminator, there are a few things the snow has dictated that I am not thrilled about.

One of those things was not allowing me to drive down to Calgary last Saturday to properly say goodbye to Mr. Galloway. Mr. Galloway died 2 weeks ago and he was a very special man. Personally Mr. Galloway was my Grade 9 Business Education teacher and he was my Volleyball coach.  Last weekend a friend of mine was asked to speak at his celebration and I really wanted to hear it. But because of the snow, I was only able to participate by reading her tribute, so I asked permission to quote, but I think she did such a marvelous job that I will post it in its entirety for others to enjoy.

My Mr. Galloway

I have been fortunate to know Mr. Galloway for over 20 years; Don the teacher taught my two older brothers and younger sister, Don the coach coached me in volleyball, and Don the friend has been a dear friend of my family for many years.

My Mr. Galloway was amazing, inspiring, caring, tough, honest, real, and absolutely hilarious.

Prior to entering junior high, I knew him as Don the friend of my parents. Sometimes, he would have a sleepover at our house. Some of you in this room contributed to that! Even then, I remember he was an excellent story teller. This was also when I learned about his fondness for cats. He loved our cat Scooter, and I think sometimes he would come over to just to see the damn cat!

And when I entered junior high, I have to confess, I was a little afraid of Mr. Galloway the teacher. In the hallways and in his classroom he was loud and made grand gestures all the time. He hassled everyone, gave students a hard time, and I could never figure out why the older kids loved him. But it wasn’t before long that I would love him too. Some of my favourite memories from junior high are of Mr. Galloway.

I knew Mr. Galloway was in my corner when we had a little heart to heart one day. He said he felt sorry for me. “What?” I asked him, “Why?” “Well kiddo, I know your mom, and you have to live with her and be in her class. It must be awful! Anything you need and I am here.” This moment solidified my respect and admiration for this man! He knew me; he understood me; he got me!

Students loved him because of his wit and humour. His laugh was infectious. You could hear his laugh down the hallways. When he was laughing, we were laughing. And when he spoke, we listened. And when we didn’t listen, he hollered louder and louder or, sometimes, he quietly walked out of the room and left everyone wandering what was going on. Upon his return, with a hot cup of coffee, students would hear a famous Galloway lecture, “When it’s your name above the door, and you’re the one wearing the ties, then you get to make the rules!”

Even though he complained about teaching and was known to say that he chose teaching because he didn’t want to get a real job, he loved what he did and loved teaching history. He had great expectations and his lessons on life were just as important, if not more, than all the history lessons. His exams were often tough, but you always knew you could get one question right – the last one. This question usually went something like this – The reason Mr. Galloway was the greatest teacher in the world is because (a) he is the most intelligent man in the universe, (b) of his amazing charm and wit; (c) he can make the most difficult things easy due to his genius, (d) all of the above (THIS IS THE RIGHT ANSWER!). 

When we were at Samuel Crowther, his supervision post was in the grade 9 foyer. You always knew when it was his day because you could hear his voice bellowing down the hall. On these supervision days he would often bug the girls about who they chose to “date”; a common question we would hear was, “Who is it this week ladies?” I have a vivid memory of him taking us by the arms to the honor roll board and saying, “So, you are with ‘blank’, let’s check to see if his name is here…nope, not here…BAD CHOICE!” Many years later, Barre and I went to the Metropolitan Grill from brunch with Don and Mary. Don was meeting Barre for the first time. I was so nervous; it was like introducing Barre to my parents all over again. Later that day, when we were at the Hitmen game, he gave me a little elbow and said, “Honor Roll! Good job kiddo.” It meant a lot to me that day.

He was an outstanding volleyball coach. He yelled and shouted all the time, and we loved him for it. When a game was going down hill, he was notorious for turning his chair around, so his back was to the court and he could no longer see what was going on. He would often stand along the sidelines with his hands gripping his hair, and when there was a good play he would throw his hand up in the air, all the while still holding his hair. I am sure that our grade 9 team contributed greatly to his hair loss! We would know things were getting really bad when he pulled his nitro out of his pocket and stared waving it at us on the court. We would laugh after volleyball games when he would have to go and have a consultation with his ‘girlfriend’ outside in the parking lot.

A favourite story among our grade nine team was when he was giving us a serious talk about blocking and how we needed to stay off the net. “Listen,” he said, “stand still and listen to me. You have to jump straight up, don’t touch the net….” This is the moment, when I was to be listening, that I decided to jump and block. Except I did exactly what he told us not to and hit the net with my chest, which in turn hit him in the face. His glasses were off kilter, one arm up past an ear and the other at his chin. I remember him standing there, looking, standing there…the rest of the girls were on the floor laughing.

One of his favourite volleyball memories that his spoke of often was when we went to a tournament in Calgary. He had debated whether we should go; it was quite costly and well, we were from a small town going to play in a big city tournament. We went, and we won the whole thing. But that was not the best part for him…he was walking from the coaches room and overheard another team talking. The coach told the team they were playing Strathmore next, and one of the players said, “Oh no, not the Black Death!” He reveled in this! Sweet vengeance…they all thought this small town team was going to be a breeze, and here we were, evoking fear, and kicking everyone’s butt.

Our relationship of teacher/student/coach/player stretched far beyond my three years of junior high school.

When I was in high school, he was in the hospital. A few of us jumped in the car and were off to see him. Even then he was laughing. I wasn’t; I was angry with him. I told him he needed to smarten up and take better care of himself because the students loved him, and they needed him. This was when our letters started. Every so often I would write him a letter. I would write about my life and I would fill him in on what and how everyone was doing….he loved the gossip updates.

Mr. Galloway was the guest speaker at my high school graduation. It was the best speech ever. He had everyone roaring with laughter and tears running down their cheeks. His present that day from my graduation class was two teddy bears. When I said I would get the present, some thought I was crazy. I had informed them that when I asked my reliable source, Mary, what he would love, she gave me the idea. I know that for many years after, those two bears sat very proudly on a shelf in Don’s home. And when I graduated from University, my gift from Mr. Galloway was a letter of course, and a bear.

When I started teaching, Mr. Galloway came to my school and saw my classroom. When he walked in the door of my classroom he started laughing…and not just a little chuckle, it was the full on Don laugh…grabbing his pants and punching you kind of laugh. I looked around, there were poster everywhere, kids work was all over the place, things were hanging from the ceiling and finally, he said ‘I sure hope you don’t have any kids with ADD!” Then, he gave me a big hug and said he was proud of me, very, very proud.

In 2005, to celebrate Alberta’s centennial, there was a story writing contest to honour teachers called ‘My Most Memorable Teacher’. A panel would choose 100 stories from all the submissions to go in a book. I decided I was going to enter a story about my Mr. Galloway. I didn’t tell him because he would have told me no. And much to my surprise, our story was chosen out of the thousands submitted! I had to tell him then. We were invited to the book launch. He was thinking it would be a little informal luncheon and wore his golf shorts, it wasn’t; it was a big deal. He was so giddy like a little school girl. The best part of the whole day was people were coming around to the tables asking who the writer was and who the teacher was. We would introduce ourselves, and then they would ask for his autograph. He would say, “I’m on page 220! It’s called ‘His laugh was intoxicating!’” You should have seen him; he was literally bouncing in his chair saying and dancing by the table, ‘Did you see? Did you see? I’m published! I’m famous! They asked for my autograph!”

I have learned so much from Mr. Galloway. One time, he said he needed to have a chat with me about teaching and give me a few pointers. His pointers went a little like this…Peterson, you need to have rules and enforce the rules, but not too many, keep it simple, these are teenagers we’re talking about here. Be the boss, but not too bossy because then they won’t want to listen to you. Remember to have fun, but not all the time because then the kids can get out of hand. Be nice, but not too nice because then they will walk all over you. Be honest, they won’t like it at the time, but they will thank you later. Be tough, but don’t be mean, there is a big difference. Be kind, a little bit goes a long way. Listen, sometimes you have to stop doing the talking and you have to listen. Don’t stop pushing them, don’t give up on them…if you stop encouraging them, you’ve stopped caring and you shouldn’t be teaching. Tell them stories, stories about you and your family, that way they will see you as something other than a teacher, they will see you as a real person. Tell them jokes, even bad ones. And laugh, laugh with them, and for God’s sake, laugh AT them!

In writing this over the past week, I have learned that these are not just my lessons from my Mr. Galloway; they are our lessons from our Mr. Galloway. The one who made the rules and stuck to them, the one who knew when and how to have fun, the one who was kind in the exact moment it was needed, the one who was honest even when we didn’t want to listen, the one who listened to us when we needed someone to hear our voices, the one who believed in us and pushed us to be better human beings, and the one who laughed and enjoyed life to the fullest.

Thank you Mr. Galloway. Your lessons have been imbedded in the minds and hearts of all of us. You are our Mr. Galloway and you will forever be in our hearts.



I am grateful that Jamie-Dee was able to speak for us all at Mr. Galloway's memorial.  

I am grateful for the tender feelings that I have and the memories that I hold dear of this man; rough around the edges, which is probably why I liked him so much.