The Winnipeg Jets Came Home

My heart felt as if it was almost full to bursting on Wednesday night as the sound of 15,000 strong singing Oh Canada with pride and excitement filled the MTS centre for the second pre-season home game of the new Winnipeg Jets.
A few months ago I did not believe that I would ever actually see the Winnipeg Jets return.  I thought it had been too long and that even if a return of the NHL came it could not mean a return of the beloved Jets.   I didn’t want to get excited, I told myself it was a bad idea and that I didn’t care if they came back, but I did.
I wanted it just as fervently as many others in this city but after years and years of hearing rumors and promises I could no longer bring myself to believe it had a chance.  I had fully prepared myself for it to once again to be nothing but false rumor and false hope. I wasn’t in the least prepared for it to actually come true.
Even when it was 100% confirmed that the Jets were coming home I still somehow doubted it. Watching the first pre-season game on TV I started to get excited as I began to realize what had happened but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that it really hit me full force. 
When I heard that amazing burst of pride that the singing of Oh Canada brought followed by the loudest and most rousing chorus of “GO JETS GO” I have ever heard I was finally able to believe that this is a return of not just NHL hockey but a return of The Winnipeg Jets.
The logo, the players, the coaches and even the arena are long gone but the fans never left. They were all still here just waiting and now that the wait is over they are making up for lost time.  

The decibel level as well as the sheer level of excitement is one of the highest I have ever seen live or heard broadcast. To put it into perspective for my fellow Canadians this return of The Winnipeg Jets rivals for Manitobans the same levels of pride and excitement that all of Canada felt during that final men’s game of the Vancouver Olympics. It really is that good.   

We are welcoming home a loved friend after a 15 year absence and we are doing it very, very loudly.

Some Sense Amongst the Noise

Through ALL the news on the Red Sox historical collapse, I found one article which truly puts things into perspective. Reading this story really hit a spot with me, so I thought I would share:

Better things to dwell on
By Brian McGrory
Globe Columnist / September 30, 2011

It could be worse, folks. Your system could be getting cleaned out faster than Yawkey Way.

Or you could be Setti Warren, ending his Senate campaign yesterday by telling the voters of Newton how much he treasures being their mayor, the very job he was trying to leave after doing it for about a year.

In other words, perspective, please, which is what I also got when my phone rang with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis on the other end of the line. He is a good man and a wise cop, so when he suggested that I high-tail it to a part of Mattapan that he had just left, I did what I was told.

Which is how I came to be walking across the potholed playground of the Mattahunt Elementary School in the middle of seemingly nowhere, listening to the sounds of laughter spill out an open door to the old, rickety gym.

Inside, there were young kids, the boys in blue polos and khakis, the girls in skirts, dribbling basketballs, practicing bounce passes, heaving shots with all their might toward rims that seemed unfairly high. They were having the time of their lives. Guys in green tee-shirts shouted instructions and constant praise.

The adults were, I learned, the coaching and scouting staff of the Boston Celtics, which was interesting. Then I saw what was unfolding around the rest of the school.

Back outside, dozens of men had swarmed a section of playground that had long ago been basically condemned. They were wielding saws, pushing brooms, digging into the ground with heavy shovels, attacking overgrowth, leaves, and litter that were probably there before Havlicek stole the ball. A 12-foot tree had sprouted in the middle of a street hockey rink, if that tells you anything.

I introduced myself to a worker who was ripping out human-sized weeds, and he told me he was Rich Gotham. Rich Gotham is the president of the Celtics, which caught me off guard. He was sweating like a buffalo.

He said the Celtics swarm a few schools a year with 150 or so volunteers from the front office, basketball staff, sponsors, and season ticketholders. “It’s amazing what you can get done when you pull a few people together,’’ he said. “It’s the most gratifying stuff we do.’’

As he spoke, volunteers pounded together benches and flower boxes. Inside, a few dozen people overhauled the library, which lacks a librarian, organizing shelves and setting up computers. Another couple of dozen volunteers were painting the vast community room.

“I’m elated,’’ said Ruby Ababio-Fernandez, the principal. “My kids deserve this. The staff deserves this. It says a lot to the school.’’

By day’s end, the kids were left with what amounted to a new playground, new outdoor basketball court, and new library, as well as a sense that they mattered, which they don’t get anywhere near often enough.

Which gets to the point in all of this. Baseball in Boston ended with a heavy dose of poetic justice Wednesday night, the Red Sox collapsing and Tampa Bay surging back to life, a season summarized in two remarkable games. But life goes on. Life goes on in victory, and it goes on in defeat. It goes on both on the field and off.

Boston is lucky to have the teams it does, even today, every one of them community-minded. And the teams are fortunate to have the passion of the smartest fans in sports.

Every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to take stock: What happened at Camden Yards was memorable, but what happened in Mattapan is important.

Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

Amen, Brian. AMEN.

Word Counts

In a 50 word count write a poem using these phrases to start each consecutive sentence:
I remember, I don’t see, I want to, I hate, I don’t remember

I remember when I did not believe.
I don’t see why I missed what was right in front of me.
I want to go back, find what I missed.
I hate knowing all I needed was to open my eyes.
I don’t remember why I kept them closed so long.

Picture Day

It's my favorite time of year to wander around Assiniboine forest, I enjoy watching the change from a bright green to a multitude of uniquely fall colours.  The pond near the centre of the walkways is usually covered in geese, ducks and other wildlife this time of year and is quite a peaceful respite.

Writing Challenge

Prompt - What if you were invisible.
The first thought this prompt brought to mind is an old joke,
If I were suddenly invisible I would fly to Paris and beat the crap out of a street mime, it’s not very nice but imagine the applause he would get.
Had to do it.
Nearly 6 years ago something quite remarkable happened to me, I became invisible.  A lot of people may think and rightfully so that I’ve become a ghost.  I’m not so sure I am one.  See I can’t help thinking something else happened to me.
First of all I  believe dying would have left some sort of impression on me or at least a confused or questionable moment in memory and there is nothing odd I can think of in the days leading up to my disappearance. 
I have nothing unresolved in my life no great missed loves, no unfinished business in fact my life up to that point had been excruciatingly dull; nothing to hold me back as a ghost. 
I spent the first year being invisible almost convinced I had in fact  become a ghost but  somehow had  missed that crucial moment in memory to confirm I was indeed dead.  After having following first the police and then a private investigator my family hired to find me and seeing their results (diddly-squat) I’m convinced it was something else.
What I am or what happened to me I haven’t the foggiest idea but whatever it is seems to be quite permanent and I’m just trying to learn to make the best of the situation.  
I’ve also found some ways to interact with the visible people of this world. I couldn’t do that at all in the beginning.  I’ve learnt people can hear me if I concentrate hard enough particularly when they’re asleep, the messages don’t always make it from sleep to awake with the clarity I would like but none the less it is something.
Animals also see and hear me apparently no different than any other person and actually make great go betweens when it comes to leading people to places and things I need them to see.
I can move small objects and the more I practice the better at it I become, I’m slowly finding myself able to move larger and larger items with less and less effort.  I’ve learnt not to do it in front of people though as it has the tendency to freak them out. 
I stayed near home for almost the first two years trying to find out what had happened to me and of course worrying about my family.  My disappearance was very hard for my Mom in particular and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to reassure her.
When I did leave they seemed to at least be accepting I was gone.  I don’t think I could have walked away from them if I hadn’t seen they would be OK. I still visit them from time to time when opportunity arises but these days I’m simply a traveler helping out where ever I can in whatever way I can.
 Every time I come across a mystery I stick around for awhile and try to figure it out. I’ve become quite good at it and I always make sure what I learn gets to the right people so that those involved know what has happened to their loved ones. I’ve managed to help a lot of people over the years although for some I’ve been too late.
It’s a lonely existence but at least I’ve found a way to contribute to the visible people all around me. I admit I look for these mysteries in the hope that one day I’ll find someone else who just suddenly became invisible. So far I haven’t had any luck but that doesn’t mean I never will.
So until something new happens to me or I find another invisible person I’ll keep searching and helping out where ever I can.

Soccers End

Last night was the last soccer game of the outdoor spring/summer season for E. I was watching from the sidelines as E pushed the ball up again and was cheering her on when in a rush for the ball she hit the ground hard amongst a group of girls. I couldn’t quite see what happened but rather than get up and rejoin the play she stayed down.
She doesn’t go down easy this girl of mine.  I’ve seen her take spectacular stumbles and been hit hard on many occasions and she rebounds up again in a flash already on the run. She can be tough as nails but she also plays hard and those that play the hardest are the most likely to get injured.   
It’s the worst sports moment in the life of any parent, watching from the sidelines as all the players take a knee and every ones focus goes to one hurt child, your hurt child.  She is so close yet so far, completely out of reach, you have to fight every instinct not to run out on the field and leave it to the bench mom. 
I watched as she was able to get up and walk to the sidelines.  From the far side of the field I could see tears streaming down her face and she was clutching her wrist with the other hand. My eyes went to the bench mom hoping desperately for a thumbs up indicating it wasn’t as bad as it looked and instead got a wave indicating I should come to the bench.
The field seems so much bigger when walking around it during a game to check on your injured kid. Walking around the field my mind went instantly to where the best place I should take her on a Sunday at half past four.  I had already figured this was going to result in a very long night.
When I got to her she still had tears streaming down her face an ice pack on her wrist. Sitting beside her and taking her hand in mine you could instantly tell she had hurt it badly.  Already swollen to nearly twice its size she wasn’t able to move her wrist and it had a funny little lump to it.
Turns out she fell on her wrist badly and then was stepped on by one of the biggest players on the other team.  Before the end of the night you could clearly identify the cleat marks in her hand and wrist. 
I wish I could say we sat in the ER for nothing however a few hours later we left Children’s hospital her wrist broken and in a cast.  

Visual Development


So I started working as a Lead Designer...

I was hired to work as a lead Character Designer\Designer for a Facebook app! Can't really say anything about it yet =) I thought it would be cool to show you guys a few of the stuff I did for clients so far =)

Reading Woes

I’m reading a book I don’t particularly like.  Seems an odd thing to say let alone do but I find myself doing this more often than I would like to admit.  I get given books by my mother, by other family and friends and the stack of books to read can occasionally get out of hand and hard to choose from.
They seem to come in waves, I will receive no books for what seems like ages then suddenly everyone all at once has a book to lend or give and I end up with a huge stack.  All but the ones which need to be returned when I’m done get put in the basement storage room for me to slowly make my way through.
I stack them up based on a quick perusal of the blurb on each book and my first impression. They get stacked with those I’m most likely to enjoy on top down to the ones I’m not really interested in but will probably read anyways on the bottom. 
I feel like I have to give them all a chance.  I have been pleasantly surprised before and found a few good ones even a favorite or two at the bottom of a stack. Admittedly most of the time I am right and my first impression was accurate but just in case I’ll still read them all.
These basement dwelling books are usually books of last resort anyways and are for when I’m looking for something to read but haven’t got anything new, haven’t been to the library, and my e-reader has a dead battery.  This particular set of circumstances doesn’t happen all too often so basement books can linger sometimes for ages without a second glance.
My latest choice from the pile, (and let me tell you I’m really scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel at this point), was accurately judged at first glance. It just isn’t grabbing my attention, well except for the multiple spelling errors which a previous reader has circled in bright red ink. 
I hate when people do that, the spelling errors are glaringly obvious to begin with and highlighting them accomplishes nothing except ticking off the books next reader.    
In fact I may just toss this book without finishing it. It takes a lot for me to just stop reading a book once I’ve started but this one is quickly reaching the level of dislike to qualify for early tossing.  I usually end up giving the story one more chapter or one more page to see if maybe, hopefully it gets a little bit better and before I know it have finished the whole book.  
Ah well better luck next time.

5x50 or 10x100 day

From the first one of these I did I loved doing them, they are fun, creative and really force you to think about how to fit it all together. Some just drop into place with ease others are like a 5,000 piece puzzle of a cloudless blue sky.
Use each of the 5 words within a 50 word count:
diving board, cemetery, encyclopedia, granite, leather
My leather jacket stiffening in the cold air I forced myself forward as if off a diving board into the mist drifting through the cemetery. The granite headstone in the shape of a giant encyclopedia loomed darkly in front of me.  Here lay my first and best teacher, my father.

Picture day

Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, MB

Josh and Eddie - 3D Turnarounds

Writing Challenge

Time for a minor line-up change! Mondays will be anything goes, Tuesday remains writing challenges with prompts from all over, Wednesday will now be picture day, Thursday will be 5x50 or 10x100 days (you’ll get it when you see it) and Friday weekly round-up and anything goes.

So today is writing challenge Tuesday, prompt taken from #51 List ten things you can do with tissue paper.  Pick one from the list and write about it.

1) Wrap a gift
2) Make a butterfly
3) Make a flower
4) Stuff in shoes to keep their shape during storage
5) Waldorf Window stars
6) Wrap breakables for storage
7) Colorful Paper Mache
8) Decorate unique glass candle holders
9) Shred it and make pom-poms
10) Great to start a bonfire with

That time of year has come around again, the time when the cool and summery gets exchanged for the warm and wooly. It’s time for the pretty sandals and painted toes to disappear in exchange for colorful socks and warm lined boots. 

It seems such a short time ago that my favorite boots were put away. Cleaned and polished and left boxed in exchange for the lightweight shoes and strappy sandals of summer.

As I pull them from their box I get a whiff of leather and polish, they still look brand new, the toe still perfectly rounded thanks to the tissue paper stuffed down into the toe.  

Without the tissue paper the leather would have smushed up and have stiffened into an unnatural looking shape, something rather uncomfortable to wear.  Without it these boots would be a rather disappointing favorite for the first few weeks of wear. 

Instead thanks to this simple little use for a simple little thing these boots feel just as new and are as much a favorite every fall/winter season as the first one in which they were bought without having to spend several hundred dollars over again. Well worth a visit to the dollar store for a package of tissue paper.

Huh that really wasn’t the use I thought I was going to write about.


I am not a fan of making school lunches. It is way too hard to convince my pre-coffee brain that putting in the effort to make unique and good lunches each day is really that important. It’s so very easy to fall into the habit of packing the same thing day in and day out. I rarely get complaints from the kids so I can’t be doing to bad and it is always nutritious even if sometimes monotonous.
Of course each and every year and several times throughout the year I vow to start making lunches before heading off to bed even though it never actually happens; or at least not for more than a few days. I always find by the end of the day I’m just too tired to bother. I keep going back to doing it half asleep and semi-focused in the morning.
One part of lunches that I’ve enjoyed the past couple of years however is writing the girls a little message or drawing a little picture and sending it in their lunch.  I’ve done this many different ways on little slips of paper on the edge of a juice box, in the skin of a banana or any other way I can think of.  They are very simple notes of love and encouragement or a silly little joke.   
After hearing from both girls how disappointed they have been to not find any notes in their lunch kits so far this year I’ve realized just how much they have come to love them as well. I also found out that E has saved most of the paper ones I’ve sent and just how much she loves the little joke cards.  She apparently likes to share them with her friends.
So it appears there is one more thing I need to remember to send.   So I decided rather than try to remember each morning, when I dont' remember much I would make a stack of little note cards to send them over the next few weeks rather than do it every day.  Joke ones that flip up to show the punch line for E and very simple pictures and notes for A.  
Hope it keeps them both smiling.

No Time To Lose

Ya, I'm not sure I'll be keeping up with blogging like I have for the last couple of weeks. We'll see how things go, but three classes, on top of a full-time job, and fatherhood is starting to catch up with me.

Things the girls say: Allie has been sleeping in our bed recently - she's been waking up and coming in our room anytime between 12:30 and 5:30 am. She came in the other night, fell back asleep, and then woke up a short time later,looked at me and said "Snuggle with me daddy". Oh...melt my heart!

Workout log: Thursday I did some lifting. Friday was an off day and today (Saturday) I did about 3.2 miles.

Mmmm Cookies

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is soft, it's sweet, and it melts in your mouth and is sinfully delicious.  I've been lucky enough to find one such recipe that is just right and I have been making it for years.  They are by far my favorite cookie as well as my kids and has become part of many a friends's cookie repertoire.
It is a cookie that without fail turns out just right even slightly burnt they still taste pretty darn good with a glass of milk. It’s a very simple and classic recipe which doesn’t have any funny ingredients or odd steps in it; sometimes simplicity is the best ingredient of all.  
I definitely make these cookies more often than any other kind.  Sure I’ve tried different recipes for chocolate chip cookies and I make many other different types but I always come back to this one.  It is the cookie by which all other cookies are judged.
Since my husband was diagnosed as diabetic and our lives have gotten increasingly busy I don’t bake as often as I once did. So it’s been some time since I made these but both girls have been asking daily for me to make some for about two weeks and last night I finally did.
Now I got a little distracted at one point as I was watching a movie from the breakfast bar while making them and I had a little oopsie.  What I did was to add the chocolate chips before the butter and before mixing at all. Normally I would mix the dough with the butter before adding the chocolate chips.
You wouldn’t think it would make that big a difference however I melt the butter before pouring it in so what happened is that I poured a cup of quite hot butter over a pile of chocolate chips which being chocolate melted quite thoroughly.  My mistake was quite evident the moment I turned on the mixer and the dough turned a much different colour than normal.
Realizing my mistake I simply added more chocolate chips and so ended up with chocolate chocolate chip cookies. To quote Richard Scarry, best mistake ever.