Monday, May 29, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: Shoes

Ok. I am offically veering off the intellectual freeway, past the muddy cow path and into the bush, however, I like the question. After all I'm supposed to be in charge here. (I'm supposed to be in charge of a lot of things ... all of which remain to be seen!)

I've heard several times that you can tell a person's personality by their shoes. I'm not sure I buy into it. It could be because I wear runners. Do you agree with this philosophy? If so could you explain how it works? (So I can wear nicer footwear when we meet!)

Do you have a story about your favorite shoes and what you loved about them? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday Poem

In lieu of a story this week I present a few of the poems I wrote while we lived in England. Hope you enjoy!

To Take the Nightmares

Good night,
Sweet dreams.
The sweetest of all imagined.
Rosy-cheeked baby smiles,
Floating feathers on water,
Bilious clouds, imagination crammed

New and full of hope,
Of kind words and love unmet
Of kisses, arms wrapped gently around
Open and unafraid
Of Peace held by sweet forgiveness.

Close your eyes
Dream beautiful gardens, butterflies, sun setting waters
The smell of lilies
The petals of a rose

Goodnight my loved one

Relentless March

Feel the tingle of history
It walks up your spine
A legion
Tapping your shoulder
Laughing at your bewilderment
Hear the tales of things undone
And at your horror
Condemn those
Like others who will condemn you
Dream it pure
Dream it evil
But captured in a mirror
Look in
And see your own shadow

English Weather

The Clouds dance by
Swiftly in a race to beat the wind
Sky so blue
The land grows dark and fierce
Sun touches my face
For he has been at hide and seek all week
He pokes behind a cloud
Hitches a ride to the next corner
He believes I cannot see him.
Foolish Sun.
I could believe for an instant
But not forever.

Liked these poems? Try:


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Doll Making with eLouai

How much fun is this?

Through Kelly I found this great Doll making site:
eLouai's Candybar Dollmaker 3. (I have no idea what happened to Doll Makers 1 and 2. I can only hope that they are unharmed and living on small farms in South Dakota far from the reach of people who wish to "update" them.)

However, Dollmaker 3 is fairly simple to use. Ta-da! In a matter of moments I have made my own doll. Consider, if I had attempted to make my own doll at home. The aforesaid doll would still be laying in my basement with half a leg sewn together. Or in light of recent flooding, soaking up the brown residue with its face. Doll making on the computer is so much more feasible. And I will no longer be plagued by bothersome Doll Rights Activitists. That's a plus.

I present to you now the exact representation of myself.

elouai's doll maker 3

That is, if you take into account that she's too young, too stylish and way too short to actually look like me, its a reasonable facimille.

At least, the eyes are the right colour.

Notice the three little pigs jumping through the flowers at my feet? They were the only things I could find that moved fast enough to stand in for my children. And there are only three pigs. I know that children do not actually qualify as accessories and should not, for instance, stand in for the antique jewelry set you wanted to wear with your evening gown, but since they are continually around my feet they do hide my non-designer shoes, and that should count for something. While you're looking at the picture you should also replace the hand bag with a diaper bag. A big one. I have yet to figure out how to fold 2 diapers, 1 pull up, wipes, juice and snacks into a tiny Hello Kitty purse. If I manage to do it I'll let you know. All that aside, of course, she looks exactly like me...exactly.

I am sure you are itching to make one of your own so here's the site:

Sunday Intellectual Question: The Da Vinci Code Questions

The Da Vinci Code seems to be a hot topic these days. A number of the people who love the book and it’s ideas have said that “the questions opened their minds”, “made them think”. Thinking is good. One shouldn’t just stumble around hoping the person talking the loudest also happens to be right. One should definitely ask questions, but questions themselves are tricky things. I don’t think they are benign entities giving any number of  answers out of the ether. Questions can provoke thought, spark lively debate, and bring to light truth. However, questions can also point straight to the answer giving little room for thought at all.

Should questions themselves be examined? Should they be made to prove their worth before being answered? Can even leading questions be useful for learning? Ah ha! Now, let’s see if anyone finds this question worth answering!  

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday Story: Barney Rides Again, Part 2

The next afternoon found me dragging my feet across the lawn to the barn. I had no idea what horse would be waiting but it didn’t matter. The horse of my dreams would never be mine.

My teacher was waiting at the gate. “I think we may have found a solution to your horse problem.”

“Oh,” I smiled, “Did you fix my horse?”

She just laughed. “No, but I did find one that would fit you. I had to ask one of the boys in your class to trade …” she motioned for me to follow her into the barn, but I just froze. I could only imagine…

“Hey,” my teacher yelled, “I can’t wait forever. Here’s your horse.” And with that proclamation I found myself holding the reins of Barney, the farting horse.

The next hour seemed like a cruel joke. Instead of racing around the pen Barney meandered. Bugs passed us by. The boy who had rode Barney yesterday paused as he passed us.
“Like Barney?”

“Great.”  My eyes were burning a hole in my saddle.

The boy gave Barney a loving tap, “Just wait ‘til you see what he does when he stops.” He actually looked like he missed the pleasure. I was very afraid.

“Everyone rein in.” the call came across the pen. I tried. It was like pulling the leads on a rock. Barney would get there when and how he liked. Finally, we settled in close to the horse in front of us. So close that his nose brushed her wickers. “Hey,” said the girl, “Couldn’t you back up a bit?”

I tried to pull Barney back. He wouldn’t budge. I stood in the stirrups and pulled with all the strength I had, Barney gave his head a few disgusted shakes and moved back two steps. “How’s that?” I said loosening my grip. In a display of remarkable energy Barney lunged forward and bit. The horse jumped straight into the air, the flying girl screaming and clutching the saddle. I threw my hands up in disgust, “Sorry!” But Barney wasn’t finished. He backed up and kicked the white horse behind him sending the horse running into the ring. Barney, his fit of raucous energy fully spent, now sat parked, sideways, like a new Ford at the mall, lazily scratching level holes for his hoofs in the dirt.

“Get your horse back into position!” My teacher’ brown bob waved as she tried to catch the reins of the run away horse.

I did my best. I pulled the reins up and down, right and left trying to put Barney into a better position. Barney would not budge.  I tapped his side with my boot. He flicked his tail. I bounced up and down in the saddle breathing; “Come on!” down his neck. Barney chewed his cud. By the time my teacher finally got to my side Barney’s tail had stopped moving and he was feigning sleep. My teacher was livid. “Get your horse under control!”

“I can’t! He won’t budge!”

“Come on. Barney’s our oldest horse. He knows the commands. You’re the one with the reins, remember. That’s what the bit is for; you pull the reins, the horse follows. Watch.” Sure enough with the smallest tug she led Barney forward into position. “You’ll have to try again tomorrow,” she sighed, “Lead your horses to the barn.”

“He’s so old he probably doesn’t even remember.” I hissed under my breath. The look Barney gave said something very different.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: Mother's Day Best and Worst

In honor of Mother’s Day it would be great to discuss the best and worst parts about being a mother. Guys you can chime in too and let us know the best and worst parts of being a parent or a child.

I’ll start. The best part is definitely the smiles, love and hugs from your kids when they do something wonderful that you haven’t asked them to do. It makes you so proud. The worst? I was going to say lack of sleep but I think the worst is when your kids and the world around you ignore your hard work. Or are just plain mean about it. It doesn’t happen often, thankfully, but at the moment it happens it definitely qualifies as the worst.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wednesday Story: Part 1 - Barney Rides Again

I had just finished grade six the summer I went to camp. I had a lot to be excited about. Even though the camp was thirty minutes from town I was going to stay over night. I would pore over the brochure in the evenings after school. There was roller skating, a pool, and a tuck shop where I would have an allowance to buy candy ... every night. My best friend Sarah was going, she was going to be in my cabin. Sarah and I always had a lot of fun together. We seemed to think the same way. We often made tapes of ourselves doing silly radio shows. This was before video and her dad’s little mono tape player did most of the hard work. I remember one show in particular where we painstakingly spliced Wham songs into our version of a George Michael interview. She was much better at doing voices than I was. I was too busy giggling. Oh yes, sleeping over, junk food and best friends were enough to keep me buoyant for days but the thing that I was really excited about was getting to ride a horse. When my mom asked me if I wanted to join the extra horse class I practically jumped across the table.

“Yes, oh yes, pleeeease!”

Oh, I knew all about horses. I had read lots of books. In the stories they raced across fields, leapt over fences and stood by the ocean with their manes flying. I wanted to do all that. Never mind that I had never ridden a horse. I would be the best rider ever and when I finished they would probably have to send the horse home with me.

That was my bright and sunny attitude as I raced across the yard to the barn for my first lesson. Let the other girls complain of the stench! I was only disappointed that I had to wear rubber boots, not riding boots, and I did my best to tip toe through the mud and poop without getting my boots dirty. After all, I had yet to read any book where the horse riding heroine had poop on her boots! I did my best with the rest of my outfit. In jeans, a plaid shirt, and hair pulled back in an elastic, I was certain I would make a great impression on the majestic stallion that was waiting. My teacher soon arrived and I silently scoffed at her attire. How could she be a real horse rider? She had a short brown bob haircut and floppy rubber boots. Jodhpurs were no were to be seen. I missed most of what she said as I gazed into the dark barn behind her. What kind of horse would I get? Palomino? Half wild stallion? Appaloosa? I just hoped the horse would be beautiful. My teacher stood back as the horses were led into the yard. I nervously eyed each one. Too gentle, too old, too sad. Then a beautiful brown horse trotted out of the barn. . He was tall, majestic, and his mane fluttered in the breeze. He had to be mine. Each horse was quickly paired with a rider, shortest to tallest. I held my breath and squeezed my toes to keep myself from running to the brown. I cringed as the last two horses remained. The brown and an old raggedy white horse that had all the grace of a hung over bum, Barney. I couldn’t even bear to open my eyes as another kid and I were carefully measured. When I finally opened them I was gazing into the tall brown nose of my favorite, beautiful horse.

For two days I held my head high as we pranced around and around the ring. My horse had verve and spirit to spare. I lightly tapped my heels on his side, off we went. I gently pulled the reins, we stopped. While waiting in line I snickered as the poor boy on Barney tried to get him to stop biting the horse in front of him. Barney was a grumpy, crass old horse. He bit, he farted, and he moved whatever speed he pleased no matter what his rider did. Most often, that speed was a slow crawl and the rest of the group did several tours around the pen to Barney’s one.

“It pays to be an inch taller,” I thought as I whipped by. My horse was royalty! He had class! He and I were destined for greatness!

On day three, things changed. Someone had set up a series of jumps in the middle of the ring.

“Oh good,” I thought, “Maybe tomorrow they’ll let us jump over a real fence.”

My sensible teacher soon quelled my excitement. She laughed.

“A beginner class? On day three? Sorry little girl.”

Well, what did she know; she was still wearing rubber boots. We did a simple warm up, going around the circle once, then twice; all the while I was eyeing those jumps.

“It would be so much fun. And it would sure beat going in a circle.” I muttered.

The third time around the ring my brown pulled his head to the side and took off for the jumps. A whole new emotion washed over me. Sure, I wanted to jump, but now that we were actually headed there…! I pulled hard on the reins and my brown reared a few times, tearing his head back and forth. It should have been exciting, and it was, a little, but I was terrified that any moment the horse would win the battle and I would be thrown. I hoped that I would land on something soft. A pillow perhaps. Then I hoped the horse wouldn’t land on me. I wondered if they would still let me take the horse home. Next thing I knew the teacher was beside me gently taking the reins, stilling the brown and letting me down.

“He needs to go for some jumps.” She said.

“No kidding” I thought and I watched as she took him over the piles in the middle of the ring. When she came back the brown was still anxious to go over the jumps again and kept leading to the centre of the ring. She frowned.

“We’ll have to get you another horse.” She said.

“Why?” I could not imagine another horse. I would not. “I’ll take him over the jumps, I will, you just have to show me once!”

“No,” she bit her lip, “you did well reining him in but I’m afraid he’s too young. He needs more training. You ride my horse today and we’ll find you another one next week.”

I back to my cabin that night in a deep funk. I thought a lot about rescuing the brown and jumping over fences. I decided I was a much better thinker than a doer. Mostly I worried about what the next day would bring.

Playing With People: Bathroom Accessories

Posted by Picasa

Next time you have a party or just someone over, place something funny and surprising in your bathroom. It could be a musical soap dish, a faux fur behind the hand towel, or even the singing fish you got for your birthday last year. Wait until some unsuspecting soul has to use the bathroom then make sure everyone else knows what’s going on. Listen for their screams of surprise. When the person finally comes back to the party and says “you have something weird in your bathroom” fain ignorance and make them explain what happened. It will be very funny indeed! My parents did this when I was little. I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what was in the bathroom … but everyone seemed to have a lot of fun with this gag!

Enjoyed this post? Try:
PWP:Progressive Party
PWP:The Guest Book

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: At what age does responsibilty start?


My question is two pronged:
What age are we accountable for our actions?
What age should we be legally accountable for our actions?

Here in Canada we have a controversial young offenders act. Children under a certain age (14 I believe) are not tried as adults and so are not subject to adult penalties. This is meant to protect children who "get off on the wrong foot" they get a second chance as it were. However, there have been problems with abuse of this law. Some gangs recruit children to do killing or other things because they will not be charged the full penalty. There have been children who have flaunted the law and used it to their advantage. There have probably also been chlidren whose life have been taken out of a tailspin by this law, but you would never see that in the papers.

What do you think? Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Battle Cry Rings Out! Down With Barney!

Nothing makes you go out of your mind faster than a couple of hours listening to Barney. Nothing. Torturers should seriously look into it as an alternate to their regular routine. It might brighten their day. Take the blah out of the ordinary. However for the average parent it is an uneasy toss up between deliriously happy children with freaky parents or screaming so loud it manages to drive out “I love you, you love me, we’re one happy family” that was formerly etched on your frontal lobe, … Out of desperation we have found a few songs that we can stand to listen to. My husband made a cd for the car so we could survive our long trips without listening to 8 straight hours of Barney, punctuated by short bursts of Winnie the Pooh. Oh, we like Winnie, don't get me wrong, but 8 hours is 8 hours! Here are some of our songs:

Video Killed the Radio Star (the kids love the Awa Awas)
Mickey (as in “Oh Mickey you're so fine”)
Venus (Bananarama)
Everybody walk your Dinosaur (Was Not Was)
Who needs sleep (this is my anthem! from the Barenaked Ladies)
Walk like an Egyptian
Final Countdown (Europe)
A number of classical songs from both of the Disney Fantasia series

That’s our survival kit. True these are not the only weapons in our arsenal. The others fall into these delightful categories:

Snacks with Sugar
Snacks with Sugar we pulled over to get
Things the nice lady at the drive thru gave us
Toys they like to throw
Books they won’t read or colour in
And the coveted DVD player we bought last year

Right now you may be thinking: “Wait, if they are having so much trouble keeping everyone happy why don’t they just play the DVD all the time?” Ah, my friend, if only it were so simple! You see, the children are smart and very cunning. They work in groups. They have secret meetings. Manuals you can’t read. Messages from aliens giving them superior advantages. If you do not have your game plan down they will catch you and have you at their mercy. With this in mind the DVD’s have to be rationed out or the whining is unbearable, then it’s every parent for themselves. Beware! Beware! I don’t believe most conspiracy theories but this one must be true: watch your children, they are waiting to take over, and then Barney will rule the world!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Poem: Snow

To tide you over until the story begins next week I thought I would post a short poem.
This poem bids goodbye to the last bit of snow here in the cold and frozen north. It should, by all rights, be a poem praising the wonders of spring and expressing, with deepest gratitude, the freedom of the great outdoors after long months of being locked inside, however, this is what came out. Hope you enjoy.


Myriad of dropping dreams,
Crystallized rainbow, floating down,
feet thick,
on my porch, on the ground,
Snow hugs a tree, caressing the bark,
Fixed, on glistening windows,
Sparkling fingertips,
Making life bright,
In dead winter.

Old Man is not for snow,
He scowls at his shovel,
Stamps his foot into glossy prints,
While sleighs of children squeal in delight.
Snow is not for tired,
or sad,
But for energy balls of tightly wrapped children.
Snow is their domain, an enchanted playground,
Full of dreams.

If you enjoyed this poem try:
One of my favorite poems:The Night has a Thousand Eyes

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Vestibules Online

The Vestibules Online

Here's the guys who inspired last weeks "Piffle, Piffle, Snort" Their sketch "Bulbous Bouffant" found on their first album is knock down funny. I can only imagine that the rest of their stuff is plenty funny as well. This site has a few free down loads and samples, video, audio and, interestingly, animated sketches ... hmmm. Sounds like fun. A visit to their site is worth it just to see three guys with shoes on their heads. You'll see what I mean!

Presenting the Andertoons

I found a wonderful new addition to my site ... the daily Andertoon comic! If you will now direct you attention to the left side bar. There snuggled in between my links to favorite topics and the Blogger Button is a small thumbnail cartoon. Perhaps at this moment you are thinking what I thought when I first saw it

"That looks like it might be interesting. Too bad I can't see it. I must need better glasses."

Fret no more. Simply click on the small image and you will have a larger, seeing impaired version for your viewing enjoyment. For those of you who had it figured out long before ... well, try not to rub it in.!