Day 6 - Laughter (#reverb11)

Laughter What made you laugh this year?


I laugh a lot - I’m lucky like that. I have a witty husband who keeps me laughing. I have friends who all seem to have a great sense of humour. I am amused daily by things that my co-workers say and do. I have had Twitter buddies make me laugh out loud - even on the bus (so not cool). There’s so much to laugh at - in the joyful, fun way. I’m really blessed to have such fun, funny people everywhere I turn.

Brandon in the train on a recent trip to Saunders Farm.The person whose antics I’ve treasured most this year was Brandon. He’s at an age where his personality is starting to blossom and grow. He is starting to pick up on the nuance of teasing - and he’s trying it out. He knows that there are things that will make his mommy and daddy laugh and he takes great joy in making that happen.

I think the most exciting part of that is knowing that to be teased and tease in return takes a certain amount of trust and confidence. Trust that someone teasing you isn’t doing so in a hurtful matter. Confidence that you know someone well enough to tease them about something and know they’ll respond positively.

Seeing this develop in him gives me assurance that we’re doing all right.

Day 5 - 5 Things (#reverb11)

5 Things -Describe 5 guilty pleasures


1) Sitting down to write a blog post. I love writing. I love the research and the thinking. I love crafting my words carefully and thoughtfully. I love everything about the process, except for the time it takes me away from my family. But how do I give this up? 

2) Reading. I’m lucky that I spend two hours a day, four days a week on the bus. That is my reading time but it does spill over into my evenings. I read to get sleepy. I read in the evenings because I love to read. Reading feeds my brain’s thirst and hunger for more. Knowledge, ideas, stories. It keeps me full of fresh material to write. For me, one cannot exist without the other. But the same challenge greets me when I pick up something new to read - is it the best use of my time?

3) Chocolate. Is it possible to have a list of guilty pleasures and not include chocolate? I’m pretty sure it’s a required entry on such a list. The darker the better - and none of that white stuff that masquerades as chocolate. I hate to disillusion those fans of faux chocolate, but it’s milk and sugar. If there’s no cocoa in it, it can’t have the name chocolate attached to it.

4) Time with friends. I think it’s a given that anything that involves time away from my family is going to make me feel a measure of guilt. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, always some. Whether it’s right or wrong is irrelevant. I still feel it. I doubt that will ever go away. And the feeling did not start with the addition of a child to our family. Being away from Matt before Brandon came along was always hard on me. I love my family, but I recognize that I need time to do things I’m interested in, too. We each have our interests. In many ways they overlap. Sometimes they don’t and that’s okay.

5) McDonald’s Breakfast. You have no idea how much shame I feel admitting to this. Seriously. I’m blushing as you read this. (Yes, every time, no matter when.) Now that biscuits have come to Canada (I grew up with McD’s biscuits, ya’ll.) I have to hold back from getting breakfast there very often. This is actually easy since I take the bus to work so it’s not even close to convenient. Fortunately, the older I get, the more McDonald’s food grosses me out. Even the breakfast, though it doesn’t gross me out nearly as much as it probably should. If I have McD’s breakfast once a month it’s a lot. If I eat there at all once a month it’s a lot. 

Feel free to berate me in the comments about McDonald’s but nothing else, okay? And only if you share YOUR guilty pleasures.

Day 4 - Addition Through Subtraction (#reverb11)

Addition through subtraction - What have you let go of this year and how has it affected you?


I had to make the very difficult decision to let go of Losing it in Ottawa. In fact, this prompt title is perfectly suited to the reasons I let it go. 

It’s been good in many ways because I wasn’t giving it the attention it needed. I’d lost my passion to continue my own journey. It’s been good because it’s led to other opportunities, like joining Kids in the Capital.

It’s been bad because my focus has wavered completely and I’m digressing worse than ever. 

I didn’t think I would stop so completely, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I was feeling burnt out, frustrated and discouraged. Not a good combination for success.

I know it doesn’t have to stay this way. I think about what I want to do all the time. I need to get back to business again.

And I have a plan in mind to get back on track. Stay tuned.

Day 3 - A Moment in Time (#reverb11)

A Moment in Time - Tell us about one moment that you lived in 2011 that you will never forget.


On July 23rd I had the awesome pleasure of attending the very first conference I’d ever organized. Despite some blips during the day, it was truly a success. There was excellent content, great community and it sold out, a feat we dreamed about, but weren’t sure we could actually achieve.

At the end of the day, Lara, the chair of the organizing committee, called us to the front of the room to thank us for our help.

I stood there feeling relief that things had gone well. I felt unbelievable happiness at the overwhelmingly positive response from the people who gave up their Saturday to attend. I felt part of something that was truly great and lasting. Something I wanted to continue.

Social Capital Conference was truly a great moment in this year and I think it will be even better in 2012.

Day 2 - My Children Will Do It Differently

My Children Will Do it Differently - If you could choose one thing that your children will do or experience in a different way than you have, what would it be and why?


I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. I have so many things that I would do differently if I had my life to live over again. Yet…would I be the person I am today if I changed those things? Was I (or my parents in many cases) wrong to take the approach that I/we did? 

The answer to those to questions are not necessarily and no, respectively.

I want to encourage my son’s interests regardless of how I feel about them. I am hoping he has no interest in hockey, but if he decides he wants to play, I’m going to let him try it out. You never know where someone will find their passion in life. If he decides his interests lie in more geeky endeavors, I will mentally jump for joy and then encourage him just as much.

Some of the things I’d do differently revolve around money - or the lack thereof. I paid for large chunks of my university fees. I knew my parents couldn’t foot the bill entirely and I was okay with that. I worked very hard for the two years I attended university, working nearly full-time for most of my second year. It was hard, but I was young and full of the kind of energy that can handle the load.

I hope my son doesn’t have to work as hard as I did, but I don’t want it to be at the cost of him knowing the value of what he’s getting. That’s a delicate balance to achieve.

The greatest thing I want to be different for my son is an openness to the possibilities in life. I have a personality that has always been so focused on steps. This first, then that. I hope to teach Brandon that there’s more than one way to do things. College/university don’t have to come right after high school. (Who’s idea was it to make 18-year-olds decide what they want to do for life anyway?) A career doesn’t have to be an office job or a profession and it definitely doesn’t have to be about money - though paying the bills is important.

I think we’re in an age of raising a generation that has no choice but to be different. They’re learning and experiencing things at very young ages that we couldn’t even fathom when we were that age. Nor could our parents. I think the best thing that parents can do is keep an open mind to what’s going on. Look for the advantages to every new situation. Find the adventure and go for it with your child(ren).