Thursday, August 31, 2006

Summer days go by...

We went apple picking today, Gabriel, Nicky and I, with Jo and his mother. Gabriel and Jo ran all over the place, pulled apples off the trees, sometimes pulling the twigs with them, and ate a bunch too. We mothers walked calmly through the trees, pulling off the biggest, reddest ones, to make up for the small green ones that were often being put in by the younger pair. We enjoyed ourselves.

Summer is coming to an end. The oldest children are back in school, Gabriel will be starting pre-school next week, the hectic summer soccer season is coming to an end, and I can finally start to relax... NO MORE SOCCER UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER!!!! Halleluia! I'm a bit sad, as I always am, to see my children traipsing back off to school, but getting all the new school supplies ready is always kind of exciting. For some strange reason, I like pens and crayons and markers and all that stuff, I could browse places like Staples/Bureau en Gros for hours no problem...

But autumn has it's charms as well, apple picking, and then HALLOWEEN. Have I ever mentioned that I love Halloween? Halloween is that one dy out of the year when I can become a little kid again, put on a costume and pretend to be someone or something that I am not. I love Halloween.

Nicky is growing fast. Already almost nine months old. He pulls himself up on furniture, hanging on to our legs, digging into our skin (OW!!) and even pulling up on Toby (the dog)'s hair. Poor Toby. He doesn't like that one bit. Whenever he sees Nicolas come crawling, he mutters curses under his breath, gets up in a hurry and stalks away to some other corner. Then Nicolas comes crawling towards him again, and the whole scene is repeated. Poor dog.

Nicky makes beautiful eyes at us now. He grins an extra-wide two teethed grin at us, scrunches up his little nose and closes his eyes. Then he laughs and does it again. He knows he's the centre of attention. He knows we all think he's so cute. Jo's Dad got a picture of him doing that today. I'll have to see if I can get a copy. I remember someone not being so enthousiastic about another child coming. For whatever reason... (me) but I also knew I'd love him anyway. And how! What would I do without my little Nicky-pants to brighten up my whole day with one of those silly grins?!!

Eragon: The Movie

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

I just got all excited about this little site...

To be honest, the excitement is not about the site, but about the movie coming out on December 15th. If it does justice to the book, it's going to be a good one. I'm willing to bet it'll be almost as good as the LotR.

The book is excellent, and written by a homeschooled boy to boot. He started it when he was only 15!!

Top 9 Funniest News paper Classifieds

Apparently these are actual excerpts from classified sections of city newspapers:

1. Illiterate? Write today for free help.

2. Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once; you'll never go anywhere again.

3. 3-year old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred.

4. Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated. Come here first.

5. Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.

6. Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.

7. Tired of cleaning yourself. Let me do it.

8. Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

9. We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land

And now I am going to do an about face and go liberal on you all...

This is all about the Public Relations Campaign between Israel and (especially) the American Media. Where most mainstream american media neglects to mention that Israel is oppressing palestinians and that palestinians are being occupied. They are live in violence and repression every day. They are desperate. Ambulances are blocked, homes destroyed with people still inside, civilians used as human shields for the israeli army. They are often forced to stay inside all day, children cannot go to school, adults cannot go to work. Amnesty international has documented many human rights abuses. But we do not see this in American media. The fact that there is an occupation going on is left out. All we see are the terrorist attacks on israelis by palestinians without the context. It looks like terrorism for no reason. Most Americans have NO IDEA of the sufferings palestinians go through. No idea of the desperation. Without the background context of the occupation, the violence makes no sense. And in fact, it is covered as if Israel is under attack, and the "authorities" are taking measures. But it is not self-defense, they are in someone else's country, maintaining thousands of troups there, for the sole purpose of taking their land. It's a whole Public Relations campaign to make us forget that it was ever someone else's land. To the Nazis, the French Resistence was a terrorist group. This is the same thing. There is no such thing as "self-defense" when you are in someone else's country. If they would just get out, they would no longer have problems.

Not only that, you get to see the suffering of the Israelis, you get to know their names, who they were. But when they talk about the palestinian dead, they use cold clinical language.

Listen to the American news and British/Canadian/French news and you would not imagine that they are covering the same stories sometimes.

This video is long but worth it. What I like about it, is that it is not anti-jew, in fact some of their sources are actually jews.,+Propa

On the other hand, the impression some people get from news elsewhere, is that all israelis are the same and that jews deserved what they got during the holocaust. I think that is despicable. Noone deserves that, and not all israelis are for the occupation. That is like saying all germans were/are Nazis. That is ridiculous.

Oh, and I totally understand why jews and Christians would easilygo with this. When you read the Bible every day, you just kind of tend to think of the promised land as being Israel. You think it belongs to them. But it hadn't, not for centuries. Israel didn't even exist for a very long time. It was recreated only just over half a century ago. Them trying to take all the land back would be kind of like if all of a sudden all the first nations people in Canada and the US decided to suddenly take their land back in the same way. I'll bet all the other people who have been living in North America, some of them whose families have been here for 400 years almost, wouldn't agree so much with that.

Status of Women

Here is a list of a few social-conservative blogs written by canadian women, who are pro-life, pro-family, and anti-feminist. The subject of interest here is Actual the government funded group Status of Women. I quote:

On August 14, reported that Status of Women (SoW) was likely using public funds to launch a massive counter offensive in the media after human rights group REAL Women of Canada had sent letters to MP's calling for the organization to be defunded and dissolved.

When the main Canadian media outlets ignored the story, it was taken up on the blogs - live online journals by private individuals - largely women,who say they were tired both of Status of Women's radical feminist agenda in Canadian politics and the media's campaign of silence against any opposed opinion.

Calling SoW (Status of Women) "elitist and undemocratic", Susanne wrote Tuesday on her blog, Big Blue Wave, "So it's a bunch of radical feminist bureaucrats consulting radical feminists to hear what they want to hear to promote more radical feminism on my dime."

"When you question your government, your government will use your ownmoney> against you to punish you for daring to speak out," Susanne added.

I happen to not like liberal bashing much, or rather the taking for granted that all liberals think the same way on everything and none of it is any good, (because you know, amazingly enough, I agree with a lot of what some liberals say), oh, unless it's the Liberal Party, then you can bash away,... but if you overlook a tiny bit of that, what they have to say is very interesting. In the same way, I despise conservative bashing by liberals. Actually, this whole "Liberal vs Conservative" thing just seems so American, because in real life, (here in Canada) none of the people I know very well refer to themselves as either one or the other, and neither do I. I think many of us are somewhere in between.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Laundry: The big lie

Got this from Catholicity


Perhaps the biggest lie about taking care of kids is that the word "laundry" means one task. Yet as most moms know from hard experience, laundry consists of an almost endless succession of distinct actions. Here is an incomplete list, just for fun:

Gather clothes (and towels!) from multiple locations
Carry baskets to washing machine
Sort clothes by person(s)
Sort by color
Sort by type of clothing
Treat pesky stains with special stain-fighting product (and often: delay before loading)
Load into washer (by type or color or person)
Measure and add detergent/softener
Start washer (often, this step is forgotten!)
Wait for up to 30 minutes
Come back to washing machine
Unload wet clothes from washer (on time!)
Put the SECOND load into washer, add detergent, start washer
Sort wet clothes by permanent press, cotton, what's needed right now, etc.
Load wet clothes into dryer
Start dryer (again, often this step if forgotten!)
Wait for up to 60 minutes
Return to the dryer
Remove first load from dryer
Sometimes: clean out the lint screen
Put Second load of wet clothes into dryer, start dryer
Accept without despair there is never enough space for the next 4 steps
Sort clothes by person(s)
Sort by type of clothes
Fold clothes
Iron clothes that need ironing
Put clothes into basket
Bring clothes back to multiple rooms
Place clothes/towels in dressers, closets, shelves in multiple locations

For some mysterious reason, our research reveals that many folks get bogged down in the final step after folding the clothes. Reports abound of folded clothes sitting on a table or in a basket of the laundry room for days on end. The last "step" of putting the clothes away, after all, is actually several separate actions in several different rooms. Remember to take a minute tonight to thank the one in your home who does the "laundry."

According to McDoogle's Second Law of Laundry Dynamics, it is not possible in our universe to have a house where all clothes are clean and put away without soiled clothes mustering like enemy soldiers somewhere else in the house. Yet despite the never-ending drudgery, doing laundry is ultimately a very satisfying task. There is a special feeling of joy we feel when our children don clean clothes. Precisely because it has to do with taking that which is soiled, wrinkled, and unusable, doing laundry is a lot like going to Confession, but with physical, rather than spiritual, penance. Dirty to clean. Sinner to saint. Restoration! If you happen to be a guy who rarely does laundry, it is not unlike the feeling you enjoy when taking in the view of your freshly-mowed lawn.

Ha! If you knew how long the (two oldest boys') clothes (especially) lay in baskets waiting to be put away,... and sometimes other clothes as well, in baskets in my room... and the whole ironing step? Put off for later,... much much later...

Ohhh, the shame...

(Something like putting off confession, but you feel really good when you finally get around to doing it?)

You know I'm obsessed when...

I went to get the breaks fixed last Friday, and had to wait two hours. I only had Nicky with me, so I went out walking with him, and ended up at the Halles St-Jean (shopping plaza). There is a Health Food store in the plaza, and I have to admit, I love to browse in there. I stopped for chocolate, (they have yummy dark chocolate, not bitter at all) and discovered bags of tea. Not tea bags, big bags of dried herbs to steep in those wire mesh thingies. I ended up buying a whole bunch of them plus a teapot for two complete with strainer, so I could make tea for two and make my own mixes.

My sister arrived that evening and we spent the whole weekend drinking herbal tea. I put licorice in almost everything because it has a very sweet aftertaste.

Did you know that you can drink MARSHMALLOW tea? I got that. I had no idea how it was going to taste, and neither did the store clerk. But she told me it was good for the digestive system, and oh, as an afterthought, it was also good for breastmilk supply. As soon as I heard that, I thought, "that's it, I'm taking some." I still can't tell you what marshmallow tea actually tastes like, because I haven't drunk it on it's own yet.

And this is just one in many of my strange diversions...

I keep telling Jean-Alexandre that my family and I are weird,... and that it runs in the genes...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mother/Daughter Day today

Check out this foot now, because you probably won't ever see it looking this good again...

I took Maryssa with me to get our nails done. I got a whole pedicure done (God knows my feet needed it, poor woman who had to do them, I tipped her five dollars for it too...), and Maryssa got her nails polished.

Aren't we the fancy ones?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I guess I'm liberal?

Thought I'd do this one too...

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 35% Conservative, 65% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Gee I guess I am more liberal than I thought...

Or could that be because some of those questions were WAAAY too general and I might have chosen something more in between?


Just thought I'd do this one too, since I am supposedly Taurus. I must have been born during some weird "alignment of the planets" or other though, since I don't actually seem to ressemble a Taurus all that much after all, especially the parts about needing security and loving money and possessions...

You are 40% Taurus

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What colour flower Am I?

You Are a Purple Flower

A purple flower tends to represent success, grace, and elegance.
At times, you are faithful like a violet.
And other times, you represent luxury, like a wisteria.
And more than you wish, you find yourself heartbroken like a lilac.

Got this from Days Go By

Commercialism (rant)

It's not just a matter of Hallowe'en stuff coming out in the dollar store in mid-July, and Christmas stuff out as soon as Hallowe'en is over in most stores, the whole idea of getting ready for a whle new season when the current season has just begun just makes me go bonkers sometimes. Like I want to be checking out swimsuits in the middle of winter!!

What really drives me bonkers is when I really need something, like a new pair of mittens for my kids, in the middle of winter, and THERE ARE NO MORE MITTENS anywhere, at least not any more good ones, or none the right size, because THEY ARE OUT OF SEASON. How can they be out of season if there are at least two more months left of winter? Kids always lose their mittens, shouldn't there be mittens in stock until at least the end of winter? It just doesn't make sense. Unless it's marketing sense. I guess the whole conspiracy is there to make us buy stuff "just in case we need it later and there isn't any left". That way, we buy regardless of need.

Some people love shopping and preparing things ahead. Some people pack their luggage a whole week before leaving. I pack the night before. I am a buy it as you need it person. I rarely plan way ahead of time, unless I need to. I have learned my lesson for mittens. The past two years or so, we have started buying extra pairs of mittens right off the bat, because we KNOW our children will inevitably lose them.

Ah, but it doesn't make it any easier when, in the middle of summer, you need a new swimsuit, because the old one is getting worn rather thin on the buttocks, and there isn't much left in your size on the racks anymore. And even less in a style you'd be willing to wear...

I am ranting today, because I am currently in the middle of a desperate search for a large cooler with wheels that you can pull, because we are going camping (for the first time in four years) and our family has grown by two since then, and some of the others eat significantly more than they used to. In short, our old cooler holds enough for a day, but definitely not for a whole weekend. We want one with wheels because of course that would be much more practical. I have been to Canadian Tire, Zellers, Maxi, Rona and even Walmart, and there are NONE. None like what we want. In the first four stores, there were big coolers, but none had wheels. Walmart had one with wheels but it wasn't much bigger than the one we already have if at all. I will now have to try to find a place that specializes in camping gear, (if that exists here) and try to find one there.

True, planning ahead might have avoided this trouble, but since I did not know if Marc even had vacation time, and since neither of us expected to go camping at all, and since the other cooler is fine for day trips, it never crossed our minds to buy a bigger one while they were "in season" although logic could have told us that even if it didn't serve us this year, it would have served us sooner or later.

And then again, if we weren't such a consumerist society, so eager to buy and sell, maybe stuff like this would actually be "in season" in the right season.

With this latest battle of the "seasons" (surely not my last), I am inspired to go through all the stores now, and buy them out of anything and everything that I MIGHT need this winter. Maybe I should make a list and check it twice?

Don't get me wrong, some things I do buy way ahead of time. For example, when I see the perfect gift for someone and it isn't their birthday or Christmas yet, I'll buy it anyway and keep it, for months if need be. I just think that stuff should still be sold even during the season in which it is meant to be used. I think our society is way too consumerist. I think it is too easy to get caught up in the "magic" of shopping.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nicolas's Baptism Pictures - I made his outfit

Baptism Pictures

I keep trying to upload pictures from Nicolas's baptism, but for some reason there is always a problem or another. Will try to get that done later tonight when there is less traffic on the web(?).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Way of the Cross

This on-line "flash" version of the Way of the Cross from Beliefnet is definitely worth checking out: Turn up the volume.

Bitter Journey - The way of the Cross

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Our family, June 2006

Marc and I, June 2006

Disposable Society

Remember the good old days when things were made to last? Neither do I, that was before my time. But I'll bet my parents do, back before disposables took over our world, (the developed world anyway).

We have become a society of disposables. Disposable diapers, paper cups and plates, plastic knives and forks, kleenex, individually wrapped-ready to eat/drink food, paper-towelling, heck we even have the swiffer now, to replace mops.

Don't get me wrong, I would rather use toilet paper than, say newspaper... I'll bet the plumbing likes it way better too. And I think kleenex you use once and throw away is probably a lot more hygienic than a hankie used a few times. But couldn't you just have a lot of hankies and throw them in the wash after each use? I use mostly facecloths to clean my babies' bums and I have a whole lot of them, I don't re-use them without washing them first.

I don't even need to touch on paper/styrofoam plates,... I think greenpeace and the like have said it all...

And all this ready to eat, individually wrapped food... isn't that a lot of packaging? Look at all the plastic containers involved. Okay, I'm guilty of using the stuff too,... but usually it's because I've been lazy or haven't prepared ahead. I guess one of the effects of a disposable society is that you don't have to prepare ahead anymore. I'm guilty of using disposable diapers too, from time to time, but again, if I didn't have the choice, and if they weren't so darn EASY, and I weren't so darn LAZY, I wouldn't.

Swiffer commercials say: "Don't clean your floor with dirty water." But if you change your water often enough, you're not. And what about all those cleaning cloths you're throwing away? Is that better? Maybe not any better than throwing out dirty water? What we need to do perhaps, is just never clean the floors. Hey! It's for the environment! Of course, you can always get yourself a dog who'll clean the floors for you,...

Plastics aren't even good for you. Sure they are lighter and less breakable than glass, but there is stuff in them that leaches out into the food and can cause cancer and sterility in both males and females.

According to the Children's Health Environmental Coalition, a common plastic that is used in making baby bottle and teethers is polycarbonate. This polycarbonate can leach a hormone disrupting chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) into bottles when they are heated or sterilized. BPA affects the endocrine system and has been linked to cancer, sterility and developmental problems. The FDA believes that this type of plastic is safe, but until more is learned, (...) it makes sense to limit the exposure to this kind of potentially harmful chemical.

Another type of plastic that is used in teethers, toys and bottles is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is the most toxic of the plastics, and it is related to the phthalate family of chemicals. Phalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are used as plastic softeners. There other concerns about PVC plastic as well. When administered at high doses to animals, PVC caused increased cancer rates and damage to the liver, kidneys and other organs. PVC can also contain lead, which is known to cause developmental delays in children. Several years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission asked manufacturers to voluntarily eliminate phthalates from toys, and the large toy retailers stopped selling products containing PVC. Many products still contain high levels of PVC, and many retailers (including some chain drugstores) still sell these products.Read more.

The issue of endocrine disruptors hit us all in the ecological solar plexis. We learned that many substances, that are known endocrine disrupters, are used as additions to plastics and that they leach out from them. In fact, just one of these substances, Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate “is principally used [95%] as a plasticizer in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and vinyl chloride resins.” (Ref: Toxicological Profile for Di (2-Etheylhexyl) Phthalate, April 1993, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.)

Plastics are used for practically everything - packaging for food; furniture; construction; medical supplies; toys, etc. They have replaced many safer materials. In fact, we are losing, at an exponential rate, our ability to manufacture safe materialsRead more.
If living in a disposable society tends to rob us of our ability to plan and prepare ahead... It also seems to rob us of our ability to think clearly in terms of what is important. Convenience has become a ideal. Rapidity is an ideal. Get what you want, when you want. We don't want to work hard or have to wait anymore. And you end up only getting the quality you are willing to put the effort into. When something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Like toys from the dollar store.

This has spilled over into our relationships. Especially when it comes to sex. People aren't willing to wait anymore. They want it right now. They start out their relationships with it. Or they don't even bother having a relationship. People have become disposable. What is a prostitute if not a disposable sex partner? Okay so prostitutes have been around a bit longer than kleenex,... but has the problem ever been greater than in this last century? Sex has become a commodity, sex sells.

Whatever happened to patience? And waiting? The longer you wait for something, or someone, the more you appreciate it, or them. When people reduce themselves to objects of sex, they lose respect. Even in our sex-crazed society. Who do people genuinely respect more? Mother Theresa or Pamela Anderson?

People want easy sex, with no complications, no relationships, no responsibilites. Empty sex. Like I said, you only get the quality you are willing to put the effort into.

What is worse is that people's LIVES have become disposable as well. Got an unwanted pregancy? We can take care of that. Got a very sick/very old patient? We can take care of that. When there is no hope of saving a person, and to keep them alive they have to be on a machine to help them breathe and/or keep their heart beating, pulling the plug is one thing. What happens is called natural death. When someone's mental facilities are gone, but he/she is capable of breathing and natural functions, to pull the plug that feeds them is called STARVING THEM TO DEATH. (AKA murder) When do we start crossing the line from someone like Terri Schiavo who was "brain dead" (but who could still have drunk water from a glass had someone been allowed to give it to her?) to a severely mentally handicapped person? Are we going to kill them off too? Actually, we already are... while they are in the womb.

Having babies is a commodity. You can choose to kill the unwanted ones, and should you choose to have one by yourself, you can be artifically inseminated. You don't have to be married to have a baby, and you can have as many different fathers as you have babies. What happens when these kids grow up and start having sex/babies with people who could (unbeknownst to them) be their half-sibling, or half-cousin or whatever?

There's a reason that sex should be between two people who love each other for other reasons as well, within a mariage that both are putting an effort in to make last. The more you try to get around it, the more complications you create. And the more people insist on sticking to their "ideal" of Sexual Liberation, the more they will become ruthless in their quest to make it so. Abortion was only the beginning.

So much for Dollar Store sex.

Some disposable things, like toilet paper, kind of need to be disposable. (after all, the whole point of a toilet is to dispose of unneeded stuff, right?) Disposable (or at the very least, properly disinfected) needles and such in hospitals and other similar places is also a necessity. But when the outcome of using something disposable is nastier than if you didn't use it, maybe it's time to find a better way.