Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's on the Bench

(Sunshine) Well winter has finally reached the greater Toronto area. At school they are actually talking about the possibility of a snow day tomorrow. Wouldn't that be lovely? I am tired. It was such a busy day today. We had 400 students visiting from other schools for a Black History Assembly and lunch. They were there all day and we worked at double speed all day long. A snow day would be a welcome thing tomorrow. (Carolin) I hope we have no snow day as it just messes stuff up for me. I had my highest sales today as our school hosted a volleyball tournament. I was busy for most of the day and when I wasn't making food I had teenage girls hanging out in the kitchen asking advice on their love lives! My advice you ask, "girls stay away from the boys and boys stay away from the girls." You like that! I had one girl all upset because she was feeling guilty cause she was 'going out' with this boy but her parents have already told her she was not alowed to date. She felt she was lying to them. So, I set her straight and told her she was feeling guilty because she IS LYING TO HER PARENTS. After three days of this she informed me today she told the boy she could no longer date him. I then asked her if she still felt guilty and she said no. Keep in mind she is a grand old age of 14!

This Sunday marks the end of the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. Canada is doing very well and the hockey game on Sunday should be very exciting as we are in contention for a gold medal. Speaking of the Olympics what does everyone think of the flower (and I use that word very loosely) that the medalists are given to hold? My family has had long conversations on facebook about the 'flowers'. I am interested to hear what others think especially fellow benchers from other countries. As I type, the Canadian women's hockey team just scored a goal! and now as I proofread this (friday morning) I am wondering where Cathy is? Canadian Womens Hockey won the Gold! Good job ladies, I think I heard this Olympics is the most medals Canada has ever won.

Mr Sunshine is back from Calgary tonight. He has been travelling every week for the past 2 months or so. He is usually home on the weekends so we really look forward to being together as a family as it is such a rare thing during the week. I hope you get to spend some nice down time as a family. The husband will be home for the next two weeks on a lay off. But then has to go back to work just as the March break starts.

Little Miss Sunshine is performing in a French play next week on Wednesday during the day. My job is great because I can work when the kids are in school but it also means that I will not be able to attend this play. I was hoping to leave early to see it but as there are only three of us in the cafeteria as it is. The manager is already leaving early for an appointment with the specialist that she scheduled months ago. I thought there was 4 or 5 of you. Since there has to be at least two of us there, I will have to stay. This will be the very first anything that I have ever missed for the girls and I am really sad about it. I know she will survive and so will I. I am really just talking out loud. I am grateful to have had what I have had for so long. You will get over it and so will she, I tried to have myself or the husband attend events but it just doesn't always work out. I think it is good for the kids to learn that not everything revolves around them. As parents we do our best and that is all that can be expected in the end. I talked to the little one's French teacher yesterday (saved ourselves a formal interview). She wanted to let me know that I won't see it on the report card next week but the little one's mark has gone up! Mind you she is still failing French but not as bad as she was since the last report card. We talked about this new French program of learning French with visual hand association. She said the school has been looking into it and in considering implementing it next year for the grade fours and fives. She did say that it was visual hand association and not real ASL (American sign language). I am open to anything if it helps the little one pass French. Our school has been using the visual hand association all year and the kids have learned a tremendous amount. The play that they are putting on is the three little pigs and my big bad wolf is constantly practicing her lines. It is really cute and her pronunciation is more accurate then mine. This term they are reading the words as well as doing the visual signs and I believe that the last term they will be start writing as well. It seems to be working for her so far. I would love to hear from teachers their perspective on how they are all doing compared to the old system. When I get a chance I would love to have a chat with Madame.

I hope that everyone is doing well and I wish you all a great weekend.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bench Talk: Books we are Reading

We are still waiting for our book club bag to come in at the library. It's good that we have to wait as we are all trying to finish up books we are reading beforehand.

(Cathy) I am in the middle of reading a great book that was recommended to me by a 23 year old university student. It's called, "Grown Up Digital," by Don Tapscott. We were having a discussion at work and I had mentioned how Hubby and I have to limit the 'screen time' the boys have and how I long for the days when we were kids. Cathy, you sound old! The only reason that I long for those days was because times were so much simpler and we were sheltered from the troubles of the world and our responsibilities were very simple . I know the world is a different place and I do embrace technology, (after all, am I not writing in a blog?), however, I guess we still think old school in the ways the kids should do homework and play and socialize. (Carolin)I do monitor the little ones computer/TV time, and limit what she can do on the computer. She is very upset because I won't let her have a Facebook account. Her cousin who is three month's younger then her has one and she doesn't think it is fair. She was also complaining today in the car that it isn't fair that everyone in our family has a cell phone but her. I told her let it go and we would discuss it again when she is starting high school.
(Sunshine) Little Miss Sunshine is always collecting old expired cell phones and pretending that they are her very own functioning phone. She really does not even ask to go on the computer unless it is for a project but Miss Teen Sunshine, well that's a totally different story.

Back to the book I mentioned above. "Grown Up Digital," explains that the kids growing up today are the first generation to be fully digital. That we as parents, who are only partial digital, should not look at this as a bad thing. Our kids today have so many different skills then what we had. We, as adults need to adapt to our children's different way of learning and doing. We need to not freak out as much as they multi-task, ie: social networking while listening to music while doing homework. This is the new norm and we just have to accept it and adapt as our kids know nothing different. Funny you say that Cathy there has been the same song booming at the kitchen table for about 2 hours now. Yes, Miss Teen Sunshine is doing her homework and it is loud enough that I can hear from upstairs while I am typing even though the door is closed.

I am loving the different point of view the author, Don Tapscott, provides. It should make you yell at your kids less for all the time they spend in front of a screen. We'll see. I haven't limited the teenagers computer time in years. Partially cause I don't see that it is much different then sitting in front of the TV or chatting on the phone. Mind you I still every once and while will go through her computer and stalk the history, recycling, etc.

I have just finished reading Melissa Gilbert's autobiography, it was alright. I also read Anne Murray's autobiography which, maybe because she is Canadian, I enjoyed more. I have a few books from the library right now to read but I also picked up "Brothers and Sisters," season three and am watching that. Which I must say I do enjoy. This coming week when I head over to the library again I have Sue Grafton's latest mystery waiting for me. I have read all of her Alphabet mysteries and have enjoyed them all. I look forward to catching up on what has been happening to Kinsey Millhone

Carolin, with your busy schedule I am amazed that you get so much reading done, you too Cathy. I must be doing something wrong because I never seem to have time to sit down and read a book. Oh well, that will all be changing soon, I will have to make time to read our book club book.

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Night

(Carolin)So it's Friday and we are together at Louise' house (all but Sunshine, who is watching her daughter in a school play). Cathy is talking a mile a minute,(hey!)I tuned her out about twenty minutes ago. Louise is running back and forth from dropping her daughter and one son at the movies, cleaning up from dinner and getting the little one on the potty. Busy, Busy, Busy.

Well today is not just another Friday, I am as of today another year older. Yes today is my birthday I am officially 44 years old. Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!!!! How that happened I can't tell you. Sorta freaks me out cause 44 seems (in my head anyway) very old. Please don't say that....this is suppose to be the prime of our lives. Especially women. This is our time!!!!(hey again, what does that make me?) It has been not a great week work wise and now I am one year closer to 50!!!! The husband and I went out for lunch (yes, we used a coupon BOGO) then came home to find a beautiful bouquet of flowers at my front door. :) Remember from the summer the camp director well they were from her. We had been chatting today at school and then low and behold she dropped flowers off on her way home. (Cathy)That's nice. I gave her a new version of a post editor for blogger, however, it does not seem to work the way I thought so I changed it back to the older version. I also went to Tim Horton's and bought her a triple chocolate muffin, (she hasn't seen that yet). It's interesting that you are being bothered by this age. I was really bummed out when I turned 40. I told everyone to not even acknowledge the day! Guess what, when I came home that day there was a big bouquet of helium balloons with a big number 40 and congratulations on it. I was livid! to this day, no one has owned up to it! I changed your colour Louise cause I was having a hard time seeing it. Also Cathy I tried to change yours but couldn't find a darker pink/purple Benchers is it just me or do you find the colours to light? (Louise)Hello everyone.....I was a little late today. When the ladies got here we were still eating, my kitchen is a mess and although it was mentioned that I was cleaning the kitchen.....believe me everything is just where I left it.....As for potty...missed that too. I have so much laundry, I don't even know where to begin. I'm with you there I have one load folded, one in the dryer and another still in the washer. Laundry is what I have to look forward to when I get home.

What do you all think about this bloggers. Yesterday the little one came running into the kitchen (at school) to get me to sign a test of hers that I didn't get to the night before. I signed it (and yes she failed it not a big surprise there) anyway within 15 minutes I got a email from the department head for elementary and also the little one's science teacher. The email was titled Behaviour email ( I guess it is the modern version of a white slip). Seems the little one is in trouble because I didn't sign the stupid test. What me not signing has to do with her behaviour I can't tell you. But this is my question to you all. What is the etiquette for behaviour email? Do I respond and if I do what am I supposed to say? Do I apologize or do I promise this will never happen again (more then likely will happen again)? Or do I just ignore it, which is more to my liking? I vote for ignoring it! Why does the teacher have time for this? You work in the school, could she not have mentioned it to you in person? I understand the need for communication, however, that is just plain not thinking. Maybe, you should send back a behaviour e-mail to her for miss use of behaviour e-mails! I agree!!!!! I think that nutty teacher should get a response in the form of a behavioural email to tell her to stop wasting every one's time!!!!
I am so very very lucky this year....My middle child is the one that struggles in school but his teachers are amazing. They keep me constantly updated and really, really help him out. I would be lost without them!!!
You are very fortunate Louise. The crazy thing is this teacher taught the little one full time in grade two and three. She obviously knows us well. Plus we are the two leads for the annual Christmas Breakfast I volunteer every year. She knows intimately the struggles the little one has with memory. And yes I get that the kids need to start being more independent and responsible for there own work. But is this is the same teacher who promised us (the husband and I) that she and the school would do what ever was possible to help the little one when we expressed concerns about perhaps this not being the right school for her. I guess it is just been a bad week, on my period,Wow!!!!! TMI!..... another year older, crappy sales at work and tired, just very tired. So though I am home now and still need to finish the laundry and I don't have a clue where the teenager is I and the little one are going to bed! So good night and sleep tight.

Missed you Sunshine add your two bits here and let us know how the play went.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

(Cathy)Hello all, welcome to Thursday. So, what's new this week. I do feel human again so that's a good sign. My Hubby and Carolin's hubby are at the Auto show today. Carolin will be proud as I found a coupon in the newspaper for $5.00 off the cost of admission. Not to worry the husband has the same coupon. Actually, I forgot to mention that a few weeks ago Hubby and I went on a 'date' to the movies and used a coupon we purchased at Costco. We went to see, "Sherlock Holmes,' with Robert Downy Jr.. It was o.k.. My sister had gone to see it and she raved over it. (I actually slept through almost half of it), (that could be because I was up for work at 4:30am the morning we went and we ended up going to the 10:00pm show? Nah!) (Carolin)I think I can beat that. Last Saturday night the husband and I went to the movies and saw Valentines Day (we liked it). It is a light romantic comedy, predictable but entertaining. Anyway, I used a free movie pass I had got through Herbal Essence shampoo. The husband payed for his movie with his Scene points. And we bought two drinks and got a regular sized popcorn free each. Also, to really make it worth our while we also each got double the scene points for seeing Valentines Day within a selected time frame. Oh yea also I paid for the two drinks with the $10.00 I got as a rebate from cineplex and Kinder Surprise promo back at Christmas. So the whole night cost us ZERO dollars. Ya, ok, you beat me! lol!

My older son had a half day at high school today as they were writing their practice Literacy test. All high school students need to pass this test, which they write in grade 10, as one of their high school diploma requirements. Isn't grade 10 a little too late to decide if these kids can read and write? I remember last year all the other grades got the whole day off from school when the grade 10 wrote their EQAO. Which I never understood why. The entire school staff are not involved in working with the grade tens. I have noticed that the High Schools use any excuse they can to get out of teaching the kids. I agree with you Cathy grade 10 is a little to late to find out a student can't read or write. Perhaps grade 8 would be a time to do the testing make it a prerequisite before entering high school.

Well this week was Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the forty days of lent until Easter. At my school cafeteria we were asked not to serve meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday until Easter. It was interesting as a lot of the kids were disappointed and looking for something to eat. The potato pizza was a big hit but the perogies were a big flop. Most of the kids did not know what perogies were and even after a free sample most of them opted to eat fries instead. On Friday, Miss Teen Sunshine has a performance at the school so I will miss our Friday meeting, sorry girls. Have a great time and I look forward to reading all about it.

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!

I would like to send out a Happy Birthday wish to Caroline.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Bachelor (St. Lucia)

Monday night on the Bachelor, Jake and the three remaining girls spent time in St. Lucia.

The first date was with Gia. Jake and Gia seem to really connect and Jake seems to be dazzled by Gia's beauty. He commented on how he really needed to see if he was falling in love with Gia's heart and not just her good looks. At the end of the evening they spent time together in the couples suite. We saw them with their bathing suites in the jacuzzi tub together and then that was it.

The next date was with Jake and Tenley. they went on a plane and toured the island. Then they had a romantic dinner and Tenley told Jake that she was falling in love with him. At the end of the evening Tenley also agreed to spend time in the couples suite.

Lastly was Vienna. Jake and Vienna spent the day together on the same boat that was used in the film, "The Pirates of the Caribbean." They were very playful together. Jake commented on how Vienna was a little immature but it was a quality that he also sees in himself at times. They had a romantic dinner and at this dinner he asked Vienna what kind of engagement ring she prefers (WHAT????) Vienna also told Jake that she was falling in love with him. Jake made it clear to Vienna that he was very interested in her but that there were also two other woman there that he was also falling for.

Before the rose ceremony there was some of the usual drama. Ali called Jake and said that she was miserable and that she had make a mistake and wanted to come back to the show. (NO JAKE, PLEASE DON'T TAKE HER BACK). Well, Jake told her that he had moved on with the other three women and that he could not see who he would send home to be able to bring Ali back (WAY TO GO JAKE, THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT MOVE!). So Ali appeared to be very disappointed and Jake seemed to be stressed out once again.

Finally, it was time for the rose ceremony. Jake never ceases to surprise us all. He gave the first rose to Tenley (she is still my favourite and I think that he should marry her). So now Gia and Vienna are left standing. We all know who Jake is going to pick and we are all happy about it. He is going to give the next rose to Gia of course. Well, to everyone's surprise Jake gives the last rose to Vienna and sends poor Gia home. (WHAT IS HE DOING?). Gia is devastated and at this point we are all throwing things at our tv sets in disbelief. Gia is devastated and none of us can make any sense out of his decision.

Good luck Jake and a word of caution, if you end up with Vienna then you will be the nice guy who finishes last once again.


Gardening chores

Here is a quick reminder that there is a lot to do now to get ready for gardening this coming spring. You need to decide what you are going to plant. If you are planting seeds it's necessary to make sure your seed starting equipment is ready to go. This entails cleaning, especially if you put it off last fall! Wash all your seed starter trays, tools, pots, etc., in natural soap and water. Rinse well in water cut with bleach (4 parts water to 1 part bleach). Cleanliness cannot be stressed enough if you want to avoid disease problems.

Next is soil. Use a soilless mix. Seeds in pots do not need dirt to germinate. Just a sterile mix which is mixed specifically for that purpose. As for the seeds, read the package to determine the best time to plant. Try not to start your seeds too early or they might get too leggy. Also, some seeds need special treatment prior to planting. Again, check the package for directions. If unsure, there are plenty of resources available from books to the Internet to make sure.

Some seeds need light to germinate and some dark. All will need a good light source once sprouted. I use a fluorescent 2 bulb light fixture hanging on an adjustable chain. Keep the light on a timer for about 12 hours a day. Adjust the lights so they are about 6 inches above the top leaves of the plants.

Remember to label all seed trays!!

I like to water from the bottom of the seed flats using a capillary mat. They can be purchased from garden stores like I love Lee Valley Tools, I shop there a lot so by now they must love me, too!). Make sure the seed starter mix does not dry out. You can also water gently from above with a water mist. Once the true leaves have sprouted the plants can use a gentle fertilizer, (again, follow package directions).

When the plants are looking like themselves it's time to transplant to larger containers. You can avoid this step by planting in peat pots or make pots from old newspapers. This allows you to plant directly in the garden after they have been hardened off. Hardening off is allowing the seedlings to become acclimatized to the outdoors slowly over approximately a two week period.

This can be an exciting time of year. One small package of seeds can yield so much! Take this time to plan out your garden, your garden containers and garden beds. See what you can start with seeds. There are so many choices from both flowers to vegetables which can help save money this garden season.

Happy seed starting!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bench Talk: Family Day

(Carolin)So it's Monday and Cathy has sent out the usual email to let us blogger's know that Bench Talk is ready to go. So between loads of laundry, prepping for work tomorrow, nagging the little one to take a shower and put on clean pj's. Then there is the day long chit chat with the teenager trying to trump her story of why she was out 3 hours past curfew. She says she fell asleep but.....

For us in Ontario it is Family Day. This is a relatively new holiday for us (I think only a two or three years old). The idea is for family's to spend the day together and do stuff. What nobody tells you is not everybody gets the day off (the husband is at work) and I had talked to the kids to see if they wanted to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the King Tut exhibit. But this would require the little one to change out of her pj's (what she has been wearing since Friday after school). And the teenager (who loves history and anything about Egypt) says she didn't want to go cause she heard it was a crappy show with very little actual King Tut stuff on display. Also, she remembers the last time we went to the AGO. What a total waste of money and the whole time we were there the security guard followed us around like we were going to steal something. Like we would be interested in the display of rotting food or maybe it was the chair
hanging upside down on the wall (and this is art???) So needless to say we stayed home and did house stuff.

What about the rest of you, what did you do for Family Day?

I slept in this morning. That was a real treat. When I got out of bed I felt really draggy and heavy. I had the start of a headache and my eyes were watery. I ignored it and went about my day, as I too had to go to work (happy Family Day to me). After lunch Hubby took the boys out to a local hill so the younger one could try out snowboarding and see if he liked it. He did, so he will get a lesson this coming weekend. I started feeling a twinge while they were out and in no time that twinge bloomed into one huge, horrible, cramp! I took advil, then tylenol and nothing worked. I was curled up on the couch, feeling totally sorry for myself, with a pillow and heating pad. I felt like I was a teenager again. Even the nausea, and cold sweats returned. Actually, I am still on the couch, still feeling sorry for myself. My only hope is this too shall pass in one day, just like when I was a teenager. That's all I have for now. Until later, have a good week all.

Sorry that you are not feeling well Cathy, get better soon.

Today we woke up a little later then usual, about 7:00 am. We were up late the night before watching the Olympics and tuned in again this morning. Way to go Alexander Bilodeau for the first gold metal won on Canadian soil! Then we went to the Cheese Boutique to pick up a few things. Little Miss Sunshine says that they have the best croissants in the world. We picked up a few things and headed off to the in laws for a visit. We had lunch together and it was great. I always appreciate it when someone else cooks for me and the bonus is that my mother in law is an excellent cook. We watched more Olympics together and talked and Little Miss Sunshine and grandma worked on some origami.

When we first arrived at the condo, we parked in the underground parking lot and as we were approaching the elevator, Mr Sunshine asked if someone had his keys. Well, the keys were locked in the van. Good thing our 1 year of free On Star is not up yet. Mr Sunshine called On Star who would be able to unlock the car via satellite. Well the satellite is incapable of unlocking cars if they are in an underground parking lot. So, they sent out a tow truck. Well, Mr Sunshine was in the parking garage with the tow truck guy for at least 45 minutes. When he came back up the car was still locked. They could not unlock it. The tow truck guy decides that it would be best to tow the car out of the garage and have On Star unlock it via satellite. OK. sounds like a plan but the only problem is that the hydraulic lift on this tow truck is not working. So tow truck guy number one leaves and instructs us to call On Star and explain the situation so that they could send out another truck. Mr Sunshine goes back on the phone and we all laugh because he has to explain himself once again to another four people who keep searching for his information on us and dispatching tow trucks to us. It doesn't help that they cannot find us under our last name or licence plate number because it is a company car. Well about four hours later and 10 people that he had to talk to and two tow truck later and Mr Sunshine finally walks in with the keys. Hurray!!!! We stay a little longer and then we leave because we are trying to catch a 6:30 movie. The plan is to go and see Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief (it was OK, Miss Teen Sunshine really wanted to see it and she loved it), get back home for 9:00 to watch Cake Boss (This is Little Miss Sunshine's favourite show) and then watch the Bachelor on the repeat at 11:00. I am now typing as Cake Boss is on in the back ground. It was a fun day but now I still have laundry to do for tomorrow. Back to work!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday's on the Bench

(Cathy)Hello everyone. Hope it's been a good week so far. It's snowing here, finally! I like winter with snow. Winter without snow is pointless. Looking out the window, when there's no snow, and seeing dirty, brown lawns is sad. If it's going to be cold, "let there be snow," I say! (Louise)I'm sorry I don't agree. I'm good without snow......I hate driving in it!!! It's funny because last year that's what I did for a living, I drove....I loved the snow then, Snow Days!!!! This year I work farther away and I always seem to be 5 minutes behind, so snow just doesn't fit into my schedule! (Sunshine)I also love the snow, in a visual sense only though. Driving in it is slow and messy. (Carolin)I as well like to look at it in pictures! but not to fun to drive in. I have mixed feelings about having a snow day (used to love them when I was home) but now that means no money! The nice thing about snowy days is I am usually busier at work so for that reason keep it coming.

What does everyone think of our new colours? It really brightens up the look of the blog. I love looking at other blogs and seeing some of the things people talk about and how they showcase it. I have learned to do so much by working on our own blog. We would all like to keep it fresh and interesting and I really like the idea of the 'book club.' Hopefully, the books come in soon from the library so we can get going. I was on the library web site and it even provides discussion questions for each series of books in the bookclub bags. How neat is that! I think you did an amazing job on our blog. Thank you for taking the time to do it. It looks wonderful. Cathy I like the new look it is very fresh. That Sunshine has great taste in books! (ha ha ha!)

So what is new and exciting this week? Received a bit of expected but unexpected sad news this week. (no one died, thank goodness), but, it does change things in a major way. Due to privacy issues I will not state what it is, sorry. Let's just say that when life serves you lemons, you have got to learn to make lemonade. I still have yet to let the other ladies know. (I am actually writing this on Wednesday afternoon, so will contact the ladies and let them know). Yes, life is always full of ups and downs...Don't worry family and friends are the keys. Everything will work out! Remember you have each other!!!! I wish that life were a little more stable. It is so unpredictable and sometimes pleasantly surprising which is nice but it is the unexpected hard times that occur in ways that we could sometimes never have imagined that make it so difficult. Unfortunately, there is no escaping those times, they touch us all in different ways. It is comforting to know that we are never really abandoned. The three F's will help to get you through (FAITH, FAMILY AND FRIENDS).

Changing subjects.... I guess we will be all watching the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games this Friday night. I don't know if I will watch the opening ceremonies. They are usually very long so if I am home I will probably just flip through the channels. Not at my house, the husband is on the afternoon shift so he won't be here, the teenager is going to a party and our small group will be over to discuss the next set of chapters of,"A hole in our Gospel." I am not a big Olympic fan. I don't mind watching the highlights and the finals of skating. But, I really don't see the point of all the money being spent to see who can ski down a mountain the fastest. How about we spend that money and make sure that there is adequate food and shelter and clean water for our world! Vancouver is spending billions of dollars on building and everything associated with the Olympics, can some one tell me how much they are spending to help fix the massive drug/homeless problem they have? This weekend is also the start of the Nascar racing season. Yes, I like car racing! The first race is in Daytona Beach, Fl. The, "Daytona 500," and all this week on the Speed network there have been shows catching us up on last season and the hopes for this season. Hubby really likes the driver, Matt Kenseth, and I hope he does well this year. When we were on vacation last year Mr Sunshine and I and Grandma Sunshine took a drive over to the Daytona race track. It was pretty cool and I was surprised at how massive it was. There was no official race that day, apparently we had just missed it when we had come into town. There are a lot of Harley Davidson Motorcycles in that town. A couple of years ago when we went to Disneyworld we drove past Daytona on our way up to St. Augustine so that my cousin who came with us could see as much as possible. And I too was shocked at just how big the race track was.

We got some good news this week. I haven't blogged or talked about it much except with Sunshine as she helped us out for a week when we needed her. But let's just say when the teenager broke up with Dilbert he did not take it well. And caused a lot of trouble for her and the whole family. He spread rumours about her throughout the school, went to the school VP and said she was about to commit suicide when she was home because her wisdom teeth had got infected. Stalked her on the public transit home from school, this is when Sunshine helped and the teenager did not take the bus for a while but was driven home by Sunshine. And then to top it off he went to a teacher at the school and said that our home was an abusive home. So for the past month we (Me really) has been back and forth with the school and Children's aid. But as of yesterday we got the phone call to tell us (me) that they (children's aid) is not pursuing the investigation and closing the file. But let me say it truly upsets me that there is now a file, even though it says "no action required". Needless to say it has been a stressful month in that regard. And if I ever see Dilbert again there is no guarantee what I might do to that little sh*t!

Once again my gut was right. I never liked him, I tried to hide it (probably not very well). But I found him way too controlling and he would never look me in the eye. The teenager used to say it was cause he was afraid of me. Which let me just say, HE SHOULD BE AFRAID OF ME!

With all that being said everything else is pushing along. The teenager seems to like her new class, and is doing prep work for the different University's she applied to. The little one is excited to be starting a new project at school on bicycles. The husband is at work for a few more weeks then on a lay off the beginning of March for a week or two, I am not real sure.

Wow.....That is a whole lot of drama......

Caroline I am so happy that this ordeal is finally behind you. I know that God is looking out for you and your family.

What I want to know is what is Dilbert consequence? Will he not have to suffer some fate for causing all of this? Where were his parents? As far as we know there are no consequences. I don't even know if his parents were involved as he and the teenager are now 18 years old and considered adults.

This weekend my athlete will be running a 100metre relay in Windsor and I will be lucky enough to share my Valentine's day with my two favorite boys. Hope the weather is good, it may be time to take out the toboggans...I know my boys would love that. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a great Family day. (I forgot all about Family Day.) Not me!! An extra day to not wake up to the alarm clock!!!!!!!

That's pretty exciting, best of luck to the athlete. Hold on tight to those special boys of yours.
That's all I've got for now, until next week.

Have a great weekend!! May the sun shine brightly in all of our lives!!!!!! And if it has to snow let it only snow at Cathy's house so she can enjoy it and send the rest of us a picture.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Bachelor (flyine on the wings of love) home town dates

Last night on the Bachelor, Jake went to visit the home towns and families of the four remaining girls.

Gia was first. Gia (who I do like) was first and she lives in New York. I found it a little bit strange that they met her family in a restaurant instead of their home. Jake met Gia's mom, step dad, step brother and half brother. They all seemed to like Jake and were concerned that Gia would once again get hurt as she has been so many times in the past. Jake seemed to really like Gia's mom.

Next was Ali (she is my least favourite pick for Jake, yes even more so then Vienna). They visited Ali's late grandma's house (it was very touching). Then they went to her parents house and visited with her mom and sister and brother. It seemed like a good date and Jake seemed to be very impressed by the end of the night. He talked about how he is exactly where he wants to be with Ali at this point in their relationship.

Next was Tenley (my favourite pick for Jake). There is something about Tenley and Jake that makes me feel as though they just fit together. Tenley took Jake to her old dance studio and danced for him a piece that she has choreographed just for him. It was really sweet and Jake seemed to be very touched by the gesture. I think that Tenley is the one for Jake (she just needs to stop talking about her ex husband). Jake met Tenley's mom and Dad and sister. He had an opportunity to speak privately with both her mom and dad and both conversations were very moving. They really love and admire their daughter so much. They were honest in letting him know that she is still healing from her broken marriage but that she is ready to move on. They of all of the families felt to me as though they were not trying to make a sales pitch for how incredible their daughter was. They know that she is wonderful and if it is meant to be for both of them then they will be happy for Tenley and if not then they will still be happy and supportive for Tenley (and I really think that they would wish Jake all of the best).

Well lastly was Vienna. I now know why she is so strange. The apple does not fall fall from the tree. Her family seems nice but her dad (although he does love his daughter very much), well there is just something very odd about him. I felt that his interaction with Vienna was weird. Vienna wears a ring on her finger that her dad gave her that she will one day replace with a wedding ring once she gets married. I thought that it was a little strange but it was more then that, it was a feeling that I got when watching them together.

After all was said and done, Jake was getting ready for the rose ceremony ((I was so sure that Vienna was going to be sent home) when the drama began. Ali asked to speak to him. She was crying and upset. Poor Jake didn't know what was going on. Well Ali said that her work told her that she needed to go back immediately or she would loose her job. She was crying because she didn't know what to do. She expressed that she was being asked to choose between the two biggest loves of her life (well that should have given Jake a clue right there). Well Jake told her that he wanted her to stay and that he wished that she would take a chance on him but that he could not guarantee that he would put a ring on her finger in three weeks time. He did however tell her that she was not in jeopardy of going home tonight. Well without a guarantee, miss drama queen decided that she had to leave. She seemed so upset and Jake of coarse was devastated. I was happy because I do think that this seemingly great guy would make the wrong choice once again and actually pick Ali.

Well because of Ali's disappearing act, there was no need for a rose ceremony and Gia, Tenley and Vienna are still in contention to be his future bride. Personally I really don't think that we have seen the last of Ali, (if she does try to come back, then Jake please say no!!!)

Jake if you are out there and listening. For what its worth I think that you should have Gia and Tenley as your final two girls. Both are amazing women and either would be a great choice in my opinion but for what its worth, if I had to choose one girl for you it would definitely be Tenley.

Good luck Jake!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bench Talk: A Book Club?

How many people have taken part in a book club? Do you have the discipline to only read as far into the book as instructed? Did the discussion, which takes place in a group, raise or lower your interest in the book?

I have never taken part in a book club. I remember in high school reading books as part of the curriculum and the teacher would assign chapters to read. I was never able to have the discipline to stop reading. If I liked the book I would read the entire novel and then have to play stupid when the ensuing discussion took place. If you read our post from last Friday, you will know that we are going to try to read a book and discuss it in our blog. This should prove very interesting or very funny. We four ladies are similar in many ways, however, we all have different taste in books. We decided to take turns picking out a novel and due to time constraints will try to spread the discussion over a period of about a month or so. I wonder how long regular book club members get to read a book and discuss it? Sunshine gets to pick first. I think they are all afraid of what I will pick when my turn comes! I am thinking that we can use 'Bench Talk' to discuss the book and our opinions of it. Hopefully, Sunshine will have a book picked out for us next week. Stay tuned. I am kinda of in a book club I think.(you're hired!) The small group (through my church) that meet at my house every couple of weeks, meets to discuss the book we are currently reading. We have read obviously books from the bible, but also books (all have a christian perspective) from Philip Yancy, Brother Lawrence, Corrie Ten Boom and we are currently reading Richard Stearns book, "A hole in our gospel." Also, I facilitate a Women's bible study on Wednesday night in which we are reading and watching a video series by Beth Moore. But I have never done a club on a book that was fiction. So this is kind of exciting for me! Because I have so many books I need to read I think I should be good to only read the required reading. I am wondering are we just going to discuss the chapters and maybe highlight what we like or are we going to have formal questions to answer? What's the plan ladies?(formal questions? Who comes up with the questions?) And Sunshine, what book are you going to pick? Ohh the suspense. Just a hint, Sunshine, if you pick an older book then there is a better chance of us being able to get it from the library. I am a frugal person and if I don't have to buy the book I don't want to.
Well, well, the suspense continues. I am not much of a reader. I will read a book if someone recommends it to me and actually goes to the trouble of giving it to me when they are finished. I have also read books that have interested my Miss Teen Sunshine just to see what she was reading and I did enjoy them. Caroline volunteered to help me pick a book. She asked me what category and I said romance. I also told her that smutty romance is good with me too. I don't know what we will end up with but I know that Caroline is on the hunt for something good. Cathy may disapprove of this as I am suppose to pick the book on my own but Carline had called to say that the library actually has book club bags that you can reserve that come with a certain amount of copies of the same book. She is looking into that for me and the book that we discussed on the phone would meet Cathy's approval. Caroline was putting a book club book bag on hold for us but it is not due back at the library until sometime in march. Its a bit a a wait but if will save us money in the end. That's the plan so far ladies.

Happy Reading. Well I love to read.....reading has replaced many things for me lately. I love the idea of a book club but a sappy romance is something I'm just not into at the moment. I will grin and bare in though, just as long as everyone will be okay when it comes my time to pick. If I really love a book I buy it and keep it, and will pull it out every year or two just to read it again. If I love a book it's usually because of the characters they just seem like people you could really know or hope to know one day. I'm looking forward to every one's pick and I promise I will read each book no matter how painful it may be. ha ha I think the book club book club is a good idea and if any of our readers want to join then the more the merrier.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Night

Good Evening all, here we are at Louise's home tonight. It's been a while since we have been able to get together to blog. I arrived last and did they have the post set up....NOOOOO! so here I sit, getting ready to type EVERTHING they say! (Carolin) Stop your complaining. If we had set it up you would be complaining that we didn't wait for you! (I'm just grateful that someone is on here and getting the ball rolling) Thank you Cathy for getting us all together!!

Right now, Louise's little one is telling us about his friends at daycare. He has a lot of friends and is naming them all for us know. Before that, Carolin and Sunshine were talking about something to do with Carolin's church or maybe it was her kid's school. Now Carolin is talking about how the kids make fun of her as she cannot remember all their names. Louise's little one is now telling us how his older brother cut his hair. He did a darn good job! We think he would make a really good hair dresser. They can make a lot of money, especially in tips. (If my son becomes a hairdresser it will be over my dead body!!!) Not that I think anything is wrong with being a hairdresser but I would love something so much more for him......I know I know its all his choice.....but if I have anything to do with it I would love him to do something that he loves and from what I see,, doing his hair is definitely not one of them.........

I'm just about to ask the ladies if they have come up with any new ideas for the blog. I had sent them all an e-mail a few weeks ago with the mission to come up with some new ways to spruce up the blog. I have yet to hear if they have come up with anything new..... here I go...wish me luck! Actually I am OK with what ever they want and Carolin would like to make it a little prettier. I was just saying I would like it more girly (!) Whatever.......I think that whatever brings new opinions and people is always a good thing whatever that would be........

Can I get a word in? They are now talking about our kids and how they are liking the start of the second semester of high school. The teenager is still waiting to hear if she has been accepted to any University. Its a new semester so that means new kids and teachers and class locations. It will take a few days and things will be a little easier. Already its only been three days and she is getting into the groove of things.

I will try again.....OK here are a few ideas: change the look of the blog, start reading a book and discuss it (like a book club)... It's not like a book club, it is a BOOK CLUB. I think reading and comparing would be a good idea but I still don't think that we will all be able to find the same book and read it all at the same time........Let's see.

We have now digressed to teenage stress, or the stress parents place upon their teenagers. There seems to have been a show on TV that dealt with parents and their very high expectations.

I think I have managed to get some ideas discussed...stay tuned.

(Sunshine) He we are meeting at Louise's the four of us together for the first time in a very long time. Ya this book thing, what will we be picking. We are all a little bit concerned. Cathy is commenting on how good Carolin looks in her jeans and how much her husband much be "loving her in her jeans". Sorry to burst her bubble but I don't think my husband even noticed my jeans. Not that it matters, he may of said something the first time I fit back into them but it has been a while now. They are discussing of several books now and what others have read and how they were. Truthfully I am not a really big reader. I don't have the time or even a thought to do so but when I actually start a book I either love it and continue or can't get into it and don't finish it. I am a big reader, but am a little nervous about what books these ladies will make me read. Cathy is talking about this great book she is reading about this generation growing up in a digital world. I vote that Cathy be the last to pick the book we read. I hope I am up for the adventure for sure.

We are discussing the couch that just arrived. I waited 9 weeks for this couch to arrive and I don't really like it that much. So we may have to return it. Poor Mr Sunshine will be busy returning things tomorrow. I hope that I find one that fits. Carolin saw it tonight and she really didn't like it. She said that it is cheap looking and not big enough for the room. That makes me sound kinda bitchy, Sunshines' family room is large and long, the sectional couch is just not big enough for the room in my opinion. Also I really like the worn leather look of couches and this couch is very new looking. Kinda reminds me of a couch you would see in a doctors office. I totally agree.

Now to movies. Cathy is talking about Sherlock Holmes. She saw it last week and she said that she slept through the movie. I am not looking forward to seeing it based on Cathy's review.

The last movie that Carolin saw was The Princess and the Frog and she liked it and we saw it together. What about Avitar. Cathy saw it and absolutely loved it. I saw it with my family and I liked it but maybe not as much as Cathy. It was beautiful and the special effects were amazing. It doesn't even interest me.

So tonight is pretty much over I think we spent all of about an hour together. I think we got more accomplished than I thought we would.....short and sweet!!!! Anyway looking forward to reading and I will really try to look on some more blogs and see if we can find more people to join and share opinions with..........
The blue is Louise by the way.....I know you're thinking Louise who???? Well it's me and I'm going to give it a go and lets see what happens..........

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

Hi all, exam week is over and semester two has begun. The older one only has 4 courses this semester. He will actually have a lunch period. I think he will be lost with all the free time! I told him he can go to study hall! He has a light course load this semester, we will see how it progresses.

How are you all dealing with teenage acne? Mild cases are ok, but, what about severe cases? What 'stuff' have you used to help clear it up? I know it's natural and all, I am just worried about scarring. We have seen our family physician and he has proscribed some oral medication which has helped along with a topical ointment. I think it's starting to bother him this year. It didn't last year. We were speaking with our doctor and he said he could prescribe 'accutane.' It would be a last resort and only if the acne was really bugging him. There are a lot of side effects, ie: it affects your red blood cell production, your liver function, causes extremely dry skin and eyes. It's necessary to have a blood test done every month to make sure your red blood count is good. They only prescribe it for a maximum of... I think he said five weeks.. not sure about that one fact.

Since the teenager was around 10 our former Doctor told us to use Spectro Gel twice a day to cleanse her face. I also coincidentally was told to use Spectro Gel by my Aunt who is a registered holistic nutritionist. So we have used it since. The teenager fortunately has not had much of a problem with acne. I to use Spectro gel and I find it does make a difference. It is not cheap but not crazy expensive. The little one has started to use Spectro Gel as well as she gets the odd pimple. She has used no other acne creams. Just washing her face twice a day. For the past year especially in the winter she has to add a light moisturizer after washing but that is it. The boys are using the Spectro Gel as well. They do wash twice a day, too. I had a bad case of acne when I was a teenager, bad genetics I guess. I have given my daughter spectra gel as per Carolin's suggestion. It seems to be more hormonal for her. She said that it works sometimes. What she eats does not seem to make a difference either. Some days her skin is very clear for a period of time and then the next its not for a period of time. I really think that there is not much over the counter that makes a huge difference. I believe that It is just simply her skin type and her age that are cause of it. I hope that she will someday just grow out of it. It is hard though when they are feeling self conscious about it and girls try to cover it up with foundation and makeup, which make it even worse.

The stuff, accutane, makes me nervous, so I am hoping the medicine he is on will continue to show improvement. We go again in a month to decide. I hope the younger one will not have to deal with as severe a case as his brother. I don't think I have ever noticed the acne on your older son. So I don't know about it being severe. I wish that I could help but I don't know anything about that medication.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Bachelor - flying on the wings of love

I have been following the bachelor since the very first episode. If you watched the Bachelorette last season Jake the pilot who was a favourite of many of the viewers is now the bachellor. He is now down to 4 women. Tenley, Gia, Vienna and Ali.

My favourite from day 1 has been Tenley. Last night Jake decided to send Corri home. I thought that she was a nice girl but it didn't seem as though she would be the one for him.

Jake is very serious about finding his future wife on this show. In my opinion I feel that he will end up with Tenley. Gia would be a close second.

Ali is a trouble maker and she can be really mean to the other girls but comes across to Jake as being a sweet girl.

Vienna I feel is just too much work for Jake although he does seem to be attracted to her. On last nights episode Vienna went searching for Jake once they had all retired to their rooms and she found him in bed. She climbed on the bed (on top of the covers) and she wanted to hang out and let him know how interested she is in him. Jake sent her back to her room and expressed that it was inappropriate for her to be there and he did not want Gia (who was Vienna's room mate upstairs) to think that anything was going on. Vienna left and felt very unsure of how her decision to visit Jake in his room was perceived by him.

Jake also confronted Ali on his one on one date regarding her displeasure of Vienna still being in the house. Ali has been very vocal to all of the other girls about her displeasure at Vienna being given a rose at each rose ceremony when she was also given a rose. She expresses that she cannot understand how Jake can be interested in Vienna when she is so different from herself. Ali as threatened to tell Jake about her feeling on this subject on every episode so far. Well this week Jake called her on it and she said that the problem was fixed and that she was over it.

Next week will be the home town dates and I am really looking for ward to that.

Good Luck Jake, I really hope that you find the right girl.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bench Talk: Kid's School Projects

Your child comes home from school and you ask if they have any homework. They reply that they were assigned a project. You cringe.....

I don't know why you would cringe at projects. I love projects, my only wish is the kids would leave me alone so I could do their project my way! Honestly, I have learned so much through the teenagers projects over the years. I've learned about the emperor penguin, numerous beetles, our family tree, gears and pulleys, castles, Egyptian Gods. I have even helped friend's kids with theIR projects and always look forward to my grade! The little one has not really done any projects. I have noticed the difference between the two girls in reference to their education. The teenager was writing book reports, making Bristol board projects as early as grade two. The little one really hasn't done anything like that. I stand corrected, in November the little one and her friend did a project on Canada's Arctic lowlands. KD and I had much fun researching and coming up with ideas. Which I must say the little one did not use any of our ideas and insisted on collaborating only with her friend.

(Sunshine) There have been so many projects done in our home. Miss Teen Sunshine is the project queen. She throws herself right into the project. She really devotes hours and hours to completing the project to her satisfaction. She has over the years ended up with some very impressive work. She works on projects like she does everything else in life, she takes her time and does it her way and always does very well. She has never really asked for any help unless it was to ask for ideas (before I even finish my sentence she runs back to her room with some brilliant idea that the mere opening of my mouth has given her for another idea) and on occasion I have gone in at 2:00 in the morning to see if she will let me cut paper or glue something down so that she could finally get to bed. Miss Teen Sunshine thrives on doing projects. I think it is because she likes to let her personality be reflected in her work and we all know how much she loves attention!

Little Miss Sunshine seems to take a very different approach. The faster she gets it done the better. If anyone tries to give her any advice once she has already started her project then she contorts her body into strange shapes and complains about how her head and her back hurt and how she can't possibly do anymore work! She ends up with projects that are visually complete but lack content. She has very strong beginnings and conclusions but somehow she always manages to be very weak on the body. She does not really read the directions and does not have the patience to do the prep work to get her ready for working on the project. Her marks come back and they are OK. I hope that she will at some point not be satisfied with her marks and work a little harder but I don't know, maybe projects are just not her thing. If it involves working with her hands, then it is a different story. A few weeks ago there was a build your own instrument project that she really got into. She can come up with a concept, build it (her favourite part) and present it. The written part of that particular assignment was completed in class so I did not see it and the marks have not come home as of yet so I am not sure how she did. I can only tell you that if it involves research and planning and writing things down and having to organize them on paper then she just likes to whiz right threw all of that. She is much better when she can work on things with her hands in a three- D type of way than on a flat piece of paper. She was working on her speech this weekend. Once again her beginning and conclusion were amazing. But, when we discussed how she needed a lot more detail in her body she showed me how she had just enough paragraphs that were required and her speech made it just between the 2 minute and 3 minute mark. I further tried to explain that this was not enough as I still did not have enough information to understand what she meant by the 12 signs of the zodiac. I also showed her where she did not complete the steps to organizing her speech which the teacher had sent home and need to be filled in and handed in with her speech. Once again she got a really huge headache and her back was hurting. She had worked on it all day ( really it was maybe half an hour or so). Oh well, I let her be, I figure she will learn that it is not enough and want to do more or maybe she is just satisfied with what she has produced. We will have to see how all the projects effect her marks this term. To be very honest Little Miss Sunshine deals with projects the way that she does everything else, fast and furious. If you let her be then she is happy, if you get involved in anyway that will require her to do more work, then she will be miserable. In the end she studies in the same way and does her homework in the same manner. She always finished fast and seems to have a lot of time to do the things that she likes.

I have learned over the years to let Miss Teen Sunshine complete things in her own way even though she is up very late every night. Her marks are very good and she learns a lot. I will have to learn to do the same with Little Miss Sunshine (but I may have to wait until second term report cards come home to see how these projects will effect her overall marks).

I cringe when the boys come home with projects. They are in french immersion and their projects are always in french. They always have to have an oral presentation and something visual to present. They are given enough time. I like them to just get it done ahead of time, however, they always have a different idea. It comes down to the night before it's due and the panic sets in. We help them somewhat (it's hard not to) and they will finish. They do bring home a good mark and I always wonder if Hubby and I have higher expectations than the teacher? Now that they are in high school and grade 8 we tend to let them work at their own pace with gentle reminders. A funny thing though, I remember one of their teachers in grade school telling me that the object of the projects that are sent home is for the parents and kids to work together on them! So, I guess Carolin is right when she waits to see what mark "she" gets on her projects!