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Family

Bring on 2015!

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Like any year, there were ups and downs over the past 12 months. However, 2014 was unfortunately just a bit more about downs, than ups.

On the positive side (cuz I like to mention good things first):

First, and most importantly, the kids are thriving. My eldest is working full-time in retail and had come to the realization that working retail kinda sucks. I’m hoping that this translates to post-secondary education in September. I’m proud of the girl for sticking with it even if “it” isn’t quite a lot of fun.

My now-11-year-old is growing into a brilliant and beautiful young lady. Although with this comes those wonderful preteen moments when parents go “WTF did I say?”. Her love for horses and all critters has remained and she seems quite serious about her riding. Though I know full well that this may end up in a second mortgage!

My youngest is batshit crazy. He really is. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that, I suppose. He’s very extroverted but has a great focus when taking on tasks… Like Lego or homework. He is digging school and his grades reflect this. He started hockey this year and is LOVING it! And scoring his first goal was very special! He has already surpassed my career total.

No, no, no, I’m not one of those parents who thinks his kid will be the next Bobby Orr, but I do like this hockey Dad gig, for sure!

Second, the political fortunes smiled in my favour in 2014. Tim Hudak managed to hand the provincial Liberals another win. My brother was successful in his run for a seat on Parry Sound Town Council and two good friends were successful here in Ottawa. I wish all three of them the best in the coming four years and know that they will make their constituents proud!

And may 2015 see the barn down smack Harper on the butt as he leaves Canada’s political scene… and we start a new and more positive era with Justin Trudeau.

(Had to say it.)

Third, I continued with my volunteer activities and even notched them up a tad. My stint on the Board of Aladin Childcare will come to an end in 2015 after 6 years… time enjoyably spent. I continue to serve my kids’ school community as the Secretary of the Parent Council and work with an incredibly dedicated bunch of parents and staff!

And I was surprised and humbled to receive a United Way Community Builder award. I so wasn’t expecting such a thing but am honoured to recognised and am looking forward to the official award ceremony early in 2015.

Finally, I took on a new role at the Canterbury Community Association as its President after the previous one won a seat on City Council. This will be a challenging role but one I’m certain I will love. I am surrounded by capable and dedicated community members and am truly excited thinking what great things we will accomplish in 2015!

On the meh, sorta neutral front, was my work life. I’m very proud of the work I do and love most of the people I work with. As much as the current regime tries to demonise professionals like meĀ and my colleagues, we continue to work hard on behalf of Canadians. Although I, and most of us, would admit that over the last few years, it has been very, very difficult to maintain our enthusiasm for our vocations. Morale has never been lower. But we do professionally soldier on knowing that it can only get better (?).

Now, on the downer side…

Health was an issue in 2014 like no year before. My Mom had a fall and broke her hip in June… she has fully recovered but it was worrisome as hip fractures at her age can be problematic. On the plus side, she was forced to quit smoking (apparently not allowed in hospital rooms) and has stayed off the killer weed ever since!

Staying on the fracture front, my wife broke her ankle quite badly in July, resulting in a surgery, screws and plates and a lengthy rehab period. Even almost six months later, it still gives her some trouble. Worst of all, most of the family summer plans were scuttled… Including a trip to Cuba which was scheduled for the day after her surgery. Ah well, we’ll make up for it next year!

On a very sad note, I also lost an uncle in 2014. It was quite unexpected and has been very hard on my aunt and cousins. I’m hoping they have a better 2015.

For my part, I cannot remember having a worst year, health-wise. First, I had a painful issue that required surgery but reappeared a few months later. Second, my high blood pressure hasn’t improved. But worst of all, it appears that I have a genetic blood disorder called hemachromotosis. It results in excess iron being stored in my body and there is a tendency to accumulate in my vital organs; the heart and liver being the most susceptible.

It can kill me… so not to be taken likely. I should have the genetic test results in early January and the treatment is, well, blood letting. Or, in modern terms, phlebotomies. But until I get my ferritin levels down to normal (20-200 – mine are in the 1100-1400 range), I’ll have to live with quite painful arthritic symptoms, abdominal pain and incredible fatigue.

But I’m confident I’ll be fine a year from now and will just have to get used to having blood drained from me fairly often… maybe I should invest in leeches? And after all, there are folks out there with FAR worse health issues than this.

It was a difficult year, yes. But, upon reflection, the positive stuff did balance out much of the negative. Still, I am looking so forward to 2015 and the excitement that only a new year can bring!!!

Happy New Year to all!

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It’s National Siblings Day!

And, according to the centuries old tradition, all younger siblings must pony up the equivalent of 6 gold sovereigns to the eldest sibling.

That’s about a grand in today’s coinage

If you’re the eldest of 6, ching-ching!!!

Only child? – yeah, too bad.

Hey, I’m only repeating the rule! I don’t make this stuff up…

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The chimney…

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of the main building at the Chateau Montebello is quite majestic.

Been here a few times but never tire of the majesty of this huge “log cabin”.

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Rockin’ at Murphy’s Point!

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What a great weekend to be camping!

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Harper is a DeceptiCon!

Owen, after watching Rise of the Fallen.

Daddy: Is Stephen Harper a Decepticon?

Me: I think so. He likes to blow up things and doesn’t like people.

Owen: Daddy, I want to be an Autobot.

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Future Leaf…

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They sure do, B.D…. they sure do…

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Perspective…

This is what I Tweeted this morning:

baldjam 7:51am via HootSuite

ALERT! Black BMW. Male driver. Driving S on Russell about 10 min. ago.ALMOST HIT MY WIFE & DAUGHTER.Any info, PLS call police! #Ottawa

Scary stuff. Got a call from my very upset spouse telling me that a speeding black BMW swerved around a line of cars waiting at a red at Russell and Tupper… doing about 100 klicks.. and just missed hitting two of my favourite people.

Bastard. I would love to have 5 minutes with the asshole.

Everyone is fine and I assured my wife of that. It’s all good. We will all have dinner together tonight.

But damn, here I am at lunch at my desk, more than 4 hours later – and I find myself shaking uncontrollably.

Bastard. Five minutes. That’s all I ask.

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Why work?

Actual conversation between my 7 year daughter and I yesterday.

Daughter: When are we going to Montreal?

Me: Well, I’m not going. You and your brother and Mommy are going next week. I have to go back to work on Monday.

Daughter: Why?

Me: Because my summer holidays are over and now it’s time for me to go back to my job.

Daughter: But why not just stay on holidays for the rest of the summer?

Me: I’d LOVE to. But I can only take so much time off each year because it is expected that I will return to work in order to earn more time off. That way I’ll be able to have another vacation next summer and we can come back to the cottage and do other cool stuff.
Plus, I have a job to do at work and some people are counting on me to do it. And I don’t want to disappoint them. I have responsibilities.

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Daughter: Then why don’t you get a different job where you can do fun stuff with us all of the time and still get paid? Like a fisherman or somebody who rakes beaches? That way you wouldn’t disappoint me.

Me: Ummmmm…
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So… anyone hiring? At my current salary and benefit levels, of course.

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Thanksgiving at the GG’s

Thanksgiving at Rideau Hall

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