Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Time

Blogging time gave way to all the stuff that happens when kids are home. For some reason, young people hope to be fed and to play games and watch movies and have conversations. For Christmas I received the dvd "The Queen" which I absolutely love because I've got a lot of that "and having emotions and being sensitive would be useful because?" about me. Now don't get me wrong - I took my share of psychology courses and spent infinite numbers of hours listening to my peers pour out their emotions in residence. But then I turned 30 and had a husband and kids, a parish and a community and realized that you don't have to feel like getting up to change the sheets when you hear a child vomiting in the middle of the night - you just have to do it because it's the hard stuff that makes life significant - that makes you feel that it matters that you are that particular child's mother at that particular moment. There are lots of people more charming, fun and exciting but when the vomit hits the sheets, I'm not so bad.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Having exceedingly bad handwriting has spawned some pretty major interests. It explains why I have won the award for the highest speed in typing and shorthand in my Gr. 12 class as well as my fascination with calligraphy that pre-dates computer fonts. My calligraphy is no doubt worse than my handwriting but it's definitely a more interesting worse.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Calendar Art

I have to admit I have a certain fascination with "creating from anything" websites. I included this link to calendar art but she's got examples of all kinds of current trends. Don't forget to check out her homeschool site as well. If men have kids to have an excuse to buy toys, women must have kids to get a second round of cutting and pasting and painting. The blog is the equivalent of mom displaying your artwork on the family frig.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mother Son Dance

Boyz2Men "A Song for Mama" is what John and I will be dancing to at the wedding. It's Danielle's choice but I'm good with it - Motown was big in my youth. Of course I checked it out on youtube. In the first video, mama is on a respirator and dies and in the second video I watched, Mama is a ghost at the wedding. It makes the song very poignant. I cried.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Lights

Which are my favourite lights - the outside ones, the Christmas tree lights or the lights going up the bannister? Obviously not the outdoor ones - they are for others. I'm the one that does the final dog walk and closes up the house for the evening so unplugging them is the last thing on the day's to do list. My husband would definitely pick the Christmas tree lights and I must admit the tree is beautiful this year. Sometimes we light up the tree while we're having our morning coffee to start the day in a cheery manner. Personally I love the lights going up the bannister. They are the ones visible from my computer desk and bring me the most pleasure. Colourful lights make all the difference between winter being drab or magical.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dancing Santa

Last year at the Friends of the Library fundraiser I won the Dancing Santa. They've slimmed Santa down a bit and I like to think we're similar in shape but I'm probably lying to myself. Anyway, you press a button and it plays Santa Claus is Coming to Town while shaking his hips from side to side. Yes it's corny but it makes me laugh. As I hit the button whenever I pass him, I've decided to make Santa my new dance partner - little bursts of exercise. Now if I could just find something to trigger me to do my Tai Chi. I have a livingroom shaped like a bowling alley and if I can convince my dog not to plop his old bones in the middle of my path, it is exactly the right length, minus the Christmas tree, for T'ai Chi.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Notebook

Lucky break for me. This month my bookclub is reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. As I've seen the movie and read the book before, I'm in pretty good shape on this one. Neurodegenerative illnesses intrigue me almost as much as neurodevelopmental disorders. What's most odd is that we didn't study Alzheimer's in nursing school in the 1970s and while autism was discussed, it was considered relatively rare. So what's changed? My observation is that my 80+ year old friends are far healthier than their 50 something children and the 50 something children are far healthier than their 20 something children. If I were a researcher, I would be looking at generational differences.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Change & Loss

I was reading a review of "The Year of Magical Thinking" in which Joan Didion wrote about becoming a widow. In the review, there was reference to the work of Peter Marris "Loss & Change" Marris is a sociologist and urban planner. Marris says, "Change is costly in terms of time, effort and temporary loss of confidence and effectiveness... One person's reform is almost inevitably someone else's loss of meaning."
According to Marris there are 3 kinds of change:
(1) substitution (exchanging the old for a better new)
(2) evolution (gradual change with time to reorient and reform significant attachment
(3) deep loss (the sudden disappearance of something or someone valued)
My experience is that life is complex and often all three types are occurring at the same time. A relocation is an evolution but in the process you throw out some things very important to you because it's easier to travel light and often there's a deep loss that just proceeded or just followed the move - the death of a parent, children leaving home, a defining activity ending. You can find the article in the June 2007 edition of the journal Academy of Management, Learning and Education if you have access to a portal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Facebook and Fun Walls

So what do you think of facebook. I had a "friend request" from a contemporary and ignored it because I don't approve of myself being on it. There's not much control over what appears on your facebook page and there's just way too much "I don't need to know and most definitely my friends don't need to know" stuff. Facebook is getting me over that feeling that living in a rectory is an exposed life. Living on facebook is the exposed life if you ask me. If anyone can explain to me why these kids have no fear that they could get hurt, it might reassure me.

What Happened to Yesterday

Where's my blog entry from yesterday? I was up from 7 a.m. until 5 a.m. so it's not that the day wasn't long enough. David called around midnight and asked for a 5 a.m. wakeup call. I've since heard that the airline has found his luggage and more importantly his alarm clock and hopefully all our best Christmas presents ever. I take thyroid medication, Vit. B12 and Vit. D so I can manipulate things a bit by changing the timing of all that "here's a boost of energy" stuff". Good thing I don't take serious medication - I'm messing around with the Vitamins. I used to think I had bear genes. Winter would come and I go into hibernation mode. Well it wasn't SADD and it would have been a major eye mistake to buy those lamps. If you live in a northern climate, get your Vitamin D levels check. In my case, getting more Vit D was lifesaving.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Newsletters

Personally I like those mass-produced Christmas newsletter. I, myself, am not organized enough to send one of my own out. It creates a warm feeling in my heart to read about the achievements of others. And let's face it, I really have no trouble at all believing that everyone else can run circles around me in the achievement arena. I always believe that every home but mine runs like a bed and breakfast just waiting for people to drop in to enjoy the atmosphere. Without a doubt, no one has more bad hair days than I do. Every day is a bad hair day when there's more scalp visible than hair. Not only do I not have the face shape that looks stunning in hats, I can't think of any part of my anatomy, I'd want to draw your eyes to. If you've found this blog through the UWO alumni directory, I'm listed as a homemaker. Seems like a lot of people I went to school with (especially those in education) now list themselves as retired. That's a trend that will only increase. I'm retired too I guess - just skipped the career part.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

An all-nighter

Well, another all-nighter. The kid is in Toronto and has to be up by 4:30 a.m to prepare to catch a plane. He's placed a wakeup call but who's more reliable - the hotel clerk or mom. Who knows? The kid thinks I am. I'm flattered. I'm staying up to 4:30 a.m. because I can still come through. The best thing about being a menopausal mom is that it's the easiest time to make things happen. Suddenly you remind everyone of their mother and they remember their mothers as powerful people who make you do what you don't want to do. Even young punks don't want to mess with you because who knows what an angry 50 something woman is capable of doing - just might still be able to take a round out of them or something. Who knows? But one day I'll lose that scarey confident 50 something persona and start looking vulnerable. It could be some day in the not so distant future so I happy my kid thinks I can work miracles or at least stay up to 4:30 a.m. to give him a wakeup call.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Military Mom

We're a real God, Queen and Country family. It makes us different. It makes us different in a sad, lonely, over-responsible way. It all started with my Grade 11 history class - Sparta & Athens. Children are their mothers until they are 7 and then they belong to the state. And then there was Grade 12 history where I learned that Canadian boys were sent into WWI and WWII malnourished and ill-trained. Well I could at least see that they were trained. And of course they had a father - the real history buff -the guy whose favourite channel is the military channel.
Prime Minister Harper said he was impressed by the moms of the fallen soldiers. Said they were a different breed. Well, having a son in the military changes you. I can't watch action movies - don't see anything entertaining about violence anymore. I go to google news instead of tv because I want to know what's going on without actually seeing it. My kids say I depend too much on angels to look after them but mothers who can't protect their children need the belief that they are being watched over and protected. It's a little flaky but provides more comfort than any human could. My kids reassure me that I'm nothing like Tom Cruise's mom in The Fourth of July but you still wonder what their choices would have been if I'd had more of a party, cheerleader, fun personality. I'm a frequent visitor to the Nobel Website. Have to believe that goodness and justice and truth are more powerful than any weaponry mankind can devise. And I'm really clear on what I want for my children - someone who really loves them, the joy of children, a place to call home and a job where they are valued. That's it. Did you hear that God? That's my Christmas wish.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing's Nobel speech is now available. This link will connect you to all the Nobel Prize Winners in Literature
Click a name and you'll be linked to their nobel lecture, the interview and an example of writing.

And if you want to watch a video that gives you real hope, watch Mairead Corrigan's nobel peace prize interview. She truly radiates something special as she talks about the troubles in Northern Ireland and the marches that followed.

Reading Level of Blogs

I've been checking out UWO alumni blogs. has a post with something to measure the reading level required to understand your own personal blog. She questions the criteria used and frankly so do I. Her blog which includes chemistry librarian technical things requires a high school reading level. My blog, on the other hand, can only be read by geniuses. Look at her blog compared it to mine and take a shot at guessing the rating criteria. Total mystery to me.

While there, look at the video clip of Blogs in Plain English. Now that looks so great. Being a lonely child, my childhood friends were paper dolls. Well there was a bit of diversity. Add to that stuffed animals, dolls, dogs and kittens. I could so get into explaining the world with little paper figures.

Actually my roaming also took me to a powerpoint presentation of finger art, where someone created all these characters by drawing features and adding different head covering and costuming to her index finger. I so get it. Talk about friends you can always count on being there for you. And I watched a pretty funny video where a purple condom explains safe sex to a couple of clueless little boys. Can't link you there because it had some comments about the Pope that dismissed any advice on sex given by men with funny hats wearing robes. Don't want to offend the Anglican hierachy. Granted I'm shoddily dressed compared to the Amish, but wow if you haven't seen a procession of Bishops and Archbishops in the last 20 years, you will be dazzled by the current splendour. Church needlework guilds have amazing talent and devotion to their craft.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blogger Buzz

I'm so excited about this feature. I love youtube and have been wondering how to put youtube stuff on my blog. There's so much I don't know about blogging and I really, really, really want to get better at this. Whether there are millions of other bloggers out there and even if not a single person in world reads mine, I think it's worthwhile. I'm the type that absorbs, absorbs, absorbs. Sometimes you have to release a bit of it. I read today that parents are checking out their kids' potential college roommates on facebook. All I can say is WOW, didn't think about that one. Of course, when I was a college kid, nobody knew about identity theft and my most valuable possession was a portable typewriter. Although I did have the weird experience of someone stealing my university number and writing a test in my name. I wouldn't have known if he hadn't told me after the fact. It was a science-type who wanted to see what mark he could get in a subject he knew nothing about. Fortunately for me, it was a course where one test didn't count and I had decided I wasn't going for that particular test score.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Email Backlog

Languishing in my inbox are 1500 email messages going back to September. The quick, easy and most important stuff got processed and deleted promptly so who knows what the total would have been otherwise. It would be easy to just delete the whole thing but I'm actually interested in the content - this isn't spam. Thank God the spam goes to my husband's email box and not mine. Guess I'm not the target audience for viagara ads or scams from Nigeria. So I guess my gift to myself for Christmas is a period of space to deal with the backlog.

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Christmas Party

Went to the first Christmas party of the season tonight - supper, Christmas carolling and a gift exchange. Then I came home and tried to figure out some stuff on the computer without much success. Anyone know how to do a tabbed list with leaders? And how about inserting a picture with the text beside it in a text box? I've looked through the textbook without much luck so guess I'll be looking around the house for other computer reference books.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I'm an Advent/Lent person as opposed to a Christmas/Easter person. Christmas/Easter people shop, bake, entertain, decorate, etc. The economy really, really loves Christmas/Easter people. I leave that stuff to the kids. Advent/Lent people pray, meditate and anticipate. The Christian calendar was invented for me. Four weeks of Advent, Forty Days of Lent.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holidailies at Home

I'm committing to updating my blog every day in the month of December. If you're interested in joining the challenge go to Remember when we turned 30, and discovered that we weren't exactly God's gift to humanity - that we had definite limitations to how much we could achieve this lifetime. Well the big news at 55, is that we will never be able to keep up with our 20 something selves again. I pulled a couple of all nighters this week and all I can say is never again. I can't begin to describe how brutal that was. Let's see - I'm pretty sure my days of lifting adults are over and don't even fantasize about seeing me in a pair of high heels ever again. Oh and by the way, menopausal zest is a concept right up there with a calm mind creates a painless childbirth. Nursing textbooks are like the internet - lots of misinformation out there.