Friends, Blogging and Life Lessons Learned

Friends, blogging and life lessons learned, stories from the Carr family while on the 9-month journey to today.


Her beauty Just makes me happy!

This is not the first time I have started a blog with some kind of apology or reasoning, for being a few months behind, on what started as a weekly look behind the Carr family curtain. I can honestly say that I miss it. I miss the open-eyed awareness I approached day-to-day life with, while I was always looking for something to write about. It has been more than 9 months since I have written a blog, so it’s time. Time to lift the curtain. Plus there have been a few people on my list of supporters that have been dropping hints and pretty much giving me a hard time about not doing it. So, here we go!

Family is important. But, you can’t pick them. They are yours whether you want them or not. But, friends however, you are completely in control of. Over the years, Nathalie and I have been very lucky in this regard. Blessed with many great connections and people that have breezed into our lives, for whatever reason, making lasting impressions. Some have breezed out, but the truth is that we could still drop ourselves on a deserted island with any of them and be right back where we were.

I like to think that it’s an “us” thing, as in we are the cool ones, and there may be truth to it, but I think the fact steams from us being pretty much the same, no drama, easy going people we have been most of our lives. We can be loud and fun and we can laugh or cry with the best of them, but we are always true to us.

The realization I have come to this week, thanks to a conversation with one of the true friends, is that we do have a finite amount of time in life, and it would make the most sense to maximize the amount of time you spend with the people that most reflect this thinking. It may even have some kind of time warping, life extending friendship powers, I am not sure, but finding people to hang around with that approach life like this somehow makes the time you spend, that much more rewarding.

The Vase
One of my favourite stories from the past few months involves Julia, our Chief Household Comedic Relief Officer. We have been power watching a number of popular shows this summer. Son’s of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black and Mad Men for short, and it was during one of the Mad Men episodes that Julia had something to say. Now the show is set in the 60’ and the 70’s and aside from the very interesting look into the world of advertising, it is also a look at an era that I am fascinated with.

In this particular episode, a newly married husband and wife are talking about the husband NOT getting the promotion he wanted, and that she wouldn’t understand what it was like, to not get something that you have wanted for a long time. The wife, one of the very strong female leads, gave up her career and life to be his wife, so proceeded to illustrate this point by grabbing a vase, and whacking him over the head. Julia sees this and says, “What did she do that for?” Nathalie explains, “The Husband said something stupid and was being an idiot and she wanted to make the point clear to him”.   Without missing a beat, Julia says, “Quick hide all the vases in here… I am just protecting you Daddy!” Glad to know she’s looking out for me!

So school has started, and for both girls they are settling into their new classrooms and new educational eco systems. Julia got the grade 7 teacher she wanted to have this term and had for at least a few days all the people she wanted in her class. After the day 10 adjustments, she lost a couple of people that she liked, but was, in true Julia fashion more concerned that those friends at least had some other friends to hang with in their new assignments.

Jordyn in grade 10, was excited to see her friends again, and happy with her classes and teachers. Well… mostly happy. Her only comment was that in her second period class has more than 20 boys and only her. “Even the teacher is a boy Daddy!” she said with a shake the head disgust that made me smile. Now, I’m a bit on the fence whether I think this is a good thing or not, but in the end it may just teach her some valuable life lessons. Like hopefully that 15-year-old boys are silly and she should just stay away from them? Is that too much to ask?

In closing
The last couple of weeks have been filled with some highs and lows. It is always hard around this time of year for us, but more than the beginning of a semester and start of school, and the end of the summer and the season change and the anniversary of my Mom’s death, this year, I have had to deal with a few new things that emphasize change. A couple of weeks ago, one of the most inspiring retired faculty members I have known passed away. I will be writing more on Ron Lowe in coming weeks. This week, one of the guys I have been working with the longest at the College had his retirement party. However, nothing illustrated change and the fact that it is gonna happen whether I want it to or not this week more than a texting conversation I had with Jordyn, so today I close the blog with an edited transcript:

Daughter, “Dad if I dait a gut how many years apart do we have to be 2 or 1”
Dad, “What??? Please ask again, I don’t understand what you are saying”
Daughter, “If I dated a guy how many years apart do we have to be 2 years apart or 1 year apart?”
Dad, “80000 years apart you have to be.”
Daughter, “I don’t know what that means”
Dad, “That means. I don’t want you to date. Ever… But, you asked the wrong parent… Jordyn, you don’t have to be any years apart. It would be better if I guy is a little older than you. But it doesn’t matter. What’s the age of the guy you are interested in? (Always asking the hard questions!)
Daughter, “17”

Dad, “I don’t know. Ask your Mother.”

Now, off to find a quiet corner to curl up and rock myself to sanity.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week!


Marks, Volunteering, Old Friends and a Tickled Lip

Marks, Volunteering, Old Friends and a Tickled Lip, stories from in and around the Carr house for another few weeks.

In Ontario these days, they don’t send report cards this time of year, opting instead for a “progress report” and we are so happy to report that our girls are progressing very well! In fact, Jordyn has been excelling in things that she had struggled with, what seems like only months ago. She is now bringing home projects and test in the A to A+ range. And what we love more than the great marks is the awareness of the accomplishment in both of their minds and the pride they show when talking about their accomplishments. I think Nathalie and I have always tried to encourage both girls to work as hard as they can, and always tried to remind them that if they put in the effort they will always get something out of it, and we just couldn’t be more proud that they are now realizing it.

This week during a parent teacher meeting, I had a Daddy pride moment, when the teachers talked about how much Jordyn’s social skills have advanced this past year. Not that she was a wallflower or anything, but this year, while doing well with her academics, she is also doing well with the other part of school – the social side. She is on student council, singing in the choir, helping out in the library and an active volunteer for extra help around both the classroom and the school. Both Nathalie and I have spent a lot of time volunteering at school, and we always try to lead by example, but it is just now we see the effect it has had on the girls.

Old Friend
Sometimes I look at the girls hanging and playing with their school friends, and I wonder what it would be like to run into the people that completed my circle when I was in grade 8. Thanks to Facebook, we have WAY more access to the people from our past, but like the saying goes, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!” Sometimes, it only takes a couple of minutes with an old old friend; to remind yourself your paths diverged for a reason. I have only had a couple of friends from any of my schooling over the years, that I have stayed in touch with for any great length, and one of those from College, I had lunch with this week.

It has been a couple of years since I have seen him, and although we have talked on the phone a couple of times, over that time, we sure had a lot of catching up to do. Do you have those old friends that you may see every couple of years, but when you do, it’s like you where never apart? From the first couple of minutes, we where laughing and joking like it was 1990, and the biggest worry we had was figuring out reasons to skip an English class. It was great to catch up and I left with a reminder that no matter the length of time apart from someone, a good friend is a good friend. Do yourself a favour, and look up an old one today!

Lip Tickle

“How you doin’?”
It is the first week of November, and popular in these parts, it is the start of Movember – the practice of men growing facial hair, specifically a mustache, in support of awareness of men’s cancer. Last year I did it and raised 75 bucks, and grew what I like to call a crazy 70’s porn stash. It was not the popular in the Carr house, and I almost thought about doing it again this year, but woke up on the 1st and completely forgot and shaved. I got to work, taught a class and then checked out what’s going on in Facebook world, only to find out that Nathalie had had a little photoshop fun, and started her own anti facial hair campaign. I just had to post the picture here, and since the support for her campaign was high, I opted NOT to grow it again this year. But, please do find a way to support Men’s Cancers!

In closing
Had a laugh this week, during a quick shopping trip to No Frills. Ever run into the strange guy that just feels the need to have a conversation with you? In my 90 second meeting with a crazy haired guy with what looked like a turtleneck and you guessed it a tweed jacket complete with the elbow patches, I found out he was Comedian and a Novelist. He wrote “the” book about the 911 conspiracy; and that is how he said it, “the book” as if I should obviously know about it. And if that wasn’t enough, he shared a joke he wrote with me, and said I could use it if I wanted to. So, when you are given this kind genius comedic license, one must use it. “Did you hear about the new Mike Tyson restaurant in downtown Toronto? It’s called: Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your Ear!”

Off to look online for what must be a riveting book by my shopping buddy!

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week!

Seasons in the Sun, A New Job, Blogging and Marital Bliss

Seasons in the Sun, A New Job, Blogging and Marital Bliss, Stories and thoughts for yet another few weeks in and around the Carr house.

What is it about this time of year that makes me struggle with energy? Something about wanting to curl up in the fetal position and, as the bears do, hibernate for a few months. The semester is underway at school, and things are ticking along ok, but as the temperature dips, the winds build and start to cause the already colouring leaves to twist and turn and fall to the ground, the weather plays havoc with me.

I have always been a fan of the beginning, or Spring and Summer combination rather than the end, or Fall / Winter part of the year. You can’t have one without the other, and I get the necessity or need to regenerate, but if I could, I would be thrilled with 12 Aprils or 12 Junes in any given year. Honestly, I don’t mind moving my birthday to say, June 1st. I will even round up, and add a year to my age, if somehow we could collectively find a way to maintain the green, warm months and eliminate the darker, cooler months. If you come up with something, just let me know.

Wanted to say great job and congratulations to Nathalie for landing a new job. After her first week of punching a different clock, I can report that she loves it, and is enjoying not only the free coffee from the fancy bar-code machine, but also the atmosphere and the people. It is a much smaller company than she is used to, but I think the difference you can make, as an employee in a very small pond is way bigger in the end.

When I started blogging, I did it for nothing more than a record or diary of the comings and goings of the family and me. All my posts are from the heart and real accounts of the life with the Carrs. Some are funny, some are a little deep, most easy to read and digest but all are written in my voice. One of my most personal blogs was the post I wrote the week of my Mom’s death September 2010 – My Mom the Fighter, a Prayer, the Call and Powerful Word.

A few weeks ago, after re-posting a link to it, I received a reader comment, and in doing so, I have connected with another blogger. This is the email I received from Heather Von St. James.

“Hi Jim! Thanks for emailing me. The reason I have reached out to you is because of your blog! I am 43 and a mother to a quirky little 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child, and my whole world. When Lily was just 3 1/2 months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed was my baby girl and how I wasn’t going to be able to watch her grow up.”

That was a sad start, but Heather went on to tell me the wonderful news of her now 6 ½ year survivor title, and how she blogs to share her story and message, not only about her journey but also to pass on information about this horrible, completely preventable form of cancer – Mesothelioma. So for the first time ever, I am pointing you to another voice in the blogosphere. Please visit her blog –

I have been to a whole bunch of weddings this past year and each time, it is nice to see love St-Pauls-Basilica - Torontofrom different perspectives. I am often working, so it was so great to be just a guest for once. This past Saturday, Nathalie and the girls and I visited the oldest Catholic Church in Toronto – St. Paul’s Basilica and marveled at the beautiful architecture and designs and statues of so many years ago. It was a lovely service and after dropping the kids off with Oma, it was great to boogie the night away with our friends and their whole family, celebrating their daughters’ wedding day. Nathalie said it best, when she told me, “I use to watch the Bride at a wedding and think of my own wedding but now that I have girls, I only picture them in white dresses.”

In Closing
I love the girls and just about each and every day they show me, among other things, that they do give love and receive love. Sometimes, however, while doing so, they challenge each other a little too. On the morning of the wedding, while getting ready to go, Julia decided to take (without asking) Jordyn’s, black fancy shoes. This did not sit well with number 1, and she showed her displeasure by first yelling, then crying. Julia put on her, “I don’t care” face, and seemed shocked that Jordyn would cry over shoes. I calmly put on my dad voice and said, “Julia, think about it, if she took YOUR shoes without asking you, I bet you would be upset and cry too!” With righteous indignation she said, “Ah ya, I would NOT cry over shoes, maybe pout a little but certainly not cry!”

Pouting myself, a little over shoes and the dark and dreary weather.

Thanks for reading, have a safe a great week.