Not everyone has a brother, but everyone knows someone with a brother. I have one brother, grew up with a couple of foster brothers and I have friends who I feel as if they were brothers. A brother relationship is much different from my sister relationship. I don’t think it has anything to do with gender, it has everything to do with personality and preferences.

My brother has been my nemesis, my partner, my adversary and standard that I judge by (I know judging isn’t preferable, but we all do it.). But mostly my brother has been my friend, the kind of friend I don’t talk to every day, but when I need to I can call. He always calls me right back. He is turning 50 in 19 days.


Why is it that I am okay with me being 52 but it bothers me that my baby brother is 50? I think of him as the little kid that was into everything. My grandmother called him busy and that was an understatement.  My brother was busy x 10. But I sure did learn a lot from him. He would dehydrate frogs in his jean pockets and then stick them in water. It would take a bit, but those frogs always perked up and he would take them back to the pond. At the age of 9, he quietly sent part of his allowance every month to the Humane Society. We discovered this by the monthly subscription newsletter and thank you cards. He had our little sister on the back of his bike and he couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to pedal. Her leg was caught in the spokes and it broke – the leg, she was 3(?) maybe older? He abandoned his beloved bike and carried her home. He was always rescuing birds, dogs, cats and people. His room was a pet sanctuary filled with rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and dogs. It smelled like a farm.


He is a lot of things. He has no time for fiction, except Star Trek – but I think he thinks it’s a documentary.  It has to be true or it’s wasting his time. This includes liars and fake people. He is fiercely protective of family and friends. He never complains about anything that happens to him or the cards life has dealt him. He doesn’t let what other people say or do bother him. Life is too short to get involved with drama and it has to be his biggest pet peeve. He wants everyone to just get along.


I am fiercely loyal back. I will always choose him.

This guy hates homemade food. Make him homemade cookies, and he rather have store-bought. Make him bbq burgers and he rather have fast food. This guy loves going out to eat so it surprised me when he said I make the best shortbread he has ever had. I am flattered. For his birthday I will make him 50 shortbread cookies. My recipe is here. He will likely hide them under the sofa cushions with a dirty sock on the bag to protect it. He will snack on these during Star Trek Discovery in case anyone wants one.

Happy 50th Birthday Brother, I could have asked for a better one… but you’ll do.

A Hard Truth: I am the family cat


I learned some hard truths this Christmas. Apparently I am the family cat. And here you thought I was people! Well, I guess I had us both fooled.

It all started Christmas Eve, the family was gathered at my brother’s home for dinner and small gifts from the Grandparents to warm us up for the big festivities the following day. My family is hard-core. We meet for every meal in a two-day period. Mostly because we like each other and we like to laugh. The secondary reason is to complain and grumble about stuff we all understand and can sympathize with. The third reason is to eat and open stuff we love because if nothing else, my family puts TON of thought into gifts, the presents are meaningful. Try it sometime, its awesome.


After dinner we were sitting around the living room admiring the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, first tree my brother ever put up, when we started talking about the pets. My youngest nephew (who stands 6’4″ and 225lbs) asked his dad for a puppy for Christmas. He wasn’t interested in a girlie dog, but wanted a manly dog. My mom thought my nephew should get one because his dad (my brother) had every pet he ever wanted. To be fair, my brother look better care of all those pets than he has ever taken care of anything AND my brother is a great guy, so those pets were well-loved. He had Guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, rabbits, and dogs (one dog at a time). My brother does not want a dog anymore because he is tired of looking after animals. My nephew argues that he would look after it and my brother doesn’t buy that story. In the end, he is right, my brother will eventually fall in love with the dog and be the sole caretaker.

This story had us talking about the various dogs that tried to kill us, would run away as soon as the door opened or would fight the ravens back so we could enter the house. All of them great dogs except the one that tried to kill us. Grandpa took him back to the original owner.

These stories reminded me of this video called Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend. I was telling my dad about it, when he said “You are the reason we never had a cat. You were the Cat of the family.” WTF DAD! OUCH! Then I thought about it. He was right. Everything I did, I had a cat attitude. I invite you to watch the video and when you see the yellow words that spell CAT – substitute that word in your head for Edmonton Tourist and you will have a pretty good idea who I was as a kid.

This was posted by @hilariousted on twitter, I see them the same way too:

How I see dogs: Beagle, german shepherd, poodle, bulldog, labrador. How I see cats: Cat, cat, cat, cat, cat .

Hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am!


I’m not Bossy! I just know what you should be doing!

This may come as a surprise to you, but I am a wee bit of a control freak. Laugh it up people. For those that know me, it really isn’t much of a shock. I blame my mom, my grandma and my grade 8 teacher Mrs. Anderson. Maybe “blame” isn’t the right word. Lets call it what it is. I “applaud” my mom, my grandma and my grade 8 teacher Mrs. Anderson for teaching me how to be strong and to be a leader when it is important. I just take it to the extreme.

As you may recall me mentioning before, I was always compared to Lucy from the Peanuts. Loud and Bossy, that’s me! Just ask my siblings, they will be the first to point fingers and accuse me of over stepping boundaries. Although, they also confuse “bossy” with being mean. Sure I could be mean, I AM their sister and everyone who has a sibling knows who the mean one is. It is usually  the oldest, the one with the extra responsibility placed upon their shoulders and the one who worries the most about them, so the mean bossiness manifests itself into the caretaker role as that person matures. Let me say it here and now, there is NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE (with the exception of my parents) who feels more protective over my brother and sister then me.

I learned at a very young age that the women in my family could be counted on, relied upon, they were on the ones that when all else fails, they would come through. I see strength and courage emitting from them in times when most men would curl up in a ball and cry. And yes, they were bossy, loud and could be mean…AND when I say “mean” I mean “for your own good”.

As a little kid I was the one, at the age of 4, who would organize group games, pick teams for the haunted forest hunt, decide who would play with who, and could keep track of all rock trades and keep it fair. All the while, watching out for my brother and my friend’s brother trying to keep them out of trouble. And when I say “trouble” I really mean death or worse. My brother makes Ty Pennington look calm and passive.

There was a time in my life, lets call it the DARK AGES, when I did not subscribe to the leadership tradition of the females in my family. My life fell to ruin, I gave up friends that were very important to me, I lost respect of people I cared about and most importantly I let myself down. It has taken me many years to regain what I lost but with that has come new insight. I learned that I regularly travel from one extreme to another. The last two years I have swung the pendulum the other way and became SUPER BOSSY once again. All I needed was red boots, a long beach towel cape fastened with a safety-pin, a head band to keep my curly locks from straying into my eyes, and a giant B sewn to my chest in an atomic green colour. The bossy boots was finally let out of her cage and came to work, hung out at home, took over PAC meetings and ruled the family. There is something so completely comforting about  control. Knowing where everything is, understanding the answer, moving things around to fit and controlling it all. I did learn something new though, being in total control is stressful and exhausting. I set a personal goal for me this year and it is to let go of some control and watch others take on the leadership roles.

If you are one of those control freaks, like my best friend, then you understand. You might as well have asked me to leave my newborn baby in a basket on the doorstep with a note that says “Good Luck”. This has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I have taken a step or two back and let other people figure it out. They come to me still, but I smile and say “well, what do you think?” I read on a Facebook status posted by a friend today “A bad decision is better than indecision – Tony Soprano”. That made me think. I still need to assert myself when I think it is chaotic and a decision needs to be made. But I like the changes I see in people around me. I feel nervous about an upcoming trip that I have not spent one minute planning ( except the Disney portion). I need to trust that others will take care of me. This is freaking me out just a little bit…And when I say “little bit” I mean I need a Valium.

However, stress is leaving my shoulders and hanging out with someone else for a change. This is important because I have taken on a lot of extra baggage for my trip as the Edmonton Tourist. That hand up I am looking for is called trust.