Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I had foot surgery over 7 years ago and right before the surgery was scheduled my spouse and I went for pedicures. That was the last time I had one (pedicure or foot surgery!) The surgery was a huge mistake and I wish I had never had it but the pedicure was divine.
I have wanted to get another one for the longest time and FINALLY scheduled one.

I think a little too much skin was taken off the bottom of my big toe and it's a smooge tender, but oh I am in foot heaven. My feet are loving me right now with only mild complaints being lodged by my big toe. I can't wait to put my feet into bed tonight - and not scratch the sheet, but I will need to think of something to do when I have an itchy leg - those callouses served a purpose!

I need to do this again ---- SOON.

Next I need to schedule a massage, but there will be no photo evidence of the massage posted here. Sorry peeps.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: RCMP musical ride

The RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - for the most part in 2010 are no longer mounted police, but national law enforcement.
The "mounties" as they are sometimes called are often a symbol of Canada.

This last week we went and watched the RCMP musical ride in our community and we loved every minute of it that we were able to see ( the boys attention is still a little short).

Afterwards we met a horse, Sherif, and spoke to one of the mounties.

Here are some fun facts about the RCMP musical ride. Information in italics is from http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/mr-ce/index-eng.htm which is the official musical ride website.

1. Although legend has it that the first Musical Ride was performed as early as 1876, the first officially recorded Musical Ride was performed in Regina under Inspector William George Matthews in 1887. The Musical Ride, consisting of twenty men, was put on public display for the first time in 1901.

2.The Musical Ride was developed from a desire by early members of the North-West Mounted Police to display their riding ability and entertain both themselves and the local community.

3. Considering that the original Mounted Police members had a British military background, it was inevitable that the series of figures they performed were traditional cavalry drill movements.

4 . On May 23, 1974, RCMP Commissioner M.J. Nadon announced that the RCMP would begin to accept applications from females as regular members of the force. In 1981 the first female was promoted to corporal and the first females served on the musical ride. This year there at least 1/2 of the riders are female. ( I should check that more closely...)

5. Today, in keeping with tradition, the Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of thirty-two riders and horses, plus the member in charge.

6. RCMP members only remain with the Musical Ride for three years which ensures an annual rotation of approximately one third (33%) of the riders.

7. In 1873, the horses of the North-West Mounted Police had to be rugged and tough since they were the primary mode of transportation for officers. Today an RCMP horse must be black, elegant, athletic with a good nature and enough heart and stamina to carry it through approximately one hundred performances of the Musical Ride.

8. The RCMP has bred and raised its own horses since 1939 and today the national police force is known to produce some of the finest horses in the country. The RCMP horse breeding program began at Depot Division, Regina, Saskatchewan, and was subsequently moved to Fort Walsh in 1942, the site of a North-West Mounted Police Fort built in 1875 in the beautiful Cypress Hills of south western Saskatchewan. Fort Walsh was home of the breeding program until 1968 when the operation was moved to Pakenham, Ontario about 50 km. west of Ottawa.

9. The RCMP Breeding Farm in Pakenham is built on one hundred and forty hectares of lush Ottawa Valley land where the Remounts spend the first three years of their life, growing, developing and maturing before becoming Musical Ride horses and moving to the home of the Musical Ride, the Rockcliffe Park Equestrian Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.

10. All of the RCMP horses are black because in 1937, Assistant Commissioner S. T. Wood was impressed how the black horses looked with RCMP in red tunics. He ordered the RCMP to only use black horses from that time forward.

11. The RCMP breed their own horses because there is not a supply of black horses like they require available anywhere in the world. The horses are bred for colour, size, and temperament.

The RCMP currently have one stallion that is a registered and licensed Hanoverian. To be a licensed Hanoverian, the horse has to undergo a rigorous testing period (100 days)
There are approximately 27 broodmares at the farm, along with 40 to 50 young horses from babies to three year olds. At the stables in Ottawa, there are approximately 96 horses which include class horses, Musical Ride horses and the young horses in training.

12. Each year the foals are named with the same letter in the alphabet. Some letters are never used because it would be too difficult to come up with many names starting with letters like Q, X, U, Y or Z. The RCMP holds a competition each year where children can help to choose the names for the foals.
The naming of the horses RCMP horses are officially identified by a Regimental Number, and are given a name. Each year children across Canada are invited to suggest names for four to six of the foals in a "Name the Foal" contest. Over the past years, several thousand names have been suggested and submitted for the contest. The remaining foals are named by the Pakenham Farm Manager, who attempts to match names to the distinct characteristics and personalities of each horse. The names of all foals born in the same year begin with the same letter, and every year this letter changes. This method makes it easier for the breeders to keep records on the RCMP horses. To our knowledge this process of naming foals is unique to the RCMP.

13. The RCMP musical ride was an amazing event to attend and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

exceptions to the rule

It is the final week of work before all the students arrive. It is the week of work I like the least because I am excited to get the year going but the tasks pile up monumentally and inevitably there are 500 minuscule things to do which each take a lot of time so it feels as though I am running around like a chicken with my head chopped off - accomplishing very little but making a bigger mess.
There are hundreds of phone calls a day with people asking the same questions - important to them but interrupting my mad frenzy and putting me further and further behind.
EVERY year we say that no-one can move in early. EVERY year people ask to move in early and I LOATHE to allow it as it causes so many more problems than it solves.
I had a student call me today to make a request to move in early. She is a foreign student and understanding her over the phone can be challenging at the best of times.
When I asked her to please explain why she could not arrive when we had scheduled check in and orientation she said to me, "My sister cannot ride me on Friday and she cannot ride me on Sunday. My sister can only ride me on Saturday."
Far be it from me to tell anyone when their sister should be able to ride them. I am letting her move in.

Back to School Reluctance

Let me say right off the bat that I have been called a nerd in the past because of my LOVE of all things academic. I love being in school and if I could I would be a professional student.
Having said that, I have to admit that I am NOT excited at ALL about the fall semester starting.

I am working on my masters degree. The program has been offered by the University of Northern British Columbia in a cohort in my community. The classes have been on weekends and in the summer months and it has been possible to be in the program while working full time. This has been an incredible opportunity without which it would not have been possible for me to get a masters degree at this point in my life. About a year and a half ago I made a HUGE mistake. (So if I were ever on a Miss universe competition and I was asked the question "What is one big mistake you've made in your life, and what did you do to make it right?" I would be able to answer better than Miss Philippines and not cost myself the competition.)

I was enrolled in a stats class. At the same time as I was enrolled I encountered somewhat of a health scare and I thought I would be undergoing a surgery and recovery that would for all purposes interrupt the class. So I dropped it. HUGE MISTAKE. I should never have dropped it. As it happens I did not get the surgery, but even if I HAD, I should have stuck it out, made up the assignments with the instructor and gotten the hell out of Dodge.

What happened instead is that I have had to make up the class. This class make-up has turned into a nightmare. One of the program advisors from BC is a stats instructor. Arrangements were made for him to teach me independently the course material over the computer and the phone. Attempt one: The guy completely forgot about me because he was too busy. I made NUMEROUS attempts to reach him by phone and by email and when he finally did get back to me he apologised for the delay and suggested we try again in the next semester.
Attempt two: I purchased the text,the instructor sent me power points of his lectures and a list of assignments and sent me on my merry way. I did not do them. I felt as though it was a "teach yourself graduate level Stats" and I didn't even try to get them done.
I met my advisor and let her know the arrangement was not to my liking and something else needed to be done so I could finish the class. I am pretty much willing to do anything needed because I messed up, but the whole idea of "independent study" was not working.
Attempt three: There is a class of stats being taught this fall in which I can register. So I have registered for the class. which bring me to the point of my reluctance.

Irritant number one: The class is being taught in a location which is an 8 hour drive from where I live - maybe longer. The class is being taught on Friday nights and Saturdays so I have to miss work Friday to get there and then either drive back after class on Saturday or stay until Sunday and drive back on Sunday. As far as I know there are 8 installments of the class. The drive is a pain, but I can do it. Taking time off work is a pain, but I can do that also. Staying in a hotel is ok, but a financial inconvenience. This overall irritation is mild, but may increase when the weather turns bad.

Irritant number two and the main source of my overall reticence: The instructor teaching the class is the same one that the independent study has failed with twice. I have tried to reach him to find out the dates, location and times of the class and he has not returned my calls or emails. Yesterday I called the admin support for the program to get the information and her response to me was "I spoke to the instructor and he said you have the information."
Really? Would that be why I am calling again? Let's pretend for a minute I DID have it and I am calling again for the fun of it, would it be possible to say - GET IT FOR ME PLEASE?
For all I know there is a class this weekend which is when school begins for most people. I would like to know by maybe, Friday morning if I have to be ready to drive 8 hours and be there in time for classes.
I don't know if I have pissed this guy off or what the story is. I know that I failed to do the independent study once, but if we are keeping score then he failed once also. I thought I had made it pretty clear I am willing to go to some length to make up for the fact I dropped the stupid class in the first place. I am NOT looking forward to a semester of work with this dude.
I think that is the first time in the history of my life I am not looking forward to school starting.
Woe is me, but at least I understand that the path to success is paved with blood, sweat and pure bile. This class must be the pure bile part of that journey.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm a sucker for books

I had a meeting for work at the library today and when I went in there were three shelves with books being discarded that were free for the taking.
I thought to myself - NO WAY am I taking any books. We have too many.
I was the first to arrive for the meeting and I had about 3 minutes before anyone else arrived.
Since I had decided there was absolutely no way I was taking any books I managed to pick up only FIVE in the three minutes I had.
What I should say more accurately is that I only KEPT five of the books I picked up in three minutes.
Oh man. What am I going to do with myself?
I am super proud of two of them- two of them are absolute keepers.
One is called "Canada's First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times" by Olive Patricia Dickason and the other is "The World of the American Indian" and is a National Geographic book. They will both be awesome additions to the collection of Aboriginal books we are starting for our family.
I would say "score!" under normal circumstances, but I am having visions that producers from Hoarders will be calling me.

lost in translation

I find much humor in the way things are translated from other languages into English. When I visited Singapore I took some pretty funny pictures of signs in English that had lost something in translation but were funny to me.
Last Christmas we got Max a toy that was made in China and the instructions on the box were ridiculously hilarious. I scanned the box to keep the instructions but who knows where that photo has disappeared to.
Every night I play my DSI before bed (after reading and usually while watching Big Brother). I am currently playing MahJong even though I have a lot of new and interesting games, I am in a puzzle mode.
At every level of this game there is a little snippet of wisdom and last nights wisdom made me laugh out loud.

"The path to success is not paved with luck, but with blood, sweat, and pure bile."

It made my night. Pure bile.

Monday, August 23, 2010

55 quirky questions for readers

This questionnaire was put together by Lydia over at the Literary Lollipop, but I took it from Pink Sheep Cafe.
I am starting with questions one through 11

1. Favourite childhood book:
I cannot remember a time when books were not a part of my life or when I didn't LOVE books. One of my fondest childhood memories was sitting in the kitchen at my grandmothers house listening to The Secret Garden being read on the radio. It is still one of my favorite books.

2. What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #4) and Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Oh.. Let me check. Secret Daughter by Gowda, Shilpi Somaya; Linger by Stiefvater, Maggie; Mockingjay by Collins, Suzanne The Maze Runner by Dashner, James; and These is my Words by Turner, Nancy E.

4. Bad book habit? I don't think I have one.....

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I currently have nine books checked out from the library. They are:

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I wish I did, but I don't... yet.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I much prefer to have one book on the go at a time, but I can and have read more than that. I don't like to and usually it only happens if I happen to leave a book at home and need something to read someplace else. If I am reading something non-fiction I might also read a fiction on the side, but not usually. Having said all of that I am currently reading two books!

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Actually not at all because I am not a regular blogger. What has impacted my reading habits has been going back to school and writing a thesis (by "writing a thesis" I mean 'THINKING about writing a thesis!) Blogging has impacted my journal keeping.

9. Least favourite book you read this year:The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All by Alexandra Penny.

10. Favourite book I’ve read this year: The Birth House, The Help, The Housekeeper and the Professor, Paths of Glory. I've read some good ones this year.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Interesting question. What is my comfort zone? I read just about anything. There was a time when I was not interested in reading science fiction but I read that now. I will try anything if someone recommends it to me which means I read out of my comfort zone as often as it is recommended!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

letter to Max: 47 months

Dear Maxie Man,

I cannot BELIEVE that one month from today you will be four years old already. Time has flown by so fast and you are growing in leaps and bounds.

This time last year you were just out of surgery for your hearing and your world today is completely different than your world just one year ago. Prior to your surgery you were only saying two "words" and now you are talking in complete sentences and carrying on conversations.

This week when we went to the river you turned to your brother and told him to stop following you! I have a feeling he will be following you for many, many years to come. The funny thing is that you really don't care if your brother follows you, I think it is just something you heard from some other kids and were trying it out to see how it sounds. In fact, this morning I came downstairs and put CJ in the rocking chair and when I came back into the room you were next to him and had covered you both with your blanket. You love your brother and he loves you and I love to watch the relationship between you grow.

Last night when we got home i asked you as we were getting out of the truck if you wanted to play outside. You DID - but you wanted to go and get your brother first. You were not impressed at all that he wasn't home because he is ALWAYS waiting for you and he is the first person you greet when we arrive home.

The summer has just flown by and we have had a great one. We have spend innumerable hours outside in the sand pile and on the swing. Spending time with me pushing you on the swingset has become a daily ritual for us as soon as I get home from work. I love every minute of it.
Last night as I pushed you on the swing you spent the whole time reciting who you love and who loves you.

Your list went like this:
I love my mommy.
I love my other mommy.
I love my hee go (Hugo).
I love my yuu vaa (Zuva).
I love my Eye-yah (your name for CJ).
I love my hee yos (Helios)
I love my nikky (nyx)
My mommy loves me.
My other mommy loves me.
My Eye-yah love me.
My Hee go loves me.
My Yuu Vaa loves me.
My hee yos loves me.
My Nikky loves me.

I think you went through this list at least four times before we had to stop swinging and come in and get ready for your bath. As far as I am concerned we can recite this list over and over every day as many times as you want. You are VERY loved and I am glad you know it. it is also a thrill to hear you say that you love us too.

I am sad that the weather is changing and we won't be spending any time swinging once the snow flies. I just hope you always want to spend time with me because I always want to spend time with you. I am feeling a bit sad for how fast you are growing more and more independent.

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

I love you.
Your mommy.

Thursday 13: things I would be if I could grow up 13 more times.

Check out more participants of Thursday 13 HERE!
This week my topic is 13 things I would be if I could grow up all over again.
1. Beekeeper.
I think one day we will actually have a hive and do some beekeeping ourselves on our own property. If I had another lifetime I think I might do this commercially - but not in the USA where the bee industry is so dependent on the California Almonds. I know very little, but I don't think moving the bees across the country every season is good for them.

We had a neighbour with bees when I was growing up in Rhodesia. They swarmed one day because of the heat I think and my mom was stung MANY, MANY times. I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmothers bedroom while my grandmother pulled stingers out of my mom.

Later in my life my grandmother used bees to treat arthritis in her hands.

2. Disney Imagineer

I will admit that my love of Disney, though still great, is not so much a love of the Disney corporation as it exists today, but of the IDEA of Disney - the idea of having a happy place. I LOVE Walt, but I don't love all of what the Disney corporation is today. Having said that - I would LOVE to be an imagineer.
A what you say?...
Walt Disney Imagineering is the master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production, project management, and research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company and its affiliates. Representing more than 150 disciplines, its talented corps of Imagineers is responsible for the creation of Disney resorts, theme parks and attractions, hotels, water parks, real estate developments, regional entertainment venues, cruise ships and new media technology projects.

3. A poet

I write poetry, it's true - but who now a days doesn't? I have even had some of my poetry published. If only I could be so creative full time and for money.

4. A Librarian

Oh to be surrounded by books and more books, all day, every day. Doing research. Cataloguing. This would suit my craving for organization - and to be surrounded by books. The thought of all those bookshelves makes me almost salivate.

I also know a GREAT joke about a library, but it isn't very funny in written form, it's more of an auditory experience.

5. A policewoman.

I always wanted to be in the force and I think I would have been damn good at it!

6. A Stand Up Comedian

So this guy walks into a library and says.......

7. An Author.

My mom and I WILL collaborate on a book one of these days. If Jenny McCarthy can get published by golly I can. There are some pretty terrible books out there. I just need to get something written.

8. A Teacher.

I am thinking of opening a school/orphanage in Africa. My brother might be my ticket to getting this done. I also wanted to be a university professor, but who knows, that may happen in this lifetime still!

9. A professional student.

If only I had the money and the time to be perpetually in school. What a thrill that would be.

10. A pyrotechnics expert.

Oh I love fire. I triple love fire and explosions. If I could spend a lifetime blowing things up - more specifically if I could spend a lifetime making and setting off fireworks I would be in HEAVEN. People used to day to me when I was younger that kids who played with fire wet their beds. Well I played with fire - and I wet my bed. I didn't seem to care too much about the bedwetting part. It was worth it to play with fire.

11. Owner of a "B and B".

By "B and B" I mean " Bed and Brunch" not "Bed and Breakfast". I suppose that under duress I COULD get up in the morning and make breakfast, but I am certain there is a market out there for people who want to sleep in and still get something to eat when they are travelling or visiting beautiful locations. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination and the fact that my son IS a morning person is slowly killing me by degrees of sleep deprivation. I love to sleep in. My spouse and I go to a hotel once a year for a foster parent conference and they have a free breakfast (by "free" I mean "included in the price of your room") Free food is always appealing to me, but I would prefer to sleep than to eat, though you couldn't tell that by looking at me. I think there are more people like me out int he world. I would open a "bed and brunch", let people sleep in, and then cook a glorious meal before they head out.

Owning a bed and brunch is something my spouse and I would love to do together. It would also meet my desire to be a chef. See #12.

12. A Chef

Food glorious food. Cooking thrills me and it thrills my boys as well. We could make cooking a family affair. I could cook for people in our bed and brunch and then hire people to clean up after me.

13. A Monk.

There is something that has always appealed to me about the monastic life. in Eden Utah at the Abbey of Our Holy lady Trinity. I could be a monk AND a beekeeper. I like to multitask.

Catholicism might be a bit of a problem for me, so I could always be a Buddhist monk. I don't think I could take a vow of silence, but I could certainly get right into the martial arts.
I don't want to be a nun though and I am fairly certain there are no female monks, so maybe I couldn't be a monk no matter how many lifetimes I had. I could start a female monastery I suppose.

99 things to do... still didnt get to 99!

1. Sort through the box in my bedroom closet that I have moved to two different households without sorting through.
2. Write monthly letters to my sons. ( I am thinking this should actually count as 24 "things to do" and not one. Depending on how much I get accomplished I may change this later!) INCOMPLETE 2010 - How did I fall of the wagon on this one when I was doing SOOO well?
3. Start my thesis.
4. Finish my thesis.
5. Participate in Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 every month.
6. Go to a movie, in a theater, with my spouse. (COMPLETE AUGUST 2010)
7. Clean out the bathroom cupboard. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010) - but I need to do this one again! What happened?!

8. Do at least ONE cross stitch project.
9. Get an updated criminal record check (COMPLETED APRIL 2010)
10. Get a carbon monoxide detector for the house. (THIS IS COMPLETE! January 2010)

11. Fence the dugout.
12. Renew my first aid.
13. Find our marriage license. (didn't find it - so I ordered a new one! APRIL 2010)
14. Change our last names - to a blended last name. (COMPLETE MAY 2010)
15. Send my spouse to see her dad in the USA. (COMPLETE FEBRUARY 2010)
16. Get haircuts for the boys. ( I cut it myself in June!) Max got his cut again in August.
17. Take family photos.
18. Finish my stats class.
19. Work on my mom's 60th birthday present BEFORE her birthday! (Unfortunately this was not complete in time to send to mom on her birthday..... FAIL)
20. Get the carpet up off the staircase - remove the staples from the steps. (COMPLETE MARCH 2010!)
21. Get the hallway painted.
22. Lay new carpet on the staircase.
23. Make myself a bookmark.
24. Replace Shels' cell phone (COMPLETE. FEBRUARY 2010)
25. Cancel the contract on my cell phone. (COMPLETE. February 2010)
26. Put up Maxie's toddler bed. (COMPLETE. APRIL 2010)
27. Change the furnace filter. (COMPLETE. January 2010)
28. Hang hooks in the bathroom. (COMPLETE. January 2010)
29. Put together the smart shopper cards from IGA. (COMPLETE. February 2010)
30. Sort the tools. (STARTED May 2010)
31. Work on the boy's baby books.
32. Get an electrician quote on the house. (COMPETED MARCH 2010)
33. Hand in all the paperwork for fostercare BEFORE March 31.(COMPLETE March 2010)
34. Take all the furniture from the old guest house to the dump.
35. Get tinkey winkey fixed (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
36. Teach Max to ride a bike.
37. Box up all the clothes too small for the boys and donate them. (STARTED JUNE 2010) We have done this twice and need to do it again before school Starts in September.
38. Go camping with the family. (COMPLETE JULY 2010) We went for one night to the foster family camp and I am counting it! Next year we will have a tent trailer for SURE and we will do a lot more camping. I think the boys are finally old enough.
39. Take a family picture at Lake Louise.
40. Get a Christmas gift to my parents BEFORE Christmas!
41. Send out a family letter before December 31 2010.
42. Get a dutch oven.( Shel and Max found me a dutch oven in June! YAY!) Now there is a fire ban on in the Municipal District where we live so this might take a while to get completed.
43. Cook a dutch oven meal!
44. Stain the deck.
45. Get a haircut. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010) for me and Shel! and again in JULY
46. Submit receipts by March 31. (COMPLETE March 2010)
47. Order Checks. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
48. Update my criminal record check and hand it in (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
49. Get an electrician to the house to start on rewiring (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
50. Pay my taxes. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
51. Put the new windshield wipers on the van. (COMPLETE APRIL 2010)
52. Get a brush for Zuva and brush her. (STARTED APRIL 2010)
53. Prune. (STARTED APRIL 2010)

54. Fix the lamp from Homa.
55. Finish painting the barn.
56. Rototill the garden spot. (Started May 2010)
57. Take the lawnmowers in for repair. (Bought a new one! JUNE 2010) now the new one needs to be repaired. We are hard on our lawnmowers..
58. Get Shel a new pair of glasses. (COMPLETE JUNE 2010) She got two new pairs!
59. Get the septic tank pumped. (COMPLETE JUNE 2010)
60. Start rewiring the house. (COMPLETE MAY 2010)
61. Get new wires installed for HDTV and PVR. (COMPLETE June 2010)
62. Get a new dishwasher. (COMPLETE June 2010)

63. Get the yard pinned.
64. Get the yard fenced.
65. Install new screens in windows.
66. Install new screen doors - front and back.
67. Install new doors. Front and back.
68. Plant a garden. (INCOMPLETE FOR 2010)
69. Plant some flowers. (complete JUNE 2010)
70. Put up the shelving unit on the back porch
71. Submit all paperwork for the LAST of foster care maintenance.
72. Trade in the van.
73. Get a new vehicle.
74. Paint the back porch.
75. Frame some of the prints from mom and dad. (COMPLETE JULY 2010)
76. Make a 2011 photo calendar.
77. Get a tattoo.
78. Dig out my journal and start writing again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

using big words

I play a game with my dad in which we use "big" words in sentences and try to "out do" one another. We have had some pretty funny conversations. One of the things that I enjoy most about these conversations is the impression they leave with me afterwards and the fun I have with these same words long after the conversation is over. For instance, the word "akimbo" makes me smile to myself every time I hear it because my dad and I had such fun and laughed so hard when we were talking and he used the word.

I feel fairly confident in my knowledge and use of vocabulary. Having said that, I was in training today and used the word "ethereal" in a group conversation. I felt as though every single person was looking at me as though I was from another planet. It was the strangest feeling. The conversation stopped dead and I thought perhaps I had said something offensive or in another language or completely out of context. It bothered me so much I was unsure of whether or not I had pronounced the word incorrectly, or maybe used a word that doesn't even exist. The group session concluded, the meeting concluded and I came back to my office and immediately looked up the word. It exists! I pronounced it correctly!

Wow but that can mess a person up! I hate it when that happens, and I am still confused at why it stopped the whole conversation dead in it's tracks.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another meeting

We had yet ANOTHER meeting today related to the adoption of our boys. The last few weeks have been a journey through many layers of hell. More layers than I knew existed.
In a nutshell - the adoption has not happened. It has been pushed back now to OCTOBER. I know. I simply do not know how it is possible.

We wait.

Resistance is futile.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something is wrong in the world this week

A man and woman in their 20's were stoned to death in northern Afganistan this week.
Do you know what that means?

I checked it out to make sure I was not mistaken and found this info on the practise of stoning.

In stoning to death, the victims hands are tied behind their backs and their bodies are put in a cloth sack. Then, this human "package" is buried in a hole, with only the victims heads showing above the ground. If its a woman, she is buried up to her shoulders. This is to give her an seemingly equal (but nonetheless impossible) chance to escape recognizing her lesser physical strength.
After the hapless individual has been secured in the hole, people start chanting "Allah hu Akbar" (meaning, God is great), and throw palm sized stones at the head of the victim from a certain distance (a circle is drawn).
The stones are thrown until the person dies or until he/she escapes out of the hole and crosses the circle. Escaping is impossible, given that the individuals hands are tied behind their backs and they are buried in a hole up to their necks or shoulders.

The man was 28 and the woman was 20 (or 23). They admitted to committing adultery.
I don't believe in committing adultery, however I don't believe in murder as a consequence for adultery and the practice of stoning someone to death is simply barbaric. It is hard for me to conceive that this is something that happened THIS WEEK.

This week I went with my sons to the river. This week I played fetch with my puppy. This week I put a toonie into a vending machine and the machine kicked out 8 bottles of pop and I laughed. This week I went to a movie in a theater and ate popcorn and a hot dog. This week I sat waiting at road construction and thought how inconvenient it made my travel to and from work. This week a 23 year old woman stood in a field and was hit by rocks until she died. Something is wrong in the world this week.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 of 12: August

12 of 12

This is a meme hosted by Chad Darnell (check out Chad's site HERE and you can see others who participate each month. There are participants from around the globe and I love to see what they all post.

Here are my 12 photos from today.

1. 7am - Why oh why do we have so many shoes at the back door when there are only two adults and two children living here? I am sure that more than 1/2 these shoes do not fit anyone. I need to go through them again but I am CERTAIN that we just did this last month?

2. I had to steal pictures from my spouse because I felt like all my photos are the same every month. Today while I was working she took the boys to the river. Here are some of her pictures (also from today!)
11:00 - Making their way down the hill.

3. The river. Should something be growing in this water? I am not a river expert. I have no idea. I thought maybe not since the water is flowing quite quickly here.

4. Thinking about going in......

5. Big rock = Big splash!

6. Danger!

7. 5pm
Back to pictures taken by me. This is what I do twice a day, every day. Sit and wait for road construction. I can't complain because my drive home is VERY quick - without traffic - usually. So this is a small price to pay. Of course the day I decide to take a picture the flag person is a male, usually it is a female who is a lot easier on the eyes!

8. 5pm
9. Wheat.
10. A different kind of wheat!

11. 5:30 pm
Wheat for miles.

Ok - is it JUST me or does something seem wrong with this picture.
Wheat. Wheat. Fields of Wheat.
then ... OH! Methanol!
It reminds me of a song I learned in my youth from Sesame Street:
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong!

Thursday 13: Great Danes

Here is a photo of Hugo taken yesterday.

You can link to other participants of the Thursday 13 meme HERE. I love to check it out each month, there are some great posts!

My theme for this month is focused on our newest addition to the family. Our baby Hugo.
Here are 13 facts about Great Danes and the Great Danes in our family!

1. Great Danes are one of the World's Tallest Dog Breeds.

2. Great Danes are often referred to as gentle giants. They are gentle and loving and are excellent family dogs.

Never approach a Great Dane on the assumption of friendliness, especially if the Dane is accompanied by the children in his family, as the drive to protect the youngsters of the pack from perceived danger isn’t something that is so easily bred out.

3. Historians claim that there are drawings of dogs that resemble the Great Dane on Egyptian monuments from roughly 3000 B.C. The earliest written description of a dog resembling the breed can be found in Chinese literature of 1121 B.C.

4.The Great Dane was designated the official state dog of Pennsylvania in 1965. A portrait of William Penn and his Great Dane hangs in the Governor's reception room (Best Friend, by Pennsylvania artist Violet Oakley). Great Danes were used as a hunting and working breed in frontier Pennsylvania. PA Legislation states that naming an official dog of the Commonwealth would "recognize the steadfast service and loyal devotion of all dogs in Pennsylvania." (Only ten states recognise canine symbols!)

5.Marmaduke is a newspaper comic strip drawn by Brad Anderson from 1954 to the present day. The strip revolves around the Winslow family and their Great Dane, Marmaduke.

6.Great Danes are people dogs. They don't do well if left outside or if they aren't an integral part of their human's lives. They are among the most loyal of dog breeds and absolutely adore their humans. And all they want -need- in return, is to be loved back.

7. Watch out for that tail!

8. Our families first great Dane was Jason. I am certain there is a photo of me with him somewhere.... Here is a picture of the next Danes in our lives. Thor and Circe.

9. Fast forward to Canada and 2010... we FINALLY got a Dane and nothing could make me happier! Welcome to our baby Hugo.

10.One of the owners of the Hope diamond used to have her Great Dane wear it around their neck. - I found this info on THIS website and I have yet to verify it..... Still interesting though!

11.Great Danes are 120 times bigger than a Chihuahua.

12.Great Danes tend to be a lady’s dog. That’s only because of the difference in speech and mannerisms between men and women, however. Great Danes do not respond well to hard correction or training methods, as they are emotionally sensitive creatures.

13. Here is a list of some famous people who have owned Great Danes:
Brad Anderson, author, comic strip ‘Marmaduke’
Mario Andretti, Indianapolis 500-winning race car driver
Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor: Odin and several others
Clara Bow, silent screen actress: Duke
ames Brolin, actor in Westworld: Buck
Sid Caesar, TV comedian: Julius (obviously)
Roger Caras, author of animal books
Wilt Chamberlain, basketball star: had several
Chubby Checkers, rock and roll singer
Mike Douglas, TV talk show host: (also) Duke
Faisal, king of Saudi Arabia
Kelsey Grammer, actor
Maxwell Knight, author: Lorna
Olivia Newton-John, singer: Zargon
Bruce Lee, actor in martial arts films: Bobo
Ruta Lee, actress: Kronen
Greg Louganis, Olympic gold medalist in diving: Freeway and several others
Meredith MacRae, actress: Shinka and others
Valerie Perrine, actress: Ching and others
Alexander Pope, English Poet: Bounce
Manfred Freiher von Richthofen, German air ace also known as the Red Baron: Moritz
Franklin D. Roosevelt, US prez: President (what a suitable name)
Willaim Shatner, actor
Leslie Uggams, singer, actress
Gretchen Wyler, broadway musical actress

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Re-arranging furniture

For anyone who does not know my spouse but would like to know a little about her, this post is for you.
She LOVES to move furniture. She loves to tell me where to move furniture. I am not such a huge fan of furniture moving personally, but I do it. It is no shocker to come into the house after work to find the living room or the kids room or the bedroom completely rearranged.
This desire of hers has been somewhat curtailed by having small children, partly because I think she lacked the energy to do it, and partly because we just ran out of new options, so I was a little surprised when I arrived home yesterday to find the living room laid out differently.
Keep in mind that she has not completely healed from breaking her ankle recently.
When I got home she was in the recliner with her feet up, "protecting" her sore foot. We spoke about the day, visited for a while and then she got up to go into the kitchen. When she stood up she exclaimed " I have no idea what I could have done to make my ankle so sore today?"
I reminded her that I was sitting in room completely reorganised. She laughed. What a nerd.

need a place to sit?

Good thing we got new furniture.

Monday, August 9, 2010

what am I supposed to learn?

I believe that everything happens for a reason... because things don't happen for "NO" reason, but I don't believe that everything happens to serve a higher purpose.

Some Buddhists will say that you experience disappointment in life because you had an expectation. No expectation - no disappointment.

Emily Dickinson wrote a poem that is one of my favorites of all time:

It dropped so low in my regard
I heard it hit the ground,
And go to pieces on the stones
At bottom of my mind;

Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Than I reviled myself
For entertaining plated wares
Upon my silver shelf.

Is it "fate's fault" that things happen the way they do? Or is it our fault for placing expectations on events and people?

I can interpret events that way to make them more palatable or to frame events in such a way that I can deal with them differently.

I don't think people are homeless "to teach them something" or addicted to drugs "so they can learn a lesson". I believe in cause and effect - and in the complexity of the human experience. Everything is NOT simply black and white

I watched a documentary on homeless people in Orange County who live in motels. The rent they pay for one room in a motel is in excess of 800 dollars per month. A single mom with three children who works cannot afford the rent on a studio apartment because a studio apartment rent is 1300 dollars or more. So... is she "homeless" because she has to learn a lesson? Is God trying to teach her something? She works. She does not do drugs or drink alcohol. Is she "less deserving" of a home than anyone else?

I don't believe so. I think that rent is ridiculously expensive. I think that it is expensive to be poor.

Do my boys have disabilities because they need to learn something? Do I need to learn something - because the reality is we CHOSE to parent these boys. They are disabled for a reason without a doubt. The REASON is that their mothers put things into their bodies while carrying these boys that affected their development, but even that is not as cut and dried as it may appear. Sure they put things into their bodies that affected the development of their children and will impact them for a lifetime. But the fact that they are where they are in life is a result of a lifetime of things that have happened to them - as well as choices they made.

Are children born with downs syndrome born that way for a reason? YES. The REASON is that there is a chromosomal abnormality as they were developing. Is it because of something the mother or father "did"?
I think not.

The belief that things happen for a reason can cause great pain and anguish for people. They blame themselves for things completely beyond their control. The grief and guilt can be debilitating.

NOW. Having said all of that. I do believe that WHEN things happen I can make a choice. I can chose to learn something, or to face it with a positive attitude. I can chose to pout about it, or to be mad and angry and resentful.

Things HAPPEN for a reason. Our adoptions take so long because we are working with a bureaucracy that is BROKEN, and with individuals who have agendas. Do I need to learn patience? Sure. Is this mess of an adoption happening because God wants me to be more patient? I doubt it. Can I look at all this mess and try to learn something from it? I should - but after the news today that the adoptions are delayed AGAIN I am choosing to be angry, to pout and to vent some of that anger and frustration towards someone whose agenda is getting in the way of my family being complete.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Max is so creative it is a joy to watch his mind at work. I will admit that watching his mind at work can be confusing at times - but most times it is nothing but a pleasure for this mom.

In the grocery store this week he went to get me a cart but I told him I was using a basket instead. He was INSISTENT that we go back to the truck before we went in and so we did. He grabbed his bungee cord (and by "his" I mean "mine") and back into the store we went to do our shopping. He was ready.
Getting organised:
Starting out, but needing to stop and check out why the buckets are under this display and where the drip is coming from. An investigative report. It was a bit difficult to move from this display, but we finally made it.

Fly swatters: CHECK
Only they weren't on the list but we "NEED THEM MA!"

Shopping is done but we can't go to the checkout without stopping to look at all the important things. I also took this picture as evidence for my spouse that in fact I do NOT purchase everything my son wants......
We made it out of the store without a new flashlight!

Filling up my legs

Max has a lot of allergies and so we have to be very careful to monitor his diet. We do this quite well, but the kid can be pretty sneaky and has been known to get into food he should not have. He did this more when he was younger but now that he is getting older he knows that things make him feel ill and he doesn't like to feel that way, but sometimes he doesn't care - like when it comes to eating dog food.
I have absolutely NO idea why my son likes to eat dog food. I have never personally tried it, but really, it CANNOT taste that great.
When he HAS gotten into the dog food we can tell immediately because he gets a rash on his face instantaneously.
It has been a few months since he has had a rash, so last night after dinner the red on his cheeks was a dead giveaway he had been into something.
Here is the conversation as it unfolded in front of me.
Shel says to him, "Max, Did you eat dog food today?"
Max replies, "NO MOM! I ate cat food. I had to fill up my legs."

Note to self: Fill up Maxies legs or he will have to eat cat food.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What is up with the YELLING!

I KNOW I am loud, but can anyone tell me WHAT is with boys and yelling?


Max is captivated by Dora. I don't mind this one bit because the only other thing that has ever captivated him was "In the Night Garden" and I was pretty tired of the night garden! I needed to graduate to something a little more advanced than tombliboos and ninky nonks.

Dora is more of an interactive show, she asks the "audience" to say things (like "map"). Max is not very interactive, but he knows exactly what is going on.

Last night while we were watching Dora before bed (which is our bedtime ritual). Max asked if we could go to Dora's house. Unfortunately I have no idea where Dora lives. I explained to Max that I had no idea how to get to her house to which he responded "Ask the map, Mom!"

Anyone have a map to Dora's house?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Long Weekend

It wouldn't be a long weekend at our house without a trip to outpatients. This weekend we made not one, but TWO trips.
I am grateful that we have a small hospital in our community and that they have drop in hours, but just because I am grateful they are here doesn't mean I enjoy spending time there!
Last month when Shel broke her ankle we were there and within 48 hours I was back with Max for his ear. We were there twice for him with his ear over the span of just a few days.
This weekend I took CJ in on Saturday after we noticed a horrible rash of blisters all over his feet and then on Monday I was back with Max and his ear AGAIN.
CJ has had a virus and though I am not happy that he had it I am relieved to know he was sick because he has absolutely not been himself at all and I have been worried that in his "toddlerhood" he was leaving behind the sweet, sweet personality that he has had since birth. He is my joy.
This time for Max were given a referral to the specialist who did the adenoid surgery and put his tubes in. The doc said he thinks Max will need surgery on his ears again. I am NOT excited at the thought of surgery for him again since the last surgery was a nightmare but we have to do SOMETHING with these ear infections for the poor kid. He has been on antibiotics four times this summer and ear drops twice. He used to be so good at taking medicine but he is tired of it and the medicines are nasty. Poor kid.
It was a killer for us as far as the weekend went. I feel as though the summer is over and we missed it somehow.