Saturday, November 29, 2008


My Grandfather's funeral service was yesterday.

The turnout was amazing - we had seating for 250 but the place was packed - standing room only. It was humbling to see how many people came out to honour his memory.... people lining the back and sidewalls, three rows deep in places. The whole production was beautiful.

At the request of my mother, I did read a slightly altered version of my 'tribute' blog post.... the one I typed on the night he died. Four of my cousins and my Uncle also said a few words.

They made me go first.... which, in hindsight, was perfect - because my speech really addressed how we all feel about Grandpa, and was very emotional. And my cousins followed that with some more specific, loving and humorous memories.... we couldn't have planned it better.... and I really think my talk would have been too "heavy" on the heals of their memories. It was good.

But Oh did my throat get tight! I've spoken in front of large groups many times before.... people always tell me I'm good at it, so I must mask my fear well - because I always get nervous and on edge before I have to do it! It's always hard, but this time was by far the most difficult time I've ever had. It was all I could do not to breakdown in front of everyone.... I still don't know how I made it through without doing it.

It sounded fine the couple of times I practiced what I was going to say.... and I was perfectly fine walking up there.... but when I got to the podium and turned to face the audience, I was completely overwhelmed by the crowd - not just the sheer size of it, but by the common purpose that brought them all out there and what it meant to my Grandmother and my family.

My throat just about clamped shut. I did make my way through it though.... fighting tears with every line. And as I gazed over the faces in the crowd, I was humbled again to see many of them losing that same battle.

This was my first funeral. Not the first one I've ever attended, but the first one where I had a deep emotional connection to the deceased.... my first loved one's funeral. And it's really a cleansing process. The tears and emotions and memories and laughs.... it actually brought a sense of closure to me in this whole affair.

Which I guess is the point after all....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lost a month.

So can anyone tell me where November went? Because I seem to have lost it.

The calendar says the end is nigh... but I don't remember actually accomplishing anything this month, so that can't be right.


NOTHING accomplished.

Nothing at home, nothing at work.... nothing anywhere. And now there's only one month left in the year.

Anyone placing bets on how fast December's going to go?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Measure of Greatness

We lost a great man today.

My Grandfather, the patriarch of our family, passed away this morning... peacefully, with family at his side.

It was the culmination of a 48 hour ordeal that resulted in the coming together of my family and a bedside vigil that was the true showing of just how great he was.

Because greatness is not something best measured by whether a life leaves a mark in a history text, but on how that life has touched those around him. And my Grandfather touched many lives. He was Santa Claus for 45 years. One by one we grandchildren discovered the truth about our Grandfather's ruse, but he brought smiles to thousands of children and seniors in that time.

And though he garnered the respect and thanks of many in our community over the years, the biggest impact he made in this world, hands down, was on all of us.

Just the fact that his family would race to be with him from all corners and never leave his side until the end is a testament to the man he was.

Children are who we raise them to be... and we are what we learned to be from our parents. The qualities that made my grandfather great are now filtering down to a fourth generation. I think loyalty and love, compassion and devotion, all tempered by the humor and strength that run deep in our family are admirable qualities... and they all trace back to him.

He was the father of our clan. And in the end, we were all there with him. 16 chairs surrounding his bed...quiet goodbyes, card games and conversations, laughter and tears... remembering with fondness all the wonderful memories he bestowed on three generations.

I have never lost anyone dear to me before.... but I can not imagine a more perfect way for a life to close. The coming together of our family, the closeness and sharing of strength, the chance to say goodbye and make peace with our imminent loss.... we made a cocoon of love in that room and, I at least, emerged with a truer understanding of what "family" truly means. And also what a great family my Grandfather made.

I'm filled with so many emotions right now. All swirling around inside... bright and sharp and fresh. Sadness, to be sure... but also peace. And high among my emotions is gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of my Grandfather and the family I was born into, I'm so proud to be one of his.

Thank you Grandpa, for who you were, for what you showed all of us to be, for everything. I'll love you always.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

85 Years

Husband for 58 years, Father for 57. Santa Claus for 45 years, Grandfather for 34.
Great-Grandfather for 10 years, beloved Ovi for 3....

While my heart breaks that my daughter will only know you from stories and pictures,
I'm so glad that you are my Grandfather.

I Love you Grandpa.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


That feels better! Even though it's old news already, I feel so much better having finally "caught up" and finished posting Halloween!

Now back to our regularly scheduled progamming.....

(I'm sure I must have some Hockey pics around here somewhere...)

THE Big Night

So Halloween. My kids' most highly anticipated night of the year (next to maybe Christmas) finally came. I got this one shot of the three of them together when we stepped out the door.... and then the boys ditched us! Apparently Mom & a toddler sister were just a little too slow... cramping their style, so to speak.

The girl and I had a terrific time though... she was adorable (in her much warmer white tiger costume) and quickly learned the routine:

"Tick O Teet!".... *big grin as more candy falls into her open bag*... "ankoo, Appy 'Oween!".... then two steps away from the door "here mommy - you carry!" (she was really playing up the "toooo heaveee....uggggg" part, lol ;)

We did cross paths with the hooligans once more that evening - going opposite directions.... and I held them up long enough to snap one more pick of the three of them together before they ran off with their friends once again.

Flash, No Flash

I loved the way she looked under this tree at a "spooky" house all decked out for Halloween...

Costumed crusaders

Ironman and his Dad (dressed, oh so appropriately, as the devil himself ;) .... and Ironman with his sweetheart - a girl who, at the tender age of 7, he insists he's going to marry one day.

And my older son - who, true to his costume, made like a ninja the entire night. We barely saw him the entire time we were there and this is one of the very few pics I managed to catch of him (thank God he had to stop for a drink at one point!)

Lady Bug at the Dance

My little ladybug was the belle of the ball... she loved all the big kids running around and had a blast trying to keep up with them. She spent a large part of the time playing with glow bracelets and munching on Halloween treats.... and was tickled when she found another "waydee bug" to play with. By the end of the night though, she was too pooped to party another step... and tried to nap on the gym floor in the middle of the chaos :)

Ooooosing Monster Mouths

I stole idea for these from a blog-link that a friend posted... she used green apples, peanut butter and mini-marshmallows for teeth. But, in deference to our school's "nut free" and "healthy choices" food policies, I substituted caramel and yogurt-covered raisins. The effect was still good ;)

Emerging from the shadows...

So after becoming completely disenchanted with my blog and inability to size my pictures to "fit" (which has been an automatic process up until I tried to blog Halloween) - I took a little break. What was the point? If I can't commemorate the daily grind with the pictures that make up such a huge part of it.... well, that was just frustrating to me.

I didn't intend to take this long of a break though....

I've now wasted exactly 20 consecutive days of my life being sick. Mind numbing, exhausting, never-been-this-sick-in-my-life-EVER sick.

And I so don't "do" sick. Rarely ever get sick - and if I do it's just the mundane colds or what-have-yous kicking around. Make you miserable for a day or two but never really slow you down crap.

I haven't felt like doing anything, let alone blogging. So here I am, actually feeling "on the mend" (for real, I hope) for the first time in a long time.... and there's catching up to do in spades - in all areas of my life....

Hold on while I try this picture crap again and attempt to get back on track.... ;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From start to finish...

The final results of our evening together.... Although the decorating was done after my girl was long in bed....

And even though my "bats" turned out looking more like mice, I was tickled with how the pumpkin and ghost cakes turned out. The staff and kids at the daycare LOVED the entire cake platter - well worth the effort ;)