Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 13: What on earth can I blog about?

I have started a number of topics today and not finished one of them... I am not having a very productive blogger month....

Here are topics I have started and abandoned.

1. Things in life I would "be" if I could grow up all over again - or if I had 13 lifetimes.

2. My mom.

3. Books I found disappointing.

4. Random thoughts.

5. Things that make me happy.

6. Book Quotes I like.

7. Small things that speak volumes to me.

8. Tattoos

9. My month in review

10. Books I am looking forward to reading

11. Vacations I would like to take with my family.

12. Things I am thankful for.

13. Things I have learned about Native Culture while fostering Native Children.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A letter to underwear makers

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter as a fat person who wears underwear and occasionally purchases new underwear.

I purchase my underwear at a "fat lady store". We could discuss why I am fat, or when I got fat, or how I got fat, but let's just accept for the purposes of this letter that I am currently fat and move on from there.

I recently purchased new underwear and I have a complaint. Why, oh why, do you (and by "you" I mean the designers and fabricators of underwear for fat women) insist on putting little bows on every pair of underwear I can find in the free world.

Let me explain something. I am not wearing underwear to flatter anyone. I am wearing underwear purely for functional purposes and there is no functional purpose for a bow anywhere on my undergarments.

The only thing these little bows do is make another little "bump" underneath my clothing. I don't need anymore "bumps" under my clothing.

When I try to remove the bows, what happens is that the place where the bow was located either 1. begins to fray or 2. gets a small hole that turns into a large hole rapidly. Both of these outcomes force me to purchase yet more underwear with yet more bows.

PLEASE - for the sake of everyone - (and by everyone I mean both fat people and people who have to LOOK at fat people) STOP putting bows on fat lady underwear.


One fat lady considering commando as a legitimate option to "bow-ey" underwear.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Where are we in the adoption process?

Oh Wow...
What Can I Say...
The adoptions are not final yet but we have reached a HUGE milestone.
As of July 21, 2o10 the boys have officially been "permanently placed with us pending adoption".
What does this mean to us - especially since we have had both boys since birth? It means they are no longer "foster kids".
1. It means we have registered them for Alberta Health Care cards. (done today)
2. It means we have registered them on my benefits plan at work. (done today)
3. It means we have completed all the paperwork we possibly can and now all we do is wait for a court date - which we have been given as August 6th. (We signed the very last piece of paper yesterday.)
I thought we would go to court, sit in front of a judge and all that good stuff, but we don't.
The judge comes to the north once a month and apparently sits in a room and goes through all the documentation. We never see the judge, but when all is said and done we get a phone call and in a few weeks we get documentation saying the boys are 'OURS'.
We have letters which state that the boys have been placed with us and that we can place adoption announcements in our church papers (don't have one) or in the newspaper (I called them but I need to call next week!)
I cannot believe it is here. The first 24 hours after we got the letters I was numb, I didn't believe it was really here. Now that I have spent the morning calling and getting all this other stuff done I am so excited I can barely stand myself. My hands are shaking.
I have wanted for this moment to come so that I could spill all the gory details this journey has taken us through, but now I just want the court date to come and go and I want to move ON!
Perhaps one day I will come back and share sordid details. The trip has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least and I was never sure this day would actually come. we have been to hell and back - but here we are..... and I am more thrilled than I have words to express.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Justin

Other participants of Thursday 13 can be found by linking HERE.

So today I am going to post Thirteen things about my brother...

I know most people reading have no interest in my brother, but to me (and to the lives of the people he saved this week) he is a hero. I am the oldest in the family which gives me the benefit of having memories of all of my siblings as we grew up. I am so very grateful for these memories and for my parents who provided an amazing home for us to grow up in. My parents raised great kids!

1. Here is a link to the newspaper article about my brother and what he did this week. Way to go Just!

2. My brother is a gently soul who loves animals. We have rescued some dogs that have had "issues" around trust, and every single one of them has loved my brother - even when they fear everyone else.

3. My brother is a good friend.

When we were growing up we moved around a lot - from continent to continent. Lots of times it was just "us" and we had to rely on one another for friendship.

3. He is a great father.

Justin is the father of two kids and he is an amazing dad. Every moment that he is not working (or playing soccer) he is spending with his family. He is not a "sit on the sidelines" kind of dad, he is the kind of dad who gets down and has a tea party with his daughter. He is the kind of dad that is right there in the sandbox, or the pool, or the tree house, or the inflatable raft, or teaching his kids to skip rocks....

You can't tell the kids not to jump on the couches because......

4. He is a hard worker.

Aside of his daytime job, Justin works hard at home. He and his family have moved twice in the past few years and both times Justin worked amazingly hard to get the homes "ready" for his family. He is a perfectionist and anything he touches you can be rest assured it has been completed properly and with quality.... now if only he would move closer to me........

5. He is safety conscious - which I suppose is one reason that he was so quick to respond when people were in need.

6. He has a wicked sense of humor.

7. He is an excellent soccer player - which is important you know! I would have to check with him to get the stats right but I am certain he has won awards almost on a yearly basis for having the most goals scored in his league...

8. I think I am safe to say this - since he will admit it himself... He is more than a little "squeamish"(though he comes by it honestly and inherited it from my dad). He cannot stand the sight of blood and sometimes even the thought of it makes him go pale.

9. He is very creative.

He makes cakes (at one time he wanted to be a chef - which he would have been excellent at), he paints, he has written some great rap songs - even though they were for my Oupa's birthday!, he has made Halloween costumes, the list goes on and on.

10. How did I get to number 10 without mentioning how CUTE he is! (and always has been)...

11. He is smart.

He finished at the top of his class when he was going to school to become a journeyman and he is getting ready to go back to get another ticket.

12. He is a great singer. If only I had an audio recording of his falsetto when we sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." You would ALL be impressed. No word of a lie.

13. He is just a "good guy".

I wish everyone had the opportunity to know him, but to be honest he is shy and probably more reclusive than even I am. When we heard what he had done to save the people in Jasper, it was not a surprise at all - he is "that kind" of a guy.

In my adult "life" I was able to spend some months living with him and his wife. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to reacquaint myself with him and to meet his wife and forge a lasting friendship. One night I was working and there was an incident at work which kept me late into the night. All of a sudden there is - he and his wife came to make sure I was ok - they knew I should have been home and I wasn't so they came out (late at night) to check and make sure everything was ok. They loaded up my bike and drove me home. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have even disagreed with one another!, but through it all he has been a wonderful friend and brother.

I love him.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Man saves 8 after Alberta explosion
Last Updated: Monday, July 19, 2010 9:20 AM MT
CBC News
A tourist is being hailed a hero for saving eight people after an explosion flattened a bunkhouse at a horse riding stable Saturday night in Jasper, Alta.

As many as 10 people were injured when the two-storey bunkhouse at Pyramid Riding Stables exploded around 11:20 p.m.

Jasper Mayor Richard Ireland said the "powerful explosion" at the site, owned by Mountain Park Lodges, may have been caused by a propane leak.

Richard said three of the injured were taken to hospital in Edmonton with non-life threatening injuries, while others were treated locally.

Most of the injuries consisted of broken bones and abrasions, Ireland said.

Jasper RCMP Const. Stephen Pavlov said the injuries would have been much worse or even fatal if not for a man staying at the resort.

The guest's prompt action saved lives, Pavlov told CBC News.

"It was a heroic effort. There was an individual who was staying at the guest house on the property who was first on scene and was able to direct three people to safety," he said.

"He was able to extract about another five, and the last two who were trapped — that he couldn't get to — were saved by the local fire department, who under very harrowing circumstances had to go in and cut these people free and pull them out of the fire."

Read more:

my brother!

My brother and his wife were on vacation in Jasper when the staff accomodations of the place they were staying exploded.

My brother ran to the explosion while his wife called 911 and he started to pull people out of the building.

He is a blessing in my life - and also in the lives of others! Here is a newspaper report about the incident.

Love you Justin!

Ten injured after explosion obliterates lodging house in Jasper
By Conal Pierse, July 19, 2010 4:46 AM EDMONTON — An explosion that reduced a rooming house in Jasper to matchsticks sent 10 people to hospital Saturday night.

Staff members at Pyramid Riding Stables were heading to bed around 11:20 p.m. when the staff residence exploded, sending debris hurtling into the treetops, said Const. Stephen Pavlov of the Jasper RCMP detachment. "It was literally like matchsticks," he said.

A guest staying at the main residence ran toward the blast site and directed three dazed and confused survivors away from the flaming wreckage, before pulling five people from the collapsed building, Pavlov said.

The guest was unable to free two victims who were buried in debris, but his directions to firefighters responding to the scene proved invaluable in the rescue.

All of the residents were taken to Seton hospital in Jasper and treated for broken bones, lacerations and internal injuries, said Pavlov.

Some suffered more serious injuries and had to be airlifted to the University of Alberta Hospital.

None of the 10 were burned in the blast.

"It's all thanks to the quick actions of the witness who was first on the scene and the local fire department," Pavlov said.

A quick response combined with recent rainfall prevented the fire from spreading to the nearby woods. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but investigators are concentrating on the building's boiler structure.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Read more:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Max made cake

This morning as I was getting everything ready to leave, Max came to me in the kitchen and gave me this "cake". It is a happy cake for me.
What an awesome kid I have.

a discovery in the yard

Yesterday while mowing I made a discovery. Yes, it has been a long time since I mowed the lawn in this area....We have a lot of lawn (that's my defense)...
It is as large as a plate!

Can you see the spider underneath? I didn't notice it until I looked at the photo.

Where I think I just turned into an "old" person

UR magazine came to the office today for someone who no longer lives here - maybe even someone who never lived here.
I browsed through it and found a list of '15 tracks you need now". I decided to play them on youtube so I had at least heard them.
To know something is not to like it, which got me thinking - when did I get "old"?
I LOVE music, but some of these tracks which according to YR magazine I need "NOW" sound horrendous to me.
Track 1. Janelle Monae "Cold War" According to the magazine it is a tub thumping, dance beat with lush, soaring vocals. It sounds to me like a war. A Cold One. I didn't even listen to the whole thing. I will admit that I listened to "Call the Law" by Outkast ft. Janelle Monae and enjoyed it a LOT more. "Many Moons" is a great video and song - so I am glad I went a little deeper than just "Cold War" before I wrote off Janelle.
Track 2. Eminem "Not Afraid". Well done Marshall! I liked this one a lot.
Track 3. Broken Social Scene "Art House Director". Hmn.. The jury is out on Broken Social Scene. They remind me of someone but I haven't put my finger on it quite yet.
Track 4. Drake featuring Kings of Lean "Fireworks". I didn't like this version. I don't know if I like Drake yet or not, so I am listening to more.
Track 5. Nas & Damian Marley ft. lil Wayne "My Generation" I didn't like the beginning, but the song grew on me and I'll be honest, I didn't think lil Wayne had it in him. I suppose it bothered me that he was rapping about his generation making a change when he is in prison on gun possession charges. Uh, what change would that be? (And this is the point when I thought - I must be getting old!)
Track 6. Hole. "Pacific Coast Highway". I have never been a fan of Courtney Love. Surprisingly I liked this song!
Track 7. Band Of Horses "Laredo". This band has been together since 2004. Where have I been? I really liked this song. Good thing I read URMagazine I suppose! This band will be much more recognizable now that they are featured on the Eclipse soundtrack.
Track 8. MGMT "Don for Dan Treacy". Not a fan of this one.
Track 9. Rhianna "Te Amo". i like Rhianna but this is not the "one" track of hers that is the best in my humble musical opinion (and apparently "Old" opinion) - which obviously differs greatly from UR magazines! LOL
Track 10. Gorillaz "Rhinestone Eyes". Liked this one!
Track 11. B.o.B. "Airplanes, Part II" Had some difficulty finding this one....Still working on it.
Track 12 Ozzy Osborne "Soul Sucker". O.k. I watched the Osbornes on TV in 2002. I have a bobble head doll of Ozzy. I heard ozzy talking WAY back then and he was virtually indecipherable. I simply do not believe that this "new" Ozzy - where every word is distinguishable - is really him. Sorry. I don't believe it.
Track 13 Keane featuring K'naan " Looking Back". This song was ok but to me it was no great shakes. I don't know why it would be on a list of "must haves" - then again, I don't know that any of these songs would be really - for me anyway.
Track 14 The New Pornographers "Moves". Who names themselves the New Pornographers?
Track 15 N.E.R.D. featuring Nelly Furtado "Hot N Fun" Another O.K. song! Nothing I would write home about.

I think I will come up with 15 tracks I think you need NOW......

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

one day at a time ... or should I say, one pile of poop at a time

I don't know how we are making it through the days with Shel being injured. It is all a blur to me at this point. A haze, A fugue state, A fog.... I think you get it now.

The days are blending into one another. On the one hand it seems like it only happened yesterday, but on the other hand the days drag endlessly.

I am getting up, getting dressed, getting the boys up and dressed. Trying to get everyone something to eat and get Shel everything she needs close at hand for the day. Our neighbour has been AWESOME and watches the boys while I work (when she can). I get the boys to her place and get to work. Then I pick the boys up and we go home. I try to get supper, baths, bottles and bed all done and get stuff for Shel that she needs.

On Tuesday the boys were in bed by 7:53 and I was in bed by 7:54. Our neighbour returned my call after 8 and got no answer. Even the phone ringing did not rouse me.

Somehow in the daytime the piles of laundry and the toys and the dishes all replicate in science fiction proportions and I am not doing well at keeping up. Every time I think I have a handle on it I leave the room for one minute and come back to a disaster area.

It doesn't help that the boys have two favorite places to play - the little wading pool and the sand pile. They go from the water to the sand and not the other way around which means they get dripping wet and then roll in the sand pile and the piles of laundry just get bigger, and bigger, and bigger..... and then I discovered after coming home one afternoon that the two dogs in the house do as much damage as two boys.

Yesterday we needed to be away from the house for a few hours to go over some forms in preparation for court. We thought we would be gone for about three hours and it turned into closer to nine hours by the time we got home. I went to the meeting straight from work and Shel came from home. Because she is having difficulty maneuvering on crutches she did not put the puppy in his crate but left him "loose" in the house when she came into town. Since he has already chewed both couches to smithereens she figured there was little remaining in the house for him to destroy and that we would be safe with him out of his crate for a few hours.

When we arrived at home and I opened the back door I knew immediately we had a problem. The puppy had diarrhea while we were gone. I could tell he had tried to get out of both the front door and the back door. There was drips of poop from one end of the house to the other.

This is NOT what I wanted to encounter to end my day. I was so tired (mentally and physically) that the last thing in the world I wanted to do was start cleaning up dog poo. Unfortunately in this situation I had no choice. For over an hour I went from room to room, splash to splash, cleaning up Great Dane sized amounts of poo (and by "great dane" I mean "small horse"). NOT FUN.

I think of how many loads of laundry I could have done in that time, or how many dishes, but ACTUALLY if I had not been cleaning poo I would have simply fallen into bed and fallen further behind in the housework. Did you know there was something worse than cleaning wet dog poo? It is cleaning dry dog poo. Extra muscle is required - which I had little of at the end of the day yesterday and so it made the job that much more difficult.

Our poor puppy was so distressed that as soon as he came inside after I was done with the floors he went right upstairs and went into his crate and went to sleep. I will add - to his credit - that he did not step in ONE drip of poo. Which makes me wonder how he managed to avoid it when he seems incapable of walking past me without stepping on one of my feet?

Monday, July 12, 2010

doing the dishes

This weekend at some point I put a load of dishes into the new dishwasher. I triple love the new dishwasher. As I was loading the dishes Max came into see what I was doing.
"Whatya doin ma?" he asked. "I'm doing a load of dishes" I replied.
"OH, THANK-YOU" he said.
Apparently I don't do the dishes enough.

12 of 12: July

I only remembered it was 12 of 12 halfway through my workday - so here are some photos from the last half of my day!

Much thanks to Chad Darnell who hosts this every month. Link to Chad's blog and other participants HERE.

1. 1pm
I have a spider plant in my office that needs some help to grow up straight. I decided today to use the handle thing from the blinds....

2. 3pm
Working on my yearly calendar... I know I am forgetting something.

3. 5pm
On the way home. The people who we purchased the house from tried to sell it themselves before they used a realtor. The arrow is from the sign they had up on the pole. (We didn't know it was for sale until it was listed with the real estate agent.) The arrow on the pole reminds me I am close to home!

4. 5:30pm
It is a windy and overcast afternoon. Looks like it might rain.

5. 6pm
The little stinker ends up in the pool every time he comes outside. This is not a problem normally - just right now he is wearing pants and shoes!

6. 6:15pm
"Push me up high mom"
I have heard this phrase enough over the past few days that I am even dreaming it now!

7. 6:15 pm
I am wearing out a spot in the grass from so much pushing up high!

8. 6:20 pm
I took a walk to the dugout to see what was on it. It was a beautiful surprise when I got there and saw the pretty flowers.

9. 6:20pm
There are some beautiful surprises in the yard.

10. 7:53 pm
The boys are fed and in bed. Time for me to hit the hay! Gone are the days of staying up all hours of the night, when they sleep - I sleep!

11. 8:00pm
Some of the books waiting for me next to my bed.....

12. 8:45 pm
My quilt and the book I am currently reading. Snuggle and read - a perfect end to the day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Broken Ankle Saga continues

The night Shel fell down we went to outpatients. We saw Doctor #1. Doctor #1 requested an x-ray and said that because of the swelling in Shel's foot she was unable to put a full cast on. she put a cast on the back half of Shel's leg and then wrapped it in a bandage and sent us home. She wrote a prescription for pain and told us to return in 7 days. Shel points out to this doctor that there is an unusual bump on her foot. The doctor doesn't make any comment about it.

The swelling never went down, the pain never went away. In seven days we returned and we saw Doctor #2. Doctor #2 took off the half cast and said the thing NEVER should have been put on. He said he looked at the x-ray and there was no break and what Shel was experiencing was tissue damage- probably ligament and tendon tears and she would be in a lot of pain and he gave her a walking cast. Shel told him her pain prescription had run out and he said that particular medication can cause stomach bleeding and so she should not take it for more than 5 days. The nurse made a comment to Shel (seeing how much pain she was in) that she needed to tell the doctor that she was in pain and get something else prescribed. She told him about the pain and he prescribed Tylenol with codeine - the one thing she said she did not like to take because of her reaction to it.

The swelling has not gone down, the pain has not gone away. Fast forward to week number three. Doctor #2 calls Shel and asks her to return to the hospital in the morning for a 3rd x-ray. Someone has apparently looked at the x-rays and believes there may indeed be a break and would like to get another look at it. Shel returns to the hospital for an x-ray. Doctor number 2 tells her she does not need to take the boot off for the x-ray and she says she would like to take it off and have him look at it because of the pain and swelling. She takes off the boot, he takes one look at her foot and says she has a SEVERE case of cellulitis and she needs IV antibiotics IMMEDIATELY. She needs IV antibiotics twice that day ( yesterday) and three times today and again on Saturday morning. She also goes back to x-ray to get her foot xrayed again. The X-ray tech goes and asks the doctor if she can xray not only the ankle, but the foot because she thinks something is wrong with the foot.

So yesterday she gets IV antibiotics twice.
Today she goes in for her first dose of antibiotics and she sees doctor #3. Doctor #3 gives her a prescription for 2 oral antibiotics. The nurse cannot get a vein and so she does not get any IV antibiotics. Doctor #3 tells her absolutely NOT to wear the boot. She must keep her foot elevated and he has now requested an MRI.

We are following each step and we are extremely grateful that she went in for a 3rd x-ray because cellulitis can turn dangerous very quickly and we would never have known she had it. They said again today she has a severe case. I only hope we see some kind of resolution soon - and not because I am carrying lots of chocolate milk up the stairs for her!

We don't have many more doctors in town. I hope we get it figured out before we run out of doctors.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: June Snapshot

1. Photo of me:

Would you believe there is no photo of me in June? My spouse broke her ankle and apparently it curtailed her taking of photographs

2. Something I accomplished this month from my list of things to do that I am most happy about: I had some days off in June and there was a lot of things I wanted to get done. I had planned to do ten "projects" - one for each day I had off from work. In a way I was using the idea of ten projects to help me get over the guilt of watching as much soccer as I was. I watched every world cup game that was televised during my time off (3 a day!) Unfortunately my plans to do a project a day were cut short when Shel fell and hurt herself and ended up in a cast. Prior to that I DID get some things done - sand delivered for the boys, dead trees cut down, loads of trips to the dump, and a LOT of old boys clothes and toys sorted and donated. I wish we knew someone with kids younger (and smaller) than ours who we could donate clothing to, but everyone we know is no smaller than our kids. Oh well. I'm glad we can donate stuff anyway. Getting the spare room worked on has been awesome.

3. What I am currently reading: I am currently reading " The Education of A Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour. I was enjoying it but I am having a devil of a time finishing it and I have some other books I want to get to quickly.

4. What was my favorite book to read this month: This month I started to read the Rangers Apprentice Series by John Flanagan. I am loving it and I am just waiting for book 6 to arrive at the library. It is on it's way!

5. Movie I saw: The other night we watched Twilight on TV and I'll be honest, I fell asleep before it ended. Whoops!

6. Something yummy I made this month: I barbecued chicken with a lemon and herb seasoning. It was yummy.

7. Something fun we did together as a family this month: We played at home lots this month. I had time off from work which was nice.

8. Something that made me cry: I don't think I cried this month. I might have cried on the inside when Shel broke her ankle....

9. Something that made me laugh: The boys make me laugh every day. C has the best facial expressions ever and Max is saying something new everyday. Some of it I have no idea where it comes from.

10. Something I looked forward to this month: WORLD CUP BABY, YEAH!

11. Something I am thankful for: Being able to call and talk to my mom so much this month.

12. Something I want to remember about this month: Watching world cup and talking to my mom. (I want to forget about the broken ankle saga!)

13. A photo I took this month:


Shel and I were talking the other night about how different our lives are now from what we have envisioned for ourselves growing up. Though we both wanted children, neither of us ever really "saw" ourselves parenting because of the difficulty it is to have children when you are lesbian.

Now that we have children we have to adapt again, this time because we have two boys with special needs.

One of the issues with both our boys involves sensory integration disorder. Sensory integration disorder is a neurological disorder that affects the ability to organize sensory information for use by the brain. Someone with S.I.D. has an inability to organize sensory information as it comes in through the senses. This is expressed differently for every person with the disorder. Our youngest has Oral Input Dysfunction (among others). What this means for him is that he is hypersensitive to oral input. He has difficulty chewing and even though he just turned two he still only eat "soft" or pureed foods. He gags with textured foods - and sometimes he gags for what appears to be "no" reason. He is highly resistant to having any dental work done - or to using a toothbrush. He LOVES toothbrushes though, but mostly uses them to clean the sink!

Yesterday was his birthday and his brother and I made him a "happy cake". When I got home from work we iced it and covered it with teeny tiny multi coloured sprinkles. Then we sang happy birthday to him and ate cake. I should say "tried to eat cake".

Part of S.I.D. is constantly finding new things about your child. I discovered yesterday that those tiny sprinkles make my baby gag. I will admit, it was kind of funny because he wanted SO much to eat the icing, but every time he put his finger into the icing and into his mouth - he gagged.

I have to separate myself a little from this whole thing because it can be easy to start to feel defeated by it. I wanted to do something special for him and it turned out it wasn't so special after all. We adapted, we took the sprinkles off and he ate some happy cake. It just wasn't what I thought it would be for him. I have to look at it as a learning experience and in the future we will have happy cake sans sprinkles!

I think what I fear the most is that if I spend so much time "learning", will my boys have wonderful childhoods or just feel like experiments?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reading: Louis L'Amour

I am currently enjoying a reading "spree". Once I learned I was going to class in the fall and not doing my stats through correspondence (which was failing miserably) it was as if I had "permission" to read without guilt - and I went a little crazy. I am currently reading the autobiography of Louis L'Amour, "Education of a Wandering Man"- and one or two others and I have about 15 books on my nightstand waiting for me.
I have never read a book by Louis L'Amour, but I recall being told many years ago that this autobiography was very interesting and worth being read and that has stuck with me. I found it in my local library and checked it out and I am loving it - enough to venture so far as to pick up a book written by him in the future - and westerns have never been "my thing".

Here are a couple of quotes from his book that have made an impression on me:

" It is often said that one has but one life to live, but that is nonsense. For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time."

"One thing has always been true: That book or person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend."

" If I were asked what education should give, I would say it should offer breadth of view, ease of understanding, tolerance for others, and a background from which the mind can explore in any direction."

"Education should provide the tools for a widening and deepening of life, for increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences. It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening about him, for to live well one must live with awareness."

Birthday Boy

Today is my babies birthday. He is two.

There's something about having children that reveals a lot about yourself as a parent.
I love my kids more than my luggage (you won't understand that unless you saw Steel Magnolias!)

This morning Max and I made a birthday cake for C-note. Max calls birthday cakes "happy Cakes" which makes me laugh, so I guess they really ARE "happy cakes".

I just spoke to Shel and tonight we will stop and pick up a bucket of chicken for supper on the way home. Shel's leg is still in a cast and she really cant do any cooking so I make supper when I get home which is proving to be a little too late for small hungry children. Stopping for chicken means we can eat right away.

I would do absolutely ANYTHING for my children. Shel mentioned calling some neighbours and having some kids come over on Saturday to play for a while and have cake and ice-cream. I balked.

HUH? People? At my house?

Did I just say I would do anything for my boys? I would, but I almost drew the line at having people over at the house.

I guess I am more reclusive than I thought originally. Does that make me a terrible parent? I know that on birthday's people go to great lengths to plan extravagant parties for their children. I think birthday's are awesome. In my family birthday's are a big deal and I would like my kids to feel the same way about their birthdays. I just don't want to have a big get together. I suppose I need to get over it for the sake of my kids. I want them to have wonderful, social lives (if that's what they want - and C-note "IS" social....)

I guess I should be happy he is only two and not asking for sleepovers with friends quite yet. I have a few years to gear up for that much action in the house! (which is weird because over Christmas my brother and his wife and their 3 kids and 2 former foster kids and our kids were ALL in the house and it was no big deal to me... something different about family though.)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Reasons I love Canada

Is it really right to post Thursday Thirteen on a Friday? I don't think so but I am doing it anyway....
You can link to the new Thursday Thirteen site here.

My topic this week is 13 reasons I love Canada - in honour of Canada day yesterday which was actually Thursday and I should have posted then, but I was at home celebrating!

1. Gay marriage is legal. On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act.

This is the reason my spouse and I moved here in 2003. I could wax lengthy on why this is significant in our lives but I will spare you all the details - for today.

2. Because Gay Marriage is legal, Adoptions by Gay couples is also legal. I would not have my family if this were not the case.

3. Fries with gravy.

Fries and gravy are divine, but I have to admit I have never eaten poutine. It is something classically Canadian, but it scares me just a little. I should put it on my list of things to do this year - try poutine.

4. Health Care. Last week my spouse broke her ankle. We went to the emergency room and we were in and out in the space of two hours. We will never see a bill (although we do pay for it in other ways.

Health care in Canada is delivered through a publicly-funded health care system, which is mostly free at the point of use. The government assures the quality of care through federal standards. In general, costs are paid through funding from income taxes. There are no deductibles on basic health care and co-pays are extremely low or non-existent (supplemental insurance such as Blue Cross may have deductibles, depending on income).
A health card is issued by the Provincial Ministry of Health to each individual who enrolls for the program and everyone receives the same level of care. EVERYONE receives the same level of care. It has flaws for sure, but overall it is amazing - take it from someone who lived in the USA and dealt with the health system there. There have been times in my life I was sick and did not seek treatment because I was afraid of the cost. No-one ever should have to make that choice.

5. Population density. What this means for us is that we live without neighbours so close that I can look into their kitchen while I am taking a shower. Sure, we have neighbours, and sure we even have had problems with our neighbours, but nothing like when we lived in Ogden and the teenage son of the neighbour would throw used condoms out of his bedroom window - right into our driveway.

With only three people per square kilometer, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world.

6. Water.

Estimates of Canada's supply of fresh water vary from 5.6 per cent to nine per cent to 20 per cent of the world's supply, depending on how one defines "fresh water" – whether it means "available," "usable," or merely "existing." One study says Canada has 20 per cent of the world's fresh water – ranking it at the top – but only nine per cent of "renewable" fresh water.

This is also another blog waiting to happen -- there are huge issues about where Canadian water is going - who owns it, who sells it and how much the public know about it. In the meantime, there's a lot of water here.

Specifically in my house I love that we have " Spring water". This isn't true for all of Canada,and not even true for all of Alberta, but we have spring water in our house. That's right. Not treated water, not water with all kinds of additives, but spring water. Water from the ground. Water that TASTES like water. I love my water.

7. The regent of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Canadian head of state.

I'm not going to lie. I love the Queen. I love that she is the head of state of Canada. God Save Our Queen.

8. Lot's of great people hail from Canada. For a comprehensive list you will have to link here, Otherwise here are a few:

John Candy, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Dan Ackroyd, James Cameron, Kim Carrey, Mike Myers, Micheal j. Fox, Nelly Furtado, David Foster, Peter Jennings, k.d. lang, Wayne Gretzky, Art Linkletter, Howie Mandel, Sarah McLachlan, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morrissette, Carrie Ann Moss, Steve Nash, Sandra Oh, Matthew Perry, Christopher Plummer, William Shatner, Alex Trebek, Mike Weir.

9. BBC Canada and APTN

Most of Canadian television makes me laugh. Canadians have a distinct sense of humor which I admit I do not always "get" (For instance the red green show sometimes eludes me), but I love the BBC. I love BBC radio and BBC television and we get both of them! There are some great Canadian kids shows which I am grateful for since I have children. My kids don't really watch a lot of television - they spend most of their days outside, but when they do come in and we snuggle before bed, Canada has made some excellent shows - the Backyardigans, Four Square, Miss Spiders Sunny Patch, Mighty Machines. APTN is the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and they have the best news broadcasts of any I have seen since moving back to Canada. My spouse watches LOTS of APTN, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention it.

10. World Cup Soccer Coverage.

O.K. I will admit that there is something lacking in some areas of sports coverage on television overall. For instance -there is an awful lot of Curling and Ice Hockey and Canadian Football on television and I don't watch any of it, but the things I DO watch I can ALWAYS find. We have GREAT coverage of the world cup and we had awesome Olympic coverage. I just wish there was more NBA and College Basketball coverage, but then again, my spouse might not be so impressed.

11. My Family Live Here.

This is one of the reasons we moved back to Canada - to be closer to family. As it turns out we are now spread out almost as far as we have been historically, but having said that we have still spent more time together as a family recently than when we were living in the U.S.

My brother and his family spend Christmas break with us and have been to see us twice since we moved here. We have travelled once to Saskatchewan to my sisters and we see my other brother and his wife fairly often because they live about 5 hours away from us instead of 15 or 20. my little sister spend some time with us and my parents have visited ( my mom twice). Having said that it WOULD be nice to be closer to everyone still.

12. Tim Horton's

I am not a real coffee drinker - if only it tasted as good as it smells! I do like to Stop at Timmy's for an iced cappuccino though. I wish they made Vanilla Ice like they have in Singapore :(

13. Summer.

Summer happens everywhere - I know. But since summer here is so short it seems like Canadians pack as many fun things into their summers as possible to make them memorable. There are always music festivals, rodeos, car shows.... you name it - we have it. I love summer. Hopefully soon we will have a camper -- then summer's watch out!