Tag Archives: book recommendation

Friday Favourites Reblog: Christmas at Our House

I have mentioned recently that we’ve decided to Downsize Christmas this year (insert gasp of shock and horror). I haven’t always felt this way. So here’s a blast from the past (last year at this time) with an old Friday Favourites:

So, the main problem a lot of people have with Christmas is that it starts WAY too early and consumes everything in its wake. Capitalist profiteers grab onto it like its the last cigarette at an AA meeting. It is in your face everywhere you turn: the decorations, the events, the sales, the music… everywhere you go, that same cheesy music echoes in your ears.

Well, I totally drank the koolaid this year. So brace yourself for an all festive favourites post today. Sorry cynics, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your holiday rant. But be sure to check back in the new year, I have very ambivilant feelings about Valentine’s Day.

Favourite Christmas Quote: “Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” — St. Ignatius of Loyola. Coincidentally, this is my husband’s LEAST favourite Christmas quote. But I’m pretty sure the saint was talking about a generosity that goes beyond fuzzy socks and santa claus pez dispensers.

Favourite Christmas Book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Not the most politically correct book of all time, but it has a heart of pure gold. Plus, I remember my mom reading it to me, so extra points for nostalgia. It starts with “The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.”

Favourite Christmas Movie: definitely It’s a Wonderful Life! I MUST watch this at least once every year, preferably on Christmas Eve. If you don’t like this movie, you have no heart. You are cold and cynical. And you may be married to me.

Favourite Christmas Tradition: We shamelessly stole this idea from our friends Mark and Lanette (you know what they say about sincerity and flattery and all that good stuff). One night in December we invite another family to join us for Grinch Night (a different family every year; be nice, and next year we might invite you!). Everyone dresses in green; this may or may not include green streaks in your hair and green face paint. We eat all green food and watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Shrek the Halls”. Green caramel popcorn is the best – looks snotty, tastes delicious!

Favourite Gift Giving Ritual: Like most concerned (read: neurotic and guilt ridden) parents in the modern age, we are always looking for ways to teach our kids the real “reason for the season”. Ya, I said it. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, it’s so cheesy, but truly, I want more for them than just mindless consumption. We found the idea of Three Wise Gifts in a parenting magazine years ago and it brings a little more meaning to Christmas morning. Before opening gifts we read about the Kings who came to worship Jesus (an undetermined number of magi who came years after Jesus was born with 3 gifts). Each year we buy our children gifts in these three categories – frankincense: for worship (usually a cd or meaningful book); myhrr: for the body (clothes or good smelling stuff); and gold: something precious (this is the “big” item and is often shared by all three). Not only does it keep the gifts reasonable, but each one represents a different side of Jesus – God, Saviour and King.

Favourite Christmas Character: Mary, the mother of God. A scared, confused teenager facing an unplanned pregnancy and the censure of her whole community. Birth-days are not cupcakes and party favours. On the actual day of birth there is pain, exhaustion, blood, sweat and tears. It is a messy, overwhelming, and completely amazing experience for every mother. Throw in a few miracles, angelic visitors, political upheavel, uninvited guests… it’s hardly the serene image we see on Christmas cards. But even more powerful, because that’s kind of God’s thing – showing up in the middle of chaos and upheaval.

A great place to find thought provoking and beautifully written articles called Deeper Story had a great post about Mary, definitely worth a read: Incarnation.

So here’s me, celebrating Christmas in the middle of chaos.

Friday Favourites 29

I have started, and deleted, this opening sentence a dozen times. It’s not that I can’t think of anything to say (let’s face it, that is a rare, rare thing). It’s been a busy week and there are so many topics to write about, I can scarcely begin. So I’ll touch on them all. Brace yourself, it’s a rollercoaster.

Today my son Simon would be 9. And maybe he still is. Maybe they have chocolate cake and streamers in heaven. But as much as I dream about the boy he would have become, my only memories are of the tiny infant born so early and so silently. I haven’t found time to think of him until just now. I don’t know if that is good or bad. But I still miss him. I wish he could have met his little brother, he would desperately love someone to wrestle with after school.

Last night we threw a birthday party. I lost count after 43, but I’m pretty sure it was more like 50 sweaty-faced, laughing children darting in and out of climbers and slides; stuffing bits of food into their mouths before jumping back into the current. The walls shook with each body check in the hockey game next door. The noise was tremendous. It sounds crazy, but it worked! B isn’t able to tell us which 8 friends will make the cut for her party. And all the kids at school are wonderful to her. So, we picked them all. We rented out the play centre and handed invitations out to the whole of grade 3 (and their siblings, because I’m all about getting my money’s worth). With the help of our 2 favourite babysitters, it was far less work than any of the other parties we’ve thrown this year. And so much fun!

Yesterday afternoon, we finally got our van back from the dealership. Our blue Kia has a personality. She likes to give us a hard time: engine light and spontaneous downshifting et cetera, almost always when I’m driving. But she is on her bestest behaviour for the mechanics. She hates me. I was actually thankful when she acted up for Glen too (see, I’m not making it up!). Despite her erratic behaviour, she got us where we needed to go this week and FINALLY the experts figured out her problem. She’s getting needy in her old age and perhaps she feels we haven’t been spending enough money on her. The $450 repair should keep her happy for a while. Hag.

This week has been sad, thrilling, exhausting (always), frustrating and fun… it’s a messy life. I’m still a fan.


Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Oh, I hope so! Because I am definitely on the right track then.

Piece of Planet Earth

I tell myself that I should get rid of it every time I see it. But I can’t bring myself too. Even when I almost walk right into it. Even when the neighbour girl shrieks and runs away. We have the most awesome spider web at our front door. It glistens with dew drops each morning. And at night the fat stripey spider scuttles around renovating and expanding her domain. I can almost hear David Attenborough in my head as Glen and I watch her take down a giant horsefly. We called the big girls and stood and watched for a long time. Not much makes us pause anymore. So I’m grateful to her.

I tried to get a good pic of our spider, but she’s shy. This is very close to what it looks like at our front door.

I call her Charlotte in my head and imagine she’s very intelligent, but if she tries to lay eggs in my house, there will be no mercy.


Becca doesn’t do well with opening presents. It is too quick, too much new, too much pressure, just too much all around. So we decided to emulate friends and asked for donations instead of gifts. It’s handy that her Dad happens to work for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

In a special, sneak peek showing here’s a video about the work they do. YOU are the first to see it!

They told Edison’s Mom and Dad that he would probably never speak, may never walk… He showed them!

This video was made by my brilliant brother & sister-in-law!


Somebody’s Child is a collection of stories told from every viewpoint on adoption that you can imagine – birth parent, adoptee, adoptive parent, sibling of a foster child… I would recommend it to everyone, not just those interested in “adoption stories.” Because these are essentially human stories, full of love and brokeness and angst and growth. Each one is compelling in its own way. Each one is so different. Which is kind of the point.

Disgusting Article

30 Canned Foods You Never Knew Existed and frankly, NEVER should have. Gross!

Here is Number 1 on the list: Whole Canned Chicken

So here’s me, chicken for dinner suddenly seems less appealing.

Friday Favourites 28

My 20 year high school reunion is coming up. Mine. Which is totally weird since I’m still a young adult. Yes I am. I don’t care what those dumb check boxes on my census form say.

I was asked to be part of a medical study along with my sisters, but they decided to leave out anyone over age 35. So I don’t have to answer endless questions and get a full physical. Except now I feel kind of left out. I’m interesting. I have medical problems to contribute.

My girls were watching a movie the other day and told me that it was a “REALLY old one, made in like 2005…” 2005 was only yesterday. I’m sure it was.

As young as my brain thinks I am most days, my body reminds me I’m kidding myself. But I hear 40 is the new 20. And if I say it often enough, it’ll be true. I’m sure of it. And I’m not even 40 yet, so I have time to let the idea sink in.

I hear 40 is the new 20.


“Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives.”

~ Maurice Chevalier


I wasn’t sure about this book, but my sister never steers me wrong. It was fun and easy to read, without rotting my brain. It addresses issues of tradition, race and aging, while telling a sweet love story. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is romantic and funny. And the leading man is 68 years old!

Soul Healing, Life Changing, Energy Building, Most Brilliant Thing To Do WITHOUT Kids

This summer, when my sister-in-law volunteered to take me to the Scandinave Spa  in Whistler for the day I was somewhat skeptical. A whole day lounging around in my swimsuit… not my idea of fun. But, the brothers were determined to take all the kids and give us a whole day off. Who am I to argue with that?

The drive up through the mountains is almost worth the price of admission. Although you can pay for a massage at the spa, doing the baths is plenty relaxing in itself (and only costs $50-something). Practicing this Scandinavian tradition you cycle through 15 minutes of hot (hot pools, sauna and eucalyptus steam room), 1-15 minutes of cold (cold pools and nordic shower) and 15 minutes of relaxation (sun room, deck chairs, fire pit, and my favourite “hammock haven”). Did I mention that this is all done in silence?

Spiritual retreat, hot bath, good book and pampering all rolled into one. Bliss. It’s the most relaxed I’ve been in years.


This blog is titled Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures  Not only does it make me feel good about universal parenting themes, but my artistic ability also. And it uses a semi-bad word quite frequently, which feels a little bad-ass.

There are some that illustrate my life as well. For instance, I feel this quite accurately captures our family’s daily sunscreen battle:



Hovding (with the little dots over the “O” that I just can’t figure out on this keyboard) sounds like yet another Ikea shelving system, but in fact, it is a really cool invention (also from Sweden). The invisible bike helmet… for real. Check it out!


Occasionally I think children should rule the world. Watching this video is one of those times. Plus, Flight of the Conchords and their bizarre New Zealand humor is hilarious. Glen thinks they’re stupid. You be the judge.

So here’s me, and most of the time I just think that I should rule the world. Or at least MY kids should. Just don’t anger the boy, he’s got a wicked head butt.

Friday Favourites: Twenty-Something Else

So as you can tell by the title, I’ve barely got time to post anything, much less figure out what actual number of FF post this is.

In fact, I wasn’t going to write one at all this week. What with all my complaining about how busy/tired/heroically philosophical I am these days, I wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong impression, like, say I’m spending my few precious moments of down time cruising FaceBook to see what fun and weird and sappy stuff my friends post there. Or vegging out in front of silly YouTube videos instead of investing in my family or doing dishes or dealing with the plague of ants that has descended on our household. But who am I kidding, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Quite often that includes a “hey, you just have to see this” and all 6 of us (including the littles who don’t really care but hate to be left out) crowded around a tiny iPhone screen. So I’m wondering, does that count as family time?

In exchange for not judging me too harshly, I will share some of the sappy/silly/weird stuff that has amused me this week.


I decided I wouldn’t post this quote, because I tend to be so very sappy these days already, but lets face it, this is who I am these days…
Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn’t grow under my heart – but in it.

~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger

YouTube Video

Catchy song + One of the BEST Movie Series of All Times (well, – that first prequel fiasco) =

YouTube Video for the Preschool Cohort

Same song. Different powerhouse series. Never too old for Cookie Monster.


My friend Kathleen is a talented children’s author of the Blueberry books. I’d definitely recommend her series and am really looking forward to her new Christmas book (order now for a deal).

It would be so handy to carry her around in my pocket at all times, then I could whip her out to read stories to the kids in waiting rooms, long car rides, shopping trips… basically anytime I need a distraction. So I do.

The Blueberry App from Pic Pocket Books (which carries other titles also) reads through her first Blueberry book on my iPhone when I can’t. Brilliant!

Self Actualizing Quiz

Cause the internet is nothing if not a massive waste of time. But I feel I know myself just a little bit better now, don’t you? Apparently, I’m TOTALLY a hipster.

Oh, wait, except for the part where I took a stupid quiz on FaceBook to measure my level of hip non-conformity. Doh!

Thank you HowHipsterAreYou.com

Teething Remedy

I was devestated reasonably upset to realize that the teething tablets which got us through B’s teething days are no longer on the market. But Foster Mom pointed us to a homeopathic remedy called Camilia and they are FANTASTIC! Melts away irritation and soothes the snarling beast sweet toddler in no time! Plus, you can redose almost immediately if needed. If only I had remembered this at 2 in the morning (by the time 4 am rolled around I finally managed to climb out of the groggy haze and give it to him, and we both went immediately to sleep!).

So here’s me, with Surfin’ USA on Wii dance for the 6783rd time just so I can finish this post. Next up: poopy diaper, leftover lunch feast and packing for family holiday.

Friday Favourites: Red Eye Edition

Yesterday I found myself eyes glazed, zoning out on an old episode of Law and Order. I already knew whodunit. I’m pretty sure I watched this one in high school. If I start watching Matlock or Murder She Wrote, I shall require an intervention.

It is two and a half weeks since we brought our new son home and it still feels surreal. He is SUCH a sweet boy and so much fun!

We occasionally sleep through the night. Precious items have been destroyed or moved up even higher. And some days we almost feel normal.

But we are so tired. The after-a-long-day-skiing-or-amusement-parking tired; worn out in a good way.


Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.

~Newt Gingrich

Sounds like parenting to me…


I needed something easy to read, but interesting enough to hold my weary attention. This quirky, intelligent book really fit the bill. The narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a 15-year-old boy with Autism. It is fascinating to see the world through his eyes. I enjoyed the strange cadence of the writing. I may have stayed up late to finish it (stupid, stupid, stupid)!

Fake Movie Trailer

I’ll never sing “I’m the map, I’m the map…” again without thinking about this (yes, I sing that; all the cool moms do). Dora the Explorer has grown up and is kicking ass. Warning: this is not a preschool video.

I would totally see this movie.

Graduation Speech

We just got a beautiful book for S from auntie and uncle. It’s about how very special he is. “You are the one and only ever you.” I get all misty and goopy when I read it, and the kids roll their eyes (definitely their father’s daughters).

“You are special.” It’s true. It’s important to hear. I tell my kids so all the time.

Which is why this graduation speech caused such an uproar. It’s not what many parents want their children to hear, but I think it’s just as true and just as important to hear.

“You are not special.” The world does not revolve around you. You are part of a bigger universe. And we are all in the same boat.


Infographics are a marvel of the modern world. Because if your educational message has a slick design with computer generated graphics, I’m more likely to listen. Really.

Courtesy of The Simple Dollar: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/burnout/

So here’s me, and the smart part of my brain that just read that infographic says “go to bed early,” but a much louder part says, “there’s a rerun of Stargate Atlantis on and you’ve only seen it twice.” I wonder who will win.

Friday Favourites: Adoption

I’m busy on Monday afternoon. Just in case you wanted to hang out, or needed help moving a sofa, or something. I’ll be busy.

I’ll be meeting my son for the first time!


Thanks to my T-Zero app I am able to report that we will be meeting him in:

2 days, 23 hours, 45 minutes and 52 seconds…ish

 It is possible that keeping a running countdown on my iPhone is a BIT over the top, but Life Changing Moments don’t come around everyday. He’s a bit shy and has stranger anxiety, so I’m practicing my calm, cool, non-traumatizing faces in the mirror.


When B was born, it was 3 weeks before we were able to bring her home. Glen and I took turns sitting by her incubator, and eventually, snuggling her and her many tubes. There were so many big worries on our plate: Down Syndrome, a leukemia scare, muscle tone, feeding difficulties, but the one that seemed to matter most was, GETTING HER HOME! It was so hard to leave her at all. This song was on the radio all the time those days. I used to sing it to her under my breath and imagine smuggling her out with me.

These days I have the song on repeat again.


As we ALL prepare for a big change I have been on the lookout for “Big Sister” books to read with B. It has been surprisingly difficult to find preschool level books which work for our situation. There is no baby in my tummy, we are bringing home a toddler, not an infant AND we are not going to a far away country to do it. Apparently, we’re not a big demographic.

I was thrilled to find On Mothers Lap. It is a great sibling book about a parent’s expansive love. We read it while we rock “back and forth, back and forth” on the rocking chair Glen bought me for Mother’s Day. The final line of this simple story says it all: “there is always room on Mother’s lap.”


More than just an adoption advocate, Kristen of Rage Against The Minivan is both funny and challenging, with a huge range of guest posts about every topic under the sun. I feel like I actually KNOW her family, who are awesome, even though I’ve never met them. When I first read her Form Letter Apology I knew we were kindred spirits.

Also, she is one of the creators of the Pintrest You Are Drunk board, which is one of the reasons I get SUCKED in time after time. So there’s that.


Honestly, this one has nothing to do with adoption. But it makes me smile. And hug my kids. And shrug my shoulders about my own “struggles.” It’s an old 60 Minutes segment about an amazing musician, who is also happens to be blind and developmentally delayed. I’m not sure what is more inspiring, his musical genius or his sweet personality.

Definitely, his personality!


One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a long time.


So here’s me, T minus 2 days, 23 hours, 23 minutes and 6 seconds until we set eyes on a new land.

Friday Favourites 17

I know that many of you are eager for updates on our adoption process. I wish I could give some definitive answers, but right now all I can say is that it’s looking good! These things do not move quickly, not even when I attempt to use the power of my mind to leap forward in time. But we are cautiously optimistic.

And so we imagine and dream and make plans… just like any other expectant family.


We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well. And seeing with the brain is often called imagination.

– Oliver Sacks


Enjoying the Small Things has been recommended to me more times than any other blog. And it lives up to the hype. Kelle Hampton writes about the small moments of daily life and all that she is learning about love and life through it. She is heartfelt, genuine and ridiculously likeable. But the real treasure here, are the amazingly beautiful pictures of her family (she is a talented professional photographer). I may be biased, but I especially love the ones of her youngest Nella, because she reminds me so much of my little B. It’s not really fair how kids with Down Syndrome are so much cuter than all the rest…

I dare you to read  Nella’s birth story and not cry. A short version of the story is here, in the trailer for Kelle’s new book Bloom, which I can’t wait to read!


Last month L got herself an iPod Touch. After much debate (To iPod or Not to iPod: That is the Question) we decided to let her have her heart’s desire. She worked her butt off (Child Labour and Other Parenting Dilemmas) and saved up all her pennies. BUT she opted for a 3G, which means no camera and no photos, which was kind of disappointing.

Bump has been a lifesaver! When two devices have it, they can pass pictures or contact information by simply selecting and then “bumping” together. Not only is it easy, it’s kind of fun! And now each of us can have all the photos we want on our own phone/pod/pad. Everyone’s happy.


My first “official” book review (posted here yesterday), but it bears repeating. You Are A Writer (So Start ACTING Like One) is both the shot in the arm and the kick in the pants I need. It is a toolbox of ideas geared specifically towards writers, but anyone with an artistic calling could benefit.

Jeff Goins premise is simple: “Believe you already are what you want to be. And then start acting like it.” I can’t think of an area in my life where this isn’t good advice – as a writer, in my faith, as a parent, or as a human being.


This week my children have repeatedly watched Ode to the Brain! by Symphony of Science (cough*nerds*cough). It’s bizarrely catchy, educational and just a scooch gross… what’s not to like? A great place to start conversations about how our bodies were put together and how they work. The human brain is probably the most amazing piece of creation there is! Yet it remains mysterious; there is so much we don’t understand about it.

In the meantime, we will set it some of what we do know to autotune and be amazed that a wrinkly piece of flesh can produce a poem, a brilliant idea… or a weird YouTube music video.

So here’s me, seeing not just with my eyes, but with my brain as well.

Book Review: You Are A Writer

When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up. I think, “at age 36, WHY on earth are they assuming I’m ever going to grow up?” Then I think, “I want to be a writer.”

But I never said it out loud. It seemed akin to saying, “I want to be an astronaut.” One of those wacky, ridiculous pipe dreams that’s too embarassing to admit past the age of 8.

Then I started blogging. My mom read it. My friends read it. I wrote more and more. People who aren’t even related to me started reading it. I met an english professor who believed in me. That whispered dream was getting louder.

One day last month a stranger asked, “What do you do?”

I answered “I’m a writer.”

Turns out, I am.

Jeff Goins is like a personal trainer when it comes to writing. Not the harsh, yelling-in-your-face kind of trainer who makes you feel like a flabby, pathetic worm, but the other kind: the one that inspires and motivates you to become your best self.

I have learned so much about writing, blogging and this weird little world of social media from his blog, goinswriter.com. When I had a chance to read and review his new e-book, I responded with a dignified and professional, “Oh yes, certainly”… okay, fine, I jumped up and down waving my arm in the air: “I’ll do it. I’ll do it. Pick me! Pick me!” – like the total nerd that I am.

You Are A Writer (So Start ACTING Like One) is both the shot in the arm and the kick in the pants I need in this creative lifestyle. It is a toolbox of ideas geared specifically towards writers, but anyone with an artistic calling could benefit.

His premise is simple: “Believe you already are what you want to be. And then start acting like it.” I can’t think of an area in my life where this isn’t good advice – as a writer, in my faith, as a parent, or as a human being.

So here’s me; I am a writer.

Friday Favourites 16

It has been a long and exhausting week. Finals are behind me. Glen is home from his business trip. My keys are safely in my purse. And I am ready for my imminent crash.

Why is it that I go into overdrive when I’m playing single mom? I always get WAY more done than normal when I’m on my own. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.

Here is a quote I needed during what we are now referring to as: The Incident


An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.

An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

— G. K. Chesterton


I saw this one awhile ago and enjoyed it more than ever when I watched it again this week. I think it’s because I’ve given several versions of “the talk” this year. No matter how cool I am, or how much of a sexpert I have become… it’s awkward. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the immutable rules of the universe – children and parents discussing sex is inevitably uncomfortable.

Julie Sweeney’s “Sex Ed” Monologue: Hilarious (and p.s. – not kid friendly)!

For some reason, there is a little animated film at the end of her talk; it’s kind of a cute.


Before sitting down to finish this blog, I began gathering my supplies for that most sacred of all times to a parent. The grand finish line on the week: the moment when ALL my children are in bed and I am no longer needed, in demand, or wearing pants. No, this is not ANOTHER post about nudism, I’m a HUGE, HUGE fan of pajamas.

While choosing a book to read, I realized that I had no interest in a)learning anything, b)feeling any sort of angst or c)being motivated or inspired in any way. I know what you’re thinking, reality t.v. it is. BUT I did find something on the bottom of my bookshelf that fits the bill. Chicken Poop for the Soul by David Fisher. It was intended to be a gag gift from my sister, but I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The subtitle is: Stories to Harden the Heart and Dampen the Spirit. If anyone has ever hinted that you may have a dark and sarcastic sense of humour, this book’s for you!


This week we got an app called About Me! which allows you to enter your name and birthday so you can find out all sorts of interesting facts: name meaning, number of days you have been alive, famous people who share a birthday, historical events that happen on your birthday… Don’t tell the kids, but the ensuing discussions about Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation, Gene Kelly and Nazi Germany, are actually EDUCATIONAL. We were having so much fun figuring out all sorts of obscure facts about ourselves, that they didn’t even notice the teaching/learning/broadening horizons that was happening. And the cherry on top, as always, is the fact that this app is free.

WARNING: be careful not to get the about.me app, which is completely different; a social networking app where you can send out all sorts of personal information (and a picture) of yourself and find out the information of anyone who is nearby. Basically, my every worst nightmare as far as my children are concerned, wrapped up in a single app.

So here’s me, my name means “anointed follower of Christ”, I was born on a Thursday and, according to average life expectancy, I have lived 46.5% of my life. I’m not sure if that makes me feel young, or old. Almost half over…

Friday Favourites 15

It’s been getting pretty schmaltzy up in here lately. In a good way, definitely. We’ve got all sorts of deep and wonderful and, frankly, emotionally exhausting life changes on the menu (My Little Possibility).

So, I’m even happier than usual to take a break from the profound to offer a bunch of random stuff I think is cool.

I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out this quote, but it was worth it!


Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day.

Give a fish a man, and he’ll eat for weeks!

– Takayuki Ikkaku

Music Video

This cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know by Walk Off the Earth is AMAZING!

5 people on one guitar, at the same time. I really love the guy on the end. He’s definitely taking his job seriously.

Walk Off the Earth


There’s something about Amalah… the sarcasm, the self-deprecation, the mommy jokes, or maybe the general snarkiness, that just tickles my funny bone (usually with the liberal use of profanity, so be warned). I’ve eagerly read posts about breast-feeding and newborn supply lists, though I am not now, nor ever will be again in that phase of life – because if she writes it, I enjoy it. I initially found her because she is also parenting a child with special needs and her posts on these topics are funny AND touching. Read The Friendship Jungle, really, go read it, right now.


In a turn for the more serious, I’ve been reading Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life by Carolyn Arends this week. Mostly because they didn’t have the book I was REALLY looking for at the library and I have always considered her an excellent songwriter/poet. I’m so glad they didn’t have that other book; this has been a wonderful discovery. She discusses what she refers to as this “preposterous optimism I’ve come to recognize as faith” through stories of her life which sound so very familiar to me. Everything she writes has a poetry to it.

I know she lives nearby… I’m considering tracking her down so I can force friendship bracelets and commitments of lifelong friendship out of her. Or possibly to stare at her in a creepy, starstruck manner. Which do you think she’d prefer? Cause I want her to LIKE me.


I’m going to round out this post with a good-for-you app.

If you consider yourself a modern-day abolitionist, as in, someone who is opposed to slavery, forced and child labour (and really, what kind of evil douche isn’t?), then this app from the Not For Sale Campaign is for you.

Free2Work rates major companies and brands on their labour practices throughout the supply chain. Each company is given a letter grade, then an explanation based on certain criteria (like a report card of sorts). It is a work in progress; apparently, you will one day be able to scan a bar code in and get information on that company.

Consumers have POWER. We can use that to do good and still get what we want/need. With minimal hassle, I can open this app and see what brands are more responsible and then reward them with my business. For instance, next time I’m buying a birthday present I will choose Lego (with a B) over Zhu Zhu Pets (who have a dismal F). Not a big deal for me, but if we were all to do it, it would send a very clear message.

So here’s me, not exactly a William Wilberforce, or a conductor on the underground railway, but abolitionist in my heart.

My daughter disagrees. Apparently $5 for an evening of babysitting is not a “living wage”. BTW thanks ever so much for teaching her that term Uncle Ben.

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