Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Thirteen: Random

1. While driving to work today the sun was rising behind me. Looking at the shadow of the vehicle cast onto the road in front of me as I drove I thought it looked like Shrek's head. I wonder where the inspiration for Shrek's body type came from? Was it when someone was driving to work in a minivan?

2. In the middle of the night I awoke to my dogs face in mine. The first thought that entered my head was that I had missed an appointment to chaperone an event at work. I was certain the event had passed and that I had it on my calendar and wondered why no-one called me to find out where I was. I was extremely worried that they had the event unchaperoned. The feeling stuck with me all day and bothered me. It fascinates me that emotions I experience in my dream can linger into my wakefulness.

3. If it is so important to drink lots of water every day, why does drinking water increase the amount of times I need to go to the bathroom? Shouldn't my body be "using" more water? I have a huge issue with using the bathroom. Some people think sleep is a waste of time. I think using the bathroom is a waste of time. I hate doing it.

4. Dust jackets on books don't repel dust.

5. Why do people think it is sexy (or intimate) to have "relations" on a beach. Have they never tried to remove sand from body orifices?

6.Who named "the Earth"?
I googled the answer to this one: The name Earth originated from the 8th century Anglo-Saxon word erda, which means ground or soil. In Old English the word became eorthe, then erthe in Middle English.[106] Earth was first used as the name of the planet around 1400.

7. United Postal Service ( UPS ) has some pretty cool television ads where they talk about delivering packages all over the world. Nice ads but completely untrue. They don't deliver to my community and it is a HUGE pain. Everytime I see an ad with a UPS delivery man on a bike in China I wonder why I can't get a delivery to my town.

8. Customer service seems to be a thing of the past. I have in the past month encountered the worst customer service ever from two very large companies, CIBC and Honda. It is ridiculously frustrating and seems as though no-one cares to make any change, or apologise, or do anything to make my experience any better. It seems as though when you have to use a bank and you have to use a car you are a hostage to the people who provide the service - poor as it is.

9. Why does armpit hair grow so fast?

10. Max wrote us a thank-you card in school because it is apparently parent appreciation week. He said in the card "Thanks for feeding me". I told him he is welcome. I wonder what he thinks parents are for if not for feeding him?

11. I would love to take a waking tour of the places I dream of at night. I don't always dream about the same thing but I do know that I have dreams of places that as I am dreaming I am thinking to myself "I have been to this place in my dreams before". It would be so cool to have a tour of these places when I could remember them.

12. I like to stop in once in a while at one of the local gas stations and get some hot chocolate. The one place has a REALLY good hot chocolate machine. I went in this week to get some and they have "upgraded" to another, crappier hot chocolate. SO ANNOYING when things "upgrade" for no justifiable reason. Now I have no reason to stop there anymore and get hot chocolate. Bummer.

13.The thing I miss the most about moving from the city is the access to a movie theater. When I first moved I hated just about everything about being in a small town. After ten years there are still things I find annoying but for the most part I prefer it to living in a city with one exception. After ten years I STILL miss the movie theater.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Things I am Grateful for

I am a Canadian living in Canada and so this day technically has nothing to do with Thanksgiving where I live. HOWEVER - I was living in the USA for a number of years and my spousal unit is American and so this day will always be a Thanksgiving kind of a day in our home.

Here are the things I am grateful for today:

1. I am grateful to be a mom. This has to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life and I constantly feel as though I am not being the best mom I could be for my kids, but I LOVE them. I LOVE them so much the thought of it takes my breath away. I wish I knew how to deal with the obstacles we face and with Maxies anxiety. I have learned some things that DON'T work and for now what works is to let him sleep on our bedroom floor. Last night I could hear him breathing in his sleep.. I just lay and listened to him breathe and my heart was full. My youngest is carrying around the Sears wishbook and his excitement is contagious. I have the most amazing, funny, caring, loving kids. They bless my life every day.
 Here is a photo from about 6 years ago - when I was REALLY good at parenting things like carrying the  car seat. Parenting has been harder since then.

2. I am grateful for my mom. My mom is coming to visit us this week. I am so excited I can't stand it. I love my mom SO much and want to be the kind of mom to my kids that she is to me. For the past two years she has lived in Canada. It has been the most difficult two years of her life and I have to say (selfishly) that I am so incredibly happy she is here, despite the crappy circumstances. We text almost every day. We skype as often as we can. The fact that my kids have access to her - in a way they didn't when she was in Africa - is awesome and I love her, love her, love her.

Here is mom this summer Planting a garden and watering with Max.

3. I am grateful for my job. This economy is whack. Having a job is something that means more to me now that I have dependents than it did when I was in college and it didn't matter what I ate or where I slept. I have a job that I like with people I like and a boss who is SUPPORTIVE!!! I also get great benefits and vacations and all that cool stuff, so I don't have to work on the holidays and I can leave to watch my son sing in his remembrance day program. I have a great job.

4. I am grateful to be a sister. I have cool siblings and sibling-in-laws. I play games with my brother online (he beats me consistently). I talk to my sister on skype and smile at her gorgeous baby. Technology keeps me in touch with the people I love who live far away. My sisters and my mom and I have boards we share on pinterest so we can post things that make us think about each other. I envy people who are in close geographic proximity to their families and can visit more than I do, but I also see people who have terrible relationships with their families and who live close but never see or talk to them. I love being the oldest of five kids - I love my brothers and sisters.

Here is a photo from 2 years ago at my sisters wedding. It is the most recent photo with the most of us all together. Unfortunately my bro Just and fam were not there.

5. I am grateful to be a grand-daughter and great grand-daughter. My grandparents and great grand parents have all passed away. This year my last living grandmother passed away. I miss my grandparents. I think of them all often. I am SO SO grateful to have known them and loved them and been loved by them. I have known of their love for me and it has blessed me.

6. I am grateful for my spouse. I think the hardest thing in my life - besides being a good parent - is being a good spouse. I could get down on myself for all the ways in which I am a terrible spouse and the ways in which I could be better. I just keep trying. My partner and I have gone through some hard stuff, some wonderful stuff, some stressful stuff, some happy stuff, some devestating stuff and some other stuff!  It is a blessing and a curse to be with someone who knows all the light AND all the dark in me. Sometimes it's hard to get through the dark, but at the end of the day though, I am so grateful for Shel. I wouldn't want to be without her navigating this crazy life. She is a great spouse and a great mom.

Wow - look at us in years gone by!
7. I am grateful for music. Corny right? Music is so integral in my life and I see it becoming the same in the lives of my kids. You would not have any idea how important music is to me if you could see my scores on songpop - but if you used that alone as the gauge you would be dead wrong. Music heals me and lifts me and gives life to the feelings I have no words for. You are surprised I have no words for some things I know. It's true.

8. I am grateful for books. I LOVE to read. I have read some amazing books this year. I wish I were a better reviewer, but alas I am not. That goodness I don't need to be a good reviewer in order to enjoy a good book. I have became recently fascinated with fantasy books and I feel as though a whole new world - or many worlds - have opened up for me in the literary world. Thankfully writers keep writing so I can keep reading. I have read 108 books this year. WOOT WOOT! I am working now on reading Canadian authors or books set in Canada. I can't wait to see what I can read next year.

9. I am grateful for my friends. I have been blessed with the most amazing people in my life. I have friends who I love and who love me. I have wonderful memories with all of them and look forward to making more memories. One of my wishes is to be closer to my friends so I could spend more time with them. In spite of the distances which separate us they bless my life constantly.

Here are some of my friends who came from Utah to meet Shel and I when we went ot San Francisco. What kind of cool people do that? OH RIGHT! My peeps.
10. I am grateful for my pets. I think I like animals more than I like people sometimes. Shel and I have had the most amazing family of pets in our lives who have have made us happy and who have broken our hearts at their loss. Max and CJ still talk about Hugo and I miss that crazy dog like nothing else. Thankfully we still have Zuva, Rescue puppy, Helios and Nyx, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Tora, Shilo, Muki, Hugo, Buddy, Sadie, Tiger, Simon, Angel, Gina, Georgie, and Foxy.

Max and Hugo 
Nyx and Helios as babies
Tora and Maxie
I think I may need to do a separate post to get all the animals in!
11. I am grateful for laughter. What would life be without laughter? Laughter with my spouse, laughter with my kids, laughter with my family, laughter at work, laughter with my friends. I need laughter and I am blessed that my life is full of  joy.
12. I am grateful for my health, my home, my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Canadian Book Challenge: Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe


The Canadian Book Challenge

Here is yet another example of how I sometimes feel as though I am on a foreign planet, when really, I am just in Canada and reading Canadian books.
I checked this book out of the library and the librarian asked me if I listened to Stuart McLean on the radio. I had NO idea who Stuart McLean was, but I smiled and nodded as I do when I am completely confused.
I took the book home and read it in one sitting and I FELL IN LOVE.
I laughed (out loud for REAL), and I cried, and I decided right then and there I was googling Stuart McLean the very next opportunity I had in front of a computer.

I did it. I googled Stuart McLean. I have learned something today people. Something I am going to share with you here so you don't have to go out and google him yourself. A MILLION people listen to his radio show. AS THEY SHOULD - and so should I  - and so should you!!!!!!

This is all from the CBC website which I am siting here so as not to be accused of plagiarism:
Here is all you ever needed to know about Stuart McLean but didn't (or maybe you did)

Stuart McLean is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe.
Stuart began his broadcasting career making radio documentaries for CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. In 1979 he won an ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for his contribution to the program's coverage of the Jonestown massacre.
Following Sunday Morning, Stuart spent seven years as a regular columnist and guest host on CBC's Morningside. His book, The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, was a Canadian bestseller and a finalist in the 1990 City of Toronto Book Awards.
Stuart has also written Welcome Home: Travels in Small Town Canada, and edited the collection When We Were Young. Welcome Home was chosen by the Canadian Authors' Association as the best non-fiction book of 1993.
Stuart's books Stories from the Vinyl Cafe, Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged, Vinyl Cafe Diaries, Dave Cooks the Turkey, Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe, Extreme Vinyl Cafe and Vinyl Cafe Notebooks have all been Canadian bestsellers. Vinyl Cafe Diaries was awarded the Canadian Authors' Association Jubilee Award in 2004. Stuart is also a three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged and Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe. New out in the fall of 2012 is another story collection, Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe.
Vinyl Cafe books have also been published in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
In December 2011 Stuart McLean was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto and former director of the broadcast division of the School of Journalism. In 1993 Trent University named him the first Rooke Fellow for Teaching, Writing and Research. He has also been honored by: Nipissing University (Ed.D.(H.); University of Windsor (LL.D), Trent University (D.Litt) and Saint Mary's University (D.C.L.). Stuart served as Honorary Colonel of the 8th Air Maintenance Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton from 2005 to 2008.
Since 1998 Stuart has toured with The Vinyl Cafe to theatres across Canada and the United States, playing towns from St. John's, Newfoundland to Whitehorse in the Yukon; from Bangor, Maine to Seattle, Washington.
Over one million people listen to The Vinyl Cafe every weekend on CBC Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio and on a growing number of Public Radio stations in the United States. The program is also broadcast on an occasional basis on the BBC.

If I were brave enough

Every now and then I come across something and I think to myself - If I were brave enough I would TOTALLY do this.

I would LOVE to have pink dreadlocks.
Lana Wachowski is so cool!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Canadian Book Challenge: Into the Abyss

This is the Fourth book I have read for the Canadian Book Challenge. Into the Abyss by Carol Shaben.

Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop

On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was under intense pressure to fly--a situation not uncommon to pilots working for small airlines. Overworked and exhausted, he feared losing his job if he refused to fly. Larry Shaben, the author's father and Canada's first Muslim Cabinet Minister, was commuting home after a busy week at the Alberta Legislature. After Paul Archambault, a drifter wanted on an outstanding warrant, boarded the plane, rookie Constable Scott Deschamps decided, against RCMP regulations, to remove his handcuffs--a decision that profoundly impacted the men's survival.

I must say I had to chuckle when I started to read this story (not because the topic us humorous) because it is the story of a plane crash in "Northern Canada" - and it all takes place SOUTH of where I live!

This story actually touches something close to me - one of the people killed in this crash is a native of the community in which I currently live. Grant Notley was an NDP politician who was revered in this community and I actually work in a place named for him!

Since moving to Fairview about ten years ago I have become vaguely familiar with the story of this plane crash and so to read it was very interesting. I knew of all the places being spoken of.

Interestingly enough, although there was plane service to our Northern town in the 1980's there is no such service any longer. The city airport in Edmonton is closed.  Fairview still has an airport - I have been there the summer for drag races with my family - but no commercial flights come here any longer, and I expect it has something to do with this crash.

I really enjoyed this book. One of the things I found fascinating was the impact this crash had on the survivors - particularly Erik Vogel and Paul Archambault. Erik's life was essentially ruined by this crash, and although Paul was hailed as a hero for his actions following the crash and had his criminal charges overturned his life never really changed and ended in a tragic death not many years later.

I wish the author had delved more deeply into the psychological effects on the survivors of the crash. I found it to be a fascinating story on how people react following tradgedy. Although she gave a thorough description of what happened to each of the survivors it is left to the reader to "put it all together" in the end.

Canadian Book Challenge: Annabel

This is the third book I am reporting on for the Canadian book Challenge.
You can link to others in the challenge here:

The book I read is Annabel by Kathleen Winter.


In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret: the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as "Annabel," is never entirely extinguished.

From page one of this book to the very last I absolutely loved every single word. The book is set in Labrador. Wayne's father Treadway is a trapper who spends months each year away from his family.
I tried to come up with an excerpt from the book that I could share to illustrate how powerful the writing is but it is impossible to chose just one. The entire book is like a poem. It is so vivid and beautiful it was a pleasure to read and be carried away by the author. It is the best book I have read all year. I absolutely LOVE it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Royal Canada Humane Silver Medal of Bravery for my brother

I am the oldest of five children. I have a lot of memories of my younger brothers and sisters - as I am certain everyone does of theirs. When I think of my brother Justin, even though he is now in his 30's, I STILL think of him like this:
He's a cool cat. He is a lover of kids, of animals and of his siblings.
I happen to like him considerably, so do our dogs - and his dogs.

My two sons happen to think there is not a cooler man who walks the earth and we do little to alter their opinion. One of the reasons they love him so much is because he treats them like people. He pays attention to them and he gets on THEIR LEVEL and plays with them.

Two years ago he was on location of an explosion in the Canadian rockies. Here is a  link to a news story about the event from when it happened.

He did something remarkable and he has been honored this week in Edmonton for his Bravery.

Here is the podcast of my brothers interview following his award of the Silver medal of Bravery from the Royal Canadian Humane Association.

I have mentioned him and his act of bravery before and since this all happened this week I wanted to give him a shout out again - but I also wanted to let people know the guy behind the medal -
The kid loving, older sister adoring, face pulling, song pop winning, cool cat. (Who by the way, in his lifetime has never beaten me at arm wrestling!)

So - here he is ladies and gentlemen. My brother. The hero.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Maxie singing for Rememberance Day

Max got all dressed up for school today in a BUTTON shirt (which he hates) and a sweater ( which added a layer which he also hates) and some nice khaki pants which we got for this occasiona especially. He was so excited to sing and insisted that we would love the song and that we needed to give him thumbs up. He is standing in the middle row right in front of Mrs G.
(I must apologise for the jittery hand, but I hope you love the song!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


We have had some insane weather here recently. There was more snow on Halloween than there has been in October for as long as we have lived in Canada.
The harsh weather does bring some cool sights. Here is the wall outside my office.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Art by CJ

The foot on the left belongs to Mikey and the foot on the right to CJ. CJ got into the food colouring and the whole house was blue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Art By Max

Mom, Max and CJ

A Moose on a Hill

Friday, November 2, 2012

second time on the ice

I mentioned in an earlier post that we signed up CJ for skating lessons. Today was the second time we have been. I have to say, maybe it is because we aren't going as much (some kids go twice a week) or maybe it is because I have absolutely NO clue how to "teach" anyone to skate - but the "techniques" leave an awful lot to be desired.
I am not saying anything because I don't want to reveal my ignorance, but one kid showed CJ how to push himself up into a standing position without using anything to help him - and that was it. No-one even approached him for the rest of the hour. He just fell down, lay there on his back, rolled over to his tummy, must have gotten bored, and stood up. I was VERY impressed with his ability to stand up after only one previous hour on the ice in his whole life and he was thrilled with himself. In an hour he fell three times and got up three times and then wiggled his feet back and forth and moved a few inches. He lay on his back for about 45 minutes of the hour. To me that isnt really "instruction", but what do I know?
He is INCREDIBLY happy to be there and he doesn't want to leave when the hour is over so I guess we will leave it for now.
I thought about taking a book and reading but I have to watch him the whole time because he keeps looking over at me to see what I am doing and waving. I know it wont be long before he does not want me to wave at him - he is growing so fast - and it makes me happy to see his smile and his wave but HOLY that's a boring hour for me!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cold Cold Halloween

Yup, that's snow you see there behind my dragon. It has snowed a LOT this year. The snow is early and it made for a COLD Halloween. The day started out at a balmy -21 degrees Celsius. It was not cold enough to stop my little trick or treaters from getting out and hitting the town and country in search of the all powerful motivator - SUGAR!!!!

The snow has not only caught us human folk off guard - it caught some of the trees off guard as well. The leaves have not yet dropped from a LOT of the trees in our area. I can only hope these stragglers get rid of their leaves before we get freezing rain and the weight of the branches wreaks destruction.

I'm still boggled by the amount of snow, but it didn't snow on our parade! Our kids had a BLAST. They were excited from the moment they woke up. Shel pulled a masterful save on a costume for MAx who wanted to be a dog but we couldn't get all the elements together. He made a great dragon/dinosaur (?!) I know every parent thinks their kids are the cutest. Ours are.