Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Making Ice Cream, Use Less Fruit. And Hold The Wood.

Adam and I made soft banana ice cream over the weekend.

Using only bananas.  

You cut a couple of bananas into pieces, put them in the freezer, and then once frozen, into the blender.

It turned out tasting very banana-y (obviously).

And it would have been very good ... if I had not used a wooden spoon to help move the bananas along the sides of the blender a little bit, pushing them down so they would turn to mush ... and came up with a bit less spoon.


So much for the banana ice cream.

This evening, I walked into the kitchen to find the brand new package of strawberries open and on the counter, and a bunch gone from the package.

When I called Adam out to put it away, he showed me where the missing berries were.

Yup.  Freezer.

Apparently, we're trying it again.

I'm game for that.

Only THIS time, when making ice cream, we'll use less fruit. 

And hold the wood.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Google Read My Mind Last Night!

I realized the other day that although I may ask questions of my kids, after all these years, I still don't always ask the RIGHT questions.

A few weeks ago, Adam said he was going to 'The Radar' with friends.

All summer, the kids have been swimming in various lakes and for whatever reason, I had assumed The Radar was another place to swim.

We're going to Laurie.

We're going to Oakfield.

We're going to 'Dub J'.

We're going to The Radar.

The Radar, just like one of the other swimming holes.

I assumed.

I did a quick Q & A when I got the call, saying they were going.

Q: 'Where's the Radar?'

A: 'In Beaverbank.'

Q: 'Who's all going?'

A: 'Names Names Names.'

Q: 'How are you getting there?'

A: 'Johnny's driving.' (Johnny being his older brother's friend)

'OK, well be careful and have fun.'

I KNEW I had heard of The Radar, I just couldn't remember in exactly what context.

Because The Radar was still bouncing around in my head a few nights later, with the little nagging doubt, I brought it up to Adam and asked, 'Is the Radar a place to swim?'

He looked at me surprised and said, 'No.'

'Then what is it', I asked.

And that's when he said, 'It's a bunch of big old empty buildings that people go to explore and hang out'.  

And he showed me a few pictures on his phone.

And then it hit me!

The Radar.


Image taken from HERE

NOW I remembered why I knew that name!  I had seen a posting about it somewhere on the Haunted Nova Scotia Facebook page!

All of a sudden it hit me, and I looked at Adam in shock and asked, 'You KNOW that place is HAUNTED!!!  Right?

He replied, 'Yeah, I know', much more calmly than I would have expected.

"Are you serious? You've been going in there?  What's in there?  Have you seen anything freaky? Should you be in there? Is it SAFE?  It can't be safe!"

All of these questions came flooding out of me in one breath.

First, I was trying to process the fact that my kids weren't going somewhere I thought they were.

They hadn't lied about it, I just hadn't asked enough specific questions.

Then, I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that not only was this place they were going dangerous ... which was MOST important, it's supposedly freakin' HAUNTED, too!

After Adam showed me the pics on his phone, and I Googled a few more, I told them I didn't want them going in those buildings.

It's far too dangerous!!!!

I get that kids like to explore old structures like this, but looking at THIS picture I found online ... I DON'T want my kids in there!

Pic taken from HERE

Now here's where things get freaky.

Last night, I was at my Bestie's house. 

During our sip 'n bitch, I decided I wanted to tell her about the haunted building I found out the kids had been to, and wanted to show her some pictures of it, so she could get the full effect of why I didn't want them in there.

I started off with,'I've got a story for ya! But this needs pictures so you can see what I'm talking about'.

That's all I said.

I then grabbed her laptop, went to Google, and typed the word 'The'.

That was ALL I typed.

Then I lost my shit.

What you see in the pic above, is what came up on the Google drop down when I typed the word 'The'. 

THE. That was it.

I freaked and said, 'OMIGOD!!! THAT'S what I was going to talk to you about!'

When she asked what I meant, I pointed at 'the radar beaverbank ns' that was FIRST in the drop down.

'THIS!', I said, 'THIS is what I was going to type in AFTER the word, The'

My Bestie has NEVER searched for 'The Radar' on Google on her laptop. She didn't even know what it was.

I thought it was pretty freaky, that EXACTLY what I was going to tell her about, popped up in the Google drop down, based on the word, 'The', and she's never searched for it.

Why didn't 'The Chronicle Herald', or 'The Weather Network', or 'The Big Bang Theory' or ANYTHING else with 'The' pop up?

Why was it, 'The Radar', when that's EXACTLY what I was going to tell her about? 

I understand how Google works.  It remembers searches.  It picks up other things you might be interesting in searching. It works with algorithms. Blah Blah Blah.

Which means she must have searched for it in the past.

She said she had never searched for The Radar.

I believe her.

When I got home, I tested it out on my own computer.

I typed, 'The' and first on the list in the drop down was 'The Weather Network'.

I got Alec to try it on his phone and the first thing that came back was 'The Chronicle Herald'.

I believe my Bestie when she says she has never heard of or Googled it.

I also believe that it was an interesting, freaky coincidence, that after only typing the word,'The', the topic of conversation I was about to bring up, was right there, staring me in the face.

Yeah, I choose to believe it was an interesting coincidence.

If you would like to see the inside of The Radar, here are a couple of videos.

The first is a group of ghost hunters exploring the site, who get the crap scared out of them.

The second, is a couple of guys walking around the inside and that's pretty much it.  But you get a good view of the dangers inside it.

Even though I still don't want them in there, I completely get the attraction for the boys and their friends.

Part of me is extremely tempted to check it out myself.  But I know I'd be too scared to set foot past the first door. 

Too many unexplainable freaky things happen in this world.

Like how Google read my mind last night.

Or was it the Radar ... reaching out?



Monday, August 11, 2014

Scattering CJ and Remembering Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove

Everyone reacts differently to losing a child. 

The grieving process is as unique as each person going through it.

There is no specific time to 'get over it'.  There is no right time to 'move on'.

Yet those with the best intentions will often encourage a grieving parent to do just that.

Stop doing that, by the way.  It doesn't help.

There is one hope, however, that all grieving parents share. None want their child to ever be forgotten.

Yesterday the boys and I were honoured to participate in a journey to remember two kids, gone way too soon, when we took a road trip to Peggy's Cove to scatter CJ, and remember Rehtaeh.

Four years ago, CJ Twomey took his life.

His mother, and my friend, Hallie, still feels a sense of responsibility for CJ's death.

Despite the fact she KNOWS that her words or actions alone leading up to the moment of his death, were NOT what made him make that fateful choice, she's his mom.  

She can't separate that logic from emotion.   I most likely couldn't either.

CJ was cremated.  And the longer he sat in an urn in Hallie's house, the more she felt she needed to DO something for him.  

One thing that Hallie did to process her feelings of grief, and more importantly, to keep his memory alive, was to send him on amazing journeys, to some of the most beautiful places in the world, through family, friends and strangers who want desperately to help ease her pain.

She created the Facebook page, Scattering CJ, having no idea it would grow to explode into what it has become today. 

From the Scattering CJ page, Hallie's own words ...

"SCATTERING CJ is my attempt to give my son SOMETHING. It’s a mission to show my son – my crazy, life of the party, lover of people, smile so wide it entered a room before he did son – some of the world that he never got to see. It’s an effort to allow my child to forever rest in locations hand picked by caring friends, family and strangers alike.

It’s simply a chance to put my faith in mankind (a faith that has completely disappeared since witnessing my son end his life) and ask that others help me complete CJ’s final journey."

Despite the fact I knew there were literally thousands of people asking for the privilege to take him to the most beautiful corners of the earth, or exciting events, (or ... ahem ... on space shuttles), I asked Hallie if the boys and I could be part of CJ's journey.

Since I personally think one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia is Peggy's Cove, we offered to take him there.  

And she graciously agreed.  And in February, CJ arrived at our house.

We didn't make the road trip to Peggy's Cove right away.

It wasn't the right time of year.  Not for what we were going to be doing.

I was waiting for the 'right' day.

Not too hot. Not too cold. Not too windy. And not raining.

Yesterday (Saturday, Aug 09, 2014) was perfect. Yesterday was the day.

We took CJ to Peggy's Cove in something I consider very special. The box that Alec made me for my birthday.

Hallie still holds CJ very close to her mom heart, so I wanted him to be close to mine. 

As special and important as this journey was to so many, CJ wasn't the only one who came to Peggy's Cove with us.

There was someone else I felt should be there, too.

Before leaving, I ran over to Camp Bow Wow in Dartmouth, and picked out a memory stone, to bring for Rehtaeh Parsons ( Angel Rehtaeh ).

Some of you may remember me telling you about Rehtaeh HERE.

If you don't remember, or have never heard of her, then you REALLY need to know that ... Her Name Is Rehtaeh Parsons!

She still hasn't received justice.  And we still haven't forgotten.

And Rehtaeh Parsons is still her name.

Back to Camp Bow WowI looked at the 5 or 6 memory stones that were in the basket, that had been painted by Rehtaeh's family and thought I picked out the prettiest one.

And I love its message, 'End the Silence'.

I agree.

NOW we were ready to go.

We left mid-afternoon and arrived to a gorgeous sight.

We decided to make our way towards the edge of the rocks first, find a perfect spot to scatter CJ, then we would place Rehtaeh's memory stone on the way back. 

The hardest part was trying to decide WHICH rock we wanted to scatter CJ from.

After some debate, we chose this spot (after those people left).

We got as close to the water as we could, without going in.

We perched on the ledge (wouldn't have been able to do THAT in bad weather!) and I put CJ into each of our hands, then told him that his mother (and father and Connor) loves him, and misses him, and that she's so sorry.

And that I hoped he liked his new home.

As we opened our hands, and CJ went off into the wind and over the water, huge waves roared in and crashed at our feet.

That was kind of cool.

And if you look closely in the video below, for a split second you can see CJ glittering off our hands into the sunshine.

I was so happy the boys were there with me.

To be honest, I was also happy they weren't really creeped or freaked out in any way, (this had been confirmed in an earlier conversation) considering I was asking them to hold a dead boy in their hand, while standing on the edge of a cliff.

Not something every mother asks of her children.

As weird as it may be to some people, my kids knew what this meant to me.

My kids are pretty cool.

We didn't stay long after that.

We headed back to the spot Adam and I had picked out for Rehtaeh.

We had noticed it soon after walking the rocks.

We looked at a couple of options afterwards, well ok ... there were so many nooks and crannies in those rocks, we had a bazillion options!

Most importantly, I wanted it to be tucked away from the water, but noticeable.

We decided on a spot where people were stopping to take pictures of bigger rocks, or the water, or rest, or seemed to be using it as one of the 'main paths' to get closer to the water.

As soon as you stepped down into that clearing, your eyes were drawn to Rehtaeh's stone in the corner.


When we had stopped in the spot the first time, I heard a dog barking behind me, somewhere in the parking lot.

When we went back to place her stone, after doing so, I turned around and not far behind me there were two women sitting on a rock, with a dog (notice on the far right of the pic below).

Rehtaeh loved dogs.  I think she would have liked that there was one there at the time. 

The arrow is showing where we left Rehtaeh's memory stone, in the big scheme of things. 

We were done.

We had scattered CJ and remembered Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove.

I felt a sense of peace and accomplishment.

Our mission was complete.

On the way home, we stopped at a little road side shop and got ice cream.

It just seemed right.

Just like it seemed right that Rehtaeh joined us on our journey with CJ.

Two kids who didn't know each other.

Both gone too soon.

Both I think of often.

Now ... before you go, I ask that you do ONE thing.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video tribute that my boy Adam made for me.

It's pretty awesome!

He captured everything perfectly.

Yes, there's some 'extra' footage of our road trip in there, but we wanted Hallie and Rehteh's family to be able to see everything we did along the way (no, you don't have to watch a full 45 min drive to Peggy's Cove lol).

What you will see, is an Adam masterpiece ;-)


Thanks again my boys, for being there.  Couldn't and wouldn't have wanted to do it without you.

And thanks again Hallie, for letting us be a part of this truly amazing journey.


CJ Twomey and Rehtaeh Parsons are their names.

They won't be forgotten.


P.S.  I'll never get 'Birthday' ice cream again!  It looked good, but did you know they put cake in there?  

Do you know how soggy cake gets in ice cream?!?!?!?