Friday, January 28, 2011

Sickness ... and the Payoff

So I've been ill this week.

That's the explanation for my absence.

Wednesday was OK ... I went to work ... but slowly nausea began consuming me.

By the time I was home, dinner seemed uniquely unappealing.

By 11pm I was throwing up.

I was up most of the rest of the night ... did a minimal amount of work, slept, and tried to keep some plain, bland food down most of yesterday.

Today, I feel much better (although any big piles of greasy salty fatty stuff is incredibly unattractive still - not such a bad thing for a girl trying to watch what she eats).

Today was also mild out, but a lovely winter day - cold enough, for example, ice would still be frozen.

This meant skating.

Little Tyke's first time on skates. The wee one stayed in his stroller ... a good time, however, was had by all.

Also - I have skates that fit me now. No more walking on the Rideau Canal.

Even illness has a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now for the weekend?

A visit to my mother's tomorrow ... work Sunday ... then work Monday/Tuesday.

So it might be a few days again ...

But you have fair warning.

Be blessed. XO

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sesame Street Live

After a busy week of supply teaching, work at church, etc. - we got to have fun today. We went with my mom, my step-dad, and our boys to Sesame Street Live here in Ottawa at the Scotia Bank Place. So much fun:

Elmo's Green Thumb=a very fun show. I wonder what they'll have on offer next year. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Watch the Tramcar, Please

Anyone who has ever been to Wildwood, NJ knows that expression - this quaint, doo-wop resort town has been a family vacation destination of mine since I was six weeks old, and is probably the spot with which I am most familiar on the Jersey Shore (sorry, JWoww and Sitch). It is definitely traditional beach-midway, with a long oceanside beach and a boardwalk running along it replete with amusement piers. Well - the easiest way to travel the 3km boards? By the yellow 'Sightseer' tramcar - whose warning to unsuspecting pedestrians is exactly that phrase, blared out on a megaphone at intervals.

Why do I bring this up now? Because this is where my family is planning to vacation this upcoming summer, my first time back in eight years, which in turn had been my first time back in ... oh about 4 or so. I can already taste Mack's Pizza, see the garish neon signs, hear the nasal tram warning ... so excited, in a very existential, circle-of-life kind of way, to be bringing my boys to a place I have almost literally known and loved all my life.

In my early research today to start doing some planning ahead for this holiday, I found an awesome new blog to share with you, if you are a Wildwood vet like me - check it out HERE, at And don't forget ... WTTCP! :D

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords

So, on Saturday, US Congresswoman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, was shot at what was effectively a town hall meeting at a grocery store in her home district of Tucson. Jared Loughner has thus far been the only gunman/suspect arrested, having injured not only Rep. Giffords, but twelve others at the meeting, as well as killing six - including Federal Judge John Roll, and a 9 year old girl named Christina Taylor Green, who was amazingly enough born on Sept. 11, 2001 - yes, THAT 9/11 - and was attending the event having just recently been elected to her student council and wanting to see how politics works.

So many thoughts through my head, both reasonable and unreasonable, emotional and cold, fair and unfair ... with apologies, here they are:

  • How awful. And how dare they run that man's mug shot so often, when really this should be a time to remember the victims.
  • Having said that - while I am against the death penalty, I will not be shedding any tears at this man's execution, or using this as a case study against it in any particular way.
  • I agree with those who find it unfair to blame politicians and their rhetoric for this assassination (attempt) - ultimately we are all responsible for our own decisions ... nevertheless ...
  • How can we expect any different when our elected officials - ie, mainstream politicians who are supposed to represent mainstream views, as opposed to the lunatic fringe, speak of 'watering the tree of liberty' (a longtime euphemism for armed revolution/insurrection), reverting to 'those second amendment solution' (referring to the constitutional amendment allowing pretty much unlimited gun liberties in the US), and putting posters out their featuring political opponents' districts in the crosshairs of a gun (one of whom, by the way, was Gabby Giffords)? Maybe 'blame' is too strong; but a surfeit of caution to keep our hands clean and the appearance of impropriety at bay is perhaps fair.
  • Either way, whichever of the above positions you fall under - thinking your first real extended statement following such a tragedy should involve spending more time exonerating yourself rather than sympathizing over and bemoaning the REAL loss and REAL tragedy of this situation, you, sister, are not even remotely a victim in this situation, and in fact while I wouldn't say you're a perpetrator either, you certainly haven't helped, nor are you doing so now. You have NO class.
  • And speaking of no class - all I am going to say is, anyone who thinks it even remotely appropriate to protest a 9-year-old's funeral because she is Catholic, or any of these funerals because they had the nerve to associate with a centrist-progressive Congresswoman, is not a church, they are not Christians, and they are on the fast track to hell in their own particular handbaskets. I refuse to name these people and give them even more attention - but they bring a whole new meaning to the term evil.
May God bless and keep all the victims of this situation, and their families, friends and colleagues. And may this remind us that democracy, even in the world's oldest and possibly best, is fragile, and we must respect and love and nurture the freedoms and privileges it brings us. And please, let us honour those who are dead and injured by being more respectful in our treatment of those with the courage (yes courage) to enter the blood sport of politics - it is a very brave, courageous and important role, and most who undertake it do so honourably and with good intentions - even in our disagreements, let's remember that.

Except you, Sarah Palin. You can just sit on your own thumb and spin, and be grateful that's the worst I'm wishing on you after the spectacle you have made of yourself for nigh on 2 1/2 years now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Reading

NOTE: Sorry for the tardiness of posting again after the new year - illness in our family right after the holidays seems to be becoming a tradition for us. Back to your regularly scheduled programming now ...

So I did manage to complete one book over the holidays, and make some major headway into a couple of others. I completed 'Putting Away Childish Things' by Marcus Borg, on my list below.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Putting Away Childish Things - Marcus Borg
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

(and yes - I did switch "God's Problem" for this one, after just adding it to my list last week; I had some trouble really getting into it, to be honest; I can understand people 'not' believing in God - I'm married to one of them - but given the author, Bart Ehrman, is an incredibly creative and intelligent guy, I'm disappointed his belief fell strictly on the 'God can't be an all loving AND all powerful deity if pepole suffer - as a scholar he knows there are different ways to see the holy - and it's his prerogative to reject those ways, just from the first 4-5 chapters I've read I expected a better argument than 'when the "Gandalf in the sky" image fell, I just couldn't compute it' - which is what this book felt like, and I know Ehrman is capable of more than that)

But that's a sidetrack - on to putting away childish things with Marcus Borg. This book has a lot going for it - the storyline, though basic, is interesting; it's a fun way for one to familiarize themselves with progressive, emergent Christianity - Borg's beliefs, and my own - as well as the arguments against it as well, on both sides. The novel is 'didactic', or designed to teach, and that sometimes takes away a bit from it - there's a lot of rehashing and exposition, for example, amongst people who would more likely talk in shorthand, simply to clue readers in; and this also interferes with a lot of the dialogue between characters who, while interesting, all sound alike in their speech patterns. Nonetheless, I give him credit for developing an interesting plot and cramming a whole lot of emerging Christianity 101 into this book; I think he could have used a polish on the dialogue, and how to better handle exposition and painstakign explanation amongst 'experts' - but on the other hand, this also allowed for him to reference in-text almost all sources these characters would use, allowing for further study for those who are interested. Is this a great classic of Western literature? No. Is it a strong success for a first novel with a didactic bent? Definitely. And from one of my very favourite theologians/Christian scholars as well. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Hi guys,

Christmas week, and the week after, became much more busy than I'd planned. This year is probably the first ever that I didn't post a 'Merry Christmas' on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; and I haven't posted this past week when I intended to. But I wanted to take the time to hope everyone had the lovely holiday we did, and that 2011 brings naught but good things to all! :) It is 10 to 11 and we've been on the road for the last 8 hours or so now so I'm keeping this short - but blessings to everyone, and here's to more posting in the new year.

Much love,

Sarah XO