The Daily EO: May 14th, 2013

My brother is very much like my parents and in some ways like me, but mostly just like him.  He is particular, careful, precise, fastidious, and a planner.  He thinks that I am sloppy, careless, chaotic and something like a hurricane or tornado.  Those who know me and don’t know him do not understand how someone as plan focused and organized could be considered any of these things.  But I must tell you, in comparison it is true.  If you want something done exactly and painstaking correctly and carefully, you ask my brother.  If you want it taken care of on a well thought out and exacting plan, ask my brother.  If you have multiple competing deadlines, chaotic frenzy that needs sorting and a plan for just getting through – you ask me.  And don’t complain about the state of my desk in the meantime.

I tell you this because it was my brother Todd who spent hours vacuuming my car when the window was smashed.  He spent a lot of time picking out the glass, moving the seats around for better angles and looking for the shining bits.  I was thinking “C’mon already, that is enough!  Let’s go!” – too much energy was already spent on this smash and grab.

But he persisted.  And yet over the last couple of months, I find this every now and then:


I show you this, not because I want to say a careful man did a bad job, but to show how it is impossible to get all the bits of glass out of a car.  If the world’s best can’t get it all, nobody can.

May 14th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Sparkling memories which are not all together welcome.


The Daily EO: September 17th, 2012

All of my life – well save 6 or so years – is has been an accepted fact that my brother is the artist of the family.  And me not.  That is okay with me – I have many talents that have got me through so far.  He can just pick up a pencil and . . wel. . . draw.  It’s almost like the image was there the whole time and he is just tracing it.  It’s always proportional, identifiable and usually funny.

I cannot draw at all.  My stick men even look sick.   So, when Selina – who’s 7 – offered to give me an art lesson, I took her up on it.  Perhaps she would teach me something I didn’t know.  Alas, an art lesson to her was telling me what to draw and then critiquing it.  “That’s Pretty”, “I like pink” – you know very constructive statements.

She told me to draw a fairy, and so I did.  I drew a fairy flying in the night sky over evergreen trees, holding a wand, and wearing a pink ball gown.  It was pretty amateurish.  But I took my time – trying to set an example to the kids that you always do your best work even if you aren’t as good as someone else.  I coloured carefully in the lines, I drew five fingers on each hand and made sure there was twinkling stars in the sky.

September 17th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  “Flora the Fairy” blew these kids’ minds.  They clamoured for me to draw them one so they could colour it in.  They think I am a great draw-er.  I’ve just been hanging out with the wrong people.  Perspective.

The Daily EO: July 22nd, 2012

I sat on the couch watching Lethal Weapon 3.  We watched the first two the previous two nights.  Despite the efforts of Danny Glover, Mel Gibson and Rene Russo, I wasn’t giving it my full attention because all I could think about was it was my last night in Cranbrook.

I sat beside my brother saying nothing – and him saying nothing in return.

I reviewed the week – and it always seems to go so fast when I am at home – I have a healing Juniper rash, a burn, white paint on my hands and shins, a broken nail, pine sap all over my flip flops, an assumed 5 extra pounds and two ruined shirts.  I dug around in the shrubs; removed painted over wall paper with a heat gun; taped, sanded and painted the white trim; cleaned up after the storm; ate a lot of carbohydrates and fat; and carried, toted, cleaned up, lifted, cleaned and generally did my share of the house maintenance.  

My brother doesn’t say much, and when he does it is often sardonic wit.  He smirks at me often – like he’s caught me being an idiot again.  Rarely do sappy words leave his mouth.  And Rarely is probably too strong a word.

He has to be at work each morning at 6 am, and therefore is almost always in bed by 10 pm.  As the movie progressed, the clocked ticked on – and soon it was 10:30 pm.  Then 10:45.  And then the going to bed process finally began.  I got the message.

July 22nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  I’m going to miss you too Todd, thanks for that extra hour together.

The Daily EO: July 18th, 2012

My brother doesn’t like people to play around with things that are not broken or already good.  “Just leave it alone!”, he’ll growl at you.   When I prepare food, I am always screwing around with things.  He hates it.  He always tries it, and often will eat it, but happily watches me get back on a plane or in the car so he can just eat food how it should be.  No “hippie” food, no vegan crap, just left alone.

I made dinner tonight – a stir fry with marinated tempeh and chicken served on grated cauliflower.  Todd ate it.  Said he could have done without the tempeh, but ate it.  Dessert?  Well.

July 18th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The look on my brother’s face when he took his first bite of chocolate banana/avocado pudding sweetened with honey.   Mom and Emile shared an extra portion.


March 9, 2012

My sides are hurting.  A large part from a large set of Russian Twists I did yesterday after 30 minutes on my brother’s elliptical. (woo-wee, look at me go)   But now also because I was laughing so hard with my brother that I couldn’t get air in, tears were running down my face and I was afraid something was going to rupture.

There is nobody in this world who can make me laugh harder than my brother.  And over nothing really.  I can say or do something, and all he has to do is cock his head and raise an eyebrow and I am off.   When it is Mom, Todd and I, Mom plays the straight one for us – as every comedy routine needs.   But he has a talent for finding the kernel of funny in any situation.  Usually in one sentence he can have the room brighter.

There is something so therapeutic about laughter.  It warms up your mood, lifts your hopes and connects you to who you are with.  I laugh often with friends, but there is something about my family that makes the laughter larger and more free.  Perhaps it is because it’s unique to our family, our in-jokes, our strange family members and they know me.  I can let loose, and let it flow out because they already have seen it all.  

I don’t know, but I know it makes me feel good, makes me feel connected.  It doesn’t seem to matter what it is – it is unfunny to many, but when Todd and I start, it has to run the full gamut – tears and all.

What were we laughing about on this occasion?

My brother was having a bowl of raisin bran as an evening snack. 

My mom came in, noted what he was eating and said, “I don’t like raisin bran, the raisins are too hard”. 

Todd said “Well, get some bran flakes and add some soft raisins.”

Mom says “I don’t like bran.”

It took about 10 minutes for us to calm down after that, with Mom coming in every couple of minutes to say “What is so funny?  What is wrong with you two?”

March 8th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary Event:   Bran.  Who knew it was so funny?