Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Making Ice Cream, Use Less Fruit. And Hold The Wood.

Adam and I made soft banana ice cream over the weekend.

Using only bananas.  

You cut a couple of bananas into pieces, put them in the freezer, and then once frozen, into the blender.

It turned out tasting very banana-y (obviously).

And it would have been very good ... if I had not used a wooden spoon to help move the bananas along the sides of the blender a little bit, pushing them down so they would turn to mush ... and came up with a bit less spoon.


So much for the banana ice cream.

This evening, I walked into the kitchen to find the brand new package of strawberries open and on the counter, and a bunch gone from the package.

When I called Adam out to put it away, he showed me where the missing berries were.

Yup.  Freezer.

Apparently, we're trying it again.

I'm game for that.

Only THIS time, when making ice cream, we'll use less fruit. 

And hold the wood.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Google Read My Mind Last Night!

I realized the other day that although I may ask questions of my kids, after all these years, I still don't always ask the RIGHT questions.

A few weeks ago, Adam said he was going to 'The Radar' with friends.

All summer, the kids have been swimming in various lakes and for whatever reason, I had assumed The Radar was another place to swim.

We're going to Laurie.

We're going to Oakfield.

We're going to 'Dub J'.

We're going to The Radar.

The Radar, just like one of the other swimming holes.

I assumed.

I did a quick Q & A when I got the call, saying they were going.

Q: 'Where's the Radar?'

A: 'In Beaverbank.'

Q: 'Who's all going?'

A: 'Names Names Names.'

Q: 'How are you getting there?'

A: 'Johnny's driving.' (Johnny being his older brother's friend)

'OK, well be careful and have fun.'

I KNEW I had heard of The Radar, I just couldn't remember in exactly what context.

Because The Radar was still bouncing around in my head a few nights later, with the little nagging doubt, I brought it up to Adam and asked, 'Is the Radar a place to swim?'

He looked at me surprised and said, 'No.'

'Then what is it', I asked.

And that's when he said, 'It's a bunch of big old empty buildings that people go to explore and hang out'.  

And he showed me a few pictures on his phone.

And then it hit me!

The Radar.


Image taken from HERE

NOW I remembered why I knew that name!  I had seen a posting about it somewhere on the Haunted Nova Scotia Facebook page!

All of a sudden it hit me, and I looked at Adam in shock and asked, 'You KNOW that place is HAUNTED!!!  Right?

He replied, 'Yeah, I know', much more calmly than I would have expected.

"Are you serious? You've been going in there?  What's in there?  Have you seen anything freaky? Should you be in there? Is it SAFE?  It can't be safe!"

All of these questions came flooding out of me in one breath.

First, I was trying to process the fact that my kids weren't going somewhere I thought they were.

They hadn't lied about it, I just hadn't asked enough specific questions.

Then, I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that not only was this place they were going dangerous ... which was MOST important, it's supposedly freakin' HAUNTED, too!

After Adam showed me the pics on his phone, and I Googled a few more, I told them I didn't want them going in those buildings.

It's far too dangerous!!!!

I get that kids like to explore old structures like this, but looking at THIS picture I found online ... I DON'T want my kids in there!

Pic taken from HERE

Now here's where things get freaky.

Last night, I was at my Bestie's house. 

During our sip 'n bitch, I decided I wanted to tell her about the haunted building I found out the kids had been to, and wanted to show her some pictures of it, so she could get the full effect of why I didn't want them in there.

I started off with,'I've got a story for ya! But this needs pictures so you can see what I'm talking about'.

That's all I said.

I then grabbed her laptop, went to Google, and typed the word 'The'.

That was ALL I typed.

Then I lost my shit.

What you see in the pic above, is what came up on the Google drop down when I typed the word 'The'. 

THE. That was it.

I freaked and said, 'OMIGOD!!! THAT'S what I was going to talk to you about!'

When she asked what I meant, I pointed at 'the radar beaverbank ns' that was FIRST in the drop down.

'THIS!', I said, 'THIS is what I was going to type in AFTER the word, The'

My Bestie has NEVER searched for 'The Radar' on Google on her laptop. She didn't even know what it was.

I thought it was pretty freaky, that EXACTLY what I was going to tell her about, popped up in the Google drop down, based on the word, 'The', and she's never searched for it.

Why didn't 'The Chronicle Herald', or 'The Weather Network', or 'The Big Bang Theory' or ANYTHING else with 'The' pop up?

Why was it, 'The Radar', when that's EXACTLY what I was going to tell her about? 

I understand how Google works.  It remembers searches.  It picks up other things you might be interesting in searching. It works with algorithms. Blah Blah Blah.

Which means she must have searched for it in the past.

She said she had never searched for The Radar.

I believe her.

When I got home, I tested it out on my own computer.

I typed, 'The' and first on the list in the drop down was 'The Weather Network'.

I got Alec to try it on his phone and the first thing that came back was 'The Chronicle Herald'.

I believe my Bestie when she says she has never heard of or Googled it.

I also believe that it was an interesting, freaky coincidence, that after only typing the word,'The', the topic of conversation I was about to bring up, was right there, staring me in the face.

Yeah, I choose to believe it was an interesting coincidence.

If you would like to see the inside of The Radar, here are a couple of videos.

The first is a group of ghost hunters exploring the site, who get the crap scared out of them.

The second, is a couple of guys walking around the inside and that's pretty much it.  But you get a good view of the dangers inside it.

Even though I still don't want them in there, I completely get the attraction for the boys and their friends.

Part of me is extremely tempted to check it out myself.  But I know I'd be too scared to set foot past the first door. 

Too many unexplainable freaky things happen in this world.

Like how Google read my mind last night.

Or was it the Radar ... reaching out?



Monday, August 11, 2014

Scattering CJ and Remembering Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove

Everyone reacts differently to losing a child. 

The grieving process is as unique as each person going through it.

There is no specific time to 'get over it'.  There is no right time to 'move on'.

Yet those with the best intentions will often encourage a grieving parent to do just that.

Stop doing that, by the way.  It doesn't help.

There is one hope, however, that all grieving parents share. None want their child to ever be forgotten.

Yesterday the boys and I were honoured to participate in a journey to remember two kids, gone way too soon, when we took a road trip to Peggy's Cove to scatter CJ, and remember Rehtaeh.

Four years ago, CJ Twomey took his life.

His mother, and my friend, Hallie, still feels a sense of responsibility for CJ's death.

Despite the fact she KNOWS that her words or actions alone leading up to the moment of his death, were NOT what made him make that fateful choice, she's his mom.  

She can't separate that logic from emotion.   I most likely couldn't either.

CJ was cremated.  And the longer he sat in an urn in Hallie's house, the more she felt she needed to DO something for him.  

One thing that Hallie did to process her feelings of grief, and more importantly, to keep his memory alive, was to send him on amazing journeys, to some of the most beautiful places in the world, through family, friends and strangers who want desperately to help ease her pain.

She created the Facebook page, Scattering CJ, having no idea it would grow to explode into what it has become today. 

From the Scattering CJ page, Hallie's own words ...

"SCATTERING CJ is my attempt to give my son SOMETHING. It’s a mission to show my son – my crazy, life of the party, lover of people, smile so wide it entered a room before he did son – some of the world that he never got to see. It’s an effort to allow my child to forever rest in locations hand picked by caring friends, family and strangers alike.

It’s simply a chance to put my faith in mankind (a faith that has completely disappeared since witnessing my son end his life) and ask that others help me complete CJ’s final journey."

Despite the fact I knew there were literally thousands of people asking for the privilege to take him to the most beautiful corners of the earth, or exciting events, (or ... ahem ... on space shuttles), I asked Hallie if the boys and I could be part of CJ's journey.

Since I personally think one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia is Peggy's Cove, we offered to take him there.  

And she graciously agreed.  And in February, CJ arrived at our house.

We didn't make the road trip to Peggy's Cove right away.

It wasn't the right time of year.  Not for what we were going to be doing.

I was waiting for the 'right' day.

Not too hot. Not too cold. Not too windy. And not raining.

Yesterday (Saturday, Aug 09, 2014) was perfect. Yesterday was the day.

We took CJ to Peggy's Cove in something I consider very special. The box that Alec made me for my birthday.

Hallie still holds CJ very close to her mom heart, so I wanted him to be close to mine. 

As special and important as this journey was to so many, CJ wasn't the only one who came to Peggy's Cove with us.

There was someone else I felt should be there, too.

Before leaving, I ran over to Camp Bow Wow in Dartmouth, and picked out a memory stone, to bring for Rehtaeh Parsons ( Angel Rehtaeh ).

Some of you may remember me telling you about Rehtaeh HERE.

If you don't remember, or have never heard of her, then you REALLY need to know that ... Her Name Is Rehtaeh Parsons!

She still hasn't received justice.  And we still haven't forgotten.

And Rehtaeh Parsons is still her name.

Back to Camp Bow WowI looked at the 5 or 6 memory stones that were in the basket, that had been painted by Rehtaeh's family and thought I picked out the prettiest one.

And I love its message, 'End the Silence'.

I agree.

NOW we were ready to go.

We left mid-afternoon and arrived to a gorgeous sight.

We decided to make our way towards the edge of the rocks first, find a perfect spot to scatter CJ, then we would place Rehtaeh's memory stone on the way back. 

The hardest part was trying to decide WHICH rock we wanted to scatter CJ from.

After some debate, we chose this spot (after those people left).

We got as close to the water as we could, without going in.

We perched on the ledge (wouldn't have been able to do THAT in bad weather!) and I put CJ into each of our hands, then told him that his mother (and father and Connor) loves him, and misses him, and that she's so sorry.

And that I hoped he liked his new home.

As we opened our hands, and CJ went off into the wind and over the water, huge waves roared in and crashed at our feet.

That was kind of cool.

And if you look closely in the video below, for a split second you can see CJ glittering off our hands into the sunshine.

I was so happy the boys were there with me.

To be honest, I was also happy they weren't really creeped or freaked out in any way, (this had been confirmed in an earlier conversation) considering I was asking them to hold a dead boy in their hand, while standing on the edge of a cliff.

Not something every mother asks of her children.

As weird as it may be to some people, my kids knew what this meant to me.

My kids are pretty cool.

We didn't stay long after that.

We headed back to the spot Adam and I had picked out for Rehtaeh.

We had noticed it soon after walking the rocks.

We looked at a couple of options afterwards, well ok ... there were so many nooks and crannies in those rocks, we had a bazillion options!

Most importantly, I wanted it to be tucked away from the water, but noticeable.

We decided on a spot where people were stopping to take pictures of bigger rocks, or the water, or rest, or seemed to be using it as one of the 'main paths' to get closer to the water.

As soon as you stepped down into that clearing, your eyes were drawn to Rehtaeh's stone in the corner.


When we had stopped in the spot the first time, I heard a dog barking behind me, somewhere in the parking lot.

When we went back to place her stone, after doing so, I turned around and not far behind me there were two women sitting on a rock, with a dog (notice on the far right of the pic below).

Rehtaeh loved dogs.  I think she would have liked that there was one there at the time. 

The arrow is showing where we left Rehtaeh's memory stone, in the big scheme of things. 

We were done.

We had scattered CJ and remembered Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove.

I felt a sense of peace and accomplishment.

Our mission was complete.

On the way home, we stopped at a little road side shop and got ice cream.

It just seemed right.

Just like it seemed right that Rehtaeh joined us on our journey with CJ.

Two kids who didn't know each other.

Both gone too soon.

Both I think of often.

Now ... before you go, I ask that you do ONE thing.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video tribute that my boy Adam made for me.

It's pretty awesome!

He captured everything perfectly.

Yes, there's some 'extra' footage of our road trip in there, but we wanted Hallie and Rehteh's family to be able to see everything we did along the way (no, you don't have to watch a full 45 min drive to Peggy's Cove lol).

What you will see, is an Adam masterpiece ;-)


Thanks again my boys, for being there.  Couldn't and wouldn't have wanted to do it without you.

And thanks again Hallie, for letting us be a part of this truly amazing journey.


CJ Twomey and Rehtaeh Parsons are their names.

They won't be forgotten.


P.S.  I'll never get 'Birthday' ice cream again!  It looked good, but did you know they put cake in there?  

Do you know how soggy cake gets in ice cream?!?!?!?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Wrong Text Revolution

There's a blogger out there who has started a revolution.

A 'wrong text' revolution, so to speak. And it's gaining momentum, for all the right reasons.

Some of you may already be familiar with Single Dad Laughing.  

If not, I'm sure many of you know who I mean when I say, 'the guy who wrote the post  ... The 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage'.

Yeah. He's that guy.

A couple of weeks ago, he tried an experiment.

He sent the same uplifting and encouraging text message to 217 numbers.

217 WRONG numbers.

The responses he got in return ranged from the typical, 'wrong number', to more interesting and personal ones.  

Many were funny. Some kind of, angry. Some ... sad.

Personally, I think it's a great, 'pay it forward' idea.  

And as long as you keep it within your area, it's FREE to potentially make some random stranger smile, or even better, make them feel special when they really needed it.

Having said that, it's also a great way to attract the rude responses and stalkers.

Seriously!  There are people out there just sitting on the phone, waiting for something like this, who will insist that you DID intentionally send the message to THEM, and they will be arriving for dinner by 7pm, so 'Be ready. And don't wear green.'

But that's the chance he took, and what he got in return were some very funny and in some cases, honest replies.

And then he did it, AGAIN.  He sent another 306 NEW wrong numbers.

And again, he received among the 'wrong number' replies, many people who were really happy to read his message.

Wrong number or not.

What has surprised me, is the fact his readers are now doing it also.  

Many people are sending inspirational text messages to random wrong numbers, in the hopes of brightening someone's day.

That, my friends, is pretty cool.

I'm really not sure WHY he tried this experiment.

I don't know if he anticipated that his audience would take it upon themselves to dare to do the same.

But as I read his second posting on this topic tonight, I realized very quickly ... 

He's started the wrong text revolution!  

His readers have seen the good that can come from this random act of texting kindness, and are standing behind him, arms raised, cell phones in hand, rays of sunshine beaming ...

OK ... so maybe not that dramatic.

But you get the idea. 

Good job, Single Dad LaughingGood job.

This world can really suck sometimes.  People can be Dirtbags.

People can also be generous, good, kind, and empathetic.

We need more of those people sending nice texts to wrong numbers.

Go ahead, pick a number.

Send a message.

You know you wanna.



P.S. And don't be so quick to dismiss that 'wrong text' message you receive.  It may just be someone trying to make YOUR day!

**Note to self ... get cell phone hooked up again!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Her Name Is Rehtaeh Parsons

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons!

She could be your daughter.  She could be your friend.  She could be the girl two houses over, who babysits your kids or walks your dog.

She could be any 17 yr. old girl trying to get through this roller coaster we call life.

She loved animals. She was a big sister. She cared about people. She brought joy to her family.  She was a nice girl.

She was also allegedly raped. I have to say allegedly, nobody has been convicted yet.  She was bullied relentlessly.  She was let down by the systems (yes multiple) in place to protect her.  

And 13 months ago, she took her own life to end the pain.

I’m not going to link to anything specific here.

Simply Google Rehtaeh Parsons.  You’ll find her.

You'll read her story.

And if you have any sense of what's 'right' and 'just' in this world, you'll be outraged.

And as a woman, a mom, most likely ... you'll cry.

Her case is still pending.

Justice has not yet been served.

Nobody has been punished.

Dirtbags are still walking free.

And her family has been threatened.  

As of last week, the media is no longer allowed to publish information about Rehtaeh's case.

Her family isn't allowed to publicly discuss her case with them, because there is now an 'official publication ban' in place.

Well guess what?  I’m not family.  

Hell, I’m not even a family friend.  I'm not media, and I’m not part of ‘the case’ in any way whatsoever, so I’m here to tell you …

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons! 

She loved animals. She was a big sister.  She cared about people. She brought joy to her family. She was a nice girl.

She was also allegedly raped. I have to say allegedly, nobody has been convicted yet.  She was bullied relentlessly. She was let down by the systems (yes multiple) in place to protect her.  

And 13 months ago, she took her own life to end the pain.

I know, I just repeated myself.  I'm making a point. That being ... 

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons!

And she still deserves justice.

That should read, ‘… in the Rehtaeh Parsons child pornography case.’

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.

“The publication ban cited comes under Section 486 of the Criminal Code, which prevents the naming of alleged victims in some cases.- The Vancouver Sun (same article as above)

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?!?!??!

You have concern over protecting Rehtaeh’s identity NOW?

Where was the concern for Rehtaeh when she needed it over a year ago?

Two teenage boys are facing charges for child pornography.  One is being charged with making child pornography.

The only people this ban may be ‘protecting’ would be THEM! 

Certainly NOT Rehtaeh.

Officials in MANY different departments; police, healthcare, education, the legal system … they ALL failed her.

People who were supposed to be her friends. FAILED HER!

What is this publication ban to 'protect' her supposed to accomplish, now?

Not sure.

What is it actually going to accomplish?

It’s going to piss off people like me.  

People who are NOT media, but yet have a forum to remind you … 

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons!

You regulars in the Korner are already aware, that I have always tried to take a stand against bullying.

Even more so after the death of Amanda Todd.

I’m trying to raise two teenage boys in a world that accepts and … in some cases … encourages violence against women.

I have an uphill battle.

But I refuse to give up.

I refuse to stop talking to them about Rehtaeh and Amanda.

I refuse to let my boys think that ANY kind of bullying, or violence against women … or anyone for that matter, is OK.

I refuse to let them think there are no consequences for bad choices.

I refuse to let them turn into Dirtbags.

Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.  And I make sure they know it.

On May 16th, the judge will determine whether or not the publication ban should be lifted.

Until then … Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons.

And since the media can't do it, I'll take a moment to remind you all ...

  • It is NOT OK to take an inappropriate video/picture of someone.
  • It is NOT OK to distribute that video/picture among the masses.
  • It is NOT OK to torment the victim of the video/picture.
  • It is NOT OK to take 'drunk' as a 'yes' for sex.  Anything other than a 'yes' or 'take me now!' ... is a 'NO!'
  • It is NOT OK to bully and taunt and threaten and generally make someone's life miserable through social media.  And yes, this includes ALL social media.
  • And most importantly … it is NOT OK to let the Dirtbags who ruin someone’s life, simply walk away without facing ANY consequences 

Where is the justice in that? 

Where is the justice for Rehtaeh Parsons?

That’s right. Her name is Rehtaeh Parsons. 


Talk about Rehtaeh (and Amanda, and CJ, and Nicole).

Talk about 'appropriate behaviour' and 'slut shaming'.

Talk about teenage drinking.

Talk about mistakes. 

Talk about 'No' and 'drunk' means NO!  Period!

Talk about bullying.

Talk about, as a parent, loving unconditionally.

TALK about suicide. Don't sweep it under the rug.

Just ... talk.  Please.

And hug your kids.

And take the time to remember.

 The boys and I.
Remembering and respecting Rehtaeh in our own small way.


** Pictures of Rehtaeh posted with permission.

P.S.  I'd just like to clarify that by 'Dirtbags', I don't only mean the people who have been charged with crimes against her.  I'm also including the people who tormented this poor girl in person, and through social media, relentlessly.

That's NOT OK!

I thought we had a charge called 'criminal harassment'? Time to put it to use.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Do YOU Have Cash Hiding In YOUR Bins?

Before I jump into the point of this particular post, I should probably mention something that happened just over a year ago.


We FINALLY moved from the Money Pit!  WOOFREAKIN’HOO!!!!

Do I miss the old place after living there for 11 yrs?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I don’t miss the busy street.  

I don’t miss the unexplained astronomical power bills.  

I don’t miss the spiders lurking in every corner, and 

I do NOT miss the flooding basement!  AT ALL!

And I really don’t miss it sucking the life out of me, in some way, every … single … day.

Raising these kids on my own the past 10 yrs hasn't been easy.

Rewarding?  Fulfilling?  My greatest challenge and triumph?  ABSOLUTELY!

But not easy.

Not mentally, emotionally, physically or especially … financially.

Every sing day is a struggle. Every single day is a financial challenge.  Every single day is a test in how to best get through the day, and make sure EVERYTHING gets taken care of.

It’s a lot for one person.  

Hell, it’s a lot for TWO people on a regular basis.

But … we've survived.

And I think we've done OK.

My kids have always had a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, the necessities and some extras. 

Well ... when I look at the amount of toys they have accumulated over the years, maybe a little overboard on the ‘extras’ at times.

When they were little, the boys had some pretty cool toys.

Alec’s obsession was dinosaurs.  

For Adam, it was fire trucks.

As they got older, the toys gave way to electronics and technology.

All of the baby toys were either given away or sold.

However, anything they had as 'kids', eventually found its way into a Rubbermaid bin, every time the basement flooded.

These bins eventually made their way into the garage, and I would occasionally tell the boys, ‘You REALLY have to get out there and go through your toys.  You have cash, sitting there in those bins that could be in your pockets, if you just cleaned up and sold your old toys.’

They never did.

Many of the toys have sat in the bins for years.  Unused.  Untouched.

When we moved into the new house last year, all the ‘toy bins’ went straight into storage, where they began to gather dust, once again.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

I finally decided … IT.  WAS. TIME!

Time to get rid of the toys, and turn those bins (upon bins ... upon bins ... upon freakin' bins!) into some cash, to help ease that ‘daily struggle’.

Two weeks ago, I started with one bin.

And to be honest, it looked SOOO daunting, I wasn’t even sure where to begin.  Which is probably also why I put it off for YEARS!

So I started by picking ONE thing out of the FIRST bin.

And before I knew it, I had taken out and organized EVERYTHING that was in there, and separated it all into piles of ‘common’ toys.

All Disney characters (and the like) in one pile.  

Lego in another.  

Ninja Turtles characters in another.  


WWE Wrestlers in another. 

Army men in another.


Miscellaneous animals ... in another.

You get the idea.

After a week, it looked like a Toys R Us had exploded in my rec room.

And I’m STILL working on it!

But I'd say I'm half way there.

Maybe.  Almost.

Of course, not everything is worth selling.  Some things are just broken, or junk and go straight to the garbage.

And there is a pile for charity.

The rest? 

Once I finally get through the last of the bins, which I’m hoping will be this weekend, everything I’ve organized will then be washed, grouped, and find its way into one of two sales streams … Kijiji … or eBay.

It’s a CRAPLOAD of work!

It's a CRAPLOAD of toys!

No, I don’t expect to make millions off this experience.

I do, however, expect to make SOME extra cash to put right back into keeping a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, the necessities and some extras .

And yes, I plan on sharing the proceeds of anything sold with the boys.

Like … maybe … 1% of the sale. Since they haven’t actually participated in any of this TOY CLEANUP 2014 experience, other than to drag the bins out of storage for me. And drop them in the living room.

I guess that’s worth 1%.  Kidding!  I'll give 'em 10%. 

The point of this post, people, is … Do YOU have cash hiding in YOUR bins?


Throw out the garbage, give a bunch away and then … TURN THOSE TOYS INTO CASH!

That’s what I plan on doing.  Just as soon as I can find my way out from under all these dinosaurs! (um ... little help here ... please ...)

Happy selling, my friends!