Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Dangerous New World

I found this article in our local paper (Canadian). It's hard living in a different country (I'm originally from Ohio) but interesting to see the way others in the world view Americans. I agree with a lot of what she has to say in this article, but also know that if Canada was ever in trouble.....who would they call? Americans. God Bless America.
Let me just say that the article was accompanied by a huge picture of George Bush, and underneath his photo was this: Liberal-minded thinkers in the new world of U.S. President George W. Bush are now labeled as "the enemy".

So here's the article:

Intolerance, hypocrisy and fear as exercised by people unwilling to accept alternate opinions and points of view has created, for our children, a dangerous new world.
In the United States, for example, it has gotten so bad that talk show host Phil Donahue told The Fifth Estate, "to be labeled Liberal is terrifying".
Ann Coulture, and American best-selling author, known perhaps most for her statement following 9/11 that "we (the Americans) should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them all to Christianity" exemplifies the "us-against-them" mentality. To her, Liberals are "the enemy" and anti-American, even though, some might say, they simply hold a different point of view.
To have an entirely Christian and Republican nation may be Coulture's dream, but not only do I not share this dream, I think it's quite possibly the most un-American philosophy I have ever heard. But, that my opinion (maybe it was Thomas Jefferson's too).
What's the point, you ask? After all this isn't a political column.
Well, the point is simply this- when we as parents become intolerant of alternate opinions, call them "the enemy" and end friendships over it- what are we teaching our children? Have we become so imbedded in a culture of "making nice" that we have forgotten how to have a healthy debate, varying degrees of opinion and tolerance? Have we lost touch with being real?
In social circles everywhere it isn't uncommon for people to shy away from sharing opinions, because frankly, they're scared. Political correctness and ridiculous elements of propriety haven't made things any better. Too intimidated to confront each other, they hide behind cowardly emails and debased value systems instead of discussing the issues or even agreeing to disagree.
As a society we are forgetting how to disagree. But in the process of creating cowards through intolerance we forget we are giving up one of our fundamental rights as human beings- freedom of thought, opinion and expression thereof.
Right wing propaganda may be the mainstream in America at the moment, but opinions sway on both sides of the fence. Here in Canada, though changing, the opposite is usually true. Often it is easiest to criticize the mainstream and hardest to question the alternative. Those with an alternate point of view feel they can liberally criticize the "norm", whether government, education, corporate policies or even parenting techniques. But, I daresay, should one of us criticize the alternative, rebellious or non-conforming, we can find ourselves rejected, ridiculed and even name-called.
Without a healthy, inquisitive attitude, and an openness to debate the contentious and political, we relinquish our ability toward pregressive thought, to evolve and to teach our children that they can be true to themselves and open.
Disputes need to be worked out, arguments won and lost, opinions shared and debated, and courageous steps taken to remind oneself of the importance in disent.
Jean-Paul Sartre reasoned: "In our relationships with other human beings, what we truly are is all that counts, yet it is precisely here that we most often betray ourselves by trying to be whatever the other person expects us to be." A friend said to me: "Relationships have become superficial since we've forgotten how to hash things out." And she's right. Relinquishing the ability of "going a round" with a friend means that, unless we agree wholeheartedly, we rarely talk about anything very interesting. Politics are taboo at neighbourhood BBQs - you wouldn't want them to form an opinion about you....But, really, why not?
Why not allow people to see your true colours, to hear what you have to say, because in return you can give them (and by default your children) the opportunity to be real?
For Coulture to say that a Liberal minded thinker is "the enemy" is to forego one of the most valued principles of our society and ultimately, her kind of behaviour teaches our children that they don't have to listen to each other, respect and honour the differences, whether opinion, race or otherwise, in each of us. After all, it may just be her opinion, but who respects the enemy?
Enemies invade, rape, pillage and kill. Enemies are not an opposing political party in their home country.
Let us teach our children to "fight the good fight" but let us show them how to do it with some decorum. My children are frequently the audience to a good home-front political debate. What are they learning? Stand up for what you believe in and respect those who see it differently. And, opinion is not a bad thing if you are also willing to LISTEN.
Coulture likes to quip, "we (the Republicans) are winning and they (the Democrats) are losing." But in the end, if we do not defend each other's right to voice our opinion, she doesn't realize, we all lose.
As Sartre once said, "There are, in the end, only two choices - sincerity or self-deception, to be or not to be."
Let us be whole, let us be true, let us look at the homeless like they are people; enjoy laughter and tears, and walls falling instead of being built; let us move forward, let us go beyond ourselves to see the bigger children so that our children won't run from the world when they don't like what they hear.

The end.

Moral of the story: Everyone has a right to their own ideas, thoughts and opinions. Be willing to listen to everybodys point of view.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Most Improved!

Today, Ron and I went out looking for Real Estate listings. He's a realtor, well actually, I am too, but he has a lot more experience than I do. It can be a crappy job sometimes, especially when there are not many houses around to be sold. You just have to keep looking, but I know before long we will be inundated with calls wanting us to come and list their house. It's that time of year. Since the slow times can be like "looking for a needle in a haystack" it's nice to get to the time of year when clients just call you up and have you come over to put their house on the market.
This evening we had to attend Derek's wind-up party for his hockey team. It was at the golf course that we live by and all the team members played a round of golf while the parents chit-chatted at the clubhouse. When they got back from golfing they had dinner, presented the awards, and Derek got "Most Improved Player" which made him happy.

I almost hit a pheasant on the way home...haha...pretty bird...flew right in front of my car and I thought he was history, but he's still alive although it scared the crap right out of me. At least it wasn't a deer....I have seen lots of those in the past few weeks. I still haven't gotten over the time I ran over a baby doe and broke her back leg. I wanted to take her to the vet, but instead she crawled up into the woods and probably died. :(
I've seriously been thinking about getting back into the hairstyling business. I'm taking my resume into a salon tomorrow, and I also stopped and talked to a guy who has a salon that he might be selling down the street from me, so we'll see. I don't necessarily want to get back into standing on my feet 24/7 but I can employ a few stylists, nail techies, and estheticians. In other words, I can manage it and maybe do hair 2 or 3 times a week. I miss having clients, many of them I considered friends, and it would get me out of the house....almost like a vacation. :) We'll see what develops in the next month or two.
Hey, the weekend is coming up! Seems like it was Monday yesterday. Time goes so fast anymore. Time for me to get some zzzzzzzzz's and start the routine over tomorrow. Peace.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Toilet Seat Trouble

Omg...the weather here has been absolutely gorgeous. I've been busy the past few days working and spending all my time in the sun. Saturday, Ron and I decided to visit the local winery because he got a gift certificate for Christmas that we hadn't used yet, so we went and got some wine. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, and some Cabernet Sauvignon. I love going to the smells so good inside and there is a beautiful lake, patio's, umbrellas, and big oak wine barrels sitting around everywhere with bright colorful flowers. It's a cool place.

What else did I do this weekend you ask?? I broke the toilet seat. Seriously. I got mad cuz the Husband never puts it down when he's done, so I grabbed ahold of it and didn't take any pains to put it down nice and easy, so now it has a huge crack in it. Lovely. Anyway, now I have to go "Toilet Seat Shopping". Deary dear, what kind and color should I get?? It could have been easily avoided if he would just put it down when he's done. Man....what's the big problem??

My Rottweiler, Jack, needs some "outside etiquette"...He just about made a lady crap her pants yesterday. She was walking down the street with her so called dog (a Poodle), and Jack jumps up on the porch railing like he was going after her and her little mangey dog....only trouble is....Dumbo didn't realize he was hooked up, plus I had ahold of his pinch collar. I immediately made him lay down, but never-the-less I got a dirty look from the woman. Oh well. Shit happens.

If you want to see a cute kid visit and check out Mary!! Boy, did she have fun with "Hello Kitty" or what?? I remember my girlfriends son did that one time, but it wasn't nearly as bad as Mary's. And I can't remember what she used to get it off. Terri (my girlfriend) was doing my hair while "the guys" watched the kids. Only problem was, it was Super Bowl weekend and the kids could've gone to China if they had wanted to.....nobody would've ever known any different. Man....the things kids get into.

Well, the sun is still shining so I think I will get outside and enjoy the rest of my day. Hope you all have a terrific week! Stay cool my babies! xoxoxoxoxo

Sunday, April 24, 2005


A police officer pulls over a speeding car. The officer says, I clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir."
The driver says, "Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 60, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating."

Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: "Now don't be silly dear, you know that this car doesn't have cruise control." As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, "Can you please keep your mouth shut for once?"

The wife smiles demurely and says, "You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did." As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, "Dammit, woman, can't you keep your mouth shut?"

The officer frowns and says, "And I notice that you're not wearing your seat belt, sir. That's an automatic $75 fine." The driver says, "Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket." The wife says, "Now, dear, you know very well that you didn't have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you're driving."

And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, "W HY DON'T YOU SHUT UP??" The officer looks over at the woman and asks, "Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma'am?" I love this part.... " Only when he's been drinking."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Top Ten Signs You're on a Bad Diet

10. You're not allowed to eat during months with an "R" in them.
9. You're told to replace food with crack.
8. Company sent you a fun house mirror to make you look thinner.
7. It's a Dr. Phil diet and after 2 weeks you look exactly like Dr. Phil.
6. You're sweating cottage cheese. EWWWWW!
5. If you follow it faithfully, they promise you'll lose 2 pounds in the next 12 years.
4. You're only allowed to eat Ukranian foods rich in dioxin.
3. Sure you'll lose weight, but you're also a foot shorter.
2. It's the Atkins Diet--the Chet Atkins diet.

1. Youre ass has gone from Jennifer Lopez to Kirstie Alley.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Emerald Lake, British Columbia

Near Banff & Jasper in the Canadian Rockies Posted by Hello

Cindi Broaddus

For those of you who have never heard of Cindi Broaddus, let me just tell you that she is one of the most courageous people in the world. She survived a violent crime that I would never even want my worst enemy to go through. I watched Larry King last night and she was the guest, along with her sister Robin McGraw...Dr. Phil's wife. Cindi was the victim of a horrible incident that happened 4 years ago on a highway in Oklahoma. Some sick person stood on the overpass above the highway, and when her car drove under, he poured a vat of acid onto her car. It ate through the windshield and splashed all over her body giving her 3rd degree burns, scarring her for life. You can visit Dr. Phil's website and read about her. What would possess someone to do such a thing? Cindi has forgiven her attacker, and she said that she has a choice of what kind of "survivor" she will be, and chooses to be one that can make a difference in the world by showing her will to live, being a beautiful person on the inside, and being an inspiration to all of us by getting out there and saying "the world must go on". It's part of life. I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad I watched that show and I just wish I could be half the person that she is. WOW.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Holy Soreness

Just got back from the gym and did 5 miles today. Feel sore...but it's the good kind....where you feel like you are accomplishing something. Not the kind where you feel like you need bed rest for a week. I need to work on not eating after 6 or, is that hard for me. The only one I'm hurting is myself. It's just little healthy snacks, but I don't want to do it at all! I will concentrate on that this week. The end.

Azaleas and Tulips

Smile Posted by Hello

Guard Dog Jack

Jackie Boy Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Sunshine Posted by Hello

Too Tired To Think of a Title

Well, today was a productive day. I got up this morning feeling good and rested and decided to go to the gym right after breakfast. I did 3 miles today and burned off 325 calories. I had to save some energy for yardwork so I cut it a little short's Sunday. When I got home I went out in the yard and cleaned all the leaves out of my flowerbeds, raked, bagged up all the crap, hosed off the sidewalks and driveway, and then came in a took a hot shower because I was freezing to death....My hose had a leak in it and I was and all. looks beautiful outside. I worked on it for 5 hours. It was nice to be out in the sunshine all day. Probably worked off another 300 calories working out there today. That's harder work than going to the gym! More than likely I'll be sore tomorrow, because I was working different muscles today. My arms feel like they're gonna fall off right now. Ron fixed dinner, which was nice of him to do....and cleaned up the kitchen....woo hoo. Bonus.
I think I'm gonna hit the hay....I'm tired. Later! xoxoxo

Friday, April 15, 2005


Cheetah! Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Just Babbling

It's a beautiful day here in British Columbia. The sun is shining and more of my bulbs are flowering every day. Mostly just the daffodils right now, but the tulips will be blooming before long. I can't wait to get outside and start working in my flowerbeds. I always like to plant those creeping petunias around the edge of my flowerbed....they spread like crazy, are low to the ground and get real thick with tons of bright color. My perennials are starting to pop through the ground too. I have Black Eyed Susan's (which I love) and are good for cutting and bringing indoors. And there is Yarrow, Bee Balm (which is a spiky, bright red, tall flower), and some funky little ground cover....I can't remember what it's called. I need to re-pot some of my house plants too....and get rid of a few that the Husband killed while I was away. He forgot to water them. Luckily my fig tree is still alive. I love that tree. The trunk on it is all twisty and it looks neat. Plants and flowers make me happy and digging in dirt is good for the soul!
The summers are beautiful here with sunshine almost everyday. Not much rain , but our underground sprinklers keep everything nice and lush. We haven't cut our grass yet, but our neighbor, who has to be the first at everything, has cut his about 4 times already. Ron had a dream the other night that "the neighbor" was cutting his grass with a zamboni (for those of you that don't know what that's a machine that they clean the ice with at the hockey rinks). I told him he was subconciously thinking that our neighbor cuts his grass while theres still snow and ice outside. Which is pretty close to reality. And he likes to make noise. With his power tools. At 7 o'clock in the morning. Which can be annoying in the summertime but oh well. I kinda like to have peace and quiet in the morning because my house is so noisy all the time.

Today I have to go to Shannon's dance rehearsal and then Ron and I are going to the gym. After that we're going to the joy....then I will come home and fix dinner, do some more laundry, and then do who knows what. Just another exciting day in the life of Jen.

Oh, I found out yesterday that I have to go for the singing competiton on June 8th. I won a spot in the semi-finals and if I win that then I will go into the finals with a chance to win a trip to Vegas. I still don't know what I'm going to sing. I have to sing two songs. I wish I would've had a career in singing. It's what I really love to do. I like to entertain. Kinda late for that though. You never see anyone 45 years old gettin discovered. The song "Pour Me" usually gets everybody going, so I will probably do that one and maybe a Norah Jones song.

Gotta run for now....have places to go and things to do. Have a great day! Stay cool my babies. xoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Calories burned - 525
Miles - 5
3 bottles so far

I feel like eating a whole Peach Pie by myself today. WITH ice cream. So there. Or maybe a super deluxe pizza instead. Hmmmm... this night could be disasterous. I'll tell Ron to be on "Food Patrol" tonight and don't let me pig out. Oh for cryin-out-loud....control yourself!

Monday, April 11, 2005


Happy Spring Posted by Hello


Calories burned - 600
Distance - 5 miles
4 bottles

Today was the best workout I've had since joining the gym. I ran for 10 minutes straight and then off and on for the rest of my workout. Probably a total of 35 minutes of running. I want to be able to do all 5 miles at the one hour mark. It will take me another month or two to reach that goal.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Posted by Hello

The ABC's Of Living With Teenagers - A Colorful World

Sometimes living with teenagers can be tough and exhausting. These are just my ideas and thoughts of what makes it a little easier.

A - Awareness of friends, behaviour, school, and their life in general.
B- Be there when they need to talk
C - Cuddle with them when they'll let you.
D - Dance around the house...they'll make fun of you but so what.
E - Encourage them constantly.
F - Feed them well, physically and mentally.
G - Give & Take
H - Have faith in that they will turn out to be good, responsible adults.
I - I Love You's at least once a day.
J - Join in the conversations when their friends are at your house.
K - Keep your eyes and ears open.
L - Listen to what your kids are saying. Really listen.
M - Motivate as much as you can.
N - No. Don't be afraid to say No.
O - Observe their daily activities, friends, phone calls, internet use etc.
P - Peer-Pressure. They are dealing with an over-dose of it everyday. Talk!
Q - Questions. My parents did the 20 questions and I hated it. Has to be done.
R - Realize they are going to make mistakes.As long as they learn from them, its ok.
S - Simplify their life by having structure and a routine everyday.
T - Talk to them even if you're not getting much participation. They're listening.
U - Understand as much as possible. We were that age once.
V - Value the time you get to spend with them. They grow up fast.
W - Work on being a good parent every day. Some days are easier than others!
X - X-ecute a Parent Watch around your neighborhood.
Y - Youth-the early period of existence, growth, and development. Guide them.
Z - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's...Make sure you all get plenty of sleep!

Trust me, after 20 years of raising kids, I still don't have some of these mastered! It takes patience, persistence, and discipline. Some days I have it and some days I don't. But I won't give up! I'll keep working on it!

Friday, April 08, 2005


Calories burned - 250
Distance - 2.50
2 bottles so far today

Yesterday at the gym:
Calories burned - 350
Distance - 3 miles
4 bottles

I have to take it easy until I get rid of my soreness. I'm lucky I can even walk at this point. Waaaaaaaaaa.

Owwww...... my 2nd day of being 45 and I get out of bed this morning and can hardly walk due to me going back to the gym and exercising like I had never been away for 2 1/2 weeks. I didn't think it would make that much difference so I just went to the gym and did my 5 miles on Wed. and my 3 miles yesterday. I need freakin crutches. HA. Well actually, it's not quite that bad, but I have been taking pain medication (Advil) to relieve the discomfort. Seriously. How absurd.

My friend Judy brought me a birthday cake yesterday which was really nice, and when Ron took me out for dinner last night I told my kids to make sure it was gone by the time I got back because I didn't want it sitting around. They did a pretty good job...I think there is a small piece in the fridge that keeps hollering my name every time I walk past it. Maybe Ron will eat it, because I'm not going to. It was a nice white cake with thick creamy icing, and on the top was glazed kiwi, grapes, mandarin oranges, and strawberries. Probably a mere 2,000 calories a slice. However, I did eat some yesterday since it WAS my birthday but today I must get back to the discipline! Why can't I be one of those people that can eat everything they want and never gain a pound? I love to cook when I have the time, and I DO love food. It's one of the highlights of my life for gawd sake. Anyway, back to the calorie counting, water intake, exercise, and ignoring of food. Oh joy.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Today is my Birthday

Wow...I can't believe I am 45 today. Seems like yesterday that I was the age of my kids and running around without a care in the world. Where has all the time gone?
Well, I'll tell you....I have spent the past 20 years raising children with all my focus being mainly on them. Which is the way it's supposed to be. I had my first daughter when I was 25 and I have always told her that "she" is the one the changed my life. For the better. She used to go to work with me in my hair salon and all my clients would spoil her rotten. She used to sit on their lap while I did their hair. The used to bring her presents and read books to her. Life was pretty easy then.
At 29 I gave birth to my twins...a boy and girl. And Lindsay became a mother..haha.. at the age of 4. She would help me feed them, carry diaper bags, hold them, give them toys, and occasionally terrorize them, like the time she put some spirograph gizmo over the top of Shannon's head and then pulled it off and marked her forehead for life with some little zig zaggy scar. You can hardly see it now...but it's still there and we laugh about it. I guess at 4 you can't handle the stress of doing Mommy duties as well as you can when you're 29.
Derek used to steal Shannon's food, use her as a step-stool to crawl out of the playpen, and basically just boss her around. I thought Shannon needed to learn how to take care of herself so I just let it happen, and pretty soon she started defending herself. Then we went through the school era....Lindsay was in kindergarten and it was Thanksgiving time. The teacher let the kids make pilgrim hats and when the kindergarten class marched out of the school at the end of the day to meet their parents, all of them were wearing their hats except Lindsay. She told me at age 5 that she didn't want to look like a dork...HA! I made her put it on when we got home and I took pictures of her. Lindsay was on the basketball team later in Jr. High and High School and I remember we had a New Year's Eve Slumber Party with the whole bloody basketball team! I think they went to sleep around 6 in the morning.
I remember when Derek started 1st grade, I took him to his classroom and started to walk back home, when I turned around and saw him running down the sidewalk after me. He wasn't going. I should've known then it was going to be a long 12 years. He's in 9th grade now and still doesn't like school. But what boy does? He was excited today because not only has he made the Golf Team....he is now on the Golf Club. Totally different....and it allows him an extra day of golfing during school hours. Maybe he should become some sort of sports director.
Shannon's school years have just been an oblivion of social gatherings. She calls her friends and talks to them on MSN as soon as she gets home from school.....she just left them 10 mintues ago and she's talking to them again! She's a good student, and enjoys school. One of her teachers told me one time that Shannon and her friends could run a city. I believe it. When she was little, she thought if you ate "college cheese" you would go to college!
I did hair for 23 years, 16 of which I owned my own salon. My clients came from every walk of life and they were some of the best people in the world. I weeded out the ones I didn't want after I got going in the business! They taught me a lot and I will be forever grateful to all of them. After 23 years, I got a little burned out, but I am thinking about doing hair again. I always loved it, but I needed a break.
I'm a very artsy person and if I had the money I would like to open a store like the one that did the set for Sharon Osbourne's's called Bountiful and it's located in Venice, California. Very unique. But, there is still time for that....maybe in the future when I'm done raising my kids. And maybe I will have it on the beach somewhere in California. I would be in heaven.
Who knows what the next twenty years will bring. All I know is that the past 20 years of my life have been good, bad, happy, sad, smart, dumb, all rolled up into one. Overall, I wouldn't change a thing. I know for some that read this that is hard to believe, but that is what has made me the person I am and I think I'm a pretty good person...most of the time anyway. So, on my birthday, I have looked back at my life and look forward to what the future brings. The older I get, the more I become the person I am. And I will do it gracefully. In other words....I hate people who are middle aged and try to act like their still 20. There is a difference between being "young at heart" and acting like a middle-aged idiot.
Well, I need to get to the gym...I am sore today! I guess I over did it yesterday. Hope all of you have a great day. Stay cool my babies! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Gym

Calories burned - 500
Distance - 5 miles
Incline - 1-3
3 bottles so far
Today was my first day back at the gym since I took 2 weeks off to go to Ohio. It felt good to work-out again.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Revised 60's Hits for Aging Baby Boomers

It was fun being a baby boomer...till now. Some of the artists of the 60's are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers. They include:

1. Herman's Hermits--Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker
2. The Bee Gees--How Can You Mend a Broken Hip
3. Bobby Darin--Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash
4. Ringo Starr--I Get By With a Little Help from Depends
5. Roberta Flack--The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face
6. Johnny Nash--I Can't See Clearly Now
7. Paul Simon--Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
8. Commodores--Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom
9. Marvin Gaye--I Heard it Through the Grape Nuts
10. Procol Harem--A Whiter Shade of Hair
11. Leo Sayer--You Make Me Feel Like Napping
12. The Temptations--Papa's Got a brand new Kidney Stone
13. Abba--Denture Queen
14. Tony Orlando--Knock 3 Times on the Ceiling if you Hear Me Fall
15. Helen Reddy--I am Woman, Hear me Snore
16. Willie Nelson--On the Throne Again
17. Leslie Gore--It's My Procedure and I'll Cry if I Want To

Remember: "Gettin old is not for sissies"!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Cross Country Adventure

The last couple of weeks have been adventurous for me. I packed up my two kids, Derek and Shannon, and headed back to Ohio to visit family while they were on spring break. We just got home today around 1:30. It was a long road trip, but something that I felt I needed to do and now that we are home safe and sound, I'm glad we did it. It's a total of 2700 miles one way and four 10 hour days of driving.

We went across the border of Canada into the U.S. and we were on our way. The first obstacle we came across was driving through slush in the mountains which was not good considering my car is terrible in snow. When I stopped at the Beaver Lake Lodge to ask how weather conditions were up ahead she told me that it was worse than what I had just driven through and advised me to take a different route to by-pass more bad weather. "Just follow this highway and take the ferry at the end across the river and you'll be better off". So I did. Well the "ferry" looked like something that Huck Finn had operated, but I drove my car on and we floated across the Columbia River. I occupied my time reading the map so I didn't have to watch when we went under. It was only a 10 minute ride so it wasn't bad.... a lot better than fighting snow.

We continued on our way through Idaho and made it to Butte, Montana the first night. When I pulled out the map and looked how far I drove, I couldn't believe we were only in Montana....I figured with all the driving I did that day we should at least be in Massachusetts by now. The United States of America is BIG. The next day we drove through the rest of Montana, Wyoming, and into South Dakota. We were faced with more snow and I decided it was time to get off the road, so we hung it up for the night. Two semi's overturned on the side of the highway told me this day of driving was finished. Tuesday, I braved the weather, even though it was still snowing, and took off hoping that we would drive out of the bad weather.

We drove through the rest of Dakota, into Minneapolis, and then down through Iowa....we stayed in Davenport which is on the Mississippi River. Finally, on Wednesday we drove through Illinois, Indiana, and into Ohio. That night was probably the happiest I've been for awhile. I got to see my oldest daughter and meet Jordan! The next day I got to see my Mom and Sister which I hadn't seen for 2 years. We all had a nice visit and I realized how lucky I am to have family. I also realized I hate being so far away and not being able to see them anytime I want. I visited my Dad's grave and talked to him in the pouring down rain, I drove past the house where I grew up, and reminesced about my childhood. I saw people I used to work with, and went in my hair salon that I owned and operated for 16 years.

When I lived in Ohio, I guess sometimes I took all these things for granted. But now that I'm almost 3000 miles away, I realize even more how much it all means to me. Time went too fast though, and before I knew it we had to pack up and leave to drive back to Canada. Derek and Shannon were real good on the way home except for one fight. We drove to Minnesota the first day and stopped for the night due to what felt like tornado type winds. And colllllllld. The next morning we were up bright and early and took off about 9am. About 9:30 I was pulled over for speeding and the "Darling State Highway Patrol of the Great State of Minnesota" issued me a ticket. Don't ask how fast I was going. You would think I would use cruise control, but no. I didn't use it until after I got the ticket, and even then it was hard to keep my foot off the accelerator. I do have a speeding problem.

Continuing on through South Dakota again, the weather was much better, but windy. And if you ever go to Murdo, South Dakota, just be prepared for crappy weather. Every time I've been through there the weather has been nasty. Wyoming is so pretty though. But weird names on everything like Crazy Woman Road, and Dead Horse River, Prairie Dog Lake, & Beavertail Rd.....who thinks up those names? I even saw a real cowgirl....cowboy boots with spurs...haha. Lookout Pass in Montana and Idaho was a real treat on the way home. Low clouds, snow and rain, and twisty turny mountain roads.

All in all it was a great trip and I'm so glad I was able to take Derek and Shannon back to see their family. They were good company too, and I'm proud that they're my kids. I'm proud of Lindsay and everything she has accomplished so far with school, work, and her apartment. I'm happy that Jordan loves her and treats her good. I just wish we were closer. Much closer. It hurts not to see the people I've been with all my life.

I will just have to save money and make the trip much more frequently. Thanks to all my family for being there for me while I was home. I love all of you very much.