Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I heartily dislike changing sheets. My new sheets have a handy tab that indicates where the top portion is. Thank goodness for that because I have stripy sheets and I wouldn't want to put the sheets on horizontally because everyone knows that horizontal designs can make one look fatter. Heaven knows I wouldn't want a fat bed. I used to not care about my sheets until Oprah came along and effed everything up (as she is want to do.) She said one should never use a threadcount under 700. So I took her advice and bought her damn 700 threadcount sheets and those mothers are softer than soft. Now I am ruined towards anything less. My husband bought 500 threadcount sheets and my mollycoddled self feels like it is sleeping on sandpaper.

Oprah has really lost it when it comes to normal people. You may recall she once did a show where they took microscopic photos of bedsheets after they were slept on for a few days. The results were horrifying and I couldn't sleep without scratching for days. I once caught a blip of a show where she had a sleep expert on who said that one should change their sheets weekly. She then piped up about her buggy sleep show and pontificated that since then she changes her sheets daily. The expert then deadpanned, "well that isn't really feasible for the average person". I LOVED this guy for taking on the Op. She probably has a person whose sole job is to manage her sheets.

My advice, stick with what you've got. It's hard to stay down on the farm when you've been to the city.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Great Quote - The Place I Go To.

"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."
— W. Somerset Maugham

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Okay This is a Major Downer With an Upside. I Hope

Many of you who know me know my story. I'm joining the ride to conquer Cancer and I bet you know why. Next June I'll be riding a bike from Toronto to Niagara falls - just over 200 km. That means training and most likely a really sore butt. Please feel sorry for my butt!

My mom discovered a sarcoma in her leg when I was seventeen. She was a nurse and a fighter. She went through chemo and radiation and had two hip replacements and a femur replacement. I took nightschool for many subjects in grade 13 so I was able to drive her to radiation daily. Later during my last year at university I dropped down to part time so she could stay out of palliative care as long as possible. She developed tumors in her back, mouth and lungs so she decided to stop the three month checks. She had to go into Palliative care at St.Mikes and I stayed with her daily and I would study or make her watch videos of the Second world war (that I was studying at the time). I literally slept in her room on a cot for almost 5 ½ months. She had to have a treatment in Princess Margaret Hospital and one night she succumbed and fell into a coma and passed away at 5 am. She had fought and hung on until I was 22. She was pure sunshine and was my mentor and my everything.

Four years later I noticed a spot of blood on Dad’s shirt. It turned out to be phase 4 melanoma. He had it removed but didn’t tell us of the severity. Six months later I noticed his gait was uneven, his signature was different and I thought he might have had a minor stroke. It took hours of convincing to get him to St. Mikes. Twelve brain tumors. That night we were told he had days to six months. My big Dad passed three weeks later at Princess Margaret Hospital. He was my best friend.

I don’t know of a family that hasn’t been touched by cancer. I was so lucky to have been adopted at birth into this amazing family. I was lucky to have a great childhood and to have had great parents for a short time as opposed to lousy ones for a lifetime.

I want to make this ride count. Not just for my parents, Maureen and Michael, but for all families.

A donation of 5 dollars to 5000 dollars would be equally welcome as we need to eradicate this disease for all of us.

Kind regards to all and thanks for your time and I hope I haven't bummed you out.

Steph (or as my Dad nicknamed me - Boo Radley)

You can just google “The Ride To Conquer Cancer” and look up my name or Team Gridpath. Thanks guys - anything would be appreciated.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stuff happened and then the World Cup!

I can't believe I haven't updated since December. Well, maybe so. I'm not going to belabour this but here it goes. Broken wrist, broken back, stupid finger jam so I have to wear my wedding rings on the wrong hand (apparently it's cool in Europe so I'll roll with that) weeks of pneumonia (which is my favourite word besides deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

I'm a total word geek and own it. So yeah shit has hit the fan and I'm coming out on the other side.

Still funny that the more I have to say the less I write about. Life is funny that way. Also since Ireland isn't in the world cup my daughter went to preschool in a full Portugese world cup uniform. My wee Irish Rose. Woo! She's a number seven Renaldo. Charlie is in full Brazil world cup gear as of tomorrow. We are so damn Irish but without them in the cup we can't do jack.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Damn Book

I'm trying to write something. I've done (and paid for ) research and am about to embark on my biggest dream. It will probably just be thrown in the fire but dammit I'm going to try. I have a very sage advisor. A radio announcer of many years who also had a regular column in a Toronto paper and has been a published author. He's been around and is my go to guy to help me with my idea.

The setting is in the past and in another city, which I will have to travel to and get shots of period housing and get the feel of certain neighbourhoods etc. In other words it's daunting. The idea really has me fired up though. There are many ways to write. Create characters and let them take you where they go and reveal the story to you or create a plan and fit the characters in the plan. My setting is a real period of time which sets a very challenging background because of it's difficult time in history. I think I have the characters nailed down and will let them take me where they may.

But wait. I have another theory on fiction and literature. When I was about six or seven it was very common in my family for everyone to do a chore on a Saturday morning and then after lunch the day was ours to while away or get up to mischief (no I NEVER tried to set things on fire with a magnifying glass and I will deny that until the day I die). Ahem. So my sister would be sent to spray off the backyard furniture with a hose in preparation for guests. I lost that privilege when I once soaked my mother through the open screen window in the kitchen. Look it was just an experiment and it was just water after all. How was I to know she had just been to the hairdresser? I don't know what all the fuss was about but I recall spending a good deal of time in my room after that one. My poor brother had to cut the grass with a push mower no less. Hey we were GREEN before our time. So my poor parents had to come up with stuff with me to do so that I couldn't destroy something or make more work for them.

One Saturday my Dad came up with a great plan. He took me into his den which had an entire wall of built in bookshelves full of hundreds of books. He told me he was worried that when he lent them out he wouldn't get them back so he took out an ink stamp pad and a stamp with his name and our address on it. It was my job to take down a whole shelf of books at a time and put a stamp on the first page in each page. Cool! Just like playing library. So I took this very seriously and stamped, stamped, stamped. Every kind of book you name it everything from Agatha Christie to Virgil, Jack Higgins, Ethics texts, Law texts, (Dad majored in Philosophy and became a lawyer). On the bottom shelf were tall big Time-Life books about things like forests, streams and rivers, even cavemen. They were cool in that they had wicked photography. Then I came across a boxed set of books. These fairly wide thick books had the traditional 70's colours to them. Olive. Rust. Orangey and Brown. They just had names on them: Aeschylus, Sophocles Euripides and Aristophanes. I started to flip through them and it seemed they were stories or plays. Some simply called "The Clouds" or " Frogs". I read some of them and they were pretty straightforward to me. I didn't know the deeper meaning at the time of these plays poking fun of periods of history or social classes.

Once I hit university I double majored in Philosophy and Classics and discovered something really cool. Basically every story to be told had already been written. In these ancient plays all the characters are there: the wise old man, the prostitute, the lovers, the recalcitrant children, the power seekers, the thieves and con men. It was all there in all permutations. It is almost as if everything written since then are just modern variations of stories of deception, loss, romance, evil. Thus is the conundrum. Can something new be written? Oh hell here I go examining my belly button again.

Might as well give it a shot. It will probably suck but if does amount to something you effers better buy it. You could always use it to help fix a wobbly desk or something. By the way I did do the whole damn wall of books and since I now have most of those books covering my wall in my den I still get a kick out of seeing my "library" stamp. Books live on.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Contemplating my belly button.

I was emailing a friend that blogging is a strange medium in that it lends itself to one mainly talking about themselves. You can't very well go on about your best friends problems or your husbands stuff because that is their personal stuff, their story. I feel that blogging is sort of a selfish pursuit. I'm thinking this through.

Once a friend asked "Why do you feel you have to present everything as a story?"

Because if I tell the story, I control the version.
Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would much rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.
Because if I tell the story, it doesn't hurt as much.
Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.

Maybe I just need to get on with it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have this weird feeling. Well actually I've had this weird feeling on and off for my entire life. I was adopted at birth. Actually I was up for adoption before birth - any takers? Girl for sale! I thank my lucky stars that my parents adopted me. This might sound not very common but I had a great childhood. I was loved, and taken care of and had opportunities and was very very happy. I looked nothing like the rest of my family. My Dad was 6'8", (oh yes really) and was 300 pounds but not fat just BIG. He wore a size 15 triple E shoe. I actually have a picture of me as a toddler sitting in ONE of his slippers. My mom was a foot shorter, and plumpish with black curly hair, cherry red cheeks and a whip smart personality. She literally lit up a room. I guess you could say she was vivacious and funny and so terribly kind. She was a nurse too so was a caregiver to all.

The thing is that almost weekly I would get a very strong feeling. I tried to articulate it to my parents but the best thing I could come up with was I felt homesick. Homesick for what I have no idea. I felt like I was in the wrong place. That I yearned for somewhere else and I had no clue what that place or time was. I would hug one of parents as I felt so lost, so alone. I'm sure it must have been tough for them in retrospect as they had no idea what was going on. It became shorthand. I would just say homesick and jump into one of their laps. After ten or fifteen minutes it would pass.

This went on my entire life. All of a sudden, wham, homesick. Maybe everyone feels this way sometimes but I'm not sure. The thing is I never looked like anybody. Everyone else had their Moms nose or Dads eyes. I looked like, nobody I felt. I had no medical history. I was ground zero. Every single time I see a doctor or specialist I have to say, "adopted at birth, no history". Even though I had this amazing family there was an aloneness, a singular person who was rootless. I didn't even know what nationality I was. History-less. Yes this sounds all very boo-hoo poor me having a wonderful loving family. Yet there was an apart. I was blonde, short, skinny and freckled. I hated my freckles because I was the only one in the family that had them. My Mom would drop little kisses on my cheeks and whisper "brown sugar and cinnamon. That's what you have".

I used to explain this feeling to my husband once we were married and he would say, "you ARE home. This is our home. Everything is well". I knew all was well but the feeling still rolled in. I've read many philosophers and theologians and there have been very specific theories on the homesick theory. Some say you are homesick for God or heaven where you might have been before. Others say you are homesick for a past life (mon dieu!). Now having Charles was an eye opener. He had big eyes like me, dark eyebrows like my husband. He was the very first person who shared my blood that I knew. I am constantly surprised at how much he is like me. (He never shuts up - karma clearly). Then we had Sophie. I never thought she looked like me when she was a baby. But now she is a "big girl" of three. Last night I took her to her first "big girl" swimming lesson. Afterwards as I was drying her off I looked into her little face. Her eyes are large and round and blue grey like mine. She has a smallish mouth like me. She said, "Mama I've got lots of freckles on my face now"! I dappled her cheeks with kisses and whispered, "brown sugar and cinnamon". I finally feel at home. I'm exactly where I belong.