MOB ie: Mother of the Bride

our daughter got married on the weekend.  i sit here dealing with a mixture of emotions that only a MOB can understand. some of my thoughts and advice follow and my hope is that my reflections will help another MOB someday:

~ it was hard to let her plan using her ideas and not mine.  i learned quickly that she was in charge…… how it should be.  i’m a control freak; letting go of giving my opinion was hard.  i kept thinking, “it’s her wedding, not yours. just keep quiet.”  i will admit, though, i was excited when she did ask my opinion.  my advice:  keep your opinion to yourself, hug her a lot and open your pocketbook when it’s needed.

~ fun!  the wedding weekend was so much fun!  relatives arriving, visiting with friends, seeing plans put into place. when i wasn’t stressing about flowers or getting the right people to the right locations, i was having fun!  my advice:  relax and have fun…..

~ loosen the purse strings.  this is my only daughter. i hummed and hawed about getting a manicure, a pedicure and spending money on having my hair done for the day.  i did it all and i’m really glad i did. it made me feel very elegant for this special day.  my advice:  do what you need to make yourself feel special and beautiful.  you’re the second female people are looking at on her wedding day.

~ i wasn’t prepared for the let down the following days. we planned and prepared and dreamed for months.  she got to go to europe with her new husband; i went back home to do laundry and put the memories on a shelf.  in all the reading i had done about being the MOB, i had never encountered this warning……  so now you’ve been warned.  my advice: have a project ready to do when the day is over and you go home to a bit of emptiness.

~ giving her away was easy.  watching her drive away was hard.  i barely shed a tear all day. i was so happy for her.  she was so beautiful and excited.  i don’t understand the raw emotion of the driving away and how it seemed to rip my heart open but i had to grab onto my husband and shed some painful tears.  i guess i realized she really is someone else’s now.  the little girl i brought into this world and fussed over and played with and prayed for is now in the care of her husband.  i totally trust him. i love him like a son.  it’s just hard.  my advice:  just be prepared for this moment.

that’s it.  my thoughts and advice for others.  my daughter is married yet still very close in proximity. i’m thankful for that.  my final word of advice; this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for your baby girl.  give it all you’ve got.  leave nothing behind.  do it for her, not for you.




cookbooks.  definition: a book containing recipes and instructions for cooking.

i grabbed one of my many, many cookbooks the other day and decided that a lot of my cookbooks hold more than just “recipes and instructions for cooking.”  i realized that they also follow the story of my life.  the book i pulled out was the one with handwritten family  recipes in it; the one with the Christmas cookies and Christmas morning breakfast that has been a family tradition since before i was married.  i pulled out another one that has a handwritten recipe for pomme de tart that my son copied down when he was a whole lot younger than he is now.  i have a collection of recipes from one New Years’ Eve when our kids decided they wanted to try recipes from other countries for fun (never dreaming that one day my daughter and i would be teaching ESL to people from some of those countries); i still remember what a fun adventure that cooking night was.  i have a picture of my son when he was a computer camp one summer (much to his dismay i still keep it in that same cookbook.)

i have binders full of recipes in many different categories.  there’s a category for appetizers, mains, side dishes and one is even for my husband’s smoothies kick (when he was on one of his “kicks”).  i have dozens of specific books that for a time were so very important to me; slow cooker books, cookie recipes, famous chef cookbooks, cookbooks from fundraisers – all tell a story of my life in a very different way. as i take the time and leaf through the pages of some of these books, i can recall homes we’ve lived in, events that took place, people that i can connect them to, feelings of joy and excitement and sometimes even sadness; you name it, it comes to the surface.  it’s almost like looking through a timeglass into my past.

i love to cook and i know that i’ll still continue to print-off and collect recipes, buy books, admire famous chefs and increase their fortunes, support specific magazines, and cook and bake to my heart’s content.  someday, when my grandkids are going through my piles of cookbooks, i hope they can understand a little bit more about who their grandma was……… and bake something from them in my memory 🙂


today is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran’s Day in the United States.  this is the day we honour and remember our servicemen and women.  we take time to think about the freedom we so take for granted.  as an esl instructor part of my responsibility is to teach our newcomers what this special day means to us.  therefore, we took time out to watch the ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

the ceremony was quite nice.  we watched dignitaries arrive, saw them shake hands and salute one another. they showed pictures of veterans; some really old, some young.  everyone stood while “O Canada” was being played.  we watched and listened as the Last Post was played by a lone trumpet player and everyone was still for the 1 minute at 11:00 while we focused on those that have lost their lives in the line of duty.  after the moment of silence was finished and the bagpipes played, a cannon went off.

it wasn’t until a bit after 11:00 that i noticed the box of kleenex was grabbed and given to one of the students.  i heard her blow her nose and not wanting to gawk, i allowed the other instructor take look after whatever was going on.

we started in on an activity to finish off the morning and that’s when our student shared…… her story.  she escaped from Cambodia. she was pregnant at the time and a Red Cross worker helped her deliver her baby.  she was all that was left of her family.  both of her parents and all of her siblings died; she was the only one that made it out alive.  she said that every time she hears a gun go off, she is afraid and it brings back horrid memories for her.  she shared how seeing the veterans upsets her because she knows that her parents and her siblings never grew old.

as i listened to her story, i stood there fighting back the tears and wondering how anyone ever goes on after something like that.  it made me think of the freedom i take for granted.  i thought about my own parents and how i’ve been blessed to see them mature in their golden years and how they’ve held their grandchildren and hopefully, someday, great-grandchildren.  i realized that i take many things for granted.

all i can say is “thank-you” to those who have served. “thank-you” to those who have given their lives so that i can have freedom.  i can never thank them personally; i just hope they know they are appreciated and never forgotten.

Summer Walks……… come to an end

as summer draws to an end and  i have to make my way back into the classroom, my mind is streaming all of the things i did this summer.  one of those many things was my walks.  i’ve been thinking about all of the kilometers i’ve walked, who i’ve had the company of walking with and the number of calories i’ve burned.  here are a few insights into my summer walks:

i’ve walked many k’s with Tanner, our dog. i’ve also been joined by my son, my daughter and her boyfriend, my husband, his aunt and uncle, my friend, gayle, and my grandpuppy, Wes but mostly i walked with God and my thoughts.

i’ve gotten to know my neighbours on my walks.  there are 2 older ladies who now wave at me when i walk by.  the couple at the end of the street wave and even say “hi” now when I walk by.  the LOUD, crusty older lady 2 blocks down will still say “hi” and i don’t even need to take out my ear buds to hear her.  i’ve learned to wave at our neighbour with the permanent tracheotomy instead of saying “hi”. i’ve learned that a smile from me brings a smile to others.

Tanner has kept relaxed porch setters entertained as he’s chased many a harried squirrel up a tree.  i’ve learned not to be afraid of the hairy man that never looks up when he walks by but to just say a friendly “good morning.” i’ve answered many “thank-you’s” as passer-byes have called out, “you have  a cute dog!” i’ve had to call the police because of a domestic situation one morning as i walked by a house down the street. i’ve dodged cars, raindrops and dog poop. i’ve sweated and wheezed.  i’ve been ready to quit but realized i had to get back home somehow.  i’ve found new walking paths that have restored my desire to exercise.  i’ve been saddened and humbled as i’ve walked by one of the city’s food banks. i’ve argued with God about issues and been overcome with relief when i realized He was right.  i’ve managed to log over 223 kilometers and burn 16,354 calories while walking.  me! a couch potato!

so, tomorrow, it’s back to work. of course, i’ll continue to walk once i’m back at school but i’ve lost the freedom that i’ve found to go walking when i want and how long i want.  i’m glad i’ve had the chance to walk around our good city this summer.  walking is easy, free and you can even learn some stuff, too.  i’ll hang up my summer freedom until next year when i can pick it up off of the shelf, once again, and put it to good use.


scary, hairy man….. who’s really not that scary


old folks apartments where Tanner does his entertaining.




A Bat in the Bedroom????!!!!!

we live in an old house that was built in 1884.  this gives it character plus critters.  so far we’ve never had a bat in the house……. until last night.

i awoke last night at 3:45 am to the breeze of a bat flying by my arm!

i heard a strange sound but figured it was the curtain caught in the small fan that was circulating air around our room.  i drifted off to sleep for a moment until i felt the breeze from a bat fluttering around my arm.  how did i know it was a bat? not really sure…….. i just knew!

i grabbed the covers, threw them over my head and screamed at my husband, “there’s a bat in here!”  poor guy was sound asleep and replied, “what?”  so, I repeated, “there’s a bat in here!”  he was so groggy that his reply was, “what am I supposed to do about it?”  that is totally not like him, by the way! 🙂   i screeched, “get it out of here!”  he got up, turned on the light and proceeded to be my knight in shining armour!  (I’m still under the covers, of course! and our dog is prancing around trying to figure out what’s going on!)

he realized that the intruder had gone out of our room into the adjacent living room and headed that way……. our dog, on the other hand, headed back into our bedroom and immediately under the bed! he must’ve figured this was no toy!  he  should have joined me under the covers!

my knight quickly closed the door and i didn’t hear anything else from him.  i waited. i was dying to go out and see what was going on but i realized that if i did and the bat came at me, i’d start to scream and that would only cause more stress……..  i stayed put!

after a few minutes, my conquistador came back into our room with a tale of triumph that the bat had been freed.  i had to hear the story, of course.  he told how he had lured the bat into the kitchen by turning on the light, how he dodged the being a bit, while it flew around, and then how he managed to get to the door, open it and allowed the bat to find his way out.  i burst into singing “Hero” by Mariah Carey….. all was well, again.

i started to laugh when i realized the event was over.  we retold stories of other times when we had had bats in the house – once when my husband was a kid and once when our own kids were little.

it was hard to get to sleep, again…….  our dog finally gained the courage to come out from under the bed but i was waiting for a repeat of our episode. I actually don’t mind bats as long as they’re flying around the backyard and not flying by my arm at 3:45 am.  they should be out eating mosquitoes instead of terrorizing me………..

the procedure (or) please wait and wait some more

the waiting room of a hospital is an interesting place.  i had a small procedure performed this morning and here are some observations i have made.  it’s almost impossible for me, Suzy Penny, to sit and not write…… no matter where i am.  here we go:

1. there’s no need to worry about getting to the hospital at your assigned apt time.  just go anytime you want as long as it’s not AFTER your apt.  i’ve tried this little experiment.  i’ve arrived right on time….. and waited for an hour past my given apt time.  today, i arrived 45 minutes earlier.  didn’t matter. i still waited until AFTER allotted time.  hospitals don’t have a concept of time.  huge proof of this was the clock in the waiting room.  my husband brought to my attention that it said 8:40 AM when it was clearly 9:10 AM.  when i finally went into my apt, it still read 8:40 AM.  Can anyone say “Twighlight Zone”?

2. everyone is dying to know what each other is there for.  what procedure? what disease? give me the gories!  but the question is never posed. looks are tossed around and quiet assumptions are made while conclusions are drawn but no one ever knows what………………………..

3. when you enter for a procedure at our hospital you’re given a number – like the one at the deli counter which is a much more desired place than this- and that gets attached to your paperwork for the duration of your stay at the hospital.  the numbers don’t go in order and they skip around all over the place.  today is i was “G77” which meant nothing until i heard it called.  There was a poor man at one point that got his 6 and 9 mixed up.  he almost went for the wrong procedure.  when a number is called, everyone waits a brief second to check their number before making a move. no one wants to go in for a procedure that might happen at the wrong end.

4. my sweet husband went with me this morning and at my urging, he went to get a tea for his wait.  while he was gone, i set my purse in his chair to ‘save it’.  he thanked me when he got back because the place had filled with lots of people and he would have had to stand. i told him it was no problem. i’m kinda particular who i sit next to in a hospital waiting room!

5.the chairs in the waiting room are pretty funny.  first of all, i believe they are circa 1977. these wooded-armed single seat creations are covered in a lovely orange hounds-tooth pattern. your little tushy sinks into this hole as you slide down into the contraption so the you bend over to see if you’re almost touching the floor. i’ve been here so long that i’m not sure i’ll be able to get out once they call my number.  my husband might have to give me a little kick with his foot at the bottom of my chair to get me out of it.

6. after i heard my number being gloriously sung over the sighs of other patients, i was herded down a hall and into a locker room where i had to put on one of those lovely backward gowns. “oh, and don’t bother to tie it up,” said the man in the blue scrubs.  great!  so here i waited, again, with a cold back on a hard service, this time, for him to come and get me.  good thing i was born a tough broad!

finally the procedure was done and i walked out of the room with all of my clothes on and in one piece.  all-in-all it was an experience that i wouldn’t call horrible but one that can be written about and laughed about.  i hope i can continue to laugh at stuff like that as i age. might be the only way i’ll get through like.


her name is Rebecca so i like her right away.  i notice that she came to arts camp all by herself which, in my opinion, is a brave thing to do.  i watch as she sits quietly, her dark curly hair draped over one shoulder, her eyes watching as the other girls tell secret jokes and stories from last year.  she sits at the end of the table eating her lunch quietly, watching as sandwiches are devoured and more jokes are passed around. she comes to me with reasons why her throat is sore and she can’t sing very well today.  i wonder if it’s nerves or she really is fighting a cold. as others are waiting for parents to arrive at the end of the day to pick them up, she gets on her bike and rides home by herself.

my mind takes me back to days of my youth.  the camp where i knew no one.  the tent-mate who never talked to me. those with friends sitting around the campfire telling stories and sharing secrets.  i remember the feeling of loneliness all too well and i feel a lump well up in my throat.

youth can be a strange and lonely place.  i often recall moving to a new city and dreading the start of a new school year where i knew no one.  another memory rises in my mind how i came into contact with a girl who took me as her friend immediately.  was she lonely, too? i don’t think so but she took the chance and spoke to the new band girl, offered to eat lunch with her became my best friend during high school.  

am i more aware of kids like Rebecca because of my own story? arts camp is only one week but maybe quiet Rebecca can find a friend, make her own secret jokes and stories and be more aware of others like her.  and then, she can be the friend next year to the lonely girl.  i sure hope so.