6 Words That Raise My Blood Pressure (inspired by Coach Daddy)

Fellow blogger Coach Daddy  asked me if I’d contribute to his 6 Words post this month, and, of course, I was thrilled to do so. It even inspired me to do an entire post here with my favourite 6 word sentences that cause my blood pressure to rise. Thanks, Eli! Here we go!


Mom, I had a little accident. (This could be about anything: an accident that involves the breaking of a vase, the breaking of a bone, the oozing of blood, or the flow of pee on the floor.)


My parents are coming this weekend. (When this is said by my husband, it always leads to the frantic cleaning of the house, laundering of the guest sheets, and stress about what to serve for meals for 3 days that everyone will eat, including 2 picky little eaters known as my children.)


Mom, I think I broke something. (Again, this could be as minor as the breaking of a vase or some other replaceable object, or as major as a bone. Thankfully, I’ve not had the experience of the latter with my children…but they’re still young…(sigh).)


Is your computer working well, ma’am? (We’ve gotten several of these phone calls in the last few months, by strangers trying to scam us. The last time we got one, my husband was so perturbed that he told the man he knew he was a scammer, to which the man replied with an inappropriate and vulgar comment about me. Classy.)


The computer has yet another virus. (I do not make it a practice to go online to sites I don’t know well, but once I tried to find last season’s episodes of “Glee”. That was a bad mistake. I should’ve known when I read a comment that said, “This site does NOT have a virus.” Yeah, right.)


It’s the secretary from Zander’s school…(Last year I received a few of these. In fact, when I would see the school’s name on my caller ID, my blood pressure started to rise. All sorts of things run through a parent’s mind: “Is something wrong with my son? Is he sick? Did he get hurt?”. Luckily they were relatively minor things the secretary was calling about.)


I didn’t play with anyone today. (I am a worrier. And the fact that my son doesn’t have a group of friends like I did at his age really worries me and is the cause of a lot of stress. I used to ask him every day what he did at recess, and one day he told my husband and I that his once-best-friend had treated him poorly and wouldn’t play with him. Luckily another former classmate of his came along, and they became best buddies. But that boy moved away a few months ago. And again my son sometimes spends recesses on his own. He doesn’t seem too concerned or to mind too much, but I’m another story.)


I don’t want to go sleepies! (You know when your kids don’t sleep much, and you’re woken up nightly, several times, to get a drink for them or to help them get back to sleep when they’ve woken up uncomfortable? Well you start to depend on that hour or two in the afternoon when you can have a bit of a rest, or perhaps a coffee and some TV time. You don’t want to hear this from your child.)


The deadline has been moved up. (As a teacher, I’ve had deadlines for exams to be created, for Individualized Education Plans to be checked and added to, and for report cards to be completed. The last thing you want to hear is that the time you have to do this, as well as teaching, prepping and planning, and marking has been cut.)


Did you know your mic’s on? (I also work in radio, and the first thing I do when I’m done talking for a break is turn my mic off. Not that I say anything inappropriate when it’s off, but on the off chance that I do, in the studio, I want to make sure it doesn’t go to air. I know of people who didn’t realize what they were saying was going to air, and it did not end well.)


All of your recordings were erased. (Sometimes in radio we voice-track, or record ourselves, at times when we’re on air but not in the building. A few months ago I was supposed to go to a conference, and so I had to do some voice-tracking. I went in one night to do my Saturday shift voice-tracking. The next morning I got a phone call, telling me there were no VTs in the system. They had been erased by someone, mistakenly. Oops. Six hours gone.)


The cheque is in the mail, I’ll send a cheque tomorrow, okay?, and I’ll come get my book soon. (I’ve self-published a children’s book, The Duck Who Lost Her Quack, and I’ve had many family members, friends, and acquaintances buy a book. Unfortunately, some of those acquaintances asked me to order for them, I did, and now I’ve been left high and dry, because the books cost me money too. I’m incredibly thankful to all who’ve bought books and paid for them!)


I hear a strange noise downstairs. (I have a fear of someone breaking into my house…or, less rationally, of a ghost coming to visit. This is where my husband must step in and take over, and go downstairs to check things out.)


There’s a new season of “24”. (My husband and I started watching “24” after we had Zander. We binge-watched. We were hooked immediately. And we’ve watched every season, as well as the made-for-TV movie that aired a few years ago. Just thinking about watching it gets my blood pressure up…but in a good way!)


The car’s making a strange sound. (I’m on leave from teaching for another year and a few months, and so this just sounds like “Ka-ching” to me. Money, money, money…)


There’s something wrong with the house. (We bought this house almost 6 years ago, and while we’re usually happy with it, it’s a little older and so things seem to go wrong occasionally. Again, I hear “Ka-ching” every time this sentence is spoken.)


The new furnace will be $6000. (Really??????????)


We need a new car soon. (Yes, the dependable car I bought in the fall of 2002 is on its last legs…or is it wheels? Anyway, it needs to be replaced. Ka-ching!)


It’s Adam Levine, can we duet? (I love to sing, and need to get back to doing it since it is one of my passions. I also happen to love Adam Levine…er, I mean his voice and talent. This is a dream, I know, and one that would send my blood pressure skyrocketing.)


Yep, those do it to me.  How about you?



My Dream Home (for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

Writing Prompt:  Describe your dream home.

We moved into our current home almost 6 years ago, and though we’ve done a few renovations – including building a new deck – we haven’t done anything major…yet.  That is, until now.  We were about to put a for sale sign on our front lawn about a month ago.  We even had a conversation with a real estate agent, signed some papers, and saw a few other homes that were for sale.  In fact, it wasn’t until the day the real estate agent was scheduled to come and take some pictures and put the sign up that we decided against it.  We have a very big house, on a really lovely street, and when we saw the other houses on the market and their prices, we realized we wouldn’t have much luck finding anything the size of our place for the price we paid 6 years ago.  So, we’ve decided to do some renovations to make it more like our “dream home”.

If I were to describe my dream home, I would describe a kitchen that is spacious.  Right now our kitchen isn’t a dream.  We have a giant island in the middle of it.  That’s nice for storage, but it means no one can walk one way to the fridge if the dishwasher is open, because it’s too tight a squeeze.  The same goes for when the fridge is open, on another side of the island.  That island must go so that the kitchen is spacious.  Another problem with our kitchen, and perhaps the biggest annoyance for me, is that we walk into the kitchen from our garage.  That means we have dirt, mud, stones, and snow on the kitchen floor constantly, despite my efforts to keep it clean.  And if we’re just running in quickly to pick up another jacket for one of the kids, or to grab the mail key, we have to walk part way through the kitchen, around a wall, and into the mudroom, tracking stuff all the way.  That would not be a problem in my dream kitchen.  I’ve scoured the internet for the last hour, trying to find a picture of my dream kitchen, but I can’t.  Uh oh.  Is that bad??

My dream house would also have a master bathroom with a HUGE shower, complete with a shower seat. After we finish the kitchen renovations, we’re hoping to do 2 of our 3 bathrooms.  Our master bathroom is pretty tiny, with one sink only, and so my husband uses a different bathroom because there’s just no room for both of us.  I want to rip out our jacuzzi tub, and make a longer counter with 2 sinks.  I also want to rip out the tiny shower and replace it with a much bigger shower with a shower seat.  When I’m thinking, stressing, or tired, I like to relax in the shower.  When I can barely fit into it it’s not that relaxing.  I’m thinking something like this:


Okay, this one is a bit over the top I think.  I don’t need that much room.  Maybe something more like this:


My dream house would include a backyard that is perfect for entertaining the kids.  Right now our backyard puzzles us.  We’ve had to have 2 decks rebuilt in the last few years, and we still have many areas that need work…of some sort…but we’re not quite sure what to do.  We have a walkout from our bedroom, and ideally I’d like a swing or hammock there so we can make use of that space, because we’re not at this point.  It would be so nice to swing on a hammock during a warm summer afternoon, reading with the kids or just listening to them play while the hubby and I sip a cool drink.  Ahhhh.  We also have a walkout from our family room, and it’s one of the decks we had rebuilt a year and a half ago, and I’d love to have some seating areas there too, and perhaps a sunshade so the bugs don’t eat us all alive.  Of course, it would be really great to have something like this for us and the kids:


And this would be fun as well:


But if I’m being honest, this would be my dream backyard:


A girl can dream, right?  I’ll keep on doing that…

I’m pretty sure that dream won’t come true, but the others just might.  I’ll keep you posted.  😉

Mourning the Loss of My Yoga Pants

It’s a sad day today. There’s a tiny little hole in my beloved yoga pants. It won’t be long now until they’re done forever. These wonderful pants have seen me through thick and thin, literally, and have been with me through many days of the last few years. In fact, doing the math right now, I think I have worn them several times a week, for an average of 7 months a year, for about 3 years now, which would mean I’ve worn them about 200 times. Not bad for a pair of yoga pants on sale at a closing “big box” store that I bought on a whim. I can’t exactly remember when I bought them, but I think it was when I was pregnant with my daughter, Zoey, as I was trying to find a winter coat that would be big enough for me when pregnant but not too big that I would be swimming in it the next winter.

You know when you find an item that you really love wearing? An item you feel comfortable in? These yoga pants were that item for me.


They’ve been my “go to” pants since I got them. On the days that I had to quickly throw on something to drive Zander to school in, I picked them up. On the days that I’ve felt bloated or like I’ve put on a few pounds, I’ve put them on, like the perfect pair of “fat jeans” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky). Heck, any day was a good day to wear my yoga pants and feel comfy. Jeans are not the same, jogging pants just look sloppy, and wearing dress pants to spend the day on the floor playing with my 3 year old or jumping in puddles with her seems ridiculous. Maybe they’re a sign of me “letting myself go”, but they’re just so darn practical. And I’m almost ashamed to admit that these yoga pants have never actually been used for yoga. I’ve never done yoga. As a matter of fact, when I’ve tried to be active recently, it just hasn’t worked out well. You can read about what happened here

I’ve often imagined people in town thinking, as they’ve seen me grocery shopping in my pants, “Gosh, why does she have to wear those everywhere?” I’m sure those people are not thinking that, because they’ve got many other things to think about that are far more interesting and important than me and my pants, but I have felt kind of bad about ALWAYS wearing them. So bad that one day a few weeks ago I felt the need to say to another mom at drop off in the morning, “I wash these pants every other day because I wear them about every other day.” I don’t even know what we were talking about that prompted me to mention that, though I think it was something about the kids being picky about what they will wear and what they will not wear.  And it’s true. I am a clean freak, and that includes my laundry.

That brings us to this day of mourning for my yoga pants, the hole, no doubt, the result of me wearing and washing them so frequently. Dang. I love them so much, I am actually considering buying a patch for them, if they even make them anymore (!), and sewing the patch on the knee where you can see just the slightest bit of alabaster skin.


I’m sure that would attract even more attention than my well-worn yoga pants attract right now, and I’m not really a “look at me and what I’m wearing” kind of person. So perhaps I should let my yoga pants go and not fight it.

Please excuse me while I spend a little more time with them…

The Big Discussions: How Young Is Too Young?

I have a question for you parents out there:  How young is too young to have the big conversations with your kids? I ask this because I have a 7 year old, and though he still seems young and “just a kid”, he also seems pretty mature to me at times. So I treat him like that.

A few weeks ago he mentioned that in school they were talking about World War II, and that one student said the name Hitler. He wanted to know who that was and what had happened during World War II. And because I want him to be as informed as he can be, I told him a bit. I briefly described concentration camps as horrible places – and I told him about the rooms filled with eyeglasses and suitcases that had been taken from the people who’d been forced to go to the camps – and told him that many, many people had been killed there. I felt like he could handle that kind of information, and I didn’t go into too much detail.

I think the teacher in me came out, but I also think I wanted him to know more than I knew at that age, and even when I was much older. You see, when I was 18, I went on an exchange to the Netherlands, for the summer months. While there I went to Amsterdam and went through the Anne Frank House, and when about 40 of us teens from all over the world came together at a camp, it was a former concentration camp where we stayed for a week. I remember watching a presentation about the camp – Westerbork – while there. All the while, I was not profoundly affected by the experiences, like I would be now. I didn’t really know much about Anne Frank, other than she had written a diary that I had seen in my grandparents’ house when I was much younger. And though I knew about the Holocaust and concentration camps, I didn’t know THAT MUCH. I should have known more. I should have taken it upon myself to learn more before I left for my exchange, since I was 18 and therefore old enough to take in and absorb that information. So I blame no one but myself.

Maybe I’m trying to make up for that ignorance by making sure my son is NOT ignorant about things that happened in history. But am I starting too young? Am I giving him too much information too early? Am I talking to him about things that he shouldn’t know of until he’s older? I don’t know.


A few days ago we had another “grown up” conversation. This time it was about God and Jesus. It started because I told him that he and his sister would finally be baptized by my parents’ minister before the end of the summer, when he retires.

“Hey Zander, we are going to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s minister to get you baptized.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means you’ll get water on your head, and then later on you can join the church.”

“Oh, what religion are we?”

“I’m Presbyterian. Grandma and Grandpa are Presbyterian. You will be Presbyterian, unless you decide later that you want to be something else.”

“Can you tell me about God and Jesus?”

And so I told him as much as I thought he needed to know, and as much as he could absorb.

Now he is asking to go to church, which I love because, again, I want him to know as much as he can about everything there is to know…and that is appropriate for his age. We haven’t gone to church as a family – partly because my husband has never been a church-goer, and was not raised to be, which is COMPLETELY the opposite of my family members, who faithfully attend church every Sunday, but also because I have thought, until now, that the kids are a little too young. I know they will not be able to sit still long enough to get to Sunday School, and they probably will be hesitant about going to Sunday School without me or Daddy. I am worried I’ll spend the entire time trying to rein them in and will not only not be able to listen to the sermon but will also be embarrassed by my inability to keep them quiet, calm, and still. The other glitch is that I work at the radio station on Sundays, and so I couldn’t go…and leaving the husband to handle both kids at church would be a very nasty thing for me to do. However, we need to figure something out because Zander’s requesting to go, and I don’t think he’s too young to start now.

sun cross

Our last big discussion, a few days ago as well (Zander’s been on a roll this week!), was brought on because of something going on this Friday. My grandfather passed away in January, and though we had a funeral for him at the time, we couldn’t bury him because the ground was frozen. So the burial is planned for Friday. My parents mentioned it to me, and I asked Zander if he’d like to come with me and Zoey. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that, but my parents are thinking it would be too scary of an experience for them. Both of my kids were there for the burial of my grandmother, a year and a half ago, and they were not freaked out at all. It is, after all, to them, a box being lowered into the ground. I honestly don’t think it would scare him or freak him out (and Zoey’s only 3 so she doesn’t understand what is happening).

Anyway, when we were talking about it, my son asked me if I’d be sad. Recalling the funeral service months ago, he said, “Remember in the church, when I asked if you were sad and you said no, but then you were crying and crying?”

“Yes, honey, and I was sad. But you don’t need to worry about me.”

His response: “You’re my mother. My life is all about worrying about you.”  I asked him what he meant by that, because, let’s face it, as sweet as it is to have my 7 year old son think about me, I don’t want him worrying about me, for any reason.

He said, “Well, I worry if you’re okay, or if you’re hurt. I don’t know.”

See? Pretty grown up sometimes.  I love that he’s inquisitive, but I also want him to be 7, and all that comes with that: innocence, fun, and carefree times.  Should I be telling him less????



Maybe I’m Not Meant to Exercise??

I’ve been trying to get into shape for awhile now.  (I’m not in BAD shape, I’m just not fit anymore.)  But things haven’t worked out well so far.  There have been late nights trying to get the kids to stop calling for me and FINALLY fall asleep.  Of course, I’m too tired to exercise then.  There have been the days my knees ache or my back aches.  (I am getting old!)  Of course, I’m too sore to exercise then.  But on the weekend, after going out with some of my best friends and talking to one about getting in shape this year, I decided there would be no more excuses.  I’m turning 40 in July, and the thought was that I wanted to be in better shape by then, and maybe even try doing what I see some of my former classmates doing:  running marathons…or at least mini-marathons…or perhaps walking them…Anyway, I was determined to actually follow through.  I thought the best idea would be to get out and walk, now that the weather is getting better here.  And so I went for a walk with a co-worker and her dog, and my family couldn’t bear to be parted from me (!) so they came too.  It was nice to get out, stretch our legs, and enjoy the fresh air.  And it was going so well – the kids were loving it because they love dogs and Limbo was entertaining them with fetching along the trail – until CRASH!  Limbo, the dog that is bigger than I am and weighs a lot more than I do, slammed into me on her way to get a ball behind us.  I really didn’t know what happened, other than I’d been hit, and I had smashed into the ground.  A rocky, dirty, uneven trail in the woods.  Immediately my wrist hurt, and I thought, Get up and brush yourself off, Shannon.  You’ll be fine.  Don’t make your friend feel bad about it.  So that’s what I did.  But I was hurting.  However, it was nothing compared to what I am feeling now, 2 days later.  I can barely hold my head up without extreme discomfort.  I can barely lift my right arm.  I can barely get up from a seated position without moaning in pain.  And my head is killing me.  I am quite certain there are no sprains or breaks, but I am also quite certain there are strains, pulls, and bruises.  All because I wanted to get active.  This never would have happened if I’d been at home, watching TV and eating junk food!  Ha!  Okay, that’s bad, I know, and I’m not giving up my goal of getting in shape, but I think it’s going to take a little while to stop aching and get the walking shoes back on.  And perhaps it’s much safer to stay inside!

A Tale of Two Parties (10 Minute Free Write for Ketchup With Us)

My husband and I went to a surprise birthday party last weekend for a co-worker of mine.  She was turning 23.  It was a very different experience from the other surprise birthday party we had last month, for a childhood friend of mine.  She turned 40 today.  It’s funny how much of a difference 17 years can make.  For example, at the party for the 23 year old, we all yelled “Surprise!” as she walked in with her boyfriend and her dog, and she responded with excitement, “Wow!  What the $#@&?  This is so awesome!”  At the party for the 40 year old, we all yelled “Surprise!” as she walked in with her hubby and their teenaged son, quickly buttoning her pants back up because she had planned to run into the bathroom after entering.  I totally get it, because when you’re a little older and you need to go…well, you need to go NOW.  So, the beginning of each party was slightly different.  As time went on, at the party for the 23 year old most of the guests were downstairs playing beer pong.  At the party for the 40 year old we were playing a game that involved answering true or false to a quiz about events that may or may not have happened in 1974 (the year my friend was born).  (I won, by the way, because I am full of useless trivia, which can come in handy!)  And because we had a babysitter for our kids for both parties, we didn’t stay more than a few hours.  But it was strange what my husband said after leaving the party for the 23 year old.  He said, “Oh man.  How lucky are those people?  They have no responsibilities.  They can sleep in.  I’m so tired.”  And I do get it.  My husband is fantastic at being the one to get up during the night with our kids, who always need something to drink, several times a night in fact. Or they wake up and say they can’t fall back to sleep.  Or they have nightmares.  He’s exhausted. And the guests at the party are not married, nor do they have kids.  The responsibilities that go along with those things are also, of course, absent, which takes a lot of stress away from one’s life.  And so I know why he said that.  However, that wasn’t what I was thinking while at the party for my 23 year old friend.  This is what I was thinking while at the party: “I’m so glad to have Zander and Zoey in my life.  I want to go home and kiss them goodnight, and have a little snuggle too.  Ahhh. I’m so glad to be at the stage I am in life.” Being young was great, partying until the wee hours of the morning was fun, and I loved being able to sleep all day long when I wanted to, but having 2 little ones around to laugh with, hug, and hear “I love you” from is better than any of that.

meandzan meandzoey2



Get “Motive”ated for this TV show (for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop)

Writing Prompt:  List 10 things you love about your favourite show. 

In the last few months I’ve discovered a Canadian show called “Motive” that I look forward to seeing every Thursday night.  Normally I only watch reality TV shows – “Survivor”, “The Voice”, and “Big Brother” are the ones I am addicted t…er, love – but this drama has definitely caught my attention.  I now would say it’s my favourite TV show, and here are 10 reasons why.

1) There is always a mystery to figure out, but not the usual kind: we get introduced briefly to the victim and the murderer at the very beginning of each show, so we’re not guessing who did it.  What we do have to do is figure out the connection between the two, which can be tricky.

2) The acting on the show is really good.  You believe the characters.  Plain and simple.

3) The resolution makes sense.  You’re not left thinking, “What was that?  It was dilithium crystals?  They were going into an alternate universe?  I don’t get it.”  I like to think, but not THAT hard.  The resolutions are realistic but not predictable.

4) There are some backstories and side plots for character development and plot development, but there’s not a lot of time spent on these each episode.  They are intriguing and leave you wanting to learn more, but they don’t distract from the main plot.

5) It’s Canadian and it doesn’t try to hide that.

6) The main actress is not someone I’ve seen before.  I really like this because I can completely “buy” her as that character.  Sometimes when I see an actor, no matter how fantastic he or she is, I think of the previous role I saw him/her in, and so I can’t completely get lost in a performance.

7) The two main characters have a respectful relationship and, most importantly, there is NO sexual tension.  It’s just a woman and a man doing their jobs.  That’s refreshing.

8) It’s not scary.  I’m not a fan of anything scary.  I refuse to watch horror movies.  I had years of sleepless nights after accidentally seeing parts of “Nightmare on Elm Street” at my friend’s birthday party sleepover.  Unlike some dramas on TV, “Motive” is not scary.  I can handle it and still sleep that night…until one of the kids wakes me up for a drink…but that’s another story.

9) I loved the ’80s, and still love a lot about that decade.  So when I saw “Flashdance” actress Jennifer Beals as a guest star on the show, and then one of the stars of “LA Law”, Corbin Bernsen, as another guest, I was thrilled.  Eighties guest stars = awesome!

10) It doesn’t have over-the-top violence.  At a time when some TV shows glorify gore and creepiness (like “The Following”, which I do watch but hate myself for watching every Monday night!), “Motive” does not do that.

It really is a must-see!  (For those of you in the US, ABC announced it will begin airing the second season on May 21.)