29
November

Light at the end of the tunnel

Today is likely my last day of course development (other than revisions), as I am finished the last lesson and only need to write the exams and course outline. I am so excited to be finished and get on with living! This was supposed to be a far simpler endeavour, but life and my other work ate away far more of my carefully alloted time than I ever could have imagined. Willy has been a super amazingly supportive rock to me, especially in the last few days of crazy writing.  Even though I know he is shaking his head behind my back, silently telling himself that he could have seen this coming, that he tried to warn me. I still appreciate it!  My sis, Neeroc, has also been a big support, but I am pretty sure that she knows how much I appreciate it!!
It has been a fabulous experience, both in terms of the process, and the knowledge that I have gained. I am especially excited by the insight that I have gained into my own work, and how I can better work with my clients.  That being said, it was also somewhat of a sobering process, highlighting some of the cumulative damage I have suffered as a result of my work in a helping profession.  I am somewhat glad that I have the holidays and then hopefully a family holiday coming up to give me time to bounce back from that.
So, I sit on my couch putting the final touches on this project and I try not to look ahead.  It is so close now that I cannot help but look forward to the coming month, a month of  family – birthdays (FOUR family birthdays, including my own), Christmas visits from my in-laws and my brothers in-laws, as well as relaxing time with my in town family.  I am REALLY looking forward to starting 25 days of family Christmas this year (more on that later this week).
Then there is the carrot, the camera that I promised to buy myself at the end of this road.  I cannot wait to start shopping for that!

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25
November

Book Meme

I am struggling to find the time to write the things that I am getting paid to write at the moment, so I’ve been neglecting the hutch this week! I don’t want to lose any of my eight readers, so I stole this from Finola, in the hopes that you’ll keep coming back for a few days of otherwise empty pages. :)

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed below.  Please note – this is apparently a modified list, the original list can be found http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml.  I only discovered this after I went through the list below.  Time is short,  or else I’d do the original list.

I’ve bolded those books I’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones istarted but didn’t finish or read an excerpt of.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (reading this to Woo now)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

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22
November

Spiralling

I cannot believe how I got to this place.  Everything is spinning right now, and I am completely out of control.  As much as I love the challenge and opportunity that I have in writing this course, I am completely freaked out by the curve balls that have come my way in the last few weeks. I have to get this done, but I don’t know how I will. I need to work faster, and better, but I am not.  I need to sleep, but I can’t.  I’ve lost the ability to just get it done, and now is not a good time.

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20
November

My contribution to Movember

As I was getting in to bed the other night, I was whining to Willy about all the things that I am trying to get done, all the new things that keep piling on top, and how some things are just falling by the wayside.  I knew that Movember was going to be a crazy month at the outset, but an injured hubby, a couple of sick lil ones and a few other unexpected twists, and I am now more behind than when I started.  I am at the stage where I know that it is not possible to get all the things I want to get done, so I start to eliminate the unnecessary steps.

As my whine faded away and we started to discuss our plans for the next week or so, I noted that there was no way that I would be wearing a skirt to any of the “dress up” occasions we have in the near future, as there is just no time to shave my legs.  Willy paused and then asked, somewhat incredulously,  ”so, you’re keeping the leg beard?”  Leg beard is what my children call any trace of hair on my legs.  It usually comes from Woo, when he is cuddled in bed with me and rubs his feet on my legs.  It tickles, and he tells me to shave my “leg beard”!!  Figuring that Willy is not a big fan, I chose this opportunity to let him know that this is my contribution to Movember, so he better get used to it – there are ten more days in the month!  This really is all about men’s health issues, and has nothing to do with buying time in this strapped month, truly!

Willy is REALLY participating in Movember this year, and is sporting a pretty impressive porn star ‘stache to go along with it.  He is a little slow on the fundraising, so if you are looking for someone to support, you can donate to him at http://ca.movember.com/mospace/731026/.

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19
November

Dear Goose

You are two today. TWO.    I cannot believe how fast it has gone by, how quickly you have grown to be such a wonderful little girl.  I also cannot believe that you are only two, because you are such a wonderful little girl.  Every time I look at you, I see that you have grown more.  It amazes me how much you continue to change everyday. You are truly a pleasure from the moment that you start singing when you wake up, to when you gently fall to sleep each night.

It pleases me so the way you attack everything you do with every ounce of your being and a smile on your face.  You demonstrate your love for us all so freely, with hugs and kisses, especially for your brother. I love that you love him so, and want to be with him all the time.  He loves you too, you know, even if he beats on you occasionally.  That will stop soon, now that you are so capable of defending yourself.

This year you mastered walking, talking, singing, dancing, and jumping.  Now you run instead of walking, and rarely sit still.  When you do, there is always a book nearby, or one of your babies, who you take such good care of.  During the year, you went from about 40 words to about 440, with more being added every day.  You have all of your teeth, and grew NINE inches this year, standing a smidge under three feet tall.  What has blossomed the most, though, is your personality. It is full of love, consideration for others, joy, humour, and a little bit of minx. The little person that you are becoming is such an amazing person.  I cannot wait to see what this year brings.

Happy Birthday little Goosie!  I love you very much!!!!
first birthday


happy girl in Jamaica, January 2010


needing some support post-nap, March 2010


wandering after Woo at Hog’s Back, April 2010


singing her ABC’s, May 2010


pulling leaves from my plants, June 2010


cool cat, July 2010


the little golfer, August 2010


wondering what is outside through the skylight, August 2010


talking to Cookie, September 2010


fun in the leaves, October 2010

6 comments

18
November

Wordless Wednesday

Macro fun.  Neeroc lent me her lens this week!

4 comments

16
November

Christmas Oranges

One of the many reasons to love this time of year is the arrival of the Christmas Orange to the stores. You know the ones I mean, the clementines that come in the little wooden crate with the orange mesh on top. Throughout the year, we consume regular oranges on an infrequent basis, but once Christmas season is upon us, we are vitamin C machines. It’s normal for us to burn through one to two cases a week, and have even dug into a third case on those weeks when they are at their optimal sweetness.

I am not sure what it is about these little babies that make them so wonderful, but they are the first sign of Christmas that I welcome with open arms*. It could be the fact that they are so simple to peel, that they taste so good, that they are largely seedless, or that they are the perfect size for a snack. It’s likely a combination of all of these qualities, along with the good memories that I associate with the fruit. I can’t be the only one that spent many a junior high school lunch snickering with friends as we tried to peel the orange in that special way that resulted in a single piece of peel that resembled the guys “junk”. We are also creating new memories with Woo and Goose, memories that haven’t (yet!) gone down that road.

I always buy my first case too soon, when the oranges are not yet ready. This year I was smart, and waited until they had been out a few weeks. I heard some positive feedback and this week took the plunge. We bought our inaugural case and dove in. The first taste was heaven, but the rest have been sadly lacking. It was too soon.

*everything else can wait until December 1st*

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16
November

Contact Sports

Willy plays rec hockey a couple of times a week. I have a love-hate relationship with his participation, one that I am not so great at hiding. I LOVE it because he is playing a sport that he has grown to love, it gives him a chance to get out with the boys and have some fun on a regular basis, and it sets a great example for the lil peeps. I HATE it because the games are at wonky times making him too tired at times, it leaves me at home alone with the lil peeps at bedtime far too often, and I want to be playing too. Last night, I gained a new reason to hate it.

When Willy called at 8:05pm, I assumed it was to tell me that he was going out for pints after the game, because that is what you do when you play beer league hockey. I was surprised to hear that he hurt his shoulder and would be going to the hospital. This alarmed me immediately. It is not that he is a stranger to our local emergency room (they know him by name), it’s that he was going right away. Willy is more of a “wait and take stock” kinda guy, so for him to be heading to the hospital moments after the game, it was serious. I masked my concern by asking all sorts of silly questions about the logistics of the trip – who was driving, what car, how would the driver’s car get home, how would our car get home… Questions that I am Willy really wanted to answer when in excruciating pain. He got me off the phone and headed off.

The rest of the evening was spent fretting while waiting. I was distracted by some friends on twitter and kept somewhat in the loop by one of the guys on the team. He arrived home just after midnight with the sad news that he had a grade II/III shoulder separation. According to Dr. Google, this is a pretty decent one, and could take up to 12 weeks to heal, if it doesn’t need surgery. Willy wasn’t in too much pain, so he gave me the re-cap, and we headed to bed.

This really sucks for Willy, and I feel terrible that it happened to him now. He’s only been playing hockey for a few years now, but this year he was starting to feel really comfortable and get better at it. He loves playing squash but had to take the summer off of playing squash because of a back injury, but this week had been given the all-clear to resume playing. He doesn’t get to pick-up the lils, can’t play with them the same way and misses out on at least a weeks worth of their not-so-gentle cuddles and snuggles. It’s his left arm and he is left-handed.  You get the idea.

This is going to put a strain on all of us, but we’ll deal with it. The selfish me though, is really ticked because I was getting him new shoulder pads and hockey pants for Christmas. I’ll be damned if I am going to give him a gift that reminds him that he can’t use them yet. Now I have to come up with something else, and he is not the easiest person to buy for.

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14
November

Today is P-day.

In my logical head I know that Goose is not allergic to peanuts or any nuts.  We had her tested a year ago.  My mom heart, on the other hand, is racing and anxious. I’m afraid that she will be allergic, despite the test results.  We’ve I’ve been putting this off for much longer than we I should have, but that ends today. Today we give her peanuts for the first time.  She’s almost two, the same age that Woo was when we gave him peanut butter.  He still remembers both the taste (loved) and the trip to emerg (also loved – by him).  We just remember the trip to emerg.

If Goose is allergic, we will deal with it, she’ll deal with it.  We can teach her how to be safe and not eat without checking, how to recognize the sign that says safe to eat, and question when it is not there.  She’d have her brother, who is a pro at this, to guide her.  I know she’ll be fine.  There will also be the hope, as there is in Woo’s case, that she will outgrow it.

Me?  I might not be as fine.  I tend to obsess out a little about our allergies and don’t deal with them as well as I should.  You would think that I would be better at this by now, with my own serious food allergies.  I am not.  Though getting better at it (I hope!), I still get freaked out when the food is out of our control.  Though I am aware that this is a problem and am trying to fix it, it’s hard.  The last thing I want is for my children to become stigmatized because of the allergies and how I react to them.

Woo is very excited to give his sister peanuts, asks all the time when we are going to give them to her.  I asked this morning and he told me that he wanted her to be allergic like him.  I don’t know if this is rooted in the fact that he doesn’t want her to have something that she can’t have, or if he wants her to be like him so he is not alone.  Either way, it’s sweet and sad.  Today, I hope my head is right, even if it disappoints a little boy.

6 comments

10
November

I won’t stay quiet about this

Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen.

There has been a lot written today about an electronic publication on Amazon’s US website. This book appears to be counselling it’s readers on how to be better pedophiles, how not to get caught. It is available for sale/download on their e-book reader. I say appears to be as I did not buy it, or attempt to view it. Reading the description and the comments purported to be from the author were enough to support my belief. This disgusts me, and many of the people that I have spoken to or seen comment on the issue.

There were, however two distinct responses to the story that also elicited a strong reaction. The first was the argument that attempted to look at the issue from a free speech perspective, and asked whether Amazon could/should censor this book without violating the author’s right to free speech. I do not believe that a decision by Amazon not to sell this book would equate with censorship.  It would state that the corporation found the content not suitable for sale.  Furthermore, I believe that counselling another to commit this crime, while not in itself a crime, crosses the lines of free speech. It is not an offence in Canada, but I think that it should be.

The other reaction that I felt garnered a response was the notion that people should have acted instead of speaking out. I disagree with this completely. That is not to say that I don’t think each and every person who is upset and outraged by this book should only speak out without also explicitly letting Amazon know. They should do both, and many, myself included, have. The part that troubles me is the belief that I should not be speaking out against this book and the decision to sell it by Amazon.

I know that my one voice lodging a complaint to this large corporation would be lost without the support of like-minded individuals. This support cannot be encouraged without some sort of mechanism for sharing concerns. I would not have heard about this book had someone not alerted me to its existance on the site. So I tweeted about it, and am writing about it and I hope that everyone I know does the same.

Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen.

I have seen the effects that this has on a child, a person, a family, a parent, a marriage, a life. Most of those who suffer at the hands of these predators suffer deep, raw and life long wounds. Some are never able to put back together their shattered lives. I cannot fathom how a company such as Amazon can have such a blatant disregard for the lives of those who are violated. If pulling this book stops one child from being abused, I will write a letter, mark that content as “inappropriate”, and will continue to talk about it until Amazon listens. If I don’t, I can’t bear to think that a child will be violated because of that publication.

I am but ONE voice, who needs to ensure that more voices are heard.

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