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.

My Mom, Mornings and Dressing Up

My Mom, Mornings and Dressing Up, Stories cover the first couple of weeks of another September.

Two years ago this week, I hugged my Mom for the last time. For the last time, I told her I loved her and although she did not respond in words, in her eyes I saw that she loved me too. I talked about that day in my “Mom” blog, if you wanted to read it, but I can say now, that time does make things a little easier. Still, just about everyday I am reminded of her in one way or another and I love that I can still hear her laugh whenever I want to if I just close my eyes and think of her.

A few years ago, I talked about me being “the hub” when it came to mornings in the Carr house and described the fact that if it was not for me, my girls would all sleep in ‘til noon. In that same post, I also talked about me making the girls lunches in the morning. One thought (among many I had this summer) was that I wanted the girls to take more control over their own morning rituals and included in this blue-sky notion, was making them making their own lunches. Jump to Tuesday of last week, the first day of school, and by some miracle that is exactly what happened and more. You see the girls must have been so excited about the return to academia, that they both got up before 6, got dressed, proceeded to make their own lunches (including healthy snacks) and they both packed their own back packs – all before my alarm even made a sound.

So 8 days later, and out of the 7 mornings requiring lunches and a wake up call, they matched their day one feat exactly one more time. It could have been worse, I guess. For the most part, they did wake when I called them and they helped grab things I asked of them, and we where only late one day for school, and at that, it was only a minute or two. Maybe, just maybe, I set my sights a little high. For now, I will keep working on them getting up earlier and perhaps by December, they will be able to make their own lunches a couple days a week.

Dressing Up
I am sure I have talked about Julia and her incredible fashion sense before. This week, she got a chance to spend an old gift card she had kicking around in her purse at one of her favourite stores – Claire’s. Watching both girls, prance around the spinning display cases and sparkling jewelry something akin to a kid in a candy store, but Julia is the smart shopper. Taking after her Mom, always looking for the best deals and spending wisely. When I make faces, while watching this happen, I am sure I look frustrated, but the truth is, I find it quite entertaining.

This trip, it was a hat that caught her eye, almost as fast as they all enter and a single glove that is reminiscent of the King of Pop, especially if worn together with the fedora and Beat It playing in the background. The one item purchased that kind of surprised me was of a bracelet. Remember a few weeks ago, talking about passing the truck on the 401 with the piggies in it? Why I laugh, and felt it worthy of a blog mention was the caption. Thick, black with bold white lettering and a dark red heart in the middle, proclaiming “I Love Bacon”!

In Closing
I am, for the most part, good with getting older. I accept the greying hair, forgetting things, and sounds and aches. I make getting up in the morning. I may be over dramatizing aging a bit, but I am only trying to illustrate a point that became a little more, painfully obvious to me today.

My wife gets emails for some of best 50% off of the lowest price sales around, and for a great reason to get out of the house today, we dropped in on one such clearance outlet. The girls, willing oblige for the most part and enjoy the “shopping” part. What hit me like a ton of bricks was Jordyn coming out of the dressing room today, in a dress that looking like it could be for someone twice her age? It fit her. She looked wonderful, and maybe just a little too old, and in turn that made me feel old.

Off to find some young hip clothes to shave a few years of my own.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week!

Crazy Wind, Welcome Back and Some Warm and Fuzzy Feelings

Crazy Wind, Welcome Back and Some Warm and Fuzzy Feelings, for another week in and around the Carr Family and NO MSG


The heaven’s scowled, the husky’s howled and the wind began to blow…

Not the first time I have quoted Robert Service, but that line from “The Cremation of Sam McGee” popped into my head yesterday, while looking out the window and watching the trees in my and my neighbours backyard. Talk about a catalyst to reflection, by getting lost in the graceful movement, choreographed by the awesome power of the wind. And this reflection for me was on the summer of 2012.

a trip in the Summer
Although, as pointed out to Nathalie, rather rudely the other day, this weekend does not mark the actual end of the summer, that of course is closer to the end of September. But for all intents purposes this is the last weekend before we fall back into a more regular routine with school, and it makes perfect sense to take a moment, as I often do, to look back.

Wow, what a summer. We had way more family time this year than we have ever had in the warm months, so that alone should make it one of the best summers, but it was so much more than that. The temperature was the best it has been in recent memory. We laughed more. We shared more. We learned more than ever, about ourselves and about friendships. We had more fun, than we should be aloud to have and for that reason, I am marking this one down in the “Win” column.

Welcome Back
I taught my first class in September of 1993. That though often enters my head around this time of year, when I start thinking about and preparing for yet another return to the classroom. On paper it has been 19 years, but I did have a couple of years in there, that I was in Belleville, and a few years of very limited part-time teaching, but with all the chips down, I have taught for a while.

Since teaching full time, I have attended each welcome back, or all staff meeting, normally held this week each year, and for the most part, they have all been pretty much the same thing. The President talks about the big picture and enrollment, the VP talks about students, and various Deans & Chairs talk about the picture from their school or department and so on. I think the intention, is for us to leave with a sense of empowerment, and go forth and take on the upcoming semester, with some warm and fuzzies. This year, it was just a little different for me. I actually DID leave feeling charged, and even more excited then I have in the past.

Friday Night
I have mentioned in the past, that this personal blog started as a Friday email to all staff, when I was the “Acting Associate Chair” of the School of Communication Arts, recapping the things I learned in a particular week, and the comings and goings of the students and staff of the college. I loved doing it, and received such positive feedback on my writing and the content, that I morphed it into my personal family blog a year later- in May of 2009.

Cut to the welcome back meeting this week, and me sitting in the back row, listing to details about our new Academic Policy, and the faculty member sitting beside me leans into me and says, “I miss your Friday Blogs!” I laughed and said, “I loved writing them, and that I still do, just about every Friday post something, just I don’t send it in email form to the staff”. She said, “that was my Friday night, I would get a glass of wine and read your blog and I loved it”. Talk about feeling warm and fuzzy! It was just so nice, that I was able to make a difference back then.

In closing
OK, time for another true confession. I have a voyeuristic streak. I guess, that is not a stretch, and having shared observations and thoughts about things that happen around me, one could have already dropped me into this category, but yes, I love to watch people. And when it’s family I am watching, I love it even more.

One day last week, while sitting on the couch, I was watching Julia in the kitchen, make herself a snack. It is true, that when we are happy, we normally have a way to show everyone that we are and Buglia’s way is a song. When she was a baby she would hum while eating. It was the funniest thing! It stuck, and we can always tell she is enjoying whatever it is she is eating, still to this day by the happy noises she makes. But last week, while she was sorting crackers out on a plate, then moving them to the counter, and spreading peanut butter on each one, and gently placing it back on the plate and licking off the remnants from her fingers, she did so while swaying side to side, and humming a little song. I could not shake the smile from my face and Nathalie and I had a good laugh about it!

Now, off to sing my own little song.

Thanks for reading and have a great and safe week