Monthly Archives: January 2011

Dog Show Season Approacheth…

Dog show season is right around the corner…  and I can hardly wait.  At the same time, still lots to do before we’ll be ready for it.  🙂  All Winter long I await February as for us it means time to start filling out entry forms.

Here in Saskatchewan we attend dog shows from about March till September.  And unless it’s a month with a show here in Saskatoon I try to limit myself to one show a month.  Home shows mean I’ll usually hit two that month.  With the wee girlie still small I just don’t like to be away from home more than one weekend a month.

Come July, Lily-Ann will be old enough to show in Junior Handling, which is very exciting.  I know she’s looking forward to it.  Hopefully one of the dogs here will be mature and experienced enough to have her on the other end of the leash by then.  But if not, I’m sure one of the many wonderful dog people we know would have someone to “lend” her while she takes a walk around the conformation ring for the first time.  🙂  I so look forward to the girlie being able to attend shows with her Auntie Bug and I once she’s ready.  Jewles and I always have so much fun on our dogged road trips, and I know the girlie would enjoy them too.

This year Jewles and I will be showing Marnie, the most adorable Long Coat Chihuahua puppy ever.  I may be a little biased as her co-owner and hu-mom, but I think she’s pretty awesome.  We’re also talking with a couple other folks right now about the possibility of us helping them out with dogs they’d like to get on the road this Spring.  So we’ll see.  Our show plans usually aren’t finalized till the last minute.  I’m totally not a last minute type of person – at least not for plans that take me away from home, but I’ve learned to roll with the punches when it comes to showing.

I should probably update my handling website.  It’s still full of last years information.  LOL  But some of what’s there never really needs to change.  My handling philosophy, and the services we offer are the same as in previous years.  Just need to upload some photos from last years shows, and to decide on which shows we’ll hit for this year.

Did I mention how much I love handling dogs?  Seriously.  LOL  I absolutely love being in the ring and traveling with dogs.  It may give some folks serious anxiety, but I LOVE it.  There really is nothing like it.  Exciting and peaceful, chaotic and calm, adrenaline pumping and zen all at once.  I look forward to getting back into it every Spring.

Check us out at http://www.almostfamily.org/

Sure, it’s not up to date, but there’s lots there to see anyway.  😉

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I was a failure!

I was a complete and utter failure in school when it came to math (or algebra or whatever you’d like to call it).  In standardized testing I ended up testing in the bottom five percent of our population.  I switch numbers in my head, so when it came to memorizing the multiplication tables I was hooped.  64’s became 46’s, and vise versa.  Later on I’d fail at any concept that I couldn’t visualize.  Provide  me with a way to rectify the equations in a tangible manner and I’d breeze through the chapter.  Otherwise, and generally, I was in way past my ability to stay afloat.  All through school I thought I must be an absolute idiot.  It was hard on my self esteem, and interfered with so much I’d hoped to do or become.  But today I know better.

As an adult, in every day life, I can often figure out number problems faster than my “high honor roll” husband.  He comes to his answers the way the teachers insist one should…  I come to them by means that baffle and confuse anyone who’s ever asked “how did you figure that out so quick?”

Even simple math problems get answered in a way vastly different than we are taught to find the answers.  Today, for example…  I needed to know how much it would be for three items that were $3.50 each.  Easy, right?  $10.50  But the interesting part is how I arrive at that figure.

Most people simply multiply 3.50 by 3…  Me?  Well, I know that three threes is nine, and .50 three times is 1.50…  together they make 10.50.  And be glad that’s an easy one.  LMAO  The way I arrive at correct numerical answers would astound most.

Anyway…  the whole point of this is simply to say that numbers tormented me as a child.  I was taught that I couldn’t do math, that I didn’t have the capacity.  The bottom five percent of society, incapable of even the most basic math skills.  But it wasn’t true.  I just fail at “textbook” math.

Should children be punished because they can’t arrive at an answer the way society insists they arrive at it?  I don’t think so.  There has to be a better way.  Do I have the answer?  Do I have a solution?  Unfortunately no.  But I do know that the way things are is not okay.  The status quo is simply not good enough.  If I am capable of surpassing honor roll math intellect in terms of speed and accuracy than surely there are others who were also failed by the education system – or who ARE being failed by it at this very moment.  Can’t something be done?

 

Scraptastic Saturdays – does it really have to be over?

I am sooo not ready for Saturday to be over.  Can I get a do-over?  LOL  But without erasing any of the stuff I managed to accomplish today?  I just need another Saturday.

I’m too tired to post much, but I did want to share a layout I did this week.  It’s very different from anything I’ve done  before.  And there are some things I’d change if I were to start again.  But it was a neat learning experience, and (generally) I think it turned out pretty cool.

I’d planned on turning this particular photo of the girlie into a fairy at some point…  and this just seemed like the time to try something new.  🙂  Sooo…  what do you think?  LOL  Should I stick with my usual type of layouts, or should I do more like this?

 

To one of the most important men in my life…

I finally figured it out, what has been bothering me the last few days.  I’ve been really stressed and feeling overwhelmed – more so than I should be.  Sure I’m in the middle of planning the Green Party’s AGM, and I’m working on a number of other projects too…  but nothing that should have been causing the feeling of being crushed under too much that I was experiencing.

Last night I was running everything through my head, doing a bit of a check list.  What I had accomplished, what I still needed to accomplish, what I could work on the next day…  That’s when it hit me.  The overwhelmed feeling is about my Grampa’s birthday.

Okay, okay…  I know.  That’s a little odd.  But let me give you a little back story.

My mom was still a girl, just a teen, when she had me.  And I’ve always been so grateful for everything she sacrificed for me.  She was a single, teen, mom…  just being ONE of those things can be tough, but she was all three.   Because of this, my Grampa was the man in my life when I was really young.  Almost all of my earliest memories center around time with him, or at his house.  Even after Mom met Dad, and the three of us became a family, Grampa remained an ever steady, ever present part of my life.

Grampa took me camping, a lot.  He instilled in me a love and respect for nature.  An awe at the miracles that surround us, the miracles in the every day.  We fished.  We camped.  We rode bikes (well, I didn’t ride until I was twelve, so mostly I got rides on his bike).  We took trips.  We went to family reunions.  Grampa was always there.

In high school he remained as steadfast as ever.  Once a week he’d pick me up early and we’d go for “coffee” before classes.  I always had a hot chocolate.  Those mornings were sooo important to me.  And I knew that if I was ever in  a spot I could count on him.  He’d pick me up and give me rides to Youth, and drove to come get me TWICE on Sundays for morning and evening service.  He was my best friend.  It may not have been a ‘cool’ thing to admit, but if anyone ever asked me, I was always the first to tell them exactly that.  My Grampa was my bestie, my BFF.  I was popular, I had lots of friends…  but none of them came close to the love and friendship that he and I shared.

When Grampa married Joan I was in University…  and I’ll admit it…  I disliked her out of pure jealousy.  All the time that he used to spend with me, well, he now spent with her.  No, I wasn’t cut out of the picture entirely.  We still spent several days a week together…  but I was jealous.  I was a kid, and my best friend had found a new best friend.  Now I look back and am more than a little embarrassed about feeling that way.  I love Joan, she’s a member of the family, and I’m so glad that Grampa has her…  and that we have her too.

That was the beginning of our separation.  Slowly, as I grew up, the gap widened.  We spent less time together.  Our interests didn’t lead us in the same directions.  And these days (fifteen years later) I’m lucky to see Grampa once a month… and often that is just in passing.

So, the idea that my Grampa, one of the most important men people in my life, will be turning EIGHTY?!?!?  Well…  it’s hit me rather hard.  77, 78, 79… no problem.   But 80 is different.  80 is hard.

I’m in the middle of helping to plan his birthday party…  trying to track down people that he and I used to see all the time.  The Morin’s, the Lutz’s, people who’s names I’ve forgotten but who’s faces I remember…  people who were adults, who I  smiled at and waved to from the other end of the Church that my Grampa and I helped to build (both literally and figuratively).  I’m hoping to find them all, so they too can help celebrate the man who has meant so very much to me, who has ALWAYS been there…  who I know I can still count on no matter what.

No.  Not all our memories are blissful and happy. Like the time we drove to Wisconsin for a family reunion…  Grampa, two of my younger cousins, and myself.  Then came home with lice from one of the motels we stayed in on the trip home.  It was SOOOO gross.  They were HUGE.  And I was a TEENAGER!  It was a nightmare.  But even that I can look back on and laugh – because we were in it together.

The fact that this man, my Grampa, is now going to be 80 scares me.

I remember, during one of our “coffee” dates.  He suddenly fell silent and took my hands into his.  “Tobi”, he said.  “I want you to promise me something.”  The mood instantly changed, and I’ve never forgotten it.  It’s something I’ve carried with me my entire life.  “When I die, I don’t want a funeral.”  I remember being totally taken aback.  I was 16, and my Grampa was talking to me about dying.  “Promise me you’ll plan everything.  Throw me a party.  I don’t want anyone to mourn.  When I  die, I’m going home.  It’s something to be celebrated.”  I made that promise, and at the time it was really just my way of trying to get him to stop talking about it.

Grampa has never been old, and I can’t imagine him ever being old.  He’s always been active.  Even when his pain got the better of him, he’d just find a new way to keep being active.  He’d give up one thing, but would find something else.  He’s been a member of a gym now for about six months.  Goes a few times a week, and is better shape than he’s been in for some time.  He’s not old, so I don’t know what that number scares me.  That number may be old, but my Grampa is not.

So…  here’s to my Grampa!  One of the best men I know.  To another entire lifetime.  To him never getting tired, never slowing down.  To him, and all he’s given me.  To the love we shared, and continue to share (despite growing somewhat apart).  He’s amazing…  and I look forward to celebrating him with our family and all his friends this February.

Will he get a chance to read this?  Not as long as it’s solely available online.  He sold his computer after a few months, claiming he didn’t receive enough email for it to be worth the trouble.  LOL

I love you Grampa.

a scrapbook layout I did using photos from grampas last birthday

Bill Guskjolen’s 80th Birthday

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173829629326890

Friend of Bill’s?

Hope to see you in February at his birthday party.

See the link above for all the details.

Visiting at the Luthercare Home

Today I went with the girlie’s class on a field trip.  I’m always happy to go and help out where I can…  I love doing it, and I know the wee girlie loves having me there.   🙂  Anyway…  LOL

The girlie’s class went to visit the Luthercare Home today.  It’s a seniors home here in Saskatoon.  Many of the little ones  didn’t actually know where we were going or what we were doing, and when they asked I simply explained that we were going to see some Grandmas and Grandpas.  And that not everyone is as lucky as some of us are, not everyone has lots of family.  Which seemed to satisfy, and then they were all eager to visit with these new found grandparent friends.

Here’s a brief video of the class performing for the seniors (they did a song and a poem, but I only managed to capture one of them):

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150089930232353

Lily-Ann is at the far right, behind the girl closest to Mrs. Rhonda.  🙂  She’s awfully big and expressive with her movements, she’s hard to miss.  LOL

It was a nice trip.  The kids had lots of fun, the “grandparents” did too…  and so did I.  I had a nice chance to talk with several of the residents, and most of them were absolutely charming individuals.  Though one did get upset with me for not taking her to her room when she asked.  I did my best to explain that if I had known where her room was I’d have been happy to help, and then made sure to find someone who was capable of assisting her…  after which she shot me a glare.  LOL  Well, you can’t please everyone.  😉  But I did try.

Dog Owner PSA

Seriously folks…  if you are walking your dog, how hard is it to take a bag along with you?  Come on.

Here in Saskatoon we have lost the privilege of taking our dogs with us to some of our parks.  No dogs signs are abundant by the river and in Kinsmen Park.  And if people can’t clean up after their dogs we are likely to lose other parks as well.  It stinks (literally and figuratively).

So please, take a bag with you…  clean up after your dog.  It only takes a second.  And yeah, it’s not fun to carry around a bag of poo…  but it’s better than the alternative.

Did I have to take a picture of the turd we had to walk around today?  Nope.  But a good blog post includes a photo.  LMAO  I’m trying to be a good blogger.  😉

 

Sometimes joy is simple…

When I watch my wee girl sleeping, laying in bed next to me, joy is simple.  Nothing could fill my heart more than watching her here, quietly breathing.  Each rise and fall of her tiny chest elevates my happiness a little further.  This type of joy is easy.  This love comes easily.  Some joy, some love, you really have to work at…  but for now, I’m blissfully happy just laying here in the dark with my wee one beside me.

Families who don’t co-sleep may find certain things easier (like couple time for mom and dad).  LOL  But I wouldn’t trade this closeness with my daughter for any of it.  She sleeps soundly knowing I’m right here, and I sleep better knowing she is safe and sleeping deeply.  This, for me, is a natural.

The wee girlie has her own bed.  It’s a loft we built in Autumn.  It’s right above our bed (I even posted a couple times about it here).  And she slept in it for quite a while…  and I missed her while she was up there.  LOL  But as she grows and changes, sometimes  she needs us closer than at others.  And right now, she needs these night times.  It won’t be long until she rolls her eyes when I ask for a hug and kiss, so as long as she wants me close, I’m happy to remain so.

Co-sleeping is worth any tiny sacrifices we may have to make…  but honestly?  Those sacrifices are nothing compared to the rewards it brings.  In a world full of people with sleeping disorders, I know my daughter sleeps soundly.  She  is safe, secure, and attached.  Just as she should be.

Soundly Sleeping Sweetie

The Trotsky

My joy today came in movie form.

Ask anyone who knows me.  I LOVE movies.  Indy, mainstream, flicks, films, blockbusters…  I love movies.

And every so often a movie  comes along that makes me want to sing.  A goosebump worthy, joyfest.

If you haven’t seen The Trotsky yet, get thyself to yon library.  🙂  It’s one you need to borrow.  Or rent it.  Or stream it.  Just make yourself available to it in some way.  It’s a gooder.  Well acted, well written, well directed, well produced, well lit, well designed.  It’s just one of those happy-making flicks.  It made me grin, lots.

Clickthe image for the film's website.

I’m too tired…

yep.  too tired.

LOL

Life can just be exhausting at times.

Draining.

But, I’m still determined to find joy in every day…  and despite being worn out, there were plenty of little moments that made me smile, and reminded me that it’s all sooo worth it.

It’s easy to find the joy.

Holding onto it is another matter.

…but I’m sure I’ll learn that too.  Just give me a little  time.  😉

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I imagine I’m not the only person who recalls with fondness a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that didn’t feature the likenesses of child actors on it’s cover.  Just the same, it’s this new cover image that adorns the copy I’m now reading to the wee girlie.

Last night we finished the last book in the Fairy Blessings series by Suzanne Williams (which I’ve mentioned here previously), and I thought it might be time to take on something a little weightier…  but still within the fantasy realm that the girlie so enjoys.  So I found a copy of the classic novel by C.S. Lewis at our favourite library branch.

We’ve only just begun reading it tonight, but have found ourselves FIVE chapters in.  That puts us roughly a third into the book.  The girlie was asking for the sixth chapter, but I promised her we’d continue it tomorrow.

I have to admit, I don’t recall it being so difficult to slug through when I was younger.  Mind you, back then I wasn’t reading it aloud.  While it’s relative easy language flows within the mind, reading it aloud is a little clumsy at times.  The children’s voices favour language simply not used today, so I find myself translating slightly here and there to a more modern english.

I don’t think we’ll pop into the rest of the series just yet, so likely in a few days we’ll be looking for another book.  Any recommendations?  Lily-Ann may only be three, but so far she’s enjoyed stories aimed at readers who are 8 – 12 the most.  And she is definitely drawn to a fantasy world… one full of fairy-folk, flying horses, and other mythos.

What are your favourite early novels, or your children’s favourites?  We’d love to hear from you.

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