Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Drumroll again...

... I've finished the first draft of my first novel and I'm now starting a second...

Ever since she could remember, the seashore had always been Maria’s favourite place to escape to. It was a constant in her life, never the same twice, yet always there. Some days, the seagulls scattered into the air, screaming loudly as she walked past. Some days, the ocean was calm, some days huge crests rolled in and broke against the boulders scattered here and there along the coast. Some days the ocean was grey and angry, other days it was blue and serene, but it was always there, and it called to her as she stood, bare toes digging into the fine white sand.
This was one of the subplots in my first novel and it's going to become my second novel. The above citation is the beginning paragraph.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Drumroll please....

I have officially finished the first rough draft of my first novel ever.

It isn't the first I've ever started, but definitely the first I've gotten more than half-way through without getting bored of it and going on to something else.

I'm busy printing it out double-spaced as I write this, so I can read through it at my leisure and add things or re-write them, or take them out.

But hey... I'VE GOT A NOVEL FOLKS!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Human Dignity - Commentary by Chuck Colsen


But, if the answer to the question, “Where do we come from?” is “We were created
by God,” then the implications are truly staggering.

If in fact we were created in God’s image; if in fact, as we celebrated yesterday at Christmas, God in Christ became human, took on human flesh, sharing our very DNA, then every human life, from natural conception through natural death, is endowed with eternal and incomprehensible worth.

I like Chuck Colsen's commentaries.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day

I'm just glad that the parties are over... I've had this recurring headache the whole time and everyone is getting sick with the flu one after the other... yay! Today Maryssa has a soccer tournament and after that... just vacation, no more parties... Well, except for the New Years Eve thing that my sister Dorothy wants me to go to... But I'll probably be going alone...

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's the Effort that counts

It isn't about the gift so much, nor how much it cost. It isn't even really the "thought that counts" either, since one can think about getting a gift, but never get around to doing it. It's about the effort put into it to please the person you intend it for. It isn't just effort put into finding or making the right gift, it is the effort put into having it on time, and the effort put into the presentation of said gift.

A birthday gift is no longer really a birthday gift if it is thrown into your lap two days after your birthday with no gift wrapping on it. A Christmas gift is no longer a Christmas gift if it is finally bought three months later. Presentation and timing are everything. What is inside the gift is less important. Obviously, a well-thought out gift is something picked out with a particular person in mind, knowing his/her tastes exactly. But sometimes you can't find the perfect gift. Or maybe you can't afford it. Or maybe you don't know the person well enough. Even when you do find the perfect gift, presentation and timing are still key.

Christmas and birthdays are traditionally days we offer gifts to people we care about. Especially the ones we care about most. If you listen to commercials, we'd all be giving expensives gifts everytime there is a holiday, but that is ridiculous. Most people give gifts on these two occasions. And most expect to receive some token of appreciation on these two days.

So, how does it feel when you hang up your Christmas stocking every year, and consistently, every year at Christmas it is empty, unless you have put something in there yourself to make it look less flat?

How does it feel to know ahead of time, every year, that there won't be a Christmas gift under the tree for you from the person you love? How does it feel to think that you don't merit even a little bit of effort?

Pretty darn crappy I would think.

Failure to communicate...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

20 things about me

Apparently, reading my friend's version of this has automatically obliged me to create one of my own.

If therefore, you are reading this, please do feel obliged to create one yourself and share it with us. :) All the better to know you by.

1. I play sports. If you know me at all, this will come as no surprise to you. If you know me at all, but have never seen me play, what may come as a surprise is that the normally very laid-back Jeanne becomes a very aggressive, competitive player once out on/in the field/court/track/trail/pool/rink/what-have-you. Don't know why. Still trying to figure that out. Because...

2. That's what I do. I analyse. I'm not a computer geek or an electronics geek or any of that, I'm a mind geek. I should have been a psychiatrist. I love learning about how the mind works and about different temperaments and personalities, and why people do things/think the way they do. I find it fascinating.

3. I do crafts. I am the type of person who walks around craft sales thinking "I can't buy that, I can do it myself." almost everytime I see something I like. Except maybe for candles and soaps. Not that I couldn't do it. Just that I am already into so many other things, and have all the materials for all those other things that I really don't have the time/money/space to do/store any new stuff. Which is why Marc really should consider building an art studio for me over the future garage that he will eventually be building for himself. I sew, I draw, I make pinatas (and other paper-mâché stuff), I make chocolates, I do scrap-booking type stuff (cards, books etc... not so much scrapbooking with photos as much as collages) I paint (or I used to before I had kids), I make decorations with ribbons and bows and greenery and other stuff... and I bake... and...

4. I like to write. I have been telling myself stories since I was a child. I used to fall asleep on my own stories. I have been writing since I was able to write and before that I would draw and get my mother to write out the story I dictated to her. I am currently working on a novel and a couple of short stories that I would eventually like to publish.

5. I'm not very good at housekeeping. (Gasp!) House cleaning and other chores can be very tedious and boring. Until you have let it go long enough that you absolutely MUST clean or go nuts. But by then, it is interesting. Because you can see the difference cleaning made. Who wants to clean something that already looks clean? It's like re-painting a white wall white. BO-ring! Unfortunately, with all the kids and all their things, unless you keep up with the cleaning in my house, it becomes impossible to clean it all when it needs to be clean. I could really use a maid.

6. I waste waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on facebook. But all my friends are on Facebook. How would I communicate with them otherwise? In fact, I will add that some of my best friends, I got to know better THANKS TO facebook and Myspace.

7. I don't watch TV. Very little. Sometimes I will sit beside Marc and watch a bit with him. But mostly, it bores me.

8. I love to read. In fact, I must cut back on the number of books I buy, not because I can't afford them, but because nothing (and I mean nothing) gets done if I am into a book. See item 5 above. If I am not very good at housekeeping normally, I am worthless with a book in my hand.

9. I am honest. I may keep my opinion to myself, but if I do tell you something, you can be sure I am not lying. I hate to lie. If you ask me if I like your dress and I hate it, I will not enthousiastically compliment you on it. I may change the subject if the opportunity suddenly arrises. I may comment that the colour suits you (even though it hangs shapelessly on you.) I may actually say that it isn't something I would wear, but it looks good on you - if you are actually pulling it off not too badly. But I will never lie. I won't lie about deeper, more personal things either. I may refuse to talk, especially if I think talking will just create more problems, but I won't lie.

10. I talk too much. I give too many details. I explain too much. I give you items 1 through 9 as proof.

11. I avoid conflict. Which is why I may sometimes refuse to talk (since I can't lie - see item 9). If you talk to me about something, and I almost totally disagree with you, I am the type of person who will find the ONE thing you said that I can agree with and choose to comment on that. Unless I am forced to finally admit to disagreeing, or am obliged to put my foot down when something finally crosses my moral sensitivity. I can be quite outspoken in my blog, but almost never in real life.

12. I am the hairdresser who dresses not her own hair. Ok, I have rather classic tastes. I like to be classy. I like it elegant when the occasion arrises, or casual. I have never been very trendy. Sometimes I would like to be trendy. But then I feel like I'm pretending to be someone I'm not. Which is fine if I am an actor in a play (by the way I love Hallowe'en, I love the ocassion to prentend to be what I am not and I also love to act... enjoyed doing theatre... would love to do it again...), but in real life, I'm just not the funky type of person. And who has time for all the effort it would take to make my fine hair look full and funky anyway? Actually, I do take the time to blow dry my hair though...

13. Speaking of taste... I can be a bit of a snob... I like fine things. Fine wine, fine cheese, fine dining, dark chocolate, REAL coffee, artisanal beer, apples fresh from the orchard, fresh pasta, (don't make it myself, but enjoy going to restaurants where they make their own as compared to boiling up some Catelli, like me...) cider... ahhhh... but only a bit.. I won't hold it against you if you offer me less...

14. I am all over the board politically. I can be very conservative on certain issues (gun-control, family matters, abortion,...) and very socialist on others (fair-trade, world development, social-justice, health-care...) and liberal on others (umm,... what is liberal again?)

15. Ummm, I grew up in a Cree village. For most white people I meet, that is pretty special. It does make me different. Like that laid-back personality is probably amplified because of it. Also, I may just drop by your place without announcing myself... I may prefer to pay you back by helping you out when you need it next instead of offering you money for a favour. It probably has a lot to do with me not being very funky too...

16. I used to have energy. (Without being necessarily energetic or hyper-active) Like, I used to be able to concentrate on things and get them done. I used to be able to balance having kids and getting 3000 things done for a party. Somewhere along the way, I had a fifth child. And I tell you, this one is out of the X-files. This one is not a normal child. He's a life-sucker. Since having him, I have aged 10 years (instead of three). His life-force feeds on mine and those around him. This seems to affect the adults around him more than the siblings. The siblings seem to be quite immune in fact. Same gene pool I guess. It protects them. Anyway,... as the days wears on, I have less and less energy, and he has more and more. He doesn't sleep... I can't get enough sleep. You see the picture? Any minute now, I expect Mulder and Scully to show up on my door-step.

17. The X-files... probably the only TV series I ever watched, every week, with Marc, and one of the few that didn't make me roll my eyes at the way they portrayed Catholics.

18. I go to bed late... even when I am tired. It's like my body is already there, but my brain still needs to unwind. I just want to be able to do things, and think about things, and read things... without being pestered every five minutes.

19. I am burning the candle on both ends, because with school and on weekends, soccer... I also get up early.

20. And when I think, "Tonight is the night I go to bed early, Marc asks me if I want to watch a movie. I may not watch much TV, but I do watch movies.

Yeah, I ran out of things to say.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Interesting to know...

... the importance of family and... dare we mention... religion!

Policymakers should strongly consider whether their policy proposals give support to such a family structure:

Children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with their biological parents and frequently attend religious services, according to a study released today by the Family Research Council's Mapping America Project.

Among their findings: children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavior problems at home and school, and are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others' feelings. Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent child relationships and fewer concerns about their children's achievement.

"Social-science data continue to demonstrate overwhelmingly that the intact married family that worships weekly is the greatest generator of human goods and social benefits and is the core strength of the United States," said Dr. Pat Fagan, senior fellow and director of FRC's Center for Family and Religion.

"Policymakers should strongly consider whether their policy proposals give support to such a family structure. Children are not the only beneficiaries but also their parents, families, communities and all of society."


Thursday, December 04, 2008

OK Canada, let's be honest, shall we?

The real issue hiding behind the coalition to take out our newly elected government is NOT the economy, regardless of what the NDP, Liberals and BQ may say. It is not, either, an issue of Canadian Unity. Well, maybe, off-handedly in an indirect sort-of-way for the BQ, since an instable, weak, Federal government tends to make Québecers more open to sovereignty. But really, let's be honest here. The real reason that the NDP and the liberals have formed a coalition and the BQ is supporting them, is neither the economy nor the indirect result such a coalition might have on quebecers. The real reason behind this coalition is the simple fact that liberal-minded people CANNOT STOMACHE THE FACT THAT CANADA ELECTED A CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT ONCE AGAIN.

The three left-wing parties have been after the one right-wing party over and over and over. They don't let them do this, they won't let them do that, they've been threatening over and over to do this during the last mandate. After two years of this, we go to vote again, and lo and behold, canadians actually DARE vote for conservative yet again!!! Have they not learned their lesson? Don't they know how bad a conservative government is for them? If they don't know better, we, the liberal-minded people must free them from their ignorant ways, do the unthinkable, create a coalition in order to bring about the first coup d'état in the history of Canada. This has been in the works since the elections, they have been waiting to pounce on any reason to act. It has nothing to do with democracy or what is better for Canada.

The truth is, most Canadians are neither right nor left, but somewhere in between. If conservatives win some of the time, and liberals win some of the time, it is because eventually, people will switch over to get what is missing.

Given time, power would naturally come back to the liberals, once the conservatives had done what we elected them for, and we started to find that they were being, perhaps, a bit too conservative to our taste. And when we tire of the liberals again, it'll be back to the conservatives. History, people... it's been happening over and over since the birth of our country. Or hadn't you read? Can you remember that far back? Sure Chrétien was in power a long time with the liberals, but come one, surely you can remember farther than him?

No, liberals cannot stomache that conservatives could win a second time. Surely, they must have thought that victory was in the bag for liberals. Had it been an NDP victory or a Liberal victory, or heck even a Green Party victory, the other would have accepted it. But no, it was a conservative victory again and it is beyond them how that could have happened. So they are willing to forget such differences as unity of Canada vs sovereignty of Québec in order to fight the the common leftist cause.

A successful coalition coup d'état will certainly mean imminent elections once again. A coalition government would only be temporary. We would be back to the voting stations in no time. And this time, I hope, Canadians would vote in a MAJORITY conservative government, just to spite the silly coalition. That would shut them up. And then they would be able to actually govern.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

30% of women suffer after abortion

This is the total opposite of what Lapresse was claiming a few months ago:


Apparently 30% of women who have had an abortion subsequently suffer psychologically. Oh but I suppose that the people who stick fingers in their ears and sing "Nah, nah nah nah, I can't hear you" at Lapresse will just tell you that this is one of those studies that is "unscientific and unfounded", or some such other crap.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent is here

Decorated the house yesterday for advent. (Pink and purple) Christmas is coming!
Advent wreath

Stockings waiting...

I started this tradition with my kids where we hang up the stockings on the 1rst Sunday of Advent, instead of on Christmas Eve. That way, the kids can participate in putting little things into the stockings too. They have all Advent to do this. I usually do some baking or crafts with each of them, so they can add stuff. Sometimes some of them take their own money and go to the dollar store. St. Nicolas comes the night of December 5th, so they wake up on the 6th, (feast of St. Nicolas) to find some goodies in their shoes, where the night before they had left a carrot for St. Nicolas's horse/donkey, whichever it is. So technically, we don't "do" Santa Claus, not in the popular North American way anyway. I prefer the European way, which hasn't lost sight of the Catholic/Christian roots.
Now for finishing those projects I've started, cleaning out the house and making some quiche... !!!