Category Archives: family

Has it really been that long?

You know it’s been too long between blogs when you have to look up your password.

Where has the time gone?  Let’s see, last blog, November 6th from Florida.  So, since then we’ve had the drama that is always December, New Years, my birthday and now we’re approaching the doldrums of February.

Perhaps time to use to be creative?

I haven’t done any painting since…the fall sometime…other than continually touching up my painting of the cottage.  I’m afraid to say “It’s finished” and I’m afraid to keep touching it up in case I go one touch up too far!  Finally today I started gessoing (not sure that’s a word) a canvass to cover up another attempt at the cottage but I don’t really have any inspiration at the moment so not sure what to do with it…but at least I did something.

cottage 012714 3  Believe it or not touched it up again after I took this picture.  Sigh.

Work has been crazy busy – best December I’ve had since I started the business in 2003 – so I guess my attitude about customer service is paying off.  But it doesn’t leave much time for more personal, artistic endeavours.     And life so easily gets in the way.  It seems I would rather be helping other people, looking after my customers’ needs, than doing things for myself.

Perhaps it’s time to force myself to do another art class but I don’t know what I want to do.  The first classes were great, but they almost confused me.  Try a little conte, try a little pastel, now it’s water colours, now acrylic, don’t forget the charcoal.  I was talking to my friend Wendie about my confusion and she suggested “go back to where you started, sketching people because that’s what got you into this”.  So perhaps I just need to grab a sketch book and sketch, sketch, sketch.  Maybe whomever is the speaker at my next BCX meeting can be immortalized or caricatured more likely.  Should I warn him?

So I’m on the hunt for inspiration.  It probably just takes keeping one’s eyes open and having a sketch pad or camera handy but it’s not something I’m used to – a new boundary to cross.  In other words, all suggestions gratefully appreciated and possibly immediately rejected.

Oh, and to follow up on my last blog, I’m now on a daily dose of Rhus Tox – which seems to be working.  Now as well as snake venom is working for a friend of mine, but I’m much improved.  Hmmm…poison ivy, I could draw/paint some poison ivy…

Happy New Year to all and best wishes for 2014!

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Filed under art classes, customer service, family, Health, Homeopathy, lessons, The Virtual Alternative, Virtual Assistant, Wendie Donabie

Creating a Safe Environment by Liz Saunders

On Friday I wrote about a nasty experience during Jaden’s swimming lesson.  At the time, I was told I needed to speak to the Crescent Town Club’s General Manager, A.N.   Today, since I had to go to Olivia’s and feed feline horribilous, I thought “I’ll kill two birds with one stone and see if A.N. is in the office”.

On arrival at the pool office, I ran into Ken who had been my witness and instrumental in calming the situation down on Friday.  He took me into A.N.’s office and we had a meeting.  Both A.N. and Ken agreed that the other woman’s behaviour was outrageous and they will be happy to help the police in figuring out who she is.  They have a zero tolerance policy in place which they want to enforce as well, so they have every interest in finding her too.  They had a really good picture of her from their security system and I confirmed that it was the woman in question.  Apparently it shouldn’t be long before she’s identified.

We then discussed possible solutions to dealing with the issue of getting Jaden in and out of his swimming lessons…which I’m pleased to say can now continue.   I think that they were very pleased that I was not trying to ramrod what I wanted through, but was willing to work with them and be as reasonable as possible.  They clearly understand that this is an issue and that it’s an issue that will continue to grow, rather than diminish.

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Filed under bullies, customer service, family, lessons, swimming, Virtual Assistant

Swimming Lessons Shouldn’t be Dangerous! by Liz Saunders

A few years ago, Daughter Olivia moved into the complex known as Crescent Town.  At the time, I was worried because when I was her age, Crescent Town was not a place I would have even gone, let alone lived.  But she’s been very happy there and she’s never been mugged.

So last fall, after having difficulties with Toronto Parks and Recreation’s swimming programs for Jaden, I was surprised to find that Crescent Town Community Centre offered private swimming lessons for $90 for 5 and that they were available to the public.  I never would have considered it if Olivia hadn’t lived in the complex – unharmed.

IMG00090

Off Jaden and I went to swimming.  Jaden is a special child and suffers from severe anxiety in certain circumstances and impulsivity at the best of times.  Sending him into the men’s changing room alone was just not an option.  From the first day, Jaden had instructions to keep his eyes down and to stick close to me, while I found a quiet corner where I could use his towel not just as a shield for him but also from him.   There’s no family changing room so that was about the best I could do.

On one of the first occasions, there was a woman in the change room who totally freaked out on me for having Jaden in the room.   Not much I could do.  She was extremely aggressive, rude, loud and in my face but I carried on, continuing to instruct Jaden to be respectful of the fact that he was in foreign territory.  Funny, when I left that day my house keys were no longer in my jacket pocket.

The second time this happened (different woman), I asked his swimming instructor if there was an alternative.   She said, “don’t worry about it, I’ll make sure it’s okay”.  I thought that would be the end of it.

Last night, as we approached the door of the change room, Jaden said to me “eyes down, right grandma?” and we went to our corner and he changed.   Imagine my surprise when an employee followed us into the shower saying “people are complaining about him being in here”.  I said “this has been taken care of, tell them to complain at the desk”.  She repeated herself, I repeated myself, she repeated herself…you get the picture.  When we got into the pool, I told the swimming instructor about it and she said “that shouldn’t happen”.

In any event, I left Jaden in Niv’s care – not without a major wobble on Jaden’s part about me leaving – to go and pay for 5 more lessons (including the one he was about to have).  As I waited at the counter I was aware that another woman had also come to stand near me.  When the pool employee finally came to the counter, rather than speak to me, although I was there first, he spoke to her.    She raised her arm, pointed at me and started shrieking that I had a 9 year old boy in the woman’s change room.  I turned and looked at her realizing it was the same woman who had shrieked at me on the previous occasion.

Things escalated and when I turned my back on her in disgust she shoved me, hard enough that she hurt me and, although I didn’t back down, frankly frightened me.    Thanks goodness she did it in front of the pool employee!

So now I had a dilemma – am I going to be able to bring Jaden for more lessons?  Do I bother buying more?  How do I get him out of the pool, showered and dressed after his lesson other than using the Women’s?  The pool employee was very good, calmed me down and suggested I lay a complaint against the woman.  He assured me that the pool staff would be able to determine who she is because the whole event was videotaped!

When Jaden and I returned home and told Joe about it, there was no doubt in his mind that I needed to call the police about the assault.  I was reluctant at first but then realized that as this was not an isolated incident but the second encounter with this woman and things had escalated.  I was also reluctant to go back to the pool because of it.  Sure signs of dealing with a bully.

Toronto’s Finest were called; I requested that charges not be laid at this time but that the woman be found and cautioned.  Fortunately, as a special child, Jaden has the right to access facilities like this pool and either they must find accommodation for us or they must ensure that we have a safe environment and women like her must leave us alone.

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Filed under bullies, customer service, disability access, family, lessons, swimming