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Criminally addictive

Perforated Heart

Television's Law & Order: Criminal Intent has a character named Capt. Danny Ross. But it turns out that this actor, Eric Bogosian, is actually the author of a criminally addictive novel: Perforated Heart. I was stuck in bed for two days with the flu and had randomly picked this book up from a library shelf, as I tend to do, and I just couldn't put it down.   As I got sucked into this novel, I checked out the dust jacket picture, and lo' and … [Read more...]

Solo vacation, anyone?

I have a girlfriend who takes an annual vacation by herself. Nothing fancy ... she just picks a nearby city and books herself into a hotel room. Sometimes she meanders about the local sights and sometimes she just hangs out in her room, watching movies and ordering-in her favourite foods. She's a big believer that this kind of break is not only good for her, but for her marriage and for her energy as a stay-at-home mother. After exactly one day … [Read more...]

My brother, the puppy-replacement

Daughter: I really miss having a dog in our family. Mother: Me too, honey. Daughter: I wish we could get a puppy; get a new dog for our family. Mother: I do sometimes too, honey. Daughter: Oh well, at least we have my baby brother. He's like having a puppy, isn't he? … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday Darling

One year ago today, a dear little fellow joined our family. Our world will never be the same. Happy birthday dear son. … [Read more...]

There's no denying it now: I'm old.

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I'm old. There's just no denying it anymore. Three things happened in one day to slap this fact right into my face.     First, my daughter comes home yesterday singing "School's out for summer!" She starts to repeat this refrain, and I join in with her. She goes quiet and looks at me with surprise. "How did you know the words?" It is hard to explain that these lyrics are far older than she is. That once, a long, long, long, time ago, Mommy … [Read more...]

A child's prayer

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I'm not much for formal religion, but this prayer came home in my daughter's school bag yesterday and I just loved it. It seems like a perfect wish-list for a child's summer, doesn't it?     A Prayer May no cats get in your sandbox May your frisbees always spin May your fridge be filled with oranges May you love the life you're in. May your teddy be fuzzy May your rainy days be wet May your teacher tell your stories That you never will … [Read more...]

The Teacher's Gift

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In past years I've struggled with the obligatory thank-you gift for my daughter's teachers. I say "obligatory" not because I don't feel genuine gratitude for the work and passion that my daughter's teachers bring to the classroom every day, but rather because of the sense that a gift is a form of standard etiquette. And I don't want to be the set of parents (i.e. the mother) who hasn't followed etiquette. (Why I even care about etiquette is a … [Read more...]

Suicide in the news

I found it curious that last Saturday two of our national newspapers had below-the-fold cover stories on the topic of suicide. Suicide is something that rarely gets discussed among family members, let alone in our mainstream media. In this case though, both stories covered the suicidal deaths of soldiers. The Globe and Mail investigated the death of Major Michelle Mendes, who killed herself in Afganistan at the age of 30. The Ottawa Citizen … [Read more...]

4 Days

Dear Son, Not only are you adorable, but you are clever. Since my last letter to you, it is clear that you have chosen not to be sold to the highest bidder on the black market. And further, you are considerate. You ensured that you communicated this wish to us before we had begun the tedious work of developing marketing copy and securing advertising space. It's been at least a week now that you've slept-in until the requisite humane time of 6 … [Read more...]

Dear Dad

You know how they say that little girls grow into women who marry men just like their fathers? I think there's alot of truth in that.  And that's why I'm especially glad to have you as my father. It means that not only did I grow up with a kind, generous man, but that I now share my life with one too. Thanks Dad. You're the best of the best. … [Read more...]

Taking the Lemonade View

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Kevin Jungel did what many of us will never do in our lifetime: move to a foreign country. He moved more than 6,000 kilometres from home. Into an environment with a different culture, a different language -- heck, even a different side of road to drive on. He moved from Germany to Canada to establish a North American headquarters for WEICON, a manufacturer of specialty products used in industrial production. That was 2008. We all know what … [Read more...]

Birthday Themes for Children's Parties

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Mother: So, have you picked a theme for your birthday party this year? Daughter: Yes, actually. I've decided on mythical creatures. Mother: Mythical creatures? Like, Pokemon? Daughter: No, like centaurs and the sphinx. Mother: Um, okay. I'll see if they carry that theme at the dollar store. … [Read more...]

The Wind Beneath my Wings

Dear Garry at SoHo Portal, Did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle, for you are the wind beneath my wings. It might have appeared to go unnoticed, but I've got it all here in my heart. I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it. I would be nothing without you. Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I wish I could be. I could fly higher than an … [Read more...]

Bad luck comes in 3s

I hope that old saying that bad luck comes in 3s is true. I've had my share over the past few week. But I've managed to impress myself by mostly engaging in silent screams instead of screeching about madly while ripping my hair out. If you check out my website site (www.julieharrison.ca), you'll see number one: it's disappeared. Long story. If you've seen me in person over the past week and noticed the different hair colours, you'll understand … [Read more...]

Full-day Kindergarten

Full-day kindergarten is the big news for us parents in Ontario. A summary article on this report and its rec's can be read here. Here's some interesting persepectives on this issue: The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario The Pilot Program of Full-day Kinder National Experiences Margaret Wente of the Globe & Mail Local Blogger DaniGirl Another Blogger A Little Bit of Momsense … [Read more...]

Why are kids' animated movies so creepy?

Note the toy in top right corner. Nightmare-maker.

    Is it just me, or are kids' movies pretty creepy?       In our house, we rarely watch one of the latest, hyped-up kids' releases. Call me crazy, but I like my sleep. Getting up in the middle of the night to tend to nightmares is not my idea of a good time. Granted, my daughter may not be the average child. She is a bit of a thinker, shall we say. And thinking can lead to ruminating, and ruminating can lead to obsessing. Take for … [Read more...]

The Wonder Battery

Phostech's President with Gaia car

One of the most enjoyable parts of working in communications is the opportunity to meet members of Canadian industry. Recently, a writer I work with asked me to help him interview and write a series of success stories on investing in Canada. One of the companies I spoke with was Phostech Lithium, based in Quebec. The most interesting tidbit I have to share with you on this company is that they have developed an advanced lithium-ion battery that … [Read more...]

Errands from the Desktop

I love the internet. Like, REALLY love it. It is such an amazing invention that you no longer even need to leave the house for pesky errands. You know what I mean ... you've had a jam-packed week, the weekend arrives, and the last thing you feel like doing is spending your precious free time hunting down that perfect birthday gift or fighting with crowds at the grocery store. Okay, I know there are some of you out there who actually enjoy … [Read more...]

15 Days

My posting "Can This be the Answer to All Our Hopes and Dreams" has been met with sour disappointment. So, I have decided to go straight to the source: Dear Son, You have precisely 15 days to start sleeping-in to a humane hour of the morning. In case your memory is short, due to lack of sleep, like some other individuals I know, that hour is 6 a.m. Not one minute earlier. I know that it's been only the last couple of weeks that you've been … [Read more...]

Lunchbox past its expiry date

School is drawing to a close, but summer camps are coming soon, and my daughter's lunch box (actually, insulated bag) has past its expiry date. Sure, it's cute and all. But it's not practical and no matter how thoroughly I clean the thing, it still smells. Yuck! With enviro-consciousness hitting the school grounds, her lunch bag is generally stuffed with a whole assortment of mismatched plastic containers to house various snacks (apparently she … [Read more...]

Could This be the Answer to All Our Hopes and Dreams?

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Could it be possible that this haphazard-looking mess be the sacred answer? (Sure, it might not look like much, but when you're sleep-deprived, one's hopes and dreams get a tad basic.) It's pretty much a given that if a child does not develop excellent sleeping habits by the age of one, we will sell said child to science. Our first child is almost seven; so far so good. Our second child is approaching his first birthday. He has recently starting … [Read more...]

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