I have to go pants shopping today. There are few things worse than having to go shopping for pants. In public. With mirrors. Bathing suit shopping. Getting a Brazilian wax. Trying to buy life insurance. Watching your child being held down for a blood draw. Trying to get fifteen kids to stand still to pose for a cousins' portrait.

Okay, fine. There are many things worse than pants shopping and yet, today, it is the worst. thing. ever. Don't start on me about getting some perspective. I have all the perspective I need. Starting with that pasty white muffin top that hangs over the edge of my pants and ending with the frayed bottoms of my jeans that my dog keeps tugging on. 

So pants shopping it is. Let the size games begin. It's like an expensive game of Bingo, only without the ink dobbers and the old lady winner will be me jumping around yelling 'Bingo!' when I finally find a pair that makes my bum look it belongs to a 20 year old stripper who can bounce a quarter off it.

It's good to have goals and delusions.

Here is to a new weekend where the wheels don't fall off any chairs, doors are held open when needed and the principal finally emails me before I die from curiosity. (My children? They're feigning innocence. I SMELL TROUBLE.)

May you find joy in the small snapshots of your life this weekend. And may your pants fit exactly as you want them to.


My little theatre geek. Congratulations to Ken and her fellow cast members (including my niece) for winning Best Ensemble Cast in the zones festival.

May there be no creepy eyeless doll, waiting to suck out your soul, hiding in any of your cabinets. Or your mother's.

Don't make eye contact with any shelves of doll heads because they'll be STARING BACK AT YOU. (Weirdness runs in the family.)

Brother love.

What happens with biology homework when assigned to a couple of nerds. Star Wars the Immune Response Episode is born. (Also, siblings! Cooperating! Voluntarily working towards a common goal! Learning! Embracing their inner geek! THIS IS THE POSTER OF PARENTHOOD DONE RIGHT.)

Putting our heads together. Puppy love is the best love.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Rays of Light

This week has been a tough one. Not for me, not really. I'm still sick, a return of the strep infection that antibiotics didn't cure from last month, and while that hasn't been a fun way to spend the last few weeks, it hasn't been the worst.

No. The worst is reserved for all those families who are mourning the loss of their loved ones after the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

The worst is reserved for all the victims who will have to learn how to piece back their lives and process the horror they endured when suddenly their world exploded around them during a sporting event.

The worst is reserved for the residents of a small Texas town that exploded before their eyes, ending lives and shattering so many more.

I know being sick while safe in bed, surrounded by family, is a luxury many families won't have with their loved ones ever again. 

It was a bad week for my friends and neigbours in America.  My heart is heavy for them. I grieve for them. For you. 

It's tough to find joy when your world is dark.

I won't offer any platitudes. I don't have any. I wish I did. 

But I will leave you with a few of the images from the past few weeks that have brought me a modicum of joy. Because one joy really does scatter a thousand griefs. Maybe my joy will help someone find theirs.


It's still snowing at my house. In fact, right now, it's snowing. There are parts of my yard where I still have over five feet of snow, waiting to melt when the warm temperatures arrive. In case you haven't checked a calendar lately, it is now past the middle of April. The warm temperatures were supposed to be here WEEKS ago. I should be jumping in mud puddles by now, watching the robins play instead of SHOVELING MORE SNOW. This is not joy inspiring for me. But the green grass and lush trees I know we'll have this year (eventually) will bring me joy. 

In other words, look at this picture and be grateful you aren't my immediate neighbour. Because if you were, I'd ask you to help me shovel. I AM SPREADING THE JOY!

My dog, Abbott, makes the DUMBEST faces. God love him, he brings me joy.

This is the stuffed bunny my mother gave each of my children for Easter. I have three of these bunnies, kicking around. Abbott has found all three. He carries them around, the ears dangling out of his mouth, and then he loves them to death. There is always a wet stuffed bunny under foot. It's all fun and games until someone steps on a slimy cold stuffed rabbit. Which I do. Regularly.

It's so damn joyous. 


*Better than stepping on Lego I suppose.*

Abbott loving one of his bunnies.

I'm a sucker for a dog and his bitches. Er, bunnies. It makes me smile every time I see him loving on one of them. 

Until I accidentally step on it, of course.


This kid shoots joy out of every pore. He is the very epitome of joy.

Knox and Abbott. Fric and Frac, version 2.0. 

You may not recognize it. It's quiet and serene. It's completely ordinary. 

Until you see the joy in one blind deaf quadriplegic little boy finding love and acceptance in his furry best friend.

Then it becomes extraordinary.

This is magic.

I hope each of you can find your own portrait of joy, your own magic, however ordinary it may seem, through the dark clouds that are hovering in your life. 

Spaghetti Westerns

Every Sunday, for more Sundays than I can recall, my parents would stuff my siblings and I into the back of their economy car and drive us over to my grandparents house for dinner.

With the smell of pot roast lingering in the air, my mom and grandma's laughter would bounce off the old linoleum floors while my grandpa and my dad hunkered down on velvet furniture in the living room, watching whatever western they could find on the television. My siblings and I would be sprawled on the carpet, with our chin in our hands, eyes glued to the screen.

I've watched every episode of Gunsmoke and Bonanza as well as every movie the Duke ever made. And then I've watched more.

Spaghetti westerns helped shape me into the person I am today. 

That sentence explains everything that is wrong with me. And everything that is right.

When I was 14 years old I painted a ceramic bust of John Wayne's head and built a shrine around it.

When I was 15 years old I asked for (and received) a giant framed poster of John Wayne's head to add to my shrine.

When I was 16 years old I secretly hoped some tall cowboy would stride into my school and call me 'little lady.' 

He did and so I married him a few years later.

And when I was 21 I tried to convince that cowboy that we should name our son Marion. Or Duke. Or Festus. Just for fun. 

It was then I learned about the invisible line between cute and creepy. Interested and obsessed. Apparently I crossed it. Or so I was told.

You dodged a bullet, Nash. Be grateful.

It's funny the things that fill your mind, the memories that come racing back, in the small hours of the night, when the world is dark and you are supposed to be sleeping.

Instead, wide awake, you alternate between trying to smother your head between two pillows and cursing the one thing keeping you awake and evoking all these memories:

The dog asleep beside your bed, snug as a bug inside his metal crate. 

My devil dog. I should have named him 'Pilgrim.'

It's not his panting or his occasional sleepy yips that keeps me awake. It's not the rhythmic huff of his giant beastie breathing or how he gets up, walks a few circles and then flops down so hard the world shakes. None of that keeps me awake. In fact, those are the things that chase away my demons and keep my nightmares at bay by reminding me I'm not alone.


It's the sound of his nails, rattling against his crate bars. 

It's the same sound of some Hollywood cowboy clanging his tin cup against the one-room jailhouse bars. 

Every night I'm trapped in a Spaghetti western.

One where there are no cute cowboys named Duke. Not a Festus in sight. There is no pot roast in the oven, no velvet furniture, no television with rabbit ears on top and the tingle of my grandmother's laugh echoes only in the memories of those who loved her. 

And still, every night, as Abbott rattles his bars, I lay awake, remembering those lazy Sunday evenings. I'm kept awake by the reruns of my life; remembering instead of sleeping.

And every morning as I pull myself from bed, exhausted and sleep deprived, I'm torn between smothering my dog with a pillow and smothering him with gratitude for reminding me of how much those spaghetti westerns mean to me.

One thing is certain, as I stumble to the kitchen to try and wake myself up with a jolt of coffee. I've got one John Wayne impression perfected:

Don't say it's a fine morning or I'll shoot ya! 

It's a hidden talent. Blame it on the Duke and my damn dog.