Monday, December 28, 2009

Victoria Fanshawe Nursing Class '75

Are we still having reunions? I've moved since the last one and have lost touch with everyone. UWO produces an alumni directory which includes both the last name at time of graduation and the current last name. As the first Fanshawe College nursing class, we had a mixed identity. It was hard to tell what made us different from the preceding year who were Victoria Hospital grads other than the caps. Do you call yourself a Victoria grad or a Fanshawe grad? At the time, we thought being a Victoria grad was more romantic but now being a Fanshawe grad sounds more youthful. Well if anyone is putting together a list, hopefully this blog post will enable you to find Ruth Stewart. It took me awhile to get used to being Ruth Demitroff but the more unusual the last name, the easier it is to be found on facebook or through a google search.

WDSS High School Reunion

2010 marks the 40th year since my high school graduation. Luckily for my class, 2010 is also the 60th anniversary of the high school itself so our 10 year reunions coincide with the larger celebrations that include anyone who ever attended the school.
Message to my Classmates:
Please come. I'd love to see all of you. The good thing about growing older is that I've erased any memories that weren't great and kept the good ones. The important thing is that we're fellow survivors - we passed through all those years of wondering when our lives would ever begin and are now wondering how long we'll keep doing whatever it is we do.
Let's celebrate our lives - the whole ball of wax. At this stage of life, we're people - not beauty queens or football heroes or nerds or dorks or whatever separated us into categories. It's time to dump all the high school baggage and just enjoy being together. Looking forward to reconnecting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Colour is Copper

My daughter is getting married in October and the bridesmaids dresses are copper. Paula picked October because she wanted fall leaves for the wedding pictures. My coloring is definitely spring so none of the leaf colors work with my skin tones. As I've never been to a wedding where the girls were wearing copper, I had trouble envisioning it. Did a google search and discovered that copper and plum go together. Quite the revelation to me. Plum I like. Is plum in fashion? Do I stand a hope of finding a plum coloured outfit? Certainly hope so.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finding Friends

Today I connected to two friends who lived at Westminster College when I did. We were at a dinner/silent auction and I just had to ask one of the women what her maiden name was. Sure enough it was someone who lived on the 2nd floor of residence when I was on 3rd floor.
As soon as I got home I checked to see if I had any new facebook friends and I'd been accepted by someone whose profile picture was of someone chopping wood at a distance so making out facial features was impossible. Sure enough she was a girl who lived on lst floor of residence that same year.
Both of them look about 20 years younger than I do even though I'm the youngest. Quite the wakeup call. It's all about choices. One was a phys ed teacher. I'm not sure what the other one's secret was. I know at the last high school reunion I attended, the woman who got the prize for having changed the least was the nutritionist. I definitely need to eat healthier and become more active. I don't have problems with people having aged more graciously than myself but I'm not so sure I want to look like I'm their mother.

Becoming a grandfather

My husband is excited about becoming a grandfather. He calls the developing baby "Little Bean" and prays for Little Bean every day. He's also making a mental list of things he wants Little Bean to teach him - like how to use his computer. I'm thinking the kids may have reason for jealousy. When they were little, he was more career focused. When he becomes a grandfather, he may be at the perfect stage for enjoying little ones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Absorbing Information

As you can see, I went through a long period where it was all about taking in information and not much about creating blog posts. Information flows in without any effort on my part - no matter what's happening or what mood one is in - the river of information keeps flowing past. Creating blog posts takes a more focused, intentional approach. Time to shift gears and find ways to remind myself to act rather than react.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Commonplace Book

Commonplace Book:
Wiki describing what a commonplace book is:

Example of a writer's commonplace book with ideas for stories:

When Planning My Day

Collecting place for things I'd enjoy doing daily:
playing piano
doing tai chi
taking a photograph
publishing something online

Quotes to Illustrate

A place to store quotes that I'd like to use to create inspirational posters for myself:

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves -
without rushing toward the future." ~Thich Nat Hahn

"There are some things you can't learn from others.
You have to pass through the fire" Norman Douglas, writer

"At the end of every road you meet yourself."
S.N. Behrman, playwright

"To be a star,
you must shine your own light,
follow your own path,
and don't worry about the darkness,
for that is when the stars shine brightest."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Clergy Wife Funeral

I've never been to a funeral for a clergy wife - partly because of the moves and partly because the majority of clergy wives die long after their husband's retirement. The difficulty is the coat rack syndrome. "Clergy Spouse Bonnie Studdiford vividly recalls one clergy meeting at her home in Maine. A clergy member entered, hugged the person behind Studdiford, then removed a neck brace and raincoat and handed them to Studdiford without a word. 'We call that the `coat-rack syndrome,' Studdiford said." It's described as being visible enough to be of service but preferably as voiceless and inobtrusive as a well-trained butler.

So I've never been able to imagine what the Bishop would say at the funeral. Well actually I could and that's the problem. In my imagination it goes something like this, "We're gathered here today to support Rev. John Doe and his adult children with our presence and our prayers. John Doe has had a long and faithful service in the following communities and Dioceses. He'll be going through a difficult time for a few months but with a little extra effort on everyone's part, I'm confident that the parish will pull together and give John some space to mourn his loss."

While I'm not a big fan of eulogies, in the case of clergy wives I secretly hope that one of the kids stands up and is true to the life of their mother like Gweneth Paltrow did for her schizophrenic father in the movie "Proof". I want my kids to share the things they reminesce about at 2 a.m. in the morning when the wine loosens their tongues and they try to outdo each other on how crazy things were having parents who were in the world but not of the world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reasons to take CCK09

I've initiated a google alert for CCK09 because it's easier to read a trickle of new blogs as opposed to the avalanche of new blogs on the first week of classes. Mike Bogle created a list of his aims and objections which seemed like a pretty good idea to me. I'm following suit because it's an efficient way of recommending the course.

List of Aims and Objectives

1. Intellectual Honesty. Self-learning is deceptive. It becomes crystal clear quickly that dilettantes like myself are a totally different animal than full-time, committed academics. In CCK08, I picked Lisa Lane as the person to measure myself against and it was definitely humbling. As far as Computer Geek skills - well I was definitely the weakest link in that chain.

2. Personal Learning Network. I have an amazing group of facebook friends in a wide variety of fields. Not only do I receive a continual flow of interesting urls to explore but sometimes there's a question that you can't find the answer to on the web. I've found that I am now 2 degrees of separation at most from an expert in anything imaginable.

3, A Calculation of Mental Age. It's easy to know one's grown physically flabby and not so easy to turn things around. Mental flabbiness also creeps up but it's not so obvious. At the beginning CCK08 was exhausting. I still have no idea how people took the course, carried a full workload, traveled, did research/publishing, attended conferences and raised kids. I certainly stopped wondering what I was going to do when I grew up and started seeing myself more as a retiree who skipped the whole career thing.

4. Remaining Current. The course has given me a multiplicity of connections across various generational divides. At a stage where people begin to lose their social confidence, I'm broadening my interests and tastes because it's so easy to further explore whatever people are discussing.

5. In CCK08, I had a lot of firsts but there were also a lot of things I didn't get around to trying. The second time around will be an opportunity to build on what I have already learned and explore new ways of putting information out on the web.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Running Two Blogs

When I took CCK08, we were supposed to create a blog specifically for the course. At the time, I didn't see the point in having two blogs and just added the course material to my personal blog It eventually got confusing and I did begin a blog without the personal, family stuff. When CCK08 ended, I didn't realize that I would go on to do CCK09, and my designated blog for Connectivism started crossing the line into the personal. Guess I have a bit of cleanup work to do here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Susan Boyle, etc. phenomenon

Yoni has put embedded all three videos in one blog post - Susan Boyle, Paul Potts and Andrew.

Ozzie Osbourne says we need entertainers to get us through the tough times like the blitz and SARS, etc. At the moment, we have people losing their houses, their jobs, their retirement savings. Since the never-trust-anyone-under-thirty days in the '60s, the message is that if you haven't made your mark by 30, it's just not going to happen. So where does it leave all the people who have found themselves out in the cold? Everyone knows people who have lost a job at 50 and stopped dead in their tracks. It takes courage to go for a job interview. Interview decisions can be made at first glance and there's only a few precious minutes to change someone's first impression. So how do you convince people to get back into the game? Why should they spend the money on the clothes, the hair, transportation if the experience is going to be depressingly hopeless? It certainly isn't a time when we can afford having talented people pulling back and self-eliminating themselves from the marketplace. So what's to be done?

You send in the wounded warriors. What's your excuse? Surely you have as much self confidence as Andrew? You're probably at least as buff as Paul. And you can probably find as much fight inside yourself as Susan has if you just look deeply enough. This is a rally call of the troops. This is essential for the recovery of the suffering and the recovery of the economy.

You probably don't know this but clergy are the one group of professionals that are not chosen based on grades. If theology schools are doing what theology schools are supposed to do, they are looking for healed scars. To be a priest, one is supposed to have experienced woundedness. Who seeks out a priest? Usually not superstars at the top of their game and loving every minute of it. People seek out a priest when they're hurting, when their world is about to collapse. They want someone who understands, who has felt their pain - they want the wounded healer.

In our society, most young people have no experience with the church. Their religion is their music. Who is going to reach them - help through this tough time? Probably not the super-successful, super-beautiful, living-the-good life guys and dolls. They don't have much to offer people feeling like losers. So we're rolling out a new group of entertainers. Yesterday they were a joke but look at them today - they're wowing people. The rules seem to be a changing. Give it another shot. If you have talent, step out of the darkness and put yourself forward.

Twitter & Facebook

I took a break from blogging to work on my twitter and facebook accounts. It takes a bit of concentrated effort to what should be happening where. Facebook is definitely my personal learning network. It includes people in my friend/relative circle as well as classmates from CCK08 and others I wanted to know in more depth. Twitter is a whole different story. At first I was adding facebook friends but that was unnecessary as they post to both places. On twitter I've added media sources of information, people from #followfriday and people on the internet who interest me. It's a much more distance relationship than facebook because of the much fewer words for interaction. The twitters I follow though are more connected than just being twitters - I read their blogs or watch their shows or find their online articles interesting. There has to be some connection - I'm not collecting or competing for numbers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Dangerous Years

My son was told that 27 is a dangerous year in the military. When people turn 30, it's a milestone - a sign that you're not a kid anymore. Maybe it's time to start taking care of yourself. But a 27 year old hasn't reached a warning milestone yet. One acts 20 until turning 30 but the body has 7 years of changes that are being ignored. I remember my 20s as being a time when I felt like I was all potential. Every day I had more skills, could do more, know more than the day before. Marriage and 4 kids later, I lost that confidence, that self-assurance.
The really dangerous period is 57. Even if you've taken really good care of yourself, your genetic weakness are showing. When the kids leave home, people begin to feel younger as their self-image of indispensable, irreplaceable parent dissolves. It's tempting to go back to being 17. The better one looks, the more physically active the lifestyle - the more likely one will fool himself into doing something no 57 year old was meant to do. Sixty is a young senior. Statisticians say if you can make it to 60, you'll most likely be able to make it to 80. So watch the 7 years. They are the ones when the gap between your perception of yourself and reality is wide enough to get your into serious trouble.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Things

I've been tagged by Russel Montgomery

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I was named after a poem called “What Shall We Name the Baby?”

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? My toughest lesson and the cause of the greatest number of tears was the lesson Dr. Biden is learning. Nobody care who you were once you become the wife of someone in a world that has protocol.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It’s horrible (my lowest elementary school marks were in art & penmenship) – that’s why I take calligraphy classes.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Leftover supper turned into a stir fry. We stopped buying deli meats.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Son 27, son 25, daughter 23, son 22.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I’m not a gal pal – more someone you go to when life hurts.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? No. But I regret freaking out whenever my family did stuff that I thought I’d be judged over. If my kids were in a scrape, I’d always go with them to work out a solution but I really, really hated it when they’d upset someone and then run behind me for protection. For example, the enraged drunk with a hangover who chased the kids home for playing games with his doorbell.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. My mum was the type who would shed a superfluous body part for a week’s vacation in the hospital. I never put my kids through that.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Never. I’m not convinced that injuries ever really heal. I think they’ll resurface as the body ages and weakens.

10. NAKED? Some women age like the Dove girls – and others of us don’t.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Oatmeal. Most natural foods can be divided into 2 categories – things that can be added to soup and things that can be added to oatmeal. I make the best oatmeal – nuts, seeds, fruits, spices

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. Black running shoes outside/neon orange dollar store imitation crocs inside.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Whatever I’ve never tried before. I like picking a fruit and having it put through a frozen yoghurt machine.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? I like natural faces. Media type perfect faces in the real world look like masks to me.

15. RED OR PINK... Pink. I’d love it to be red but I can’t carry it off – instead of looking passionate, I look faded. I look best in baby pastels - My husband thinks I am Merryweather in Sleeping Beauty.

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I never act spontaneously without counting the cost in advance.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Surprisingly my grandfather. When they married my grandfather was 19 and my grandmother was a 27 year old teacher. After I was 55, I realized that he was silently protecting me when I thought he was just passing time swinging the scythe cutting weeds.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black with my florescent orange made in Pakistan crocs


22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Best friends (formerly called orchid)

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Coffee to stimulate and Lavender to relax. My favourite cologne – vanilla.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My oldest son – the naval communicator.

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I chose my facebook friends because I found them interesting

Monday, February 2, 2009

Facebook Privacy Settings

I'm posting the link to Ten Privacy Settings Facebook Users Should Know
because everyone on facebook should know their options and some day I hope to get around to deciding which options matter to me.
Lucky for me, I'm from the film generation. While I am sure some of my friends may have had cameras when we were young, I'm pretty sure no one remembered to bring one to a campus party. If they did, I'm also pretty sure that spending money to have pictures developed was not at the top of anyone's priority list.
Digital cameras has changed things but far too late to be of much concern to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Games Of Chance

The plinky question for today is what would you do with the money if you won a thousand dollars. I didn't answer the question because I'm not allowed to win a thousand dollars. The church considers lottery tickets an unfair tax on the poor and the vulnerable. When I've bought 50/50 tickets to support some cause, I have always given back my half of the winnings to the organization. There's no possibility that I will ever be shouting with joy because my ship came in.

Sometimes I have mixed feelings about the lottery rule. Would the world have ended if I had a day in my life where I did something crazy with a windfall? Is it really so noble to plod along with neither highs nor lows? Was it so necessary to always be saving for the next expense - the next move, the next car repair, the next loss? Was it really virtue to be so different - so set apart - so repressed?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If I were a superhero, I would certainly wear tights

Big Grammy. I'd wear tights to counteract the media image of what a woman looks like and I'd express myself by communicating in song lyrics, film quotes, any quote of value from any source. My power would be to inspire hope and vision and compassion in those who have lost their hope, their vision and their compassion.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inaugural Address

Stanley Fish did an interesting analysis of Obama's Inaugural Address and concluded that it is "more power in the reading than in the hearing".
And here's his English lesson for the day which expanded my vocabulary which is always a good thing:

"There is a technical term for this kind of writing – parataxis, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the placing of propositions or clauses one after the other without indicating . . . the relation of co-ordination or subordination between them.”

The opposite of parataxis is hypotaxis, the marking of relations between propositions and clause by connectives that point backward or forward. One kind of prose is additive – here’s this and now here’s that; the other asks the reader or hearer to hold in suspension the components of an argument that will not fully emerge until the final word. It is the difference between walking through a museum and stopping as long as you like at each picture, and being hurried along by a guide who wants you to see what you’re looking at as a stage in a developmental arc she is eager to trace for you."

I read through the reader's comments and was stopped in my tracts by Dario Nunez-Ameni: "Who looks for spelling mistakes in a a love letter?"

Is the speech a love letter? I don't know. From their educational backgrounds, I would think the Obamas are motivated by a sense of justice and a vision of a rainbow world. When they step out on stage I can hardly breathe. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are old men so maybe it's possible for a dreamer to die in his bed of old age.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chief Justice John Roberts
Be gratious and move on. Part of being in the public eye is that you're going to flub some days. This was a historic day and a world event so there's no where to hide on this one. If I were President Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts I would do exactly what they are doing - taking this as an opportunity to role model how to not let a mistake get in the way of getting down to business and moving on with the work that needs doing. People make way too much over public humiliation. If you are going to do anything in this world, it's going to happen to you too. The world didn't end. The oath has been re-taken. The great oratory of the day and the flub of the day should in combination inspire all of us to take a second look at all those great opportunities out there to prepare ourself for the 2 minutes of glory and the 2 minutes of shame that will come our way. Think of all the offers you've received and give a second look at an opportunity to build your confidence and self-assurance in speaking in high pressure situations.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thanks to my facebook friends I found out about When the kids were little, I probably couldn't have listened to a song if I wanted to. The house was noisy, chaotic and I was a highly distractable person. Then as the kids grew older, they were buying cds on a weekly basis and what I heard was their new purchase. When they left, I decided to go into a music store and buy my own cds but I had no idea of what I liked. I had the money in my pocket and was standing in a store full of music but I wasn't going to randomly grab something and plunk down that kind of money. is a great idea. People become their own djs posting their favourite music. I'm starting to put names to songs and am beginning to sort out what I like from what I'm not so fond of. This has to be good for the music industry. I like music with meaningful words but I'm not into being shouted at.
This is the dj I randomly picked tonight

Friday, January 16, 2009

Low Rise Jeans

The NY Times quote of the day regarding U.S. President George W. Bush's last press conference is the inspiration for this post" "It all felt strangely intimate and, occasionally, uncomfortable, in the manner of seeing a plumber wearing jeans that ride too low." - Ted Anthony, of the Associated Press

I didn't watch Bush's press conference because I'm waiting for the youtube version. Why watch the whole thing when there are people out there willing to edit out the unessential, not-so-entertaining or enlightening bits. Even the best of the best have difficulty transitioning into being yesterday's man so I can't imagine it's going to go well for George W. Bush.

What I do have an opinion about is people exposing their butt cracks. With men, it comes across as a protest. I may have to fix your plumbing but I don't have to like it so kiss my a__. There's something disrespectful about it - the opposite of polishing oneself up like James Bond in his tux. That said, it doesn't particularly bother me. I lived through the 60s. I get protest.

Girls showing their butt cracks is a whole different story. I interpret it as a lack of self-respect. A woman of dignity covers her nether regions. A lady is discret and selective when it comes to flashing flesh. I get protest but I don't get self-degregation. The guy is supposed to go on a quest, slay a dragon, scale a mountain, grab the rose through the ring of flame all for a flash of your smile. Your mama read you a million stories telling you that you were a princess. Listen to your mama and not the MTV music videos.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Treadmill Dance

I never really got the point of treadmills. It looked like a lot of money for an even more boring way of walking than going outside. And then I saw the treadmill desk and thought maybe. I could see that walking on a treadmill while surfing the web was healthier than sitting in my grandma's easy chair and surfing the web. But it still wasn't a strong enough selling point. Then I went for a stress test and really wished I had treadmill experience. I was walking for 3 minutes before they finally were happy about the length of my stride and my heart stopped racing because it felt too much like stepping on the down escalator when your mind was prepared to go up.
And then I typed treadmill dance into youtube and finally released that a treadmill had potential.
So kids, if you'd really like to get your inheritance early, chip in for a treadmill for mom to dance on. I'm sure by the end of "Here We Go Again", I won't be able to go anywhere again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Merecedes Benz

This is the song. Just insert my name and join in
I've done more praying that vehicles would live to reach their destination than any reasonable North American should. My vehicle is coming out of the auto body shop today. Stephen's vehicle is in the garage hopefully getting a new starter but we're already in the process of comparing vehicles on the web to replace it. We were one of those randomly chosen households to get a government visitor to survey what comes in and where the money disappears. We were politely told that it always amazes her that idiots like us who argue about all the numbers end up being accurate within 3 percentage points. The error - we forgot the gas for Peter to get to school. I figure a miracle is our best bet at a new car because I've had quite a few little miracles during this lifetime. I was thinking maybe a KIA hatchback was a reasonable request but I then I heard this song and thought why not.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Good Parenting

Kids want your attention more than your money.
Squash, beans, oranges, apples - cheap, nutritious food is healthiest.
The best exercise - walking.
The best toy - a cardboard box
God loves the poor. If it's essential for child development, a little thought will produce an inexpensive, superior alternative.

New Years Blog Resolution

Concise. That's the new motto.