Wednesday, January 28

Night Before Another Bucket-list Cross Off.

I have told these kids to quiet down at least a billion times now and I can still hear them all whispering and giggling.




I can't blame them, I am just as excited.

We are at the hotel, everyone has had their showers,  the pizza was nice... and now we wait.

Wait to feel tired, wait to fall asleep, wait to start the exciting day tomorrow. Wait for this adventure.

I am shockingly calm. I was feeling a tad stressed earlier today doing all the last minute packing and organizing, and so far we have only forgotten one pair of pants for Seth. So not too bad.



All in all..things are well.

(I had to tell the kids again to quiet down and stop with the giggling and jumping from bed to bed, I just heard them say the ground was poison & danger and they all die if they touch it with their feet.)




Tomorrow another Bucketlist item is crossed off my list. It has taken such effort and so much work I almost feel more relief then excitement  for the passports to finally get stamped.



I can't wait.

J

Today:

I am grateful for this adventure and for all the dreaming that has finally materialized into this very moment.

I am grateful for the wild excitement of children and their questions and wonder in regards to things they will see and experience.

I am grateful I am not pregnant. Let me be clear, there was NO WORRY of this at all.... I am just choosing to find a positive spin to mother natures sick joke that she happened to play on me on the eve of  my special week away to a beach.  (bitch)
Nothing can ever go completely smoothly can it?


Friday, January 16

How Our Family Looks With Alzheimer's.

I am pretty sure I have told you that my granddad has Alzheimer's, if I haven't yet..let me introduce you to him.

Everyone, this is Frank, my Grandfather. I know you all want this sweater he's sporting. Frank was born in 1931, lived in Slave Lake Alberta and was a pilot. He could and did fix almost anything with an engine and loved to play his guitar and sing. He had 4 children with his wife and lived a happy life.



My Grandfather and my brother Dawson are very close. 



This is his lovely wife, my grandmother,  Mary.



My aunty painted this picture of them, it's pretty spot on in every way, even down to how my granddad looks at my grandmother. 



They have been married for pretty close to a hundred years now.

These gems are my parents. (My parents just lost Monopoly in this picture and thats my dad  waving everyone a very loving hello)


We are actually a relatively "normal" and happy family.




My parents retired last year and moved out to BC to help take care of my Grandparents. This Christmas when I went out I saw first hand what my parents life is like as care givers.
They help my grandparents almost every day with errands, doctors appointments, classes and support groups. It's not easy taking care of your aging parents, and I see that the task is  made even harder when one has no idea who you are some days.

When I was out there visiting this Christmas my granddad forgot who I was 3 out of the 4 times I saw him. Bless his heart, he would say to me, "you look familiar, what is your name?" or "I feel like I should know you, do I?"

I would smile and just say, "my name is Joelle"
I didn't want to upset him by lecturing him, or saying "I'm your granddaughter" I didn't want him to feel bad. I have been doing some reading about this vicious disease and, like it says in the books some days are good, some days are not so delightful. My parents take everyday as it comes.
But I can see it's hardest on my grandma and my mom.

It must be devastating to see a man you have adored and look up to as your hero all your life become weak and forget things. I know it upsets my mom a great deal when he would say he forgets me. I am not too bothered by it, I feel it's better me he forgets than her, but the sad reality is that it's only a matter of time and they too will be forgotten and reintroducing themselves daily (even hourly) to their once family patriarch.

I spoke to my doctor and got some tests done to see if there is any early indicators that I might one day get it too, thankfully my brain scans came back clear. To my knowledge no one else in my family has been checked.

My mom has now dedicated this chapter of her life to her parents. It's fascinating watching her serve them so tirelessly, knowing that her heart will only get more and more broken as the years go on.

As it is with most things like this, a lot of the loved ones, feeling helpless against this destroyer of lives, become advocates and rally together to raise money for research and new advancements. My mom is doing the same thing.  This year she will be participating in the 2015 Investors Group Walk for Memories

I told my mom I would pass along her info and see if there was anyone out there who might be interested in helping. Who cares if the money is raised in another province, help is help, and everybodys  loved ones deserve to have a dignified and full life to the very end.





He hasn't forgotten the tune of his favourite songs, or how to play the guitar, but it has robbed him of the memory of the lyrics..But it's still cool to hear him play. When he mumbles the distorted lyrics to my grandma Mary's favourite song, she gets teary and then whispered to me very softly, "I wish I had my husband back."

That is why I decided to post this here. The thought of finally finding Jason,  spending 10, 20 even 30 years with him and him forgetting me and all of our stories....or me forgetting him.  Forgetting all the kids, or the special times we had. I needed to put this out there and begin by doing my part in helping change this for other families, for our family.


Thanks in advance for any and all help you might so kindly give. I assure you every penny is treasured and appreciated!


Today:

I am grateful my parents get to help out and feel like they are a part of the solution. 

I am grateful for my blog. If this fate ever befalls me, I will have my stories down for my kids and my grand babies to remember me by. 

I am grateful for time with Frank and Mary this Christmas. It meant a lot. 

J

Wednesday, January 14

To The Ladies At Penningtons Who Made Me Cry

Rob and I play a few games at work. In the beginning when we first started workings together we would play paper baseball to pass the time at night. We play comedy games, watch funny/stupid videos on youtube and sometimes we play would you rather? 

We have played a lot of games over the years. We even started playing games on air with listeners. At first we only played pop quiz games and I hated it. I am never any good at them, but my natural competitive nature wouldn't allow me to just give up. I would lose and be a horrible sport about it. When I am on air, I pretend it doesn't bother me but on the inside when I lose, it makes me crazy. 

We have now progressed to playing 2 games on air, pop quiz and the NOW family feud. I enjoy Family Feud a little more then the pop quiz, but my overly competitive nature still comes out and I have, on many occasions, ended frustrated or in tears because I hate losing. 

When our boss decided to make each game worth 100$ my stress increased even more...then when I lose and the prize money rolls over and keeps building...my need to win comes roaring out and if you could see my insides, you'd think I was competing in the Olympics. 

I HATE LOSING. I hate losing even more when I am trying to win the money for a listener. I never want to let them down, and contrary to popular belief about radio, our show is never fixed. I have heard other stations fix contests but Rob and I play truthfully and when I lose...it's often because of my poor performance. During the summer when all I did was lose and the prize pot was getting closer and closer to a thousand dollars I would sometimes feel so much stress the night before we would play, I had a hard time sleeping. There is nothing I love more than helping someone win! And,  truth be told, I always feel so much better about myself when they win because I don't feel so stupid. 

There have been times when I have thought about stopping playing the games because I worry my poor performance makes listeners angry and I am failing them some how. But our boss says to solider on. So... against my better judgment, we continue to play. 



I have exactly 14 days left until we leave for Mexico and I am starting to pack. A bit early, I appreciate, but I am excited so I can't help it. Tonight after work I decided to go try and find an extra bathing suit. I already ordered one from my favourite online store  Bravissimo  (if you have hips and boobs...you're welcome) but I wanted to find one more to take with me. So I stopped into Penningtons in Spruce Grove. I shop there once in a while and the ladies are always so friendly, with no other plans tonight I figured I would stop in and see what they had. 

When I got in I went straight for the bathing suits, I found a few I liked and headed to the change rooms. I was almost there when one of the ladies stopped me and said, "I have been waiting for you to come in so I could talk to you"

Chatting with listeners is easily one of my favorite things. I will run into someone every once in a while who wants to chat about work and it never ceases to amaze me when people say they listen. But I was not prepared for this chat. 

The woman who was speaking to me had beautiful dark hair (first thing I noticed)
She said to me "I wanted to tell you, you changed Christmas for our family"
I didn't under stand, so I laughingly asks how. 

She told me how they had been driving together as a family in late November, her husband and 2 children and they were listening to Rob and I.  We did our call out for a contestant to start playing the NOW Family Feud. She told me how her husband decided he was going to try and call in and after a few rings Rob picked up and he was our contestant. 

He did a good job answering his questions (he holds the record for highest point by a listener) and then it was my turn. 
Through the grace of God I did alright and our combined totals reached the 200 points and he won. 

At that part in her story, that's when her eyes began to tear up. 

Her husband had won 500$ and she began to thank me because with that money they were able to buy their children Christmas gifts. With blurry eyes she told me how every Christmas they always stress out and have to put the holidays on the credit cards and how it carries over to a stressful January because money is always so tight. She cried and thanked me and told me how much better this year was with an unexpected car repair that the money they won helped with. 

I was a mess. 

Then she said simply...what you guys do matters. 

Then the other woman standing at the till who had been chatting with us started talking and told me (with tears in her eyes too) how much her daughter and her enjoy listening to Joelle-okie (shudder) and how when her mother passed away, Rob and I made them laugh and how we helped them through that rough time. 

All I wanted was to try on a bathing suit, and now I find myself in one of the change rooms, with a bathing suit on, crying the ugly cry and it's not over my thighs.  Thank you ladies, you gave me more than you'll ever know! 

Life is good, people are wonderful and I am happy (and humbled). 

Today:

I am grateful for little moments that touch my soul and remind me what it's all about. 

I am grateful for whoever the genius was who invented high wasted bathing suit bottoms. 

I am grateful for green apples. 

J




 


 

Thursday, January 8

My Personal Hell Called Passports!

There are a lot of words people might use to describe me.

"Hey Jason, if you had to describe me in 3 words, what would they be?"

Jason: Happy, funny, and Beautiful.

Me: You are just sucking up.

Ethan: "you forgot cold hearted"

Me: I am not cold hearted!

Ethan: "No, you're not mom...you don't have a heart"

Gabe: "Ethan you're a jerk!"

Like I was saying, there are a lot of words people would use, but I assure you prompt and organized might not be at the top of that list. I wish I was, but I am not.  I get shit done, and I m really good at what it is I put my mind to...but now that I work full time, cleaning and getting things done on time are two skills that have fallen by the wayside.

This is not ideal when planning a trip to Mexico.

I am taking the kids on a trip to Mexico.

We are going here!!


It has been in the works for a full year now and I am so excited and can hardly sleep. The kids dealt with me being gone a ton this past summer covering other shifts and my promise to them was a trip to someplace sunny after Christmas if we all pulled together and got through it.
 Mexico was an easy pick because it will be relaxing for me too with a beach and not having to cook at all! 3 growing boys who eat around the clock getting to eat whenever they want and its not me in the kitchen...YES PLEASE!

One of the details I needed to take care of before we embark on this sun filled trip to Mexico is the blessed passports.

I hate paper work. I even hate opening the mail.  Paper work for me is the same as pap tests or buying school supplies in August. I know it has to get done, but I put it off as long as possible and hate every second of it.

Today was the day. I have spent the last two weeks filling everything out, making sure the kids dad filled everything out, getting pictures, making copies of divorce papers...BLAH BLAH BLAH..

Jason and I got up early and headed into Canaada place. Got in line and I was stoked. It won't cost anything extra and I am set.

We were next in line and a rather unhappy looking woman greated us in 3 different languages. I walked up smiling and feeling confidant. I laid down all 50 pounds of my paper work and watched as she began.

She opens up the first envelope and says, "ummm your passport is done wrong here, here and here"

UGH...crap. Ok, I can fix those. That's okay, at least I can get the kids passports done today.

She opens up the kids ones, and with an almost child like excitement on Christmas day, she looks up at me with an evil sparkle in her eyes and explains in an almost joyful voice, "you didn't get the back of the kids pictures signed!"
This woman is obviously the kind of person who laughs when people fall down the stairs. My heart sank.
I picked up all my papers and thanked her and her smug grin for her time. I came home and have just finished filling everything out and double and triple checked it all. I will try again tomorrow.

Why can't I be good with stuff like this and be more organized. Why can't travel to another country be based on she selection instead of paperwork proving Canadian citizenship.

Grrr.

Today:

I am grateful for this adventure we are about to go one.

I am grateful for the kids excitement for it to be a screen free trip too. (no iPods pr iPhones..just good old fashioned cameras)

I am grateful for how much better my thighs look with fake tanner on them. At least I won't look completely terrifyingly pale when I get there.

J







Sunday, January 4

The Therapy That Is My Laundry Room.

I love doing laundry. It's odd, I know. I have told you that before, I find it relaxing. I also find baking relaxing. As un-domesticated as I have become over the last few years, I still find those jobs like meditation.

Laundry allows me time to myself. I can go downstairs into the quiet part of the house, into a cool room and just let my mind wonder. I reflect on my day, mentally write my blog, have imaginary conversations with people down there that I needed to have in real life, but would, while sorting or folding laundry run through how it would go.

I also do some of my best crying downstairs while doing laundry.


Tonight is the last night before the kids get home from their fathers. I am trying to clean everything up and sort through the gigantic bucket of socks downstairs and make pairs. I am sitting down on the floor sorting things and, like always, I'm allowing my mind to wonder.

I started thinking about Christmas and how much fun we all had. I was thinking about the kids and Jason. About my job and about where I am going in life.  I was laughing to myself at how much fun it was having my friends over and visiting my parents and brother, and that's when it hit me.

While I was sitting on the cold floor of this little home, doing laundry, feeling grateful with a full heart and how happy I am. How lucky and blessed I am feeling. How excited I feel about the next few months and years.  I couldn't help but think,  not that many years ago I sat on this same  cold floor doing laundry not 5 feet away from where I am right now,  crying, feeling hopeless, frustrated and thinking "anything has got to be better than this!"

What a difference 7 years makes, What. A. Difference!

I am a completely different woman than I was back then. What a different life I have and what a different future awaits me.


Today:

I am grateful for these weirdos. I have been texting them all day.


I am grateful to get back to work and resume normal.

I am grateful for good friends. Friends who find the same things funny as I do..

J

Friday, January 2

Last Day Here.

Today was our last day here at the lake. I am caravanning back early in the morning with my Brother and Adele. Its going to be a frigging love day, but I am glad we got to spend more time together. We went into Kamloops, went shopping and went to, what I would arguer, was easily the worst movie I have seen in a VERY long time  Into The Woods.... at least the pop corn was good?

I forgot to post pictures from our NYE party, so I included them in this post.


It's a beautiful morning here.



 During my parents party (which was a 50's themed diner) we all had a great time.



My mom did such a great job and worked her A$$ off cooking. 




My brother, and all the other guys dressed like bikers. 







My Brother Dawson and his partner Adele. (I asked what she wanted her title to be and she said "call me his lover" So there you go!) 


After dinner we had a dart and pool tournament, which clearly my grandmother dominated. 



Today:

I am grateful for Sleeping in. What a glorious thing sleep is!

I am grateful for proper mincemeat tarts.

I am grateful for my quirky, strange family.

J


Thursday, January 1

Happy New Year!!


Happy New Year Every One!!! 


We are having a quiet day here today. Everyone is just lounging around and chatting. Everyone, except my mom, is still in their pyjamas and we are about to start watching a movie. I hope everyone had a nice evening. 














I am so glad I came out here. It is strange to think how upset I was when my mom told me they were going to retire and move away from Strathmoe. I was so selfishly concerned about my feelings, so worried about "what does that mean for me?"....

Funny how now, this feels like home. I am so happy and refreshed here. It's a glorious place!

For New Years we all wrote down something we want for the up coming year on little pieces of paper and burned them. It was my sister in laws idea. So on my paper I wrote happiness. My focus in 2015 will be about choosing happiness, and giving myself permission to be happy. I will no longer allow people a say in my life who do not deserve it, and I will work harder to show my children how to choose happiness.

It's a good thing for me.





Today:

I am grateful for days off that allow me time with important people in my live. 

I am grateful for beauty in the world. 

I am grateful for slow days to read, listen to music and walk. 

J