School, Seventeen, Life’s Canvas and Pride

School, Seventeen, Life’s blank canvas and showing your rainbow Pride, stories from the last 16 weeks of the Carr’s.

Julia-award-editIt’s been a bit since I scribed a tale or two about the comings and goings of the Carr’s, so why not today I say? Although I won’t cover off all the exciting things that have transpired over the almost 4 months, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least talk about a couple of the big things that have happened. First and foremost, summer is here, and that would mean that we made it through another school year.

I wrapped up my summer semester a couple of weeks ago around the same time that Julia graduated from grade 8 and Jordyn finished grade 11. Their marks where fantastic and their efforts where acknowledged and recognized and we are so proud of all they have both achieved. In fact, during a beautiful graduation ceremony, Julia was awarded the Eric Young Memorial Award for – Outstanding Efforts. Jordyn finished her co-op placement, using her sign language skills, helping out at a local school for the deaf and truly learned the positive you get from giving back.

We have never been the parents to push our kids super hard, so when they are able to achieve on their own, the awards value is even greater. Two amazing kids, full of love and energy with great futures, but perhaps most importantly, 2 incredibly proud parents.

In the last 4 months, we’ve had a couple of birthdays, but let me reflect on one of them. Stories that relate to time and the passage of it and the unarguable fact that it is moving, whether we want it to or not are always fun. Do you want to feel old? Simple way really, besides looking in a mirror is look at your kids and try to remember what it was like last year or the year before or even better 17 years ago. 17 years. Wow, 17 years ago, Nathalie and I had no children, had just celebrated a few years of marriage and were basically just making our way in life.

Then we had the most beautiful little girl drop into our laps, and everything changed. We were parents for the first time. We had to take care of someone other than ourselves. The responsibility seemed a little greater for us in life. We had bills and jobs and aspirations and this little bundle of joy with a blank slate, ready for the world. We had to teach and guide and share life’s skills with this baby and help her grow up.

In a blink of an eye, 17 years has turned this pretty little red headed baby into a woman. Someone who thinks independently and laughs; someone who is responsible and caring and loves and who is loved. Someone we are so proud of each and every day, and we did that. Sure there were great teachers and loving family members and friends and other factors that helped, but we did it. With love and respect, many tears and a bit of trial and error, we helped make this amazing little moom grow into who she is today.

Blank Canvas
A few friends of mine are dealing with some very large life changes. In conversations with each of them, I have talked about the fresh new canvas and thought my analogy was worth a share for what its worth.

When we are young and life is ahead of us, it is parents and friends and people around us that help pick the content of our life painting. Teachers help us understand the foundation of knowledge that build our shapes and base colours. Their likes and dislikes, become our likes and dislikes, their emotions and beliefs help form ours. By high school, our paintings are outlined and our direction and content is somewhat shaped. We may have lots of work to do to fill in the colours and form detail in our pictures, but they are coming along. In college or university, we learn how to shade things to make things stand out. We gain perspective and understanding on how all the elements work together. We can learn to make our life picture a masterpiece with that extra guidance. We can do it without it, but it just seems more finished with the extra help.

We get married or find jobs or build careers, and each day we add more to our painting. Maybe we change jobs, and we paint over a part of the painting to start again or make the adjustments we need to allow the painting to still be a true reflection of us and what or who we’ve become, but the painting is never really done. It keeps changing and adapting, until that day that we are presented with a major life change. That is the day your canvas is white washed. You still have all the experiences and lessons that got you the picture that was there, but now you have a fresh start; an opportunity to repaint it all or not. A chance to use those colours or shape that you never used in your original work of art, for whatever reason. Perhaps because of someone’s lesson or thoughts ushered you in a different direction or through circumstance something hadn’t even occurred to you. A fresh start is like a brand new pallet with new colours and a blank canvas and a blank canvas is a scary proposition, but the truth is that your life painting, in the end, will be the better for it. Keep painting.

Dancing Water
lake-editHad a chance to visit a cottage up north for a night after a gig, and was blown away by the morning beauty. It was still cool and the air was crisp but the trees across the lake, with the sunlight and breeze had every shade of green represented and with the slow wind, the branches moved and danced to an imaginary symphonic conductor. The ripples on the water joined in on the majestic performance and with every swell and crescendo, the water danced in the most magical way. I was taken aback and wrote this in my mind, and finally now committed it to the permanent record.

pride-editI have always fully supported the pride movement and have always wanted to go downtown Toronto during the parade, but just never made it. That is until this year. I’m so happy to have shared a fun afternoon with friends and family and to have finally shown my support for inclusion, NOT exclusion; acceptance NOT hate. So happy to have also shown the girls that for this world to work better, we have to all come together and celebrate our similarities and our differences. Given the other things that have happened in this world the last few days, it would seem that this is a lesson we all could benefit from sharing. #onelove #loveislove #fh8

In closing
I often wonder how we got so lucky sometimes. I have never won the lottery or a big jackpot at a casino, but as far as family and life and love, I am so lucky. I do believe in fate, and karma and the powers of positive energy and positive thinking, so sometimes that contradicts the idea of “luck”, but non-the less, I feel like I have had a good run. I just wonder how others see it sometimes.

A couple of months ago, I learned a little about how Julia sees it and thought I would share. It is no secret, but we all love our Chinese food in the Carr house. Chicken balls, some rice and a beef dish of some kind. I always knew that Julia loves reading the fortune cookies but I didn’t realize that she actually saves them. Well, I found her stash. She keeps them under her phone case, and when she left it in my room, beside my charger one day, I had to snap a picture. It would seem that the one on top says it all, and I couldn’t agree more! “Just be yourself you are wonderful!”

Off to try and be wonderful!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week,

Electronic Notices, a Potluck and The Anniversary of my Birth

Electronic notices, a potluck and the anniversary of my birth, stories from in and around week 18 with the Carr’s

There is something to be said about those who thrive on change. A new opportunity transformed into an adventure by moving, or a fearless leap of faith, magically turned into change for the better at work, are all wonderful examples of great things that happen when you are able to benefit from change. Truth be told, I just have never been a big fan of it, in general. Now I am a realist, and understand that things cannot remain the same forever, but it sure is nice when you realize that some things don’t change.

For the last 21 years of my life, my Birthday has basically been the same and I have to thank Nathalie and her family a tremendous amount for that. For as long as I have been with her, all but for one of these 21 years, we have spent it in Whitby at her parents place (one year her parents went to Curacao for Christmas!). Piles of presents fill the living room, with the sound of a crackling, well maintained Opa fire adding warmth to the room, and the joy that comes from taking turns opening presents, one at a time, one by one. Time spent to enjoy and acknowledge the feelings that each gift brings to each receiver.

I get that there is something else happening on the 25th of December, that has a way of taking over things, but for me, the day always seems to be about me. Even my 3 year old niece CC, didn’t want to take a nap this year, saying she was too excited for my birthday! Nathalie and the girls always do a great job of making me feel special and reminding me throughout the day that Jesus may be the reason for the season, but it is little old me, that is the reason for the happiness on this day.

P.S HAPPY birthday to my little twin sister also!

Cake by Lisa Wong -
Have your Cake
I have spouted off at least three times over the last year or so, about the wonderful “Cake Artist” we count among our friends, Lisa Wong. Now, I get to brag about her again, because Thursday night, just after the kids went to bed, I got to answer the door to a surprise delivery for MY birthday. The whimsical nature, speaks directly to my heart, and I sometimes feel just like a snowman in, sitting around watching the world go by, waiting for a dog to pee on me. Thanks for the gift Lisa, and I am happy to say that it tasted just as wonderful as it looked! To order your own cake for any occasion, send her an email


This week Nathalie’s company had a pot luck lunch to celebrate the holidays, and it was also to raise some money to help one of the employees who’s daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia. Because I have been helping out with the redesign of the company website, I was able to crash the party, and sample some of the wonderful food prepared with care and love for the occasion and I felt special to take part in the day. Touching was witness to Carlos’s speech about his daughter and how moved he was to be working for such a wonderful company and working with so many caring people who donated money and purchased raffle tickets, all in support of his daughter.

I LOVE that I received more then 50 wall posts and a couple of messages on Facebook, acknowledging my birthday, as well as several more email messages form various sites I have signed up for memberships over the years. Carnival Cruise lines sent me an animated card, NBA All-Access sent me a 15% off discount coupon, and 680news Insider club sent me 680 points for my fan club account. I even got a message from a site I forgot I signed up for on a whim, using an alias, wishing Jack “a Very Happy Birthday”. I love that people take the time to say hello and happy birthday at this busy time of year, even if it is some automatic message generated by some program, running on a server some place. It makes me feel special, and I just wanted to say a big Thank you to all those who sent along birthday wishes to me. I truly am blessed!

In closing
I once heard a joke that goes something like this… There is a religious guy stranded in a boat in the middle of the ocean, and he starts to pray to God, “Please God, give me a sign that you are there, and help me.” A short time later, a little boat arrives and the man says to his would be rescuers, “Don’t worry, I am fine I have my faith” and so the boat turns away. The man continues to pray and a short time later, a bigger boat arrives, and again, the religious man waves on the crew on, in lieu of a grand sign from his savior. Following more praying, an even bigger boat arrives, and yet again the man tells the crew that he will be OK, because of his belief in a higher power, and again they leave him to his solitude. When his boat later capsizes, and he dies and is greeted in heaven by God, he is crying when he asks the all-important question, “God, why did you not show me that you existed, by helping me?” and all God says is, “I sent you three boats!”

This week, I felt a little like the guy in the boat, and what I thought I would see is some grand sign that my Mom was with us, celebrating Christmas as she always has been, but I saw nothing of the sort. No grand sign or big “Ahh ha” moment of her presence, instead I realized that she WAS with us in the tradition, and smiles, and laughs and stories we all told about her over the last couple of days. All this, in of it self IS a sign that she WAS with us and for that I am truly grateful. Merry Christmas to all and have a great New Year!

Next blog, the year in review!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.