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The Hobbit (my anti-3D rant)

Every so often I go through one of these anti-tech phases…  shunning FB, twitter, pinterest, wish, wordpress, and my phone.  And yeah…  I’m kinda in the middle of one right now.  That said, I will attempt to resume my regularly scheduled, six nights a week, blogging.  To that end, here I am.  Blogging.

On Christmas (yep, actually ON Christmas, at 10:45 PM) Damon and I went to see The Hobbit.  Now, to give you a little back story, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this all before, The Hobbit?  It’s more than a book, more than a movie, more than a script to me.  It’s a huge freakin’ part of my life and has been since my childhood.  After blogging for as many years as I have been, I’m certain I’ve mentioned this before, so I’m guessing if you search my blog for “hobbit” that more than a few entries will pop up.  It’s been a big deal in my life, and helped shape me in many ways.  However, I’m still feeling rather anti-tech-ish, so I don’t feel all that up to typing and sharing a peroration.  So just pretend that you are with me and as excited as I am/was.

So YAY!!!!  The Hobbit!!!

Well…  all I really feel prepared to say is skip the 3D.  Honestly.  If you have yet to catch The Hobbit at your local cinema, watch the 2D version of it.  The movie should have been incredibly immersive experience, but I found I was constantly pulled out of the story by the 3D.  It’s not that it’s a bad use of it, it’s just that stylistically it doesn’t work for much of the storytelling.  Sure, there are a few scenes that looked really impressive, but the majority of the time it just pulls you away from the story.  And that, my friends?  Is a sure fire way to ruin what could have been an amazing movie going experience.

So my YAY became a disappointing sigh as I was repeatedly pulled out of the story because of what?  Tech.  That’s right.  Which probably doesn’t help my current anti-tech phase.  Too much tech.  Boo.

With that, I’ll sign off for the night.

Wishing you all a wonderful tech-filled night without disappointment.  😉

See you again soon Eva Nine! We’ll miss you!

Okay.  It happened.  I didn’t think it ever would, but it has.  I’ve been ruined.  Yep.  You read that right.  Ruined.  I can no longer read juvenile fiction without comparing it to the amazing The Search for WondLa.   Tony DiTerlizzi has ruined me.  From this point on, his magnificent work is the yardstick by which all other chapter books will be measured.

The truth is, I fell in love with DiTerlizzi’s prose and word-use within the first few pages of The Search for WondLa (which you may remember me raving about HERE).  I enjoyed reading it, if for nothing else, than his easy way with language, the way the words dripped off the page and onto my tongue like some sweet honey made just for my delighted writerly senses.  That would have been enough.  But then he made me fall in love with his characters as well.

Rovender Kitt?  Seriously, seriously love him.  I love the lessons of interconnectedness he bestows on Eva, which so closely resemble the things I’ve hoped to instill in, and inspire with, Lily-Ann.  I’ll miss this particular character even more than I’ll miss Otto, the giant water bear, who speaks with kindness and gentleness telepathically to our young heroine, Eva, whom kid-kid enjoyed so very much.

Tomorrow we have to begin another book.  The second book in the WondLa trilogy, A Hero for WondLa, isn’t available at our local library, and we don’t have the funds just now to run out and purchase it (or I would).  We would so like to linger on Orbona a little longer, but it is what it is.  I know whatever we choose to read, it won’t absorb us like the fluid, easy, natural flow of language that is Mr. DiTerlizzi’s masterpiece.  However, I also know that we WILL make it back to read more about Rovender, Otto, and Eva…  even if we are pulled away for a while, and that?  It’s a very nice thing to know.

the search for wondla, ipad wallpaper

Thank you Pixar – Hooray for Brave!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but in this house?  Where we share our lives with an independent minded, little, red-head with spiral curls?  We’ve been waiting for the latest Disney Pixar movie, Brave, for the last year…  and not very patiently I might add.  😉  So, I probably should have blogged about it a couple weeks ago when we first saw it, but things are what they are.  LOL  And I’m blogging about it tonight.

Lily-Ann has been waiting with baited breath over a princess who looks like her (and lately, we get stopped in stores, out walking, or at the playground all the time by people who can’t believe how much she looks like Merida).  Myself?  I’ve been excited over the idea that she’s a princess who isn’t all about finding her happily ever after through a prince – because none of us could ever be complete without a man.  *gag & eye-roll*

Finally!  A Disney Princess worth letting little girls watch!  Okay, so there are a couple who aren’t so bad.  Mulan and Tiana come to mind.  But with the latest Disney Pixar release, Brave, we finally get a princess who is happy just being herself without needing a prince to complete her happiness.  THANK YOU PIXAR!  And even more than that?  And something I wasn’t expecting at all?  We have a beautiful story about unconditional love between a mother and daughter.

Seriously, I was totally caught off guard by the beautiful and touching moments between Merida and her mother.  It’s all about expectations, and learning to accept those we love simply for who they are.  So with my soon-to-be five year old in my lap (seeking comfort after a scary part) I’ll openly admit to finding a few tears running down my cheeks.

Moms?  Take your daughter, and your mom.  This is one for a gurlz night out!

Disney Pixar Brave - Merida

 

A one-two punch for the ear troll!

With thanks to a lovely woman I met through Saskamoon and her gift of breast milk, thanks to the doctor at the mediclinic for his prescription of novamoxin, and thanks to Dr. Shaun and his amazing organic ear wash I should hopefully be all better very soon.  My head still feels like there is a nasty little troll living in my inner ear, but it’s better than it was last night.  So – knock on wood – I should be all good in time for my photo shoots later this week.  Thankfully the beginning of the week was blessedly unscheduled and will be uneventful as I recover from this ear infection.

So… two things you ALL should know about.

One:  The power of breast milk!

Seriously!  Any time anything goes wrong, find a friend who is still actively engaged in a nursing relationship.  Breast milk is amazing for curing almost anything.  In this instance?  An ear infection.  Just a few drops in the ear a few times a day.  Let it woosh around in there a bit, and voila!

Two:  The awesome organic ear wash from Dr. Shawn!

Dr. Shawn's Herbal Ear Wash - for pets AND people

Dr. Shawn’s Herbal Ear Wash: made for pets, used by people!

This stuff was part of a parcel I received from Dr. Shawn for a review I did elsewhere two or three years ago now.  And I have ensured I’ve never been without it since.  Yes, it’s formulated for dogs, but so what!  It’s totally amazing stuff full of wonderful organic oils (like peppermint, tea tree, jojoba, eucalyptus, and a bunch more).  A few drops in the ear, squish it around, let it sit (it feels so nice when it’s in a sore, infected ear canal), then wipe it out.  Use as needed – I’m doing it a few times a day presently.  Click on the image above to visit Dr. Shawn’s website!

So…  I’m pretty sure that any ONE of these things would take out this ear bug, but I have no intention of having it take a week or more to get on it’s way out.  LOL  So I figure by doing all three?  I should be delivering a one two punch that knocks it on it’s proverbial ass, then kicks it once for good measure after it’s down.  Wish me luck!

 

We’ve Begun our Search for Wondla

I had forgotten what it was like to read something so beautiful that the words alone remind you of what it is to be passionate.  How they are strung together, the choice of each so careful and deliberate that your heart soars with each syllable.  So used to the simple choices of most children’s books I had abandoned the memory of things so attentively scribed.  Tonight I thrilled in the sublime usage of words divine.

Ahhhh….

Truly.

It has been so very long since I read something where the words alone thrilled me so.  We’re only two chapters into The Search for Wondla but already my writerly self is more fulfilled and ecstatic than it’s been in a very, very, VERY long, long, long while.  LOL

I’m sure for some folk this may not make even a lick of sense, but for those of you who do get it?  I know your hearts will be leaping along with me on this little discovery.  It really is so rare these days (among literature of ANY kind) to find work that makes your heart leap.  Awesome stories?  You bet, there’s a lot of them out there.  Fabulous characters?  Even more so.  Intricate worlds?  There are still a few new places to explore.  But words worth reading just for the sake of how beautifully they are composed?  It has been decades since I read something where the words alone made my head spin with possibilities.

I’m aware that The Search for Wondla is juvenile fiction, but if you’re any kind of word-nerd, head over to wondla.com right now.  Order a paperback, hardcover edition, or even the ebook or audiobook.  Trust me.  Like I said, we’ve only begun to dive into our search for Wondla – we’re only two chapters in…  and already I know it’s going to be unforgettable!

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

A2Z – Tobi-Dawne is Turning Thirtyfive

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Tobi-Dawne is Turning Thirtyfive

 

Today I celebrated my birthday, and like the title states, I’m now 35.  I got some lovely gifts (beautiful bedding from my parents, a very cool infusion mug and a bunch of loose leaf herbal fruit teas from my Auntie Risa, a lovely card and $25 to spoil myself with from my Grampa and Grandma Joan, and a stylin’ size Pinkie Pie from my baby girl and my man), but more important was the time spent with those I love.  My mom and dad bbq’d steaks – nice and dark the way I like ‘um – made salad, and baked potatoes…  and the girlie and my dad even baked me a birthday cake.  All in all it was a wonderful afternoon and evening.  🙂

And now for my gift to all of you!

To celebrate my birthday, I’ve arranged for discount codes from a few different artisans on Etsy.  YAY!

Earlier this week a couple of packages arrived from two different vendors – each containing beautiful, hand-made, pride flower pins.  The first to arrive was a pin from Dorothy.  It’s a beautiful canvas pin that I am currently wearing on my purse while I test drive it for durability.  And while I was concerned that it might be a little delicate to handle it, it survived being mauled by my daughter’s pre-k classmates as they all wanted to touch it’s petals and tell me which was their favourite colour.

pride flower by dorothydesigns on etsy

The flower, by dorothydesigns, on my purse.

I absolutely love this piece.  I know the white in the center won’t stand up to the rugged wear I tend to dish out, but it is beautiful and well-made, just the same.  Dorothy is offering all of you a coupon code worth 10% off anything in her etsy store.  The code is TD2012 and it expires May 15th.  You can find her lovely work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/dorothydesigns.  And if you’re looking for this pin?  You’ll find it listed as the Kanzashi Pride Boutonniere…  which is basically “Fancy Nancy” for fabric flower pin.  😉

The second package to arrive came with an extra surprise.  Peggie sent me TWO pins!  One of which is her take on a Kanzashi pin – which will make it’s debut in her etsy shop in the next few days:

Peggie's felt flower design

The first flower by PegPlush.

Peggie’s Kanzashi pride flower is a lot more heavy-duty and I know it could stand up to the rigors of daily wear on a backpack or diaper bag quite easily.  It’s made out of felt, and can take some serious damage while still looking great!  I love hand-made items, but it’s rare to find a piece that can take some punishment and come away looking just fine – and this one definitely can.  It’s awesome!  I’d have no problem popping this one on the kid’s bag and would trust it to last.  Heck, it survived some mauling itself – and even got doused in water… and came through looking like I’d just taken it out of the package!

The second flower by PegPlush.

The second flower Peggie sent me ended up being a little bigger than I first thought it would be – but that only makes it all the more fun and bold!  I love all the beading and hand-stitched accents too.  And while it’s also a pin?  I found myself clipping this one in my hair.  With my super short locks it made quite the statement.  😉

Peggie is also generously offering you all a 20% discount on anything in her store (which includes some awesome, kitchy, felt panty designs too).  Just use the code PEGPRIDE.  You can find her at http://www.etsy.com/shop/PegPlush.

The last coupon code comes from Trish (who is also celebrating her birthday today).  Now, I haven’t had a chance to handle her work myself, but based on her photographs I definitely like what I’ve seen.  She’s a stained glass artist!  Check out her work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/GlassMonkeyArts and enter the code TDBLOG15 to receive %15 off.

So…  I’m 35.  Everyone kinda made a fuss over the fact that I’m “old”…  but I laughed and told them that 35 is the new 25, just like 50 is the new 40.  Aging doesn’t scare me or bother me.  It’s just proof that I’ve done my fair share of living, and I’m looking forward to continuing doing just that.  😉

Chihuahua with a Mustache

Today there was a book fair at the girl’s school.  She and I spent a great deal of time checking out all the titles on the tables.  Very honestly, there wasn’t much there that was even worth a second glance.  It was highly disappointing.  I knew we had to find something though.  The fair helps support the school, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards getting new books for their classrooms.  That, and the kid knew she was allowed to get a book.

Back and forth between the chapter book tables.  One mundane sounding description after another.  Then we wandered back to where we started – with the picture books.  We don’t read that many of them any more.  We read for a half hour (sometimes more) a day, but that’s almost all devoted to novels.  That’s when I saw it!

It was hidden beneath scores of boring paperback children’s stories…  a hard cover, only one letter of the title peeking out – but I recognized the font instantly.  “Lily-Ann!  What’s this???”  I slide the book out just a titch, so that two letters are now revealed.

“SKIPPYJON JONES!!!!”

I’m sure her animated shout could be heard throughout the main floor of the school.

Yep.  We found a copy of Skippyjon Jones; Class Action.

We love Skippyjon.  We read a lot about him at wegivebooks.org.  I remember the first time she saw the cover of the original Skippyjon Jones, she said “Momma, that cat looks like a Chihuahua.”  This sticks with me because I poo poohed her, assuming it was just the illustrators style… but very quickly found out I was wrong.  And yes, I made sure to apologize for it.

We’re Chihuahua nuts around here (as I’m sure you’ve guessed).  So these absolutely adorable books, with their smart stories, and rich characters?  We ❤ them in a big way.

So yay!  The kid now has her very own Skippyjon Jones book…  and we popped the CD in to listen to it being read while we drove to get her Daddy from work (it was interesting to hear someone else’s take on the characters voices and the songs – her mom voice and my mom voice are VASTLY different, and curiously enough we were pretty dead on for every other character and the songs).  We’ve now heard it six times.  And it’s no less charming on it’s sixth than on it’s first, though I’m not sure her Daddy would agree.  LMAO

Anyway…  instead of sharing a book cover as I often do when I’m writing about a book we enjoy, I’m going to share a picture the girl did up yesterday.  She took a photo (using the iPad) of Deedee, and then proceeded to edit it.  So here’s Deedee, or as the girlie put it – giggling hysterically:  “She’s a Chihuahua with a Mustache!”

A Chihuahua with a mustache

Review – The Squatty Potty

From time to time I get the chance to try a new product.  I love doing reviews, in fact, that’s how I got my start writing professionally way back when.  I wrote reviews for the Chihuahua News, a publication that catered to Chihuahua fanciers.  I don’t do them very often these days – but I do still enjoy them…  Firstly because I get to check out some cool new products, but also for the nostalgia.

So onto today’s blog post – which fittingly, is a review (wouldn’t you have been shocked if it hadn’t been?).  LOL  Now…  another bit of info before I get right into it.  This post may be considered TMI for some folk.  But you know me, I don’t have much of a filter.  I’m generally happy to share about almost anything.  And, well…  if you chose to read on, be prepared for the potential of an over-share or two.  😉

About a month or so ago I was sent something called the “Squatty Potty“.  It claims it can help with bowel disease, hemorrhoids, and just generally make “going” a faster, easier experience.  I’ll admit.  It piqued my interest.

The Squatty Potty toilet stool.Now, why wait for so long before writing my review?  Well, to be honest I wasn’t sure what I was going to write.  My daughter likes it because it makes it easier for her child-sized self to use an adult-sized toilet.  My husband doesn’t like it because he’s too tall for the model we have (he’s over a foot taller than I am, and in a product like this that makes a big difference).  I thought it was okay, but didn’t really notice a big difference.  So what to say…  right?  Well.  All that changed the weekend of the Breaking the Silence conference.

Oh my goodness!

Going back to using a toilet WITHOUT the Squatty Potty???  It was miserable!  It felt weird, it was messy, and I couldn’t wait to get home to my toilet – with my wonderful, comfortable, ingenious Squatty Potty tucked around the bowl.

Seriously, I figured at first I’d just write about the fact that it’s cleaner going to the bathroom (for a one or a two) when using the Squatty.  Because that’s something I noticed pretty early on – and it gets better the more you go into an actual squat vs. a sit.  But I didn’t even notice how great the Squatty Potty was until I had to go back to using a toilet without one.

Bet you didn’t think you’d log onto my blog to find me raving about something designed to make taking a deuce a better experience, did ya!?!  Yet here you are, and here I am – doing just that.  Seriously.  My daughter and I love our Squatty Potty, and I think my husband would too if we had a shorter model that accommodated his long legs.

My advice?  Even if you aren’t interested in it for yourself, get one for the little ones in your life.  The fact that it just wraps around the toilet bowl – tucked out of the way – when it’s not in use is worth the price.  The kid feels so much more secure on the toilet using the Squatty vs. our old bathroom stool…  and truly, if there is one place we should feel secure and safe, it’s when we’re doing our business.  😉  All the extra added benefits are just gravy (okay, just realized that could be seen as a really NASTY pun).  Ooops.  LMAO

So yeah, whenever my husband passes me and glances into the bathroom where I’m comfortably squatting (yes, we have an open door policy) he giggles a little over how silly it looks…  but it’s worth it.  It really is.  😉

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!

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