Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to you!

Hi there on the last day of 2010. It has been a good year for many and a not-so-good-year for others. When I think of less than positive things in my own life I remind myself of the men at the Good Neighbours' Club trying to rebuild their lives from almost nothing at all. Makes any problems I may think I have seem very small indeed. Really I have no problems at all.

I have always been a huge fan of parties on New Year's Eve as many of you know. If I am not hosting a party (my favourite kind for a night like this) I attend a party elsewhere. I love dancing and this is the best night of the year for dancing I think! Having said that, interesting that today I am considering ringing in the new year on my own - for reasons that I won't take you through - but it's all good.

So however you choose to say bye to 2010 and hello to 2011 I wish you well and a very very Happy New Year. Hopefully our paths will cross.


Carol Ann

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Best place to have a windshield fixed/replaced? A friend of mine just came into contact with one big rock that came off of the back of a dump truck - hate it when that happens!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday gifts

One of my favour Christmas gifts each year is from Jalen. He gives us his school picture. This year it was his Grade one photo. Jalen is always so proud to give this gift and often has it in hand before we have out coats off. It is a great memory that will be with me forever and each year he makes it more wonderful than the year before.
Last year a friend and I headed to the Niagara Falls area between Christmas and the New Year to catch up with another friend and do a bit of visiting, shopping, dining and yes even a bit of gambling! We are about to repeat that trip . . . .
Whatever your plans are for the next few days I wish you a Happy New Year and I hope your 2011 is the best ever - and that we keep in touch.
Carol Ann

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A few pictures of Jalen's Christmas

A few pictures for you taken at James and Tracey's home over the last few days. Jalen was so excited! Anyone with a six year old knows exactly what I am talking about. I will write more when the "rush" passes - amazing what a busy time of year this is.
Carol Ann

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reflections of my mother - Mary Rose Cole (d'Entremont)

On this day in 1992 we lost our beloved mother. Two days later, December 22nd would have been her 76 birthday. My sisters and I tend to spend December 20th each year reflecting and thinking of our Mom - each in our own way. The picture on the left was taken under our Christmas tree circa many years ago. Mom was always extremely proud and protective of her four girls.
The reason Mom and I are smiling in the photo on the right (taken in 1990) was that she was instructing my son, who was taking the photo, to zoom in but not too much. I was wearing tights and my mother was not a believer in women wearing tights - thus she did not want them to show in the picture. Later I would use this photo in the brochures printed to launch the Comfort Heart Initiative in her memory.
I try to be positive each year on this day but I do so with a heavy heart. Someone once said, "When your mother dies, your world is cut out from under you" and I believe this be true. We must each pick up the pieces and move on. However, I believe reflecting back can be a good thing.
If you still have your Mom, give her an extra hug today. If you do not, then you know how I am feeling today.
Carol Ann

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today I did something I am not proud of....

I allowed negative energy to sneak into my day - on Wednesday mornings I volunteer at the Good Neighbours' Club and that is where I was today. Today was a special Wednesday. An early Christmas celebration with entertainment, a nice Christmas meal and even a visit from the man in the red suit - all for the club Members. My plan was to spend time with the Members who are working on their writing and then join in for the Club's Christmas celebration.

Before I could even enter the club I was met with negative energy from one of the Members who was having a smoke near the main entrance. Once I was inside and could be found at my regular Wednesday morning spot it seemed that this very same Member could not walk by without telling me yet another negative story. About the Members. About the volunteers. About the staff. About the Board of Directors. Not a kind word for anyone. After two hours, and before I knew it I was packing up and leaving. I had not yet met with all of the Members I knew would be in to share their latest writing with me but, I had to get out of there. As I left a number of the Members asked if I could stay for lunch. I offered a very weak excuse and left.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want to remind you to NOT do what I did. Don't let one negative person influence your thinking for a day, an hour or even for a minute. I speak often about how I never let negative energy ruin my day - never say never. Lesson learned.

Life is short.............


Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunnyside Home, Franklin St North, Kitchener ON

Hi there, I am wondering if any of you can educate me regarding a rehab centre in Kitchener - Sunnyside Home. A friend of mine has fallen and broken her pelvis in four (yes - four!) places. She will be transferred shortly from a hospital in Guelph to this facility in Kitchener. I have read the website info to her but thought that if anyone has had a personal experience, or knows someone who has, it might help her gain some confidence even before transferring there. She is in for a long stay.........

Thanks, and you can e mail me as always..........I would appreciate anything you can tell me.

Carol Ann

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Christmas card to you - with love

I don't believe I could count all of the heart shaped gifts I have received since the beginning of the Comfort Heart Initiative in 1996. Many of these gifts are from strangers who became friends after they discovered Comfort Hearts. I had no idea when this little fundraiser began that today there would be more than 240,000 "Holders of the Heart" in Canada and literally around the world and that together we would raise so much money for cancer research. I have said a million times this fundraiser is not about me - it is about all of you who have spent $10.00 to purchase a Comfort Heart in support of this Initiative.
And so to those of you who follow my blog but, for one reason or another we are not in direct contact, this Christmas card is for you. Perhaps you will recognize a Christmas ornament that came from you!
Merry Christmas to you and yours and I look foward to our continued dialogue in 2011. Where has this year gone?
Carol Ann

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas cards can be whatever you want them to be

My highschool teacher, Miss Whitney, is Liz to me now. However I still like to call her Miss Whitney. It brings back those fond classroom memories from oh-so-long-ago when someone was always shouting, "Miss Whitney - Miss Whitney" as if our life depended on her giving us her total attention immediately.
This year my Christmas card from MW came with this picture. She took the photo when we were together in July. MW always finds a day to take Lois and I touring when we are home on vacation and Lawrencetown Beach is our most favourite place to visit. Cold as always on this particular day but such joy as well. Imagine what it would be like to live there? Actually, my publisher, Lesley Choyce, does live there - walking distance to the beach where he is a year-round surfer as well as a prof at Dal, a writer and owner of He has it made! And I will be forever thankful to Lesley for publishing my last two books.
Enjoy your weekend - enjoy your Christmas cards and remember they do not have to be store-purchased. I suspect some of the best cards are not store-purchased.
Carol Ann

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trimming the Christmas tree

Each year I am fortunate to be with my son and his family as they decorate their Christmas tree. It is a bit of a tradition for us to do this together and truly a gift for me. Jalen and Daddy select Christmas music (not to be confused with actual Christmas music!) and they sing and dance through the evening. Jalen was thrilled when his Mummy and Daddy danced together but he soon took back the stage and entertained us with songs he has learned for his Grade One Christmas concert. .... so funny and so heartwarming. Three "snow days" also thrilled Jalen who wanted to go to school anyway so he and his buddies could play hockey all day or whatever part of the day they could manage to have their hockey sticks in hand.

Jalen and I had our usual "mini-sticks" games in the house while I was there. At one point as I attemped a save I fell into his toys and literally crushed a garage of some sort. Jalen immediately said, "I scored even though fell you Nana - and don't worry about that toy I don't play with it anymore. Anyway, my Daddy can fix it if I want it." I don't think that particular toy can be repaired but will leave it for Jalen to explain what happened.

When Jalen graduated from Senior K and moved on to Grade One I took him to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a graduation gift. This is what he wants for Christmas as well so we will do that. At every opportunity when the word "Christmas" was mentioned Jalen turned to me and said, "Don't forget Nana - Hockey Hall of Fame!"

Life through the eyes of a six year old is wonderful and even more-so at Christmas.


Carol Ann
PS Jalen's Blackberry isn't really connected - it's his Daddy's old Blackberry and he uses it to check the time and to take pictures!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2011 Conferences you might be interested in

Hi there

For the most part I do not publish the dates of my speaking engagements because the company that books me does not open the conference to the public. In 2011 I have two exceptions -

February 3 & 4th Carson Communications is hosting the "Canadian Women in Business" conference at the Novotel Hotel, North York, Ontario. Lesley Stevens is the CEO (and I worked with her mom at Bell a lifetime ago!) and is working very hard to put together a top-notch conference. If you think you might be interested please go to to read all about the conference. Or contact me if you would rather do that.

Secondly, at the Hamilton Convention Center in Hamilton Ontario June 7 - 11th the World Conference on Breast Cancer Foundation is hosting the 6th annual World Conference on Breast Cancer. You can learn all about this conference at I attended the 5th annual World Conference just after my second cancer "experience" and met many wonderful women - we have kept in touch and I know you have read about some of these women here on my blog. I hope to see my friends, and make new friends at this conference next year.

So far my other speaking gigs in 2011 are not open to the public but if that changes I will let you know.

Carol Ann

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A picture speaks a thousand words...

....or in this case....a picture speaks a thousand "hearts!" After yesterday's blog I received e-mails from some of you who have given me hearts of one type or the other over the years - certainly since The Comfort Heart Initiative begain in 1996. You question was, "What do you do with the hearts if you don't decorate a tree?" So, here is my reply - I FILL a champagne glass with my heart ornaments and decorations etc. and I move the champagne glass from room to room so I can enjoy it wherever I am sitting. So, not to worry, my heart collection is alive and well - and growing.


Carol Ann

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Christmas tree is up!

If you know me well you know my Christmas tree is never a traditional one (and has not been since James (Jamie at the time) moved out and I was left to experiment with different trees that would fit my condo lifestyle.) My friend Linda Power gave me this little red tree. It replaced my "Mills Brother's" tree after Jalen and I over-decorated it a bit last year and watched it died a natural death under the weight of the decorations. I believe Linda found this tree in Nova Scotia and gave it to me the Christmas before I left home - I am now on the hunt for other little red glass trees so let me know if you find them somewhere in the GTA!

So I am surrounded by hearts, candles and my little tree. Have you decorated yet? I love this time of year.
Carol Ann

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Remembering where we come from

One of the first Christmas cards I receive each year is from my friend Beryl Holman (Sorry Stu, I know her last name is Keddy and has been for a very long time - but she will always be Beryl Holman from Wilmot Nova Scotia to me.) A number of years ago I stopped sending out Christmas cards and a few years later my annual card from Beryl did not arrive. When I jokingly asked, "Hey where is my Christmas card from you? I always receive a card from you" she was very quick to reply, "I don't give to get - but I don't give if I don't get." I love that line! Have used it a few times myself. Beryl has a wonderful sense of humour.

Beryl and I attended the Wilmot two-room school house from the day we started school until our Grade 6 graduation after which we took the bus to Middleton to the High School. Everyone can lose touch when life and distance get in the way and while that did happen to us, we managed to find ways to connect over the years. When I moved home in 1996 we carved out time to have lunch on a regular basis. We were always able to pick up exactly where we left off. I moved back to Toronto in 2007 - and now we find ways to visit whenever I am able to go home to Halifax. We also make sure to find each other at our MRHS Reunions and probably enjoy the Reunion as much as, or more than, most. This picture was taken of my sister Lois (in the pink top) and Beryl and I at our High School Reunion this past summer. Oh, how we laughed!

Beryl has taught me many things - including the gift we receive when we go out of our way to stay in touch - thank you for that gift Beryl. Oh, and my Christmas card to you surely crossed paths in the mail with your card to me - honestly!


Carol Ann