Friday, December 17, 2010


The dictionary states that the word Happy means - enjoying or expressing pleasure and contentment.

What makes us "Happy"?  Everyone is different in regards to happiness. 
Things that make us happy: life, love, family, friends, sunrise, sunset, money, food, pets and the list could go on and on!  "Being happy has to come from within and you certainly can't rely on someone else for your own happiness".  This was a statement made to me by my sister, Cindy, the other day and it got me thinking.

Happiness to me is giving.  Giving to others and to see their eyes light up, but does that not create happiness for them?  If so is this not relying on someone for happiness?  I think what Cindy was trying to tell me is that our own internal happiness can't come from an external place, which also goes back to the dictionary definition of happy as "enjoying or expressing pleasure and contentment".  I believe that before we can find that happiness in giving to others we have to be content with the person we are.

So in saying that, I think there are two kinds of happiness.  That internal happiness with your life, which goes right to your soul, and then the external things that make each moment of your life happy.

There is a wall hanging in my sisters house (which I gave her!) that says:

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing,
We make a living by what we get,
We make a life by what we give.

So my wish for everyone this Christmas is that you will all find pleasure and contentment in your own lives so that you too will find happiness in giving.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome Home

-5 degrees celcius!!!  What a welcome home to Canada.  When we left Melbourne it was close to 30 celcius so the change was drastic on the system!  But welcome home indeed.

I love flying and love it even more when you get bumped up to Premium Economy.  Now for those out there who don't understand "Premium", it is not Business class but the seats are just as big and roomy with amazing service!  I had just become a member of the Qantas Club so I think that helped.  The flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles was 13 1/2 hours with an hour waiting on the tarmac in Melbourne because of the thunderstorm that was raging around us.  But that 13 1/2 hours absolutely flew by (no pun intended!).  Unfortunately we were back in the cattle class on our 4 1/2 hour American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Toronto and believe me that flight felt much longer than the first one!

The one thing that bothers me though...the cost of the flights to Canada were extraodinary, well over $3,000 each and we still had to pay for food on American Airlines!  Even had to pay for a blanket and pillow if you wanted one...what is with that?!

Upon arriving in Toronto I found that my suitcase had been absolutely smashed!!! the entire structure of the case was smashed and the only thing holding it together was the material.  So much for claiming on my 10 year warranty as there is no way I am going to be able to get it back home.  At least the zipper had held and all my stuff was still encased!

But after all of this the best thing is walking out of the arrival doors, you actually feel like a star coming through those doors...everyone waiting for someone.  We were basically some of the first out and it is wonderful to see smiling faces waiting for you!  I hadn't seen my sister Cindy, my nephew Chris and my neice Lea for 19 months.  Yes we had talked on the phone but it isn't the same as putting your arms around someone and really squeezing!  Mind you with all the coats and clothing they were wearing it was hard to find the body to hug!!  It was a wonderful feeling though.

We headed to my mom and dad's place, where we are spending our first 5 nights, and once again had the joy of hugging them!  I love "welcome home" hugs!  But to get there had to travel along Highway 401, well I forgot what it was like!  I have decided that we don't have traffic in all. 8 lanes going east and 8 going west...stopped!  Amazing.  But we finally did make it through and I have decided that I will never again complain about traffic in Melbourne.

The first few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.  The second day we were here there was a party with all my work collegues from the past.  People who were police officers, civilians and immigrations officers that I worked with in another life.  Some of them I hadn't seen in 20 years!  What a great night put on by my dear friend Deb.  It was great catching up with so many people that I hadn't seen in ages and it was amazing that it seemed like I had never been gone at all!  We just picked up where we had left off, other than catching up on what we had all been doing during those years.  I must admit though that there were a few faces I knew but the names had escaped me.  I just blame it on the MS when in fact it is probably just old age and passing time!  But it didn't matter because eventually all those names came back to me. (photos are soon to follow)

We are only on day 4 and already I feel like we have done so much, with so much more to do.  And the weather has decided that it is going to make it hard for us to drive anywhere!  There is a huge storm on the way with rain, freezing rain and snow and it isn't technically winter yet.  I don't think Russ is too impressed, but we will get through it! 

However the weather doesn't really matter when you get the time to spend with family and friends.  I love being "Welcomed Home"!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There Really is a Santa

I feel like a little girl again!

It has been a long time since I was really, I mean REALLY, excited about Christmas!  I have been living in Australia now for just over 16 years and I still can't get used to a hot Christmas.  It just doesn't seem normal to me.  That is not surprising since I spent 36 years having a very cold Christmas.

Growing up Christmas was a really special time in our family.  The whole family on my mom's side would get together every Christmas and have it together.  That is my immedicate family, my mom's parents and her 3 sisters with their families.  All my cousins on that side were female, so the men in the family were outnumbered!  We would gather at one house all of us, sleeping wherever we could find a spot.  My four cousins, my sister and I would always put on a play for the family and it was always the same play..."T'was the Night Before Christmas".  We had this play down pat!!  Each one of us had our part and over the years we became experts at playing those parts!

Marg-Rheta the little one in front
Each year we gave the part of ALL 12 reindeers to my youngest cousin Marg-Rheta!  That poor kid had to be outside and run past a window of whoever's house we were at, 12 times!!!  It didn't matter how cold it was outside she had to do it.  I think the coldest was about -35 celcius!!!  But she was a trooper and did it every year!  Or maybe we just bullied her into it!  But I have a family who embraces Christmas and what it means to have a family that loves each other. 

I can still remember Grandma with my dad, leading us in Christmas Carol's, and remember the one year Christmas was held at our house that the power went off.  How do you cook a 30lb turkey with no electricity.  Nothing to worry about...just wait six hours for the power to come back on, then eat late!  What to do in the meantime...have a few drinks in front of the fireplace!  Grandma got a bit tipsy, but boy could she dance and sing then!!  I will never forget her leading her daughters doing the can-can!  And Grandpa upset that "His Betty" was tipsy!

For the first time in 16 years I am going home for Christmas!  I am so excited because everyone is going to be at my sister's for Christmas dinner.  My parents, my sister and her children, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and their children.  The only sad thing is that Marg-Rheta won't be there as we lost her last year to cancer.  But I can see her so vividly as each reindeer, still in my mind and I can see her singing, with her most amazing voice.  I am sure that there will be tears and there will be laughs and through all of it Marg-Rheta will be there with us in spirit.

Repeating what I said as I opened this entry...I feel like a little girl again.  I haven't been this excited in a long, long time!  I feel like there really is a Santa this year!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Things Don't Always Go According to Plan

As we are growing up and getting to the end of our schooling, deciding what we want to do with our lives we plan everything.  We decide things like...Do I go to university or start working or maybe travel?  What do I study?  What will I do for a living?

I did exactly that and had my whole life planned out...or so I thought.  But just remember...things don't always go according to plan.

I planned my working life, joining the Toronto Police Force, following in the footsteps of my parents.  Moving through different areas of "The Job" and thinking that this would be my life long career..  But remember...things don't always go according to plan.

I found that I was tired of "The Job", travelled to Australia to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and ultimately met my husband.  A move halfway around the world was the next step.  This was certainly not what I had expected in my life, but remember...things don't always go according to plan!

On April 23rd, 1998 at 2:15 p.m. I was bluntly told "You have MS, go home and put your affairs in order before you become incapacitated".  Boy things certainly don't always go according to plan!

With all these changes in our life's plan, the actual changes aren't important but the way we deal with them is.  We can decide to curl up and die or we can embrace them.  Some of the changes that we face are good and some are bad and life isn't always going to be fair.  How we deal with those changes is what is really going to make the difference.

So to all those parents whose children are about to embark on adulthood please make sure that they know that things don't always go according to plan.  But that isn't a bad thing.  Make sure they understand that it is important to grasp every opportunity that comes their way, never give in to self doubt, ignore critics and chase their dreams...

Because sometimes in life things can change and don't always go according to plan!