Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

27 January 2009

Just a quick observation ...

Computers are evil and I hate them! I want to kick mine out into the nearest snowbank and watch the plow crush it into a million tiny scraps of plastic!

Okay, now I feel a little bit better. Hope you're all having a good day.

26 January 2009

Brief Hiatus

Here's the thing - I was looking at my workload over the next couple of days, and I came to the conclusion that there's no room for extras. In the next two days, I have two stacks of exams to mark, 5 classes of report card marks to prepare, two new courses to prep, and that's while still teaching middle school music classes for half of each day, attending semestrial meetings, taking care of my 5-year old son, my dog and myself. I also fell on the ice this weekend, screwed up my knee so I can't walk without my mom's cane and have to fit in a doctor's appointment somewhere. Such is life. So I'll be back in a couple days. Have a great week's beginning.

25 January 2009

A Romantic Self-knowing Believer? Take the Quiz!

I saw this on Julie's site when I came back to my blog last week and I mentally said to myself "I wanna do that quiz, just to see if who I am is who they judge me to be by their criteria." So here it is, Sunday morning and I promised myself that I would blog SOMETHING every day, and I don't have much time before we head out for church but I remembered the quiz on Julie's blog and I thought it might do the trick. If you haven't, you really should do this quiz - it gives you some ideas of what you might plan for in your future. Take me for example: I am going to start on my five year plan and get a tattoo (was planning on that anyway for this year). Here are my results (see comments to follow):

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm a
Romantic Self-Knowing Believer

0.62% of the 73503 people who have taken this quiz are like you.

Romantic? Absolutely! Maybe too much so, because my head is in the clouds on this one. Maybe I haven't been terribly lucky in love, but I believe in it with everything in me.

Self-knowing? A work in progress. I am self-aware, but there are times I astonish myself. Maybe I dwell on it too much, but at least I am realistic about who I am and what I am capable of accomplishing.

Believer? I used to be a sceptic. God was a big part of my upbringing, but as life's little surprises took their toll on me, the existence of God became a big question mark in my mind. I have always been spiritual but I wasn't sure about HIM. Rory changed that for me. Maybe I shouldn't give all the credit to him, but he was a devout believer and a churchgoer, and we talked about my doubts and the source of my questioning. Then he took me to his church and I found the answers I was seeking. You can live a lifetime and never miss what I found with Rory and my new church family, but once you've experienced it, you can't ever be satisfied without it. Yeah, I'm a believer.

24 January 2009

23 January 2009


This isn't my "real" post today (see below for a boastful blurb on my lovely hometown!), but I just had to mention this.

I was thrilled to the soles of my sexy black patent stiletto boots to hear that American Idol winner Taylor Hicks is releasing a new album entitled "The Distance" very soon. I had the privilege of hearing the first single "What's Right Is Right" the other night and I thought it was a solid piece of work, although perhaps not very commercially driven. If you enjoy good, solid blues-based music, you definitely should give this a listen. The track list for this new album is:

"Wedding Day Blues","Seven Mile Breakdown","What's Right Is Right","Woman's Gotta Have It","New Found Freedom","The Distance","Nineteen","I Live on a Battlefield","Maybe You Should","Once Upon a Lover of Mine","Keepin' It Real"

On the darker side of the music world, I also heard that a more recent Idol contestant is making a play for the charts this winter in the form of an EP: Sanjaya Malakar. The only thing I remembered about this kid was his unfortunate choice of hairstyles and a really toothy grin. Nevertheless, in a weak moment, I clicked on the link (NEVER click on the link!) and gave a listen to his single "Tell Me Who I Am". Let me just say that I would suggest that a more appropriate title to the EP might be "Screaming In Agony at the Music in Your Head". I'll tell you who you are, Sanjaya Malakar. You're the only singer I've ever heard who made me appreciate Justin Timberlake just a little bit more.

Moncton, NB Named One of the Top Seven "Smart Cities" of the World! (Woohoo! Go Moncton!)

Time for me to show off my civic pride. This is huge news to us and explains in part why, while so many cities are crumbling under current economic woes, Moncton is thriving, growing and increasing it's economic base. My brother's chosen home, Fredericton, was also chosen as one of the top seven. Imagine that - two of the top seven cities in our small province! This is the place to be, people. I've been telling everyone that for years, and now the Intelligent Community Forum has recognized it, too. Woohoo!

Here's an exerpt from today's (Jan. 23, 2009) Moncton Times-Transcript newspaper:

What's A Smart City Award Worth?

Moncton and Fredericton have both been named two of the top seven "smart cities" of the world by a New York-based think tank, joining cities in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Estonia and the United States for the honour.

Picked from an initial field of 430 candidates from four continents, the naming of two Canadian cities is all the more remarkable because of their close proximity.

The Intelligent Community Forum is devoted to the growth of what it calls the "broadband economy" and recognizes communities for innovations in high-speed communications and information technology on both the global and local levels.

In naming Moncton, ICF's judges said, "Twenty years ago, the Moncton region was a former railroad and industrial hub facing a doubtful future. Since then, this bilingual community has become a major Canadian customer contact and back office centre, and built a "near-shore" IT outsourcing industry. Private-sector carriers have collaborated in the city's growth as a telecom-centric economy, and helped power the addition of 20,000 new jobs since the early 1990s."
This is the first time the city (Moncton) entered the competition. Fredericton made the top seven list last year as well.

"When we made the Smart21 list on our first try, I was very happy," Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said yesterday. "To be recognized on this list just reinforced that Moncton is doing a lot of things right. Now to be recognized as one of the Top Seven Communities of 2009 is phenomenal."


While many awards that cities can compete for are limited to those who choose to pay an entrance fee, the Smart 21 award is not among them. As well, the competition is truly global, with entrants this year from North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
The number one Intelligent Community of the year will be named in New York City on May 15.

(from the Moncton Times-Transcript Jan. 23, 2009)

For those of you who are intrigued, I found this video which is a couple years old now, but further emphasizes the benefits of this IMPRESSIVE community. Yeah, I'm proud of my hometown. Wouldn't you be?

22 January 2009


I wrote this based on an event that happened between my son and myself a few weeks after my Rory passed away. The outing wasn't about fishing, although it could have been. I had been sunk in misery since our return from Roran's funeral. I was just going through the motions each day and I wasn't focused on my son's needs. This was my turning point, the day my little boy reminded me what was really important. This was the day I decided how I was going to cope with my grief, and it was also the day I made an appointment to see a therapist to help me through the overwhelming sadness. Most of what I have posted so far has been for Rory, to honour his memory. This poem does honour him, but it is for my son, my reason for getting up in the morning on the days that are bad, and my joy on the good ones. I love you, Brennan, more than meat loves salt, as our Rory would say.


She smiled and sighed as she rolled over in bed

"Just a few minutes more." was all that she said.

Her little boy looked at her, face long with dismay

"I thought we were going to go fishing today."

She yawned and she stretched and sat up with a groan

"I have so much to do. Can't we just stay at home?"

He sighed then and nodded, and turned to stomp out.

"Hey," called his mother, "there's no need to pout!"

He looked back at her then with tears on his cheeks

"You've promised to take me for weeks and for weeks.

We never go anywhere, never have fun.

I wish that I was somebody else's kid, mom!"

Her eyes filled with tears and she knew he spoke true,

But a single mom working had so much to do.

She sat for a minute and thought of her son

Then arose from her bed, knowing what had to be done.

Fifteen minutes later, with the gear packed and stowed,

She called to him "Time to get this show on the road!"

He came to the door, Hot Wheels car in his fist,

Raised an eyebrow and asked "Is there something I missed?"

"I promised to take you," She smiled into his eyes.

"And we're going right now, so don't look so surprised."

Her son hugged her tightly then ran for the car.

"Hurry up, mom! Let's go! The lake isn't far!"

The day wasn't magical: we got soaked; it was cold,

But the memories we made are more precious than gold.

My Roran once told me "Store-bought things just don't last,

But sweet memories, beloved, never stay in the past."

For a while I forgot in my grief and depression

What Roran and I knew leaves a lasting impression.

Remember what's important for a parent and kid,

It's not what you said that counts, it's what you did.

~ C. Masson (all rights reserved) Dec 2008

Okay, I stole this from Sonny ... I wanted to do it!

The New Year Meme

1. Looking back on 2008, what might your theme song have been?

You Raise Me Up

2. If 2008 was a movie, who would play you?

Kate Winslet or Catherine Zeta-Jones (I intend to aim high this year *grins*)

3. What was your greatest gift of 2008?

That's the easiest question - my time with Roran!

4. What is your New Year Resolution, or, what are you committing to this year?

I don't make resolutions, but I will be continuing my journey to emotional healing.

5. If January could be represented by one song, what would it be?

Draw Me Close

6. What do you wish for your body in 2009?

LMAOOOOOOO tell me that doesn't say what I think it does ... okay, let me think ... oh, I know - I would like for my body hair to stop growing, and for my feet to become a perfect size 8 that will fit comfortably into any shoe ... and, in the long-term, to continue to mature with beauty, character and grace, the way Roran and I agreed to do.

7. Name one new thing you would love to try in the New Year.

I am going to get a tattoo ... IF I can get over the whole "multiple needles piercing my skin" thing ...

8. What do you long for 2009 to bring?

What I really long for can't happen, and I can't think of anything else for myself ... so I want my son to get child support payments from the deadbeat jerkwad so we can afford some little extras for him this year.

9. If that happened, how would you feel?

Frankly, shocked and suspicious.

10. Where would you love to vacation in 2009 if money were no object?

Ireland, then Nebraska, then Manitoba, then New Orleans, then all my friends who I've longed to meet and never had the means. They know who they are. (It said money was no object, right?) Okay, then I'd go to Australia, and finish off by taking my son to Disneyland.

11. What would you like the theme of 2009 to be?

I have two, both ironically named after tv shows, from the girl who doesn't watch tv: "Survivor" or "Friends".

12. If 2009 was a book, and the title was 5 words or less, what might the title be?

"Lead With An Open Heart" (that seems appropriate given the learning experiences of 2008)

21 January 2009

Love Remains

. . . LOVE REMAINS . . .
Love that stands the test of time,
Endures the greatest pain;
Standing firm against the storm,
And yet, still love remains.
A calm among the storm tossed winds,
A peace down deep inside;
Will keep that faith alive and strong,
As long as love abides.
Love that conquers anything,
Knows only how to give;
Asking nothing in return,
A love that will forgive.
It looks past any sorrow,
Much stronger than the wind;
The faith that stands the storms of life,
Will be there in the end.
Faith that's given everything,
With nothing left to gain;
Will find the strength to give yet more,
When only love remains.

The Whys and Wherefores

(Remembering and forgiving the past is the key to opening the door to the future, babygirl. You have to let it go so you can be emotionally free to live your life the way God intended. ~ R. Dougherty)

Sometimes, things happen that seem to go against the laws of the universe. Sometimes, things happen that just seem wrong. Survival depends on having the right attitude when something does happen that takes away what you've waited a lifetime to find.

Roran and I met 17 months ago and it was like two halves of the same heart clicking into place. He was my best friend almost from the beginning and, in time, we grew into a romantic relationship without ever trying. It's almost impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced something similar. Most relationships have growing pains - ours never did. We made sense as a couple: our taste in music, our love of word games, our beliefs about raising children, our sense of silly, even our manner of speaking, matched. I felt safe with him on every level (those of you who know my past will understand what that means) even though he was almost a foot taller and 50 lbs heavier. He was soft-spoken and gentle in every way. That being said, I was not blind to his faults, nor was he blind to mine. Somehow, it just made us closer to be so imperfect and yet able to offer loving acceptance of those flaws.

Talking with Rory was one of my greatest joys. Long before we became a couple, we would chat about anything that came to mind. I'm not sure how we knew we could trust each other with our deepest thoughts and beliefs, but there were never any barriers to our discussions. Freedom like that is precious and rare, no matter that it is our right as human beings. It's rare to find anyone who can accept your thoughts, beliefs and questions without feeling the need to correct, criticize, or impose their own upon you. Rory loved the way I put ideas together, creatively and impulsively, even as I adored his more analytical, careful approach. Everything was in sync when we made decisions together.

I have a lot of issues from my past history that have always prevented me from becoming close to people. Rory made it his daily mission to help me grow beyond my self-imposed detachment and feelings of insecurity. He understood my shyness and made me see and believe that it is a charming personal trait rather than the barrier it always seemed to be. He loved my size and my shape and my mind and my personality without ever wanting me to change any of it. My time with him made me a better person, because he believed I already was a wonderful person. No, it was more. He knew who and what I am, and it was me that he loved, exactly as I am. That was his gift to me.

I have always been a little intimidated by men (again, fallout from the past), yet I recognized Roran's kind soul and gentle spirit the first time we met. He claimed I was the only woman he had ever met who completely "got" him. I did understand his needs - almost as though I could read what was in his heart - but no more than he understood me.

On June 6, 2008 at shortly after 10 pm, Roran and I were playing Scrabble and he was cheating (it was the only way he could beat me *grins*). I was brushing the dog at the same time and pretending not to notice when he snuck letters off the board, although it was hard to avoid seeing the second "l" of seagull go missing, especially when it turned the connected word into "ight" ... and when it was my turn, I almost missed seeing that, with his last turn, he hadn't put a word but a phrase. He watched my face, smiling, as I stared at "ILOVEYOU" for a full minute before I realized what he was trying to tell me. Then I said "You're kidding me." and I started to cry. It was perhaps the most romantic and most unexpected thing he could have done. He never stopped teasing me after that about my reaction which was, in his words, the LEAST romantic response he could have imagined. LOL

From that night on, we never slept apart. Roran lived and worked in the USA and I was in Canada, but when we weren't able to be together in person, we would spend the night on the phone. He would call me before the kids' bedtime and the four of us would share that time then, for the rest of the evening, he and I would read to each other or talk, or sing or play music together (my Roran was a gifted guitarist). Sometimes we worked on paperwork, bouncing ideas off each other or helping with content. We each had our strengths and shared this time with such a sense of fulfillment, it was obvious that we had a future.

Roran worked in construction and late summer became very busy for him. He became overtired from working long hours and, on Aug 23, he fell asleep at the wheel when driving home from a worksite, went off the road and hit a tree. He was in the hospital for five days and I was frantic because he was so far away and I wanted to be there to take care of him. The first night he was home, I stayed awake to listen to him breathing and I knew he was in pain, but he wouldn't admit it. Four days later, he was rushed to the hospital again and we discovered that his kidneys and liver had been damaged in the accident. They operated but were unable to save his left kidney, and were concerned that they would need another surgery to repair his liver. A week later, he was home again, but very weak and sick. It was the beginning of the school year, my son's first year in Kindergarten and I, a teacher ... staying here against my best instincts, is something that I will regret till my dying day. He was only home a few days when he told me that he knew there was something wrong and he returned to the hospital. They performed surgery to remove the damaged part of his liver but, before they were able to successfully complete the procedure, he had a heart attack. They were able to stabilize him and sent him home after only 3 days. A month later, he was readmitted to hospital and they re-attempted the surgery. He had another heart attack. Roran passed away on Oct. 19, 2008 at the age of 40.

It has taken me this long to be able to tell that story. It will be much much longer before I am able to think about the fact that I wasn't there with him without being angry with myself. It might not have changed the outcome, but it was where I should have been. Nothing was more important. The grief of losing my Rory goes deep, so deep that there have been times in the past months when I wondered if I would survive. I sought professional help when I found myself dreaming of being with him again, no matter the cost. Two things kept me together through it: my son, who is more important to me than myself, and my memories of Roran. Those things I learned, that he taught me, while we were together, must not be wasted. His love for me is a living thing, and it goes on even though he's not with me anymore. I can still feel it with me and it hurts less when I remember, and honour his memory.

The stories and various writings I will be publishing for the next while are my way of dealing with my grief over losing Roran. So much good came in such a short time it seems wrong to live in sadness, even though his death cut short a wondrous future. Therefore, I choose to fill my stories with memories of what loving Roran taught me. He was a Man in every sense of the word. I have chosen to remember what I had with him, rather than dwell on what I lost when he died. Each of my writings represents a memory that we made together. Our relationship was a work of art, a great composition, and I am proud of what we were able to create together in such a short time.

Roran, I will always remember you with joy and thankfulness. You were a gift from God.

20 January 2009

Little by Little (original fiction by Coco)

(For Rory, with thanks for everything you taught me in our time together. I love you.)

Once upon a time (all fairytales should start this way), there was a little girl and, of everything in the world that she could possibly hope for, there was only one thing she truly wanted and that was a prince who would love for herself. Unfortunately, she didn't think she was very special and didn't have any interesting abilities to offer a wonderful prince like the one she dreamed of. She was just a quiet, sad and rather plain little girl who was tired of being alone.

One day, she was tending to her daisies, singing and dreaming of a prince of her very own, when the tines of her garden rake got tangled in a root under the soft earth of the garden. She pulled and tugged at it until it began to loosen and come up. To her amazement, instead of a root, a very tiny, very lovely old lady emerged from the soil at the end of her rake.

"My goodness, it's been a long time since anyone summoned me!" exclaimed the old lady, brushing dirt from her clothing.

The little girl stared, jaw agape, before gathering herself enough to stammer, "I ... I didn't summon you ... did I?"

The old lady chuckled gently. "Do you see anyone else around, dear?" She gave her skirt a good hard shake, dislodging the last of the earth from it. "Now, what shall we do about your dilemma?"

The little girl blinked incredulously. "Wh ... what dilemma is that, Ma'am?"

"Oh come now, little one!" The old lady snorted in amusement. "You've been wishing for the same thing for as long as I can remember. Why hasn't it happened for you yet, do you suppose?"
Dropping her gaze to the ground, the little girl blushed and shrugged, ashamed of her insecurities. Her eyes flew up to the softly lined face of the lady when she spoke. "Sweetie, you have to start believing in yourself. It can't possibly happen until you do. Once you believe that you deserve the same gifts that others do, your special prince will find you. Right now, he can't see you because you're hiding the best parts of yourself under that blanket of insecurity." The old lady took the girl by the hand and led her to the little pool behind the house. "Look at your reflection," she commanded, "and tell me what you see."

The little girl looked miserably at herself, reflected in the water, knowing that nothing would have changed from the last time she saw her own face and form, knowing that it would still be plain and displeasing.

"Do you see?" demanded the old lady. "Do you see your pretty eyes? Your fair, delicate skin? Your beguiling smile?" The old lady shook her head before the girl could respond. "I know you don't, little one. Nor are you aware of your sweet submissive nature, your giving heart, your pretty voice and your desire to please. But you have to understand that others notice these things. Others do not see what you see, little one."

The lovely old lady guided the bemused little girl back to her daisies, turned to her, reached up and gently curved a frail old hand against her jaw. "My sweet child," the old lady crooned softly, "drop the veil from your eyes and see yourself as you are to others. Once you have succeeded in doing that, the one thing that you most desire will be yours. You are worthy, my dear. Just believe." With that, the old lady stepped back amongst the flowers and sank out of sight.

The little girl stood, staring at the spot where the old lady had disappeared, while an eternity passed. Every word that the old lady had spoken spun through her mind, again and again. She turned and stumbled back to the pool, staring blindly at the reflection in the water. Little by little, the girl began to see the things the old lady had shown her. Bit by bit, the sad little girl began to smile and then to glow with the inner light of understanding. By and by, her head held high, the not-so-plain little girl stepped out into the real world, knowing that her dream would someday come true.

~ C. Masson (all rights reserved) Nov. 2008