Tuesday, October 23, 2012

looking back at baby photos

Max has to do a collage for his class that is all about him. He has to include a photo of his family, his house, himself as a baby and some of the things he likes to do.
Shel and I have been looking through photos of him as a baby. It is hard to believe he has grown so much. DANG he is a cute kid!
Here are some of the photos we have come across of him that I just LOVE and have to share.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shoes and dogs

I like shoes. I don't own a lot of them. I used to have more, but that was before kids and dogs.
I have friends with kids, dogs AND shoes, so I am aware on a conscious level that is is possible to have all three in ones life but somehow I have not managed it.

So even though I like shoes I have just a few pairs.

I have a pair of red and black DC's, a pair of brown semi-dress shoes, a pair of Birkenstocks, a pair of runners and ...... that's it. I had a pair of winter boots but they were wrecked last year so I need to get a new pair.

I used to have a pair of brown dress shoes and black dress shoes but don't have either of them anymore, and I used to have a pair of Doc Martens boots that I LOVED but those are no longer in existence either.

It has been a few year since I bought new shoes and it is time to get some again.

Now that it has snowed here the boots have become a bit more of a priority and I knew it was time to update what other shoes I have but that plan was put into fast forward this morning when I went to put on my runners for work and found this:

Thank-you Rescue Puppy. Thank-you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

supper creativity failed

I was trying to be creative this weekend in cooking a meal for the kids. Sometimes I feel as though we get into a rut of eating the same things over and over again and although I have no complaints personally sometimes I think I should be a "better mother" and branch out in preparing meals for the kids.

They like tuna sandwiches but we had no bread so I thought I would make a tuna casserole. They like tuna, cheese and macaroni - what could go wrong?

I checked out a recipe online and whipped everything up and thought I was quite impressive. Alas, no-one ate the creative dinner I was so proud of. Well, that's not entirely true - Mikey ate it, but Mikey eats everything!

While I was making casserole Max made tuna filling for sandwiches all by himself and he and CJ ate tuna sandwich filling without the bread instead of my tuna casserole!!

Scratch tuna casserole off the list of supper possibilities. I can hardly blame them. I didn't eat any of it myself!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

pumpkin carving time

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Halloween?
As the boys get older and more "into" things like pumpkin carving I get happier and happier.

Shel made pumpkin seeds and they were a resounding success. We have tried to make them before without any real success but Shel nailed it this year and I hope next year she remembers what she did!
Max LOVED them. CJ gagged at the grossness of the interior of the pumpkin but did I really expect anything less from my sensitive boy?

We put our creations outside and lo and behold ... it snowed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

C is for cookie

The boys like nothing better than being creative. Sometimes this creativity involves a hammer and sometimes it involves markers and the walls of the house (unfortunately). Since Max is learning to speel we are finding evidence of his spelling mastery all over. He thinks I have supernatural powers that enable me to know where he has been and hwat he has been doing. I hate to disappoint him and tell him it is his own name in marker that leads me to my deductions.
This weekend they were all about making cookies.
I pulled out a recipe book and managed to find a recipe that we had all of the ingredients for and so we made cookies. It was a lot of fun and even Rescue puppy got involved.

After  I was all done with the dough Max took it and played "bakery" by himself. He set up the cook book and his own little kitchen. Surprisingly clean up was not so bad  - I had cookies to bribe him with!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Since we live in Canada and we DO raise boys, we thought it was finally time that they learned to skate. I had intentions last year of teaching them to skate on the dugout, we even shovelled it off, but the skating lessons never actually transpired. I am loathe to become a hockey mom and undertake all that is involved in being such a mother (my hats off to those that do make this commitment) but for this reason (and the fact that winter and ice rinks are not two of my favorite things) we have never had the boys learn to skate. Until this year.
We signed the up, bought the equipment and set out on our skating adventures.
True to form, Max is not interested at ALL. I did actually to get his skates and helmet onto him, but he removed them in short order and spent the rest of the time at the rink watching the proceedings and watching blues clues on my phone.
CJ on the other hand could not get onto the ice fast enough. He is in LOVE with skating and cannot get enough. I think we may have a hockey player on our hands in the future (huge sigh).
When we finally DID manage to get him off the ice he didn't want to take his equipment off and has since asked numerous times to go back to the rink and skate again. This from a kid who for the previous years of his life has seldom uttered words that didn't involve motorcycles and quads!
We have him signed up for one night a week but we may have to increase that and let him do it more. I DID have thoughts of perhaps taking him to family skate, but SHUDDER that would involve me putting on skates. As quickly as that thought entered my head it did leave!!!

I tried to get a good shot but none of them turned out. Alas, the capabilities of my i-phone are found to be lacking :(

You get the idea at least!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Canadian Book Challenge: Anna Dressed in Blood

I just finished the book "Anna Dressed in Blood".

It meets the criteria for the Canadian Book Challenge because it is set in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

I think I have mentioned that I am having a difficult time with this challenge and so I was THRILLED to discover as I started reading that this book takes place in Canada and that I could count it towards my books read (this makes 2 of 13!)

Cas Loswood is a 17 year old who kills the dead. His father was also a ghost killer, until a ghost got the better of him and devoured him leaving his son fatherless and responsible for picking up where he left off.
Cas moves from place to place dispatching ghosts who have remained on earth and kill people themselves.
Anna proves to be something that Cas has ever encountered before - sentient, sad, and inexplicably growing in power.
When two boys try to offer Anna a human sacrifice by taking Cas to her house, knocking him unconscious and throwing him inside, Anna does something unusual - leaving unconscious and bleeding Cas alone and killing one of his attackers instead.
Cas becomes captivated by Anna and the two develop a relationship. Now Cas has to deal with the challenge which brought him to Ontario - Killing Anna.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Unfortunately the setting had little to do with the plot and aside of a few references to Canadians and one comment about scenery and the boreal forest the book really could have taken place anywhere. I am still counting this as a Canadian Book because it was SO good and Thunder Bay WAS mentioned!


traffic jam on the way to work

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Canadian Book Challenge: another disappointment

I signed up for the Canadian Book Challenge because I was inspired by fellow blogger Teena. I had a goal set to read 65 books this year and have already completed that challenge and I was kind of, sort of , looking for something else to get involved in.
The purpose of the challenge is to read books about Canada or by Canadian Authors. I have to admit that the idea of reading books by Canadian authors is intimidating to me. Something about reading books by Canadians is scary - it reminds me of the first time I listened to a lesbian comedienne. I felt as though I was on the periphery of a group that I knew nothing about and all the inside jokes went over my head. I am a Canadian citizen, however I was not born here.
When I went to University in the USA I had to take an American history class. I signed up for the class that was called "America History for the Canadian student". The only problem was, I was not raised in Canada and my knowledge of Canadian history was sketchy at best. The class turned out to be, not simply an American history class, but a comparative look at the evolution of history between Canada and the USA. Needless to say I got my butt KICKED by that class and it has haunted me ever since.
I love Canada, but I am COMPLETELY aware of how much I do not know as much about Canada as I should.
Television programs written and produced in Canada baffled me, and the thought of reading a book by a Canadian author was something I have avoided consciously. So I thought this challenge might be good for me.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up Canadian authors on Goodreads and found that I have not only already READ books by Canadian authors, I have read them AND LIKED THEM!

Life of Pi

Water for Elephants


The Birth House

There was no reason for me to be intimidated by these books! Unfortunately I have already read these books and I am not really one for reading a book again just for the sake of a book challenge, so I needed to go out and find some others.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and found books by Canadian authors ON MY BOOKSHELF AT HOME - and ones I had never read! This challenge was going to be easier than I thought!

I have now read two books in the Canadian Book Challenge. I went to the website to enter the name of the second book and post my review of it here on my blog. Imagine my surprise when I was not listed as being a participant in this challenge! I resent all my information and hoped to see my name withina week or so. To date it has still not been posted.

I guess I will continue to try and read books by Canadian authors even though I am disheartened. I may even post about them here. I may not. I think if someone is going to host a challenge they have a responsibility to the people who sign up for participation. That's just me though.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12 of 12

Here we are. October 12 and I am at work supervising students as they graffiti the lounge.
All 12 of my photos are of the party. It feels like I have been here all day. Oh right I HAVE!!!!

Lost keys and lousy customer service

One Saturday this summer I though I would be adventurous and take all four kids to the splash park and let Shel have some much needed time alone. I packed a bag, got everyone ready and headed for the back door. After getting everyone shoes on I realized that the key to the van I THOUGHT I had in my hand was not there. I had not made it out the back door yet. The search for the key was on. Since I had not left the house I was certain that I would find the key within minutes.
The key has been swallowed by the Bermuda triangle which is my house. (FYI This key has STILL not turned up months later)
I cannot find it ANYWHERE. I have emptied drawers, pulled out appliances, re-arranged bedrooms, and I cannot find that key.
Without a key we were not going anywhere. I had a full two days of the weekend remaining to look for it before I NEEDED to use the van to get to work.
48 hours later there was still no sign of the thing. I called a neighbour and asked for a ride to work which he graciously provided. I called a friend and asked for a ride home and she even MORE graciously provided me with a vehicle to use instead - and the calls to the Honda dealership began. WHAT A FIASCO.
On Monday I called the dealership from work to ask about getting more keys. When we purchased the vehicle we were given a code and told that if we needed to order keys we need only provide this code and we could have more keys made. When I spoke to the individual I was informed that the van needed to be towed into the dealership because the new keys had to be computer programmed to the van. I was told the key had to be ordered from Edmonton and would take one day to get there and it would cost $180.00. I informed them my van would be on the way immediately and ready  to be worked on if the key was ordered and arrived on Tuesday. I called a tow truck and the van was picked up Tuesday morning and taken in. The dealership is about 150 km from where we live in another community. The van arrived on Tuesday. I called on Wednesday to see if I could pick the van up and was told the key had not been ordered and I had to talk to the parts department to order the key, then once the key was in I had to talk to the service department to book a service. I spoke to the parts department and ordered the key and was told it would be in on Thursday and the maintenance scheduled as soon as it arrived. Apparently the service and parts departments within the same building do not talk to one another. I am supposed to know what part I need for maintenance, order the part myself and THEN schedule the maintenance myself.
I called AGAIN on Wednesday night to make sure everything would be there Thursday ready for pick up and was told I would get a call on my cell phone as soon as it was done.
I got a ride (ONE WAY) to the city for work as I had arranged to work there for the day so as to be able to collect the vehicle. After work I called the dealership FOUR TIMES while they tried to track down the order!!!! I was told finally - after more than an hour of waiting - that the key was not in fact ordered, was not there and I would now have to wait until Friday. I explained that I HAD spoken to them, I HAD CONFIRMED later the previous day and that I was more than 150 km from my home and STRANDED now. They didn't care.
All this time I was texting my spouse to let her know what was happening. She was as fed up with them as I was and called the 1-800 customer service number and complained.
I still had to find a way to make arrangements for myself overnight.
The next day the key DID come in and the van WAS fixed. Amazing what a call to the 1-800 number can do.
What became evident to me in the process of this whole endeavour was that there was some conflict between personnel in the parts department and the service department of this dealership. It was CLEAR that the people were in the process of some kind of "pissing match" and that instead of resolving it internally this conflict was bleeding out and impacting me - the customer. In phone calls I I was transferred multiple times, hung up on and calls were not returned. I was given bad information. I was misled.
 In all my years of owning a vehicle this is by FAR the worst experience I have ever had. Does a car company honestly expect a customer to know what part they need and to order it themselves? Am I just living in a bubble in which I expect the dealer to know and order the part on my behalf when I make an appointment for service?
From beginning to end this was a fiasco. I did FINALLY get a key, but the cost was such to my personal time and to my family and friends that in spite of really liking my vehicle I will not get another one from this dealer AND I will warn others away from it also. The MOST unfortunate thing is that our car is fairly new and I expect we will have it for many years to come. This is the only dealer of this type of vehicle within a great distance and we will be forced to deal with them again.

Post script: We have already had to deal with them again and unfortunately our experience the first time was not an isolated experience. Our great dane puppy chewed up some seatbelts and they need to be replaced. We called and ordered them OURSELVES from the parts department. We were asked which seat belts they were. We explained they were from the middle row on the passenger side. The parts person asked what we meant by "passenger side". After that was all sorted we ordered the part. At least we thought we did. When we called back weeks later because we had not heard anything we were told the part had not been ordered because they were specially made for each vehicle and could not be returned once they were ordered and did we REALLY want them. We do. We did. I do not understand why so many weeks had passed and no-one had called us back to ask us this question (though I don't exactly know why they needed to ask after we had called and ordered them in the first place?!)

They have now arrived. We have scheduled an installation. I just HOPE and PRAY we can get them installed in a day and not a week. And I HAVE warned someone interested in getting a vehicle like ours not to do it from this dealer!!!