Friday, October 30, 2009

Dancing with the stars week#6

This week on Dancing With The Stars there was a dance of at the end on Monday night. This is where all the couples are on the dance floor at the same time and the judges eliminate one couple at a time until they reveal a winner. It was my favourite part of the night. Some of these celebrities are so talented. Yes Cathy Donny did very well. Aaron and Joanna and Miya were my favourites.

There was a double elimination this week. Eliminated this week were Melissa and Louie. I am so sad to see them both leave because they are both very talented and they work so hard. At this stage of the game all of our favourites will be leaving to slowly unveil the winner.

See you all next week on the dance floor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thursdays on the Bench

Hi everyone, it's me Louise. I think I'm using the right colour? It's been so long since I've actually had the time or desire to sit and write. Even as I type this I'm not sure I'm going to post it........I'm a single mom of three. I don't really have any time for myself so I'm actually sitting here first thing this morning because I can't sleep. I'm really, really tired. This is my first year as a single mom, and when I say single I really mean single. I really don't get much support from their father, both hands on and financially. So I'm struggling. Even though I'm very busy just with everyday things I still have a lot of time to think. Think, think, think! Sometimes that's not such a good thing. The thing I really miss is having someone to bounce things off of. You know when you're worried about something, or have an idea, you like to talk it through, hear it out loud. I think that's a big part of being in a relationship. I miss that. The really big problem in my life right now is deciding whether or not to keep struggling to keep my home. Bottom line as of right now, I can't afford it. I'm only working part time, and yes I'm trying to get more hours but I'm still starting out and this is my schedule for now. I'm trying to make one dollar into at least five......I think everyone can relate to that. The man I once called my husband is constantly reminding me of the fact that he can't go on like this, he needs money to live too. He thinks I should get another job....ha ha! I wake up everyday and still can't believe I'm here.....In one years time I have lost so so much......I'm just waiting for things to turn around! I know some things you can't sit and wait for, so I'm trying to decided whether I should make a drastic move or let things fall where they may.....It's time for me to go and start the day, I'm off to a funeral today. The women that past away was 90, and such a strong, smart women. She lived on her own to her dying day. This is the first funeral I'm going to on my own.........I was asked to say a few words. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

(Sunshine) Louise I am so happy that you joined us for our Thursday's on the bench today. I am so sorry for all of your troubles and my heart really aches for you and your children. You are a strong woman and your kids are lucky to have you as their mom. They will remember as they grow older the sacrifices that you have made for them. You are working five days a week, taking care of everything at home and raising three beautiful children all at the same time. Taking on all of these responsibilities on your own must be so very difficult. Keep following your heart and believe in yourself. Try not to make the demands that your ex places on you demands that you place on yourself. Although the pressure must be insurmountable you must take deep breaths and think things through and keep doing what is right for you and your children.

I am also so sorry to hear about your aunt passing away. I wonder if it is who I am thinking of. I am sure that the funeral must have been very moving and very difficult. She is now an angel looking after you and your children.

(Carolin) Well, well, well look who had decided to join us on the bench. Hello there stranger. You have some big decisions to make Louise. I have had a very busy week again. I sent out last Friday once a week soup preorders. All week I have been getting the forms back and have close to three hundred dollars worth of soup orders! That's amazing. Starting next week I will have a student volunteer with me two days a week during the lunch rush. Can you believe I went through 11 dozen bagels this week! (ours school doesn't even do one dozen a day) I wonder if the Tim Horton's down the street has noticed a drop in sales. Probably not they do that amount an hour I'm sure.


We have had some exciting news this week. The teenager has been applying for scholarships. And she got a call this week that she won a scholarship through Credit Canada. Congratulations, she is such a smart girl. She had written a essay on the topic of what is the stupidest way you have wasted your money. She wrote her essay on buying her first thong! That's so funny! She is going to a Gala/dinner next Wednesday night at the Royal York (in Toronto) and Mike Holmes (I think he is a TV person) Hello he is the Holmes on Holmes and Holmes Inspection host. I love him I want him to come and redo my whole house. He is a pretty big Canadian Celebrity. Mike Holmes is the home improvement guru. He will be presenting the winners with their scholarships. At this point all we know is the scholarship is somewhere from $1000.00 to $5000.00. The Husband will take her downtown but wont be attending the dinner as we have been told it will cost us $160.00 each to attend! I am so surprised that they are not offering you a pair of free tickets as her parents but either way it is a great honour. We figured if we could afford the Gala/dinner we wouldn't need the scholarships! I sent the email info to KD asking her to confirm it is all legit, she is a Guidance teacher and has been a great help to the teenager with scholarship info.

We are planing to take the little one to our Church's harvest party for Halloween and then go to Sunshine's for a party. What would you like us to bring Sunshine, maybe some sandwiches! I am told that all four of us will be there, that would be great to be together again. I look forward to seeing everyone. I have told everyone not to worry about bringing anything but as usual everyone is being very generous and no one is listening to me. Please feel free to bring whatever you like and if you don't bring anything then that's ok too. I have very good listening skills so if you say don't bring I wont' bring! :)

See you all on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Little One Pass' Another Milestone

I am sure I am like many other parents. I marveled at each milestone that my children reached. The first smile, first tooth, first step, first word, you get my drift. Well this past weekend the little one hit another one.

Now at 9 years old you don't expect much in the 'write it down in the baby book' events but alas at Walmart we hit another big one. One that just tells us though she is our baby she is NO longer a baby in world of commerce. We had been shopping (even got a few Christmas gifts!) and then went to McDonald's for some lunch. While the husband scored us some seats the little one and I waited our turn in the line. I have been to the golden arches enough to know the husbands order Big Mac meal deal and of course my own Quarter pounder with cheese meal deal. But each time we go I have to ask the little one if she wants a cheese burger or chicken nuggets happy meal. She is always switching in up so I am never sure. While this time when I asked her she replied she wanted a Big Mac! I tried to hide my surprise and tell her that they didn't have Big Mac happy meals so she would not get a toy if she ordered the Big Mac. She was thoughtful for a minute or two then said she made her decision and wanted the Big Mac.

So I ordered a Big Mac and she could just share my fries. Once we sat down the husbands eyes bugged out when he saw her with the biggest burger she has ever had. She started on her burger and though the middle bun kept slipping out and the special sauce was everywhere, she was Loving It! After sometime she finished the burger had a big smile on her face and then promptly started to groan that her stomach hurt. We laughed at her and told her next time she should slow down.

We finished our lunch and I was cleaning up the table as the husband and little one got their coats on. As I watched them start to walk away there was a small tear in my eye. My baby is growing up. Never again will I find pointless hunks of plastic of the latest movie in my car, no more Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglier, or Grimace. :(

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bench Talk: Food Allergies - On the Increase?

Are food allergies on the increase? When I was a kid in school I was not aware of any kids around me having life threatening food allergies. Now, our children are hyper-aware of the dangers of food allergies. Also, these days we all know at least two children or adults with life threatening food allergies.


(Carolin) Cathy comes up with a subject I happen to know intimately. I have had food allergies ever since I can remember but fortunately they were never life threatening. My younger child, (little one) happened to get my allergy gene but hers are life threatening :( , she has an anaphalactic reaction to Shellfish.
(Cathy) My sister has an allergy to peanuts. I actually think it's to all nuts. It wasn't as severe when she was younger, however, as she gets older the severity with the allergy is also increasing. Where before she could get away with the, 'may contain nuts', she now has to stay away from them. She actually has to carry two epi-pens with her. She also wears the medic-alert bracelet.

http://www.medicalert.org/Home/homegradient.aspx




What has happened in the last few decades to cause this increase?


Because we live with allergies, I have read many magazine, books, and Internet articles on the apparent rise in life threatening allergies. Some researchers feel it is because we are a generation of overt cleanliness. We need to have whiter then white, sparkling floors, not a speck of dust anywhere. With our obsession (back to media influence, refer to previous posts) with cleanliness we have not allowed our children to build up immunities to normal life germs and bacterias. Other articles blame the rise on vaccinations, and again not allowing our children to fight off disease. More have said that it is the result of all the processed foods we eat and the chemical reliant farms that grow the food we eat. I don't really know anymore but it can be a drag! (Sunshine) Is it possible that there were many allergies long ago but they were unrecognized and not treated quickly enough to save lives. Were there epi-pens being carried around when our parents were little? We are so lucky that modern medicine has given these people with allergies a short term solution that can save their lives and get them to a hospital in time for medical help. If immunization is to blame then we are only going to make things worse with all of the new immunizations. If it is environmental and due to all of the toxins then what we have done to the planet will continue to be reflected in our health but hopefully attempts to save the planet will also show improvement in our health.
I agree with both of you! I believe as much as we have moved forward with science, we have moved backwards. I understand life expectancy is longer than in the 'olden days' but at what cost? I hope as time moves forward that a balance will be found.



How do we deal with it?



How do we deal with it, well we are fortunate that it is shellfish and not peanuts. So we ask about food where ever we go. If we are going to a pot luck where many have brought food we ask the hostess as discreetly as possible and try to always get the little one's plate of food first before cross contamination has occured. We also try to bring something that we know she likes so she always has something to eat. We have taught her to always ask before she eats anything but because she is very shy that has been difficult.



Are our schools making the right choice, being 'peanut free'?



NO! I do know at the little one's school it is not peanut free. All the signs say Peanut Aware. I think it has to do with insurance issues. Also, when I was getting insurance for my business I had two companies turn me down because of the allergy issue and feeding children. I know that if one of my children were allergic to anything then I would appreciate the school keeping such foods away from my children. My kids are very aware of children and teachers with allergies in their classrooms. Even though they can wash their hands and brush their teeth before they leave for school they are very reluctant to eat peanut butter for breakfast. Keeping certain foods out of their lunches is not a big deal and if we can help to save a life then it is more than worth it. Our school has a nut free policy and in certain classes depending on the children there are no eggs or kiwi or seafood allowed.

I can understand the nut free policy in the primary grades. However, once the children reach an age where they understand I feel lunches should not be restricted. If someone has a touch sensitivity, that's different.


What about the dairy and seafood allergies which are just as life threatening?


It seems to me that the schools only value the peanut allergy children lives and not the other children who have life threatening allergies. I totally agree that they can't ban all allergy foods. But I think they have gone a little over board. I support the idea for elementary schools that if a child (say grade three and under) has an allergy then the class should respect that issue. But to ban peanuts across the board does not make sense. Now that schools have had a chance to really read the "Sabrina's Law 2005", they have relaxed some of their earlier rules. I know the teenager's high school no longer has a peanut ban. Students can eat peanut products and the cafeteria sells all kinds of peanut and nut products. The law never said peanuts had to be baned it only stated that all schools must have a emergency plan in place, all school staff must be trained in recognizing an allergy and know how to use an epi-pen. That all students who have this type of allergy must have valid epi-pens at school where they can be easily accessed. Miss teen sunshine is in high school now and she has a good friend who she eats lunch with who reacts to even the smell of peanut butter. She decided to stop taking her favourite granola bars to school because of it. If we can do anything to help then I think that we should.




Do the tests for allergies show how serious the reaction will be or does it only show that there was a reaction?


Unfortunately, the testing does not tell us how serious the next reaction might be so that is why it is best to avoid the food at all cost. I wonder if they can test to see if the allergen has to be ingested or not. This could be done at the doctor's office so if there was a reaction it could be dealt with in seconds. Is this feasable?


Should the policy be zero tolerance or should we be teaching our children, once they are old enough, how to read labels or ask questions?



As a parent we need to do what is best for our children and keep them as safe as possible, but, we do not have the right to expect others to change their lifestyles for us. So, we need to always be prepared and have something for our children to eat that is a 'safe' food. And yes, teach our children to always ask before putting anything in their mouths. If they are not sure then they don't eat it.
I like the zero tolerance policy and I feel that families with children with allergies should not feel bad in asking us to keep those foods away from their children. If it were my child then I know that I would have greater peace of mind knowing that the school was trying their best to keep my child safe in my absence.
I feel that education is the best for everyone. I don't agree with zero tolerance as I feel the child needs to learn how to adapt to life everywhere. However, just to clarify again, I do see the value of keeping allergens free from the primary levels.



If you have a food allergy or know someone who does, how do you handle it?


We really don't think about the allergy all that much. We try to always have her geek bag (as we call it) with us when we go out. It has her puffers for asthma, two epi-pens, benedryl, and Tylenol. Either my husband or I will ask the hostess when we arrive if there is any seafood in any food and then we know what she can have or what she can't. I have noticed that the little one does not eat stuff even if she is the slightest bit concerned which is a good thing. I was at a get together with Carolin and her family on Saturday and I heard her ask the hostess if anything contained seafood before we started to eat. I thought about how difficult it must be to always have to be concerned about such a thing. Eating is something we do several times a day so people with allergies must never get a break from their worries. That must be tough.
Well, as I said above, my sister has an allergy to nuts. We still have peanut butter in our home. she knows to stay away from the strawberry jam jar as it gets contaminated from the peanut butter. We don't eat peanut butter if we are going to see her. Thankfully, her kids do not share her allergy. At Halloween I always have peanut free options and I offer them so the kids and their parents can make a choice.


We are careful when we go to restaurants, we don't go to buffet restaurants (no Mandarin for us!) and we read labels carefully especially with food that comes from Costco. If you read their labels in some of their baked goods you will notice Fish Oil as a ingredient. Since we can't tell what fish it is from we just avoid buying or eating it.


I think the biggest thing we need to understand is sometimes life is just not fair and not everyone can be treated the same. We deal with the hand God gave us and move on with it.


Do some people actually grow out of being allergic to certain things or is it only the other way around? I have heard of people who have had no trouble with a certain food allergy for their entire life and then one day in adulthood, they suddenly develop a severe allergy to a certain food. That is really scary too!



I can only hope that as the world gets 'greener' that the incidence of food allergies will decrease.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chatter

Where to start, it feels like I haven't sat and blogged in like forever. Of course that is besides the Thursdays at the park and Bench talk, I do force myself to sit long enough to get my two cents in or when it comes to Bench talk tomorrow my $20.00 worth!

Firstly, let me say how much I have missed chatting with all you Benchers. Work is going very well, it is long days but I really enjoy it. I like the interaction with the kids and coming up with different menu ideas that I think they will like. This past week I made meatball subs and they were a huge hit! I sold all that I had made and only heard great reviews on them. I am going to do Pizza subs this week. I am very busy at lunch time, so busy that I need help, the teenager had a day off this past Monday and came to help me, and the husband is on the afternoon shift so he has come in the other days to help. There is no way I can do the lunch without help. The preorders have increased which does make it a little easier but it is very busy. I have about an hour mid morning and an hour mid afternoon when it is quiet and I can plan menus, eat my lunch or just read the paper. Sometimes, I will even do my bible study homework then. This past Friday a note went home to all the elementary students announcing Monday soup days. They can preorder a bowl of warm soup on Mondays to accompany their homemade lunch. KD has agreed (kinda twisted her arm) to come in on Mondays and help get the soup orders out. They will be delivered to the child's classroom just before their lunch time. I am hoping it will be a hit! As of this coming Wednesday the grade 4's and 5's will be able to come to the kitchen and order their lunch, so that will also increase business. This past week was the highest sales so far and I was able to pay back all the original investment that I put into the business! Now I can start taking a SALARY!!!!

As I am writing the little one is coughing away on the couch watching cartoons, she has caught a cold so I think we will let her just lay on the couch for the day. The teenager is still sleeping, she went to a birthday party with Dilbert (the boyfriend) last night but was home before 10:00 pm. She said that some girl party crashers had arrived and brought alcohol and things were starting to get a little out of control so they left. After she told us the story I did mention how proud of her I was for making a wise decision and leaving the party before things got out of control.

This past week has been fairly quiet concerning the teenager, but as usual we all know that calm will not last too long. It was rough a few weeks ago but I am getting real tired of the drama and told the husband it is time for him to step up and deal with her emotions and hormones for a change! Now lets see if I can follow through on my decision and stay out of it.

The husband has been working steady for a few months now but layoffs start the beginning of November for two weeks and he told me that at Christmas he will have 5 weeks off instead of the normal two weeks off. The plant is shutting down for retooling.

A few weeks ago the Wednesday night Women's bible started and I did say I would blog about it. If you remember I mentioned we would be studying Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore http://www.lifeway.com/lby/. Well, let me say so far so good. We have 27 women signed up, amazing. This past week we studied just who is the Holy Spirit, and it was very eye opening. I am excited to see where God will lead this group of women and of course, myself.

Also, our Friday night Small Group has resumed after the summer. We are studying a book by Richard Stearns called, "The hole in our Gospel", http://www.theholeinourgospel.com/. Mr. Stearns is the CEO of World Vision in the US. We have read and discussed the first three chapters. I am excited about this book as well. It is a good read (so far) and if your heart is in missions then this is a book for you. As a small group we are trying to find a missions project we can do that includes all the children that are part of our group (13 kids ages 4 - 17). In the new year we are planing a food drive challenge for our church. We would like to challenge all the other small groups to fill up our sanctuary platform stairs. For the next few weeks we are looking into a few things. I was given some information about Habitat for Humanity's Aluminum Pop Cans drive. I am going to go to the website and get more info and talk to the group. I think this is something the kids can do and get excited about. Also, I know KD has been talking to a organization called Regeneration they work with women who are in the world of prostitution and (usually) drugs and try to get them to make better choices for themselves. I don't know much about this one yet.

Well that's about it for now I need to get ready for church. I am looking forward to your interaction.

Carolin

P.S. Welcome follower number 19!! I can't wait to get to know you as we chat on the Bench

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursdays on the bench

Happy Thursday to you all!

Cathy here, I am still laughing over the image in my head of braiding underarm hair! (See the comments on the post, 'Women's Beauty Products- Revisited)

I have been on a bit of a soapbox lately over the issue of women and beauty. In the past I have written posts on removing unwanted hair and on the issue of why we women continue to spend so much money on beauty products. I wonder if my fellow ladies are tired of this subject. I did mention a few posts back about the possible conflict of information companies publish depending on what they want to sell. Well, the company I am wondering about is the one who makes, 'Dove' products. There was a video going around called, "Evolution". It was really interesting. It showed the evolution of a model getting ready for a photo shoot. After they had all the layers of makeup and hair done and had taken the photograph, they then showed how the photo is altered digitally to 'enhance' the image. It is this image which was being promoted. The point of the video is that not all we see is real. It is impossible to attain that image for ourselves as it is not really possible. We need to be comfortable with who we are. It's a good message:
(Sunshine)In the end it's just an image. We can all choose to believe it or not. I personally don't necessarily believe that people in my life look that much different then those people on TV. People come in all different shapes and sizes and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. I think that today there are so many good messages that balance out the unrealistic messages. There are commercials about being anorexic and bullying and so many other things. Everyone has something about them that they would like to change. Confidence comes from within. Education promotes intelligent positive thoughts that we as parents can pass onto our children. Building their self confidence is so important. I do find myself to be a very confident person. I would like to loose weight because of health reasons and also because I would love to have more energy and I would definitely look and feel much better. That does not mean that I am down on myself or that the images on TV distort my views on how I should look. I know what a realistic weight should be. Try watching this show "How To Look Good Naked." It shows what you would probably call a "real" woman instead of the perfect woman. Does size really matter? The women on this show start out very self conscious and by the end of the show they are on the runway in front of thousands of people in their bras and underwear and at some point they have a naked photo shoot (they are posed in certain ways to not reveal as much). It's about loving yourself. Dove has fantastic commercials! I think that society and television is catching up with how we decide what is healthy in life and how to achieve it. The media cannot be blamed for what comes out of my mouth when I voice an opinion about someone's looks. (Carolin) I am not real sure where to go with this. As some of you know our family has been dealing with a daughter and her eating disorder for 5 years now. How we feel about our bodies is huge to our self esteem. But because we live in a fallen world we are constantly bombarded with negative influences. I hope that the women of this day are too savey to fall for the advertising tricks. But our own peers are our worst enemies. Just yesterday while at work and watching the senior girls basketball game against another high school. The girls comments that were going back and forth about the weight, height, and colour(!!) of the girls on the opposing team was horrendous. And yes, because I can't keep my mouth shut, I did call them on it! Which the response was "uh sorry miss I didn't know you were behind me" .

http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.ca/flat2.asp?id=7134

A few day after seeing that video, I find a blog devoted to the hypocrisy of the head company, Unilever:

http://whatthedove.blogspot.com/


Then a friend sent me this link to an article about a skin whitening cream used by women in India:

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/08/30/RealBeauty/


Now, please keep in mind that the above links, except for the 'Evolution' video are other peoples opinions. I do not say here that they are factual, only opinions. However, as in past posts, they are still influential depending on the mindset of the person reading them. Change the mind set, change the reader. We have to love ourselves and teach our children to love themselves. We can tell our kids we love them and they are great all we want but a time comes when the opinions of friends or worse yet a unfriendly peer is more important than ours. And no matter what we say to them they are influenced by others. The common response I get when I say something positive to the teenager is, "you have to say that cause you are my mom".

One fact that I believe is that, 'corporate gain', is the philosophy behind all business decisions. Corporations will do what they think they need to do in order to sell their products. Facts will be spun to hopefully attain the desired results, making money! Money of course is at the forefront of everything but I still believe that there are some great messages out there from the government and from independent companies targeting the youth of our world. I am a big on removing advertising from my children's lives. One of the many reasons we don't have cable TV is because of the constant barrage of commercials. I see the difference in the little one after she has watched television with commercials. She is more whinny and in a constant mode of I want, I want and how come we can't have, it's not fair! I don't see this behaviour as strong when I restrict what she can watch.

Well, as I stated above, I have been on a bit of a soapbox and this is what put me there. I do understand that we all make our own personal decisions and have our own philosophies. However, we also all have our insecurities and I find it very distasteful when big business uses them to prey on the unsuspecting. I still believe that, as anything in life, education starts in the home first. We need to raise confident children. At work yesterday one of my co-workers was telling a story of how she came to wear glasses. I don't even know how the subject came up. She is a 57 year old woman and she is wonderful. She grew up in a very small town in Italy (my dad's home town). When she was about 7 years old she had trouble with her eye sight. The specialists told her parents that she was in desperate need of glasses or she would eventually lose her sight. Her parents refused to get her glasses because they did not want her to be teased by the other children. When she was about 16 years old they all moved to Canada. Once again they went to the specialist and by then one eye could not be repaired and the second could be saved if she started to wear glasses, so she did. Today she has one blurry eye even with her glasses on and one eye that was strengthened and damaged because of its overuse but she can still see, thanks to technology. Her parents made the decision of no glasses out of love for their daughter. I believe that their decision was also greatly influenced by their lack of education. They lived in a tiny town with no outside intervention and very little schooling (maybe up to grade 5 for the boys and grade nothing for the girls). The teasing must have been horrible. It is so sad to think that her parents thought that it was better to risk their daughter's sight rather than to have to let her live with glasses. But today we are so much luckier. We teach our children about kindness and respect and a love for our fellow man. Children's programs like, "Arthur", talk intelligently about having to wear glasses and getting head lice and having to deal with ripping your pants at school and so much more. It's up to us to help our children through the trials and tribulations of life. Change the parents and we will change the children. The media will catch up. I can guarantee that there was no TV in my dad's town but guess what, they did not need it to make this little girl feel like a freak, they had live actors for that.

About body image keep this in mind as you think about it. This past week the little one has been working on a club she has started at school called the "the sound of music club" it is a club where the kids can practise their recorders together. Sounds great (have you ever heard 5 grade 4 girls playing their recorders that they have had for only two weeks!) anyway, she said she started this club because another girl started a Fashion Club and told a third girl that she could not join the Fashion Club because she was too tall and fat! This is 9 year old girls and they are already judging each other based on outer appearance. When the little one and I talked about her club she said her club was open to everyone (thank goodness) and that she didn't understand why the girl was kicked out of the Fashion club because she is real nice. Before you go, oh, how sweet, the little one then said that the Fashion Club leader is fat and her skin is too dark! Of course I had to lecture about that! But unfortunately, regardless of what is seen on TV or what is felt and expressed at home our children are people and will think and feel what they want regardless of how we feel. Our responsibility is to try to influence positive thinking as best as we can, but it is not as easy as it sounds.

What to do about it? Just try and be as informed as you can when making choices!

Good luck!

Dancing with the stars week#5

It was week#5 this week on dancing with the stars. The Iron Chef host was really good.

There seemed to be some flu going around and some of the dancers were sick during the week just like the rest of us .

Eliminated this week was Natalie Couglin (Olympic gold metal swimmer). It was a big surprise. I was hoping that Aaron Carter would have gone home instead. I don't know what it is about him but I really am not enjoying watching him.

See you all next week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Women's Beauty Products - Revisited

It's Tuesday morning and I have just reread our 'Bench Talk' post from yesterday. It didn't really make the point I was looking for. I guess I should have been more clear. I was thinking more about the reasons why we women use beauty products.

Women have been adorning themselves forever. Looking back in history there is countless pictures showing women bejeweled and painted. In history the adorning of women has always had a reason, usually showing social status.

Life today is different. When I was young I couldn't wait to wear makeup. I remember thinking it would make me more desirable to the boys! I was in high school! I had to practically beg my parents to wear that slash of skyblue eyeshadow over each lid. When I finally got the go ahead I felt so confident! Is that what makeup does? Make us more confident?

So, we wear makeup as we look for a partner. I have asked around and have found that most women stop wearing makeup, except for special occasions, once married (or whatever). Why?

Is it nature? In nature most species have some ritual whether with dance, song or coloured feathers to try to attract a mate. Once a mate has been picked the ritual stops.

Humans make all sorts of rituals. We have all sorts of ideas on how to make ourselves attractive. We will spend no end of money on this pursuit. There are companies making millions of dollars on women's beauty products. We are bombarded with countless advertising 'telling' us what we 'need' to achieve our desired result. It takes excellent self control (confidence?) to not fall for the 'ads'.

Is it all lies? Have we as a society been brainwashed by corporations into thinking that our natural selves are not good enough so spend, spend, spend. What about our youth? As I mentioned above, I was not allowed to wear makeup until I was in high school. Youth today are spending hundreds of dollars on makeup and hair products.

Do these products really work? What are they made of? At what cost to our health and environment?

So then, what about me? As I wrote in our Monday post I will not be seen in public without eyeliner and lipstick. I will also continue to spend money on my hair. Why? I am married and Hubby has seen me without the makeup and with my hair 'au natural' and that's ok. If I can be 'au natural' at home, why not out in public. Well, I know I just feel better when I think I look better. Even at home sometimes I find if I am sluggish I will make myself up and my whole attitude seems to change. I have more positive energy and I feel I am ready for anything.

Is this because of conditioning or is this just plain normal?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bench Talk: Women's Beauty Products

Ladies fess up! We all use them to some extent! How much money do you spend in the name of beauty?

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", yada yada yada!

We all have some insecurity about some outside or inside part of us and the use of beauty products makes us feel better about ourselves, as much as we do not like to admit it!

(Cathy) Well, truth be told, I am generally not seen in public without lipstick and eyeliner. I love lipstick, bright lipstick. My eyes are a bright blue and I like to highlight them with eyeliner to make them pop out more!

(sunshine) I really don't use makeup daily. Usually I only wear it on special occasions however, now that I have started working I feel the need to wear makeup everyday. I am serving a lot of young teenagers so I want them to think that I am not that much older even thought I am way older. I did go one day last week without makeup because my eyes were bothering me from using eyeliner everyday. I discovered a few years ago that I have an allergy to some pigments in the eyeliner. It is usually any red pigment, so brown eyeliner is out. Now even though me eyeliner is a smokey gray and has n0 red pigment, my eyes still get a little bit irritated. I really don't own that much makeup and I only replenish about once a year so my cost for makeup for the year would probably be about $60.00 I do have eye and face cream and some cleansing face products but I very rarely use them. I think that I have had the same ones for about 3 years now so that cost would be minimal.

If we start talking about how much money is spent on my hair.... did anyone read one of my earlier blogs about my hair? I do go to the hair dresser every 6 to 8 weeks to have my roots touched up because I don't like when the greys start to show. If I do only colour then it costs me about $55.00. Once every 4 months or so I need a hair cut or some highlights so the price increases on these occasions.
http://conversationsatthepark.blogspot.com/2009/04/rare-gift.html


I spend a lot of money on my hair and I will continue to do so. No amount of confidence will rise over my insecurities with my hair in public. My friends aside, most people see me as a 'white girl'. If I were to let my hair go natural..... I cannot even compute that!


Now, what about jewelry? I do not wear a lot of jewelry, just the occasion pair of earrings and even more rare would be rings and a necklace. Maybe, I adorn myself with my eyeliner and lipstick and chemically relaxed hair. Wouldn't you all like to see a picture????? I really don't wear much jewellery so no cost there.

I just remembered, I am try to find a new perfume. I am thinking I would like a nice, fresh clean scent to wear. Nothing powdery or musky or heavy sweet. Just something light and fresh. Any suggestions? I only wear perfume on occasion. I have a powder perfume (they sprays drive my crazy, they make me sneeze) that I really like. You would apply it to your neck and other areas with your fingers. It is called Niege. I bought it about 4 years ago and I haven't seen it in a while. I wonder what purse or drawer it is hiding in.

Women will spend a lot of money on the beauty product they feel is important to them.

What is your must have beauty product? I would not like to ever go without my waxing on my legs and underarms and I love to get my eyebrows threaded. Those are musts for me and I would say that I go every 6 weeks or so. I really should go more often. I don't get my legs waxed in the winter. The waxing cost is about $40.00 per month if I am waxing my legs too. I do like my eyeliner and my lip liner for makeup when I do wear it.


Hmmm, I think I am the most low maintenance girl there is. I have no chemical in my hair, I usually just wear it pulled back in a ponytail. I know it is not the most flattering but it is easy and I really can't be bothered with fussing with it. I have been thinking about getting foils cause I have been told it hides the grey better then just dyeing. I don't really like dying my hair anyways as it never hides the grey very well and within three weeks I get the dye line around my head.

When it comes to makeup, I used to never be seen with out full face but over the years of being home I just can't be bothered. Also I find when I do put makeup on I can feel it and can't wait to get it off.

I don't wear perfume as I am allergic to it. but sometimes I will put some one my clothes if we are going out.

What I do like is to have a good pedicure and I do like a bright nail polish on them. The last pedicure I had was in August so I think it is time for another one!

I think my lack of beauty interest drives Mommie crazy as she is ALWAYS in full face, hair and nails.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursdays on the Bench

Hello all, so another week has passed. What's new? Well, I suck at setting goals. No, let me rephrase that. I'm great at setting goals, I just suck at attaining them. I have done absolutely nothing this week. Wait, I did sleep. I am sooooooo tired and for no reason what so ever. I think the less I exercise, the more tired I become! I need to take a course on motivation. I would think that long term health would be motivation enough. I know all the reasons. I cannot even say I do not have time as I do. The fact still remains that I am TIRED! Both my body and brain are tired. I do not want to set any more goals as I do not want the guilt hanging over my head. In fact I do not even want to think about it, so let's change the subject. (Sunshine) I hear you Cathy, I have some goals that have been the very same for about 14 years now. I could very well have reached them, but I didn't and believe me I definitely had time to do so if I really applied myself. My goals as usual have been reaching my goal weight and exercising. I wonder how much of a different person I would be today had I have reached my goals and maintained them. (Carolin) Goals Shmoals, I am not a good person for long term goals. As you know I am a list maker so I guess they can be called goals kinda of. I achieve them (getting things done) on a regular basis, I guess the area where I fail would be maintaining personal goals. Like New Years resolutions kinda of goals I know I won't stick to it and so I don't bother. I have always had a goal of losing weight and I am pleased to say since I have started running around like a chicken with it's head cut off (working) I have lost 15 pounds!


I think as we ladies are all working now, we should change the name of our weekly Thursday post to something else. Any ideas? Our lives are so different now, not in a bad way, well for one of us it is let's say unexpected.
I wouldn't mind posting on the weekend if possible. As it stands I am posting at 5:38 am. This is probably the only time that I will have a chance to post until tomorrow morning. I will be out all day and then I have to wrestle the computer away from Teen Sunshine. How about calling it our Weekend Coffee Break? I understand how hard it is to get to the computer but I do like the phrase, Thursdays at the Bench. Last night I was at Costco and I met up with Kim. She says hi to all and would love to get together with all of us (including the reclusive Louise!). Can we really try to get together perhaps next Friday night. The husband is on afternoons but we can meet at someone's house or if it is later (and the teenager is home from work) we could meet at Williams Pub for tea. Let me know if this works for others as I think it would be good to see each other face to face!!!!

It has been an emotional summer for us all. Each of us has dealt with the past summer in a different way. We all have our opinions. One thing I believe, with my whole being is that next summer we will look back and wonder how and why we reacted the way we all did and we will all be talking about it TOGETHER. All four of us! I hope that you are right Cathy. I really hope that we will all be in a better place. I also hope that our lives are not so busy and that we will really make an effort to spend more time together. Uh, read above.

The one fact that has held true for us is our love for each other. Remember, being friends means being there for each other for the good as well as the bad. We are four totally different personalities with different perspectives. We know and understand this about each other and we still manage to love each other. WOW! God knew what he was doing when he had us meet. Cathy you are so sweet. What do you mean by that? I do agree that life can be very challenging. It is so easy to be by someone's side when things are good and happy. When someone is hurting and in turmoil it is harder because you feel their pain too and you watch them suffer and sometimes it can take a long time before someone is better. I hope that we have learned as really good friends that we will always be there for each other and I hope that we will always be grateful for each other. I know that when I went through my many years of turmoil that you three girls were always a phone call and back then only a few feet away. I love you all so very much. If I haven't told you lately, I really value our friendship. Thanks so much for letting me be me and for listening even when I am broken. You have all helped me to heal and deal with my own personal struggles. Yea, whatever, are you two PMsing, this is getting a little touchy feely for me.


I do think it's great that we are all now working. Although, it is funny, as I used to be the only one who worked part time. Now Carolin, Sunshine and Louise are all working full time. I will be at home and think of something to tell one of them and remember when I go to the phone that they are at work and it's now me sitting home, (not exercising!). Cathy don't get down on yourself but I really do know how you feel. Thursday was extremely busy. Cathy and Caroline have both alluded to it, yes I do have a job. It is working in a high school cafeteria. The pay is typically low working as a food service line staff worker but the schedule is perfect for me. I work from 9:30am to 2:30pm. It allows me to get the girls off to school, work hard and then pick them up. I work from Monday to Friday and I follow the school schedule so Christmas Break, March Bread and Summer Break are all off. The only thing that I have to worry about is begging for PD days off.

Well, yesterday I went to work at my regular time. My manager was away for the last two days sick. I had heard about a function at the school on Thursday night but no one had asked me to work it. I had told Mr. Sunshine about it and asked if he would be home that evening or was he working late. He said that he would be home. We had forgotten about an appointment that Teen Sunshine had at 3:00 on Thursday until we got the reminder call on Wednesday when we all got home. Well this appointment was set from about 3 months ago so I really didn't want to cancel and I didn't want to pay the cancellation fee. I could pick her up for 2:45 and be at the appointment for 3:00. I had to attend with her so what about Little Miss Sunshine who finishes at 3:15? Not to mention I had made a commitment to Louise about giving her three kids a ride home that night as she was working a later shift. Well before I cancelled the appointment, I called Mr Sunshine to see if there was any way that he could take Teen Sunshine. It was my lucky day, Mr Sunshine said that he could that and then he would work from home.


So I was working along and my shift was ending in 15 minutes. The owners and reinforcements had arrived to help with the 8:00 function for 250 people. The manager came to me and asked me if I could stay. I told her that I could not stay because I had to pick up Little Miss Sunshine but I could come back. She asked me what time I could make it back for and I said 4:30. She cringed her nose and said OK. I worked until 3:00. Then I literally ran to my car and drove as fast as I could to the school. I collected little Miss Sunshine and Louise's three children. I drove Louise's kids home, unloaded the car seat and met Mr Sunshine at the appointment and dropped off Little Miss Sunshine. I then drove as fast as I could back to the school. I got there at 4:00. We all worked very hard without a moment for a break until 10 :00pm. By the time I got home I could barely move as my back and my shoulders were aching so badly. Mr Sunshine was waiting with a hot tea and some cough medicine for my hacking cough that just won't go away. The girls were so happy to see Mommy come home and it felt so weird to be away from my family. I have to thank my family for pulling through as I could not have done it without them, especially Mr Sunshine. I sure hope that we don't have many more of these functions because I am exhausted.

Life and routine has changed for us and I think it would be good to reflect that change and blog about how we and our families are adapting to our new roles. Just think, when now do we do dinner, laundry, clean, and here's the big one....exercise!!!!! (I still have time as I work part time, I'm just trying to use the other 3 ladies as an excuse.... is it working?) Please see above for Sunshine. I have not done much in the house this week other then a load of dishes each day and a load of laundry each night. I seem to only to do bits and pieces around the house now. The laundry usually gets done on Friday (if I am not running to the Wholesaler). The husband is doing a lot more now, he finished up the dishes last night and helped the little one with her homework while I went out and did some errands. We don't have a regular routine as of yet. And because he works shifts our routine is always changing.

Change can be positive, depending on our perspective. Let the four of us show everyone how we can make it positive... with a little help. There are big changes in my home this year as I have not worked out of the home for 14 years now. I am too tired to comment on if it is positive or not at the moment. Let's see when I get my first pay check. I haven't filled out any forms yet. I keep asking but everyone is too busy. Did I mention that there are two other ladies working in the cafeteria and they are both from my dad's home town and they know my family really well. They were both apparently at my mom's funeral. We all talked about my mom a lot this week. The school that I am working at is very close to where my mom's fatal car accident occurred. At first I didn't know if I could go there. It has been a long time since I have been on that road. I am tearing up as we speak but really it has been OK going there this week. Maybe it will help me to heal a little bit more. I am worried that it will become a little to much to handle going there every day but I hope not. We will just have to see. It's amazing how something that happened over almost 10 years ago can still affect me today. Just realize ladies that we as mothers have such great impact on our children. My mom was a bigger part of my life and of me then I ever realized when she was here with me. Today I miss her and think about her and long for her so very much. I appreciate how hard it is for you to drive to that location each day. I feel it is Gods way of healing you and getting you to overcome some fears. I think God wants us to come to terms with the fact that it is just a piece of land and we need to be careful not to make it more than it is. Our eyes need to be on him and to be careful not to turn our personal grief into a shrine of some sort. Good for you Sunshine to face your personal struggles head on. And though you and I have laughed about your coworkers being from your Dad's town in Italy. Over time you can look back at this time and hopefully you will see that it was a good thing, and to be working with women who know you better then you thought could be a good thing!

Well I could continue to ramble but at looking at the clock I need to head off to work.



Have a great weekend.

Putting the Garden to Bed

Well, I guess I have to start facing up to the fact that summer never happened and will not happen for this year. I guess I will have to start putting my garden to bed for winter. Everyone has their own philosophy regarding this topic and all ideas have their merit. Make your choice based on the time you have. A few simple basics will have your garden set and almost ready to go for the next spring.


-Containers:

Depending on what the containers are made of is how I determine what I will do with them. If they are a heavy plastic, I will remove the by now frostbitten annuals and add them to the compost heap. I will leave the soil in the container and group them together in an out of the way sheltered part of the yard.

If the containers are clay, I will remove all plants and soil and keep in the garden shed. Clay containers left outside with soil can expand and contract with moisture during the winter which could cause them to crack.


-perennial garden beds:

I tend to just leave the perennials alone. I like to leave the seed heads for the birds. I also find that the stems give the garden some structure and interest over the winter. I will remove any stems or leaves with disease or fungus or mildew. Don't put those in the compost heap and remember to clean your pruners, afterword.


-vegetable garden beds:

I do tidy my vegetable garden. I remove the tomato plants and will add some sand and compost. I will trim the herbs and bring the cuttings in to dry for the winter. I will place any leftover plants in the compost heap. You can leave your carrots and other root vegetables as you may be able to dig up during the warmer parts of winter. I still continue to snip my thyme during the winter. I leave my parsley to seed itself for next spring, ( if I'm lucky).


-lawn/aerate and add concrete sand:

With the lawn, I aerate, add sand and if I have any I will add lawn seed and some organic fertilizer. I will rake it into the lawn, (actually, I get one of the boys to look after the lawn) and the lawn is done.


-taking cuttings of annuals and herbs:

I have a potting room in my basement with lights and watering trays. I try to take in cuttings of my ivy geraniums and any other annual that did really well. I will root them and then plant them in pots as they grow. I will continue to take cuttings of the cuttings and hopefully by the next spring I will have enough again to fill some containers! I will also pot up some herbs to bring inside for winter, too. The herbs I will leave by a sunny window in the kitchen.

I will also collect seeds from the petunias and marigolds, nigella (love-in-a-mist), and balsam. I will make sure that the seed is completely dry before placing in a sealed paper labeled envelope. Come next March, I will have seed to plant. One plant produces quite a bit of seed. Pick the plant you liked the best and allow the seed head to fully mature. It will be brown and dried. Please take note that with all the hybridizing that not all seed will produce the same colour plant. In that case, take cuttings.


-cleaning tools: bleach and a container with sand and oil:

CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! I cannot stress the importance of cleaning your tools. They will last longer and not transfer disease from plant to plant. To disinfect, add one part bleach to 10 parts water and spritz on the tools. Find an old wide mouth container. Add in a bag of concrete sand, (yes, I like concrete sand) and then pour in some used motor oil. At any time when you need to clean your shovels, spades, pruners or whatever tool, simply dip the tool into the bucket and the sand will clean and lubricate as will as keep the edges sharp! Rub any wood handles with oil to keep from drying out and cracking.


-garden decorations:

One of the last things I do is to walk around the yard and gather up any garden decorations which cannot take the winter. Clean the dirt off and place in one container in the shed. This way they are all together for next spring.

I always find it a little sad putting the garden to bed. However, one of the best things about gardening in the winter is the seed catalogues which come out late winter. It's also a good time to look at the pictures taken over the past season and plan for the next!

Gardening is a continual work of art, enjoy it in all it's seasons!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dancing with the stars week#4

It was a very entertaining evening. My favourite once again was Maya. Although I really like Louie, his performance was not the best.

I really enjoyed Shakira. She performed two songs on the results show.

Eliminated on Wednesday night was Chuck Liddell. I was sorry to see him go. He isn't the best dancer but he is very entertaining and he is certainly not the worst dancer.

Tune in next week,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bench Talk: Information Overload - What's Real?

Today, the general population worldwide has access to information. We have the media speaking to us as well as public opinion available on the 'World wide Web'. Anyone these days can publish anything, good or bad.



With so much information available, how do we distinguish what is fact from fiction?




Hi all! I agree we are blasted with all sorts of speculation and I find it interesting how one small opinion spoken can at times become international news. Are we so hungry for 'news' that we will listen to any small bit and react? What happened to in depth reporting and values? (Sunshine) I am amazed at what great impact people like Oprah have on society. She speaks and the public follows. Not all the public, I am not a watcher of Oprah unless I can remember to watch the one show a year where she gives away lots of free stuff. I do like that one. I am sure Oprah on a personal level is a very nice women but I don't need to know everything about her or her causes.


I surf the web and I am also on 'facebook'. It's interesting the tidbits that get shared from one friend to another. I, myself, will get caught up in a cause without knowing the origin. I have to remind myself not to get 'up in arms' over snippets of opinions. There is so much information that comes through my e-mail from various people. Much of it is junk but it can also be interesting and entertaining. I have one friend who sends me about 7 junk type e-mails a day. Who is sitting there figuring all of this out and creating it and sending it out anyways?


You are all wondering where this topic is coming from. Well, I have been caught now in two instances where I have shared information on 'facebook' because I reacted to it and at first glance agreed with the popular opinion and felt 'duty bound' to pass it on! I would then get feedback from friends, both agreeing and disagreeing with the snippet of information. Some of my friends would even back up their opinions with more snippets of information.
I join no groups or sign my name to no causes. I am not interested in what others cause's are specially if they feel the need to advertise it to the general public nor do I want others to know my latest interest. If you are really interested in a cause then let your actions speak for you. Joining a cause specially on social networks like FB don't mean a thing. And remember schools, and potential employers are checking out profiles before they make decisions on accepting or hiring people. Don't get me wrong I like FB for the interaction with friends and family and the sharing of pictures. I find a feel a little closer to family who live on the other side of the country and we can interact as if we are close by.



Who is right?


I will not tell you what these 'snippets' were about, however, one of the bits has intrigued me enough to look into it deeper and if I find factual validation I think I will post it. I will give you just a hint. It has to do with corporate hypocrisy, ie: the public see one image promoted, however, there is a dark side! Isn't there always a dark side? Does it really all come down to the 'almighty dollar'? Is that the subliminal advertising that is always talked about? How about those records that they use to talk about when we were kids. They would say that if you played them backwards that they would say devilish things. Did anyone ever confirm that? How do you even play a record backwards anyways? Is that even possible? Does subliminal advertising really work? And if it does how do we know that the findings are correct?


We as a people have to take more responsibility for the information we allow to spread. We feed the spread of illusion! It's time to stop the gossip and get real! You are so right, gossip can really hurt and things get misconstrue when they are passed along from person to person. We really should just go directly to the source and get the most accurate information. I don't read a lot of the emails I get anything with a FW in front of the subject normally will get a delete. But I have read a few of them and if it sounds to good to be true it probably is not true. I do regularly check out the web site http://www.snopes.com/. On this site you can usually find out if something that is circulating is true or not.

I find that there is just to much non-news out there and I am just not interested anymore. When something truly news worthy happens I even then find I need to turn the news off and wait 24 hours or so till the journalist can get the real story (sort of) and then I will watch or read it. I find with news on TV it is all ratings and who has the info first. They are so busy trying to be first that they neglect to check there facts before they publish or air the information.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I am Thankful

It is early Saturday morning, the house is still quite as I am the only one awake. It is a day I could sleep in but my body is now conditioned to wake up at 6:00 am so by 6:45 I am wide awake.

It is Thanksgiving Weekend and all week I have been contemplating what I am Thankful this year. I have complied a list.

  1. I am thankful for my husband who has picked up the household slack now that I am not here to do it all. And I am thankful that though he doesn't do it the way I do I have matured enough to know to keep my mouth shut and go with it.
  2. I am thankful that the little one has adjusted to the early morning (6:30 am) wake ups and gives me minimal hassles getting ready for school. She also goes to her classroom to catch up on school work or get a head start on work willingly each school morning by 8:00 am.
  3. I am thankful that though the teenager is going through her own personal struggles wright now she does get up each morning and goes to school and is still looking at her future and researching university and scholarships.
  4. I am thankful for my blogging sisters, who as of yesterday now are all working outside of the home (as they wanted to). Way to go Cathy, Louise, and Sunshine. It will make it almost impossible for us to get together now but its a new chapter in our lives and we will embrace it with smiles on our faces and our heads held high!
  5. I am thankful for my Friday night small group as we are about to start a new book study 'The Hole in our Gospel, the answer that changed my life might just change the world' by Richard Stearns (president of world vision U.S. I am excited to get into the book and expand beyond my comfort zone and do more work in my city with the homeless, less fortunate and needy. Learn more http://www.theholeinourgospel.com/
  6. I am thankful for the women's Heart 2 Heart bible study that is held on Wednesday nights. We had 27 women register including two of my aunts! It is going to be a great study and I am excited by it. http://www.lifeway.com/lby/
  7. I am thankful for the opportunity to work at a job that I love and be around loving,encouraging people. Most of the staff at the school have been very encouraging and the students are wonderful. I pray that I can move to the new kitchen ASAP! Please pray that the kitchen is outfitted and complete very soon.
  8. I am thankful that my family will be together this Sunday for a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixings and it is not at my house or do I have to cook it!!!!!!!!!
  9. I am thankful that though the weather is cold and rainy it isn't SNOW.
  10. I am thankful that my annual physical went quickly and smoothly yesterday. All the blood work came back and is all in the normal range, no lumps and quickest, painless pap I have every had!
  11. And finally I am THANKFUL that God has given me the opportunity to wright what I want when I want and that he has provided the friends who come to the park and join us on the bench to have a laugh or a cry. You are all patient while we are slow to wright lately as we adjust to our new schedules. Though I have not always wrote on the blog believe me when I say I do go on the blog at least twice a day. So keep commenting, I love our interaction.

Happy Thanksgiving Benchers!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursdays on the bench

Happy Thursday all!

Every once in a while it's good to step back and see where you are. At times you might be surprised to realize you have arrived at a place sooner than later. Also, you will have to accept that life is fluid, changing often, and that's a good thing.
(Sunshine) I agree Cathy life can put us through many twists and turns and its amazing to see what the human spirit can conquer. We are sometimes dealt a very difficult hand and then another and then another. When things happen we don't see or believe that they can ever get better but thank goodness they can. Thank you God for taking care of your children. We all need your help so much. Please continue to watch over us and to guide us.

So, with that said, here's one change. We ladies are having a hard time getting together for 'blogging and tea'. The past summer offered us time to get together and create our blog and boy did we all learn a lot of computer skills. It really is a fascinating world! It was only a few times over the summer when we had to blog from our homes and that was OK. Now, as our lives evolve, we seem to only be able to blog from home. We still chat with each other often, we just have different schedules now. We were suppose to get together tomorrow for some quality blogging time but I am going to try out a job tomorrow. If it works out then my days will be filled with the job and I will not be available to meet for blogging time during the day either. Sorry ladies I was looking forward to tomorrow.
(Carolin) I too was looking forward to getting together after my physical at the doctors office. But as usual it all works out as the husband is going to take the teenager downtown to the RCM music store for some sheet music she needs. If they do it tomorrow afternoon then we hopefully can go to St. Jacobs on Saturday. St. Jacobs is one of my favourite places and I love going on Thanksgiving weekend.


It's funny because we will set up the post and then call or e-mail each other all week about the post. It's fun! Cathy thank you so much for always being on top of it for us. If I start working next week then I will need more reminders to blog because I am already forgetting. If this job works out I have Louise to thank for it. It is in a school cafeteria in my neighbourhood and it is perfect hours and it follows the school schedule. Thanks you Louise for thinking of me and for getting me the contact. I met with one of the owners today and it seemed positive. I will go and work a full day tomorrow and see if myself and the employer are ready for me to start next Tuesday. Wish me luck!! You will be great cause you were great today helping me at my school cafeteria.

Now, about my week, I am feeling much better and I hope that we have seen the last of the flu in our home for this season. I am walking again but that's it. I am thinking about getting ready to put the garden to rest. I am watching my portion size at meal times and I am still drinking lots of water. I would like to increase my fruit intake, however, I am not a snacker and I just don't get hungry between meals. Me either, I am not a snacker but I can eat twice as much as my husband at dinner time. I don't need to lose a lot of weight, maybe 5 to 8 pounds. I am noticing that my belly fat is increasing and I wonder if this is an age thing? I guess if I could just ramp up on the exercise portion of my routine I might be able to tighten up! Well my exercise routine has been nil so far. I was sick all last week with the flu and I still have this nagging lingering cough. My eating habits are still pretty good but the scale has not moved. I wish that I could say what Cathy says and that I only have to loose about 5 to 8 pounds, but that would be a lie. I need to add a few more digits to Cathy's numbers. It seems like such a big task and I don't know if I am really ready to tackle it right now. I don't really want to even think about it. I as well have been fighting a cold for the past week. Because of the cold I haven't had much of a appetite and when I get home I am so tired I don't always eat much of a dinner. Since I have started the sandwich bar thing I have lost a few pounds without even trying !

I am halfway through my guitar lessons book and I hope to finish before the end of the year. I just remembered, I should take some more cuttings of my herbs from the garden and bring them in for the winter. (Did I just say winter?) I need to take in my bougainvillea for the winter. I will probably do that on Saturday when my mother in law is over because she will make my husband along with the help of his brother take it in. It is heavy and cumbersome so it will be easier with some help. That reminds me to bring in the Cactus'. And just what do you do Cathy with your herb cutting?

We are starting the next phase on our home renovations. We are updating the kids bathroom. I can't wait to get a new tub installed! The old one is so gross! I am choosing all white, as in the tub, sinks and toilet. Even the tiles around the tub will be white. One of the guys who works in the reno store where we shop was kidding around and teasing us that we were building a hospital room! I like white. It's so clean looking. I will be able to add colour with towels and things, right???
Our family room is still under construction. It looks worse than it has been for the last two years. Anyone who has been over in the last years knows that this is a scary statement. Our contractor person once again has been a no show for the past 4 evenings and he is also unreachable by phone. But, on a positive note, the gas fireplace gets installed this Saturday. I am excited about that. It will be a busy day with the installation and my husbands family over for Thanksgiving dinner. The party never ends around here. I was hoping to sweep the kitchen floor before thanksgiving! And I would be excited if the husband cleaned the bathrooms and remembered to put clean towels in mine as well as toilet paper.


Well today I got to see Carolin in action at her work place. Although the kitchen is small she has manged to do very big things with it. She has a steady clientele and the kids really like her. There was one boy who I believe spent his entire lunch hour in the kitchen with us and was chatting away. He obviously really enjoys Carolin's company. When he left I heard him say to Carolin "see you tomorrow Miss". We both smiled as we both prefer being called Miss to Mam any day of the week. As I entered the school and approached the kitchen the aroma was wonderful. The special of the day in the cafeteria was spaghetti (penne) and homemade meatballs. It sold really well. Then I watched and tried my best to help while Carolin made sandwiches to order and bagels and cream cheese. There were a lot of chocolate chip cookie and freezes sales. I was even there for the sale of her specialty fresh apples. It looked and smelled great. I have no doubt that there is much success in Carolin's future and I wish her all the best. It was great to see her in action. She also looks very professional and I have to say that she was wearing my very favourite non-colour (black). I want to give Sunshine a big thank you for coming and helping me. I could not of done it with out her. We were crazy busy, I just wish I could convince these kids to preorder there sandwiches it would make everyone's life so much easier. The freezes sales are crazy, I sell about 150 freezies a 4 day week. My apple specialty is a hit as well and it is a healthy snack. I have a great simple machine that peels, cores and slices the apple into a ring shape. I then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on it. It is like eating a apple pie with out the calories and fat! Doesn't matter what the age of the student from the elementary to the high school, kids they all request it. The only people I can't seem to convince to give it a try is the teachers!

Well, that's all I have for now. On behalf of all of us we wish you and your families and safe and happy Thanksgiving and we will see you again on Monday for, "Bench Talk"

Happy Thanks Giving from our house to yours.

I had to run out tonight to pick up a few things for work tomorrow and I also picked up a 10 lb turkey for us on Monday. We have been fortunate enough to be invited for dinner on Sunday. And will be with family then. We were even invited for a dinner on Monday but I really want to stay home and make a small thanksgiving dinner for us and of course get organized for the coming week.

Have a great restful and THANKFUL Thanksgiving.


Dancing with the stars week#3

This week on Dancing With The Stars, they all danced Latin dances. My favourite performance was Mya's. She was incredible. Mya and her partner Dmitry received the first 10's of the season. They won over Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Anne Inaba. Is receiving the first 10's fortunate or a bad omen? History has shown that the couple to receive the first 10's of the season usually don't end up in first place. Is this the DWTS curse of the first 10?
And then we have to discuss Len Goodman who only gave the couple a 5. What's up with that?

Click here to see Mya and Dmitry's amazing performance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WJmPQPvDnE

One of my other favourites was Louie. He is just so cute. Chuck Liddell was very entertaining and he was drafted for this weeks encore dance.

Tom DeLay suffered a foot injury and he was clearly in pain but he persevered and danced anyway. He was actually pretty good. He has since decided to follow doctors orders and withdraw from the competition.

That Latin music unleashes a lot of physical emotions. Kelly Osborne planted a huge kiss on her partner at the end and Donny Osmond made out with judge Bruno Tonioli. It was a strange but entertaining evening as always on DWTS.
My pick for elimination for the third week in a row is Debi Mazar.

Well the results are in and finally the American Public has agreed with me and Debi Mazar was eliminated.

On performance night Monday evening it was announced that a chimpanzee would be among the guest judges on the following nights program. Well the Chimp was a no show on Tuesday night. PETA (people for the ethnic treatment of animals) raised concerns with how great apes are separated from their mothers, beaten and shocked in training and discarded once too large to handle safely. The dancing with the stars team agreed that the appearance of the chimpanzee would only encourage others to use chimpanzee's for future entrainment needs. The producer decided to reshoot the chimpanzee portion of the results show and replaced the chimp with a toddler.

Monday, October 5, 2009

THE SKUNK HAS FINALLY BEEN TAKEN CARE OF AND I CAN SAVE YOU A LOT OF MONEY. YOU CAN DEFINITELLY DO THIS JOB YOURSELF!!!!!


This is what my front porch has looked like for quite some time now. There is skunk living under the porch. Even though we clean the area up and replace the bricks on the walkway, we constantly wake up to this mess.

Mr. Sunshine has managed to keep the skunk out of its favourite neighbourhood den by blocking the entrance with very large pieces of stone. There are also shirts drenched with ammonia under there and a lot of golf balls and gravel to fill the empty area. It doesn't really matter what we do. Only the boulders have denied him access so far. He still tries to get in.

















Well as everyone knows we have been battling a skunk problem for a few years now. He was living under my front porch and destroying the front walkway.

Mr Sunshine finally stopped him from getting back in with large chunks of brick but that looked horrible so we needed to have the problem fixed. Well, to fix the problem costs about $500.
First, they will install a two way door at the start of the tunnel that has been dug and leave it there for about 10 days. Apparently, the skunk living under the porch has got to get hungry and leave the den within the 10 days. He will leave and not be able to gain access back into the den. This two way door costs anywhere from $250-$350.

Once the skunk is gone then they will dig and install wire to your front porch and guarantee that the skunk or any other animal will not get back in. That costs anywhere from $22-$30 dollars a linear foot depending on the company.

Well, the skunk was gone thanks to Mr. Sunshine and it could not get back in. I told Mr Sunshine that I was going to call and get the screen installed so that the problem is solved because even though the skunk could not get back in we had to restore some sort of order once again. We had to remove the large boulders, screen the porch and put the brick walkway back together. Once we did all that, the skunk would hopefully get board and leave us for good. Well, several phone calls later and I finally found a company who would come out and fix the problem for $250 dollars for approximately 6 linear feet. All of the other 17 companies were not interested because they said that they make their money on the door and its not worth their while just to install the screening. They all told me to call a contractor but if the skunk were to get back in and I was interested in a two way door then call them back.
I know that $250 is a lot of money but it was worth not having Mr Sunshine and myself frustrated any longer not to mention to safety issue with the walkway being constantly ripped up. So after a few days of thinking about it I called the company and they came the next morning.





First they dig a trench about 12" straight down and out.


Remember that you have to make sure that your skunk is gone before doing this. You don't want to close him in there for several reasons.






Then they add a heavy duty wire mesh to the area (I think that he said that it was 16 or 17 or 19 gage. I don't really remember).




Then they screw the wire mesh into the concrete with large ugly bolts. At this time I was doing a lot of questioning as to how this was going to look once it was done. The installer assured me that it would be barely noticeable.












Well, then they put it all somewhat back together which apparently is really not part of their job but he didn't want to leave it the way that it was and risk the kids getting hurt. That was very nice of him.
I don't know what you think but it is pretty noticeable and really ugly looking to me.




Now I have to find a solution for the eye sore that is screwed into my porch. Any suggestions anyone?

In the end after witnessing myself what they actually do, myself or Mr Sunshine could have done the same thing for a lot less money. They installed the same mesh to the front and side of the porch. It has been about a month now and things are good. We saw some signs of skunk digging on the weekend but it was only on the side in the soil. He must have gotten bored just like they said he would and left. The digging was very minimal and easily fixed with a shovel.

Good luck if this happens to you. I am very confident that you could do the job yourself if you choose to, after all it can't look any worse then this does and it really does do the job. If you choose to have it taken care of by a professional then do some research because the prices differ from company to company.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bench Talk: Origin of the Canadian Thanksgiving

Everyone has their idea of the 'Perfect Thanksgiving'.



Is it just about the meal? What about the 'meaning' of giving thanks?



Is it just about getting together with loved ones? Who started Thanksgiving?




We all know that 'Thanksgiving' in the United States of America was started by the pilgrims with the feast of harvest. How did Thanksgiving start in Canada and why is the date different?



http://proudcanadiankids.ca/Canadian%20Thanksgiving%20Truth.htm



I found this very interesting link on an internet search. It has some fun facts. It also has an article written by Peter A Stevens of York University on the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving.




Give it a read!



I wish all our readers a happy Thanksgiving, a week from today!





(Sunshine) Thanksgiving is a special holiday. I enjoy time shared with family and friends. Having the people around me that I care about the most. That is what Thanksgiving is about for me. The meal is irrelevant. With Mr Sunshine's side of the family the turkey always makes an appearance. On my side of the family, the Lasagna could be the star. It really doesn't matter. I enjoy being together and catching up on what's happening in everyone's lives. It is a time to relax and enjoy each other's company.



I don't know so much about perfect, I really don't think about that all that much. What does perfect mean anyways? Is anything really perfect in life. If human beings are imperfect then why is perfect so important. Is everyone happy and healthy and getting along? If the answer is yes, then that makes for a perfect Thanksgiving.




Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!!!



(Carolin)Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Yes of course I love Christmas but with Christmas it is a whole lot of work and expense. When it comes to Thanksgiving I find making the meal and enjoying the company of friends and family is wonderful. Autumn is my favourite season and with Thanksgiving being in it, it is just natural to love it, too.



For the past few years my family has driven out to St. Jacobs Market on the Saturday. We enjoy the day out in the country and buying fruit and vegetables from the local farmers. We also enjoy getting our Thanksgiving pies, and cookies from the local Mennonite community. Some years we have driven to the only covered bridge left in Ontario (the kissing bridge) and usually on our way home we will stop at the Badlands just north of where we live and let the kids play on the hills.
We enjoy the badlands as well. I don't know if we can fit it in this weekend.



For the past few years we have been very fortunate and have been invited to my Aunt and her family for dinner on the Sunday. It is a time to see extended family that we don't see often and catch up with one another. Also, Thanksgiving is Mommie's birthday. (I better go shopping and get her a gift or maybe when she reads this she will decide she just wants my company and I am gift enough!)



Saturday we will be having Thanksgiving at our house with Mr Sunshine's side of the family and our gas fireplace is also being installed on that same day. That room is quite the mess at the moment. There is wiring everywhere and holes all over the walls and the ceiling. On Sunday, we will be at my sister's.



For the first time this year my immediate family will not be together. The teenager is going to Dilberts (the boyfriends) family for dinner. For the longest time she thought it was on the Monday but just this week he said it was Sunday. So she will not be with us.






Have a great Thanksgiving fellow Canadian benchers. And for all the American benchers why not celebrate twice. You can never have enough turkey!