Friday Foto Finish Fiesta: like daughter, like mother


Have I mentioned my 17-year-old daughter has a steady boyfriend? Of course I have! So for Friday’s Fiesta Foto Finale, I offer up a photo of me at the age she is today. That’s me at age 17 with my then-steady boyfriend Lance. His nickname was Lance Romance (for very good reason), he had a part-time job at the fish ‘n’ chip shop so it was his treat for everything, and for Valentine’s he gave me an antique Limoges vase, which I still have. He was a sweetie, and that relationship marked me at my all-time low weight: 88 pounds (which was the result of a life-threatening lengthy illness) (how dramatic!). Life was close to perfect: I had a cute boyfriend, I was skinny, I was alive! And at 17, I’m sure that was the exact order I put them in…

And I’ll toss out a little Lance Alert: if by any chance you know him or his whereabouts, message me. I’d love to say hi again.

Now check out Candid Carrie’s Friday blog carnival. The theme is simple one—post a favourite photo and say why it’s a fave. That’s her spelling up there in the title, and when you visit her site to see the other photos, you’ll see tons of creative Phriday spelling!

Have a great weekend!


Guest blogger: hello contest winner!

could you guess they have a photography studio

Lauren and her husband: could you guess they operate a photography studio?

Hello to Lauren, winner of the Constant Body Organic Skincare products! I always ask winners if they’d like to say hello in the blog, and Lauren said yes. Here’s her hello from Calgary.

I found your blog through an article featured on, though I can’t remember which one! I’m currently subscribed to a few other blogs written by friends near and far. I used to have my own personal blog but it’s been a few years since I last updated it! Instead I have found myself in the world of wedding and portrait photography, and am loving every second of it! My husband and I live in Calgary and have been married almost three years. While no children are in our immediate future, I look forward to someday being a stay-at-home mom and using the flexibility of my photography business to allow me to do so.

You’re welcome to check out our website at, and feel free to contact me or pass on my name to someone you know.

I’ve been to her website, and their work is excellent. They do lifestyle and portrait work in and around the Calgary area, and are available for local and destination weddings. Check out the link!

We have a winner!

I am thrilled to announce the winner (I really wanted to announce my winner before the Oscars, but hey, there’s a lot of production to these award things, and my assistant bunked off at the last minute) of the Constant Body Organic Skincare contest: Lauren!

The questions for the contest (and you only had to answer one) were: QUESTIONS FOR YOU: on a scale of 1 (not important at all) to 10 (vitally important), how imortant is organic purity in what you put on your body? How important is organic purity in what you put on your face? How important is organic purity in what you put IN your body? Would you buy a skin care product from the internet after researching it and finding good reviews? Or would you have to be able to try it, or at least examine it, in store before buying? And last, but not least, who would you buy a $12 bar of organic soap for: yourself? your partner? your teen? your grade-schooler? your baby?

Her winning comment:

Great blog! (blogger’s insert: I promise you do not have to say this to win.)
I do use some organic skin care products and have to say they work just as well if not better than regular drug store products. Plus the peace of mind knowing I’m not slathering chemicals all over my skin… but I am not completely converted yet, as it’s difficult to spend twice the money on organic products. I would have to say a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
My husband has eczema and we have yet to find a lotion that really works for him, so it would be nice to try out this new line of products.

Lauren will be receiving a full-size Pure Unscented Body Wash, Pure Unscented Body Lotion and the Organic Olive Oil Pure Unscented Soap. Congratulations! Check out tomorrow’s post, when Lauren says hello from Calgary.



No unlucky Friday the 13th black cats for Graydon, only Happy Welcome Money and Good Fortune Cat

No unlucky Friday the 13th black cats for Graydon, only Happy Welcome Money and Good Fortune Cat

We were walking very carefully around our house on Friday the 13th this month. It’s not that we all suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, but I’ve had some weird things happen on past Friday the 13s, so I take no chances.

Luka, 8, calls it Freaky Friday, and to be true to the Jamie Lee Curtis / Lindsay Lohan / Mark Harmon movie remake, he thought we had to have fortune cookies, just to see if we’d do any body-personality switches like in the movie. Graydon was looking to get down to Chinatown for some shopping, specifically for a gold, swinging arm lucky money cat.

With a PA day off school, it all worked out just fine for a mum and sons visit to Chinatown—they came down on their own, met me at work, and we headed off to a little restaurant for crispy noodle Cantonese chow mein, lemon chicken and crispy bananas for dessert, along with the fortune cookies. Sorry to disappoint, but there were no body-personality changes.

After a slow chopstick dinner, we went through many little shops looking at coral and jade beads, pearls, Hello Kitty beaded purses, Buddhas with big round bellies, tons of cell phone charms, slippers, back-scratchers, you name it. We bought the good fortune gold cat, some charms, a satin lipstick holder with mirror (50¢). We topped the night off with a coffee for me, and hot chocolates for my dates.

When we got in the car we all rubbed the Buddha’s belly for luck and made it home in one piece. Good-bye and good riddance to another Friday the 13th. Now there’s only two more this year—one in March and one in November!

QUESTION FOR YOU: did you get through Friday the 13th unscathed?

No good deed goes unpunished

The super-sparkly hearts that will go on the larger, stuffed red felt valentines.

This is an old saw that I have had trouble explaining to my kids. “Well, when you do something nice for someone, you often get bit in the butt” is not an explanation that encourages the doing of good deeds. I have a natural tendency to see the glass as half empty first, but then I consciously turn it around to find it half full, or even three-fifths full. There is a silver lining to everything. I’m sick of hearing myself say, “Yeah, sure, but it could be worse.” So “no good deed goes unpunished” is one saying I rarely say, except on the Thursday before this Valentine’s Day.

A very, very good friend is having a completely miserable time of it right now. She has two kindergarten classes that she teaches, and the emotional strain of her home life is making it difficult to do all that out-of-classroom work that primary teachers always do. So I offered to prepare a Valentine’s craft for her 38 little guys. It’s actually like therapy for me, because I love arts and crafts time.

Fast forward to 5 a.m. the day I am delivering the pre-cut, pre-glued, pre-twisted and pre-decorated craft DIY bags to my friend. I am going to be Zip-loc bagging all the components to episodes of House and CSI on Showcase, whilst having a fresh caffe latte, in the peace of my no-kids-up-yet home. Before I start the coffee or turn on the TV, I check the gluing job of the night before. The glue is wet. It has soaked into the felt, and not stuck anything. It’s pouring rain outside—duh. Too much humidity. Find glue gun. Can’t find the right size of glue sticks. Find fancy glue. Cap stuck. Dig at it with knife. Hold under really hot water. Dig at it with pliers. Then, do what every parent tells the kids not to do: I use my teeth. Pop! off comes the lid, and something bounces across the kitchen table. Wow! I think, what a hard plug of glue that was!

That was no glue plug. That was half a tooth.

Oh yes, my tongue found the gaping hole a couple of minutes later, when the inside of my lip got irritated.

That’ll be a root canal and a crown, thank you.

I give you: No good deed goes unpunished.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: do you believe that no good deed goes unpunished? Have you been discouraged from a good deed because of the fallout? How would YOU explain this saying to an 8 year old?

A hello from Abu Dhabi

These are the cookies I made for Deepika, starts because she was the bright light in our shared office, and she never failed to make me laugh. They have raised the question of whether I have time to make the Valentine's cookies I always do this week...

These are the cookies I made for Deepika, stars because she was the bright light in our shared office, and she never failed to make me laugh. They have raised the question of whether I have time to make the Valentine cookies I always make…

You know how you always say, when a friend moves away, “Let’s keep in touch!” and you do, for a couple of weeks, and then the emails pile up, and you get busy, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, I sent a hello to a former coworker who had moved back to Abu Dhabi last year, and guess what? I received a hello back from Deepika. What a huge adjustment she has made! From the breadwinner for her children while here in Canada, she is now not a lady of leisure, as we may call it, but “alma de la casa, translated from Spanish as ‘soul of the house,’ ” she writes. “I’ve started Arabic and golf lessons.  I’m teaching yoga once a week.” She has also joined a ladies’ club that meets for coffee in the morning. Their theme the other day was Love and Chocolate, and she said, and I quote: “Apart from all the cakes, chocolates and cocoa drinking chocolate there were heart-shaped cookies too, but none as good as the ones you baked for me.”


With Valentine’s Day approaching fast, I have been going back and forth on whether I have time to bake the fancy cookies I always do. There’s no doubt that I am busy enough this week that I won’t miss making them, but the question that dogs me is “Will Luka miss them?” So I asked, and he said, “Naw. It’s OK, I have chocolate hearts to give out, remember?” Of course I remember, I bought them. There was a twinge at the thought that machine-wrapped candy could replace hand-baked and -decorated cookies, but hey, I’ll take some saved time this year.

After a couple of seconds, though, he says, “Wait a minute. Don’t we make those cookies every year?”


“So, they’re a tradition, right?”


“Well then, we have to make them.

Traditions are a major fixation for my little guy these days. So, that was decided.

And back to Deepika. When I wrote her back, and asked if she’d mind if I wrote about her in my blog, I also asked her if she’d want the recipe for the cookies she liked so much. She wrote back: “Thank you, but no thanks for the recipe.  I love to eat, but I could never take the trouble.  It’s too much work for me.” And she reminded me of a gift I made for her—a bracelet, for which I let her choose the beads. “I love the bracelet, please mention that too. I chose the green colour as the colour green signifies growth and if you want to get all mushy you can say how friendship should bloom,  and  something creative like a blog posting should come out of it.  Right?”

Yes friend, you are right!

Come on kids, play the Brussels sprouts game!

"They should left these in the garden to grow into cabbages."

These tasty veggies once prompted the comment: "They shoulda left these in the garden to turn into cabbages."

Warning: if you think this is going to be a clever, smarty-pants parenting trick that’ll get Brussel sprouts down your kids’ gullet, keep on clicking.

This was sent to me by my littlest sister, Juli, because she is one of those people who always finds the cool stuff on the web. And as she pointed out to me, this bridges the generation gap by taking the Tears for Fears (I still love that band) song Shout and changing the lyrics to include the kid-friendly word “poo.” What more could you ask for?

After you play for a decent score, give the kids a chance, if you dare.

Click here:

Bye for now!


Want to win three Consonant Body Organic Skincare products from the Pure collection? They are perfect for babies, children, pregnant women and anyone with sensitive skin or a sensitive nose, because these products have no added colours or scents, organic or otherwise.

The giveaway consists of a full-size Pure Unscented Body Wash, Pure Unscented Body Lotion and the Organic Olive Oil Pure Unscented Soap. All you need to do is answer one of my questions in this post (or more, if you’d like), so click and enter my contest! The winner will be announced February 16.