Some Nice Marks, a Bus Ride and Singing a Sorry Song

Some nice marks, a bus ride and singing a sorry song, some stories and thoughts from in and around week 10 in the Carr house.

It would seem that I have started a couple of blogs with this same little “sorry I am late” disclaimer, or a reasonable facsimile. Not sure why I feel the need to apologize for my tardiness, other than the fact I normally say I am sorry for just about anything I feel I’ve done wrong, even if I have nothing to do with the situation. Something I have always struggled with I guess. It has started to rub off on the girls, and Nathalie and I have tried to put a stop to it. Now, it is not the apologizing we want to stop necessarily. It is the “I am not even thinking about it, I better say something to stop Mom and Dad from yelling, very quick – sorry” that comes out of their mouths’ faster then you can say wtf.

So since, January, when we catch a “sorry” in this fashion, we both yell to the girls, “5 dollars!” It started simple enough, one night almost as a bit of a game, but now almost 3 months in, we have noticed an improvement. The first night was funny, with Jordyn going 15 dollars ahead of Julia very fast, and Julia gloating and walking around saying, “um, I am liking this game”. In a matter of 15 minutes, she caught up, and started to worry. In fact, when she went to bed, she wrote a letter to Nathalie, pleading for a new punishment, “Mommy, I don’t have 5 dollars, but I do have this change, and some jewelry, please take that instead”, leaving behind about 83 cents, and a couple of mismatched earrings.

I think quite often, we all fall a little victim to this, quick response and sometimes I we need a small hiccup pause before we talk, just to calculate our response a little more. When someone you meet asks, “How are you?” or your parents ask who left their garbage on the table, a split second of contemplation could allow you to be honest, and isn’t that always the best policy? This is a good lesson for life, and YES, because I started this blog with a very quick apology, without too much thought, I will now throw 5 bucks in the jar myself.

Buglia's Award

A couple of weeks ago, the pride in the house was thick enough to cut with a knife, because of some very good report cards. In my note to myself, reminding me to mention it in my blog, I simply said “marks” but the truth is that we are proud of not only the outcome, but the effort that both our girls put in this term, to warrant their good grades. Both made key improvements in important areas, and although they both still have things to work on, we are so happy with what they have achieved. Congratulations to Julia also, for receiving a “living the virtues” award at the school assembly. Keep up the good work girls!


I came to an interesting conclusion today, and it involves something we all do in the car, mostly when we are alone. I am sure I am not the only one to sing along with the radio, and even if I am the first to admit that I am unable to carry a tune, I am at some times closer to the intended notes than others. I realized that it is directly related to frame of mind. You see, over the last couple of months, I have not been at 100% with my mood. Blame the weather, and stress at work, or just this time of year, but the fact is when you struggle with these feelings, it must play with my challenging inner ear. I know I am on the road to recovery to the point that today, I belted out the best version of Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are, I have ever done, and from my front row seat, I was hitting every note!

A Bus
This week, I got chance to say goodbye to a great recent student and a regular blog reader, as she got ready to hop on a bus, that will take her to not only a new town and a new province but a new radio job. I hope that in my goodbye chat with her, I conveyed how proud I was of her, and all that she has accomplished much of which was despite her own personal hardest critic; herself. The proof that she will succeed, and excel at this new opportunity lies in her own accomplishments to this point.

She was so positive that she would not even get into the Broadcasting program to start with, that after the orientation and what she felt was a disasterous attempt at admission test, she went home and recorded a video for her youtube channel, that included a plea to me, to disregard her test score, and just look at the fact that she has the passion it will take to succeed in the program. Here she is, a couple of years later, taking a bus more then 36 hours away with all she owns in three suitcases, ready to take on the world. Best of luck, keep in touch, and I can’t wait for my new radio station mug!

One of the funniest little girl stories from the last month is one that Nathalie has shared a bunch of times, but it is still worth committing it to permanence that is the World Wide Web. To set the stage, it is morning in the Carr house, I am downstairs sorting out the daily lunches, and Nathalie, between getting herself ready and out of the house, is coaxing the girls to do the same. And by coaxing, I mean frustratingly dealing with a couple of girls that want nothing to do with the morning, let alone getting off to school.

Julia barging into the master bedroom asks Nathalie, “Mom, if you see these little white flower thingies, can you please let me know”. A confused Nathalie responds with a simple enough statement, “Julia, I don’t understand.” Julia calmly repeats herself, “this little white flower things, if you find any, just tell me”, and Nathalie again repeats, “I don’t understand?” Very frustrated now, Julia looks up at Nathalie and says, “Let me explain it slowly so you understand, IFFFFF YOOOUUU SEEE…”

In closing
One of the first times, in my blogging carrier, (if you can call it that) that I mentioned something that the girls had written, came from Julia and her positive affirmation of liking herself. I love that know matter what they hear, or see on TV that both our girls have a positive image of themselves.

Almost everyday, they bring home artwork from school, in which they draw silly pictures, and tell funny stories and cut funny shapes, and although some of it ends up being recycled, we file much of it in a box each school year labeled “school memories”. Some of it, we even take a little for granted and don’t always inspect closely when it first comes home from school.

The other night, after letting Bentley out for his final pee of the night, Nathalie paused at the dinning room table, long enough to let a piece of Julia artwork, catch her eye. It looks like she had to make a certificate, and glued to a pink piece of paper is a white piece, adorned with a squiggly lined, multi coloured boarder. The big yellow crown, and stars are nice, but it is the words that reminded me of how great are kids are. “Julia Carr, shy, creative, singing. Swimming, learning, singing. Happy as a dog. A princess.” I love you Julia!

I am happy as a dog that I finally sat down to recap the comings and going of the Carr’s.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.

A Conversation in The Car, Deep Jim and The Year That Was…

A Conversation in the car, Deep Jim and the year that was, the week 19 – year ending Carr blog is in the history book.

The Blog...

Well, I am doing it. Doing what I hate to see myself, what episodic television does every season, when they want to cheap out on making a new show. You know, the lead characters sit around the set, and through a series of flash backs, recap all that happened in the last season in what some would call the “best of” show. Well, this is the best of Carr blog for the 2010 season.

Over the last year, I posted my weekly recap of the life and times of the Carr family 39 times. If you are doing the math in your head, that would mean that I did miss 13 weeks in there, 8 or 9 of those fell in the summer. The one difference with my little flash back blog, is I will only include a short snippet of the original post, and provide a link to the complete one so that if you wish, you can go back and read the post in its entirety. My reasoning is, that I still want to write a little bit about the old post, and not hang my whole “episode” on flashbacks or rehashing of old words.


A couple of times this last year (OK way more than a couple), I ventured into what I would call deep Jim, with some introspective bla bla about any number of topics. Starting with the first week of 2010, when I reflected on how much I had grown the last year. And by grow, I mean figuratively!

“I made my bed today. In fact, I make it everyday. Well, most days it is just figuratively me, tucking the corners and fluffing the pillows, as in the time honoured saying, but today while actually straightening the comforter on the worlds highest bed, I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.”

“Dreams – When I was younger, other then the normal wanting a family and good health, I had three things I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to write a hit song, I wanted to write a book and I wanted to be in a movie.”

In the Car
So many of the closings come from conversations in the car. I guess we do spend a fair amount of time in the vehicle, on our way from one place to another, so here are a few references from this past year with the Carrs in the car.

“So when did “Punch Buggy” get added back to the riding in the car lexicon? I don’t remember hearing it for years, but this last few weeks, I have heard chatter of the kind, coming form the back seat and then today, we broke out into a full assault, no holds bar game and Daddy got hurt!”

“Sometimes I can’t believe how great of a memory Jordyn has. Julia remembers odd things too, but Jordyn pulls the smallest things out of thin air and does it all the time. The craziest stuff! “Remember when you were wearing that white shirt and you spilled stuff on it when I was in grade 1, and you said that you would buy me something if I didn’t tell mommy” kind of stuff.”

Our girls have an amazing way of looking at things each in their own way of course, and this past year I have powered up the big spot light and highlighted situations through the eyes of my girls. I will start with Julia, because this and so many other lines she came up with this year made Nathalie and I laugh. The post was our first from the road, on our summer vacation and it came during a shopping trip in Target –

“This trip, like any of our US jaunts, involves a good amount of US barging hunting. For the most part the girls have been good, and are actually turning into quiet the fashionistas, picking interesting clothing combinations and colour choices, all off the clearance racks. We almost made it out of the last store without one “PLEASE daddy” with the puppy dog eyes for something that that they for sure don’t need.”

As for Jordyn, her observations are more drenched in sarcasm, and always delivered with impeccable timing and this post from this last November, was my favourite.

“One of the things we have to work on with Jordyn, as per her teachers request, is her taking ownership of her own work at school, so our decision to let her sort out what it is that she does and does not have due any given day, is the first step. We sometimes check up on her, and this morning when I found the two pages of incomplete math homework in her agenda, I was a little upset.”

Well, yes because I am a teacher, I run into my share of students and as such, I get some of the blog content from them. In some cases, it is welcome:

“The other idea, came from a conversation I was having with a couple of students. In the talk, one of my fourth semester students admitted that she is not very good about asking for help”

And in other cases, it is a little more unwelcome:

Caring – “I had to do it. I had to give the Dad speech about giving a shit a couple of extra times this week. Now, I give the lecture to the girls enough around the house that I am sure if they had a “Dad says way too much list”, it would be at or near the top. Maybe just below, “Why does no one listen to me?” but certainly in the top 5. This week, I had to give it to my 3rd semester students, and I am sure they appreciated my tone and perspective on this issue.”

My Mom
I talked a fair amount about my Mom this past year of blogs and I loved each post, but the one that not only got the most comments, but also garnered the most readers was the post I wrote after she passed away.

“This is the blog I have written so many times in my head over the last year. I had planned the direct approach, thinking it would be better for me to say the hardest part first – My Mom has died. But even after writing it now, I still find it hard to believe and certainly not any easier to say. This day has come the long way around, with my Mom fighting far longer than anyone had thought she could or had expected her to, mainly because of the faith she had, and her sheer will.”

In closing
This week (yes a couple of days late), this post represents a true closing, the closing of the year 2010. For me, it was a year filled with high highs, and some very low lows. I emerge with a positive outlook and a strong frame of mind, to motor on and continue to try and make a difference in peoples lives. That sounds grandiose, but it is simple I think. Wake up, try hard to be a good person, help others and make an impact on those around you and when the chips are down, in the end YOU will be the better for it. Thank you for letting me take part in the year that was 2010, but I look forward to a better 2011.

In the last week of school last semester, in talking with a colleague about the past semester, I talked about that it was not my best, and that in true web fashion, I will start the next semester and year with a simple approach. I am releasing a new software version. Not that the old version was not working well, and not like the new one will not have it’s share of issues, but the new Jim 3.0 promises to be the best one yet.

Also, thanks to the girls for supporting me, making me laugh and above all for loving me for being who I am and especially thanks to my wife, best friend and blog editor, Nathalie for being the half that makes me whole.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week.

A Letter From Santa, Music and Party, Party Party

A letter from Santa, Music and Party, Party Party, the week 17 Carr family blog is in the books.

Phantom of the Opera
Music of the night
I am not what you would call a huge fan of classical music. I should clarify, I can certainly appreciate the harmonic game that is played by each individual instrument, and the magic that occurs when notes and sounds are woven together to form melodies and counter melodies in this orchestrational style, but it is one of the musical genres that I have to confess I know very little about. I am sure true classical musical fans, would say that the music in modern musicals, although played on the same instruments, is just not quite the same thing. The reason I bring it up is that I am a fan of the music from the Phantom of the Opera.

When Nathalie and I first started dating, at some point in the first couple of years, we went to see the live performance of the Phantom, and our love for the words and music of the show were cemented in our hearts, and still to this day, we both have selections from the play on our respective iPods. Since then, we have seen the play another 3 times and plan on another couple of time for sure. When I am alone in my car, I will often put in the CD and listen to as loud as I can, and I am catapulted back to that first performance, and the shared experience of falling in love with not only the music but the person I was with.

Mushy stuff aside, this week, it was fun listening to the CD in the car again with the girls, who have seen and enjoyed the movie and know the music quite well, but do have some questions about the plot. Jordyn, talking about the movie, says, “I like the whole movie, except that part when he is yelling!” Never turning down an opportunity to wrap a life lesson into a response, I say, “Well Jordyn, the Phantom is so in love with Christina, that when he realizes it is a love that he can not have, he shows us how mad he is by getting that upset and yelling. But the amazing thing is that he shows us how sad he is to loose her, but in the end, he lets her go, because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes, in life you have to let something go that you love and it hurts.” Confident in my response, I sit back with pride to have her reply, “Well whatever, I just don’t like him yelling!” I tried!

Santa letter

Well I guess I have to be proud of the honesty flowing from my little Buglia over the last little while. I only know of this newfound trait, because of the return letter she received from Santa this week. At first, she was a little unsure of sharing it with us, but after she finally did, we discovered that at one point in the letter she sent to the big man himself, she must have just laid it all out on the line and made some kind of confession. “I heard that you have been a little naughty at school and at your babysitters, but don’t worry there is a lot of time to get back on the nice list”, he tells her, and we are sure glad he did. That must not have been easy for an 8 year old, thinking that this year her chance of a nice gift was a lost cause. Thanks also for the confirmation of a somewhat mystery with respect to what it is she wanted for Christmas. Santa acknowledged in his letter, that she had asked him for a “surprise gift”, so that makes us a little more confident that we should be able to meet all the needs of all on our lists, naughty OR nice.

I love this time of year for so many reasons, but certainly one of the biggies is the number of times you are invited to visit and make the rounds of cheer and joy at gatherings of like-minded individuals. One little such gathering, I look forward to each year, is a party to celebrate Christmas, the end of a semester, or as the invitation says, the “Winter Solstice Gathering” at our friends house. This is the 10th annual event of its kind, and although we have not been to all of them, we have been to more then half and the one thing that is always clear is that these friends, have the most dynamic group of friends we have ever seen, and by sheer luck, we must be included in that list, because we were there too. The stories, and laughing and dancing make for a very interesting evening, and thanks to great hosts, the food is wonderful too.

In Closing
Often to pass time during car rides, the girls play word games, and sing and in most cases just laugh. This week, we had a serious case of the giggles, and at the time I looked at Nathalie and said I have to remember to write about it. The art of the knock knock joke is just that, an art and not everyone can either get it, or more importantly give it. I totally get that! Jordyn is a big fan, and when the girls start to giggle and tell each other riddles or stories, inevitably, it is Jordyn that throws in a knock knock joke or two. They, quite often are the same ones, but we still laugh.

This particular time, Jordyn was doing the famous, “Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana” joke, but the only thing was, that she was NOT saying it right. Now it starts by answering the knock knock part with, “Banana” 3 or 4 times, and the funny lies in the fact that FINAL time you are asked, “who’s there?” you don’t say banana, you say orange instead. Now, you can use any fruit you want in the joke, but of course you MUST use “orange” as the last one. This is either lost on Jordyn, OR she knows more then me, and figured arguing the point with me was way more funny then even the line it self. We laughed and laughed, and it sounded like an Abbott and Costello routine with all the back and forth in the car and at one point, the girls both had tears in their eyes, from laughing so much and I think, “It doesn’t get much better then that.”

Orange you glad I didn’t drive off the road?

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week