Blog Archives

My many hats and the people they’ve brought into my life.

I know the natural thing to blog about would be the girl’s first day of school… but to be honest? I’m just not mentally prepared to go there.  While she had a lot of fun, I missed her terribly and I’d rather focus on something positive.

I’ve been very blessed by the people who have been part of my life.  Whether they come and go, or whether they stay…  While I’ve had my share of asshats, I’ve also had a lions share of people who are truly wonderful.  People who are genuine, compassionate, and who want to do what they can to change the world for the better.

My twitter account tag line states “One woman, many hats”…  and yeah…  my life has taken me through all sorts of circles, and in each of those I have come to know some pretty fabulous people.  Moms, eco-warriors, social justice advocates, third-wave feminists, people active in the fight for equal rights, and those fighting for the rights of our animal companions…  Passionate people doing what they can to make things better for us all.  And I feel very blessed to count myself among them.

Many hats.  Yep.  It can be exhausting wearing so many…  but when I look back through all the people those hats led me to?  All those people who have enriched my life in countless ways?  It’s been worth it.

My Little Pony Toys are Magic!

Last night, while kid-kid was at her weekly sleepover at my parent’s place, Damon and I were at the store.  We excitedly discovered both FS (Fashion Style) Princess Luna and the pink FS Princess Celestia My Little Pony toys at Superstore….  and even better than just finding a toy you’ve been looking for, is finding it at a reduced price!  The MLP collector in my tried to convince Damon that we should buy two of each – one of each to keep mint in box, and one of each for the girl to play with.  LOL  That proved futile, but we did buy one of each – one for the girl and one for me.

Tonight, after supper, I presented the ponies to the girl.  She was ecstatic!  We giggled together, and compared Luna (who is mine) and Celestia (who is hers), talked about how each was similar, how each was different.  We laughed about all the ways we can play with them.  Lily-Ann shared her plans to hold a royal wedding for them, and how my FS Pinkie Pie and her FS Twilight Sparkle could attend.  How tomorrow she is going to lay out all the pony outfits (while she doesn’t have all the FS toys, she does have all their outfits – purchased from a customizer who didn’t need the clothes, only the ponies themselves) and shoes, and how each pony is going to get to have a new outfit for the big event.  How the cutie mark crusaders are going to be the flower girls, and what role each pony will play.

Being so close to bedtime, we didn’t liberate the princesses from their packages…  but we sure had fun talking about her plans for them.  I knew she would be excited about our little surprise for her, but the extent of her delight was a surprise for me.  Now we each have a pink FS pony and a purple FS pony – a fact that thrills her to no end.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again:  There is nothing like sharing something you love with someone you love.  And I feel so very lucky to have a toy that I loved thirty years ago be that something that can unite us today.  I remember the joy and excitement I felt when enveloped by that “new pony smell” that is the off-gassing of the plastic when the package is first opened, and sharing it with the girl now, it brings back all those same memories for me – and it means the world that I can give that same unbridled (pun obviously intended) happiness to my daughter.

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Now if only Hasbro would send out a WHITE Celestia, the girl’s happiness (and mine as a collector) would be complete.  😉

Little Dog Lost: a must-have book for every child’s library

I’ve already blogged about We Give Books and their amazing program that allows you to both read books online for free AND to donate a book to charity for every one you read.  So I won’t go into it any more than I just did.  But I do have to share about one of the books we read today, Little Dog Lost.

screen shot from the book Little Dog Lost by Monica Carnesi

Little Dog Lost is based on the true story of the heroic little dog known to the world as Baltic.  I don’t know how many of you would have followed his story on the news a couple years ago, but I know I did.  As mom to some amazing furkids I found it absolutely terrifying to know this poor little one was lost out on the ice flows of the Baltic sea.  Thankfully his story had a very happy ending, and it has now been immortalized in this beautiful book.

As we read, Lily-Ann was so moved by the words and images.  You could see her concern visible in her face and body language, and hear it in her voice as she asked questions and read along with me.  The story asks “Is it a seal?”  And just as the book declares, she too would say “No!”

This one is one of the few children’s picture books that I believe will become a classic.  Definitely a must have for every child’s personal library, and a must have for every school and daycare library.  Wonderfully written, and gorgeously illustrated!

Go check it out, and give a book to charity at the same time:  http://www.wegivebooks.org/books/little-dog-lost?auto_launch=1

back cover from Little Dog Lost

Goodnight iPad (a modern bedtime tale) & We Give Books

Two things to share tonight.  🙂  One is the We Give Books website/program.  It’s simply too awesome NOT to share.  And the other is a book we stumbled across while there.

Goodnight iPad screenshot from We Give Books

"Goodnight iPad" screenshot from the We Give Books website

We Give Books is an incredible website where you can read new, classic, and popular Penguin Books titles to you children…  for free.  That’s right.  FREE.  We only discovered the site this afternoon and have already gone through seven titles that were brand new to us (the girl loves the Ladybug Girl books).

You can sign up for free (there’s that word again) using your FB or Twitter account, or the old fashioned way by filling out a form.  Then you choose a campaign to support…  which is where We Give Books gets even better – yep.  Better than free!  Can you imagine?  What happens next?  Just pick out a book and start reading.  When you get to the end, a button will show up that says “give a book”.  Click it.  Know what that means?  It means a book has just been donated to whichever campaign you chose to support.

Check it out!!!  Seriously!

We Give Books – www.wegivebooks.org

Now while you’re there, you have to look up “Goodnight iPad”.  It’s way too freakin’ awesome.  A parody on the classic bedtime story “Goodnight Moon” for those of us who are plugged in.  It really is fabulous, and, no joke, it had my husband and I laughing out loud as we attempted to read it to the kid.  😉

So, there you go!  Two fabulous discoveries!

Now get reading!

Happy New Year!

In this coming year, remember how your words and actions impact those around you.  Whenever you can, spare a gentle thought or kindness.  Smile to strangers.  Hold the door for a friend.  Give of yourself in small ways.  Those little gestures can ripple out in ways you’d never expect.

Wishing you all a year full of love, joy, and happiness!

Happy New Year!!!

The Dichotomy of Humanity

I have come to the conclusion that there are basically two types of people.  There are those who, given a small bit of power, take it and in turn give power to others trusting that we are all deserving of respect and given the opportunity will prove just that.  Then, there are those who, given a small bit of power, keep it to themselves assuming that people will do the worst and cannot possibly handle any responsibility looking upon the rest of us with a wary heart and distrust.

It has been my experience that people expect from one another, basically whatever they themselves are.  So a person who is a gossip, assumes people are always talking about them and naturally distrusts what others say.  And a person who believes in giving, assumes that others are basically good and will do the same if given the chance.  We see in others, our own reflection.

These two things, coupled together, can lead a good person who believes in sharing power to get bit from time to time by people of the other sort.  And, this could potentially lead to a good person becoming bitter, and losing that hope, losing that faith in humanity they once held dear.  I can only hope that I won’t be bitten that many times.

I’ve been bit, a great number of times…  but still, I have to believe that given the opportunity that people will choose to do good, and that ALL people are deserving of respect – regardless of age or station.  It’s just who I am.  So please forgive me as I pout, and cry a little off in the corner.  I’ve recently been bitten, and it hurts like hell.  However, with a little care and a little nurturing I’m sure this wound (like most others) will heal.  It will likely leave a scar, but I’ll move forward still believing in people.

A bit of a RAK mystery.

It has now happened twice this week (so I guess it’s not so “random” an act of kindness).  Someone has left little “gifts” for us either in our mailbox, or next to our front step.  It’s never anything big…  just dollar store finds.   Things like a toy dinosaur, hair elastics, dog bowls or dog toys.  But all unexpected and generous.  The mystery lies in the fact that this individual has done so both times without leaving a note or any clue to their identity.

The first time it happened, we thought we must have missed a visit from a family member.  That perhaps they’d stopped by unexpectedly to see the girlie, and when we weren’t home they decided to just leave the things they’d brought in the mailbox.  But when no-one stepped up to say “it was me”…  well…  now we’re not so sure.

Whomever has left these sweet little treasures can be sure they’ve been received with gratitude.  Truly a sweet surprise both times.  All the items will be used (many have already) and we will think of your generosity every time we see them.  Thank you!

 

Onwards and Upwards

This month has ended up on the record books (at least for us) as completely chaotic.  Nana passed on very early in the month.  Her death prompted an emergency trip to Calgary.  For those not familiar with Canadian geography, that’s roughly seven hours from us here in Saskatoon (by car).  Because of our animals, we don’t take many trips.  It’s hard to orchestrate things…  finding families each willing to take in someone while we’re gone is tough.  But when push comes to shove, in emergency situations like this, friends are always there to help.

So before anything else, a huge thank you to: Susan and Ray who watched Roo (Chihuahua) and Zenora (Congo African Grey), Dani and her boys who watched Brandibuck (Havanese) and ended up picking up Neddie (Chihuahua) from the airport and watching him for a day too, Amber, Mike and Ainsley who took care of Thora (Lurcher), and my parents who let Liz (Miniature American Eskimo) tear through their house.  Without your help we would not have had the chance to go and gain the closure we so needed.  THANK YOU ALL!

We left Saskatoon on a Sunday, with plans to return home on Thursday (the day after the funeral).  During our planned stay we spent an afternoon at the Calgary Zoo.  Lily-Ann and I are both animal nuts (and Damon loves us so grins, shrugs his shoulders, and humors us), and the zoo in Calgary has a vast array of exotics we  don’t see at the Forestry Farm Zoo in Saskatoon.  So we took in the sights, sounds, and smells on the Monday after we first arrived.

River Otter, Swimming

Lily's favourite this trip was the River Otters

The following day (Tuesday) was Nana’s wake.  It was hard.  But it was nice to see family we hadn’t seen in a few years.  Seems it always takes an occasion like this to pull folks together.  It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.  I wasn’t sure how I’d handle things, so thought it was best that Lily-Ann not attend the viewing.  She stayed with our cousins, Sheena and Madison (who, like Damon, are Nana’s grandchildren).  In the end, she probably could have come…

In the morning on Wednesday we took Lily-Ann to visit my Auntie Risa.  It was the day of the funeral, and that wasn’t something we were ready to bring  Lily for.  We were (and are) very grateful that she was able to watch the wee girlie.  It made the day much easier knowing we didn’t have to worry about her.

I’m not big on funerals.  For some, they can be very cathartic.  For me… well…  they are a mixed bag of emotions, and most are not positive.  I would be much happier with just a group of folks who loved the deceased getting together to share stories.  That, for me, is where the catharsis is found.  That said, Nana’s funeral was lovely.  It was presided over by a pastor who knew Nana very well, and who loved her.  It was personal, and exactly what Nana would have wanted.  It was beautiful, and I am grateful to her pastor and her church for that.

Later in the day, everyone gathered at Debbie and Brian’s home (Debbie is Nana’s only surviving daughter).  It was a wonderful time.  Grief was the order for quite some time… but as stories and memories were shared smiles glowed all around us.  And late into the night we found ourselves enjoying being with one another, and even found ourselves laughing full heartedly as Debbie attempted to sing an incredible (and hilarious) rendition of “Back in Black”.  There was a lot of love in that room.

the whole family gathered around to play Rock Band

"Back in Black" with the whole clan

The next day we set out for home, after many hugs and sad goodbyes.  Most everyone from out of town was hitting the road at some point.  Seemed we were in the middle.  Many had already left, but a few stragglers remained when we loaded into our car and headed onto the highway.

However…  Our trip home was not to be.

About 45 minutes outside of Strathmore there is a stop sign on the highway.  You can turn right to head to Drumheller, or continue straight to Three Hills.  We did neither.  Our car stopped normally, but there it stayed as smoke billowed forth.  Believe it or not, we remained on that stretch of highway for almost twelve hours before being towed back to Strathmore, and then picked up by Debbie who took us back into Calgary.

stranded at the side of the highway

Following Daddy

The next week was a series of highs and lows.  Ordering part after part, having less and less confidence in the mechanics who held us hostage… but having no choices but to just keep waiting.  I packed our bags FOUR times during that week, each time expecting to be going home, only to find out from the mechanics that one more thing had gone wrong, and one more thing was keeping us from our trip home.

We are so grateful to all our friends and family who watched over our animal family members during our extended stay.  And to Debbie and Brian who played host for so much longer than they’d initially signed on for.  And to Auntie Risa who came by one afternoon to allow us to escape, at least for a little while.  And to Damon’s mom who loaned us the money we needed for the repairs.  And to David and his family who tried to help us fix the car before we finally gave up and called for a tow.  So many people came to our aid – including strangers that day as we sat in the ditch.  The semi driver who spent over an hour with us under the hood.  The families who offered us a ride back into town.  The fellow who gave us a car charger for our cell phones when they had died.  The woman who stopped and offered us water (and beer).  It was a horrible experience, but was a wonderful reminder about the kindness of strangers.  And that was something I needed.

Being involved  in politics you often see nothing but the negative.  So much back biting, ignorance, and just a failure to listen to anyone but “yes men”.  It can burn a person out.  I’m involved in the “game political” to give a voice to regular people…  as it’s been too long that we have been ignored.  I refuse to let the game get to me, and I refuse to stop listening, to stop  learning.  But it can get to you.  So it was nice to be reminded WHY I’m involved.  It’s for all the people, like us, who stop to help when they see someone in trouble.  All of you deserve to be heard.  THANK YOU!

So, we’re back home.  Thankful to be back home.  Grateful to be back home.  It’s been a long couple of weeks.  We’re exhausted.  But we’ll recover.  😉  And I’ll be back at it, working to make things better.  And my project 365  blog will be back to its old self in June.  See you then.

Eliana, mugging it up for the camera.

Lily-Ann and Madison playing

Nana's Great Grandchildren

Exhausted, sleeping at the table.

an almost nekkid baby

Making Pizza with Mommy

Wee girlie enjoying her pizza.

At the park with Auntie Risa and Kahlid.

Damon pushing Lily-Ann and Khalid.

Sheena, Madison, and Lily-Ann.

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