31 August 2011

A little humour in the face of falling temperatures...

Otherwise known as, I need something to laugh about regarding the weather if this rain and cloud mean the end of summer already.

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart:

50° Fahrenheit (10° C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Canadians plant gardens.

35° Fahrenheit (1.6° C)
Italian cars won't start.
Canadians drive with the windows down and still wear shorts and T-shirts.

32° Fahrenheit (0° C)
American water freezes.
Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

0° Fahrenheit (-17.9 ° C)
New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
Canadian Girl Guides still sell cookies door-to-door.

-60° Fahrenheit (-51° C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Canadians pull down their earflaps.

-109.9° Fahrenheit (-78.5° C)
Carbon dioxide freezes, makes dry ice.
Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

-173° Fahrenheit (-114° C)
Ethyl alcohol freezes.
Canadians get a day off from work to go tobogganing.

-459.67° Fahrenheit (-273.15° C)
Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
Canadians start saying "Cold, eh?"

-500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)
Hell freezes over.
The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

08 August 2011

Random Things: A List

1. Hello. I know it's been a while since I've written. I'm not going to count the days because I don't have the time. tempo e denaro folks.

2. M and I celebrated our 7th anniversary last Saturday. We couldn't believe seven years had gone passed when it seemed possibly four years at the most. It has been a good seven years, challenging and wonderful at the same time. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We may have been late coming back from the hairdressers. The bridesmaids dresses may or may not have been closing properly, causing my three visiting aunts from Ontario to scramble after my three attendants to pin their dresses closed. Four or more pairs of black socks might have been borrowed from the pastor (who thankfully lived in a manse next door to the church) because the groom, the groomsmen, and possibly even the ushers did not remember to bring black socks. White socks with black tuxes - so classy. But it was a great day. I remember being nervous before the ceremony but being totally relaxed afterwards - it's done, we're married, now the party can start. I remember being served food and punch by my new father-in-law at the standing reception. Sushi - yum! Photographs, cruising around in a silver El Camino, laughing, enjoying the day. It was exactly the day we had planned out - a fun, relaxing day with eachother and our family and friends. We have been so blessed and are looking forward to many more years to annoy, I mean, love eachother.

3. To celebrate our anniversary, we went to Vancouver for supper and then strolled around the downtown area a bit. It was a beautiful, warm night that has been scarce this summer and we decided to grab a table at a pub right on the sidewalk and have a pint (or two). It was a great place to people watch. A woman walked by wearing acid-washed jeans and a fanny pack. A guy walked by with a bright yellow snake draped over his shoulders (yes it was real). Guess which scared me more? Hint: it wasn't the snake.

4. I love Swagbucks. I get free stuff for doing searches I would normally do for my job. It's awesome.

5. Just as I was working tonight I could not remember how to spell inevitably. It scared me. But then I spelled somatically right. So it's a wash. Phew, I'm okay.

6. My oldest baby A, turns 4 (four!) this Thursday. I'm in denial. I can't believe it has been four years. Where has the time gone? What a little pint-sized, fireball of blessing she has been. One is for sure - our life will never be boring.

6. I went to see The Wiggles with A as a birthday present. It was so much fun. I will be singing "Hot Potato, Hot Potato" the whole rest of the week but it was worth it. She had a blast singing and dancing. However, I have to say that riding the Sky Train made a bigger impression on her than seeing Anthony, Murray, Sam, and Captain Feathersword live on stage.

7. I have just said goodbye to someone I've spent a lot of time with the past few months and have known for almost a decade. It was hard shutting the book on that friendship, but I know I'll see him and his friends again, probably not for a while. Other old friends are clamouring for attention and I've been neglecting them and the new friends I could possibly make. I am talking, of course, of Harry Potter. The final movie came out a few weeks ago but I wanted to read the series over before I saw it. It was a bittersweet moment when I read the final page of the final book, knowing that the last movie was waiting for me to see it. And then what? I have a long relationship with Harry Potter. I started reading the series for a university class on Children's Literature. The books had been out before then and my sister loved them but I dismissed them as a fad. Then I was assigned to read the third book for my class. I decided to read the first two as well, to get the whole story. I was hooked by the first line. Since then, every year or so there has been the delicious, delightful anticipation of a new movie or book. But now that is gone and I am a bit sad. I felt the same way after finishing reading the whole The Lord of the Rings books consecutively. I felt like I was saying goodbye to old friends, who I spent a lot of time with (albeit procrastinating studying for finals). Anyways, it's time to move on and so I'm looking for some recommendations.

8. Costco had Christmas decorations in their store on Monday. Seems like it gets earlier and earlier every year. Pretty soon the stores will just leave them up all year round.

9. I don't really have anything important to say in #9. I just didn't feel like ending at #8. My younger but taller sister is getting married in 10 days. Things are busy but exciting. You won't see me for a while, but hopefully I'll be back before September. Happy August!

24 June 2011

Five MInute Friday - Wonder

This is from the website: The Gypsy Mama. It's called 5 Minute Friday and the rules are to write about the theme (this week is Wonder). But you're only allowed five minutes.

I thought it might be a good way to get some regular writing. So here goes:

Frank Sinatra sang a song about being "Young at Heart".

At one point in my life that was my goal, to never lose that wide-eyed outlook on the world. Somehow though, in the midst of adult concerns like mortgages, taxes, fire insurance, housekeeping, politics, the economy, and most of all striving to be a good mom that got lost. I am slowly trying to find it again.

For example, one morning this week as we were eating breakfast, a blue jay decided to duke it out with two robins for the worm-hunting rights in our garden. He was an arrogant fellow, bright blue body contrasting with black crowned head twisting and turning and exerting his rights. The robins, seemingly with the attitude of seeing it all before, gave ground. Only to return when the jay flew off after a matter of minutes, not content to stay in one spot.

I could have turned my back on this spectacle in order to concentrate on getting breakfast into my two little girls, doing dishes, starting the tidy up. All the things that fit into the schedule and "need" to get done. But I didn't. Instead, I dragged my chair to the window so A could see and we watched the little drama play out between these creatures. She was enthralled. The colours, the bobbing heads, the pecking beaks, the black intelligent eyes, the flutter of wings. I experienced the wonder with her, through her eyes.

I was glad that I ignored the "should do" and took a moment for wonder.

The wonder of a creation that takes my breath away with its beauty.

The wonder of the Creator who never ceases to amaze me with His love and grace.

17 May 2011

My Favourite Things Monday: Books/Series

My Favourite Things Monday, on a Tuesday - do you see the trend here?

One might wonder how I find time to read, let alone re-read books, with two kids and a full-time job and a part-time job. But I do. I have to. It's a compulsion. I'm the kind of person who has at least two if not three books going at the same time. If I have three books on the go, one of them will be a cookbook. One is usually a fiction and the other is usually nonfiction. I go through the fiction faster than the nonfiction choice, but I like to have variety. And I usually like to leave my various books lying open all the around the house. I like it that way, but M doesn't. I don't really get it.

This week's theme is books that we like to reread. Ever since I had to read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for a university course, I fell in love the whole series. Almost fanatically. As in pre-ordering the books months before they came out. Staying up until the wee small hours in the morning, or sometimes not at all, because I couldn't put the book down. The seventh book came out a few years ago, and the final movie is due this summer. I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself, now that all things HP are finished.


I think I can manage to find something to divert myself from my pain and nostalgia.

As in re-reading the series again. For the nth time.

However, there are other diversions. I've discovered these great books called The Pink Carnation series. Regency era romantic spy suspense combines with a little Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood. The modern-day heroine is a history graduate student doing research in England. It's not a huge stretch to see why I like this.

I also return to Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility or the lesser known Persuasion once in awhile. Pretty much anything in the historical or historical fiction category will catch my attention. Other authors I like are Philippa Gregory or Micheal Phillips (although he can be very pedantic at times).

10 May 2011

My Favourite Things Monday: Spring

After a hiatus from MFTM, here it is again, with an appropriate theme: Spring.

My friend here wrote about Spring blossoms. And while I love the explosion of colour that is taking place, with some tulips blooming as big as baseballs, my favourite part of Spring this year has been the ability to do this:

It has been a long, cold, wet, rainy Spring here on the West Coast. Apparently, we can blame this on La Nina. M and I were talking just the other day about how warmer it felt last year in February, when we went to Vancouver to check out the Olympics, than it was last Saturday, attending a very drizzly May wedding.

But there have been days, few and far between, where the sun has teased us for an afternoon, as if to assure that he's still there, although being coy. And so, making hay while the sun shines (always think of Pa Ingalls when this phrase comes to mind), I gather my laundry and out I go.

As usual, I have company in the form of my two little girls who have been cooped up way too much this rainy season. They follow me like eager puppies being let out of the kennel, almost tripping over my feet or their own. I let them run around the deck while I hang the clothes up. They are sad to go back in when I'm done. I tell them we'll play outside later when it has warmed up a little.

If it hasn't starting raining by the afternoon.

07 May 2011

Motherhood Manifesto: Because ALL Moms are Super

Because ALL Moms are Super

This entry has been a long time in the writing. A lot of different ideas, words, conversations, etc. have been brewing in my mind for a few months. I thought it would be fitting for them all to come together on this day (commercially) set aside to celebrate motherhood.

It all started off with a short tangent during Tuesday Morning Bible Study early on in the new year.

As a side note, I love the ladies that gather together on Tuesday mornings. We are at different stages of life as women, wives, and mothers and yet we all come as Daughters of a King - Who loves us immensely and unconditionally. I love being able to share “war stories” with other mothers of young children. Often, while sharing a story, I am able to laugh at an experience that had originally stressed me out. It is good to learn to laugh and perhaps not take myself so seriously. I also deeply appreciate the wisdom that comes from women whose children are older – who have been there – and are generous with their encouragement and kind in their wisdom. Truly, a blessing.

Anyways, one morning we went on a tangent and someone shared how sometimes she felt inadequate when she read on Facebook how someone she knew had kids bathed, ran a mile, baked bread, washed the clothes, etc., fill in the blanks... and it was only 10 in the morning.

I am rewriting what she said but the gist is the same. And we all are prey to it. The comparison. The how-do-I-measure-up? The I’m-still-in-my-pajamas-at-10-so-there-must-be-something-wrong-with-me. The pressure. More often than not it is self induced.

Nowadays, it is not enough to be Mom or a Stay at Home Mom. (note that I didn’t say “just a Mom”. Really. There is no such thing.)

Perfection is required. Or at least the allusion of perfection. Our hair: coiffed. Our clothes: stylish, clean (as in free from those shoulder mucous swipes or the greasy hand prints at thigh height). Our kids: neat, tidy, and presentable at all times (never mind the runny noses or the dirty knees or the scraggly hair coming out of the bows). We bring our kids to play dates two times a week as well as music groups and gymnastics We do this, all the while keeping our house sparkling and cooking healthy meals for our family. And, if that’s not enough, we might even be a WAHM (Work At Home Mom – which is a misnomer really, because what Mom doesn’t work?) and have some sort of cottage industry going one where we make boutique _____ (insert craft here) and sell it on Etsy or eBay. We wake up at 6 am to work out, thereby keeping our firm form, even after having two or three kids.

Am I exaggerating? Is anyone else laughing at this unattainable idea of perfection that is being foisted on us women? Does anyone else ask Who are we being perfect for? or Why the pretense?

This Mothers Day, I’d like to take a stand against the “SuperMom syndrome” that is so prevalent and pressuring. I ask you to do the same. We need to come together and agree to stop doing this to each other. We need to agree to be real with what life is like and accept ourselves and each other and life without comparison or worry and with love, grace, and humour – even in the face of snot swipes on sleeves or spit up on shoulders or being late (yet again). Let’s agree to stop playing the perfection game.

We have been called by God to be mothers and caretakers of His little ones. It’s a daunting and scary and challenging task. It sometimes – or often – feels undoable. But we have hope. He calls and also equips. He is always with us. He forgives our shortcomings. He is the ultimate Encourager through His Word. We “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”

So let us agree to encourage each other in this shared calling and spur one another on with love and kindness and a listening ear. Let us share our joy on the days when we do feel like a “supermom” and the laundry and the baking and the cleaning does get done in record time. Perhaps not by 10, but by the end of day. Let’s share laughter (and learn to laugh) at the days where, when we’ve been up with crying babies half the night, we are still in our PJs at 10 and the house doesn’t get too much attention that day. Those are often the days when Murphy’s law applies and someone unexpectedly shows up. Let’s realize that being a mother or housewife means more than a clean house and some days you just want to spend the whole time playing with your children. Let’s all recognize and be able to openly acknowledge that we don’t have it all together all the time.

Being a mother is busy and dirty and noisy and seemingly goes from one diaper change to the next. It is wiping noses and cleaning up spills and vacuuming up cheerios and fish crackers every day.

Being a mother is smiles and hugs and songs and giggles and love and joy and excitement and amazement. It is a calling. It is a blessing. When you’re a Mom, every day is Mother’s Day, whether Hallmark says so or not.

23 March 2011

Medical Word of the Day: Xanthelasma

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Xanthelasma: also called an xanthoma, is a fatty skin growth. It looks like a sore or bump under the skin. It's usually flat, soft to the touch, and yellow in color. It has sharp, distinct edges. They are usually more common in people with high blood lipids (or fats). Comes from the Greek word xanthos for yellow.