Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Follow Blog Hop - April 30th

It's Friday Follow time! This is a great way to make friends and increase exposure to your blog. Thanks to the ladies at,, and
Friday Follow
Click on one of the above links to access a list of all of the participating blogs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

(Cathy)Here we are again, another Thursday. Time flies by. So, what's new. Well, the older one came home from his high school senior band trip to Washington, DC. He had a great time! He could not get over how he could feed himself a complete meal (??) for $3.00US! He has not stopped talking about soft drink sizes. He claims that a U.S. size small drink is equivalent to a Canadian large! We sent him with enough money to eat well with and also to buy whatever he could afford. It was about $150.00US for 4 days. Only breakfast was included and the tours and admissions to the museums were included. He came home with $100.00US!! He is too funny! We are just glad that his first out of country trip without us was a success. (Sunshine) I am so happy that things went well. Did he have a good time? Was he home sick? By the way he has his parents frugal nature and I think that's a really good thing. I am learning to be more like that every day.
Not much new around here. Mr Sunshine is in New York. I know that we should be use to him travelling by now but I have to say that the house is just not the same when he is gone and I think that all of our moods are a little bit brighter when he is home.
Miss Teen Sunshine is participating in a 30 hour famine fund raiser for world vision over the next two days. There was a big waver that I had to sign absolving the school and the government of any responsibility if something negative were to result because of the famine. The recommendation is that they drink a minimum of 180ml of water every hour and they can have a small bowl of white rice a day ( the rice is optional). So far she says that she would like to do this famine without the rice. I wish that they would have chosen to schedule this famine on the weekend, when they could relax and expend little energy. It's going to be really hard to complete their fitness blasts on Friday as I am sure that they will be week and starving by then. However, I am proud of her for participating. (Carolin) My school did the 30 hour famine last Friday and Saturday. The kids love it they have so much fun. A Christian rock band came and preformed, the teachers and World Issues class had different games planned for the whole night. I stayed for a little of it mostly to listen to KD's speech on world poverty. I am sure Teen Sunshine will have a great time.
Little Miss Sunshine has been really stuffed up so we are trying some children's allergy medicine to determine if it is allergies. Also, Little Miss Sunshine has been surprising us with her athletic abilities lately. She was on the soft ball team this year and now she is on the school basket ball team. They did really well this week and are going onto the next level next week. Its funny, she has me sign these permission forms so that she can try out and I always tell her that she may not make it but we are proud of her for trying out anyways. She told me last time that I sometimes I am not that encouraging. Oops!! I will have to be more careful. I just didn't want her to be too upset if she didn't make the team. This is the first year that the grade fours are permitted on any team and grades 4, 5 and 6 make up the junior teams. She was actually really good when she didn't make it for the volleyball team. I guess my little 10 year old is growing up fast. Yeah for LM Sunshine!
I had a crummy few days at work this week so that has me a little bit down but my mood is improving as every day goes by. I need to grow a tougher skin (is that the right saying?). How do you do that? Oh well only 7 weeks and two days to go until summer break. Sorry to hear you had a rough week, hopefully it will get better.
Things are trucking along at my end. I have my first in school catering job planned for next Thursday. :) I had a chat with the principal last Friday and he assures me I will have an answer and agreement about providing food services for next year by June 11! I have been busy in my spare time working on summer camp menus, I would say I am about 80 % done.

I think we are schedule to get together this Friday at Louise's. Hope all of us can make it.
Have a great weekend everyone!!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Club - Week Four

Well shock of shocks. Sara's no good rotten husband once again beat her. But this time he went too far and she now is in a coma and may never come out of it. And yes it appears she also has lost the baby she was carrying.

Now that Sara's not so secret secret is out in the open what do you think she will do (assuming she comes out of her coma)?

(Sunshine) I feel so sorry for Sara. It is so difficult to understand how the rest of the world can see that her husband would one day try and kill her, but she is shocked and surprised. She talked about the softness in his eyes when she told him about being pregnant with their daughter and how his eyes make her melt and then seconds later he brutally attracted her. I think that Sara was genuinely shocked that her husband was capable of such violence towards her and her children and the baby sitter. She would talk about how if he found out about certain things then he would kill her but that word kill had a different meaning for Sara. I think that for Sara it meant a fight in which she would probably get injured, which she felt was deserved and then some make up sex which somehow made her feel loved and special for a brief period of time. (Carolin) I am sad that Sara was abused by the JERK. But not surprised, I have a hard time understanding her and why she would stay with a man who wants to hurt her.I believe that Roberto attacked Sara for many different reasons that evening and one of them in my opinion was because she was carrying a daughter and not a son. I have always been afraid of what he would do if they actually had a daughter. I don't know that Sara really understood the magnitude of Roberto's anger and hatred towards women. If Sara makes it, and I hope that she does for herself and for her children then I hope that she finally sees Roberto for the monster that he really is. I hope that she is ready to testify against him and I hope that he spends the rest of his life in jail. I do believe that it is easier said than done. These men have a very strong hold on the women that they are with. Sara's only chance may be if he is in jail and not allowed to come near her or the children ever again. Then she could rebuild her spirit and with much help she could learn to love and respect herself once again. Her children have seen so much ugliness and they too will need a lot of help and a stable home filled with love and security.Sara needs time to heal both physically and Emotionally and she should make sure that Roberto does not have the opportunity to come any where near her and her children. She needs to be strong and feel loved and secure once again. The sucia's can help her with this. If Sara is ok, then the boys will also be ok. Sunshine you have way more sympathy then I could ever muster. Sunshine, I am continually humbled by how well you are able to put into words your feelings and thoughts on this book. I tend to be like Carolin, short answers. However, after this past reading, I was angry at Sara for knowingly putting herself into this situation. I know, I know, it's easy to judge! I do hope that this will bring all the 'Sucias' together to help her.

We have learned a little more about Usnavy. Has your original opinion of her changed at all?
Usnavy is an interesting character. Searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places.
I know that she is a pain in the but and that she values everything that is materialistic but at least she is honest about it. She has problems like everyone else in the world. The bright star in Usnavy's corner is Juan and his unconditional love for her. If she could just find a way to trust him and let him into her heart then she would be giving herself many gifts. I believe that Juan is one of those souls who have been sent on earth to help to soften Usnavy's heart. He probably doesn't even know why he keeps chasing her but he just can't stop. If he succeeds he will also receive many gifts in return. I think that Usnavy has the ability to be a very loving, caring and loyal partner to the right man. I hope that Juan keeps trying and that Usnavy finally lets go long enough to feel life both past and present. I think that she needs to feel the past in order to release the strong hold that it has on her present. Her past will always be a part of her but it does not have to define her. I have always liked Usnavy and I hope that she can find a way out of the darkness and go toward Juan who I believe is holding her light.
I find Usnavy a little more interesting now that we have more of a glimpse of how and why she is the way she is. I don't know if she will ever find someone to truly love because she has so much 'stuff'' to get through. She's just selfish.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bench Talk: Giveaway Blogs

Have you ever taken the time to hop from blog to blog? If yes, you will have noticed the increasing number of blogs whose purpose is solely for product reviews and give aways. Is this the evolution of a personal blog?

(Sunshine) I don't do much blog hopping so the answer is no.

(Carolin) I have blog hopped and have found some very interesting blogs. I have noticed a lot of the giveaways blogs. I don't normally stay on them as I don't find them very interesting. We have talked about doing product reviews but I would like to do it differently than the giveaway blogs. But at this time I am not sure just how, any suggestions? Also, I have found most of the giveaway blogs are American so they are not applicable to us Canadians.

(Cathy) I do blog hop and I have come across many interesting blogs. I am now a follower of many of these blogs. (Check out my profile to see the list) It's the evolution of blogging that had me asking the above question. Many of the blogs I now follow started out as personal blogs and they still are to a point. Our own blog (At the Park) has grown and evolved. We have made many friends by participating in a Friday Follow Blog Hop. Most of these blogs are now give away blogs. On a give away blog products are reviewed and bloggers can enter for a chance to win the product. From what I see this is a lot of work. It almost becomes a job in itself to keep up with the posts of new products and winners. It's a great way to increase exposure to your blog and I think that that is probably the catalyst for starting the give aways. I was reading a blog the other day and the author was advising that she was slowing down on the give aways and getting back to the original reason for blogging; sharing her personal thoughts on life.

Starting a blog is so exciting and when you start to get followers it's even more exciting. It's important to remember the reason for the blog and try to stay focused and hopefully, people will be drawn to read out of interest.

I hope our readers find what we have to share interesting. Welcome and enjoy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

(Cathy)Hi all, I hope the week has been good for all of you. Have any of you been following our Book Club? I was wondering if the ladies had anything further to add about the book besides the discussion questions? I would love to sit down with all of you, enjoying a good cup of hot tea and take the book apart. I have many thoughts as to the meaning of the book. Is it that life itself is a lie???? All trusting means no trusting???? I know this is a book and yes it's an interesting dissection of a group of friends, girlfriends at that which as we all know hold a special place in our hearts. So, what is the book telling us up to now? That you really do not know your close girlfriends or is it that we as human beings choose not to get too close because it's too uncomfortable? As I continue to read the story I naturally make comparisons between the characters in the story and us four ladies. So often as I read I will think to myself, "this is just like us, or maybe this is just like us!" I am not talking about the external situations that the ladies find themselves in. I am referring to the general 'makeup' of each of the ladies. I think we all have an 'public' face and an 'internal' face. How often do we get to see each other's 'internal' face. I have been told by the ladies that I am a 'vault' which is funny because I always saw myself as being transparent. However, again as I read I find bits and pieces of myself reflected in the story; good bits and bad bits, and bits I'm none too proud of. I think all of you benchers understand that we ladies do love each other unconditionally. Here's a question, after all these years, do we 'really' know each other?

I can hear the ladies responses, (in my mind) to what I have just written and I must say I have a smile on my face now. Let's see if I am still smiling when they have responded.
(Sunshine) Well Cathy, a vault can mean many different things. I think that you are good at keeping other peoples things and you don't share when its not yours to share. You are very careful and respectful of what you will say about others. That is a very positive thing. With regards to your own information, I think that you share when you are ready to share and then look out, nothing is off limits and that is also very positive. It demonstrates that you have a comfort level with us and that you are comfortable with who you are. What else can someone ask of a friend. How about some food?

With regards to the book. I am enjoying it. There is so much life within these girls and their families and each one has a different set of circumstances that has made her the person that she is at that time. No one's life is perfect. The only sad part is that many of them feel that they have to keep their lives hidden from the others. It's so much harder to go through life by yourself. It is easier when you accept life and yourself with all of its faults and if someone doesn't like the way that you are then that's just too bad. I guess that most of their reservations come from the fear of rejection. If rejection does happen then was that person a good influence in your life to begin with? It is something that the girls in the story and also we as human beings must really think about. There are people in life whose opinions don't really matter to me and others whose opinions mean the world to me. In the end, I must be at peace with who I am to really be me. That keeps the inner conflicts to a minimum but they still occur now and then.

Do we really know each other? I think that we do but you can never know everything about a person other than yourself. With regards to knowing others, people are always changing and evolving so there is always something new to discover about others and ourselves for that matter.

(Carolin) Cathy wants us to really get into this book. I just read it. I find it a light bit of fluff. This book would be a good airplane or beach book. I think with this group of ladies (in the book) why they can keep their secrets so well is because they on the most part live in different cities. They don't see each other all the time. I feel it is harder to keep two separate lives if you see each other often.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Club: Week Three

We have now met all of the sucia's. Is there anyone of them you would want to be friends with and in the same sense one who you just know you would avoid at all costs?
(Sunshine) I like most of the sucia's. I think that they are real women with real problems but it's weird because although they are good friends, many of them keep deep secrets from each other for this reason I really like Lauren best. She is real and honest with all of her friends and although that makes her vulnerable to others, I don't think that she really cares and it leaves her free to be herself. My least favourite is Amber because in my view she is the most inflexible of all of the girls. Amber has very strong convictions and you are either with her or against her. There is no middle ground with Amber so it would be difficult for me to interact with her and to understand her. (Carolin) I have been thinking of this question since I first wrote it yesterday morning. I think I am most intrigued with Rebecca and Elizabeth. Rebecca because I want to know why she feels this need to have everything in order and very particular. She has built great big walls around herself for protection and I am interested to see if they will or ever can be torn down. Elizabeth I feel sorry for; she lives this double life and lives in fear of being found out all the time (exhausting). The rest of the sucias are just exasperating, Usnavy (ugh) she is just too selfish. Amber is too brick wall in her beliefs. I see her giving them up if the boyfriend should leave her (and I think that will happen because of professional jealousy) Lauren and Sara I have very little time for them. (Cathy) I think Elizabeth is the most interesting for me so far. She just seems more real to me. Amber is the free spirit, free to be and do what she wants. I think I envy that. I agree with Carolin that Usnavys is too selfish. She will never find a love because her list is too specific. I don't think that anyone exists who will fit her ideals. Maybe that is the point.

Lauren appears to be our main sucia. What do you think will develop between Amaury and Lauren?
(Carolin) Amaury intrigues me and I am looking forward to see if he is just playing Lauren or if he might be someone who can help her get herself together. I think Amaury is going to be one of those surprise people in stories. They set him up as one type of personality and he turns out to be something totally different. We'll see. (Sunshine) I like Amaury. I think that he may be just what Lauren needs and Lauren may be just what Amaury needs. If he can change his occupation and become all that he can be then together they may be the real deal.

So, ladies, how are you enjoying this book club? I think it would be interesting to get together and see how much more we can discuss the book? Let's continue our thoughts on the book in this weeks, "Thursdays on the Bench."

Dancing With The Stars (she has finally been eliminated)

It was movie week on DWTS and most of the dances were really good. The exception was Kate Gosselin. Unfortunately I just don't think that dancing is her thing.

Jake the bachelor opened his act with the scene from Risky Business, it was a little bit weird but he is up for anything.

Pamela Anderson danced to Dolly Parton's 9 to 5. It was fun and there was a dance step that started on the floor and very fluidly moved to a table top and back down to the floor. It was very impressive and there was nothing sleazy about it. Len of coarse did not like her routine but the other judges did.

I don't know what is going on between Chad and Chery but something happened this week that has appeared to make Cheryl very nervous and upset but she wasn't talking.

My favourite of the night was Nicole from the Pussy Cat Dolls. She was amazing.

The bottom two included Kate and Pamela (why Pamela?).

Eliminated last night was Kate.

Keep Dancing

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bench Talk: Finding Time

This is a topic which comes up all the time, "finding time." It sounds so easy when you say it. It should be easy and we all know the time is there, however...

(Sunshine) As our children grow and they are involved with so many activities and they start to have lives of their own, life gets busier and busier. Time seems to get away from all of us and it is so important to make time for things that are special to us. To spend time with others and do things that make us happy. The daily grind of life and all of our obligaitons, take us away from what really matters and our focus shifts and the next thing we know, so much time has gone by and as we grow older we realize that we don't have as much time left as we did when we were kids. (Carolin) Time, Hmmm, lately I just don't seem to have enough of that. I didn't even get a chance to get on the blog yesterday, sorry ladies. When I get a moment I will sit down and type but for now I just don't have the time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Patches ( April 12 2001 - April 18 2010)

It has been a very difficult weekend.

Early this morning our dog Patches lost his battle with Addison's disease.

He was a sweet and loving dog filled with life and with love and he completed our family.

It has been so quiet around here and we already miss him so much. Who would have thought that a family could fall so in love with a little dog. My youngest daughter has taken one of his dog tags and placed it on a necklace that she is wearing around her neck. I know that he is not coming home but it still seems so unreal to me. I wish so much that life did not include death because it is always so painful.

Patches we will all miss you very much. Thank you for all of the love that you have given our family. You will live on in our hearts forever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

(Cathy) So, how has everyone been this past week. I have not seen or spoken with any of you so have no idea what is happening. Is this my normal purple colour? It looks a little different. How about this purple? Hmmmm. Have I told you about the grackles? They are the black birds with iridescent heads. The past two years, once the babies have hatched, the father grackle starts to attack our dog when he is out in the backyard. I have seen the father grackle swoop down and peck at our dog who, at the time, was doing nothing other than his 'business'. Our dog became so frightened of the grackle that he started to refuse to go outside. We would have to go with him and scare the bird away. My husband wanted to get rid of the nest and the baby birds, but I said we had to wait until the nest was vacated. We did wait, however, all summer long the father grackle would sit on the fence, or on the roof, or in a tree and taunt our dog! This year they are back again. We have been removing the nest bits as they are building it. I am hoping they will become too frustrated and build a nest somewhere else! Time will tell. I love nature, however, we all have to learn to live together, in harmony!(Sunshine) We are doing well, thank you. I like the second purple colour the best. The visual image of your family trying to scare the birds away is making me laugh and its been a long week so I could use a good laugh. I hope that your grackle issue is solved soon. I have a carpenter ant problem and its been ongoing for years and I am finally fed up and so are the kids. I finally called a plethora of companies to enquire and to get quotes. The consequences is that if we do not solve the problem then it gets bigger and bigger. Also, the thought of the ants in my walls is just disgusting. Well, cha- ching, cha- ching and there goes my last two weeks pay check, so no built up savings once again. They are coming tomorrow afternoon and they will spray the entire house inside and out. They will guarantee that the problem will be fixed but only for a year. There is no long term guarantee. Sometimes the problem never reoccurs and other times it is a yearly treatment. I am at a loss as to what else to do. Mr. Sunshine has used aunt traps and aunt bait (how do your sisters feel about the traps and bait!)(I was going to fix that 'aunt' and then I saw your comment and decided to leave it, ha ha ha!) and powder and nothing seems to do the trick. Well, we have to be out of the house for 4 hours tomorrow night including the dog. Apparently once the spray settles and dries it is no longer harmful.(I find that highly suspect)Do you vacumn it up? It is supposed to be just fine for children (even with allergies) and for pets. That is what all six companies have assured me. I really hope that they are absolutely sure of this. Please wish me luck! I hope that they will find the queen aunt(??) (she is well protected behind her outer bailey, moat, inner bailey, gate house, the ants are keeping watch through the narrow windows in the towers and marching along the rampart,hiding behind the turrets. But rest assured if you can do it you will find the Queen hiding in the Keep) it really is to bad I can't write the little ones test cause I know all about medieval times. as well as any satellite nests. I know gross, gross, gross. I am not sure what a carpenter ant is? Is it a big black ant or the little ones?
Mr. Sunshine has been away now for quite some time. It has been a few weeks now with a short one day visit last weekend. I am tired and we all really miss him but so far he will be in town next week. That's all for now. Everyone be good and only two more days until the weekend. Oh, and yesterday I missed all of American Idol because Little Miss Sunshine had a test on the Medieval World. Wow! There was 70 pages of in depth information that she had to know. It was crazy! There was the Roman empire, Barbarians, Castles, Armor, Emperor Constantine, Emperor Augustine, Alfred the great (a warrior but not at heart), St Benedict, St. Patrick, The Feudal System., catacombs and a whole lot more. By the end of the night I was going a little bit loopy and Little Miss Sunshine was exhausted. I asked how she did on the test and she said that it was hard and that she did not remember if there was anything on the test that she didn't know. I am working on homework as I type with the little one and just looked up what a Fief is. For all you out there not working on grade four Medieval Times, Fief is another word for land. This is the third time that I have had to help her study for a test. She usually studies for about 20 minutes (if that) and is done. It has worked brilliantly in the past but this year the marks have been sliding so I realized that she did not know how to study for tests like this one. There is so much detail. I forgot how much work it is to help and teach good study habits. Was I successful, only the marks will tell. See you all later. I feel your pain, since it doesn't seem to matter if we study or not she always has crappy marks (the little one). I get so fustrated with her cause she really does not care so it makes it very difficult to study with her.

(Carolin) Hi all, the weather here is wonderful. I sat outside when I got home for 15 minutes just enjoying the warmth. Not much going on here, same old, same old. I am tired and always seem to have stuff to do but no complaints.
We have had a Canadian geese couple eyeing our front garden as a new home the past week or so. As much as it would be cool to see the eggs from our front window. Canadian geese can be very nasty when they are nesting and I am not sure who would win the fight the geese or Duster our cat. Speaking of Duster, he has been pretty sick for some time now. He throws up at least two times a day, not much stays down anymore and has lost some weight. The husband took him to the vet today for his rabies shot and to check him out. He is down 2 pounds, which doesn't' seem like much but he only weighed 10 pounds to start with. The vet was concerned and wants to see him in a month. He gave him a another anti vomit vaccine. So we will see what happens in the next month. Duster is 13 years old and has suffered from an over active immune system that he has been on medication for, for the last 5 years or so. We have not said anything to the girls yet as we thought we would wait till after next month and then we will have to make some hard decisions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book Club Talk: Week Two

The Dirty Girls Social Club

3. Elizabeth is the only foreign-born of the sucias and yet she spends the least amount of time thinking about her Latin identity. There are two big reason for this. What do you think they are?(Sunshine)Elizabeth has expressed that she is never more at home then when she is in Columbia. She finds the city alive and colourful and she feels that all cities should be like this. Elizabeth is a lesbian (I know big shock) and in Columbia being who she is would be an impossibility. There is not even a word for lesbian in their vocabulary. Elizabeth is also a news anchor. She has an incredible job and she is well respected in the community. She is not just a woman who is a mother or a cook (that is all that she could be in Columbia) she is free in her American world. Free to dream and to achieve and be anything that she wants to be. However, she carries with her a big burden. Her celebrity status and the lack of understanding for her being a lesbian in her mother's world and in her current work place make her hide behind her sad mask. She is in a relationship with Selwyne but she wishes that Selwyne were Lauren. Lauren is her deep and longing love but she has never been able to reveal that to anyone outside of herself out of pure fear. What is she so afraid of? I think that it is humiliation and rejection by her colleagues, her fans the sucias, her best friend Sara, her mother, Selwyne and most of all Lauren. I feel really bad for her. On the outside she appears to have it all, but on the inside she is depriving herself of real happiness. Well, now will Elizabeth's world come crashing down or will it pave the way to freedom. (Carolin)I think it is very interesting that we live in a time of supposed enlightenment and acceptance (this is what the entertainment world tells us anyway) but that same world is the first to try to embarrass one of their own. Because I have always lived in the same area I don't understand the desire to live in one place but wish you could live back where you came from. Elizabeth is caught between worlds. She will have to make the hard decision to trust at some point. Why is it that you can be friends with someone for years, close friends and still have secrets????

4. Sara seems to feel some responsibility for what is happening in her home life. do you agree that she is partly to blame? Why, or why not?Sara's story made me very sad. People like Sara hold onto this secret from almost everyone. In Sara's case, her live-in housekeeper knows the truth and so do the boys to some extent. My heart aches for Sara and the way that she is treated. She is always made to be demeaned in some form or other. The physical and emotional abuse that she endures on a daily basis is horrible. I think that in Sara's world she justifies it because it's easier and because she feels that she is deserving of the treatment that she is getting. There is no one there to tell her that this is wrong and that she deserves better. There is no one there to tell her that her children cannot continue to live in such a disfunctional place. Sara hides behind all of the gifts. I think that secretly she would love Roberto to change and she knows that there could still be passion between them without physical violence and emotional abuse. Will Sara understand and free herself from this torture? Maybe for the sake of her children. I am afraid for Sara and her children and I worry for her unborn child. Sara really wants the baby to be a girl but I cannot imagine what life this girl would have with a father who has such a skewed view of how all women in the world are to be treated. I hope that Sara tells Roberto about being pregnant before he ends up hurting Sara and the baby. Sara is a victim of circumstances but for the sake of her children, she needs to make a drastic and immediate change. Out of all the sucias we have met so far I would say Sara is the one I would least like to be friends with. Though I do not condone the abuse she gets from her husband (the jerk) I have a hard time with the, "well, the broken or busted lip was worth it cause I got a new car or remodelled bathroom out of it." She is such a materialistic spoiled person I don't know if she will ever see that what is happening is going to end up killing her. I have never figured out the, "battered wife syndrome." She justifies the abuse to a point by saying she is just as abusive. So far I feel all of these ladies are living false lives. I do not believe any of them are happy. They all come from disfunctional backgrounds and this book is pretty predictable at the moment. I hope there is a twist at some point, soon!

5. Do you feel Amber's anger is justified and is she getting her message across? Amber, I think that she is a complete and utter nut. She spends so much time getting her message out to others that she herself forgets to live. She will not rest until the world sees things her way. Good luck with that. There are other views and opinions in life and that is to be respected. How can people try to understand her when she tires to understand no one. Its her way or the highway. It seems to me Amber wants to be different so bad that she will do just about anything to not look main stream. I am interested to see what her reactions will be if she is offered a record deal and will she eventually 'sell out'. I guess I am assuming that the meeting is about a record deal. Maybe not. I also think she is working way too hard at being who she is outwardly and not feeling the same on the inside. Again, I still feel we are in the set up stage and I am hoping this book gets better, fast.

Bench Talk: With Spell Check, Is it really Necessary to Learn to Spell?

(Carolin) I guess Cathy has no idea what to talk about today. And I woke up with a toothache so I don't really feel like doing anything so I will leave the conversation to Sunshine.

(Cathy) Carolin, sorry you have a toothache. Does this mean you will be seeing K at the dentist soon? Feel better Carolin. Sorry I didn't see K today. But still have a toothache

About Bench Talk, I finally thought of a topic for discussion.

By grade three I was told by my son's teacher that the focus was no longer on spelling properly. The focus was to be on 'content'. As kids type on computers, (what ever happened to cursive writing??? I know, another topic!) they have the use of spellcheck. So, teachers want the kids to focus more on the detail of their writing, rather than spelling. What do you think?

When I was talking to the Vice Principal at the public school in our area last year (when we were considering moving the little one to a new school), she did say they do not do spelling tests and that spelling is no longer marked. I have mixed feelings on the subject. But it is VERY important that the kids learn to spell and have good grammar. They need these skills for when they are adults and in the work force. With the Internet our way of communicating has changed and we are required to write (type) just about everything. If we want others to understand us then we need to be able to spell and use proper grammar.

Both my kids know cursive writing. Little Miss Sunshine is still in the process of learning and practicing but she has picked it up quite well.

Spelling, that's a whole other issue. I have always been a terrible speller. I think that some people are good spellers and others, are not. I think that it depends on how you learn and how our brain works. I have become much better since the kids were born because there was a stage where we were spelling words that we did not want them to understand and also they are always asking me how to spell a word. I actually think that what I got better at was spelling the words out loud not necessarily learning how to spell words that I have a tendency of getting wrong. Spelling will come over time and they will either be great spellers or adequate spellers but I agree that teaching a child how to add relevant content is really important. It makes them think and stretch their minds. Both my girls had weekly spelling tests from grade one up to grade five. Though the little one has had her list of words reduced and I don't think she has ever passed a test, I still find her a pretty good speller. Also both girls learned cursive writing in grade three and in grade four are expected to only write in cursive. Again the little ones cursive writing is very nice. The teenagers is also nice when she takes her time.

I am really happy that computers have spell check, however even with that feature I still find (or rather I have been told in no uncertain terms)(hmmm, I wonder by whom?) that I still manage to make my fair share of mistakes. How many did you find this time?(do you really want to know? I just finished editing and I am laughing. One of my points is that spell check is ok, however it does not fix grammar mistakes. For example, using the proper spelling of know verses no, or where verses were!!!) I am not good at spelling but have found that spell check has helped. Over time when it is the same words I spell wrong eventually through spell check I am now able to spell the word correctly.
I know my spelling and grammar are bad, but I do try. I think for me I am always in a rush and don't take the time to proof my work. I am counting on my fellow bloggers to do that for me. I do know that I will correct an error on the others work when I catch them. In other words I am expecting them to have my back!(I've got all of your backs, as long as you don't mind. I have to admit, one of the things I enjoy about our blog is the work I do in the background. I find you ladies have such interesting things to say when I cannot think of a thing. So, I'm glad to be able to "play" with our blog.)
Here is another interesting point to ponder. Language is fluid. It has changed over the centuries and with that change anthropologists and sociologists are able to track society. One day, many years from now, maybe there will be only one way to spell.....there!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Idol (judges use their save)

Tuesday night on American Idol there were some great performances. It was all about the Beatles legends, John Lennon and Paul Mc Cartney.

Crystal, Casey and Lee were all really good.

On Wednesday night the bottom three consisted of Andrew, Aaron and Big Mike.
Big Mike was eliminated. I was not very surprised but it was sad to see his wife so emotional.

Well, the judges have the ability to save one person for the season and surprisingly, they decided unanimously to save Big Mike. That was a big surprise as I don't feel that Big Mike will win the competition. Oh well, never a dull moment.

Then Rhianna performed her song, "I'm a rock star," and it was a little too bizarre for my taste. It seemed as though she was performing at her own concert rather than on the American Idol stage. Her new style of music is not really my thing I guess.

Click here to view Casey's performance of, "Jealous Guy."

Click below to view Crystal's amazing peformance of, "Come Together."

click below to view Lee's performance of, "Hey Jude."


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thursdays on the Bench

(Cathy) Hi everyone! What does everyone think about the book club? Sunshine, for someone who does not have time to read a lot of books, you sure got a lot out of the first reading!!

Let's talk about the weather. I'm not complaining, it's just that.... o.k., maybe I'm just a little miffed that it rained on my days off. It's funny because it seems in the summer it will be beautiful weather during the week and come the weekend it rains. I know now is the rainy season and I'm grateful as we didn't have a lot of snow this past winter. We definitely need the rain to build up our water tables. I hooked my rain barrels back up and they are now full! All my seeds are doing great except for my pansies. No sign of them yet. It was old seed and this winter I cleaned up all my old seed packets. In other words, I planted it all to see what was still viable. I just read over what I wrote.... what a bunch of rambling nonsense! Oh well.... Uh, what are you talking about? What you wrote now or something on the blog from last year or some other secret writing you do??? Ha! ha! ha!
(Carolin) I don't mind the rain because we had such an amazing Easter weekend. My cousins were in their bathing suits tanning. Who would have thought, tanning at the beginning of April. There are a lot of people complaining about Global Warming but for a Canadian, Global Warming is great!
I don't think I am going to plant anything this summer. No baskets, planters or vegetable garden. The little one and I will be away all summer so there seems to be no point. Now sounds like a good time to remind all the ladies about our annual bbq on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend!!!!!!!! Where did that come from? I won't have many opportunities to remind you relentlessly over the summer, if you're not here!!!! :)!
It was a bit of a damper this morning waking up with the rain and no sunshine. My daffodils are almost ready to bloom and my tulips are peaking through the ground. I hope that my peach tree has a lot of peaches this summer. I like it when the weather is not nice cause I am busy at work and today was no exception. I was busy all day. We took the cover off of our pool. The rain is starting to fill it up. (the water level has risen about an inch!! lol!)
(Sunshine) What an incredible weekend.(past) It was probably the nicest weather we have had in a long time for the Easter long weekend. On Friday all four of us girls and our families met for fish and chips. We met at a local fish and chips place and it was very busy. The restaurant had a wait of over an hour to be seated and we quickly realized (actually Cathy and Carolin as they were first on the scene) that even if we waited, there was no way that it would accommodate all 20 of us at the same time. The decision was made to order(take out) for each of our families and then Carolin graciously offered up her home as a meeting place to have our dinner. We waited outside at the restaurant for about an hour and that was actually fun! The kids were sitting on the curb chatting and laughing and us adults were observing some of the other interesting people and also chatting. The hour passed by very quickly and I actually had a really good time. When do we find that we actually have the time and patience to wait in line for such an extended period of time and not even complain about it? It was nice to have everyone off work and relaxed and just enjoying each others company. It was a really nice evening!
As our food was ready we headed over to Carolin's house. When I arrived she and her husband were making an apple crisp. It was the fastest that I had ever seen two people put together a home made dessert. Let me tell you it was so delicious! We ate and talked and the little kids played together. The men ended up on their own in the living room for a while and I spent a lot of time talking to my nieces as they had actually scheduled some time to be with all of us without having to rush off to another outing. It was fun to catch up. I have to thank Carolin and her family for a great night and for hosting my 2 nieces as well as my sister and her boyfriend and his daughter and my family. She was and always has been a gracious hostess and we really appreciated it. It was a fun evening and having everyone over was great. Glad we all had fun! I thank-you too, it was a great time. I'm looking forward to the start of my new shift so we can do it again!
Then on Saturday we had a house full of people as I had both sides of the the family over. It was busy and a lot of fun and by the end of the night I was so tired. On Sunday it was just our family and on Monday, Mr Sunshine was off to Orlando and the girls and I went to the movies. We saw "The Last Song" and it was a good movie but a real tear- jerker. Wow you were busy, things were much laid back at our house. I cooked and cooked and cooked and then we went to KD's for dinner on Sunday. We had Easter dinner on Saturday night at my folks place. My dad cooked a roast lamb. It was yummy! It was leftovers for the rest of the weekend. We are also busy this weekend coming. We are going to London, ON, for dinner with family. We haven't seen them in a while and we are looking forward to it. Have fun in London, my mom is coming for the weekend so my family has been spending the week gathering all their stuff that needs mending. We wouldn't want her to feel bored and it's important that she feel usefull, right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Club Talk

Discussion Questions:

1. Lauren spends much of her time feeling inadequate and like an impostor. Where do you think these feelings stem from?

(carolin)I found while I was reading the 1st chapter (Lauren) I was having a hard time sticking to the book. I kept putting it down and finding something else to do. I think it was that I didn't seem to like this girl too much. Perhaps her feelings about herself were hitting too close to home for me. I did find her just too superficial.
(Cathy)I don't know if I would call her superficial, I think she has no self-esteem at all. It's funny because as I was reading about her, I too could relate. I keep forgetting that I am part Cuban. I just always think of myself as Jamaican. It was interesting to me to read all the Cuban/Spanish references and to be able to relate to them. Lots of them. I never realized just how much Cuban influence I had been exposed too. I felt like Lauren, in describing all the 'susias' opened up a part of me. The first chapter is always the 'set-up' chapter. As we read it we make assumptions and those assumptions are either going to be reinforced or destroyed as we read the rest. I think Lauren is still trying to find out just who she is and where she fits in.
(Sunshin)It was an interesting read. I got a good sense of who all of the girls are from Lauren's perspective. I found it hard to follow sometimes because of all of the Cuban/Spanish references that I know nothing about but as I read on I began to understand a little bit more. Lauren is an interesting girl who is so confused and although she lacks confidence in some ways, she has so much confidence in other ways. I could probably sit at a table with Lauren and chat for hours. I feel as though I know her because of her raw honesty and openness. I wonder if drinking so much actually brings out our true emotions or does it change a person into something that they are really not? Lauren talks so much about wishing that she had a different family. I feel that she is so searching to be what she is not and that is why she feels inadequate. I wonder if she will ever accept who she is and demand only the best for herself because she deserves it. In the end it is all about feeling loved. That is what every human being on this planet is searching for. The only thing is that we have to love our selves and be proud of who we are in order to attract the same kind of love from others.

2. How do you think Rebeca's husband was raised to view Latinos? How does this impact their marriage? Is his disappointment in her fair?

Brad (Rebeca's husband) is a loser! Though I find Rebeca a little odd in her way of thinking. Brad is a self absorbed spoiled rich boy (kinda stereotyping the rich boy) His family is very prejudiced of Latinos but I didn't get the feeling he was. But he is yukky!!!
I think Brad is a big fake! He is a big wuss! He is a baby who has never had to be responsible for anything, ever. His parents seem also to be the same. Makes sense, I guess. I would like to get to know his (Brad's) sister and see if she is nice. I hope she is the 'black' sheep of her family. As for Brad's disappointment in Rebecca not being 'earthy'. Was she ever 'earthy'? Not the way Lauren has described her. As I don't care for Brad, I could care less if he is disappointed in Rebecca. I do feel a bit sorry for Rebecca, however, if she has realized she only married Brad for his money..... I wonder at the time of their marriage if she understood what to love, really love someone really means.

What does "earthy" really mean anyways. Rebecca herself admits that she only married Brad for his money. Does that mean that she did not show her true self to Brad until much later. It seems to me that Brad knew Rebecca's back ground from the start and he still chose to be with her despite his parents strong views. I feel like I really need to know more about what is really going on with them. Rebecca admits that she cannot talk about certain things with Brad, important things. They have not slept in the same room now for five months. Is Brad wondering what took her so long to notice that he has checked out? What is Brad depressed about anyway. I do however feel that if you have strong friendships that those friends will have a good insight as to whether or not the guy that you are interested in is right for you. What did they see that Rebecca is only seeing now? In life your parents can have certain views of other cultures and you may or may not end up with the same views. It sounds to me like Brad's views were different from those of his parents from the start. What happened to drive such a wedge between the two of them. Was it his families refusal to even meet Rebecca? I really don't think that that is the case. Brad's family has made things more difficult for sure but it sounds as though he has already found his own way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bench Talk: Book Club Talk

We ladies are in the beginning of our book club book. We will post our, "Book Club Talk" every Wednesday. Each of us will give our opinions, likes and dislikes of the pages read to date. The library has a list of online sites with discussion questions.

(Cathy) I just hope that I can stop reading at the appointed page. I was never good at following orders when it comes to books. I remember when I was in high school I would always read the entire story or book. I just did not see the value in stopping and reading bits at a time. I have, however, given the ladies my word that I will be good and only read per the schedule!

(Louise) I'm interested to read this one.....Let's see how close to truth it will be, well I guess truth is relevant to what's happening in everyones lives. I wonder if the author is part of a friendship like the one she will be writing about??. I think this "book club talk" will be very interesting because I think in life sometimes things look and seem one way but they are totally different than what they seem. When you actually get to hear or take the time to listen to someones point of view. Honest point of view that is........ It really gives you another way of looking or feeling a certain way about some things.

I guess it's very similar to......never judging someone until you walk in their shoes....but on that same note I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion as well.

(Carolin)I was a little apprehensive with the title of the book "Dirty Girls Social Club" . Trashy novels are just not my thing but I to promised to keep an open mind and give the book a chance. Happy reading all.

(Sunshine) I am going to sit down and read the book right now. I don't really know what to expect but I hope that I enjoy it.

Book Club - Our Books Have Arrived!

We ladies are so excited as we finally received the book club bag from our library. Let the 'book club' commence!
Just to remind everyone, we are reading a novel by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez,
, called the "Dirty Girls Social Club, .

Here is the schedule we are going to follow:

Week one - read up to page 60 Blog Wednesday April 7

Week two - read up to page 111 Blog Wednesday April 14

Week three - read up to page 161 Blog Wednesday April 21

Week four - read up to page 212 Blog Wednesday April 28

Week five - read up to page 264 Blog Wednesday May 5

Week six - read up to page End Blog Wednesday May 12

Books returned to library on May 13.

Feel free to read along with us and give us your comments on the book.

Happy Reading!

We've Changed our Look - Again!

We changed our template once again. This time we tried out the new, "Template Designer," from Blogger. It's nice to have the ability to play around with the columns and even be able to change the size of the columns. We do have one concern with this new layout. When you open up to our home page, there is no indication of new posts. We are concerned that there might not be enough incentive for people to 'page down' to see the rest of our blog. If we move blog items up to the home page it covers the dandelion and clutters the clean look.

Benchers and fellow bloggers, please give us your feedback and let us know what you thing about this new look! Your opinions are always greatly appreciated.