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Jody Vance

Charlotte Phillips

“Are you my mother?” – by Charlotte Phillips

Some people may remember this wonderful little beginner reading book by P.D. Eastman, edited in 1960 by Dr. Seuss. A little bird hatches while his mother is off getting food and before she can return, the baby sets off in search of his mother. He has no idea what she looks like so he asks several animals along the way, “Are you my mother?” This book popped into my memory today as I sat thinking about my own mother. We’ve been spending a lot of time together over the past few years and lately there has been a shift in who we both are. There are times when we don’t recognize each other.

Age related dementia is a strange beast. It is a gradual loss of the ability to think and remember. But it is different for everyone. The degree of loss and the psychological reaction to the loss are like endlessly changing weather patterns one can never truly adjust to.

Dementia affects the sufferer and the caregiver in strangely similar ways.

As the daily care and comfort of our mom is in my hands these days, the struggles she faces at her advanced age, both physically and mentally, are front and centre in my life, too. My ability to think and remember what’s really important in the grand scheme of things is something I struggle with.

My 94-year-old mom’s stage of dementia is not a constant or predictable one. She is in a transition phase. Where half of the time she is sharp and witty and in the moment. She engages in intelligent conversation and digs up nuggets of childhood stories that are full of detail and colour. The other half of the time, she can’t hold a thought, asks the same question 5 times in the span of one hour, is very confused and frightened by the confusion, and seems lost, actually depressed. She is strangely aware of the disconnects and often says, “Charlotte, I’m losing it.” There are times when one visit with Mom has both versions of her switching back and forth. Like a child playing with a light switch, you can only endure it for a short time.

This long weekend filled with 150th Birthday celebrations of Canada, seemed like a shifting moment in my life. It was the first time in 8 years, that my mom and I were not celebrating Canada Day together.

Canada Day ranks higher in Mom’s life than any other special occasion. She used to organize city celebrations back in her civic politician days in Saskatchewan. Although as a Newfoundlander, she voted against joining Canada in 1949, she eventually became one of its most patriotic citizens and devoted her life to making our country better.

I made sure her red blouse and white pants were hanging together in the middle of her clothes closet before I left for my weekend at my cottage. I felt bad about leaving her behind and a bit angry with myself for feeling bad. While I celebrated in the sunshine with a raucous crowd on Salt Spring Island, I knew my mom was alone, maybe watching the rainy festivities in Ottawa on her TV. I wondered if this would be the last Canada Day she’d be truly aware of. I think this way about a lot of special days Mom has always enjoyed in her long and eventful life. It’s sometimes hard to be present in my own life when I fret about hers.

Last week, I drove Mom out to the Drivers Licensing Centre in a nearby suburb to apply for a new BC ID photo card for her. I had not noticed that her current card had expired almost two years ago. As someone who no longer drives, this card is proof of her identity and is rather important for legal, financial and flight purposes. Her passport expired last year and as her health is such that out of country travel is not in the cards, we never bothered to renew her Canadian passport.

This particular day, the irony of our task was something we laughed about even though we were not quite on the same page. “Mom, isn’t it funny that you have no valid government issued identification proving you exist?” She laughed and then asked if I was renewing my card, too. Like it was a membership in something we both believed in and doing so was showing our support.

When she stood to have her photo taken by the government employee, she kept smiling like most people do for the camera. Even though the clerk asked her gently not to smile, Mom could not comprehend the request. I thought, in the grand scheme of things, anyone holding up the card to check her identity in person with the photo on the card, would see a striking resemblance because, for the most part, Mom is always smiling.

As the coming year unfolds, I know I’ll be quietly asking the question, “Are you my mother?” This kind of dementia slowly takes ones identity away. There is no before and after, only a fluid, unpredictable in-between time. I guess living in the moment will have to be suspended sometimes. I will remember our Mom the way she used to be and treat her with dignity and respect. In the meantime, I will try to keep smiling, myself and to always be, “her baby”.

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Claire Martin

365 Day Lessons – by Claire Martin

This month last year I was diagnosed with melanoma. It was NOT how I expected to go through my 50th year, and it managed to lay waste to me and my normally busy life for the ensuing 4 months.

That said – this is 2017 – and so far (fingers and eyes crossed) – I’ve made it clear through my anniversary doctors appointment with a clean bill of health. 4 more of these yearly visits and I will be considered “cancer free”.

It’s amazing what life can throw at you. And it’s even more amazing when the light at the end of the “dark tunnel” appears bigger than the dark space itself, and you find yourself finally looking to the future without so much fear.

The BEST THING about a rogue (and thank God, fleeting) cancer diagnosis is the outlook you have afterwards.

I discovered hoards of old and new friends that came to lift me through the ordeal.
Like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes last year.

And I decided to follow through on as many of my hospital-bed promises-to-self that I could:

1. Lighten up – life is to be enjoyed.
2. Love and laugh – 100% more than ever before.
3. Enjoy life – even the crappy, boring bits.
4. Move – check, check (my God that’s another story I need to write!)
5. Pay it forward.


Number 5 is the tough one. So far I’ve volunteered at Lions Gate Hospital, and I’ve reached out to a few people going through similar health issues to offer help and advice on a 1-1 level.

But we started #mybackyard as a safe place for our community to share stories and ideas – so I’m asking the community now, what else can I do?

Thanks for your thoughts!


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Leesa Butler

In Defence of Multitasking – by Leesa Butler


Reuters Image

Recently an Australian Greens party senator, Larissa Waters, became the first woman to breastfeed her daughter while giving a speech in Australian Parliament. (This is the same woman who made headlines breastfeeding while on the floor last month.) It’s an amazing spectacle, not because of the politics of breastfeeding in public, but because it exemplifies the beauty – and necessity – of multitasking.

Search the word and you’ll find plenty of articles downplaying multitasking. Their research findings will tell you that trying to complete too many tasks at once will cloud your mind, and you’ll end up being less productive. Instead we end up distracted, unable to dedicate ample time to any single task.

Meh, I’m not so sure.

I’m all for mental clarity and concentration. But why throw the baby out with the bath water? Multitasking has its advantages. No one just does laundry. We toss clothes in the washer and tackle one to many things in between loads. I can’t think of a single dinner I’ve cooked where I didn’t multitask. While chicken is cooking, I’m preparing the vegetables AND making a salad AND pouring the wine. (OK, I confess, the wine gets poured first.) If I didn’t multitask my meal, I wouldn’t eat for hours and everything would be cold. 

In work, multitasking helps me complete tasks I consider mundane – balancing a spreadsheet, filing receipts – while keeping my interest piqued on other matters – bookmarking articles to read later, browsing social media. I’ve identified those tasks that bore me, and specifically multitask through them.

It’s not THAT you multi-task, it’s knowing what you can multitask and what you can’t.

I cannot write or prepare a pitch with the distraction of my in box or Twitter. I need to concentrate. Some things demand such focus I can’t even listen to music. But I know what those are, and plan time for them within my day. I also know to schedule these highly focused tasks when my creativity and energy are at their peak, but that’s another blog post.

Time can be an ally, or an enemy. ~ Zig Ziglar

My friend’s father retired at 53. He’d run a multi-million dollar company for years, days packed with meetings, lunches and well, work. He went from doing ten or 20 things at once to doing nothing. Within a couple of months he felt his mental capacity failing. He’d forget the simplest things. His perceived lack of mental capacity worried him to the point he called on a specialist to ensure he wasn’t suffering from dementia. 

He wasn’t. But his brain did miss multitasking. He was advised to add more structure and routine to his day. Without pressing matters to juggle throughout the day, his brain matter was bored. Maybe multitasking helps keep our cylinders firing.  

Quit counting time and start making time count. 

Productivity is not a one size fits all solution. Some of us live by to do lists. Some don’t. Some of us multitask Some don’t. It’s important to understand how you work best, and be mindful of what needs your undivided attention. 

Just don’t tell a mom she shouldn’t multitask.

about Leesa:  Leesa Butler is a marketing consultant in Toronto and lifestyle blogger at the F-List ( Leesa and Jody met 15 years ago and have been sharing drinks, laughs and advice in backyards ever since.

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Lynn Colliar

Growing up Teagan – by Lynn Colliar

To all those who mean well, but sound mean…
My beautiful girl is turning 6 in a few weeks. She is off the charts in height and weight – she’s also a great conversationalist… so many people make the honest mistake of thinking she’s older than she is.


She’s been in the 99th percentile since her first year… back then it was only me who had to explain her age compared to her size.


One example stands out to me, and i’m sure you’ll understand why.


It was a beautiful spring day – we were at the park with lots of other littles running around. The moms were standing off to one side when my 18 month old ran over to me and gabbed something only I could understand, we both laughed and she ran back to the slide… one mom gave me a “knowing” look and said – yes, out loud – “That’s what happens when you have children when you’re older.”


I was so shocked at the inference I’m sure my jaw dropped. I said “she’s 18 months old… and who cares if she’s 3 – you don’t say things like that to anyone!”


We left the park.


Now Teagan is getting it first hand… most comments are coming from the right place, wanting to say something kind – but not realizing for her little brain to hear over and over again “you’re so big” “it must be hard to be so tall” “no one’s going to push you around” “you must be the biggest kid in kindergarten” “are you bigger than all the boys?”…. it starts to stick.


She asked me the other day if she’s always going to be a giant. If everyone is always going to tell her “she’s so tall” like she didn’t already know that… my almost 6 year old is already aware she is somehow “different”. Her chin wobbled as her eyes pleaded for me to tell her she was going to be “average”.


She’s been trying to conquer the monkey bars at school. It’s tough when you weigh 60lbs and you can only get 2 rungs along before you fall. And your 40lb friends are hand over hand scampering across.


But she is tenacious. She isn’t giving up. In a week she’s managed to get to 4 rungs… the end goal is in sight.


She’s so proud of being almost there. My tall, strong girl.


So, if you see her on the monkey bars, sweaty-headed trying time and again to do them, please – feel free to encourage her.  She loves talking to people – so please chat with her – but remember, their wee brains are sponges and your words will stick with her.



She hears the same comment over and over… and no one is saying it to the kid beside her.
I’m tall. Glenn is tall. It’s a no-brainer T will be tall.  But we want her to be proud of her height. To own it. Not to feel it’s something “different” that she should be ashamed of.


Now go, my monkey, go.



monkey achieved her goal yesterday!!!! That’s one tenacious girl  see video here:


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Guest Contributor, Justin "Drex" Wilcomes

“Oh Andy” – by Justin “Drex” Wilcomes


“Oh Andy”, I find myself saying that about 100 times a day with my new-ish furry friend. You know what i’m talking about? When you open your door to a new family pet, it’s fair to say that in the first few months you are generally always amused, shocked, alarmed or sometimes downright disgusted by some of things you learn your furbaby can do. For instance, Andy’s favourite food seems to be his Step-Brother Rocco’s vomit. Classy.

How did I end up opening my door (and ¾ of my bed) to a 7lb animal? Well I wish it was the world’s most interesting story. I’ll save that for his step-brother Rocco, and another time, that’s more of a war story. Andy’s is pretty common unfortunately. A well intentioned family got him as a puppy for their daughter, the relationship broke down, and it became obvious to them that he would not get the attention he deserved, so he wasn’t always placed in the best situations for the first year of his life. So my radio colleague Claire (who is one of the best dog mamma’s I’ve ever met) kinda took Andy under her wing and looked out for him, lots of sleepovers with her two girl puppies, tummy rubs, walks, you know the drill. But he ultimately needed a forever home.
I was turning into a bit of a couch potato, I’m in a relationship, but (at the time) we lived apart because we love(d) our own space. So I would come home to an empty house, which is never fun after talking about politics, world & local news on the radio – for four hours a day. I had been thinking about rescuing an animal that needed a forever home. It was most likely going to be a cat, as I’ve always been a cat guy (even as a kid). We had both dogs and cats but I always hung with the latter, for whatever reason.. Even when I first moved to Canada 8 years ago I was a volunteer kitten wrangler for one of the local rescue societies here in British Columbia.

So, I had been thinking about it for a long time, I’d watched my partner go through the same thing for over a year, visiting the BCSPCA every couple of weekends, to meet candidates, and see if there was a connection with one of the many adorable and forever home worthy furry friends. It took months for him to meet Rocco. By chance I saw a photo of Andy on Claire’s Instagram, I asked her about him, and found out that he might be looking for a new home. I said “ME” on the spot.

That weekend I met him, he didn’t like me at first – he barked then walked away – but as I do with all animals (even Racoons) I thought he was adorable. Then it fell through, the family had changed their mind. I lamented about what could have been, and got back on with it.

Three weeks pass and I find out, they’re ready to give him up… again. Claire asked if I could come by and get him that weekend, I said yes, walked back to my office, immediately turned around went back to the studio and shouted “Today!” at Claire, that very afternoon my new doggy daddy life started.

Honestly I didn’t even know where to start!

My partner Brian took the lead, we went to Tisol, got him good food, got him new toys, new leather collar, new leather leash, new bedding.

Everything, spoilt him rotten.

I even got the jumbo peanut butter tub knowing that there would be peanut butter stuffed KONG’s on the menu from time to time, It was something I had loved watching Andy’s step-brother Rocco lose his mind over. Who ever knew that a hilariously shaped piece of silicone stuffed with peanut butter would keep a dog occupied for a considerable amount of time?

So, about Andy. Andy is…. well… ON. He’s got more energy that a kid that’s only been eating sugar at the midway. He’s always ready to play, and always ready to roughhouse. He thinks he the biggest dog in the room. (don’t they all?) But he’s more than happy to chill on the couch with me while we watch Colbert.

I made all the mistakes in the first few days, I let him sleep on the bed, i didn’t take him out right away first thing in the morning, i picked him up when he started barking at dogs, you know…. all the mistakes.

We’re on the right track now. He has a trainer named Hayley who teaches him and me how to be better at all things dog, plus she also doubles as his doggy daycare. She usually has anywhere between 3 and 8 dogs a day that she and her crew look after, from other Chihuahua’s to cattle dogs, pit bulls, you name it she has them all and they go for huge forest hikes up in the north shore mountains of Vancouver during the day which is better that sitting in a house all day.

What’s fascinating about Andy is that there wasn’t much structure the first year of his life, so when I got him just before his 1st birthday it was obvious he didn’t even understand “SIT” so we literally had to start at the beginning, and as you know if you’re reading this… It will take time.

In the meantime, I think my radio station CKNW should switch out the green shag pile rug in the producers pit as Andy thought it was grass, and well…you know.

Another thing I discovered tonight, while writing fun things about Andy as he stares at me from the couch he’s still bashful after he was spoken to about stealing my dinner.

On the way home from the radio station tonight I picked up my favourite meal, a rotisserie chicken, I get the leg and thigh…(my favorite part). I make the mistake of getting up from the table, for 30 seconds, to grab a glass of water and while in the kitchen I hear an almighty crash of cutlery….and the scrambling footsteps of a dog being spooked while standing on hardwood floors… (like Scooby & Shaggy when they’d get scared by a ghost). Ya. Like that.

I dunno, I’m still new to this. I might be bad at it, I’ll make a heap more mistakes, but he’s awesome, and I’ve had no end to the offers for people to dog sit him.

How can you not? Looks at that face!


Here are a few extras, just because….

Jody and I met via Twitter, of all things.  I invited her to come and fill-in on CKNW — and now she does, a lot.  So….if you don’t like it, blame me. (written by Jody)

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Jody Vance

Working with Friends – by Jody Vance

Larry Hennessey

Me and Drex with a couple of political guests. (FTR, Drex is standing on books to be this tall.)

Working with friends can be tricky.

Over my years in broadcast I’ve been lucky enough to make life-long friends through work: Sarah Daniels, Claire Martin, Jim Van Horne, Alison Redmond, Becky Posh, Theresa Warburton, Daren Millard, Kevin Quinn, Jamie Campbell, Joe Leary, Cynthia Ott, Kathy Woodgate, Mike Hennigar, Patrick Zulinov, Cheryl Loveseth, Lucia Polifroni, Allison Cooper, Dean Bender, Richard Garner….god, the list is (thankfully) endless.  I could go on and on….but that’s not the point here.

The point today is, that for all of the friends I’ve met – and made – through work, I’ve also lost a great one.  It was so sad and shockingly painful.  The red flag went up our very first shift, I thought he was just having a bad day.  He wasn’t. I went into our gig, that would take us from “friends” to “co-workers”,  thinking it was the perfect storm of magic – it wasn’t.  Sure, we made the on air product work, but behind the scenes it was brutal.  Brutal. It’s a long story, suffice to say: our friendship was irreparably broken.

The person you know as your friend can often be wearing a completely different persona at work.  It was, and is, a very painful truth.

To say I’ve been gun-shy about working with my friends since is an understatement.  Nothing is “worth” losing a friend. Nothing.

In the past two weeks, I’ve jumped back into the friend/work pool.  (I must qualify that both friends that I’ve paired up with on radio, recently, weren’t as woven into my world as my lost one) It was with a good dose of nervousness that I dove in.

First at Roundhouse Radio — I was invited to fill in on the afternoon drive show, solo.  I wondered aloud to the boss there “if I might invite someone to join me”. Enter Larry Hennessey (who you have read here) — a pro’s pro, kind doesn’t begin to describe Larry.  We had never worked together on air before, and yet, after four days of togetherness it was clear that we could jive.  The shorthand came quickly, the respect and support was pure.  Time flew by and we were both sad to see our fill-in stint end. We loved it.

As the newly anointed “Pirate of Radio” in Vancouver — with zero time between — the following week off I went to my “other” day-job, filling in on CKNW.  I am thrilled to say that I get lots of shifts at The Top Dog, I love it.  Last week I had a chance to join Justin Wilcomes (Drex) to fill in for Lynda Steele on their outstanding Afternoon Drive show. Now, Drex and I had never met when he texted me, via twitter of all things, 18 months ago to see if I might like to “do radio”.  (It’s his fault that I’m AT CKNW.)  It wasn’t until this past Monday that we actually shared the airwaves.  Drex is a beast of a broadcaster, there is very little he won’t say – or do – in the name of great radio.  He’s driven and funny, kind and tough, all wrapped into one package.  We, too, saw time fly while on air.  I’m very excited to wake up tomorrow for more.

Life throws you curve balls, and sometimes the disappointments of a bad pitch can keep you up at night — as is the case with my lost friend — but the great moments of magic do heal you.

I’ve learned these past two weeks that every experience is unique.  You can’t paint it all with the same broad stroking brush.  Live.  Learn. Embrace.

You’ve likely noticed I’ve not named my lost friend, that is out of respect.  He knows who he is and I hope he knows that I love and miss him.  The interesting part of losing a friend, after trying to take a walk on the work-side, is that if given the choice — 100% of the time you’d save the friendship if given the luxury of hindsight.

Too late now for regrets. I’ve replaced that hollow place with a fortunate feeling, one that has me lucky to know that one can find fun when working with friends.

Thank you Larry and Drex — Lynda: You are up next…and I can’t wait!


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Claire Martin

Real Facts: Paris Agreement – by Claire Martin

A lot has been said over the past few days about The Paris Agreement – and what it means for any one country. So without getting into politics (seriously) – let me set the record straight about this Agreement. And I’m going to use overly simplified language here, not to demean anyone’s comprehension, but so that everyone understands exactly what the Agreement means for us and our planet.
1. The Paris Agreement is an agreement between 195 UN countries to deal with global greenhouse gas emissions. In this agreement the countries basically all got together and agreed to try really, really hard to slow down climate change by limiting their greenhouse gas emissions and to submit their own individual ongoing progress reports. For clarity I have to state that there are NO penalties within the agreement.

2. The agreement is NOT legally binding. But that doesn’t mean it’s toothless. If I agreed to help a friend – and (for example) said that I would pick their kid up from school – that is NOT a legally binding agreement. You can’t, strictly speaking, punish me if I decide to leave the child sitting on the curb. But — and this is a big but — you can shame me. You can avoid me, distrust me, and not make any more social agreements with me. Essentially turning your back on an agreement is bad for a relationship.

3. Sovereignty is the ability, inherent or granted, to govern oneself or self-determine one’s course. The Paris Agreement does not affect a country’s sovereignty.

The Paris agreement, signed in 2015 by 195 countries, does four simple things.

  1. It sets a global goal of keeping global average temperatures from rising 2 dec C (compared to temperatures pre-Industrial Revolution) by the end of the century.
  2. It sets a nonbinding agreement for countries to reach peak greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible.”
  3. It adds a framework for countries to become more aggressive in reaching those goals over time. In 2020, delegates are supposed to reconvene and provide updates about their emission pledges, and report on how they’re becoming more aggressive on accomplishing the 2 degree goal. 
  4. It asks richer countries to help out poorer countries: to give them capital to invest in green technologies, but also to help them brace for a changing world.

And it’s important to remember: The Paris agreement, as it currently stands, won’t stop global temperatures from rising. The point of Paris was to create incentives for countries to voluntarily grow their efforts to avert a warmer future. 

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Susan Young

Conquering Hills, Spills and Cancer – by Susan Young



Everyone has a cancer story. I’m no different. Mine is not a personal story, but seeing the disease affect family and friends, has left me with the desire to make a difference. Or at least, try.
Four years ago, I embarked on a rather ambitious journey; The BC Ride to Conquer Cancer.

For me, this journey opened up a whole new world of training, bike fittings, comradery, fundraising, and of course…more fundraising.
Challenging doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. From the day you sign up to the day you cross the finish line; exhausted, emotional and chaffing all over.

I was very nervous embarking on my first ride. It was a huge crowd of riders, that seemed have all the professional gear! The event however, is very organized. There is an enormous amount of volunteers, and plenty of rest-stops with food, that you can recover at for as long as you need.
Training means wind, hills (yes, cycling up SFU can be soul destroying), and really early weekend mornings to try not to disturb my family. Over all the commitment was: one longer ride, 1 shorter ride per week for at least 4months. (Within a couple of weeks of the ride, I like to substitute distance for hills.)  I’ve fallen off my bike no fewer than a dozen embarrassing times as I get used to being clipped in. I’ve also made many new friends.

This year will be my third Ride to Conquer Cancer with the CTV team, but not my third in a row. The first year, I was surprised at what almost broke me. The hills are hard, but mind over matter, and I dealt with them better than I thought I would. The only time I felt like giving up was on the final stretch of the first day; on a long flat gravel stretch  – with a head wind so strong it felt like you were making very little progress. The more people that passed me, the more I wondered what I was doing there!

To be blunt, it’s too hard…and it honestly takes me over a year to psych myself up to do it all over again. The fundraising can also be taxing; $2,500 is a substantial amount to raise. Despite that I’m always grateful and overwhelmed by how generous people can be.
For this year’s ride, I plan to write the names of people battling cancer – donor’s loved ones – on my body in marker so I can carry them with me. The steep hills of the second day are nothing compared to their fight.
And I’m completely humbled by my fellow riders – many who participate every year. Many – who carry red flags because they’re cancer survivors themselves.

The BC Ride to Conquer Cancer takes place on the last weekend of August. 2,000 cyclists riding approximately 250 kilometres over two days, from Vancouver to Seattle. Day one ends at a central campground where you can enjoy food, beer, yoga, massages and inspiring speeches. You can sleep in a ride-provided tent, or choose to book a hotel (don’t judge…but a hotel with a hot tub calls my name!)

If you would like to make a difference in the world of cancer research, consider getting involved. You can donate, or volunteer, or pass the message along….or better still – ride!

I’m not particularly fit or determined. I just did it. And if I can, so can you!


– I had the pleasure of working with Jody at CTV. She was anchoring sports and I was directing. Our similarities have included working crazy early mornings and raising 9-year old boys!

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Claire Martin

Dear Claire… – by Claire Martin

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to snag a U2 ticket.
To attend a concert, that I had already been to, 30 years ago.

Judging by the average makeup of the crowd – I wasn’t the only one on a night’s trip down memory lane. My girlfriend even had in her purse the cut-out front and back swatches from her original tour shirt!

Yeh, we were going down memory lane hard; together, with faded props and 40+ thousand of our closest friends!

Needless to say, the concert was wonderful. For those of you that don’t know The Joshua Tree (and #really who are you?!) – it’s a “listening experience” type record (are they still called records?!). It was written in the tumultuous 80’s during a time of political unrest in England and Ireland and many of the lyrics and all the songs resonate profoundly for me, even to this day.

The first 5 songs “Sunday Bloody Sunday” / “New Year’s Day” / “A Sort of Homecoming” / “MLK” / “Pride (In the Name of Love)” sent me reeling back to Wembley, London, June 12, 1987 – the last UK date of the original tour. It made me want to pen this letter to the 21-year-old who watched raptly, buried in the exuberant crowd.
Dear Claire,

Chill out!
Stop worrying so much!
You’re going to be ok.
Life will actually get better than this.. and this is just the beginning.

Capture this moment though; burn it into your memory. Moments like this are rare, and they will become rarer and more precious as you pass 50.

Enjoy yourself as much as possible. Life experiences like this are the building blocks of your evolving character – and they will stand you in good stead for the tough times.

There will be tough times….but never more than you can’t handle. The strength you discover inside you will surprise you. So too the bonds you develop with your friends during the tough times.

Your women friends will become your rocks. Trust the ones around you right now – they will be with you for the next 30 years – tightly close, unwavering and supportive – cherish every moment you have with them.

Finally – reconsider the perm and leggings. (They do you no favours.) Trust me, you, on this one!


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Jody Vance

Mother’s Day – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Cora Niele

May is for Mother’s day. Happy for so many, tough for so many.

Some of us are lucky enough to celebrate Mother’s Day today — my thoughts are with those who crave this gift and can’t conceive.

This is not like Valentines Day with a broken heart, or Christmas during a divorce – this is harder.  (I speak from experience.)  I’ve done Mother’s Day after a miscarriage and have lived through it during fertility treatment, luckily I’ve also been through one while nervously navigating the first trimester of pregnancy.

This can be an incredibly sad time for those who are knee-deep in the struggle.  It’s a feeling that cannot be realized without having survived it.

Motherhood, becoming a mother, seems so simple to the masses —  “an accident”, “unplanned”, “an oops baby” or a “we were ready and it happened”.

Right now there are thousands and thousands of women struggling to conceive — crying tears of soulful failure — on Mother’s day.

I feel you.

I’ve been you.

Today I send this out to the universe because I want, even one, hopeful Mom to know that you are not alone.

One big moment in my journey to parenthood was when a very wise physician said to me: “It’s a miracle, you can literally do everything right and still not be successful in conception and carrying to term.”  It was devastating — poignant and heady.  In hind site, it was a comfort along the way.  Yes, we can use modern medicine to assist us in our desire to parent our biological child, but being a Mom isn’t about biology.  It’s about love.

Do not hate your body for failing you. (I did, and wish I hadn’t)  Do not feel a failure for infertility, it’s not your fault.

If your friend, or loved one, is going through this — talk with them about it. Bring it up.  Share.  The isolation of “not wanting to hurt their feelings” is the journey’s very worst part, believe it or not.

Food for thought on this day to celebrate a special level of love.



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