Molding Cookie Dough

September 29, 2016 by

I dreamt last night that I was making Grandma Helen’s Chocolate Nut Balls.

These flourless cookies are a bit of a job because you have work the dough like clay, to soften it, before you can roll them into balls and coat them with sugar. They are, however, absolutely worth the effort.

How much work you have to put into them depends primarily on the amount of oil in the hazelnuts or almonds, so you never know until you begin. But this batch was particularly troublesome.

At one point, I was trying to pinch off a clump of dough to begin working with, and it just wouldn’t release. I dug my fingers into the hardened ball of dough, trying to pull of a lump to work with.

I woke up when my miniature Dachshund snapped at me because I was digging my fingers into her shoulder.

Her name? Cookie. Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Go ahead: analyze away.

My Adventures with Buckleys

June 30, 2016 by

Right before we moved to Canada five years ago, a friend who had lived here told me about Fisherman’s Friend.

FF-Extra-StrongFisherman’s Friend calls itself an “extra strong” throat lozenge for coughs and colds, and it works like magic.

But “extra strong” it is. And it tastes nasty! Until this month, I thought it was the nastiest thing a woman ever swallowed.

Then I discovered Buckley’s.

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Saying Goodbye

June 2, 2016 by

Yesterday was the first in what I expect will be a long string of painful goodbyes.

Girly Girl had her last regular checkup with her amazing pediatrician and staff at the Edmonton Down Syndrome Clinic.

They were shocked that we cannot get permanent residency.

“Not because of Down syndrome,” Nurse Coordinator Gayle Krupa said. “You can’t be denied for that.”

I nodded. “Yes, you can. In fact, they routinely turn people down based solely on the diagnosis.”

“I know people have trouble sometimes,” Dr. Melanie Lewis said. “But not your daughter! She’s the healthiest patient in my practice!”

And indeed, they haven’t seen Girly Girl since her checkup a year ago. She just doesn’t get sick.

It broke my heart to say goodbye. I’ll confess a few tears were shed. The clinic has been a shelter in the storm — a place to get solid information, both about Down syndrome and about governmental supports and policies, and emotional support — and Girly Girl and I will personally miss Dr. Lewis and Gayle.

Writers Brain Gone Amok

April 11, 2016 by

Girly Girl was late leaving the house today — seven minutes late — so I opened my Friend Finder app to make sure she caught her bus.

Sure enough, there she was, right at our front door, headed out.

But twelve minutes later, she was still there.

Of course, the most logical explanation was that, for whatever reason, the Friend Finder wasn’t updating. The second most logical was that she dropped her phone right outside the front door.

But I have a writer’s brain. Logical just isn’t where I go.

I pictured her limp, bleeding body tossed into the bushes. I had to fight the urge to go check.

ScreenshotFinally I texted her. “Did you make your bus?” I asked, hoping my desperation wouldn’t show.

She answered immediately. “Yes I did.”

You can see the exchange in the image.

How much more responsible — and age appropriate — could she be?

You’d never know from that text exchange that my daughter has Down syndrome. I mean, sure, she didn’t use punctuation, but that’s totally typical of teenagers, right?

Only difference is … a typical 18-year-old might have snarled at me instead of answering sweetly and promptly.

Missing Diamonds

April 7, 2016 by

Remember this?

9504_originalI was sitting in church and looked down to see a stone missing from my antique engagement/wedding ring.

It felt like catching the glimpse of a bloody hole left by a missing tooth.

I had a similar experience last night. I was in a restaurant when I absently reached up to fiddle with my earring — and all I got was lobe.

My earring was gone.

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Facing the Inferno

February 16, 2016 by

I dreamt last night of a forest fire.

It was one of those that flashes from treetop to treetop, and moving quickly.2614771667_085fa5d69d_z

And it was headed directly for my house.

I ran home — only a couple of blocks — to grab my family and leave. My extended family
was visiting, and I tried to tell everyone we needed to evacuate now, but no one seemed at all concerned.

I hurried upstairs to grab our vital documents, and while I was rummaging through the files, I heard a diesel engine outside.

A glance out the third-story window revealed a greyhound bus coming down our road. “All residents must evacuate immediately,” I heard over a loudspeaker.

At least now they would listen.

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For Women Only

February 2, 2016 by

No, seriously, guys. This really is just for women. You do not want to read this one. Trust me.

No, really. Just move along. Nothing to see here.


Look, fellows, this one really is TMI, and that’s saying something, coming as it is from the self-proclaimed Queen of TMI.

Fine. How about this compromise … you go get your wife or your girlfriend or your mother or some other female, and have her read the entry.

Then (and only then) if she says you can handle it, then … go ahead and read it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Moving to … God Only Knows Where

January 28, 2016 by

Well, it’s official. We are leaving Canada.

My husband’s boss sent an email throughout the company today announcing that Mars’ last day will be June 30.

Officially, this was part of the re-organization that took place last summer, during which leadership deleted the level of management at which Mars was working.

However, I suspect the decision about him specifically was at least influenced by the fact that we were unable to get permanent residency because our daughter has Down syndrome. Otherwise the timing is an incredible coincidence, especially since everyone else who was let go as part of the re-organization has been gone for almost six months.

So once again, we are packing our home and moving. This will be the third move — and the second international move — we’ve made in five years.

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Daring Greatly

January 27, 2016 by

I choose authenticity. I am done hiding. I am done pretending. I am real, and I’m committed to being real publicly.

Yeah … I am taking an online course. How’d ya know?

Self-depracting humour aside, I really am making a commitment to being more authentic, even publicly.

I believe I was intended for a big life, one filled with adventure and risk, with exhilarating aerodynamics at high speed, the kind flights that sometimes end in flaming crashes.

I had that once, I did. I loved it. But somehow when I moved to Canada, I made my life smaller and smaller, trying to survive. And now my own life doesn’t fit any more.

So I’m breaking out.

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Keep Your Stuff to Yourself

January 18, 2016 by

Subtitled: A Primer on Manspreading to Benefit Both Men and Women.

This primer is dedicated to the man in seat 4A on Alaska Airlines flight #2086 from Seattle to Walla Walla Saturday evening.

20636768666_88df569d5c_zManspreading, in case you haven’t heard the term, is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat”.

Why does it matter, you might ask? Because unless we’re willing to vacate to islands separated by gender, men and women need to get along.

Sure, men may argue that it’s all about drying out the family jewels or shoulder:hip proportion, but to women, it looks like typical male entitlement. And it pisses girls off. So if you’re even remotely interested in what women think of you (hint: women control your access to heterosexual intercourse), you might want to read this and reconsider the space you take up.

Now, the term “manspreading” is usually used to describe men sitting on subway or bus benches — the kind where the seats are not necessarily clearly delineated. And heaven knows that’s bad enough.

But manspreading is even more decried on, say, an airplane, where the separation between the seats is clearly marked by an armrest and where there isn’t the option for the woman to just stand for the duration of the trip.

So, in the interest of continuing to share both the planet and intimate relations between genders, gentlemen, please read the following Primer. At least the For Men portion, though it might benefit you to also read the For Women portion since you’ll have some idea what you may be facing if you continue to manspread.

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