Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Thirteen: 13 quotes I love ( from books I love!)

It is Thursday already again? HOW?!
Link to others participating HERE.

My topic for this week is....  Quotes that I love from books. Here we go:

1. From "The Song of Kahunsha" by Anosh Irani

"To him, real prayer means sending a bright thought, like Thank you or I love you , to heaven. That is prayer. The moment you ask for something, the prayer room becomes a marketplace." p.9

2. From "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khalid Hosseini

" She remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. "As a reminder of how women like us suffer," She'd said. "How quietly we endure all that falls upon us." p.82

3. From 'The Birth House" by Ami McKay

"It's a disgusting mess we come through to be born, the sticky wet of blood and afterborth, mother wailing, child crying....the helpless soft spot at the top of it's head pulsing, waiting to be kissed. Our parents and teachers say it's a miracle, but it's not. It's going to happen no matter what, there's no choice in the matter. To my mind, a miracle is something that could go one way or the other. The fact that something happens when by all rights it shouldn't is what makes us take notice, it's what saints are made of, it takes the breath away. How a mother comes to love her child, caring at all for this thing that has made her heavy, lopsided and slow, this thing that makes her wish she were dead...that's the miracle." p.20

4. From " The Heretics Daughter" by Kathleen Kent

"And what finally of the tortures of a guilty soul? What concoction is there that can be chewed and swallowed and downed into the belly to force the poison of self recrimination back through the pores of the skin? In what organ in the body does it reside? A seeping wound can be bound. Salve can be added to a burn or swelling bubo. Poison can be drawn into a leech or a lance. But guilt is a ghost that takes the shape of the body it inhabits and consumes all that is tender within it's shell: brain, bowels, and heart. I cannot pluck it out like a splinter of glass or treat it with herbal brews."

5. From "Factotum" by D.M. Cornish

" Look at these pullings of long faces! How does knowing who you are make you any different? You have been you all this time; you will remain you for the long stretch of your life regardless of the reckonings in your thinking soils. The only alteration you have undergone is to simply have information to remedy your self-doubtings. Cease these snivels!"

6. From "Bloodhound" by Tamora Pierce

"Keep Breathing, Keep Learning."

7. From "The Truth of All Things" by Kieran Shields

"I never read the newspapers. Nothing but canned bleating. People read the newspapers to learn what is happening in the world. Youcouldn't find a lazier and more misdirected guide if you tried. Even when there is no deliberate deception, tha accounts either wildly exaggerate or else completely underestimate the actual importance of the events described. No event can be accurately judged unless it is considered with adequate background and perspective, both of which newspapers ignore and the reading public distain." (p 205)

8. From "Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe" by Stuart McLean

"We do this thing. We open our hearts to the world around us. And the more we do that, the more we are bound to find ourselves one day standing in the kitchen of our life, surrounded by the ones we love, and feeling empty, and alone, and sad, and lost for words, because one of our loved ones, who should be there, is missing. Mother or father, brother or sister, wife or husband, or a dog or cat. It doesn't really matter. After a while each death feels like all the deaths, and you stand there like everyone else has stood there before you, while the big wind of sadness blows around and through you." (p. 239)

9. From "Alice In Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

"I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning," said Alice a little timidly: "but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

10. From Alice In Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. "
11. From "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” 

12. From "The Little Prince" by  Antoine de Sait-Exupery.

“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems... But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them... In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me... You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh” 

13. And my favorite scripture of all time from the Book of Mormon, Mosiah Chapter 2, Verse 19. (I have to give a disclaimer that I am not an active Mormon, nor active in any religion,  nor do I read the book of Mormon any longer - but I still like this verse)

"O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The strangest ice formation

We have had melting and freezing weather the last few weeks where it is warm enough during the day (and the sun is out long enough FINALLY) to start some thawing. As I was loading kids into the vehicle I noticed the side of the van - which looked dirty from a distance - was actually covered in small ice particles. It was very cool to look at close up. Obviously the air is still cold enough to freeze the water as I am driving and it must be blowing as it dries. That's my very scientific opinion of course.

Better than a "good boy"

The boys used to tell Shel and I that we were "good boys" if we did anything that they particularly liked. It was a wonderful compliment and brought a smile to my face every time I was "good enough" to be a good boy.
Today I got a call from Shel while I was at work. The lady from early intervention had visited the house this morning and when she went to leave she got stuck in the melting snow in the driveway.
Of course there were no shovels to be found in our yard and being a work day there were not neighbours close enough still home to call for help.
I hurried home as fast as I could and used the shovel I keep in the van to dig out the wheel of her vehicle. I went in and told her I was there and ready to push her out. She, Max and I pushed while Shel drove and we were able to get her out easily. (It is amazing what one can do with a shovel!!)
When I got back to work I discovered that Max declared me a Higgledy Town Hero for my role in the removal of the vehicle.
If there's one thing better than being a good boy - it's being a Higgledy Town Hero.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Our boys would like a dad

One of the boys asked the other day if he could have a dad.

I have been waiting for this moment with fear and trepidation since bringing home baby number one six years ago. Being one of two moms I wonder if we are doing "right" by our kids. Don't get me wrong, I think we are great parents, but the reality is we still live in a homophobic world and I would hate for my boys to ever suffer because their moms were lesbian.

As soon as they question was out in the open I had a moment of panic where I imagined the worst. Shel of course handled the whole thing with aplomb, as only she can. "Why do you want a dad honey? she asked.

"Because dad's buy kids whatever they want." came the response.

Shoot. I want a dad also!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday 13 : Items the puppy has chewed

For this weeks 13 I am posting photos of things the puppy has chewed. She drives me INSANE but no matter what we do we can't seem to stop her from chewing. We have given her things to chew that are hers, she is crate trained. She gets decent exercise, but we have four kids who leave their things strewn all over kingdom come and so she chews them. It is frustrating to say the least, but the blame lies on us. She wouldn't chew them if they were put away, but its not like she is chewing them when they are left on the floor after everyone is in bed - no she chews toys the kids are PLAYING with! Just takes them right out of the kids hands and chews them.
Without further ado:
1. A fake poop the boys got for Christmas. Apparently she was not deterred by the look of it, she knew it wasn't real poo. The corner she chewed isn't wonderfully illustrated here.

2. A motorcycle that the boys LOVED.

3. The only thing she is actually SUPPOSED to chew  - one of her chew toys. We were supposed to put treats inside and she would have to work to get them. She decided she didn't like to work for them so she chewed the end off. 
4. Baby shoe 

5. Hairbrush.
6. Baby boot.
7. Mommy Shoe.
8. Toothbrush. 
9. Cookie Cutter.
10. Scissors.
11. Cookie Monster
 12. Boot Liner
13. And last but not least - here is the puppy herself resting with a Christmas tree ornament she ate (a snowman). She ate more than one BTW.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

365/17 Aunty Brenda

Try this: make a list of 365 people whose names you remember and who were interesting to you. And then, if you can, write down a few words about each of them before they're gone from your memory. If you can't do this, it might be wise to spend the next 365 days meeting more people in person who are interesting to you. Learn their names.

My Aunt.

Here is the thing about Aunts that makes them extra special. They aren't mom's. Now don't take that the wrong way, but mom's have this role in life of you know, PARENTING you, so they have to do things as you grow up that you don't like. For your own benefit of course. Aunts don't have to. They stand apart in this other zone where they can love you but the love is special because they can always see the very best in you. They have a barrier to the negative and the conflicts that arise between kids and parents. They have a special place.

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. When I was born the country was known as Rhodesia and there was a civil war going on. My dad was in the army, my parents were newlyweds, and my mom worked. What this translated to for me as a young child was spending a lot of time with my Aunt and my cousins.

My mom tells stories of how I was so attached to my aunt that on weekends when I was with my mom if we happened to run into my aunt in town at the grocery store I would scream and cry and want to go with her. As a result of my very poor behaviour (shame on me), my mom and aunt would make sure they scheduled visits to market to avoid one another and the scene I would inevitably cause.

I have a very close bond with my aunt. I love her deeply and she loves me. When we moved to Canada she wrote letters and on every birthday she would send a red ribbon with my age. I loved these ribbons. When she and her family moved to England we would stay with them in our cross-Atlantic trips. She made Christmas tree decorations with me. She taught me how to cross stitch.
When she moved to California and our family was finally settled in Canada I would spend summers with her in Azusa at the "Rainbow Angling Club" which she managed.

I was a bed wetter late into my teens and I remember one summer when I was staying with her that I had an "accident" one night and she had the mattress out on the deck drying and my clothing in the washing machine. A vendor that she worked with in the housing complex arrived to meet with her and do some work. Her office was in her unit and the vendor came inside. As he walked into the unit there must have been an overpowering smell of urine and he took it upon himself to draw her attention to the "HUMAN URINE" smell that was assailing his senses. She insisted it was not "HUMAN URINE" but cat urine and that she was taking care of it. He tried and tried to convince her it was not feline in nature and repeated the phrase "HUMAN URINE", loudly, over and over and over. I was in the house and could hear this conversation. I was absolutely mortified that this man was going to charge into the house and sniff out the smell of urine on me and reveal my deepest secret and worst nightmare. She was having no part of it. Once he left and it became obvious to her that I was upset by the interaction she turned the situation on it's head and made the vendor the brunt of a joke with his extra sensory perception for sniffing out human waste. From that day to this we have ever referred to him as "Human Urine." Her dedication to me and to my protection, both physical and mental was made evident.

When I went to university in Utah I would take every opportunity to travel to California that I could, often leaving with people late on a Friday and returning on a Sunday JUST to spend time with her.
She has a love of animals and people that knows no bounds. She is a tireless worker and CONSTANTLY thinking of others and how she can help them. She looked after my grandparents in their last years, moving in with my grandmother and selling her own house to do so in order to provide the kids of support my grandmother needed in her last years.

She has made blankets for my kids which to this day are Maxi's "special" blankets. She is a seamstress extraordinaire. She wanted to send me some mumu's (which I love to wear) but couldn't find any when she shopped for them and so she told me she was going to make me some after Christmas.

A few weeks ago I called to talk to her to ask her if she could help me with the 100 days project for Maxi's class. She went out the very next day and sent a HUGE amount of stamps for him to use. She said in that phone call she was feeling under the weather and hadn't had a chance to make my mumu's but was planning on getting to it as soon as she felt a bit better.

She has cancer. Aggressive Cancer. We only just found out about it - in fact only after she mailed the stamps to me did we realize how sick she was.  Maxi's project was due on February 11th or 12th and she mailed the stamps a few weeks before then, so it has barely been a month - if that.

She is so weak she cannot stand. She has needed huge amounts of blood and the doctors are having a devil of a time to get her blood regulated so that the chemo will work. The mess up with her blood is leaving her weak and disoriented and she can't really talk on the phone. The cancer is in her lungs, lymph nodes and lungs.

I feel selfish for thinking of myself right now and probably look selfish for saying so, but I am not prepared in any way to face the loss of someone I love so much. She may recover. She may beat this thing. I hope and I pray that she does. I'm writing about her as one of the people in my 365 project - to write about someone you find interesting before they fade from memory. I know this much - she is more than interesting she is amazing AND though her body is failing her right now, SHE will never fade.

I love you Aunty Bren.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

100 days project

Max has been in grade 1 for 100 days. This apparently is a big deal, which I was unaware of until this year. He has had a big project to work on for school today - he had to collect 100 items, display them, and take them to school to present to the class.
We came up with the idea to collect stamps from all over the world and put them on a poster. Thanks in HUGE part to my mom and my aunt, we were able to collect the stamps and put them on the poster. It is all done and delivered to school for him to present today.
 Following moms outline of the world - which leaves much to be desired!!!

 Getting started in South America.
 Drawing stamp books for everyone in the family - because it's related to the project how?????
 At one point last night he was just getting silly. Should I be shocked at all?
 The final poster all complete and ready for school.
 The presenting part is the tricky one for him. Here are the things he is going to present. He has a stamp that we bought yesterday that is "new". It is the Canada Stamp celebrating the year of the Snake.
He chose the stamps that are his favorite and they are from Libya. He likes them because they look "metal".
There is a stamp from Zimbabwe that cost $35 dollars that is the most expensive. It is actually not worth as much as some of the others because the Zimbabwe dollar is so terrible, but for presenting purposes it meets our needs!
Then there is the one stamp that is round. It is a South African stamp (and I think it may be my favorite of the bunch!)
 This stamp was the oldest. I actually think we have older stamps but I didn't take the time to look any further once we found this one.
 These are the stamps that cost the least amount of money.
 Here are his African and some of his European stamps  - we actually had more but I am happy with what we presented. Our outline of Africa is almost invisible! We had one from the Isle of Mann but it didn't make it to the poster.
 We put quite a few from Canada and the USA. Shel was quite disappointed with the ones we had from the USA. We will have to start paying attention and collecting more.
HUGE thanks to Aunty Bren and mom for helping on this project!

(Max has specified that he does not like "homework", he only likes "projects!"

Friday, February 8, 2013


When I was younger I remember being told that if I lived my life and had ONE true friend I would be blessed. As I was writing my post on gratitude a while ago I thought of the friends I have currently and the friends I have had and how my life has truly been blessed by these people.

A few times I have had my feelings hurt and have felt betrayed by people I considered to be friends. It has always been somewhat difficult for me to "let go" of people when I wanted them to remain friends or to stay in contact with me. I remember one time in particular - over ten years ago now -  when someone I loved basically walked away from me. It left me reeling and it took me YEARS to get over it. Looking back on it I understand WHY I held on, but I wish I had been mature enough to walk away and accept the choice THEY made to leave.

This topic has come to the forefront of my mind again this week through a series of unfortunate events and I have to say at the end of the day I am SO very lucky in my life. I have a spouse who loves me, I have kids who love me, I have brothers and sisters and in-laws who love me. I have a mother who is a solid rock of support. And would you know it I have friends, true friends, who stand by me and who love me.

I have an aunt, whom I love with all of my heart, who is going through a tough time right now with a pretty severe illness - who loves me.

I'd like to think I am a good friend. I hope I am. I try to be. At the end of the day I have much to be thankful for and I am happy to say that I may have reached a point in my life where I can actually say "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough... " Whoops, that was a quote from SNL and not what I meant to say... I am happy to say I am at a point in my life where I can say " You know I am sad this friendship can't be what I would like, but I'm ok with it." I can say that because of the love that still surrounds me. So to those friends of mine who are sticking with me through it all - thanks peeps.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

starting a new blog for book reviews

I have to admit I am not what I would consider to be a good reviewer of books. I would like to be. I certainly read enough. I read book reviews and wish I could write the kinds of things about books that good reviewers write. Having said that - I was alerted to a cool website where publishers offer free previews of books to reviewers. There were some books there I was mightily interested in reading and so I signed up and requested some free books. I was absolutely SHOCKED when some of the books I had requested were DENIED to me!
A suggestion was offered that perhaps the books had been denied to me because I was not reviewing books frequently enough or posting those reviews. So I decided, with my spousal unit to start a new blog so I could get free books online!
Shel and I talked about it last night and we decided to go for it. We have started a new blog at and we are going to work on it together and review together some of the books we read. We often read the same books, and our opinions tend to differ greatly on what we got out of the book. I think it would be cool for us to each offer our opinion on the books we read. When we do happen to read books that one or the other is not interested in for whatever reason then one of us will do the review alone. HOPEFULLY people will find it interesting, and HOPEFULLY my reviews improve!
To get us started I have copied some reviews of books I have blogged about here. I hope that by posting these already I will be able to get us some free books from the site my blogging friend Teena referred me to. (she does great reviews by the way which can be found HERE).
If you get a chance stop by the new blog. Hopefully both Shel and I will get a chance to post something together soon and it will be updated from the re posts that are there currently.

Wordless Wednesday