uh oh, dig out your woolies

AccuWeather predicts temperatures this winter colder than the 30-year average. That cold will sneak in soon (that’s us under that nice Arctic Blasts label); January and February will be the coldest (about 4 degrees below normal), and winter might just stick around until April.  At least it’s a ‘drier than normal cold.’

Cuba, anyone?


Good one, Matilda Jane

Here’s a company you should know about: Matilda Jane Clothing. I ran across a piece about them in The Mighty and had to share. The company has been around since 2014, and uses models both with and without disabilities to sell their clothing lines for young girls. Here’s what the marketing executive had to say:

“We have worked with a variety of beautiful models, and we include at least one model with a disability in each of our monthly photo shoots,” Kate Virag, senior marketing manager, said. “Working with models with disabilities has been a wonderful experience for our team and for the other models at each photo shoot. The support, love and positivity around this campaign is amazing,” Virag said. “We truly want all girls to feel beautiful and confident. That is the concept Matilda Jane was founded on, and it covers all girls of all abilities.”

Beautiful, all the way around.

No place like HOME for fall

Saskatoon HOME magazine, it’s here again just as leaves start to expose what’s been lying beneath the summer’s green. Get your copy at any one of several rack locations in the city; I get mine at Sobey’s or Safeway.


The issue is full of great stories; here are mine (so my mom can get to them easily🙂 But be sure to read the entire issue! And you can read back issues online, too.

The little hacienda

Family dishes

Accommodating moving ground

House with its own indoor hockey rink


Hugo knows words matter

A Saskatoon mom, Kath Stevenson, wrote this brilliant piece lately and it’s worth spreading to all who teach, mentor, model, live, work and play with people who have disabilities. It would be absurd for a teacher to say “I have 35 students and one Downs in my class…” yet we’ve heard it. It would be just as dehumanizing for a doctor to say, “The patient is kidney” or “he’s dementia” as it is for her to say, “The patient is Downs.”But we’ve heard that, too. When taking a friend back to a group home after a visit, wouldn’t it be demeaning for a staff to say, “Doesn’t matter, park him anywhere. He’s Downs…” Yep, that one, too. Even our son Jim, at 42, gets called Jimmy and we’ve been told he’s “a nice boy, but they’re all so happy, aren’t they?” But then along comes a bright and shining parent like Kath who lays it out like this:

“To all who teach, mentor, or role model health professional students, please take note: Hugo is not Down syndrome or Down’s, i.e. “Since he’s Down’s….”, he certainly has DS, but it is not who he is. Similarly, Hugo is not a ‘Down’s baby’ or a ‘Down syndrome kid.’ When health professionals talk this way, my spidey senses tingle and I no longer trust that you see my whole child. Also, while I appreciate Hugo is damn cute, it isn’t Down syndrome that makes him so, as today’s nurse implied when informing me that they “had so many Down’s kids today” and that makes her happy since “Down’s babies and kids are always so cute, no matter how old.”  Just no. Positive stereotypes are still stereotypes and they hold people back. I want you – I need you – to see my whole son and not a diagnosis and if health professionals can’t rise to the occasion, I’m not sure who can.”

You go, Hugo’s mom. With parents like Kath Stevenson and Ray Romanski, Hugo won’t ever be one of the dismissed ‘others.’ Just like Kath says, our son Jim has Down syndrome, it’s not who or what he is. And don’t call him cute; at 42, the adjective is handsome. We agree, Hugo is cute! And he rocks a rad haircut. But, everybody pay attention: as he becomes a man, don’t forget to treat him like one.

photo credit: Wendy Bickis Photography

China syndrome

Hey! The fall issue of Saskatoon HOME is out and it’s early! I think I say this about every issue, but this is one of my favourites. One of my pet stories is the piece about fine bone china. I learned a lot. Did you know that they call it bone china because it really does contain bone? Cow bone. What’s more, there’s some guy in Seattle who will make a lovely set of dishes for you using your loved one’s ashes. That way, you can have your family member over for dinner every night. For this story, we visited Don Penn of Penn’s Antiques, and also Roger and Chris out at Solar Gardens. Check out Roger’s vast collection, beautifully displayed in the dining room. That’s me and Roger, me trying not to break anything! Get your issue to bone up on china knowledge, and there’s plenty of other interesting stuff, too.