Tuesday, January 29

Canadian Children

It is cold here today. It is REALLY cold here today. Today it is -27 and with the windchill it is closer to -40. My ankle and knee were achy this morning and I didn't want to get out of bed. When I did, the children instantly began debate if it was cold enough to not have to go to school today.
"It's too cold mom, please let us stay home". Listen, I think its pretty cold too, but you already have Thursday off so I don't want you to miss too much. I was not sure the exact temp that a school closure would happen so I called Melanie.

"Is it too cold, is the school closed"? I asked her. "I don't know either, look on the school website" she said.

ooh yeah, the website!






There it was in black and white, printed for all to see, the guidelines of Canadian child abuse. Why do people even live where there is a possibility of the temperature getting to -50 let alone send our children outside? But we do, and we will continue to because it is one of the beautiful parts of Canada. It's what makes this place and its people so great.

J

Today:

I am grateful for a warm home, food and a comfortable bed.

I am grateful I am feeling better from this past weekend.

I am grateful that there is still fun to be had when it's this cold out. Ice Clouds are so fun and can be really pretty if you add food coloring to the boiling water.






Monday, January 28

MM To A Horrible Weekend

This weekend has been exhausting. I had to take the parenting after separation class which was about as happy as a funeral and as fun as a tour of a slaughter house. The only good thing that came from the entire weekend was this song, but I can't buy it off iTunes yet because it is only available in the US, so even the best thing still kind of sucks.

This weekend was horrible and I want to go back to bed.

Snowship- Benjamin Francis Leftwich




Today:

I am grateful my house pipes did not burst this weekend when my house was freezing.

I am grateful my kids are safe.

I am grateful this weekend is over.

J


Tuesday, January 22

I Saw Oprah

This story actually starts 4 days ago on my Saturday shift at the radio station. Rob and I were talking about Oprah, who was starting her tour of Western Canada on Monday. The first city on her tour was Edmonton then Calgary, and finishing off Thursday in Vancouver. It was pretty exciting stuff. Rob asked a simple question, "Are you going?"  To which I replied, "no, I wish"

Rewind the story to a night shift I worked with Rob about a month ago. After one of our breaks (the times we talk on air during a show) I went to the bathroom. As I passed the giant TV that is in the entrance way of the station that you have to pass on your way to the restroom, I saw an advertisement that a listener for our sister station 99.3 Up could have the chance to meet Oprah with one of the hosts Charlie Morgan.

I ran back to the studio without having gone pee, frantic with what I just saw on the TV. I said to Rob, "Did you know Charlie gets to meet Oprah?" Rob, having NO idea what in the world I was talking about just shrugged his shoulders. OMG Charlie gets to MEET OPRAH!!

I scrambled to my phone and sloppily texted two of my bosses to see if there was any chance I could go too. I figured it was a long shot but I had to try. Meeting Oprah has been a dream of mine for years. It's on my bucket list for heaven sake! Both of my superiors assured me there was no chance they could help me see her. So I just accepted it wasn't going to happen. Also the fact that she was coming on a night I worked, and if that was not enough, the hundreds of dollars it was going to cost  for even the "bad seats" I needed to quickly make peace with the fact I was not going to get to see her. I was a little crushed to put it lightly.

Fast forward to last Saturday...

Monique (Mo as her friends and family call her) is a mom of three grown children. She has a husband named Wayne who is going to start working in Madagascar soon and Mo herself works in a greenhouse in the summer months.On Saturdays Mo drives her daughter to soccer (her daughter is a Man U fan) and when she is doing her soccer run early Saturday morning she seldom, if ever, listens to the radio, she is more likely to listen to CD's. But this past Saturday she had the radio on, and just happened to hear my comment about how I would loved to have seen Oprah, but will not be able to go.
Funny because Mo had been given two tickets from her husband to see Oprah. Mo is a HUGE Oprah fan too. When she happened to be listening to the Rob & Joelle show that morning she decided to text me at the station and tell me she wanted to take me with her.

I get a lot of texts at the station regarding gifts (not to sounds pretentious) listeners lovingly drop off coffee, and chips. Flowers (with marriage proposals attached), sporting event and concert tickets have been offered and even once I was given an adult toy from someone. So when I read the text that came in the Saturday morning "If you don't mind going with a stranger Joelle, you could come with me". Knowing this was not a serious offer, I said "thank you and sure" (with the appropriate "lol" attached) because who would give a stranger an Oprah ticket? Mo told me in text her husband Wayne, would forever be thankful for not making him go.. not thinking much of it I went on with my day and headed home that night. Sunday morning bright and early Mo texted again to tell me she was on her way down to the station to drop off my ticket. Still not really believing this was real, I was even more shocked when the text that she was outside came in. I asked why she didn't give it to her sister or a best friend? Mo simply said "I don't know, I thought about it, but I just didn't".

I had a real Oprah ticket in my hand. I was in shock for the rest of the day. It was all a blur, I cried the entire way home. I put the ticket in my wallet and found myself opening it every so often to prove to myself I was not making it all up.

 Monday could not come fast enough.  Rob and I covered for Crash & Mars again.
I was giddy all day. I hesitantly told a few people about what I was going to do later that night, to which I received scoffs, rolled eyes and even one girl told me Oprah was the anti-Christ.
How could any of them understand what this meant to me? How could people in their 20's who didn't watch her everyday for decades when they were unhappy with their life and struggling to understand past pains understand how much she has taught me. How could they understand how tender I was feeling when they believed she was a racist and a man hater? It was very difficult to listen to all of that. But how could they understand?

I cried the drive home from work. Partly from the exhaustion of having to get up at 3am, and partly from the anticipation of what was to come. I had a nap when I got home, which brought Oprah that much closer when I woke.

While I was getting ready, I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone to listen and to understand why this mattered to me. I didn't want to call anyone and worry It might sound like I was bragging that I got tickets. I just needed to tell someone that was impartial what was going on and not hear mocking, hatred or judgment.
So I texted my boss. I needed him to hear how she influenced me and inspired me. How I have grown with her and lost weight with her. I have read books that have changed my life because of her. I learned to listen and hear my inner voice because of her. How she helped me see things and people differently. How She brought experts onto her show who taught me how to parent and help me understand why I felt overwhelmed with it and how to work on parts of myself. She helped me heal and  taught me, through sharing her own experiences, that rape and molestation were not the fault of the victim, even when it's so easy to blame ourselves, and I did.
How to grieve the loss of friends who passed and how to be a better person and more understanding of others. She taught me how to live gratitude and how to face my demons head on and come out the other side.
How, in a small but undeniable way, she helped raise me to be the woman I am today. By the end of this soul purging, I was doing the snot running, swollen eyed, ugly cry. I just needed to voice it and after I had, I felt better. I had a crying headache, but I was better. And with everything off my chest, I got ready and headed into the city.

I found my seat and was so excited I could not cry one more drop. Mo arrived soon after I got there and we chatted and I got to learn more about her and her family. When the time came for things to start I was so relaxed and just ready to listen and absorb. It was wonderful. It was nice to hear her voice again, and listen to the wisdom of her experience. It was like a reminder of all the things I had been taught over 25 years. It was a nice night. Around the time her talking was over, I was really starting to feel tired. Knowing I had a 45 minute drive home and I had to be up at 3 in the morning.  I started to panic that I was not going to be able to watch everything that was left. She still had her one on one interview thing with George Stropolopolopolus.

Random women would shout out "Thank you" throughout the night and when she sat down to talk with George I felt a tinge of sadness that I would never get to say thank you myself. I sure was not going to scream it like others but I understood what made them do it. Then George asked her something and to it she responded, "If you started watching me (the Oprah show) when you were 10, and watched for 25 years, you are now 35 and probably have a family of your own.. In a small way, It's like I raised you.."

And there it was.

She had said my exact words. The EXACT words I had spoken only a few hours earlier. A flood of emotions ran over me and the tears poured out all over my face.
 She heard my Thank you, not directly from me, but she understood. She understood how much and why she mattered to me. That is all I wanted/needed and with that, I grabbed my jacket, thanked Mo again for the most wonderful evening and headed home. The whole drive home I just felt calm. I thought about the years I would run home after school with Melanie and Amy and watch her, and how I would set my VCR when I was in college to make sure I never missed her.

Not only did I get to share a little part of my experience from last night on the Morning show that Rob and I did this morning, I got to do little interviews with three other radio stations about my evening with Oprah. I have enjoyed telling others about it.

When I told my boss about what had happened and what she said, I told him,"no one is going to believe that is what I said to you, no one is going to believe those were my exact words to you". So I was feeling tempted to added his phone number to this blog post so people could call and confirm I am not making any of this up. But I decided you are going to have to just trust me.










Today:

I am grateful for Mo And Wayne. You will never know how this has affected me, and what this has meant to me. Thank you!

I am grateful that bucket list moments only come once in a while. I am feeling so drained and emotionally exhausted from everything, I am glad they naturally space themselves out.

I am grateful for the reminders I was given last night about things that matter to me.

I am ever so grateful.

J







Friday, January 18

She Finally Did It, And Did It GOOD

All of the boys have cut their hair. Two of them have done it more than once. Seth cut his bangs off at the scalp. I know it is a part of growing up, every child does it. I had just hoped maybe I might skip the right of passage with Nora....I hoped. She has trimmed a tiny piece off once, but nothing too dramatic.

I took Nora for a trim at Fusion Hair Salon on Wednesday and she looked great. Thursday Morning I was doing a few things around the house, I try to catch up on my days off, and I walked into the bathroom to clean up and there it was, staring at me on the counter top.


A HUGE chunk of her golden locks was laying there. Beside it was a piece of purple hair I later found out belonged to Barbie. There was no hiding this. It was the entire side of her head.


For the most part I am a fairly patient woman. I still have a sense of humour when my children ruin things, break my dishes and have cut through my leather couch (when they were really little). But for whatever reason I did not have much in the way of ha ha after this. I packed her up, and off to Fusion we headed. again...for the second time in two days.



Turns out, she looks adorable with short hair and I actually like it better this way. Sigh...okay, maybe it was not such a bad thing after all.

Today:

I am grateful for a group of friends who happen to all be hair stylists, and who always take good care of me and my kids! muah!!

I am grateful for the warm weather, it helps with my off mood.

I am grateful for a much needed ladies night tonight.

J

Tuesday, January 8

Coffee With My Ex's New Girlfriend


During my time off at Christmas I went out for coffee with my ex-husband's new girlfriend. Let me explain.

When we decided divorce was the best course of action, one of the things we both agreed upon was to make this as easy on the children as possible. When my parents got divorced it was tense and awkward ever after. It as been 30 years and I remember very clearly moments where I felt caught in the middle of arguments, bitterness, and hurtful words. The crazy thing is, it still happens every once in a while and it makes me feel just as sick to my stomach now as it did when I was a child. When parents bicker and fight and put children in the middle of their issues, it causes confusion and a mixed sense of loyalties. It is painful and it lasts a lifetime. I am still dealing with the after affects.

 I decided, if we could not break the cycle and have a successful marriage, then we were going to have the best divorce possible. One of the ways we were going to do this "right" was to be loving and accepting when the other person has moved on. So we agreed that when and if one of us found someone really special, and was ready to take the next step and have them involved with the children, then the ex would also meet them.

To me, it makes sense. If there is someone who is going to become a part of my childrens's lives,that means, indirectly and in some cases very directly, she will become a part of my life too. I don't want my children to ever feel like they have to pick favorites, or they need to defend their mother or father by being awful to a new person. I believe hate breeds hate and that is not welcome in our family in any form. And we are all still a family. We might look a little different and have more people in it then other families, be we are still a family with the goal of raising the best kids we can.

So, when my ex asked me to go to coffee with R, I agreed. I walked into the coffee shop and ordered my tea. I turned, put sugar in it, and walked over to the table with the only single woman in the place. I made sure it was her, we shook hands and I sat down. I think we were both a little nervous about each other at first but I assured her I was happy to meet her and we both relaxed into our seats and began to open up. 

She is lovely, She seems very nice and has a pretty smile. I love her hair and she dresses nicely. We sat and talked for over an hour. We laughed, shared stories and I told her things to expect with the upcoming arrival of her first baby this spring. There was one moment when she was talking that I felt a genuine surge of love for her and the baby and thought,"well done Drew, she is delightful. You picked well".

When it was all done, we said our goodbyes, and we went our separate ways. I wasn't ready to go home to an empty house yet so I went and walked around the mall to think and clear my head. I thought about what had just happened, what I had just done and after calling my friend Chealine and asking the obvious self pity questions of "what's wrong with me and why can't I find someone?" She reassured me I wont feel lonely forever, and one day it will be my turn.  After that I felt at peace with it and happy for them. 

I remember being a little girl never sure what to say around what parent. I remember feeling like I had to "take sides" and I hated how I felt when mean and hurtful words were said about people I loved. I felt scared and confused. My children will never encounter that. They will never know that anger and pain (if I have anything to say about it). They will never be unsure if it's okay to share stories about other family members. Hate breeds hate, and there will be no hate here. We are adults and we can and will do better. 

When I did finally drive home I kept daydreaming about what the future will look like for us all. What birthdays will look like with four parents and five children running around. What Christmas will be like and other things like graduations and weddings. I could easily see R and I talking and laughing about things over coffee or beer at a birthday. And not in the awkward and rigid way people do in situations they don't want to be in. But really talking and being comfortable with each other. I felt excited for the baby to arrive and it made me happy to think that my children will have a baby to play with and love. 

Mostly it made me happy to think that we are doing this the best way possible for us. And maybe one day I might find someone that will add to our unique family dynamic, with all it's flaws and grandeur. 


Today:

I am grateful for growth and learning. 


I am grateful that we are working on being the parents these children deserve. 


I am grateful Drew, R and I feel the same way about how we all want this to be. 


Today, I am grateful. 


J


Monday, January 7

Music Monday

My friend Rachel was doing her afternoon show one of the days I was off for Christmas break and she shared how she liked this song by the Lumineers and that she had gotten the CD for Christmas.

I downloaded it right then because I have never heard her give a song such praises and I fell in love instantly. For some strange reason it makes me think of her and her husband. I listened to it about 6 or 7 times while I walked around Costco.

The Lumineers-The Dead Sea


 I just found this one today. It is really pretty and soft.

Matt Walters- I would Die For You
 


And one by Ingrid.

Ingrid Michaelson- Starting Now
 .


Today:

I am grateful not all the kids are sick, only half.

I am grateful for the nicer weather. Its nice to have a break from the bitter cold.

I am grateful for how good breakfast and hot tea is.

J

Sunday, January 6

Family Picture

Sunday night and I am alone listening to music. My house is semi clean and the dog is eating a bone she got for Christmas. I am wearing my comfy pants and I really want to go wash off my make up right now. I went back to work this weekend and I am tired. Tired because I didn't get much sleep Friday night or last night, I didn't sleep well because I was so excited to get back to work.

I really missed it.

These last two weeks have been interesting. I lost a friend, I had coffee with my ex-husbands new girlfriend (I'll talk more about this later), I spent time with my parents and my brother, had dinner with my girlfriends from Strathmore and had WAY too much time alone. It was nice but it was too long. (That's what she said)


One of the best things that came from this Christmas holiday was the time with my kids, man they are really great and they make me smile. Our vacation was nice, but I am glad it is back to normal now.



Today:

I am grateful for how happy my crew and I are.

I am grateful for being out of the baby stage. I watch my friends going through it and I feel such relief that part of life is over.

I am grateful for getting a picture with my family!

J




Tuesday, January 1

A New Year Should Start With New Music!

Happy New Year!!!

Last night was the first time in years I actually rang in the New Year awake and at a party.

It's not Monday, but I wanted to start 2013 with music so I saved it for today. I found the perfect song to start out with too. I have decided that it was written just for me, it's my 2013 theme song. It was very thoughtful of Classified to write it for me too. They are such nice guys!


Inner Ninga by Classified



This one I found while driving down to Calgary on Boxing day to see my family. I fell in love, shazamed and purchased within seconds.

Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood
 

 I Think this is my new favorite video. The song is so beautiful too, but I love it even more because of the video. It makes me so happy!!

Daylight by Maroon 5
 

 I am so happy that 2012 is over. It was a year of such highs and beautiful experiences. It was also filled with some lows too. But I loved it! I learned so much and I am better for it all. I am excited to see what comes next. I am excited to grow more and to make new friends and go to new places. I am looking forward to nights alone with a good book and bad movies. Coffee with friends and laughing with my kids. I am excited for bad dates and (fingers crossed) a few not so bad ones.

Best Wishes for 2013

Today:

I am grateful for hope, joy, learning, friends, heartbreak, stillness and peace.

I am grateful for good bras and well fitting jeans. Blue hair and eyebrow pencils.

I am grateful for music, my kids, chai tea and knowing that exciting things are on their way.

J