divahh.com
Jan 5 2015

Social Media Pro Not Very Social

social media canada

So this is my “personal” blog. You can see from the content that much of what is written here is about my life or my kids or the dog or yoga or skiing or other junk that isn’t really appropriate for my “business” blog.

I like to write so I created this several years ago when I used to say “I’m a writer” but realized I didn’t actually write.

There are something like 84 posts on this page, all of which I’ve written myself. Some are political, some emotional, some about raising amazing kids, some about the frustrations of getting older but mostly they’re about just how awesome life is.

This one is a bit more serious but, perhaps, the most important.

About 20 months ago my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Crohn‘s disease. It’s a pretty “shitty” (pun intended) disease. I won’t go into details here but, suffice to say, she was really very sick.

At the time we did everything possible to make sure that she not only got better but that she didn’t allow Crohn’s to stand in  her way. Since her diagnosis (she weighed 48lbs on May 3, 2013 at 11 years old) she has battled her way back to be a world-class, elite athlete, an accomplished Grade 8 student and an all-round epic kid. She even counsels other kids with Crohn’s.

We put as much of a positive spin on her sitch as we could and she has taken that positivity and run with it. No joke, this kid is amaze-balls.

It’s taken me about 20 months to realize that as much as I like to think I’m teflon, her illness has had a profound effect on me too.

Perhaps it’s timing. I’m 48 so my hormones think they’re hilariously playing silly-buggers with my body. But I think there’s more to it.

I’m only now starting to recognize that my decline in health started around the same time as the diagnosis. Since then I’ve gained about 20lbs, broken my foot, herniated a disc in my neck. I have constant pain in my extremities and my usual workout routine had to be scrapped. Three weeks ago I got the great news that my thyroid was hypo (not hippo) which was just another piece of the puzzle.

Its January 5th and I’m finally figuring out that much of these issues has to do with the latent stress of having a kid with a chronic illness. Its no ones fault, it just sneaks up on you and BAMB! 20 months later you look in the mirror and realize you’ve lost the plot.

The good news is, its all fixable.

If you find that you’re in a similar boat, I have a couple of suggestions that may help. First of all, don’t listen to any western doctors! I went to the doctor, he said “women your age often have a general feeling of malaise”. WHAT THE FUCK?! I, somehow, didn’t tear his head off but, come on! (I also didn’t go find him and flaunt my thyroid test in front of him. He’s old. That would have been mean)

Go see a naturalpath. Seriously. Best thing I ever did. Someone who will listen. Not all NP’s are the same so find someone who has experience with your, particular, issues. I found Julie Durnam and she was amazing. She listened. She had a hunch. She tested me and proved her hunch. Now, she and I are working together to figure things out. For the first time in a long time, I feel like someone actually gives a shit about what’s happening with  me.

(this post is getting a bit too long so….)

Look, if you have a sick kid or you’re freaked out about money or you’re in a crap marriage, don’t sit around thinking you can fix it yourself. You need to go talk to someone who will listen to you. I found Julie. You can definitely find someone who can help. If you don’t have the cash try to do a contra deal. (trade) Dr’s are busy people, they need stuff done too. Who knows, you might prove invaluable to someone who could really help you.

My 2 cents. (the next post will be much better. I think I’ll chronicle the “journey” (hate that word) to recovery…we’ll see.)


Apr 15 2013

Best Parent Ever!

DSC_0239Ok, I know that this title sounds really boastful and maybe a little smug but I really am the best parent ever….or at least that’s what I’m working toward.

There’s a lot of research that goes into single-parenthood. Lots of academics and psychologists spend a lot of time and a lot of money trying to figure out what makes kids great kids. Why are some kids motivated and curious and others checked-out and bored?

I hear, all the time, about the chemicals in a teenager’s brain. In fact, there seems to be some sort of free-pass to teens because their brains have not yet been wired for reason or even common sense.

I think that’s a load of shite to be honest. (here’s where the smug part comes in :)

I have 2 daughters. They’re 11 and 14. I don’t really know any other kids that are as awesome as they are and I know you may be thinking that I have to say that because I’m their mom but I’ll bet that once this article has been circulated a little there will be enough comments to convince you that they’re pretty much epic. (even if their mom writes massive run-on sentences ;)

When I meet other kids I categorize them into 2 groups: those who can look me in the eye and talk to me and morons. I know, I know, that’s probably not fair but, to be honest, I don’t have time for a kid who isn’t interested enough in me to communicate correctly. Depending on the kid, and the opinions of my kids about them, I may be willing to cut them some slack, but not always.

I have, on several occasions, had people ask me to divulge the secret for raising great kids. Most of the time I just want to say, “you’re too late, you should have started 15 years ago!” I find that there are a lot of parents out there who still think that the way they were raised is enough to raise good kids. WAKE UP!

Things are so different today that you have to adapt.

My mom (who was/is a great parent btw) used to say “I’m not your friend, I’m your mother.” Well guess what? That doesn’t work anymore. You have to be friend and parent nowadays because if you don’t open that friend door and constantly communicate with your kids, from the time they arrive in the world, then you’ll find it impossible to get them to talk to you when they’re teens.

It used to be that our parents thought that our friends should be our confidants. Today, if you’re a teenage girl and you confide in your friend, the minute you piss her off all of your secrets appear in print for the world to see.

Bullying is crazy now. When we were kids it was confined to the hours that you were in front of the bully. Today kids are bullied 24/7 with no relief and no recourse. Can you imagine the stress of this, coupled with no one to help you figure out what to do? God, its must be agonizing.

I don’t think its ever too late to open the door to your kids. You have to really see them. You have to care so much that you are willing to go to bat for them. You have to trust them so they will be trust-worthy. Most of all, you have to love them more than you love yourself and be willing to, literally, put yourself between them and harm.

I love my girls so much that it hurts my heart sometimes. We are closer than anyone I know and we tell each other everything, keep each others confidence and trust each other fully. As a result, my kids are growing up to be the most amazing, beautiful, brilliant citizens of the world.

Imagine how great you would have done (or did do) in life if you always had someone in your corner you could rely on.


Mar 30 2012

Kids Have to Sleep in Airport Alone – Travel Hell

Ok, that was a lie to get you to read the article. The kids didn’t actually have to sleep in the airport alone but they did sleep in the airport. Wait, I’m getting quite a bit ahead of the story here.

What follows is an account of the worst trip I have ever taken and how 2 amazing kids kept everything in check throughout the many, MANY ordeals that occurred in a short, 5 day jaunt to Los Angeles.

Everyone has a “travel hell” story. I even have a couple. Take coming from (to Vancouver, BC) from Fort Lauderdale when the kids were 5 and 8. Our connection from Dallas to Seattle was CANCELLED meaning we couldn’t fly out of Ft. L and had to wait, in the airport for 12 hours for the next flight to LA then a connection to Seattle. It got better when they actually frisked my 5 year old at security in LA! She was 5! What could she possibly be hiding in her 2′ frame?

That was a bad one. But it doesn’t even touch what happened this past weekend.

My girls are cheerleaders, and they’re really good. So good, in fact, that the eldest got to go to LA to compete this year with her team. We were excited. It’s the first time we’ve had to fly to a competition and we’d been planning since November.

As the 21st of March approached I made the necessary arrangements for our additional day in LA. We thought it would be fun to arrive a day early and see Santa Monica and Venice Beach. I booked a hotel and reserved a car. Everything was sorted and ready.

Things went well through the border line up at Peace Arch. We flew out of Bellingham airport with little difficulty and landed in Seattle on time. Since the travel agent booked us a flight that had a 4 hour stop over (ugh) in Seattle we went to grab some food and hang out. While eating we made the plan that we would wait out our 4 hour layover at the proper gate for our next flight. We hopped on the wee train and headed to the main terminal.

Once there, we scoped out a good, comfy spot, took off our shoes and loaded up Netflix. Within 3 minutes my 13 year old said “they just called our names over the PA system!”

The Alaska Airline lady called us “final boarding call”.

WTF?

We bolted 2 gates over to learn that our flight had been bumped up 2 hours and they closed the doors behind us! That was a close call. I didn’t receive an itinerary change from the travel agent. Weird.

Upon arriving in LA we caught the Hertz shuttle, stood in line for our rental for 45 minutes only to find out that, in America, you have to leave a $200 credit card deposit to rent a car. No mention of that was made when I booked through the Hertz customer service 1-800 line the day before.

The Hertz guy suggested I have someone use their card to make the deposit for me. I said I could have my parents do it. I’d have to call them. He mentioned they’d have to be there in person. Huh? If I’d done it all over the internet or phone they credit card deposit would not have been “in person”.

Now we’re stranded at LAX at 11pm. Awesome.

Thankfully a friend in LA saved us the next day and, for that, we will be eternally grateful. Needless to say Santa Monica etc was out for the Friday. No car, no beach.

Our friend gave us a lift to our downtown hotel, the Marriott which, by the way, does not have free WIFI. For $160/night you have to pay an additional $9.95 for WIFI. Super.

She then dropped us in Hollywood where we got to do some super fun sight-seeing and we learned about the LA public transit system which we began using to get around.

Saturday and Sunday went relatively smoothly since we were at the competition the entire time. The people we were with were great so they made things a lot of fun.

Monday was Disneyland. What can I say? It was awesome!

We got home from DL at about midnight and I packed everything for an early start. Though our plane didn’t leave til 4:20 we decided to get to the airport early then head out to Santa Monica. By this point the girls were pretty skeptical that we’d make it to the beach at all but I was determined!

The plan was to store our bags at the airport then jump on the #3 bus to SM, shop, beach etc then get back to the airport. Well, I guess since 911 airports in the States no longer store bags. Super!

The Alaska Airlines woman had the suggestion that we go to the LAX Marriott and have them store the bags instead. Free shuttle to the Marriott, bus to Santa Monica and we were finally at the beach!

I’d looked up the Pier and read:

There is no admission to enter the Santa Monica Pier. If you are interested in the amusement park, Pacific Park does not charge upon entry.
Thinking that meant that there was no charge, I was surprised to find out that it was $5/ride. Not exorbitant but still…
We had a lot of fun at the Pier though and on the beach. We took a ton of photos and were able to get my youngest her Tom’s shoes. Her only purchase goal on the entire trip.
Heading back, we had lots of time to grab our bags and get to the airport. Here’s where it gets really great!
Upon check in we were told that flight time had been changed to 3:10pm from 4:20pm and that the doors had just closed. (no itinerary change was sent for this either :(
We missed it. Not only that, the next flight was full and the 7pm had only 3 seats. Though we managed to get those 3 seats we were told that the flight from Seattle to Bellingham at 11pm was also booked and that we would have to spend the night in SeaTac if they couldn’t get us on standby.
I’m sure you can connect the dots and work out how karma was killing us on this trip. Of course, we didn’t make the standby.  2 people didn’t show up and we needed 3 seats. We had to bunk down in the airport to wait for our 8am flight out.
Sleeping in the airport when you’re 20 and backpacking is no big deal. Sleeping in the airport with a 10 year old and a 13 year old is a BIG, BIG deal. We were freezing, hungry, exhausted.
The silver lining is this though; my girls were amazing! They didn’t complain. There were a few tears but no tantrums or overly dramatic behaviour. Just an acceptance that, as long as we’re together, we’re ok. I’m so proud of them.
That’s the story. I don’t want to tell it again. I don’t love LA and it’s going to be a while before I board another plane. I just want to stay home for a while now.
Do you have a dreadful travel story? Add it in the comments! Misery loves company ;)

Feb 28 2012

funny

customer: Do you have any cameras?

cashier: Camels!?!?!?!?!?!

customer: Haha no I said Cameras. Do you have any Cameras?

:) By Shaye age 10 :)