– The workshop with the dental staff was not my most stellar performance. It is much harder to deliver a meaningful workshop when the participants would rather be in the bar drinking. For the first half of the session, they just sat there staring at me like I had some nerve wasting their time that way. It’s pretty hard to feed off of group energy when there is none. It wasn’t a total flop, though. They warmed up to it and the group exercise I planned for the second half actually went over quite well.

– Nikki’s Fair Trade birthday party didn’t quite go according to plan. Some of the girls had a ringette game, so only one of them could make it to the party early enough to get to Ten Thousand Villages with us before they closed. But the other girls all bought their presents there ahead of time, and the store gave us a bunch of fair trade snacks (chocolate, dried fruit, hot chocolate), so it wasn’t a total dud. Nikki now has a collection of funky global jewellery that rivals mine – the girl’s got great taste!

– The rest of the party was at a hotel. I spent the night trying to sleep, while four giddy girls spent most of the night giggling. Though sleep would have been nice, I quite enjoyed the giggling. There is something very life-affirming about the joy of preteen girls. By two-thirty, though, I let them know that even though I was fairly tolerant, the rest of the hotel guests might not be, so they’d better keep it down. Soon afterwards, they were all sound asleep – all 4 of them in a King-sized bed. I wish my camera batteries hadn’t died.

– We had a family get-together at our house for Nikki’s birthday yesterday. Between the parties and the workshop on Friday night, I’m wiped.

– We made lasagna for the family party. Since I’ve given up meat for lent, I made a vegetarian lasagna which turned out better than any meat lasagna I’ve had in a long time. Mmmm… tasty! Leftovers for lunch today. Yum, yum.

– Dennis Quaid is shooting a movie in the old church next to my office. I haven’t spotted him yet, but then again, I haven’t really been looking. Mostly, I’ve just seen a bunch of big trucks blocking the street and parking lot.

– Speaking of celebrities, doesn’t Britney Spears just look like a scared, vulnerable little girl under all that craziness? I wonder if anyone is loving her through this? I hope so.

– My next business trip is to Regina. After Africa, you can’t get much more anti-climactic than Regina. Fortunately, it’s only for one night.

– Maddie has asked me to pick her up more in the last month than she did in the 4 years of her life before that. My highly independent, non-cuddly girl has become cuddly lately, and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

– Nikki has a new pen-pal – Vicki’s daughter. In this age of electronics, it’s fun to see a girl get excited about what’s coming in the mail. I may have to help Julie find a pen-pal too. Anyone have a nine (almost ten)-year-old daugher they’d like to line up for a pen-pal?

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