Happy Birthday Cathy!

Tomorrow I will sit by your grave and miss your physical presence; yet, you’ll be there, because you are everywhere. I cling to the comfort of knowing we are all one. It’s not just your memory that keeps me going but the understanding that I don’t ever have to say goodbye — for there is no separation. You know the truth, the beautiful, loving truth that we all will one day.

I lament that I can’t call you and tell you my shit and hear your little giggle and supportive sighs. In consolation, I become silent and still and feel you within me.

The heather plant I’ve been nurturing all spring and summer is ready and I will be leaving it with you as a birthday present. Like our entwined spirit,  it’s an evergreen and spreads with reckless abandon. Perhaps it will make its way to Dad.

Love is the only reality, it survives everything.  The rest is a dream we participate in.

Oh, and I think there will be cake, there’s always cake. This year it will be moist with our tears.

I love you so much.


And this is Karma

After 13 years of living in my home, I’ve recently been replacing some household items. It started last August with my new flat screen — 32 inches of pure HDish viewing. I know 32 inches doesn’t sound like much, but I’m a girl and the tv fits nicely in my livingroom.

A month ago I discovered why I had bad vacuum karma* and cleansed myself with the purchase of a Miele S7 upright, which I don’t mind telling you, I sometimes catch myself  just sitting and thinking about. That may sound weird, but Miele owners will understand my passion and enchantment. I found it well within my price range at Future Shop and because I bought it in the month of May, I received an extra 5 years warranty, free of charge.

Last weekend I replaced a decades old dehumidifier which was a hand-me-down housewarming gift. I missed the free one offered by my friend Jeff by about 3 hours, but hooked up another friend who was also looking for a water sucker for her new dog salon. Come to think of it, Jeff also told me about the Miele. I think that officially makes you “my go-to guy” Jeff (if you don’t mind).

Six years ago, we moved my lovely formal living room sofa (hide-a-bed) to the basement and brought the rec room sofa to the living room. Just in case you’re wondering, barley walls, rose carpet and a brown sofa do not match. To add salt to the wound, the rec-room sofa also became the favourite scratching post for my loving cat who is oddly immune to spray bottles. I’ve resolved myself that the very heavy and awkward formal sofa shall never again grace my livingroom in this house and so began my search for a slip cover. A little online research uncovered one of interest. I hit the bargain basement today and the only slip cover there to fit a sofa was the exact one that endeared me online. It fits perfect…a tad wrinkly right now, but I’ll iron it the next time I wash it.

Turning outside, the grass on my postage stamp of a backyard was at least 2.5 feet high and with a break in the weather, it was time to stop putting off the inevitable. After filling up another housewarming hand-me-down with gasoline and oil, the gas cap literally disintegrated in my hand. It was time to replace the old 30 minute pull start lawnboy that gave me such a great workout for the past 5 years (13 years – 8 years that it wasn’t my chore = 5 years). I found one on Kijiji in my neighbourhood and made the purchase from a very nice person, who, as it turns out, worked with my BF for years. To kick it in gear, his son builds things; like fences, which is the next replacement on my mind, right after that one rotten deck board which I can fix myself because; well, my Dad was a carpenter. (I say that a lot when I’m drunk.)

A good neighbour, who facilitated the purchase and installation of my new windows last year, came to my rescue and helped me lift my lawnmower out of the back of my car…thanks Shawn. And, as if that wasn’t enough, when I looked up from my first pass with my new-to-me Poulan, there was a man in a truck collecting metal. He graciously took the old lawnboy and the old dehumidifier off my hands, which was such a relief because I had no idea how I was going to lift that monster up the stairs and something tells me the garbage guys wouldn’t have taken kindly to a lawnmower spewing gas and oil all over them.

That’s karma, my friend. It’s everything that happens. It’s not bad, nor good, it just is. It’s everything we attract through our thoughts and experiences. Today, I let go of expectation to enjoy the blessing of my Karma. I wish the same for you.

*a Filter Queen purchase in 1987 paid for over 3 years at 35% interest.

My Easter Poem

by Guest Blogger:  Justin Hindle

Easter is fun I get to have Easter egg hunts
I might get a new truck and do lots of stunts.

I’ll eat lots of chocolate and jelly beans
and when I go to sleep I’ll have lots of bad dreams.

When I wake up I’ll see the Easter bunny
and if he eats all my chocolate, I’ll say,

“Give me some money!”


Waking up this morning, I realized today is the 10th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Anyone who has lost a parent understands that these anniversaries get easier with time, but you’re always a bit tender, waiting for the other foot to fall or something significant to happen so you can say, “and it happened 10 years to the day”.  So far, so good.   Ten years ago today I also found out I was pregnant, I think I wrote about that before, so you can go have a look if you’re obliged to do so.

Summer was full of parties and other activities and although the kids skipped the organized sports, they still had fun and made new friends. I embraced the relaxed evenings to just be with the kids and not rush to a field to be eaten by flies and feign enthusiasm.

I take great pride in the fact that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but this summer a new flat screen came to me complete with chips, chocolate and beer. I finally figured out the VOD thing, but my cable bill has sky-rocketed from ordering half-watched movies and my body shape was becoming pre-french fry round.

The solution was a recumbent bike. It sits in my living room and I now exercise while watching tv, which for the past few weeks has been a complete jonesing on True Blood. I’m up-to-date now and feeling the withdrawal.

Yesterday I ordered the Merlotte’s uniform from the HBO website, received a 20% discount as a Facebook fan and a free Men of True Blood calendar. Now I have something to look forward to, since I’m not sure when my bf will be coming home again and that’s always a downer. It would be wrong to have two boyfriends, right? It’s ok to have one in your head though so I pick Alexander Skarsgard. Well, probably not Alexander himself, since I know absolutely nothing about the man, but Vampire Eric is just tall and misunderstood enough to catch my heart or neck, or inner thigh.

I can’t wait for Hallowe’en.

Time In

Yesterday I had the same conversation with two different, remarkable and brilliant women. The topic was how to juggle workload and kids and life in general. Both of these ladies are committed to their work,  have important positions within their respective organizations and have it all together. So, the fact they were both feeling the same way I do most of the time was comforting and made me think there must be lots of women out there who struggle daily with the push and pull of how to cope and leave work at the office.  The sound bytes went something like,

“Why did women want this anyway?”

“Wouldn’t it have been easier in the old days.”

“I don’t think I’d feel needed enough if I didn’t have a job outside the home.”

“My kids complain I’m always working.”

“Why can’t I stop thinking about work?”

“Men have it so easy.”  (Ok, I made that one up.)

While I was scooping kitty litter this morning, something came to me from my parenting classes last year. The concept is simple. Spend 5-10 minutes a day with your child, just observing them. Not directing or correcting them in any way, just being with them, describing what they are doing.

We call it Time In. When I first started we set the timer and I shared 5 minutes with each of them. Now, I try to grab these moments as they happen. If my son is drawing a picture, I’ll say, “I like that colour…oooh you’re making that circle so big…I love when the sun is purple.” You get the drift, just give them your undivided attention.

They LOVE it and it makes a big difference in their mood, ability to focus, self-esteem and your relationship with them and yourself.

Five minutes isn’t a long time, but children have short attention spans, so the fact that you have spent “time” with them, means so much. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality and these days we need that more than ever.

Have any coping tips to share?

Fashionable moments

Rarely will I talk about my work on my blog…ok, I rambled on a few weeks ago, but I don’t usually talk about what I do. Today is different because we launched a micro-site that features fashion collections inspired by the women of the G8 summit, which is taking place in Canada somewhere this week. The politics don’t fascinate me but the talent of our Nova Scotia fashion designers is inspiring.  I have seen these items in person and gently touched them. The Michique handbags are equally stunning on the inside.

If you already own a Michique handbag,  LouLouBell accessories, Donna Hiebert jewellery or glass and beads from the Glass Harp Gallery, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us now have something to wish for.

Here is what I helped to craft to showcase the Nova Scotia Fashion Industry. I hope you enjoy checking out the collections:  NSFashion.ca

With Gratitude and Glamour

I’ve recently started following an amazing blog: C-Level Strategies and Awakenings by Lisa Petrilli.  I don’t know Lisa personally, but from her posts and responses to her comments, I can tell she is genuine and her leadership is sound. I believe blogging is an act of kindness. Bloggers (like all writers) share their thoughts, ideas and stories in the hope they will resonate with someone else and change them a little bit.  A precious gift, offered without expectation of reward. When I read Lisa’s posts, I feel as though I have received a gift. If you haven’t yet joined the thousands following her, you owe it to yourself to take a peek.

When I started this blog, my intention was only to develop my ability to release my soul through words. My loosely crafted strategy for this blog included capturing moments in time without a direct theme or focus and  not talking about my work or boring anyone with techno-babble about how I make a living. It works for me because I have no delusions of grandeur nor am I trying to promote myself in any way. It’s simply been a healing therapy for me to write. I do see though, that for blogs to be most effective, followed and shared, they need a theme, a position, a target, promotion and nurturing. As a marketer, I understand that. As a busy mom, I don’t need the pressure and as an INFP as defined by Myers Briggs, I need to be able to move from one topic to another in eclectic release.

Admittedly, I haven’t been nurturing this blog, but I have been writing over at Social Moments which I started as a way to capture my thoughts about social media as I live through this new phenomenon. I use the ideas I capture there when I speak to people about using social media as a business tool and marketing tactic.  If you have an interest in that, please drop by and be sure to let me know you were there and what you think; I would really appreciate it.

Oh, and I had some Glamour shots taken tonight at my neighbour’s house. Almost chickened out but really got into it after 3 or 4 glasses of punch. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Until next time, be well and happy.

Have I helped you…yet?

You could call this my journey to social media.

I started my career as a marketing administrator in the mid-80s. My company bought something called a PC, an XT to be exact, and on it was one program:  Ventura Desktop Publishing. So, I studied and became a graphic designer and eventually lead a team of designers who were producing about a quarter million in print collateral in house.  Our agency of record didn’t like me. They never said so, but I just got that feeling, you know.

In the early 90s, I designed my first website. A pet project with a colleague who hosted it on his personal webspace. The URL looked something like:


It got noticed by our parent company and everyone cooed over the fact that we were on the information highway, the world  wide web. Our IT department decided this might take off and took it over.  I went back to designing print collateral.

After a few years, the web was fully entrenched in our business and I began working with it to develop user interfaces. I trained as a Lotus Notes Domino Developer (our website was a Notes site) and queried my way through the development of databases and business tools, always with an eye for the user and how they would interact with the finished product.

We moved away from Notes and my html skills became important again to tweak the code and make the page look just right.

It was then that understanding both the technical side and the business side of a project became useful.  So, I became an e-marketing analyst and worked to develop even more online tools and experiences.

Along came e-mail marketing and boom we were actually talking directly to people; albeit, en mass, with a personalized salutation.

My company was acquired.

I worked on my own as a writer, web designer, developer and e-marketing consultant and loved it. Working from home is what I miss the most about that experience.

I heard the word blog and wanted one. A la “Just a Moment”.

In my next role I was an on-line marketing officer in an academic setting. I had over 10,000 static html pages to manage, great niche content, zero usability and a site that received over 4 million visits a year…with a 70% bounce rate. Imagine what could happen if those pages were actually linked back to the home page. I ran my stats, developed a strategy, made my case and sold management on the obvious conclusion that the web was our best bet at attracting new visitors to our physical installations and re-energizing the brand.

My plan in place, I hired a rockin’ co-op student to help with the development and design of a few key stand-alone sites and got the ball rolling on the deployment of a content management system to bring a family of sites together under one roof. Then, I left for a better opportunity and the promise of more resources to do all the things I knew I wanted to do on the web.

I returned to the business world and my first task was to restructure the website to enhance its usability. I then demonstrated the power of the web to meet our communication and marketing needs and sold my peers on the idea that the web would take us there. Good stats always change minds.

For a year I managed the marketing department. I figured out that it was more enjoyable to help someone else do well than to actually do it myself. Leading others was where I wanted to be.  I returned to my previous role with the leadership skills and confidence to make us even more reliant on the web as a key business tool.

I created a monster, but a good monster.

With a full pocket of ideas and the right knowledge and skills to execute a project, I was relied upon to fulfill webdreams.

Then, we Tweeted.

And, then we Facebooked.

We Youtubed.

We LinkedIn.

We Google adworded, alerted and analyzed.

We internally blogged.

We built landing pages and measured.

We Radian6ed.

Yep, a full suite of social media tools established and churning out connections and brand building ROI. It got lots of attention. Everyone wanted to do it and I was the key to their knowledge. But, they were scared, a little bit, so I built a strategy, guided them and lead them to the best places with the most return and helped them set up profiles with the right keywords and structure tweets that would get noticed and ran social media monitoring reports that made them shiver with excitement.

But what brings the most personal joy?  Making connections.  Scouring and searching for niches and verticals we can tap to generate leads, offering advice and building web presences that work.  Demonstrating our brand, getting noticed and networking behind the safety of my computer screen with no heels or lipstick.

Helping people is what I do, and I do it well. I’m a fountain of knowledge, experience, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Throw a twoonie in and make a wish.

So what’s next? Well, have I helped you…yet?


Find me on:
Foursquare (but I’m not active there yet)


People I follow to learn all this stuff:

Seth Godin
Gerry McGovern
Marketing Profs
Marketing Magazine
Malcolm Gladwell
Kula Partners
CIO Leaders
My Tweeps
LinkedIn Groups
Anyone who’s talking Social Media
Companies that are doing it right


Watching the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I imagined the level of detail involved in pulling off an event of that magnitude and I sat in awe of the Olympic committee and the thousands of volunteers. I had an opportunity to tour the Olympic sites in June of last year when they were still under construction and refit and to see it transform to showcase our Country in a such an amazing way, shook me with pride.

Today, the Canadian men’s hockey team won gold for Canada; the ultimate prize and I’ll admit, I cried. I cried for all the young players watching who will dream of being Olympians, I cried because Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, I cried because our country showed the world that we do indeed own the podium. Growing up, Canada had a handful of medal winners and Olympic champions and we remain proud of each and every one. But is has never been anything like the showing we had over the past two weeks. Could it have ended any more perfect? I think not. My children will have even more to be proud of.

Thank you Vancouver, thank you British Columbia and thank you to all our Olympians for placing pride in the hearts of every Canadian.

Oh, and that interview with Stephen Harper…he actually said, “ain’t”. Is it just me or was that a breath of fresh air, just sayin’.

In full colour

My Mother turns 80 this month and we are planning a surprise party for her in a week or so. I’m going through all our old photos to make a photobook and my life is literally flashing before my eyes.

Heather and her bunnyI found this one of me with my favourite stuffed bunny rabbit. It was my calm reassurance that allowed me to drift off to sleep each night.  My mean, ugly sisters played monkey-in-the-middle with it and tug-of-war. Mom washed it so often it literally broke in two and she left one half at the country house and the other at home. I remember one day it got caught in the pulley at the end of the clothesline and with tender patience Mom tried to convince me that a substitute would do the trick.  No go.  My Dad climbed the tree, in the dark, to retrieve it for me. I still feel the relief that washed over me that night.

Fascinated by the old photos, Korey asked why they were in black and white.  I told him there was no colour back then. His response was angelic. “But the world was in colour, wasn’t it?”