Wednesday, March 31, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 13

Late again, with my apologies! It's spring break here and we've had some busy days. I hope to be back on track next week, with things returning to more of the routine we're used to.

This week's list is your personal fashion trends over the years. While mine weren't personal in terms of being those I created, they were fashion trends I followed over the years. And I noticed that following fashion trends stopped somewhere around my mid-twenties. And with that went all fasion sense!!

The more I think about this, the more I realize there maybe more items to add to the list. A girl in school named Kira wore the coolest things and I would try to emulate her. But she was a petite little thing and was able to pull off almost anything. She was a true original.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

To All of my Favourite Bloggers, I Forgive You

For every time I've been a bit disappointed or  even annoyed when you haven't posted anything new, I apologize! I now understand why you can let days, or sometimes even weeks go by without a new post. And I have even more respect for those of you who faithfully blog daily, or at least, regularly. Some post every weekday and take the weekends off, others post every second day or so, and still others have their regular days on which we fans/addicts can expect something new.

My reasons for finally starting my blog were to have a home for the weekly list challenge, to share on a regular basis with faraway family and friends, and to have a journal of sorts for myself. I love that some of my favourite bloggers have been at it for years, and can simply link to an old post when referring to something in their past.

Now, I've been good about regular photographs, as in the back of my mind I'm still going to have a Project 365 Album for this year. I dutifully download and file photos for each week, though March has been my most concise and regular. And maybe that's why the blogging has waned.

I can't promise that I'll do better, even after stating my awareness of the situation here. But I'll start with a few photos from this month, to meet goals 2 and 3 of blogging. My goals, that is.

Lunch at the Lucky Dog, the weekend before Marc left us for faraway places. Awesome sliders!!

Finally, basketball weather!

Can you tell that Roxi just LOVES bathtime?!

One of our service Saturdays was spent visiting two local nursing homes. We played bingo with the residents at the first, and did a craft at the second.

At the second home, one of the residents presented us with the picture that Gaby is holding. In gratitude. We were touched.

Nick played at church last Sunday. If you look closely, you can just make out the neck of his guitar!


New, custom Converse. Very cool!

Homework with Roxi

The schoool Science Fair was last week. And Gaby's all about multi-tasking, practicing violin in the few minutes before leaving for soccer practice.

Since the Schneiders moved away last summer, Gaby's the lone student at the bus stop.

Sometimes, during the day, when no one else is home, Nick will practice downstairs. I like that.

Nick's band, Mothra, performed for the first time last Friday, at a fundraiser for the middle school's robotics team.  Not many parents or adults of any kind there, so I wasn't sure that he was happy with our presence, much less OK with me snapping pictures. (turns out he was, and he was) So I stayed in the background and didn't get great shots, but I still managed to capture the proof that we were there, and that Nick was performing. Very well, I might add. The next photo is flashless, but I do like the colour. And I know where Nick is!!

And last but not least, Friday the 26th was the grand opening of Jack Frost, a local ice cream place. Because of Nick's show, we couldn't get there, so we went yesterday. Waiting til after dinner meant that it was even colder. The wind had picked up which made it even frostier. So once the ice cream came, there was no sitting around outside. We were back in the car in the blink of an eye! But not before I made Nick and Gab 'freeze' for a photo!

Don't they look thrilled?!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 12

It's been one of those days. I do have the list for this week, but have yet to put it together myself. Maybe this is the way it should be, so no one is somehow influenced by what they see, rather than just the prompt. Whatever the case may be, here's this week's list, with my completed intepretation soon to follow:

Make a list of your GUILTY PLEASURES

Hmmmmm. If I really think about it, this could be quite a lengthy list.

Back soon with mine, and maybe I should post a photo or two for The Peg. Or my thoughts on health care reform. Or maybe I should just stick with the pictures!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Cyclone

is the southern hemisphere's version of a hurricane. And Tropical Cyclone Ului came ashore on the northeastern coast of Australia, right where Pier and her family recently moved to. The cyclone was to be at it's worst at 2 a.m. Saturday night (which was around midday here) That's about 36 hours after Marc arrived to visit them for an extended weekend.

Since they just moved to their new home mid-January I believe this is the first cyclone they're experiencing, though by what I've been reading online in the many Aussie news sites, it won't be the last. I'm under the impression that this area is used to, and prepared for, cyclones. They're tough, those Aussies!

We spoke to Marc on Saturday morning (Saturday night for them) and everyone else was in bed. The areas had been designated disaster zones which would then allow mandatory evacuations if deemed necessary. But 4 hours before the storm was supposed to be at its worst, everyone but Marc was sleeping. We were skyping with him on Gaby's computer, and he was trying to enable us to catch a view out the windows. All we really saw was the reflection of his laptop screen.Pier was up briefly and advised against him going outside in order for us to get a better view.

Saturday morning was spent visiting 2 nursing homes with a group from church, so it wasn't til after 1 p.m. that I was able to get back online. It was the middle of the night in Australia, and I understood the worst to have past. No messages from Marc and I wasn't going to try calling. If it hadn't been that bad and they were in fact sleeping, I didn't want to disturb them.

Saturday afternoon saw me glued to my computer, going back and forth between skype and outlook and several online Aussie news outlets. No real word, reports of widespread power outages, especially where Pier lives, stories of roofs being torn off. Gutwrenching stuff when you have absolutely no communication. I sent a short email, short skype message and short IM through blackberry. That's all I could do. It was still too early to call the house, and when I tried later it wasn't working anyway.

Finally, around 6 p.m. Marc was able to IM through BB. All the message said was 'OK now' Not fully reassured, but I  was glad to receive some word. Got a little bit of back and forth later, that they were out assessing damage in the area. I took that to mean that theirs wasn't too bad.

Til  three a.m., I alternated between working on my closet and calling AU. It would just ring forever, stop for 10-20 seconds and then start ringing again. Never got a chance to talk.

According to the most recent online reports, there are still 50,000 customers without service in the area. Phone too. It's still the wee hours of Monday morning there, so I won't try calling the house, or cell phones.

I'll just keep writing. And praying.

Monday, March 15, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 11

Not terribly difficult for me to come up with this list, but I know I'll think of more, as time goes on, and as I see the lists of others!

For this week, make a list of the places you would like to visit.

Target has had the Passport line of MM products on clearance recently, as had AC Moore. That's what I used for this list. I even used some of the cardboard from the packaging as my base. Ink, stamps and a bunch of MM stickers, and finis!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'd Rather Have a Root Canal . . .

than have to deal with renewing my passport! That was my FB status on Monday, after going through all of the trials and tribulations, just to GET the applications to Canada! A friend responded that passport renewal was cheaper, which is usually true. But not if you're my husband Marc, who left Sunday evening for Newark NJ, stayed overnight there ($$) flew to TO in the morning ($$) visited Passport Canada to apply for an expedited passport ($$) was told his photos were too 'shadowy' so he had to get new ones taken ($$) then had to kill time while he waited. He shopped ($$)

He actually had a new fatter passport in hand shortly after lunch. Though he had booked his return for the next day, he was able to change his flight and was home that night. With his new passport, a Team Canada jersey for himself, Vikings jerseys for both he and Nick, and Canada tees for Gaby and me.

So Marc has his passport and now begins the waiting game I play with Passport Canada. I'm wondering if they'll reject our photos too, since they were taken at Walgreen's, where Marc had his done. I figure I'll call them by the end of the week. This happened the last time we renewed our passports, again with Marc's photos. But they made no attempt to call us. It was only after I received mine and inquired about his that I was made aware of the photo problem. I plan to be proactive this time. There is no way I'm going to be prevented from traveling to Canada for Pier's wedding because of passport issues.

But lest you think our life has been all passport and travel stress this week, not so. We've been having gorgeous, open-the-windows-let-the-fresh-air-in weather since Sunday! The kids have been shooting hoops outside, we've been to the playground, and if Marc wasn't leaving for Singapore tomorrow, he'd surely be golfing this weekend. (though they keep talking about rain by Friday)

Roxi dog has been driving me crazy when the windows are open. She's taken to barking at every sound she hears! I hope she adjusts fast. Muzzles and snipped vocal cords have crossed my mind! Big dog, big bark ya know!

Monday, March 8, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 10

For this week,  list the pets you've had and their names. Fun to think back on this one!

Growing up, pets were scarce in our household. My parents grew up on farms and believed that animals belong inside. They still do, so I know they must love us, putting up with our big dog when they visit! We started small, going from fish to turtles. I think the hamsters came next. They were cute and fun, but got lost in the house on more than one occasion. Thumper the bunny was the biggest pet we ever had growing up. She lived in her hutch outside, until one day my Dad checked on her and found her frozen solid. We're not sure if it was the Winnipeg winter that took her, or that she just died of natural causes. But she was the last pet we had at home.

Since then, a cat and several dogs. Sorry Marc, but I didn't include Mollie the sheepdog here. We all know she was your dog, and made it quite clear she didn't want to live with me. Especially when you weren't around. I'll never forget, being 4 months pregnant and having to maneuver around her strategic droppings (and we're not talking rabbit size pellets here!) in the dark. We know she always did it for me. Now, Marc was her third owner, so she was a bit traumatized. But definitely difficult to live with!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One of those weeks

Fun. Busy. And a tad frustrating!

Let's just get the frustrating out of the way! Passport renewal. Living in the USA, we must mail our applications to Canada for renewal, every 5 years. Along with that must go our current passport, so we're left feeling a little bit vulnerable! Now, they've changed/simplified renewal for adults, so we no longer have to send our proof of citizenship in the form of our original birth certificates, and we no longer have to have a guarantor sign to support that we are who we say we are. However, you can no longer do your own photos, which we've done in the past. And Canada's passport photo size is different than the U.S. So it was necessary to find a commercial photographer who could provide the correct size of photo and not charge us an arm and a leg.

After striking out with UPS and CVS, I found that Walgreen's could do it for us at the somewhat reasonable price of $7.99 per individual. It's actually very cool -- they just load the photos onto a Fuji machine, select the country from a list of several, and it enables the user to set up the photo properly and sizes it correctly. Stamped and signed by the photographer.

Now, for Nick, as a child, I still had to submit his original birth certificate (which was the cause of a lengthy delay last time, as Passport Canada made me have MB issue a long form birth certificate, which they had to send to me, and I in turn had to forward to PC -- love government!)  Nick also still required a guarantor, who last time, for all three of us, had been our dentist, based on the guidelines defined by the instructions on the passport app. This time, the guarantor has to be a Canadian citizen posessing a valid Canadian passport. Piece of cake when you live in the U.S. -- not!!!! However, Marc and I, being of reasonable intelligence, agreed that he fell under the definition of guarantor as the other parent, not the applicant/parent, who was me. Confusing? Of course. That seems to be the way they want it to be!

Next is the post office. I figured I'd simply overnight it, pay whatever inflated rate they charge, and guarantee that it gets into the hands of Passport Canada asap. But our little Oreland PO doesn't mail many of these, and it took 3 visits to get it right. But I do have to applaud the awesome people who work there, who spent waaaay too much of their time on this. It started on Tuesday, I went back Wednesday to actually mail it, and it came back to me Thursday as some of the information concerning the values of the package was conflicting. Back to the PO Thursday morning, I left it in the capable hands of the postmaster, and popped in later in the day to be assured that it was taken care of, and that the receipt would be delivered to me Friday.

Well it was, and using the tracking on the USPS site, I was able to confirm that it was delivered in Ottawa by day's end. Now, I hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope that Passport Canada likes what we sent and returns our new passports and expired ones in a timely manner. That's only Nick and myself. Marc is off to Singapore and Australia next week (visiting the bubs, lucky Grandpere!) so he can't renew his passport until he returns. Which cuts it close to getting it back in time to travel to Winnipeg for Pier & Nate's wedding. I don't care that we can't visit Canada for spring break -- as long as we can be there for the wedding!!

The rest of the week was fun. I had an enjoyable Monday morning visit with Pastor Kay, including lunch. Gab's school had their annual pasta dinner put on by the 5th graders last night, the Blankemeyers joined us for soup supper on Wednesday, I joined Gab's class at Robbins Park on Thursday and Nick participated in the Music in Our Schools program Thursday evening. He played guitar, of course, and was amazing, even though he didn't care for the song!  Oh, and on Thursday we also squeezed in a dentist visit for Nick, a follow up after his wisdom teeth removal. All's good, he's healing well, and seems to be chewing like normal!

The schools had early dismissal yesterday afternoon, so Gaby's book group met in the afternoon. It's as much fun for the Moms as it is for the girls and it's been turning into a baby playgroup lately, as Lexi's twin brothers become more mobile (they'll be a year next month) and EK's baby sister Caroline does more than eat and sleep (she's pushing 6 months) Gaby's friend Julia hosted this month. They moved into the oldest house in our neighborhood almost 3 years ago, and have been slowly restoring the huge and stately home. Nine or ten foot ceilings, seven foot windows, spacious rooms and they have the coolest furnishings and pieces to pull it all together. It's always fun to see what new has been done since our last visit. Of course there was Woody the puppy who is new, and a friend for Jimmy the cat, and the coop of chickens out back. Never a dull moment there!

Using Starburst fruit chews to understand how rocks are formed over time. A fun and tasty way to never forget this lesson!!

There's this really cool wall with wingspans, and as the kids visit Robbins Park over the years they go from a humming bird to a red tail hawk and beyond.

These gentlemen belong to some DelVal carving group and meet here every Thursday. They've carved the canoe and totems poles featured outside, and work on a variety of small and intricate pieces inside. Gaby was fascinated with their work and they were more than happy to share their stories and their skills.

Nick and members of his guitar class performed at the Music In Our Schools Program Thursday evening. All levels performed, starting with the combined 5th grade orchestra. Thursday's performances were all instrumental -- choral groups performed Tuesday. It's amazing to see how the kids progress through the years, and motivating for both the kids and parents to see how far they can go. An incredible show!

Book club at Julia's. A fun way to wind up the week!

And now we're onto a busy weekend, getting as much Dad time as we can before he takes off halfway around the world. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 9

This week's list is fun -- List your favourite tv shows of all time!

Carol Burnett was an easy #1 for my list! I loved watching that show and still laugh whenever I catch a clip. I loved how they all cracked each other up -- it was hilarious to see them trying in vain to keep a straight face! And it truly was one of those family shows that I could watch with my parents, and now, if I chose, with my kids.

Television memories growing up: I believe we got both cable and colour when I was 14. I don't really have many memories of shows I watched as a child, at least not in terms of being favourites. I'm too old for Sesame Street, and lack of cable limited our viewing choices. I remember the 3 morning shows on CBC being The Friendly Giant, Chez Helene and Mister Dressup. I also remember the local CTV channel carrying a show at noon called Uncle Bob and Archie.  I guess Archie was Winnipeg's answer to Howdy Doody. I distinctly remember them featuring tips from Elmer the Safety Elephant. Everytime I see someone walking on the wrong side of the road these days, I realize they may not have had the guidance of Elmer the Safety Elephant, who always stressed, when there were no sidewalks, to walk on the left hand side of the road, facing traffic. I'll never forget!

Farewell Vancouver 2010 Farewell O Canada

Well, as much as I've enjoyed these winter games, I will be glad to get back to regularly scheduled programming, which won't keep me up til 1 a.m. every night! These games obviously held a special place in my heart, being held in my dear Canada. I've heard my national anthem more in the past 2 weeks than in the past 2 years! It's funny, because I don't really know how much I heard it living in Canada, once I was past my school years. In school, O Canada was played every morning, and we closed the day with God Save the Queen. 

Now, living away from Canada, I love hearing it. It touches me more now than it ever did when I still lived up there in the great white north, and, I guess, took it for granted.

Thanks Jay, for sharing photos of your Vancouver experience. My Aunt, Marianne, and her husband Jay live in Vancouver and have been busy volunteering for, and experiencing, the Olympics in their beautiful city. I was lucky enough to go to the Calgary Olympics in 1988 and it was an experience I'll never forget. So when my friend Randy, who also lives in Vancouver, was talking about wanting to escape the city during the Olympics, I hoped he would give it a chance. It's an amazing coming together of the world and so much fun to be in the midst of, be a part of.

Other than spending waaaaay too much time watching Olympic coverage, we had a bit of our own excitement this week. Poor Nick, at the ripe old age of 14, had his wisdom teeth removed Thursday. Just like everything else, this too seems to start earlier. (he has friends at school in the same boat!)  But he's such a trooper. No pain meds after Thursday, and the only thing he's grumbling about is the limited diet he 'enjoys' right now. He's a bit swollen, with a jawline that brings to mind Luke Wilson. No chipmunk likeness at all.

Friday, he was bummed because it ended up being a snow day, and our district has already used up those built into our year -- now we have to make them up. The good news was that he only missed about 1/2 hour of school due to his teeth (he actually went to school the day of -- I picked him up 1/2 hour before his appointment)

So that meant Gaby was home too. This time the snow started Thursday morning, and brought with it high winds, causing some to coin the term Snowicane. OK. Students were dismissed early on Thursday, and we got that predawn call on Friday to let us know we could roll over and go back to sleep. For Gaby, the wind created less than ideal conditions for snow play, so she decided to work on her Science Fair project instead.

And me, well, I cleaned my pantry. These are for you Dad!