The Lainie List

I write a list each week.  It’s like looking at my browser history and all of the things I have loved over the last 7 days.

I share my lists with others.  It’s like when you watch a really good movie and have to tell your friends about it.

If you like them, you can sign up to have #thelainielist sent to your inbox each week.  I once had someone describe it as getting a piece of joy to their inbox each week.  How sweet is that?!

This week’s list below:


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A snow day at the park.


  1. I LOVE this.  You need to click on this one.
  2. Surprises tucked in books.
  3. See if they can guess your age
  4. The handwritings of Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and John Lennon are now Downloadable Fonts
  5. Coconut Macaroons
  6. We need some calm to our mornings.  I just ordered this. Wish us luck.
  7. Is sitting too close to the TV bad for your eyes?
  8. A Month of Magical Eating.  I think I’m going to try this.
  9. 8 Ways Kate Middleton’s Birth Experience is Totally Bizarre
  10. When is the Royal wedding?
  11. Jessi Cruickshank talks to kids about the royal wedding



Send the Lainie List to me each week!

My 100 Rejections List

I’m going to keep an ongoing list of rejections – times when I put myself out there to seek out an opportunity, to offer a product / service, etc.  It’s my way of recognizing when I take a risk and try something new.  I might make a fool of myself but at least I tried.

Here’s my list so far:

  1. Emailed Jen Hewett and offered to provide feedback for her online class: Blockprinting on Fabric.
  2. Offered to do window decorating for Madame Gateaux, a local baking shop in our neighbourhood (I thought it would be fun).
  3. Contacted The Bus Terminal Diner, Queenie’s Cards, and The Handwork Department to do Humans of Danforth interviews.
  4. Pitched my free email course, Making Keepsakes for Kids, to Tiffany Han (she has twin girls and I thought she might like it).

The Lainie List

I write a list each week.  It’s like looking at my browser history and all of the things I have loved over the last 7 days.

I share my lists with others.  It’s like when you watch a really good movie and have to tell your friends about it.

If you like them, you can sign up to have #thelainielist sent to your inbox each week.  I once had someone describe it as getting a piece of joy to their inbox each week.  How sweet is that?!

This week’s list below:


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  1. Adobe Creative Cloud is on my wish list.
  2. a phone mount to take hands-free videos / photos
  3. I got Virgo
  4. Ewww. This is disturbing.  Would you eat one?
  5. The British Museum offers pencils and paper. Love it.
  6. Letting Go of Perfectionism
  7. They Say Bad Things Come in Threes
  8. Stories about Auntie Carolyn
  9. Kintsugi
  10. How to start seeds
  11. Signs that should be posted at every baseball diamond.
  12. French Onion Grilled Cheese
  13. my 100 day project: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6, day 7, day 8, day 9, day 10.


Have a great WEEKEND!


My Money Story.

I hate talking about money.  Even mentioning words like budget or bills makes me feel uneasy.  I haven’t enjoyed talking about money since I was in grade 8.


Thinking Back

In grade 8, I saved like a fiend.  I had an after school job at the local public library.  I shelved books, ran the circulation desk, and proudly deposited my paychecks into my savings account at the CIBC in town.  I remember filling out slips of paper to deposit and withdraw money from my account, using the pen that was attached to the counter with a long chain.  I had a gold bank book that slid inside a clear plastic case. It was updated by the teller after my transactions.

I was careful with my money.  I would hum and haw over whether to buy that bright blue watch band at the drugstore.  Did I really need it?  And yet I could easily drop $600 on clothes on a weekend trip to Winnipeg.  (I loved clothes and the nearest mall was 3 ½ hours away. Most of my wardrobe would have come from a SEARS catalogue if it weren’t for our Winnipeg shopping trips.  We went a few times a year).

Fast forward to university and I was living off of OSAP and working two jobs every summer to save enough money for school.  (I’m glad that I did. I didn’t miss too many classes.)

After graduation, I wasn’t thinking about backpacking Europe with friends or taking some time off.  I was determined to get a job, make money, and start earning a pension. I decided to complete my Masters of Education degree while teaching my first two years.  I wanted to be in the highest pay bracket. I was only 21 years old. It’s funny to think how I cared so much about a pension at that age.

Fast forward to moving in with my husband (then boyfriend).  My money was mine. His was his. Growing up with parents who often argued over money, I didn’t want the same battles.  If I wanted to buy something, I would buy it. I was not going to check in with my husband to seek his permission or to have a discussion about it.  I worked hard in my job and I should be able to buy what I wanted. And I did.

We split our bills.  We each contributed to the rent (and later our mortgage).  When we went out for dinner, he would pay one time, I would pay the next.  I liked it that way. Our families thought it was strange. We got some comments but I didn’t care.  There was peace in our house around finances and I loved that.

We continued to have separate accounts until after we were married.  Finally at some point, it no longer made sense to me and I suggested that we have a shared account.  I think Eric was relieved and secretly wanted that for awhile.

In our house, my husband is the one who pays the bills (which is ironic because I usually challenge anything that is slightly stereotypical by gender).  The utility bills. Taxes. Water. Internet. Eric arranged payment for them all. If you were to ask me right now how much our water bill usually is, I would have no idea.  When do we pay it? No clue. I just don’t like talking or thinking about money. It stresses me out. My paychecks are deposited and Eric takes care of the rest.

I don’t like talking about money.

I don’t understand investments and how they work.  I’m not great at knowing what is a good or bad interest rate.  Each month I pay my VISA bill a couple weeks early – when I happen to hop into my app to see when it’s due.  I can be really cheap about some things and yet splurge without a second thought.


Where does this all come from?

I have no idea.

My mom was a saver.  She tucked money away in investments, bonds, and savings accounts.  She bought things on payment plans and always paid their VISA bill on time.  I can remember standing in line with her at the grocery store, waiting as she would write out a cheque for our groceries.  I can still hear the distinct sound of the cheque being ripped from the book and watching her quickly jot down her purchase in the cheque book.  Her cheque book was always balanced.

My mom was and is smart with money.  She used to work at the CIBC branch in my hometown.  She’s a brain when it comes to numbers. We call her the human calculator.  She files her own personal taxes and also manages the budget and day to day finances of the township where she works.  I don’t know why I ended up so financially inept.


Rewriting My Money Story

It took one podcast to make me think differently.

I listened to Tiffany Han’s podcast, Raise your Hand, Say Yes. In this particular episode, she interviewed Bari Tessler Linden, Financial Therapist, Mamapreneur, and Founder of The Art of Money.  In their conversation, Bari mentioned money stories.

We all have a money story.

It’s that story that describes our personal experiences with money.  What did we learn from our families? How do we feel about money and does it evoke fear or stress?  It’s interesting to think about the role money plays in our lives and the impact it has on our relationships.

Anyways, the podcast really made me think about my own money story.  I realized that I have been a total avoider when it comes to finances and it was time to change things.


It’s Time to Put on My Big Girl Pants

Many times Eric has tried to have conversations with me about setting up a monthly budget.  It makes me cringe every time. I don’t want to worry and think about every dollar I spend. It would drive me crazy.  It feels so limiting and controlling. So usually when he brings up money stuff, I can tell that he’s trying to broach the subject gently.  I usually brush it off by saying, not now.

Eric: I stopped trying to discuss finances several years ago. We downloaded an app on the Mac [to create a budget], and I hoped that would help. I think it did, initially, but it was short-lived.  It feels frustrating at times. I think it’s important we talk about finances but we rarely discuss in any detail. I wish we could have two-way open dialogue about finances that doesn’t create quiet tension or anger. I’d like for us to know how much disposable income we have each month (once bills, mortgage etc. are paid). I think we can build on it.

So I think I caught him off guard when a few months ago I said that I wanted to have a conversation about our finances.  Just the tone of his voice gave away his surprise.

Eric: I was excited but I was also aware that I needed to manage expectations on what exactly that meant. I also needed to check myself. I think I come on too strong/negative about finances sometimes, and that’s unhelpful.

I want to talk about money with Eric, as a natural part of our life.  I don’t want it to feel stressful. I think and worry about finances a lot, especially since I’ve been on maternity leave for over three years.  I want Eric to feel like we’re in this together and that it’s not all on him. He’s had to do it on his own for too long now. I need to put on my big girl pants and stop avoiding shit.  I’m a grown up.


So I am slowly rewriting my money story.  

Eric and I now have Sushi Dates (that’s what I call them).  If we want to talk about finances, we have a sushi date once the kids are in bed.  We rarely order in anymore, so it feels like a treat; it becomes something to look forward to.  Eric picks up a bottle of red wine and we sit and plan our future.


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On our first sushi date night we brainstormed a list of things we wanted to talk about (VISA bills, RBC, renos, future planning, budget, etc.)  We gave these words new names, an idea suggested by Bari. Renaming financial terms becomes a way of shifting the conversation and feelings around money.

So instead of groaning at the mention of bills, we might call them caring for our home.  See, it feels a bit different.  Or instead of talking about taxes, we could refer to them as recreation fees (which as a parent, makes a person feel better when you think about the parks you take your kids to and the free city programs you access).  I don’t remember the terms we came up with that night, but it did make it easier for me to talk finances.

I’m also a visual person, so during our first sushi date, I asked if I could write things out on a piece of Bristol board versus putting numbers into a spreadsheet.  I hate spreadsheets; just the thought of that alone makes me groan. So as we chatted, I doodled and made a visual reminder of our financial goals. It’s something that we can revisit when we have our next sushi date.

After our money talk that night, I asked Eric to respond to a few questions over email (hence his quotes that I included above).  He is so patient with my nerdy tendencies.

From his responses, I realized that his behaviour of coming on too strong/negative about finances were a trigger for me.  Well our taxes are going to be $____ this month and we also have [     ], we need to be careful….  This wasn’t helpful to me. It made me worry and feel tense.  I decided to set some boundaries. I told him that when he says x and y, it makes me feel stressed and worried.  Instead, I need him to focus on the positive and talk about how we’re working towards our goals. I have been getting better at communicating my stressors and I don’t feel like our conversations about money have felt as strained.  I’ll have to ask him though.

I also sensed that Eric was getting tired of playing the middleman with my investor. I started investing on my own when I was in my early 20s.  A co-worker suggested that I meet with her advisor. I remember sitting in an office with a guy who didn’t care about my well-being. He was encouraging me to invest in high risk and he kept talking about having millions of dollars when I retired.  It felt like he cared about his own commission.

He spoke to me like I knew everything about investments and I, feeling stupid, sat there nodding my head.  uh huh. uh huh.   It worked out well because we were able to use my investments when we bought our first home.  It didn’t’ work out well in that I don’t want to sit in a room with another advisor again.

So when it seemed like Eric was dragging his heels to respond to our investor’s secretary (on my behalf), I decided to pull up my big girl pants and do something that made me feel uncomfortable.  I booked a one-on-one appointment with our new advisor.

I had no idea what he would ask me.  I don’t understand half the terms and language they use.  And if you want me to make a calculation on the spot, I’m sadly going to disappoint you.  Give me a calculator, a piece of paper, and some time to think and I’m good to go. But that’s not usually how these meetings go.

So 2 hours before my appointment, I’m Googling things like RRSP and RESP.  I hear these terms all the time; I have a general sense but not enough. I had big plans to learn something investment-like every day this week, but life happens.  So there I was 2 hours before my appointment doing my own version of Investments for Dummies 101.

Afterwards, I was actually excited to go to my appointment.  I felt somewhat prepared. I was going to take responsibility for my investments and make some informed decisions.  I had learned some new terms and I had a better understanding of how investments worked. I was ready.

My one-on-one appointment didn’t go so well.

The new terms…they were not discussed.  Instead I was asked to make decisions about the risk levels I was comfortable with and the percent ranges I wanted for annual returns.  My usual self-doubt started to creep back in. Let me talk to Eric and get back to you.

No!!!  I was so pissed at myself.  I sounded so weak and incapable of making a financial decision on my own.  What?! I needed to go home and talk to my husband first??? What is this, 1950? Come on, Lainie.

I knew what risk level I was comfortable with.  I knew what annual returns I wanted. I knew what the risk levels meant over time and how the market fluctuates.  And yet, let me talk to Eric and I’ll get back to you.  Ugh.  But I wanted to be sure.  What if I was missing something?   I wanted to talk to Eric first. I trust him the most.

A quick chat at home and I realized that I was on the right track.  I hope at my next appointment, I will be ready to pull the trigger on my own.  Wish me luck.

I’m rewriting my money story.

They Say that Bad Things Come in Threes.

I had no idea what was going on at home.

It was my first year of university and I had been away for the last four months.  It was December and I was just finishing exams. My flight was booked for December 23rd.  I would be able to get home just in time for Christmas.

No one told me she was sick.

I vaguely remember my parents saying that Auntie Carolyn wasn’t feeling well and that she was in the hospital. We would visit her when I got back.  I didn’t know they were trying to protect me when I was so far away from home.

You see, I chose a university in southern Ontario (20 hours away from my hometown).  Getting home involved a flight from Toronto to Minneapolis. From there, I would catch a connecting flight to International Falls, Minnesota, where my parents would pick me up and drive us the final 30 minutes home.  Getting home that Christmas would have gone smoothly, if my flight wasn’t late leaving Toronto.

With a delay, I missed the connecting flight in Minneapolis.  There were no other flights to International Falls that night.  I was 18 years old.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed and stranded in a city far from home (bad thing #1).  The airline said that there was nothing that they could do for me. I wasn’t offered accommodations and Minneapolis was a 12 hour drive from my hometown.  I remember calling my parents in tears, not knowing what to do.

Eventually I was able to get a flight to Duluth, Minnesota. It was still a 3 hour drive (one way) for my parents to pick me up but at least it got me closer to home.  I landed at the small airport in the middle of the night. The few passengers who flew with me were quickly greeted by family members and friends before they left the terminal ready to go home to bed. It was around midnight when we landed.

I was alone in an empty airport in the middle of nowhere. As the hours dragged by, the lights were slowly switched off, one by one. The room became darker.  A lone janitor swept the floor in the dim light.  I’ve never been so happy to see my parents at an airport before.

We were all exhausted by the time we got home.  It must have been 2 or 3 in the morning.  I grabbed whatever sleep I could because I had an interview the next morning. I was trying to find a summer job so I could save money for university. My interview was at a local craft mill.  With less than 4 hours sleep, needless to say, I never got that job.

After my interview was over, I was off to work a shift at my Auntie Lynne’s store. She owned a convenience store / gas station / LCBO outlet along the highway.  I had worked there all summer to make money for school. Towards the end of my shift, Mom called. She asked if my Dad was there yet. He was coming to pick me up.  No, not yet.  Why?

I could tell from her voice that something was wrong (bad thing #2).  She was trying hard to keep it together but finally broke.  Auntie Carolyn had died.  And Dad didn’t know yet.

No. No. No.

I stood by the window, the phone held to my ear.   Crying and shaking, I watched for his truck to drive into the parking lot.  No…  I needed more time to pull it together and calm myself before he arrived.

I didn’t want him to know until he got home.  I knew he would be devastated.

I remember driving home in the truck with him that day.  It was only a 15 minute drive but it felt so long.

As dad drove, he talked about her.  She’s going to be okay.  We are going to go see her. She’s going to pull through this.   I sat with my head turned and looking out the window.  I needed to avoid eye contact and hold it together.  My throat was tight and burning. My eyes were warm. Just make it home.  Just make it home.

I still remember the sound of his cries.

My Dad still has a hard time on Christmas mornings.  Things have changed a bit now that he has grandchildren to distract him.  But the first few years were horrible. I would sit there watching him surrounded by presents, with a contorted look on his face, trying to hold back the tears.  I’m embarrassed to say that I used to feel so frustrated by his reaction. It was Christmas.  Why can’t we enjoy it?  This is not the time to dwell.  I didn’t understand.

Our Christmas Eve that year was so different than the rest.  Auntie Carolyn died on December 24th.   And if things weren’t already bad enough, I was almost killed in a car accident the same night.  I told you, bad things come in threes.

Bad thing #3.  My high school boyfriend was celebrating his birthday with his family.  I was invited to come. He lived 30 minutes away in a town nearby. I have no idea why I even went.  My aunt had just died, my family was a mess, and yet I went to my boyfriend’s birthday party. I was so dumb.

Anyways, I was driving my Dad’s truck home that night when I got into an accident.  The truck plunged down into a deep ditch and smashed into a telephone pole. I remember the truck being tilted on its side, to what felt like a 45 degree angle.  My body was pressed against the drivers side door. When I was able to open the door, I was instantly thrown to the ground.

I could hear the snapping of wires overhead and see them whipping back and forth above me.  I was on all fours in the snow, crying and stumbling to get my footing. I reached into the truck to grab the quilt that my boyfriend’s mom had made me. It was black and gold, made in our high school colours, with squares of sunflower material.

I pulled myself up the snowy bank until I got up to the highway.  I remember complete darkness. I was 20 minutes from home, trembling and crying in the middle of the highway, just waiting for a vehicle to come.  Help.  Help me.

The first vehicle that arrived ended up being a guy I went to elementary school with.  He drove me home. I don’t remember the drive or what what we talked about. Now looking back, I realize that I left the scene of an accident.  At the time, I just frantically needed to get to my parents.

I remember walking into my parents dark bedroom, startling them awake.  I told them that I had been in an accident and I had hit a telephone pole.  I heard the sound of my mom hitting the floor. She fainted.

I remember calling my boyfriend that night.  Whispering into the phone what had happened on my drive home.  I remember my dad coming into the room and angrily telling me to hang up.  I didn’t understand why.

Remarkably, I wasn’t hurt at all.  Of all the telephone poles along that stretch of highway, the truck had hit one that was older and rotten.  It had snapped in half upon impact. We said that Auntie Carolyn was looking out for me that night.

My dad’s truck was a write off. The metal hood was pushed back into a V, right up to the dashboard. People who saw the truck were shocked that I had survived.

As what happens in small towns, rumours started to fly.  I had been drinking that night. I wasn’t paying attention and lost control.  The rumours weren’t true and it was hurtful. I can vividly remember drinking a can of orange pop at the birthday party that night.  I remember because I didn’t really drink pop.

It didn’t matter, because everyone had their own version of what had happened.  On top of it all, there were those who found the accident funny. I had wiped out power to the entire district.  I was infamous for complicating the preparation of everyone’s Christmas dinner.

But it wasn’t funny to me.

For me, the accident is just a reminder of everything horrible that happened in that span of 24 hours.  It was the night that Auntie Carolyn died and our family changed forever. My cousins were in their early 30s when they lost their mom. My uncle had to say goodbye to the love of his life. My dad no longer had a sister. I had experienced something so incredibly scary – an accident alone in the middle of the night.  It was also that time when I was stranded in a large city and just wanted to get home.

I don’t need constant reminders of that night through the jabs and jokes of family members or friends.  I think it’s time for us to move on. I know I’m ready to.


Other pieces you might like to read…

Stories about Auntie Carolyn.



Stories about Auntie Carolyn.

Every summer our family spends time together up at the lake.  Mom. Dad. Eric, and I, and the kids. Uncle Bill and Mary. Laurie, Dennis, and the kids.  Troy, Blair, and the kids. There’s endless eating, swimming, and campfires, and we share stories of Auntie Carolyn.  It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t; maybe it’s our way of feeling that she’s up at the cabin with us.

We usually share the same ones and they still make us laugh every time.  The storytelling only lasts so long before we move to something different.  It starts to feel sad (for me anyways).

Here are a few stories that I usually share…


The Exploding Cigarettes

A person would never know that my aunt smoked.  Her house smelled clean and had floral scents. Her hands were not stained and her nails were always painted.  Cigarette ashes were never left behind, not even in an ashtray. Ashtrays looked unused in her house.

Anyways, one summer up at the cabin, we decided to pull a little prank on Auntie Carolyn.  We had neighbours from Illinois who were pranksters and liked to bring up fireworks to play around with.  This particular summer, they brought up tiny little firecrackers – about the size of a grain of rice.

I don’t remember whose brilliant idea it was (seriously, it was pretty funny), but we slid a tiny firecracker into the end of two or three of Auntie Carolyn’s cigarettes.  We tucked them back in amongst the rest of her pack and sat back anxiously waiting for the show to begin.

When she grabbed her next cigarette, it just happened to be one with a firecracker stuck inside.  With her cigarette held firmly between her lips. Her lighter held up with an orange flame to the end… CRACK!  It blew the end of the cigarette off. She was pissed. She wanted to know who did it and she wasn’t happy about it.

She grabbed a second cigarette.  She wasn’t having much luck. CRACK!   Somehow she grabbed another cigarette with a firecracker tucked inside.  I don’t remember if it was after this cigarette or if one more exploded on her, but either way, she ended up stomping over to the fireplace and chucking the entire package of cigarettes into the fire.


There were no firecrackers left.  She had only lit the few that had a surprise tucked inside.

We always laugh when we retell this story.  It wasn’t funny for her, but 20+ years later, it still makes us all laugh and remember her and her fiery temper.


Painting the Gazebo

This next story is one that Uncle Bill and I share.

Up at the cabin, our family has a screened in gazebo next to the lake.  It was built decades before my parents bought the property (I was eight years old at the time).

We have replaced the screens multiple times.  There are many layers of paint hidden beneath.  It was our way of sprucing it up and making it new again.

When we first used the gazebo, it was a place where our family liked to sit at night to visit without getting eaten alive by mosquitos.  I can remember Auntie Carolyn, Uncle Bill, and Dad sitting out there together. Sitting in the darkness, laughing and telling stories while listening to old records on Grandpa Johnson’s old record player.  Drinks were also in hand.

One particular summer, I remember being up at the cabin with just Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Bill.  My mom and dad must have been working. We decided that the three of us would paint the inside of the gazebo white to brighten it up.  We changed into some clothes that were suitable for painting and grabbed our brushes and cans of paint. We were ready to go.

But if you’ve ever painted a ceiling, you know how easy it is for the paint to drip down onto your head or clothing.  That’s exactly what happened to me. Auntie Carolyn must have noticed the paint on my shirt. I wasn’t worried at all.

I had turned my shirt inside out. The teenage Lainie thought that if paint was to get on the inside of my shirt and didn’t wash off, no one would ever see it.  Auntie Carolyn thought it was the funniest thing in the world.  She couldn’t stop laughing. The kind of laughter where you are wiping away tears as you giggle uncontrollably.  Her reaction was hilarious. Soon all three of us were laughing in the middle of our painting project over something so silly.

Every summer when Uncle Bill is up at the cabin, we look up at that white ceiling and smile at each other.  We both remember that day laughing with her. We try to tell the story but it’s one of those, you had to be there.


Getting Dolled Up at the Lake

Spending time up at the cabin is so relaxing.

When my parents first bought the property, an old log cabin sat beneath towering pine trees.  We had electricity for lights and to run a few appliances. We had an outhouse and a roughed in shower in our shed.  It was far from glamorous and we loved it.

Because when you’re at the lake, you don’t worry about what you look like.  Your hair is windblown and usually wet from the most recent jump off the dock.  Sunblock is likely smeared in and there’s a subtle granular feel of sand. Most of the time you’re in a bathing suit or a comfy pair of jogging pants and a hoodie.  The only people that see you are your family and friends. So who cares, right!?

She did.

I remember my Auntie Carolyn standing in the doorway of our bedroom.  She was facing a large wooden mirror and holding a curling iron up above her head.  She had short hair and curled it every day, even at the lake.

I remember Auntie Carolyn sitting at the end of our dock, her knees slightly bent as she shaved her legs.  My Dad and Uncle Bill standing beside her and chatting away as she swished her razor in the lake.

She was always put together.  I remember pink lipstick. Gold jewelry.  And the smell of perfume. She used to have a little wiggle when she walked and she was so short (around 5 feet).

But never underestimate a tiny woman.  She was a fiery redhead. She was funny and sarcastic.

I loved her.  And things have felt so different since she’s been gone.

I’m looking forward to this summer at the lake.  I hope the whole Paterson crew will come up. It’s crowded and noisy and awesome.  And guaranteed there will be lots of laughter, and stories about Auntie Carolyn.

The Lainie List

I write a list each week.  It’s like looking at my browser history and all of the things I have loved over the last 7 days.

I share my lists with others.  It’s like when you watch a really good movie and have to tell your friends about it.

If you like them, you can sign up to have #thelainielist sent to your inbox each week.  I once had someone describe it as getting a piece of joy to their inbox each week.  How sweet is that?!

This week’s list below:


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Thatcher was a big fan of Easter.


  1. Baffled by Conceptual Art? So Are Will Ferrell and Joel McHale
  2. What to make with leftover mini eggs.
  3. I want to make this.
  4. Grid sticky notes. love these.
  5. What To Do When I’m Gone
  6. Extraordinary Routines – Mari Andrew
  7. Orange and cranberry hot cross bun recipe
  8. Vintage sewing patterns online for download
  9. When I grew up, I wanted to live in Dryden.
  10. Hooded towel tutorial. Making some this weekend.
  11. For notebook lovers.  Field Notes: Dime Novel Edition.
  12. English Paper Piecing: How to Make Hexagons
  13. Removing paper templates (of hexagons)
  14. I made my own watercolour paint from flowers!
  15. Share Easter chocolate with neighbours


Have a great weekend!!


When I grew up
I wanted to live in Dryden.

Dryden is a town
in Northwestern Ontario.
It wasn’t much bigger
than Emo.

Population 2,024.

They had a McDonald’s
There was a large arena
with two ice surfaces
There were stores for shopping
and restaurants to choose from.

Going to Dryden
to visit Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Bill
felt like a holiday.

I wish I could describe the smell
that was Auntie Carolyn’s house.
It was one that welcomed you back
because it was always the same.
A warm mix of florals.
I can’t describe it.

Their home was immaculate.
Auntie Carolyn liked to clean.
I remember the room where no one went
It was a space that held picture frames
and lightly coloured furniture.

If you walked on the plush carpet
your footprints were left behind.
One swipe of the hand
and they would disappear.

We knew to stay out of that room
Our footprints just meant more work for her.

They had really nice things.

Auntie Carolyn’s bathtub
was an emerald green
and she always had
the expensive shampoo.
Pantene PRO V

Behind the dining room table
ran long narrow strips of mirror
lengthwise almost floor to ceiling
with gaps measured evenly between.

I remember eating black forest cake
at that table.
A round cake with a clear plastic lid
that slid over top.
Shaved chocolate curls covered the sides,
and maraschino cherries
that rested in dollops of whipped cream
on top.
It was a special treat.

Trips to Dryden felt like a holiday.

Visits were usually marked
with a dinner out to Ho – Ho’s,
the place to go
for Chinese food in town.

We loved the massive chicken balls
that were drenched in fluorescent orange
sweet and sour sauce.
Chicken fried rice
and beef and greens.

A trip to Dryden wasn’t complete
without our bellies full of Chinese food
only to feel hungry again a few hours later.

Evenings were spent together downstairs,
laughing and watching TV in their rec room
Uncle Bill was usually serving something up from his bar
and Rob and I were excited to watch a movie
with speakers.

When it was finally time for bed,
I got to sleep in my older cousin’s room.
Laurie was away at university
and I thought she was so cool.
She always had a little yellow bottle
of Clinque lotion on her dresser.

I miss that house.
I miss all of us together in that house.

I haven’t been there in over 20 years
and now it belongs to someone else.



Google Maps Can Take Us Back

I decided to try and find Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Bill’s house on Google Maps.

If there’s a place that you once loved, it’s neat to use Google Maps to go back and see it. You should give it a try.

I couldn’t remember their street name.  I thought it was Duke, but that was where my cousin Troy once lived.  But with an aerial view, I could map my way back from McDonald’s as a landmark.  It’s where my cousin Laurie worked as a teenager.

I followed a street that was long and straight; I remembered my parents driving on it.  If we kept going, it would take us up and over a steep hill but if we turned left at the bottom, we would get to Auntie Carolyn’s house.

I instantly saw Taylor Street on the map and knew.  That’s the street.  It wasn’t until I saw the green space of a nearby park that my eyes started to well up.  Auntie Carolyn’s house was across the street from a park. I was getting closer.

I miss that house.
I miss all of us together in that house.

I randomly clicked on an area that I thought would be close.  A quick pivot around and I was looking directly at her house. Instant tears.  The kids were upstairs napping and there I was crying in front of a Google map.

I had so many great childhood memories in that house.

I looked forward to our weekends in Dryden.  Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Bill were a big part of our life.

It’s funny how we get attached to places and things without always realizing.  And then when people are gone, we lose them and the pieces they left behind.

The house now belongs to someone else.

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My first thought was, Oh, man.  Auntie Carolyn would be pissed about the yard.  That tree would be cut down. The other trees would be trimmed.  The grass would have been watered and green. (No offense to the owners.  I just know how she’d like it.)

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I remember the gravel driveway.   The rocks would crunch under our wheels as we pulled up to the house on a Friday night.

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Ho – Ho’s Restaurant


Other pieces you might like to read…

Stories about Auntie Carolyn.

They Say that Bad Things Come in Threes.


The Lainie List

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Thatcher continues to hug every fire hydrant he sees.


  1. The New Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood documentary.
  2. Pantone in postcards
  3. For those who love letter boards
  4. #the100dayproject starts April 3rd! I’m in.
  5. Me First! a picture book for kids.
  6. Stories by the Month
  7. ‘Orange snow’ baffles eastern Europeans – BBC News
  8. Dad faces backlash for bungee jumping with toddler.  Thoughts?
  9. Your Taste In Drinks Will Reveal The True Age Of Your Soul.  I’m 12.
  10. The Crossroads of Should and Must.
  11. Harry and the Hendersons
  12. All-Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipes
  13. I bet you can’t watch this without laughing.
  14. A hockey dad’s last ride – The Globe and Mail
  15. For the sticky note lover
  16. Making Keepsakes for Kids: My Free 5 Day Email Course!


Happy Easter!!

The Lainie List

I write a list each week.  It’s like looking at my browser history and all of the things I have loved over the last 7 days.

I share my lists with others.  It’s like when you watch a really good movie and have to tell your friends about it.

If you like them, you can sign up to have #thelainielist sent to your inbox each week.  I once had someone describe it as getting a piece of joy to their inbox each week.  How sweet is that?!

This week’s list below:


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Charlie Bear striking a pose.

  1. The Broccoli Tree.
  2. Remarkable Women We Overlooked in Our Obituaries – The New York Times
  3. What’s your horoscope?
  4. A Family of Makers (about my family!)
  5. Finished reading this.  Now reading this.
  6. Do you remember your grandparents house?
  7. A little reminder to take care of yourself.
  8. My Auntie Lyd used to buy the best presents.
  9. How to master your vinyasa scarf.
  10. Tempted to buy these but want to see them in person.
  11. I’m on a hunt for new spring shoes.  Maybe these
  12. Meet the Canada Reads 2018 contenders | CBC Books
  13. 40% off Canada Reads at Chapters right now
  14. The kind of Youtube videos you watch with toddlers in the house.
  15. The Insanely Simple Way to Prioritize your Life and Work
  16. I want to learn how to make these.
  17. Snickerdoodle cookies that are supposed to taste like vanilla chai latte.
  18. A Karaoke Carpool that will warm your heart. Over 2 million views.