My Special Place is the Texture of a Banana Leaf


When I was 20 in the early 90’s, I joined a yoga class at the University of Guelph. This was before yoga mats or Lululemon. We brought towels into a lecture hall, and stretched them out on the carpeted floor in the evening. The instructor was in her late 70’s and had a thick but calm German accent. She would turn the lights off, and ignite some Nag Champa incense, making the air smell like a vegan coffee shop.

One evening, she told the story about the monk and the banana leaf. It goes something like this.

A monk arrives at the monastary. He was the new guy, so they had to put him through his paces. Sorta like hazing, I guess… But in a more monkly manner.

They tell him that he has to do the dishes for every meal. This was a particular bummer for the monk, as -back in those days- there was no running water, steel wool, or dish soap. Instead, he had to make a fire, boil water, use ash as soap and a banana leaf as a dish rag. For every single meal. For everyone.

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A Recipe for Making Decisions: How to make an impossible decision in 7 easy steps


Information and Research

Gathering of knowledge from ‘the experts and specialists’




Weighing of Opinion


Evaluation of information


Gut Instinct



1. Gather as much information as you can through research. Mix this with knowledge and expertise from many sources (e.g. experts, specialists, others who have made a similar decision), placing an emphasis on those who are leaders in the area/topic on which you are trying to make a decision. Be prepared to search this information out internationally.

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Raising Active Kids in a Tech World

Mary apple picking

Mary apple picking

I’d like to think of myself as “outdoorsy” and I love nature. But I spend a huge part of my life indoors. Even when the weather is nice! (it’s called working a 40 hour work week). After an hour commute home by bus, I am seriously lacking in energy. My husband has supper ready and after we eat, I’d be happy to lie on the couch and read or watch TV. It’s not that I don’t want to go outside; it’s just that I feel like I might have to have Mary put me in the wagon and drag me home…

So I’ve figured out the way to stop my energy from being sapped – don’t remain seated after dinner! Mary and I tidy up, and then we’re out the door. She’s been very excited about the construction of a new park in our neighbourhood, and even though there’s one right beside our house, we have been walking to the new park together. Mary is happy to play for an hour or so, and I get some much needed fresh air and a bit of exercise.

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Parents of Preemies – Ottawa

A few months ago I joined a facebook group called Parents of Preemies – Ottawa. It was founded by a local Kanata woman, Nicole.  Even though for us, our preemie days are long over and other than a speech delay, there really were no issues after we left the NICU, this group is something I wish had been around in July 2007 when Mr. J was born.

1)   What is PoPOttawa?

PoPOttawa  or Parents of Preemies- Ottawa is an online based resource and support to parents who have premature children in the city.  Whether  parents have newborn preemies or if they are grown, all parents are welcome to join in.  Part of our awareness is that prematurity doesn’t end at the NICU;  parents want to share their past and present experiences with others,  PoPOttawagives parents the ability to connect to others locally who can relate and empathize.

PoPOttawa is divided into three parts at this point: the website, PoPOttawa  that is the resource hub where parents can find local or outside resources to help them as well as a blog with articles written by other parents; the second part is a Facebook based support group and facebook pagewhere parents can connect directly to other parents; and the third part is the Packages for Preemies where donations of articles parents with preemies still in the hospital may find useful.  All are maintained by volunteers throughout the group of parents.

2) How did PoPOttawa come to be ?

I had my son in November 2012 at 33weeks. Up till that point I had a pretty normal pregnancy and had never really thought of babies being born earlier than 36weeks and till that point the only way I had heard of the ” NICU” was from watching ER years ago.  My husband and I both felt so overwhelmed having a baby prematurely.  At times we felt isolated since we didn’t have anyone to talk to about what we were going through or the “typical” preemie issues.  No one we know understood anything about CPAPs or O2 or NG or bradycardia  or  laying in bed at night without the baby but still hearing the alarms of the vitals monitor going off in the mind. We couldn’t have made it through that difficult time without the help of others. We had friends and neighbours bring us food and packed lunches, since I spent day and night at the hospital, and items we needed since we had nothing when he was born. It meant the world to us then and we are still forever thankful for the kindness that was shown.

Recently, a friend of mine had a preemie,  and I wanted to make sure she had the support and resources we lacked during our time so I created PoPOttawa.  I also thought it was a chance for me to give back to the community for all the kindness we were shown.  Since the group started in March 2014 the out pouring of support from all over our city has been incredible.  The group continues to grow daily from parents of all different walks of lives but we all share one thing in common : our babies were born too early.  Donations for packages have also poured in from all over as well which is truly a testament of the fantastic community we live in. They used to say it takes a village to raise a child and I really think that is still the case.

3) How can people help or get involved with the project?

Send me an email. This initiative is all about community involvement and I love to hear from everyone with ideas, comments, questions or wanting to help and contribute.

4) How can someone request a package?

By sending me an email.  Tell me whether boy/girl  and which hospital in the city and we can arrange pick up or drop off at the hospital.

You Don’t Have to Create Your Own Charity to Teach Your Kids How to Give Back


I’m a proud graduate of the Public Relations program at Algonquin College and I remember that more than once we were tasked with something to do with raising funds for a charity. There was a lot of work that went into preparing communications plans, organizing events and working media relations as we tried to break the fundraising record set by the class before us.

To be sure, those fundraisers were gratifying and I’m sure the recipients of the funds were thrilled with all the work we put in. But, once our project was done, we went back to learning graphic design or advertising rates or how to take a photo with an SLR camera. The fundraising was a component of the class.

As parents, we can make fundraising, or at least the idea of helping other humans, a component of the way our children grow up. And they don’t need to take classes to do it or raise tens of thousands of dollars to know they’re making a difference. Helping someone else with one loonie they didn’t have before your work is helpful. And I have a few ways your kids can help raise a few loonies, make other kids happy and just in general bring smiles to the faces of others..

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Outdoor Summer Fun


We love to spend as much time outdoors as we can in the summer.  To make sure it stays fun for everyone, I make sure to do a few things:

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