Friday, April 30, 2010

Confess your sins one to another.

It's the classic example. Imagine a toddler, face all covered in chocolate, eyes as big as saucers, trying to convince you he did not just eat your Easter bunny. The obvious evidence makes the scene hilarious.

It's not unlike trying to hide sin from God. It's laughable.

And it's certainly not unlike trying to wear your same clothes when you've gained 20 pounds. It's absurd.

Spring has arrived and it was time to dig out the summer clothes. Everything looks dingy and stained. The armpits of all my t-shirts and tanks are discoloured. Anything light coloured is sort of yellowed under the arms and anything dark is bleached out. I have never experienced anything quite like it. It's creepy really.

I can only assume it has to do with hormonal changes, or the medications I'm on, or the fact that hot flashes have turned me into a person who sweats - this is a foreign concept to someone who has spent the last 30 years freezing all the time.

So last weekend I headed off to the mall to buy a couple of new shirts. I tried a few on. It was depressing. I cannot count how many times I muttered under my breath, "Size large. Hmmpft. A large mouse maybe. Damn made-in-China stuff. A large Chinese is not the same as a large Canadian."

It was then that it occurred to me that I really should 'fess up. Yes, I've gained 20 pounds and no, I don't have any intentions whatsoever of doing anything about it. Except to start trying on clothes in a bigger size.

It was amazing how freeing that confession was.

Suddenly the possibilities were endless. Lots of things fit. Cha-ching. My visa card got a workout.

As I dumped everything out on the bed to remove the tags and shove it all into the closet so it looked like I'd had it for a long time, I realized somehow I ended up with a few more items than I intended to purchase: 10 new shirts, 2 pair of pants, 3 pair of capris, 3 new bras and six pair of underwear. Nothing spectacular - just stuff that fits.

Confession never felt so good. And comfy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The X factor.

My sister reminded me a few weeks ago that I never even bothered to blog about Xander's first birthday in March. Unthinkably sad, but true. I haven't blogged about the wee child, who is the very light of my life, in quite some time. I guess I feel like I am continually inundating people with X on Facebook, so he gets neglected on the blog even though I know it's two different audiences.

About two weeks before his actual March 3rd birthday PaPa, Granny, Mommy and Xander took a little road trip to Kamloops so he could celebrate his birthday in style. Well, in Toys-R-US I mean.

And it is tradition in my family for Nana (who was "Grandma" back when my kids were 1) to put her expert cake decorating skills to use and provide the one-year-old with his/her very own cake to smush and eat. While my kids were raised on coke and candy, Xander's cake at Nana's house was his introduction to sugar products. He wasn't exactly sure it was food, but he did a pretty good job with the smush part.

It was great to have a family dinner in Nana's new kitchen.

Aunty Brandi treated him like a big boy and gave him a glass plate and a placemat at the table one night. Oops, I guess one-year-old isn't exactly 'big boy' yet.

However, he was big enough for a first haircut. We attempted this in Brandi and Kore's living room.

We redid it the next day at Cuts for Kids.

Toys-R-Us was probably more fun for adults than for baby, but hey...

Mommy heads for the smart-boy stuff.

PaPa checks out the vehicles.

Aunty Brandi takes care of the fashion department.

Xander's had enough and leads Granny to the check-out line.

And then March 3rd arrives. Granny's house is not all that large, but it is bigger than Mommy's house and so that is where spaghetti dinner and cake were served to 8 children under two, 6 kids between three and thirteen, and 16 adults. The word bedlam comes to mind.

Xander arrived early to check out the decorations and such. I have to say the 26 dollar tank of helium from Costco was one of my best investments to date. It came with 50 balloons and we've bought more since and it just keeps filling 'em up. Every time Xander comes for a visit, his first action is to head downstairs for his floating balloon - a much better treat than getting something sugary as a reward for his visit.

Am I really going to finally get access to all those presents that have been piling up and teasing me since Christmas time??

We didn't make everyone endure the endless gift opening. He opened the ones from guests and then we broke away for cake time.

And the winner of the cake eating contest is....

After all the guest go home and a nice bath, Xander finishes the gift opening extravaganza.

He is definitely a well-loved and very blessed little boy. (He is NOT spoiled. Yes, he has lots of love and lots of stuff, but spoiled children are whiny, demanding and self centered. Our Xander is not.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, I don't care too much for pink. However that has not stopped me from being obsessed with it of late.  

Relay for Life is the one day of the year I become "pinkified" for our team the Pink Panters. While the ultimate goal of the weekend is to raise massive amounts of money for cancer research and patient support services, our mini goal is to have massive amounts of fun - tainted with tackiness and laced with laughter. 

As team leaders, we want each person who comes out to walk with us to feel appreciated and so we have a draw bucket. Last year we had about a half dozen prizes and a few dozen "Thanks for comin' out" cards. Each time someone walked for half an hour they got to test their luck and draw from the bucket. (Oh yeah, all the prizes were pink: a set of garden tools, scissors, a leather tool belt etc) 

Time after time when people drew the "Thanks for comin' out" cards I felt bad and decided then and there that next year every person who walked for 30 minutes would get something. As so began my year long pink quest. Every time I am out shopping I have my eyes wandering about in search of anything pink and inexpensive. I love clearance-clearance bins! 

I've managed to collect a pretty wide variety of items ranging from fancy mugs, to golf balls, to a USB drive with a pink breast cancer ribbon on it, pencils, an umbrella, pink M&M's, a pink shoe-shaped scotch tape dispenser and the list goes on. And on. And on.

A few weeks ago I said was not buying another damn pink thing. But once you've spent a year in this mode, it's near impossible to stop. And the pink box just keeps expanding.

And then there's the tent decorations. And my costume.

I was walking through Zellers the other day and they had stacks and stacks of adironak chairs in brown, beige and white. And there in the midst of them all were two pink - pepto bismal pink- chairs. I don't know about you, but I take an image like that as a direct sign from God that I was supposed to buy those chairs. We already had four brown chairs of this style on our deck. And we really could use a couple more of them I reasoned. And wouldn't they look fantastic sitting at the entrance of our relay tent. I decided that when Alb got home with the truck I'd have him run me back to get them.

When Albert got home I actually forgot all about them until nearly closing time, when I had him race me down to the mall.

The two chairs I had seen were near the mall entrance of the store, but since we'd parked near the other entrance I thought it would be faster to go to the patio furniture department to grab a couple of them from what would surely be stacks more of pink chairs.

There were none there. My heart sank. Surely those two chairs at the mall entrance would have been long scooped up by someone by now - six hours had passed.

But alas, I guess the demand for pepto bismal chairs is not quite as high as I anticipated.

Thanks to an ebay footwear find, my costume is nearly complete. The Relay theme this year is "Fight Back" and our team theme is pink. So what better way to fight back than with pink boxing gloves, pink high-high top runners, pink hair and a pink t-shirt that says "fight like a girl." I'm all set.

Chances are, if I had just donated all the money I've spent in the last year I could have single-handly found a cure for cancer.

But if you want to help fund that cure you can do so RIGHT HERE.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What a hoot!

Seventy. When you say it, it sounds old. Only old people turn 70.  But if you say "Today is my Dad's seventieth birthday" and imagine my dad in your head, it somehow becomes just an ordinary number cuz my dad's not old. He's very experienced but he's not old.

However, old or not old, when someone reaches a milestone birthday it's only appropriate to acknowledge it in a meaningful way. I was pondering this the other day and feeling minor pangs of guilt because we both were working this weekend and cannot make it to Kamloops to help celebrate. I phoned Brandi, who lives in Kamloops not too far from Grandpa, to ask what the family there had planned.

"We're going to take him to Hooters," she said.

"Oh," was my reply. I had no other words to offer. I immediately but silently cast blame for this hairbrained idea on my elder brother. And my mind's eye saw Kore and Colin shouting a hearty "Amen!" to the idea.

"We wanted to do something nice for him," Brandi said, then went on to explain that they were going to Vancouver for the weekend but they would be home by late Sunday afternoon in plenty of time for their 6 o'clock reservation.

She talked for a few more minutes and then I could no longer contain my thoughts, "Bran, do you think Grandpa is going to be comfortable with that?"

"Um, oh. Maybe not. I dunno," she sounded mildly dumbfounded. "Because of the people?"

"Well, they're not exactly the sort of crowd Grandpa hangs out with." I went on to explain, kind of confused that it even needed to be explained at all as I envisioned scantily clad, barely legal women with large silcone breasts serving beer on a tray. 

"Oh, I always thought they were sort of like Mormons or something," Brandi replied. "I didn't know it was anything unacceptable."

"What??!! Brandi, Hooter's is a bar that might be fine for celebrating someone's 19th birthday or even a 30th or 40th, but I just don't think Grandpa will be comfortable there."

"Aha-haha ha! I said Hoodoos, not Hooters!"

We both nearly peed our pants laughing.

Happy Birthday Dad. We love ya and wish we could be there to celebrate!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

C'mon chickens - hatch already, cuz I've got you counted.

We always get a fairly sizable income tax return. It's not like it's free money - it was our money in the first place, we just overpaid our income tax. (Of course by saying "our" I mean the royal we.)

Being the financier in the family, I have come to depend on this tidy sum and usually have most of it pre-spent before March rolls around. I time my car insurance renewal for mid March, we put the summer insurance on the bike- things like that.

Our refund was a little larger this year, thanks to the HRTC (home reno tax credit) which we clearly had enough receipts to claim two or three times over. So counting on this, we jumped headlong into finally turning the small back bedroom into an ensuite/walk-in closet. It was one of those wise financial decisions that I've become famous for: put everything on the Home Depot card in February, so it can be paid off with the Income Tax in March. That's the Home Depot Contractor card, which never charges interest but it must be paid off at the end of the month.

Uh yeah. What's that story about counting chickens before they hatch...

I got my tiny little refund back in the usual 6 days. But after 6 weeks Alb's more substantial sum has yet to arrive. We did receive a nice little letter this week stating that he was randomly chosen to participate in a little mini audit. Oh yay. All I can say is "Thank God it's not a major audit" one that would include the buying and selling of our rental house and the selling of the 100 acres and other such complicated matters.

They only want to audit the charitable donation portion of his income tax.

This means they want copies of not only the year end receipts from World Vision, the church etc, but copies of the cancelled cheques showing the individual dates and amounts of each donation. It's a nice concept, but not so easily followed through.

We do our part to save the environment and participate in "paperless" banking. This means we do not get our cheques sent back to us, but they are available for viewing online... for 90 days only, it turns out.

I called the Easy Line hot line to our bank and inquired about getting them to pull copies of our tithing cheques from their archives. Oh yes, they could do this for us. For $15 per cheque. Fifteen dollars! PER CHEQUE!

Now to make things doubly painful, we attend two churches. This means each week when we tithe, we tithe with two cheques instead of one.

I'm no mathmetician, but a quick calculation will tell you that cheque retrival will be somewhere around a thousand bucks. Preposterous, I know.

Something just seems incongruent to be asking for one's church cheques and the conversation being laced with F words, but that's sorta how the dialogue went down. I'll have to work on my attitude, I guess.

Meanwhile my car insurance needed renewed last week and Home Depot is looking for thirty five hundred bucks as well. But my bathroom is coming along nicely.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cancer Sucks!

Cancer Sucks! And it affects you, and it affects me.

Once again our Pink Panter’s Relay for Life Team will be panting our way around the relay track for 24 hours (May 8-9) in an effort to raise havoc, awareness and most importantly funds, for the Canadian Cancer Society.

We call ourselves “Pink” because of my 2008 early diagnosis with breast cancer, however the funds we raise are in support of eradicating all types of cancer.

We call ourselves “Panters” (not to be confused with panthers) because we are by no means athletes – we will be panting our way around the track.

Relay For Life provides the unique opportunity to get together with family and friends to CELEBRATE cancer survivors, REMEMBER and honour loved ones lost to cancer, and FIGHT BACK for a future without cancer. And we do exactly that – with a heavy emphasis on the “celebrate” part. Basically we spend 24 hours partying and making fools of ourselves because we are excited to have taken your money and contributed it towards a world without cancer.

The Cancer Society's theme this year is "Fight Back" and they encourage everyone to dress up and decorate their tent space accordingly. We tend to do our own theme - "Pink. And leaning towards tacky" Perhaps I'll find some pink boxing gloves to fight back with.

You know how I hate to beg. But for you, I am begging – PLEASE DONATE
(just do it now, so you don’t forget ... click on the link below the beautiful photo of Shaelena)

Once again we have a fabulous handmade quilt to raffle off – ask for your tickets. We’d even appreciate you taking a book or two and selling them.

We always accept your donation of time as well. Come out and walk with us (you don’t need to register and raise money, but it would be great if you did) We have tons of cool and unique prizes for everyone who walks. We've been collecting amazing pink things all year!

Thanks so much! ~ Liana

Did you know the Canadian Cancer Society makes more impact, against more cancers, in more communities than any other charity in Canada? The Society does everything it can to prevent cancer, save lives and support those living with cancer.
Help us win. Join the fight. Make a donation today.
If you donate online through my Fightback Headquarters your tax receipt will be sent instantly to your email inbox helping reduce receipting costs.
Thank you for joining the fight!
Need information? Visit or call 1.888.939.3333

Monday, April 5, 2010

Poking a vibrator in my eye.

I needed some new mascara last week. I'm a grocery store makeup kinda girl, and the thought of paying more than 10 bucks for anything really doesn't sit well with me. I lucked out and came across a basket in the beauty department filled with various items all wearing that fabulous pink triangular sticker.

For those who don't shop Superstore, the pink triangle indicates they'll take 50% off whatever price comes up on the computer. There are days when I wander the store filling my cart with pink stickered items and that's what determines what we will eat for the next week - but that's another story.

In the basket was a package of mascara that was coupled with a nice duo-shade of eyeshadow. It was the only one and it had no regular price indicated. There were some of the same mascara hanging on the shelf but without the eyeshadow. It was $17.99! Crazy. However, I reasoned that I could justify it at half price because it came with an eyeshadow. But to my good fortune, it scanned at $9 and I got an extra 50% off. Mascara AND eyeshadow for $4.50 - can life get any better?

I used the mascara a few times and I really liked it. About the third or fourth time I realized there was a piece of tape stuck to the end of the cap. I pulled the tape off, not realizing it was in fact one of those battery protector things and when I held the wand to my eyelashes it started vibrating. What the..!? A girl could lose an eye this way! Vibrating mascara - who'da thunk it.

But I have to say, in my limited makeup experience, this is without a doubt the most fantastic mascara I have ever batted my eyelashes to. You should get some.

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...