Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hanukkah vs Christmas!

So way back in my first blog post I mentioned that one of the reasons that I didn't completely change my name when I got married was because I had a great family history behind the "Bryan" name. Well, each year, around this time, I am reminded of what that history is and what it means. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you all about it.

My family name is actually my paternal grandmother's maiden name. You see, my paternal grandfather was born and raised in Czechoslovakia and was Jewish. His last name was Loewenstein. His family were quite successful owners and operators of a small fine china factory. When WWII broke out, my grandfather and his entire family were sent to Auschwitz. My grandfather was lucky enough to escape, the rest of his family parished there.

When my grandfather escaped, he fled to England where he met my grandmother. In an effort to hide his identity, he married my grandmother and took her last name. After the war was over, he and my grandmother settled in England and maintained the Bryan name. So, you can see why I wouldn't want to give that up!

Now, this leads me to my topic at hand... if I had been raised a Loewenstein (imagine that mouthful... Karma Jennifer Loewenstein!!!) I would likely have been raised celebrating Hanukkah, not Christmas (or maybe I would have been lucky enough to have been celebrating both holidays!!!). So, I wonder what would be better... what would be more fun.

Hanukkah Pros

1. You celebrate for 8 days, not just 1. That to me says presents every day for 8 days!!!! How can you top that?

2. You don't have to pretend to be comfortable with the idea of a big, fat man in a red suit creeping around your house in the middle of the night!!!!! I mean really, who came up with that Santa guy anyway???

Christmas Pros

1. You have to also look at the positives associated with that creepy fat man... I can't imagine anything better than a 4 year old in a Santa hat. Oh, yes I can... I think 60 4 year olds in Santa hats is better than just 1 (can't wait for this afternoon's Christmas concert!!!!!)

2. I don't know what happens for Hannukah, but Christmas dinner certainly rocks my world!!!!!

So, I think either way, I would have done alright. I'll leave you now with one of my favourite Adam Sandler songs ever! We certainly don't have a Christmas song that matches this one!!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How did this happen?

So, I can hardly believe it... tomorrow my "baby" is turning 4. How did that happen? I guess I blinked!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What now???

Well after 6 months of training and preparing for the big night, it's now done!!! Last Friday night, I danced my little feet off in an effort to win the title of HopeSpring's Dancing With the Stars Champion 2009 (and of course to raise money for an excellent cause). And, just in case you've been sleeping since Saturday, I did just that!!! Not only did I win the huge trophy... I was also part of raising $22,000 for HopeSpring. I can't even tell you how great it feels to know that I was a part of an event that did so well. That's the real reward (okay... so it did feel pretty good to win too!!)

It truly was a great night. I danced well (only made one mistake in my rumba) and my partner Don didn't drop me on the dead man's drop!!! All of the people who are closest to me (with the exception of just a couple) were able to be there to cheer me on. And trust me... I could hear them loud and clear as I spun around the dance floor!!! Even my sister and niece made the trek all the way to K-town to witness it! 

So, it begs the question... what next? How will I fill my Monday nights and Sunday afternoons? I'm afraid I just don't know. I'm thinking of starting a post DWTS support group so what better times to meet? Hopefully Trish doesn't mind us crashing her place twice a week. I for one know that Don and Marie would definitely join me, as would Bryn... just to name a few. So, to my dancing family (as Linda calls us), I hope everyone is enjoying the fame that came with Friday night and I'll see you this Sunday at Trish's from 11 - 5!!! (Trish... leave the key under the mat when you leave for Cuba!!!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's finally here!!!!!

Well after almost six whole months of training, the big day is finally upon us!!! We had our final rehearsal tonight and everyone looked great. Although it is partly a competition, we are all so truly dedicated to raising money for a great cause. Here's hoping we match or even exceed the $22,000 that was raised by last year's show. 
So, until tomorrow... I'm off to try to get some sleep. The primping is starting bright and early with my nails at 9:00am, right after I put Evan on the school bus! Then it's off to Trish's to start hair and makeup. 
I hope everyone who is attending enjoys the show. It truly is amazing what all of us have accomplished. I'm so proud to be a part of the show and really can't wait for it to begin. 
Nite nite!!!!

PS... the images are from one of our rehearsals about 3 weeks ago. Me and my amazing partner Don are rehearsing our Rumba!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dancing with the local chick... update!

Well, I'm one week away from the big night. My nerves are in check. My dresses are fantabulous and when I get my hair and makeup done, I feel like a real, live dolly!!!!! The excitement is definitely building!

Last weekend we had our official dress rehearsal. It was a show we put on for about 150 seniors! They loved it. When the crowd started cheering, my adrenaline started pumping and guess what... it actually made me dance better! In fact, I think it was my best performance yet! So, barring any disasters, next Friday night promises to be a great evening. 

Don't forget, if you haven't got your tickets yet, there's still a few left! 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dancing With the ..... local chick!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I can be shy and tend to keep to myself. I am uncomfortable in new surroundings and like to take my time assessing things and formulating my opinions. I don't like to be the centre of attention at all. For this very reason, when I got married, I decided to have a private ceremony with 9 people (including me and Ron) and then have a quaint cocktail reception afterwards, instead of having a full blown wedding with 150 guests.  

This leads me to my big question that's been racing through my mind for the past week or so.... WHAT THE H. E. DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS POSSESSED ME TO TAKE PART IN DANCING WITH THE STARS?????? For those of you who don't know I have now been training since the end of April, and on October 16 will showcase a Rumba and a Quickstep in front of approximately 800 - 900 people as I compete in a charity event, based on the popular ABC TV show, to raise money for the Hopespring Cancer Support Centre !!!!! 

When I started this adventure, I was so excited. I attended the gala event last year and was so inspired by all of the dancers. I begged and begged my good friend, Trish to get me in the show. (Trish is responsible for all of the dance training and choreography for the event... God bless her!) I just kept thinking how much fun it looked like, what great shape I could be in by the end of it and how, if I really tried hard, I could just win this thing! And hey, it's for an excellent cause as well. What a perfect combo. So, these are the thoughts that have kept me motivated throughout the past 5 months of training. 

However, it is now less than 3 weeks away. Suddenly the "what the hell was I thinking" factor is coming into full swing!!!!! I am having trouble sleeping at night, my heart starts racing when I think of the the night and last week at our very first full rehearsal, my knees were shaking uncontrollably!!!!!! YIKES! Anyone got any spare Valium kicking around??????

And here's the worst part... way back in May when I was feeling oh so confident about this whole thing, I sold tickets to practically everyone I know to come and see me shake my stuff!!!! Now I have 44 of my closest friends, family and colleagues who will be there to witness my demise! Again... what was I thinking???? 

So I guess all I have left to say is this: to those of you who were kind enough to have faith in me and have purchased tickets, I have trained so hard, I really have learned a ton and I'm really hoping that I can focus enough on that night to give you a great show! I am going to try my best to win this thing for all of you who have supported me. I just ask that if you see my knees shaking from way across the ballroom at Bingeman's you ignore it and just hoot and holler even louder!!!!

Wish me luck! And let's just say, come 11:30pm on October 16th, I'll be happy to accept any free drinks you're offering to buy me!!!!!

PS... for more information on this event, go to and go to their Calendar of Events.

Friday, September 11, 2009

There's nothing like reading!

I grew up in a house without colour TV and cable. In fact, until I was in high school, we had one small black and white television (I know... it sounds like I was completely deprived!) that we used to fight over. Imagine watching the Muppets in black and white!!!! 

What our house never lacked though was a good book. Both of my parents have been avid readers for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough as a child to inherit the "book loving" gene! From what I'm told, my mum even taught me to read before I went to kindergarten. Fast forward to my adult life and it would seem that books had almost completely disappeared from my life. Every so often I'd pick up a book in the airport book store and read it, but as far as my everyday life went, books weren't that high on the priority list. Sure there have been the odd times that I've read books along the way, but it's definitely not like I always had a book on the go like when I was a kid. I'm not sure when this shift happened. I think it may have something to do with spending 6 years in university studying music history and researching for my thesis and being forced to be constantly reading that took the fun out of it for me. 

But whatever the reason was that I stopped reading regularly, I realized when Evan was born how important it is to read to him from the very beginning. When he was just a few weeks old, I remember rocking him and nursing him and reading to him from his big Curious George anthology. He's had stories before bed since day one and as a result, he loves books. He wants me to read to him all the time and he's very excited about learning his letters. 

I think that I've thought for the past 3 1/2 years that I'd been doing a pretty good job making sure books and reading were a big part of his life. That is until a few months ago when I said something about the "library" to Evan and he said back to me "What's the library, mummy"!!!!! I was shocked.  After all, I can remember spending hours and hours at the library as a child. Had I been failing my peanut all this time??? If my university professor mum had been there to hear that, she would have been absolutely mortified! So, the very next day, I picked Evan up from daycare and we drove straight to the local library, got ourselves a new library card and got Evan some books to enjoy for the week. 

Since that day, we've gone to the library once a week, every week. Evan usually picks a special movie and a few books to bring home and I tag along helping him decide what to pick, not really concerning myself much with the "grown up" books on the shelf. That is, until about a month or two ago, when I was at the checkout desk and noticed the "New Fiction" shelf right by the door. I grabbed a book off the shelf and read it in a few days! That was it... I was hooked. The next week, I grabbed another one. I've been doing it each week since. There's just something so fantastic about a book that can make you laugh out loud or cry uncontrollably. The fact that you can get lost in the pages of a good book and forget all about what's going on around you makes reading addictive. 

I tend to gravitate towards the fluffy books... not quite the Harlequin romances, but definitely not Dickens or Tolstoy! You know the type... Confessions of a Shopaholic (I admit to having read all of them), Twilight (yes I know they were written for teenagers, but I admit to being madly in love with Edward!) and now, my latest favourite... Souvenir by Therese Fowler. I picked up this book last Friday. I've been reading it each night before bed and have just finished the last page today. If you're in the mood for a good cry, I highly recommend this book. I literally was crying on each page of this entire novel. In fact, as I was straightening my hair this morning, my teardrops were falling on the pages. This, to me, is the sign of a good book! 

So, I guess that really is my point. A book can give you a glimpse of other ways of life you've never experienced before; a book can let you travel to parts of the world you never thought you'd get to; a book can introduce you to people you might not otherwise ever meet; a book can allow you to explore emotions and confront your own vulnerabilities; and sometimes, a book can just make you laugh at a time when you just really needed to. There really is nothing quite like a good book! 

Gee, my mum would be so proud of me for writing this!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It seems like just yesterday!

This past week my tiny little peanut began his transition from baby to grown up by moving into the kindergarten room of his daycare. Suddenly he has to line up with all of the big kids to go outside, he has a "quiet time" instead of a nap and he no longer is bringing his favourite blankie with him each day. All this change in a matter of a couple of days. When I left him on Tuesday morning, I started to cry. There he was in the lineup and he was by far the smallest little one there. It lead me to wonder if this big change is coming way too soon. Is he ready for all of this? Am I?

And this is just the beginning... Over the course of the next 2 weeks, he and I will be integrated into the public school system. We start with our "meet the teacher" interview this Wednesday morning. I anticipate that this will be a half hour session where I will grill the teacher about the safety and general well being of my most precious possession. Mrs. Archdeacon has not seen the likes of this psycho mama!!!! I want to know everything... I want to know who will meet his school bus and get him to his classroom, I want to know if anyone will comfort my sensitive little man if he's sad or finding the transition difficult, I especially want to know if I can volunteer in his class just so I can make sure he's not being bullied or pushed around by some massive SK'er... And that's just the start... I fully anticipate that I may be "one of those mums" who gets talked about in the staff room!!!!

Once the interview is complete, we will have our first day of JK on the following Monday. This is when the water works will be in full operation I'm sure! This will be his first trip to school on the big yellow bus! He's so excited about it... I am petrified. I will definitely be following the bus on that first day, and maybe the second too and who knows how long after that! I just can't help but think of the chaos that will greet him once that bus gets to the school. I am overcome with emotion when I think of how scary and overwhelming that might be for him. 

I ask all of you veteran mamas out there... am I normal? Is it normal to want to follow the school bus each day until he's 14? Is it normal to want to be there every day just to make sure he's okay without me? Why am I so worried? I mean he's been in daycare full time since he was 13 months old. Why am I now freaking out about him not being under my watch 24 hours a day? Perhaps it's because I know how independent he has to be now that's going to "big boy school" and I'm worried he's not up for the challenge. But why would I think that? He's proven to me time and time again that he's a smart little cookie and can handle almost everything life throws his way. I guess maybe it's just that I know that once he enters the walls of Brigadoon Public, he's not really my baby any more and I'm not really ready to deal with that quite yet! 

So, I'll close today by just asking all of my friends, colleagues, mamas around me, family and anyone else who happens to encounter me over the next few weeks... Be kind to me. Offer me a tissue if you catch me getting teary. And don't worry, I'm sure by the time we enter Grade 2, I'll be back to normal!!! 

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's not his bag, baby?

My husband is a funny mix of techno savvy and completely not! I'll start with a couple of examples. 

Example #1: When we started dating almost 11 years ago, he had a cell phone AND a pager!!! Who was still carrying a pager at that point???? It took a lot of convincing, but finally he let go of that old Maclean Hunter (remember them?!) relic and opted to add voice mail to his cell phone!!!!

Example #2: Last year, he received a Tom Tom GPS for his birthday. You need to understand that Ron probably drives an average of 1000 - 1200km a week for work. He's in and out of Toronto several times a week and he's always going to new places or looking for faster/shorter routes to wherever he is going. A GPS is the PERFECT gift for him. After it sitting in the box in his office for about 2 or 3 months I started questioning him about why he wasn't using it. I was still getting calls from him from the car periodically and they'd go something like this:

Ron: Are you at your computer?
Me: Yes, why?
Ron: I'm trying to get to X. Can you look it up on Mapquest for me?
Me: Why haven't you unpacked your GPS yet?
Ron: Why are you asking me that right now? Can you please just tell me how to get to X?
Me: Sigh... Okay, here's your directions...

Finally I said to him "Why aren't you using the GPS? Do you not like it? Do you think it's a silly gift? What's the scoop?" This is when he said... "I need you to set it up for me!" That night I took it out of the box, charged it up, read a few instructions and set it up. It's been in his car ever since and he uses it several times a week. 

This seems so funny to me... he's a smart man. A man who loves to have all of the latest gadgets. Case in point... the day the Blackberry Bold came out, he had one. He has an iPod Touch. He drives a car that is loaded with fun features. It just seems that when it comes to figuring out how things work, it's just not his bag! 

Which leads me to my next point... Ron and social media! The 2 do not go hand in hand! Yes, he's on Facebook. Or rather I should say, yes, he has a Facebook profile. But unlike me, he is not on it every day, nor does he ever post a status! He really could never fathom why anyone would be on Twitter and he's just not hip to the blogging jive! In face, it took me several days to admit to him that I started this blog. I knew when he found out he would likely roll his eyes and say something like "why the heck do you have a blog???". Or "when the heck are you going to find time to write on a blog?". And in fact, that is exactly what he did say when I finally told him about it. 

What he doesn't understand is that for me (and so many others I'm sure) Facebook has been a way for me to find and connect with people I haven't seen or heard from in 20+ years. People I have cared about at some point in my life. In fact, I never would have reconnected with my very best friend I had all through grade school if it weren't for Facebook. Now I've actually seen her, gone for a coffee and shared some fabulous memories with her. Maybe it's that Facebook appeals to my emotional side! And maybe it's different for him because he is still living close to where he grew up and still has several of the same friends. I do not.

As for my new blogging hobby, I'll just say that sometimes I have these weird, random thoughts in my head when I'm lying awake (usually after Evan has woken me and I can't get back to sleep!) and I feel the need to write them down. I've never "journaled" before and I don't own a diary, so blogging seems like a more natural fit for me. 

And I have to say, I love my Ron very much. Last night he actually went on my blog for the very first time and told me he liked it. I feel like I'm fully out of the blogging closet now and have gained all the acceptance I need. And just because it's not his bag, baby, doesn't mean it can't be mine!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Identity Theft!

When I got married, I decided to hyphenate my name. I just wasn't ready to give up my own identity for a few reasons: 1. I'd been Karma Bryan for close to 31 years; 2. My husband and I are in the same industry and I felt it was awkward taking his name and dealing with other vendors; and 3. My family name, Bryan, has a very interesting history (it's actually my Grandmother's maiden name... but that's for another post!). Needless to say, I felt very attached to my name. So I proudly maintained my "Bryan-ness" and became officially, legally Karma Bryan-Ingle.

Now fast forward 4 years to when I had my son, Evan. All the efforts I had made after my marriage to maintain my own identity were thrown out the window the minute he was born. I was no longer Karma, Karma Bryan or Karma Bryan-Ingle. I suddenly took on a brand new identity and became known simply as "Evan's mum"!!!! I didn't actually notice this bizarre transformation right away. But as he got older, started daycare, started meeting little friends and doing activities, I started to become aware of this shift. I think this is not unique to me by any stretch. In fact, I, myself, am guilty of stripping other women of their identities. Case in point... a couple of weeks ago I picked Evan up at daycare and started talking to a woman I didn't know. I actually said to her "You must be Freddy's mum... I'm Evan's mum"! Surely she has another identity, although still to this day I have no idea what it is. I wonder if she feels like I do.

This also leads me to wonder about people like Julie Cole, one of the four fabulous women who founded Mabel's Labels ( She is a mama to 6!!! I wonder how she remembers at any given moment what her identity is! Does it become confusing? How do you keep those multiple personalities straight? Just another reason to admire the strength of such an individual... not only does she have 6 identities (or actually 7 if you include her pre-kidlet one), that I believe she actually manages quite successfully, she also, at the same time, carries on an incredibly successful career! Phew... makes me pooped just thinking about it!

So, I leave you with these thoughts... I don't know why this happens to us but it does. Perhaps it's because people are uncomfortable having their kids call other adults by their names so it just seems easier to say "this is Evan's mum" or "Hi, Freddy, I'm Evan's mum"; perhaps it's because as soon as we become mums, our kids take over our worlds and this is just yet another way that happens; or perhaps it's because we all love our babes to death and when someone calls us their mum, we don't correct them, we actually take pride in it so it continues on and on. I like to think it's the latter. So, proudly, I shall now forever be known as:
"Evan's Mum"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm a Newbie!

So I work with this girl named Melissa. She has an awesome blog I periodically check in on her posts and each time am jealous of her writing style and of the images she finds to go with her posts. She's by no means a techno geek, I don't think she owns a Blackberry, I know she's periodically on Facebook, I'm not sure about Twitter. So, I am always amazed that she's figured out this whole blogging thing and does such an amazing job with it. 

So... that's where I come in... The other day at the office I told her she has to teach me how to create a blog and she told me it was "so easy, even she could do it!" So tonight I was inspired enough by her blog to google blogspot and create my own. I don't promise that it will be as charismatic as Melissa's or as interesting, but perhaps if you're a mama of one and a career girl all in one, you'll take something from my scribes!