Thursday, May 28, 2009


In the spirit of some other posts I have started this week which focus on my family, this is my brother and his kids. I am probably biased, but I think they are all ridiculously good looking. I did get permission from my bro (also known as "Raisin Bran Man") to post his pictures here and he did ask me to post some of all the family and not just his ridiculous good looks. Somehow his wife is missing, but I will track down a photo of her to add soon.

They welcomed a new baby into their home just a few weeks ago. Here he is in the hospital with his dad....

and his brother....

I will just add that the little guy pictured above holding the baby looks IDENTICAL to my brother when he was that age.

I was old enough when J4 was born that I remember holding him and looking after him. For some reason because of the age difference we were able to bond in a different way than I was able to with my siblings closer in age to me. While I get along with all of my sibs, J4 and I have more memories from his youth- I was old enough to drive us places and had a cool job where I got tickets to events like WWF wrestling.

We don't live close enough to any of my family and I miss them a lot more now that we all have kids the same ages and we are more mature. Sometimes it takes a long time in life to come to the place where we appreciate what we HAD.

Thursday Thirteen: gratitude

I don't put a lot of credence into the results of quizzes I take on facebook, but I took one tonight that said my stress level is 97%. I think it is fairly accurate given the things happening in my life right now. In a conversation with my mom I said I wish I had learned the skill of "letting go" because I certainly need to let go of some things in my life to reduce some of the stress I am feeling right now. In an effort to try and focus my energy on something other than the things in my life wearing me down right now I have decided to write a list of the things I am grateful for. Here goes.

1. My Job. Funny I should put that one first as it is the origin of some of the stressful things in my life, but in this economy I am grateful to have a job. People in my immediate family and people I know have all suffered job loss or cutbacks of some kind, so I don't need reminding that it is good to be working right now.
2. My Office. So this is really a "part" of my job, but two years ago I was moved from my office into a storage room. It was cosy, and I did what I could to make it someplace I was comfortable to work in, but situations have arisen in the workplace that have enabled me to return to my original office - which has a window - and so I no longer need pink grow lights for my plants. We are all very happy about it. (me and my plants)
3. My Spouse. You would think after being with someone for 13 years that you would have everything "down pat" in your relationship. My relationship with my spouse has endured some rocky times - illness, sleep deprivation, moving countries... the list goes on and on. I am grateful to her for the role she plays in my life. I am hoping that things in our lives will begin to settle down as we see the journey to adoption coming to fruition, my masters classes coming to a close, and settling into our new home. Hopefully we will have many more years to come and we will grow ever closer. LLL
4. My Home. It sure is nice at the end of the day to return HOME. This is something I have sought all my life after moving from continent to continent and then having our sexuality dictate that we couldn't live in the place we originally chose for ourselves.
5. My oldest son. My spouse and I have always wanted children. When we picked up our oldest from the hospital we dove head first into a world we had little clue about and less preparation for. Dealing with health issues that have persisted even until today has made life much more complicated than we planned. My boy has started to call me "mama" and today when I went to pick him up he called out to me across the room. It made my heart swell. I love him SOOOO much.
6. My youngest son. My youngest boy does nothing in this world but bring me great joy. He sleeps almost through the night but gets up early for a bottle and a snuggle. We bring him into bed with us early in the morning and he lays and drinks and smiles at us as only he can. His three tooth smile and his little wave make me happier than anything I know.
7. A vehicle under warranty. We seem to have been plagued this year with vehicle problems. We don't live in a place where it is possible to walk to work , or ride a bike to work and we rely heavily on our vehicles for everything. I had to take the van in AGAIN this week for more problems and when I went to pick it up and the service technician said everything was under warranty I about cried tears of joy right in front of her.
8. My friends. Friends send chewy spree in the mail. Friends make funny comments on facebook. Friends don't let friends drive drunk. (That's a joke people - I don't drink)
9. My mom. I know I am corny. I love my mom. What can I say?
10. My Health. Trying to find things my son can eat - and will eat - is very difficult. I sat down to dinner last night and loved my broccoli, loved my steak, loved my mashed potatoes and was aware how much gluten and dairy was all around me. Then I had ice-cream and thought of my friends Diabetic son. There's a LOT of energy going into our kids to make them healthy and happy, and I am grateful that I can eat pretty much what I want without needing to bust out a calculator or stick a needle into myself, or eat some of the gag-o-rific things my son eats.
11. SUNSHINE. I am grateful for sunshine because we haven't had any lately. I am hoping if I am REALLY grateful that we will get some and then I will be grateful AND happy.
12. Opportunities. I feel as though I make a LOT of mistakes. Especially in the last few weeks I feel as though I have missed opportunities to say things I should have said, or do things I should have done. I am trying to reframe these experiences by saying here that I am grateful I still have the opportunity to go and make some of these things different. I still have the opportunity to say what I want to say - even if it is a little late - and I am grateful for the opportunity to keep trying and to do these things differently in the future.
13. My poster of Neve Campbell. How could I not be grateful to sit and look at Neve when the stress gets too much?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Handwriting exams

Coming up in just over a week I have an exam in one of my masters classes. This exam is a closed book essay question exam consisting of two questions worth 40 percent of my final mark. That means that each question is worth 20 percent of my final grade.
The professor for this class has given us in advance the instructions he would like us to follow and a selection of questions we may use to prepare for the exam.
I have no real "test anxiety" the way others I know have. I have no fear of writing. I am confident that if i spend the time I SHOULD to prepare as I would like to that I will be satisfactorily prepared to write the exam.
Here is my problem. It has to be HANDWRITTEN. I cannot even THINK of the last time I hand wrote anything of comparable length. I am not a good typist, I type with two fingers on my right hand and three on my left, but I can type almost as fast as I can think. I cannot write NEARLY as fast as I can type and I am having some stress about writing.
How strange is that?

Sarah Richardson

I said earlier I would post on Sarah Richardson and so here you have it.

Who the FREAK is this person? Last night I fell asleep with the television on. My spousal unit has taken it upon herself to rearrange the house (which she does ) and we have a television in the bedroom again. I know, I know, this isn't what a bedroom is for, however it is the way the house is currently arranged and I like it. So HA!

So.. I fell asleep. I was sleeping and dreaming and the television volume wasn't even that high because the baby is in a crib in our room and he was also sleeping. The television was on HGTV and "Sarah's Cottage" came on. I am not kidding you when I say this - her ANNOYING voice RIPPED into my delightful slumber and yanked me into semi-consciousness. When my spouse heard me get up she asked what had woken me, to which I responded "SARAH @#&^@#% RICHARDSON". I kid you not. Her voice even annoys me in my sleep.

I have googled her to try and find out WHO she is and WHY she is so dang popular. I cannot find ANYTHING about her online other than she is some fancy designer who has these shows on HGTV and her own design company.

I would also like to point out at this time that she has absolutely NO knowledge or sense when it comes to construction (here is a comment my friend Ranavan made:) "Who the heck does hardwood floor BEFORE the exterior of the house is finished. Then when it rains and ruins the hardwood floor doesn't think "hmmmmm...I should wait until the exterior is done before I redo the hardwood floor." Oh no, instead she does the floor rains she is redoing the hardwood a third time. Sheesh! And then to top it all off - she paints it!! Paints a beautiful maple hardwood floor!!!!!!! Now you can't even tell it is hardwood. Aaarrggh! Lady!"

Right now she has a show on HGTV Canada where she is either building or renovating a cottage. I am certain she is making some kind of money from HGTV and I have no idea where she comes by the rest of her money, but I have absolutely NO interest in watching some self aggrandizing know it all spend a BOAT load of money so I can watch her build her OWN cottage. I don't know why this interests anyone to tell you the truth, to watch a show with someone who obviously thinks so highly of themselves and their own skills, doing what I consider to be showing off how much money they have to live a life of luxury.

Needless to say I was completely unimpressed that she woke me up and I WISH my PVR had some kind of a device on it where I could permanently delete programs that annoy me as much as she does. I can only imagine what HGTV is going to pay her to do for herself next.

My parents

My parents live far away and we do not get to see them with any kind of regularity. I miss them desperately and love them to pieces. Thank goodness for MSN messenger - this is how I talk to my mom as often as we can manage to meet one another with time changes and everything else to account for. Unfortunately I don't get to talk to my dad as often. He is working or travelling when I manage to connect with my mom.
Today my mom sent an email with this picture of her and my dad, and I have her permission to post it on my blog.
I love you mom and dad! I miss you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ten on tuesday: celebrities I am tired of.

Link on the logo to visit other participants:

Here are my ten:

1. Donald Trump

2. Rush Limbaugh

3. Elizabeth Hasselbeck

4. Baba Wawa - I mean, Barbara Walters.

5. Dr. Phil

6. Ryan Seacrest

7. Mel Gibson

8. Miley Cyrus

9. Perez Hilton

10. Larry King

Thursday, May 21, 2009

hearing accent

Spend a day with my family and I can guarantee you will leave confused about what you have been hearing. Half of us were born in Africa, the others in Canada. My parents are from Africa and Liverpool and have lived in Zimbabwe, in three different Canadian provinces, in Singapore and in South Africa. My sister with the strongest "Zimbabwean" accent was born and raised in Canada! We have spouses from different regions of Canada and one from Los Angeles.
A day with my immediate family can leave your head spinning. Accents get confused, words get muddled and the speed and volume with which we converse can boggle the mind. It is difficult to spend any time with us and not start to pronounce words differently yourself before you leave - but be certain we will all laugh when you do.
My spouse is from LA. We met in Utah. I never thought I had any kind of "accent" but I allegedly sounded American when I arrived in Canada and my American friends claim I sound Canadian when I speak to them.

The other day my spouse was confused by what she was hearing (not me!) and asked me if she had a "hearing accent". This has become somewhat of a joke in our house now and I expect it will be for some time to come.

Having said all of that, I don't pay attention to or really "notice" someones accent unless it is VERY distinct, like when we were in Maine or when I watch a movie like Slumdog Millionaire. I seem to understand all kinds of accents without much strain. I haven't really ever been "turned off" by an accent - until I started watching Canadian HGTV.

Enter Sarah Richardson. Now I have other issues with Sarah which I will discuss in another post, however the cadence of her speech drives me INSANE. To the point I cannot even listen to her, not even on a commercial.

Now I don't know - is it JUST her? Is it an east coast thing? An Ontario thing? Does anyone even know what I am talking about?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Snow in May

This is what it looks like outide the office today. There is a heavy snowfall warning for areas south of us in the province today so I am glad for once we are in the North!

I do feel sorry for my spouse today who is home with 2 young boys, one of whom would LOVE to be outside (the other is too young to know the difference I think).

I spoke to her at lunchtime today and she is having a devil of a time with the boys because our 2 year old thinks it is his responsibility to take toys away from the 10 month old and put them out of reach. I suppose since we have been taking toys from him and putting them out of reach for 2 years he thinks it is what "should" be done and is "helping".

I don't think he recalls that we only took toys away from him when he had taken them apart to the point they no longer resembled anything one would play with! I have no idea why he thinks he should be the supervisor of everything his little brother touches, but he has given himself that responsibility and he takes it seriously.
Here he is ... the toy police.

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Cities

Here are my top ten cities in no particular order...

1. Washington D.C.

I LOVE the history here and the museums. My spouse and I have yet to travel here together, but we will.

2. New Orleans.

Love the food, love the ambiance, love the history... I wish there were more interest in preserving and rebuilding this great city. What has happened here is a blemish on the history of the USA - right from the failure of the levees to the response of the government and the overall treatment of people here.

3. Gweru, Zimbabwe.

There are not very many pictures out there of Gweru and so this is an OLD photo. The clock no longer exists and I am certain my memory is what makes this place great and not the reality of it today.

4. Singapore.

What an amazing place. I am SOOOO very happy I was able to visit here while my parents still lived here. The culture and the city itself is just remarkable.

5. San Francisco.

Until just a few years ago I had never travelled here, nor did I have a desire to. Once I went I fell in love and would love to go back and spend more time being a tourist than we were able to.

6. Park City.

I loved to drive up here with my spouse whenever we had the opportunity. One would think living in Utah we would have gone to the Sundance festival but of course we didn't. I still love Park City in all seasons - to visit of course - too rich for my blood.

7. Bellingham, Wa.

I lived in Bellingham for only a few months, but long enough to fall in love with it. Small town feel, college community, great overall place to be.

8. Ogden, Ut.

It wasn't until we left that i appreciated how much I loved Ogden. Driving up and down I-15 I always saw the worst of it and thought it was a grimy, gross place to be. I miss it now though and wish I had appreciated it when I was there. Exit the freeway and you enter a whole different community!

9. Seattle, Wa

I LOVE Seattle. If I had to pick one place to be I would likely pick Seattle. I can't say enough about this great place.

10. Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
I think there might be a theme in my selections. I miss the mountains and the ocean! How on earth did I end up inland - close to the prairies?!

Monday, May 18, 2009

monday meme

Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The 29'er Meme

1. What bill do you hate paying the most? um - the Telus mobility bill because they piss me off.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner? ... uh, it's been a LONG time since we have had a romantic dinner. We did have a picnic with the kids in the living room recently though!

3. How many colleges did you attend? Three. I almost said two because the second one I dont even count, but what about for grad school? That would make four.

4. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now? It is ridiculously comfortable.

5. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? I don't wake up to an alarm so I woke up this morning when I was ready to.

6. Last thought before going to sleep last night? I was reading my fourth book in as many days, so I was pretty blissful as I fell asleep.

7. What do you miss being a child? almost everything... I had a pretty good childhood.

8. What errand/chore do you despise? Washing around the bottom of the toilet.

9. Have you found real love yet? Sure have.

10. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart? Kitty litter in thousand pound boxes.

11. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? Hmn. I think it should be for everyone or for no-one.

12. What famous person would you like to have dinner with? The Queen of England

13. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose? I don't think so.

14. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go? The Redwood forest

15. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship? new career

16. Do you have a “go to” person? absolutely

17. Are you where you want to be in life? Considering all life has handed us, we are doing fairly well.

18. Over the years, what about you do you think has changed the most? I think the way I deal with people has changed a lot. I used to be VERY sarcastic and now I am only mildly sarcastic. LOL

19. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life? No.

20. Are there times you still feel like a kid? Lots of times. My spouse says I think like a 2 year old and that's handy since we have one.

21. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager? 8th street? Who knows. I didn't hang out so I wasn't there!

22. Who do you think impacted your life the most? Wow. I think my parents and my spouse have impacted my life, but aside of them I would say "Grace".

23. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you? I loved school. I have had a of teachers that stood out for me, so I suppose I should write the first ones that come to mind? Kathleen L., Mike E., Brenda K., Phyllis W., ......

24. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”? No, but ones that start, "When I was a Carni"

25. What is the scariest thing that has happened to you as an adult? One of the scariest moments was when my spouse and I learned she needed a major surgery and the risks were outlined for us.

26. What advice would you give to someone about to get married? Only get married if you have something to bring to a marriage, not if you are looking to get something from the other person.

27. What advice would you give someone starting their first job? Put in your dues, work your way up. Don't expect to be the boss immediately - and don't think you know everything your boss knows.

28. If you could go back and change one thing you did, what would it be? I should never have gone to college as soon as I did. I should have waited.

29. If you could go back and change one thing someone else did, what would it be? I would change some things that were done "to" members of my family.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill In

I am SOOO happy it is Friday this week. I have books to read, and a LONG weekend ahead of me.
As long as it doesn't snow.... we go!

1. If we had no winter I would be ridiculously happier AND warmer.

2. The fact that we are still having snowfall in May is a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over I wouldn't.

4.Since it is snowing, I am planning on reading a LOT inside of four and twenty hours.

5. If you've never been thrilled at temperatures approaching zero (from the negatives), you have never lived in Northern Canada.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons, the damn things actually have to CHANGE.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading, tomorrow my plans include reading and Sunday, I want to see the Survivor Finale!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

complaint about books

My spouse and I read a LOT. I have never met anyone who reads as much as we do . We love to lay in bed reading and it is something we have gone a long time without doing since we have been fostering and since I have been in school but we still read as often as time permits.

I just finished reading the book Jenny McCarthy wrote about her son who has autism. I have to say - no offense to Jenny - the book completely irritated me. I found it annoying from beginning to end.

I went online tonight and I was reading reviews posted by others who read it and I am flabbergasted that people loved it as much as they did. I agree that it is great that someone wrote on the topic, and I know lots of people feel that if a "celebrity" takes on a cause it bring attention to the cause and enlightens others and I also agree that it likely does bring more attention to a topic when a celebrity "highlights" it. Unfortunately I think Jenny should have hired someone to tell her story to so it would have been more palatable to me.

I am tempted here to completely pick the book apart but I won't, I will just comment on a few things they are things that bothers me not only in Jenny's writing, but in other writing also.


When James Frey wrote his book and it was brought to light that he embellished some of the facts in the book the dude was raked over the coals. He even had to go on the Oprah show and get his little hand slapped by Oprah... she was MAAAADDDDDDDDDD at him! But here's the thing. I was not offended by the "embellishments" made by James Frey. They didn't detract from the book. So he didn't spend as much time in jail as he said he did - Oh well.

In Jenny's book she talks about Mormons three times. These are her recollections of her interactions with the Mormon missionaries and I was not present at the time of these interactions so I can't say if they happened as she recounted but I have a problem with what she says.

#1. The Mormon Missionaries came over and gave her son a blessing and she said it was a 15 minute blessing during which time her son had to sit still with their hands on his head. Now I know a prayer can SEEM like it take 15 minutes, but a blessing and anointing of the sick as performed by any missionary of the Mormon church is not REQUIRED to take 15 minutes. In fact, it is a process which is extremely quick and especially when a parent asks for it to be brief it can be. So I was curious why she said it had to be 15 minutes, but again, I wasn't there and it "could" have been. I talked myself out of being bothered at this comment.(My spouse says that blessing she had DID take 15 minutes, so I guess it is more common tan I knew. I will reiterate that I have NEVER been witness to a healing blessing that was 15 minutes long)

#2. She talks later about how the Mormons basically told her that if she didn't join their church she would spend eternity in hell. Sorry folks, I couldn't sit with this comment. The Mormons DON'T believe that. Even 19 year old Mormon boys who go out and proselyte know that this is not Mormon Doctrine. Perhaps she misunderstood, perhaps they weren't Mormons? I don't know but I think it is completely irrelevant to her story of her son with Autism to relate something about Mormon doctrine that is not true. I didn't see Oprah calling Jenny to the mat over this comment, perhaps no-one cares but me?There is so much information "out there" in the world that people just pass on as factual when it isn't. I think a few minutes of research could have enlightened her to her misunderstanding and the millions of people who LOVED this book would have some correct info on an organization that didn't ask to be a part of the book, but were, and were misrepresented. (By the way, I have many FACTUAL things about the LDS church which bother me, but they are factual!)

Now I have just made a big deal about two Mormon comments and people reading my blog will think I am totally sticking up for the Mormons or that I missed the whole point of the book by focusing on these two teeny things. Believe me, the reason I hate this book actually has very little to do with the Mormon comment and more to do with Jenny's writing style and the "story" of her son, which I actually found to be a story of herself. She tried to write this as though she was a mother who was affected by autism the way every family who has an autistic child is affected. What she convinced me of was that mothers of children with autism WILL BE treated differently if they are celebrities, if they have money, and if they have all kinds connections with "the best doctors in the world".

My son does not have autism as far as I know, though he certainly has some characteristics of autism, but if I were a mother of a child who had been diagnosed with autism and I was recommended to read Jenny's book I think by the time I was done I would be in despair. I can't pay seven thousand dollars to fly a private jet from a work site to be with my son who has had a seizure. I don't have access to the "best doctors in the world" from other states, and we have to wait on wait lists to see medical professionals for our sons - even if the wait lists are months long.

Sorry Jenny. Your book didn't motivate me. Instead of writing more books I think you should go back to being a playboy model or an MTV VJ. Your writing sucks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I have posted twice this year about goals for the year and I thought it might be time to do another follow up. We are almost half way done with this year already - can you believe it?
Ten things I will do in 2009.

1. Write more letters to my sister who is a missionary. FAIL. I am so far behind on this goal I am embarrassed. Who doesn't write to their sister? every day I don't do this I feel more guilty and fall further behind.

2. Make pajamas for my sons. TOTALLY bought a pattern this weekend when I was at school. Look at me moving forward!

3. Finish the cross stitch nativity characters for my mom. I got the stuff out of the closet and somehow it was put BACK into the closet. One step forward, one step back. hey - at least steps forward and back is movement!

4. Plant trees in our yard.

When I last updated this there was four feet of snow in the yard. Then the snow melted. Then yesterday it snowed again. I am fairly certain we will be planting trees this year, we just need summer to arrive.

5. Take a FOR REAL vacation - I don't know what has happened to this goal. it seems to have fallen to the back burner. We NEED to do it, but will we?

6. Procrastinate homework assignments. You know I don't need help with this one. When I set this as a goal I did it in the hopes that one thing out of my list of ten would be accomplished. Alas. I am in class right now and reading assignments ON time. I have started working on my thesis and have a draft handed in and returned for redrafting. I am not procrastinating NEARLY as well as I know I am able.

7. Complete the adoption for Maximus Orellius. Well, we met with the worker and things are moving forward I suppose as slowly as they do. In the meantime we have been following up with visits to the pediatrician, audiologist, nutritionist, etc. Maxi is doing VERY well and we are moving forward! Who knows when the adoption itself will be complete.

8. Go on a date with my spouse. We haven't been on a date. We did manage to make it out of town to attend a conference. While we were there we went to a restaurant WITHOUT children and we went to the library. I dunno, maybe I should count that as a date since we are old married people it night not get better than the library!

9. See at least ONE movie in a theater with popcorn, hotdog, and LARGE coke. Nope.

10. Talk to my far away friends more frequently. .
So I am definitely doing better on this one in some areas and not in others. I have managed to talk to David this year but the call put me into a wicked funk and I haven't seemed to pull out of it. Louie has been travelling and we haven't talked as much as we usually do, and email has been keeping me in touch with Mel and Cam. So I am doing better but not as good as I would like. Oh well. Something is better than nothing!

It appears as though I am FURTHER behind than I was when I did this review in March. Oh dear. I have some work to do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

12 of 12. May

Welcome to my 12 of 12 for the month of May. This is the brainchild of Chad Darnell. You can check out other participants by linking HERE.
I had a late start to the day today.
When we woke up this morning it had been snowing already for a few hours. It put such a kink in my day I never recovered.
1. 8:30 am
My spousal unit has started some plants in the house. It's a good thing they haven't made it into the ground already because the snow today would have killed them.
2. 9:30 am
When I am trying to get out of the house quickly I seem to do best by getting Max ready and sending him out the door while I get everything else together. When I came out to put him in the van he was hard at work (as always) doing what? Why mowing the snow of course!

3. 10:30 am.
Finally made it in to work today. I've been late two consecutive days now and I am frustrated with myself. I HATE being late and I have no idea what is happening to me. I did get a new pair of shoes this weekend (which I LOVE) but I even had to wear my boots into work and change into my shoes because I didn't want to wear them in the snow the second time I ever put them on.
4. Noon.
I am working on my thesis and desperately needing to get organised. I took some time today to start putting together files of my research. Thesis writing is directly related to killing trees. I am certain I will update this file photo picture as I progress with my writing to illustrate what I mean.
5. 4:30
Time to start working editing my proposal. I sent my proposal draft to my supervisor and she returned it. I took this picture to illustrate how much it has been "marked on" by her. There are about 20 other pages and they all look similar. I have a lot of revisions to make!

6. 2pm.
Did I mention it was slow in the office today? When it is slow I like to take time and clean up stuff that tends to "accumulate" over the term. Here is a keg I confiscated - students are not permitted kegs in residence. I picked that bad boy up with one hand thinking it was empty and it wasn't. I almost broke every bone from my wrist to my ankle but at that point I put on a brave face and hauled it to my office. It took me forever to recover, but didn't harm my reputation with students! Now I have to get rid of it. I have no idea WHAT to do with it exactly, so it will sit here until another slow day. (It is blocking my access to my punching bag!)

7. 3:30pm

I have been getting in LOADS of reading for class today. Not what I am supposed to be doing I think, but since I can't do anything with the keg..... This is binder number one of two I have for this class. Look at me getting class work done ahead of time!

8. 5:00pm.

The people I work with totally make me laugh. You know EVERYONE in the office is having a slow week when lost sunglasses clips get a pair of eyes in the window.

9. 5:04pm

All the snow has melted. HIP HIP HOORAY! too bad the forecast for Sunday is another 10cm of the white stuff. Will Summer EVER get here?

10. 5:15pm

What would a day be without a little farm town? If I can't plant a garden in real life then I can at least plant on facebook. (Shawanda - is the picture too small? Can you see what is sitting on the bottom left corner of the computer?)

11. 10:12 pm

Trying to keep my phone charged is driving me insane. It loses it's charge daily, often more than once a day. It is charging in the office right now, but then I forget it which is less effective.

12. 10:14pm. Living in the north definitely has it's benefits. This is what it looks like outside at 10pm at night. Unfortunately I think those are snow clouds building in the west.

ten on tuesday: ten favorite places to shop.

So... Here we go. The topic for the week is ten of my favorite places to shop. I can honestly say I am NOT a good shopper. The shopping genes in my family belong to my father and my sisters. I hate grocery shopping. I almost LOATHE grocery shopping. Shopping tires me out and makes me grumpy.
When I am extremely well rested I can manage going into one or two places but that's about all.
For this reason I LOVE shopping on the internet and through catalogues.
That said, I don't do a lot of catalogue or internet shopping!
So I am going to give this a shot, but I am certain there are some "real" shoppers out there who will be disappointed in my list.

1. Bookstores. I adore bookstores. I could spend a LOT of time in bookstores or libraries, basically anywhere there is books. When we went to a conference in another community my spouse and I went to the library. Who does that? We are book nerds for sure. I think that this is probably the one place I could be for hours on end and not realize it.
2. Lee Valley.
For anyone new to the blog, you may not know I am obsessed with all things related to pruning. Lee valley has a catalogue which I positively drool over. My spouse recently purchased me some felco pruning shears from Lee Valley.
3. Shepherds Bush
One of my all time favorite hobbies is cross stitching. When I lived I Ogden I never knew (ok I KINDA knew) the gem of a cross stitch store that I had right in m y own backyard. I LOVED every minute I spent in this store and since we have moved I have never found another like it. I miss it desperately and I would shop here in an instant if I was ever presented the opportunity again.
4. E-Bay I have actually found some pretty stuff on E-Bay. I have to be careful though cause I keep getting burned by the dang shipping fees. I was addicted a while to the whole bidding thing so I stopped myself from going there for a while.
5. I like to shop online as I previously mentioned. Overstock. com has some RIDICULOUS deals.
6. Old Navy. I pretty much buy my jeans and t-shirts from Old Navy. Since I only wear jeans and t-shirts i guess you could say I buy my whole wardrobe at old Navy. Even my underwear!
7. Hardware stores. I don't know that I have always enjoyed shopping in hardware stores but I might lose my lesbian certificate if Home depot weren't on my list. (And I do like power tools.)
8. Ikea. There is no Ikea within hundreds of kilometers of our home, but I take every opportunity I can get to visit Ikea with my spouse.(everything is more fun to do with my spouse - if we are on time!) I love everything in this world - it's big enough to be a planet unto itself - I even like the food!
9. Local Farmers Markets Surprisingly we have lived in or town for over five years and as of yet we have not made it to our own farmer's market. This surprises me because I LOVE them typically. Last week when I was in a different town for school I even went to their local market on my lunch break. It sometimes disappoints me that they can turn in to "elitist" places and not places to get home grown, good food cheaply.
10. The Discovery Store. There was a discovery store in the mall in Salt Lake City which we would visit after we finished in Barnes and Nobles. I loved the cool things in this store, even though I never actually purchased anything here because the prices were a little higher than I felt I wanted to pay, it was still a favorite place for window shopping.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday meme. Stolen from Sunday Stealing.

Here we go again with a meme from Sunday Stealing. Click on the link beow to visit the site yourself!

Sunday Stealing: The Mud Meme

1. What are your current obsessions? Farm Town on facebook. Pruning.
2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? Uh... I wear t-shirts the most, but I don't know which one. Probably my Incredibles t-shirt - which by the way was an incredible $4 at the Disney store about 3 years ago?
3. What's for dinner? Steak and Salad
4. Last thing you bought? A new pair of shoes!
5. What are you listening to? Sounds of Silence.
6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? Thor. I'm loud.
7. Favorite holiday spots? Disneyland, Singapore.
8. Reading right now? I am currently reading " The Associate" by John Grisham, "Opening Skinners Box" by Lauren Slater and a BOAT load of readings for the class I just started this weekend.
9. 4 words to describe yourself. Intense. Dedicated. Humorous. Tired.
10. Guilty pleasure? Cigars. But I haven't smoked a cigar since leaving Utah 5 years ago.
11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? Being with my family. My dad has a wicked sense of humor and he can get me going.
12. Planning to travel to next? Hopefully to California to Disneyland?
13. Best thing you ate or drank lately? I had some Chicken Teriyaki at the food court in the mall this weekend from Edo Japan. It was surprisingly tasty.
14. When did you last get tipsy? from laughing?
15. Care to share some wisdom? When someone tells you who they are - believe them. (thanks Maya Angelou for that wisdom)
16. Nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you? I don't know. When I was in high school Matt Cahoon said I had nice legs. For some reason I never forgot that!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Fill In

Click on the logo to check out other participants: we go!

1. Apples are to oranges as pruning is to mowing.

2. Don't ever ask me to do that again and that's all I have to say about that.

3. I think I hear the sound of teenagers on the roof ... what a shocker!

4. Respect the flag.

5. Do what you want to do, but don't hurt anyone in the process.

6. Max made me push him on the trike and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with rocks he picked up along the way.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting out of class, tomorrow my plans include getting out of class and Sunday, I want to finish the John Grisham book!

died and went to heaven...I mean SLEEP!

Last night a miracle occurred in our home. Our baby slept the WHOLE night, IN his OWN crib.
I went to sleep and woke up this morning. I slept all night, uninterrupted. I wasn't woken by crying, kicks to the kidneys, pokes in the eye and I wasn't puked on.

When my spouse tapped me on the shoulder this morning to wake me, I woke with an adrenaline rush ... was the baby dead?
Nope, still asleep.

Have I mentioned the baby slept ALL night, in his OWN crib?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday 13; things on the cafeteria friday menu

If you click on the logo you can visit other participants in TT.

Where I work there is a cafeteria. We fondly call it the "crap"eteria. We laugh particularly about the Friday soup selections because they are ALWAYS "clam chowder" and "chef's choice". In our experience, "chef's choice" translates into a blend of whatever is leftover from the week.

1. Minesroccoli. Minestrone and broccoli.

But don't think this is limited to soup combinations. Oh no. If they have had pasta as a main dish earlier in the week you are sure to find pasta noodles as a tasty addition to the chef's choice soup du jour.

2. Clam Chowdergetti. Clam chowder and spaghetti.

3. Cream of Scallopagus. Cream of Asparagus and Scalloped Potatoes.

4. Hot Turkey Drop. Turkey and Egg Drop Soup.

5. Perogitable. Perogies and vegetable soup.

6. Cream of Mushburger. Cream of Mushroom Soup and Hamburger.

7. Chicken Noodlesole. Chicken Noodle soup and Breaded Sole.

8. Beef Barflower. Beef Barley soup and Cauliflower.

9. Chicken Noodleslaw. Chicken Noodle soup and Coleslaw.

10. Minestroodle. Minestrone and Spaghetti Noodle.

11. Corn Chowdechinni. Fettucini and Corn Chowder.

12. Tomato Finger. Tomato soup and Chicken Fingers.

13. Gazpachili. Gazpacho and Chili.

(Do I need to put in a disclaimer that I have never had any of these soups? .... well o.k., maybe ONE.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


We are in the process of mothering two boys. We have had many foster kids in our home on a short term basis, but we aren't the mothers of these kids, just caregivers. (don't get me wrong we love them like they were our own, ask anyone who knows us. It's just that we have them a short time and they are gone again.)

So the two boys in our home right now we hope to be the adoptive parents of at some point. The adoption process is painfully slow, and in the meantime we are moving ahead with our lives and "raising" these boys, happy to have them in our home.

Now I get that parenting takes you out of your comfort zone, challenges and "stretches" you. I expected it. I still don't know how I got to be the "outside" mommy.
Let me explain.

My spouse LOVES the great outdoors. She likes gardening, planting, mowing, Swinging, walking, hiking, taking millions of photographs. She knows the names of birds, trees, flowers, weeds, you name it - if it has something to do with outdoors, she loves it. When she does happen to get "trapped" indoors, she watches the weather channel and reads books on birds, flowers, trees, weeds.... you get the picture.
I am the person who LOVES the outdoors, as far as I can see it from a deck enclosed with a mosquito net. I love to camp - in a camper. I am the mommy who likes to be INSIDE. I like cross stitch. I like flowers when they have been picked and are on the table. I like BBQs, but I like things a little more "pristine" than bugs in my teeth, dirt in my hair, and to be honest, dirt under my fingernails drives me INSANE. I Love the summer because I like the door to be open, the windows to be open and the breeze to come through the house.

We bought an acreage. I like it. I have learned the names of birds and flowers and I am working on trees. I LOVE to watch the birds - through the kitchen window! There is a lot of work to do and I really don't mind any of it because it is OUR yard and I love our yard looking good. My spouse works tirelessly in the yard and every bit of beauty that can be found here will be because of her hard work. I found I like pruning, but I think even pruning is the "cleanest" thing you can do outside. Please don't confuse, BEING clean with CLEANING. When I am inside I am not cleaning, I am simply enjoying BEING clean.

Enter Max. He is 2.5 years old and takes after his OTHER mommy. he LOVES to be outside. he cries and kicks and screams to be brought indoors. When we arrive home together he doesn't even come inside he just stays out and plays. He is a hard worker. And for some unfathomable reason he wants ME to be outside with him. ME! Inside mommy.

I HONESTLY think that my spouse has some pact with him and he gets some payoff from her by dragging me outside constantly. You see, when she asks me to come for a walk I can beg off and she understands it isn't my "thing". I can't explain it to Max. I am his mom. I WANT to spend time with him don't get me wrong. I just want to spend it indoors. He absolutely does NOT want to be indoors. Definitely not. So the past few weeks I have been spending HOURS a day, and by HOURS I mean more than one, pushing him on his trike, holding his hand as he sits at the top of the slide, walking, throwing the ball to the dog, having bonfires (have to confess I like that part) and basically being OUTSIDE.

This is a stretch for me people. I am really having to stretch. I am not convinced I totally love stretching, but I absolutely love my boy and I will do ANYTHING for him. I just never thought it would be this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ten on Tuesday: ten great bands

The topic today is ten great bands. I was excited to do make this list and then I started it and got all confused. I like a LOT, I mean a LOT more than 8 bands, and what classifies a group as a band anyway? I think it means they play instruments, but does everyone have to play an instrument? What if there is just a lead singer who doesn't play anything? and how many people does there need to be in order to be counted as a band? 2? If the criteria is two people with only one playing a musical instrument you know what that means don't you?
Yup. The Carpenters are a band. Did you see that coming?

So assuming everyone thinks the Carpenters are a great band and it's a "gimme" then can I also assume that the Beatles are a "gimme"?

I am having a REAL hard time limiting this to ten.
In no particular order (and subject to change at any time)....

1. Creed

2. Dave Matthews Band

3. Toad the Wet Sprocket

4. Hedley

5. Maroon 5

6. Indigo Girls (are they a BAND? they play musical instruments so I included them)

7. The Police

8. Dixie Chicks

9. Journey

10. Matchbox20

But how do you not include INXS (the original), Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith?

What about Warrant? I know you just starting humming "She's my cherry pie.." as soon as you read Warrant.
I don't know. I think this list is completely unsatisfying.

living in a small town

We live in a small town, which I am certain I have mentioned before.

Today I went to the post office to pick up our mail and as I was walking in, the bank manager was walking out and held the door. I said "thank-you" and she responded with "You're welcome Julie."

I don't care how long I live here this will NEVER stop freaking me out. I don't mind being greeted by name in places where I go frequently and spend a lot of money (like the vet for example). I figure they see me often enough and they take enough of my money that they SHOULD know my name. I looked down to see if I had a name tag on, but it has been years since I wore a nametag. (Thankfully the lady I work with told me my shirt was on backwards BEFORE I went to the bank!)

However, I have been INTO the bank a total of five times in my entire time here and in each of those cases I have never dealt with the bank manager. I pay all my bills online, my pay is automatically deposited. It is unnerving.

THEN... as I was sorting the junk mail at the bins someone said "Hello Julie" and it was the owner of the pizza place. Really?

Monday, May 4, 2009

letter to Max 32 months

Dear Main Man,

I cannot BELIEVE you have been with us for over 2 and a half years already. I know, sometimes the days seem to drag along, but wow.

You are incredibly tall and incredibly handsome and so fiercely independent it can be infuriating to your mom and I. We were in the store a few weeks ago trying to buy you some clothing that fits. We had to leave the baby section and enter the little boy section because you already fit sized four clothing and I can't believe it. Then we went to try on shoes and you are wearing a SIZE TEN! At least I won't be the only one in the house with mammoth feet!

While we were in the store you wanted to push the cart. You have always enjoyed pushing carts, but you can now actually reach the handle. Just because you can reach the handle does not mean you are accurate at pushing the cart - especially in the silly store we were in where they stack things in the aisle to make life easier on....themselves? So- you were pushing the cart and I was trying to steer you away from major collisions by touching the front of the cart at opportune moments to stop the cart from crashing. Every time I touched the cart you let out a SCREAM, you did NOT want help. Well I had to balance your desire for independence with my desire to leave all aisle displays standing and so i continued to touch the cart when you were aiming in a poor direction. Apparently all the screaming drew the attention of the "oh so helpful" staff in the store and someone came to see if there was anything he could do to help. You will notice when you get older and have kids of your own (yes, I just channeled my mother as I typed that) that people who are the most willing to offer words of encouragement or advise are the people WITHOUT the children. In this case, judging from the personal hygiene of the individual who came to our aide, that he shower himself, let alone raise a two year old. However, he was full of advise. "Why don't you try to put him IN the cart" he said to me. I looked at him with what must have been supreme confusion because he repeated himself, "Mam, have you tried putting him IN the cart?"

I took a deep breath, counted to ten and then in the only voice I could muster, said as politely as I could to the helpful man... "Did YOU want to try and put him in the cart?" Apparently, the smoke pouring from my ears and the flames shooting from my nostrils somehow buried my polite tone and I terrified the poor man. He squeaked "Have a nice day mam" and disappeared from sight. You didn't stop screaming when I touched the cart. My smoking ears and flame shooting nose don't impress you.

In spite of your fierce independence I love the little person you are, and the one you are growing into.

I will see you in a few minutes where you will insist I put my shoes on and join you outside, where it is my sole purpose for existence to entertain you (and by entertain you mean push you on your bike, and by push you mean RUN behind you on your bike.) Which reminds me, I'll see you as soon as I stop at the pharmacy for an inhaler refill.

Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu

You know, I am a LITTLE suspicious over this whole "swine flu" thing.

Do I think it is possible that there are people out there getting sick? Absolutely.
But seriously folks. When I go to the doctor it is miraculous if he has my OWN test results from blood tests taken in a building less than 100 feet from where I am meeting him.

Now I am supposed to believe that there are less than five cases of swine flu in all of Alberta, but they have all been linked? I can't even get the doctor to link a fever and rash on my two year old to the shots he gets less than 12 hours previously.

I live in Northern Canada and work with students in a college setting. The Occupational Health and Safety Officer at our campus is having us ask incoming students if they have been in Mexico in the last seven days.

I am married to a conspiracy theorist. Perhaps some of her cynicism has rubbed off on me. On the other hand maybe there is something to say about her conspiracy theories.

Don't get me wrong. I believe there is a virus out there. I believe it is the swine flu - or H1N1 as it is being referred to now. I just think there is something suspicious about it, about where it is coming from, about how it is being tracked, about who is tracking it, and about how prevalently it is being reported in the media.

And really. Don't you?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Letter to C-note 10 months

Hey there my smiley dude.
I can't believe you are already ten months old this month. As I type I have just laid you down to sleep. You are teething right now and not having an easy time of it. You have one tooth already and it is the CUTEST tooth ever - right at the bottom in the middle of your mouth. You have some difficulty with teething because your gums keep swelling and so the tooth pokes out and then when the gums swell it goes back. The past few days you have had a fever and your cheeks are rosy, rosy red. We can already see the second tooth trying to cut through but I don't know how long it will be until it arrives permanently.
Your mom has spoiled you horribly and she rocks you to sleep no matter if it is night time or nap time. I think she loves holding you more than you love being held if that is possible. Unfortunately it means we have to hold you EVERY time you need to fall asleep. (You will learn as you grow up it isn't a good idea to disagree with your mother !)
You also "hum" when you are falling to sleep. You are all around cute, cute, cute, and OH, have I mentioned your little wave yet? You wave hello and I just melt whenever I see you.
I don't know if you can tell from this letter or not that I am completely in love with you!
You are growing like a little weed. We had to get you some clothing because nothing that belonged to Maxie seems to fit you. You are wearing all year old clothing even though you are only ten months old. We had you measured and you are still a little shorty but pack quite the heft!
You are crawling and pulling yourself up on things so it is time to "re"baby proof the house. I am pretty sure your mom is excited about getting to do that because she really likes that kind of thing - She really likes telling me what to do - but you probably already noticed that! I am loving your growing up, even though your tooth is a little sharp when you teeth on my fingers now.
You love the bath, and you love the pets and your big brother. You and I hang out and watch tv together because you will actually sit still for longer than a minute. Unfortunately you are also a LOT more interested in my books than Max ever has been - and you eat them, which is hard to explain to the librarian. I am thinking of taking you into the library and actually letting the librarian see you eat a book so she believes me and doesn't thing I am using the library as my personal book ordering club.
Anyway little man. I have to sign off now because you are fussing - imagine that! You were perfectly fine hanging out in my arms, but I got CRAZY and laid you in your crib. My bad!!

I love you,
Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine.

Love mommy.

P.s. Dear C-note. I am adding this little post script the day after I wrote you the letter. More specifically the morning after a HEINOUS night with you and your teething. You fussed, and you fussed, and you FUSSED all night long but you were mostly "sleeping" while you were fussing. We held you, rocked you, held you, rocked you, and finally I got up and rocked you in the rocking chair until you fell asleep. You would fall asleep and then in just a few minutes start crying and crying. It was a painfully long night. We do not like it when you are in pain, but you are sleeping peacefully now - you fell asleep when the sun came up... what is that about?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Fill In

You can find the Friday Fill-Ins here!

And…here we go!

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is work alone!

2. I have never eaten, nor plan on eating clams.

3. When I think of carnivals I think of my time as a carny in Minnesota!

4. Lilacs are my favorite spring flower.

5. Things on my desk include three hole punch, stapler, computer, day planner, phone message book.

6.Getting notes from my thesis supervisor on my proposal makes me wanna sit down and do a rewrite immediately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reading more of my library book, tomorrow my plans include spending time outside in the sunshine and Sunday, I want to do anything but work - and of course I have to work.