Time Traveller

45 RecordI was in grade six when Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band released their album entitled; Against the Wind. In June of that year I celebrated my twelfth birthday.

That birthday stands out as one of my best because my big brother, Jim, gave me the 45 single release of Against the Wind. I spent hours in my parents’ basement listening to that song over and over again.

I just loved it!

Flash forward to September 3rd, 2014 and I am in my kitchen making dinner for my family. Against the Wind starts playing on my iPad and I am immediately transported back twenty-four years. I am back in that basement getting ready for my birthday party with my friends. I am wearing my canary yellow shirt with the matching pants (oh dear!!!). And before my friends arrive, I am making sure that Against the Wind is the 45 sitting on the record player so it will be the song that kicks off my party.

I have always wished that I could travel back in time. The idea of having the opportunity to visit or to re-visit the past just fascinates me.

Isn’t it extraordinary to think that, tonight, I did just that?!? 🙂Against the Wind



Sympathy for the Devil

Katie and the boys.

That is my life.

And…I love it!

Field TripAt 9:00 sharp this morning, I arrived in Michael’s classroom to drive a van load of kids for a class field trip. We were heading out of the city to do some tree planting at a nature reserve for a few hours.

I am a boy mom. And do you know what that means for teachers and field trips? It means that every single field trip I have driven for the past ten years has been a boy field trip. I never get girls in my group. I get the ‘highly energetic‘ boys.

I am exhausted by the end of the field trip but, truly, I love it!

When we all piled into the van after the national anthem and attendance this morning, spirits were high. The boys asked for the radio on loud and, as we made our way out of the city, they took it in turns to punch each other repeatedly and dance wildly to the music (with their seat belts on, of course). At one point I thought the car was breaking down because it started to shake uncontrollably. Fortunately, it only took me a few seconds to realize that it was just five pre-teen boys thoroughly enjoying the music.

Mom DrivingUnfortunately, our trip was rained out. We had been there no more than twenty minutes when the thunder started to rumble and the trip called off. I have to say that the disappointment was painfully palpable for the first few minutes of our return car trip.

Back to school…drag!

It only took a few minutes for the kids to amp back up. And, because they had not had the opportunity to get their ‘ya-yas out‘ traipsing through the woods for three hours, the energy was a little harder to take. And as the van started to shake again, I wondered whether I was going to make it back to school with all my marbles safely in place.

That is when something extraordinary happened…

I flipped the radio to Q107 which is a Toronto rock station. Moments later, the Rolling Stones launched into those unmistakable opening notes of Sympathy for the Devil. ‘Name That Band’ is one of my favourite car games with my kids so I yelled over the music to the wild men in the back of my van…’name that band…!’

They knew it was vintage but they had trouble nailing it…Led Zeppelin, ACDC, The Who, The Beatles, Pink Floyd…

When I told them the logo had a big red tongue hanging out I heard someone shout…’The Rolling Stones‘! And then, much to my surprise and delight, all five boys got really quiet and listened to the entire six minute and twenty three second song.

Who knew? All I needed to tranquillize five boys was a little bit of The Stones!

My extraordinary moment today is bearing witness to the power of really great music.

And so, to Mick and the boys, my deepest and most sincere thanks for your rockingly awesome music. Not to mention the six minutes and twenty three seconds of sanity-restoring quiet! 🙂Rolling Stones

The Flip Side of Laughter

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

I arrived home from my retreat yesterday afternoon to an absolutely heart-melting welcome from Simon and my boys. And even though I had only been gone four days it felt simply wonderful to be tucked back into the bosom of my family.

Simon made it clear that even though I was home, I was still on retreat and was not to ‘do’ anything. He also informed me that my calendar was clear and today was for resting, relaxing and accomplishing very little. After the kids left for school this morning I decided that another Raw Chocolate Mousse Pie was in order. I mean, after all, what is a cup of afternoon tea without a little treat beside it?

One of the things I love about having the house to myself is that I get to listen to my own music. And, with Christmas just two weeks away, I decided that my Christmas playlist was exactly what I was in the mood for. I sang along to all my favourites; Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Wintersong’, John Lennon’s ‘War is Over’, Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ and lots more.

As I sang I was aware of snippets of Christmas memories drifting through my consciousness, almost as if I was watching a lovely old home movie. I saw my grandparents, my siblings, much younger versions of my parents and each one of my kids as babies and toddlers. I remembered cute little Christmas sleepers and outfits and I felt exquisitely nostalgic.

Raffi's ChristmasThe nostalgia shifted quickly into a flood of tears when my playlist offered up one of Raffi’s Christmas songs. I was immediately transported back to our Dundas kitchen at Christmastime about seven years ago. We were all in the kitchen decorating gingerbread houses and Raffi’s Christmas CD was playing. As Raffi was the equivalent of a rock star in our house back then, he got plenty of airtime (I am actually pretty sure I could perform, in order, every single song from Baby Beluga!)

Anyway, we were all singing along to Raffi’s Christmas classics when a song I had never heard started to play. It is an original of Raffi’s called ‘A Child’s Gift of Love’. The song just grabbed me by the heart and moved me to tears. I remember Michael, who was 4-years-old at the time, looking at Simon in a kind of panic and asking; ‘what’s wrong with mommy?’

With loving laughter in his voice, Simon assured Michael that there was nothing wrong with Mommy. He told Michael that; ‘Mommy doesn’t just cry when she’s sad, she cries when she’s happy too.’ Michael looked puzzled but seemed to accept Simon’s explanation and went back to his gingerbread house.

I didn’t realize it at the time but Simon was setting the tone for how our kids handle tears- especially women’s tears. He was showing them that he didn’t need to fix me, make me happy, change how I was feeling or shame me for my weakness. He just passed me a Kleenex and gave me an affectionate hug.calvin hug

As I broke down in my kitchen this morning all I could think was; ‘my children sure know about tears now.’ One of the most common refrains in our house is; ‘mom’s crying again.’ And nobody panics. Nobody rushes to my side on their white horse to fix me. I get a hug, a smile and sometimes an affectionate shake of the head for my uber-sentimentality. But nobody’s feathers are ever ruffled by my frequent and healthy outpourings of emotion.

Imagine the boyfriends, husbands and partners these men are going to be because they know how to be with both laughter and tears!

Mom’s crying again.

And the crazy thing is, from one day to the next I never quite know what will trigger a fresh bout of tears; a Raffi song, a Facebook post, a Dr. Suess book, the hug I got from Michael to welcome me home yesterday or the hug I got from Max when I was leaving.

Yes indeed, Mom’s crying again. And she will keep on doing so for all of her days…I mean, after all, tears really are just the flip side of laughter.

Carolina in my Mind

I know I am at risk of sounding like a broken record but…I love my work! I absolutely love delivering workshops, designing workshops, coaching and running the day-to-day of my business. On a workshop delivery day, I bounce out of bed at 4:50am, delight in donning my ‘big girl clothes’ and board the 6:20am GoBus with a smile in my heart.

This morning, however, was a different story. This morning I dragged myself out of bed after a restless night of sleep and pulled myself through my morning routine. When Simon dropped me at the bus in the cold and dark morning, all I could think was; ‘I just want to be at home.’ When I got on the bus I felt deflated and kind of sad and it wasn’t long before I realized that I was feeling homesick. I wanted to be tucked up at home having a quiet morning with my family. I did not want to be on a dark and quiet bus with a bunch of sleeping strangers heading into the Big Smoke.

By the time I got off the bus at Union Station the sun, thankfully, had risen, so life was starting to look a little brighter. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was heading to College and Bay and decided the walk would do me good so I headed down into the PATH. I coached myself as I walked and reminded myself that I love what I do and that I feel privileged to be living such a rewarding and exhilarating professional life. And as I walked I began to feel the homesickness releasing its grip and my day beginning to unfold.

Just as I was starting to feel better I hit the Eaton Centre and as I walked by the Food Court I was met with the melodious magic of James Taylor’s ‘Carolina in my Mind’. I absolutely love James Taylor’s voice, his music and his lyrics and as I walked I just couldn’t help but sing along. And I didn’t just sing under my breath, I really sang out with gusto. And as I sang I felt as if James was walking right there beside me with a smile in his heart as he serenaded my morning blues away.

I sang all the way to College and Bay and by the time I arrived at my destination I feel utterly transformed. I had a wonderful day of training at CIBC. I connected, I played, I laughed and I lived the work I love so thoroughly. And I was able to do that because James Taylor had been sent with such exquisite serendipity for me this morning.

I am always amazed at the power of music to transform mood, to shape space, to warm the soul and to remind me of the sheer power of love.

And so, a big and loving thank you goes out to all the brilliant musicians out there who make the music that transforms me, inspires me and makes my heart sing out so loudly and so resonantly!

Ain’t no doubt in noone’s mind that love’s the finest thing around…’