Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Because I'm a picky mommy... but aren't all mommies picky?

Prepping for baby!  Yes, we have a baby registry; no, we don't expect/want all new things; yes, I am very particular about some of the items I've listed!  So here is a list of the items that I care to have the exact item of (there is a rhyme and reason, if you want to question a preggy mom!!).  Gently used is perfectly fine unless otherwise noted.  =)  Items we really want/need are marked with an asterisk (*).

*Britax Baby Carrier bib set
*Britax B-Ready Universal Infant Car Seat Adapter
*Halo SleepSack Swaddle Pour-Piece Cotton Take-Me-Home Newborn set (cream, grey or turquoise)
JJ Cole Essentials Blanket - Gray Red
JJ Cole Diaper Wipes Caddy 
*Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads   There is no such thing as too many!
Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump - I have one already but a backup would be nice.  This I would not take used though!
*Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board
*Melissa & Doug Wooden Clock
*Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Sensitive Tummy Start Set
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Sensitive Tummy Kit
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Medium Flow Sensitive Tummy Nipple 2-pack
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Variable Flow Nipple 2-pack
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Milk Feeding Bib
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature 5-oz Bottle (single or 2-pack)
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature 9-oz Bottle (single or 2pk)
*Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Microwave Steam Sterilizer
*Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Standard Neck Breast Pump Adaptor

Some items to give an idea of what I'm looking for:

Shermag dresser: I'm basically looking for a minimum of 5 drawers that aren't too deep (takes too long to find any baby items otherwise!) in either espresso or black brown.  Greige (like the Ikea Hemnes dressers) are nice too.
Anything Thomas the Tank Engine or Snoopy - these would be for Derek of course.  =)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Burberry quads Fall 2012

Here are preliminary pictures of the quads and swatches of two of them against Trench, Porcelain, Almond, Midnight Brown and I think Pale Barley.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Makeup Mondays: Moisturizing Mileage update

I've posted the pictures to go with the original entry here as well.  Sorry it took awhile!

Tube cut in half.

Here's what's inside.  Mind you, there was 3x this much when I first cut it!  This is after 2 weeks of use post-surgery on tube.  I also scraped product from the top half into this bottom half.

Just squeeze the bottom half until it "folds" a bit and can be inserted into the top half.

Baby Thursdays

Are you a parent-to-be?  Wary of all the poopie messes and beyond that are coming your way?

Have no fear!  Or at least, less fear.. there's this great product that helps get out organic stains so your whites won't (necessarily) have yellow-brown continent shapes on them.  It's Buncha Farmers' Stain Remover.  It works on poop, food, even grass, so you will definitely have use of these beyond the first year.
SnuggleBugz.ca just had 3-for-2 sale but these are worth buying just on their own.  We saved a good bunch of white onesies with Derek, which was especially great since we borrowed those!  Some of the shirts would be stained just like this wall....

... but after a bit of rubbing the remover on and putting it through the wash, things came out good as they were before.

These are usually available in most baby stores - I've seen them at Dearborn Baby and Once Upon A Child - but since SnuggleBugz.ca has free shipping on orders $40 or more, I'd throw it in with an order from there.  I also find that Snuggle Bugz has a better website than Dearborn.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Makeup Mondays: I'm selling my stuff

Yep, that's right!  I'll be selling a good bunch of my MAC items and other things (UD Naked palette #1 if I get a good offer??).  If you're interested, click here.  You'll find a separate blog with all the items going up for sale and the latest of updates of what's left and what's new.

It hasn't officially started yet but feel free to browse.  I will post here and on Blah's Blahg Sale once it's all set to go!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Makeup Monday: More Moisturizing Mileage

Yes, Mondays may become my weekly post on something makeup related.  I know my track record doesn't give much hope but eh, I'll put it out there in case I actually do keep up with it.

As some of you know, makeup is a hobby of mine and as such I do/did join forums and websites which discuss uses of cosmetics and related products.  One trick I learned from the more frugal section of the makeup community pie is that the last of your tube of lotion - be it moisturizer, cleanser or mask - doesn't come with the dreaded wheeze when you squeeze.  In fact, almost another 15, maybe even 20 uses can be found!

How do we dig up this gold?  By cutting the tube.  That's right, bring out your sharpest scissors and cut the tube in half, NOT lengthwise.  Just take the shortest cut, don't make this harder than it needs to be.  You'll then discover product stuck in the top of the tube, along the sides, and right at the bottom to the sides of the opening.

I know, it's a Eureka moment eh?  It amazed me the first time I did this to see just how much product might be left.  It has stretched my dollar many times; in fact, I can post pictures of the tube I have currently done this with tomorrow.  The full 10 mL of Korres Evening Primrose eye cream shall all be soaked up by my eye lids.

How to keep that all from going bad?  There are 2 ways of storing this:

1. Scrape out what you can with a clean finger or sterilized makeup spatula and put it into a sanitized smaller pots or jar, like the sample pots from MAC (not Sephora, those don't usually close tight enough) or pots/jars from finished items.

2. A bit lazier of a method but still sanitary and keeps things well is scraping the product from the top and into the bottom half, then pinching the bottom half at its top edge so it folds a bit and inserting it into the top half.  What you end up with is a stubbier version of the original tube.  I've "sealed" my product in well enough this way; if the tube was cut in proper half, not one end bigger than the other, then the top half usually sits below the slight fold, creating a tight enough seal to keep the product from spoiling.

So there you have it.  May you enjoy More Moisturizing Mileage in the years to come.

**edit**  Okay, so here are pictures.  Sorry so late!

Tube cut in half.

Here's what's inside.  Mind you, there was 3x this much when I first cut it!  This is after 2 weeks of use post-surgery on tube.  I also scraped product from the top half into this bottom half.

Just squeeze the bottom half a bit till it "folds" and an be inserted into the top half.  Ta-da!  Semi-sealed and easy to store.  Germaphobes may want to scrape product into a separate jar.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

So apparently I've been wearing the wrong size

Bras.  We love 'em, we hate 'em, they make us feel pretty, they constrain us.  And I just found out I've been wearing 4 sizes too wrong for me.

I won't list my size (privacy, please!) but for years I thought I was XX, even buying nursing bras around that size.  Now I'm told I'm YY, which I stare at skeptically still.  Especially when - excuse the graphic which may pop in your head - the rib cage band is smaller than what I usually wear and, ahem, allows for some fleshy spillage above and below the band.  I originally thought for this reason alone I was XX and would never, EVER, had thought that I was YY.

Having been gently scolded otherwise by the consultant, I picked up 2 cheapie bras to start my replacement of XX's to go with the halter I was buying for a dress I'm wearing at a wedding.  Buying cheapie means buying flashy though, especially with the new La Senza since the Victoria Secret take-over (as in, the company owning VS bought LS).  I rather liked the demure, understated sexiness of La Senza, and the quality was decent.  I know that the trend now is to show your bra without fear of being labelled trashy but I really don't like paying more to have to show less.  It's like we're forced to be "non-trashy" unless we have enough dough to acquire otherwise.

I shall test-drive my cheapie YY tomorrow and see how things fare.  Perhaps I'll feel prettier but with a smaller band, I'll definitely feel more constrained - except for that inevitable spillage.  What to do with that spillage?!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mraz and Love

As I've been listening to the latest album, I've been enjoying it but mainly because I love Jason Mraz's voice, not so much because the songs are awesome.  Honestly, they don't blow me away like the previous albums, especially "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things."  The album's more reflective and perhaps after the energy of the ones before, Mraz is due to release something slower.  But there's an edge missing from the songs.  "Beautiful Mess" is also slower, more reflective but it brings me to another place, another world for 5 minutes and 38 seconds, like I'm on a musical high.  When I listen to "1000 Things", I feel like I'm riding a lover's dream sequence.  "Absolutely Zero" draws me in to a tortured drama that I want to continually replay.  "Sleeping to Dream" and "After an Afternoon" both put me at ease like a fine wine.

Not to say I don't love some of the songs in "Love".  I've been thoroughly enjoying "Be Honest" and "I Won't Give Up", grooving to "The Freedom Song" and "Everything is Sound", chilling to "93 Million Miles", being moody with "Who'd Thinking About You Now?" and "In Your Hands".  I'm sure that the Sept. 9 concert is going to amazing.  I just wish there was a bit more edge to go with "Love".

Monday, April 30, 2012

Not the most mature post

Sorry, I just need to rant.  If you're looking for something substantial, amusing or witty, please come back another day.

Seriously, why post that you offer portabello mushrooms when CLEARLY those are just large sliced mushrooms - FROM A CAN!!  I would have been okay with that if you didn't make me wait 15 minutes just to get my salad.  Why take the orders of those before me then tell me I need to line up somewhere else just because I want a salad?  Can't you still take my order instead of making me wait 10 more minutes?  Especially when your store doesn't have sufficient signage??

I would only come back to do one or both of the following:

1.  Jump over the counter and start throwing at you your non-portabello mushrooms.
2. Buy some 50%-off packaged portabellos from No Frills, yell "This is what portabello mushrooms are really like!!!  Change that listing on your menu!!!!" and throw some stale mouldy mushrooms at you.

Next bunch of rants:

1. Am I that beneath you that you can't make eye contact when you make your order or hand me your form of payment?  If you were all that great, you'd have a personal assistant make your personalized drink.  Apparently you don't so suck it up and make nice while you're in the store.  It's just courtesy, that's all.

2. I will deal with your accent but please don't make it seem like I can understand every word you say.  You have an accent and speak in broken English.  That means you don't speak English well.  If I misunderstand you, it's most likely your fault.  Don't frown at me like I'm a mind reader.

3. I'm fine with taking $2.68 in change but please, pretty please, help me out by keeping them sectioned - quarters, nickels, etc. - just as when you were counting them.  I wasn't counting with you so by pushing a miscellaneous pile at me, you have made my job more frustrating and everyone's wait time, including yours, that much longer.

4. You just waited 2 minutes in our regularly long line.  I know you were having a nice convo with your friend but hemming and hawing and laughing it up when you finally get to the cash just isn't cool with, literally, 15 people behind you.

5. Yes, you just ordered your drink but other people ordered ahead of you.  That means they get theirs first.  We call that fair.  Sorry if that doesn't happen elsewhere.

6. You didn't ask for it black, therefore I didn't pour it black.  Again, don't frown at me like I'm a mind reader.

If anyone actually got to reading this far, please don't take this as a gauge of my actual experience at work.  There are plenty of wonderful customers who make my day - Howard, Ronan, Sarah, Diedre, Tara, Teresa, Lisa, Mike, Nathan, and so many more - and who I will hopefully get around to writing about.  But nothing drives someone to write like anger does and today, the non-portabello mushroom situation was the "camel that broke the straw's back" (cuz that's how tired and frustrated I was today).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sorry for the ghetto post..

... I'll post something better up later.

For those who are interested, here are the samples I got from Sephora at Fairview through the V.I.B. sale.

Boscia B. B. Cream (love that it's SPF 27!)
Bumble & Bumble Thickening shampoo and conditioner (which I've been wondering about, but B&B has been hit 'n' miss for me)
GivenchyMist Light (corrective lotion? usually in pen form)
Juicy Couture "Viva La Juicy" eau de parfum
Sephora Full Action Extreme Effect mascara
Sephora Perfecting Ultra-smoothing primer (if it's like Photofinish, it'll make my face an oil slick in no time)

If you're not familiar with V.I.B., it's a membership level (for Very Important Beauties, and *ahem*, that I am) reached after spending $300 in a calendar year - which, for Canadians, ain't too hard with the higher prices.  There is a current 15% discount offer for V.I.B.'s from March 29 through to April 6 so if you are one and didn't see the email, look through your junk mail!  Oh, and on March 29, a Sephora umbrella and bag of samples were given while quantities last and with a purchase.  I actually had a free morning so Derek and I went to go check it out.  I finally got a new Shu curler!  I think my current one is a year old.  =X  Hence my funky lashes.  Anyhoo, the umbrella is still in it's plastic wrap.  If anyone asks I can put up pics of the umbrella and samples.  Not on FB tho cuz I'm not on there during Lent!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stats and analytics

Pretty neat, I'm actually receiving more returning visitors over the last month.  For all I know though I may actually have majority returning visitors but I kinda messed up the Google Analytics for Jan and Feb.

I really do wonder who comes to check my posts.  I used to wonder if I was just hung up on getting readers but I truly want to know who may actually be reading my stuff, wondering about the interaction I may or may not be having.

Turns out a couple people actually spent time on my Sbux and deja-vu posts, and I literally mean a couple.  Higher than the average 30s on my blog, about 4-5x that.  Pretty cool.  Either that or they just left the page open.  =P  Highest visitors is "Don'ts Learned".  Incidentally that post has one of the shortest visit times.  =X

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I was going to title this potpourri but given the bunch of topics, it'd be a bit of a misnomer.

So I had to deal with a UTI yesterday.  Not exactly the greatest of topics but I want to vent about it because a) I lost a beautiful Monday off recovering from it, and b) if you haven't had one before, here's warning to take care of it rather than put it off.  I've had one before but not one this bad.  It was compounded by having had a glass of wine at dinner (alcohol and caffeine dehydrate which isn't what you want!) then crashing into bed after putting Derek to sleep without washing up or anything, meaning I also didn't go to the washroom, meaning I didn't flush out any small bit of irritating bacteria I may have had, meaning I allowed it to build up while I slept.

So, while I did get 10 hours of sleep (and loved it!), I woke up with the awful urgency to pee and went to the washroom every 10 minutes for 2 hours.  There was blood (eeww, I know) and also blood clots (eeww eeeeeeewwwww), which got me pretty concerned but there wasn't much I could do at that point except drink water, try to get through breakfast and keep peeing, even if it was a dribble.  Thankfully everything cleared by the afternoon but I was still only feeling 60%, maybe 70%, and having to deal with Derek drains energy quicker than usual.  I napped for 2 hours - after that long a sleep you'd think I woudn't need one! - and continued to feel tired the rest of the day.  That seriously bites.  It was such a gorgeous day I really wanted to go out with Derek and enjoy the sunshine.  Alas, none of my tasks really got done except for making congee for the week.

So if you every think you may have a UTI (main symptom is feeling the need to pee without much production, burning/stinging/weird intense feeling while peeing, cloudy pee, a bit of blood in the pee) don't underestimate it.  I'm glad I had antibiotics left over from my last bout (my doctor purposefully gave me more than I needed) and am taking that now.  It's important to take it for at least three days to make sure it's cleared otherwise it can come back even more severe, infecting your bladder or even your kidney.  Take care of your urinary tract!!

Letting It Roll
I was dreading today's shift a bit because I had a feeling I would be put on till.  After training on Saturday and feeling like a complete doofus while serving just 10 customers in 1.5 hrs, I didn't look forward to holding up the line due to my lack of practice with our computer system.  Thankfully it turned out okay and I learned to just let things roll, as in both going with the flow and not letting things get to me.  I used to really feel the pressure of people staring me down with their impatient eyes, wanting to please them while being torn because there was only so much I could do.  These last four years have really taught me that essentially, if that's all I can do at that time, so be it.  There's no way everything can be done so just smile and let it roll.  I think that got me through a lot today, not just internally but smoothing things out with the customers as well.  I've found a balance between trying to ease matters with the other party while not letting it affect me.  When I was pregnant, I must admit that I used my condition a bit as a shield to hide behind and not caring how others may have perceived it.  I know a lot of people do that anyway but it doesn't sit well with me to do it myself.  So now I still use a shield but to defend rather than to hide, so to speak, and continue to interact as I do (I was going to say swing my sword but that's more confrontational than I intend to portray.. perhaps not the best of metaphors to have chosen).

You Know You're a Parent When
...you're fairly tired from a physically demanding job yet you love spending time with your kid doing whatever.  That spurt of energy may only last 10-15 mins but it's spent with the kids rather than the couch or bed (entirely).
...you'll kiss their head even though it's wet and sweaty.
...you learn to cook different things, even eat different things, just so they can enjoy eating too.
...you look at birds and automatically want to point them out.

Okay, maybe those aren't universal but those are some of the changes that have happened with me.  =P

What I'm Reading Now
Finding Your Voice by Brian Hands.  I want to take vocal lessons but can't afford them and this latest sickness (not counting the UTI) had me squeaking in ways I knew was not healthy for my vocal chords.  I looked into voice therapy because for the last 3 years I haven't been able to reach beyond a high C comfortably.  Given that I used to reach an F# with some good warm-ups, this has been troubling me.  Brian Hands is a voice doctor who has helped opera singers.  I'm sure there's something I can glean from his book!

Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith.  I'm sure you've all heard me talk about this book at one point or another so I won't go on, but it's really helped me sift through the reflections I've had since I started my Tyndale journey and most intensely this last year as I went through my decision to resign.  You'll find quotes I've found particularly helpful in the Mentoring section of my blog.  If I haven't hyperlinked this here, I will soon.

The Morland Dynasty, #33 by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.  At least I think it's #33.  It's going through WWI and at times it's boring (there's only so much I can read about planes and trenches!) but when I do have the attention to read those parts, it reminds me to be grateful for the peaceful time we live in now.  Of course, there's always the minor threat of war - the Middle East, North Korea, anyone with nuclear weapons - but we live in a relatively peaceful time.

Alrighty, that's it for now.  Gotta clean my makeup brushes then turn in early for a 5:30am wake-up.  I start at 7am tomorrow!  =X

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some "don'ts" learned today

1. Don't assume you can eat more later when working a physically demanding job. Later may come too late.

2. Don't try new energy options on a work day. If they don't work, you're in trouble!

3. Don't think that Greek yogurt is sufficient as a lunch.

4. Don't assume co-workers will be clear, even if they've given the impression they would be. Always ask to be clear. Better than looking stupid because you were wrong in your assumption.

5. Just because you've learned any of the above before doesn't mean you won't need to learn them again in a new situation!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back again

There was something I wanted to blog about but I can't remember it now so I figure I'll chat about my time so far at Starbucks.

As I've tweeted (twittered?), it's like living out a dream, not in the "This is fantastic!" way, although it is, but more of when you're actually dreaming and everything's the same but different: you know you're at home but the layout's a bit off or you're at work but your computer is not the same.

At the core, everything's still the same.  We serve coffee quick, we serve bar drinks as tasty as possible, we serve frappa-lappas to keep custies cool during this jump in warm weather.

What we do to achieve these objectives, though, has definitely changed.  Coffee's changed quicker, bar drinks are made completely individually, frappas are now customize-able and I have yet to learn about the smoothies.  There's actually more pressure than there was before to keep things on time because quality standards have been raised.

That just means there's more opportunity to fall.  There are some baristas who treat this no more than a job so quality can easily drop.  With a high-volume store possibilities for lesser-than doubles because there is so much to catch up with.  My mantra for my first hour on the floor was "Don't rush, don't rush" because I had the above working against with me along with just plainly being rusty.  For others, I think they need to add some more urgency but that's just from my newbie perspective.  I haven't finished training yet and perhaps those who seem laid back are prevented by policy and standards not to do more in the role they have been placed in for the day.

My reflective learning so far has been not to assess too quickly and allow people the space to grow on me.  There was one guy who looked at me like I had a third eye but eventually we seemed to be comfortable around each other.  I took a chance to ask him a question as part of my training and we had an opportunity to open up to each other.  Another guy I mistook for someone else I met on my first day and when he corrected me, I thought he was joking.  =X  I'll need to smooth that over with him next time we meet.  It's been a bit awkward working with him.

So my third shift is tomorrow, 9-2.  Don't know if I'll be on the floor but if you're in the store (Park Home at North York Civic Center), gimme a shout!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just seeing things or possible confirmation?

So with my last (non-)post, I said I'd share about my deja-vu moment.  Here's what happened on Saturday:

I went to go hunting for black pants to wear when I started at Starbucks.  I was hoping my black jeans would be okay but was cautioned by my brother, Cedric, to keep within trouser and khaki territory.  I have one pair of black trousers from GAP that I bought in anticipation of me going back to work at NTCBC (and realistic expectation that I would not be down to pre-pregnancy size, le sigh) but I didn't want to wear those out or wear something so thin for a job that requires more physical labour.  With just two days left before my first day at work, off I went.

Before my hunt began, though, I decided to buy groceries and since the weather was quite cold that day, I figured whatever I bought would stay fine in my trunk (which thankfully they did).  Since I went to No Frills at Centerpoint, I figured I may as well check the cost-effective possibilities at Zellers before traipsing off to Mark's Work Wear House and/or Sears at Fairview Mall.  I wasn't very keen on the idea and I still had to have lunch so I made a deal with myself: If I can find parking fairly close to an entrance, I'll go in.  If not, I'll have lunch.

I find a spot not too far from a set of doors so I honour my deal and park.  After browsing through the Alfred Sung "Pure" line (yes, brand names give me more hope), I wandered to the $20 clearance section and happened across a black button-down collared shirt.  Now, I didn't mention this before but seriously, it's so hard to find a simple solid black button-down/polo collared shirt!  Either they have a mandarin collar or some pattern or are too short (I need to be able to tuck it in).  I can't explain my cautious excitement at finding this shirt - and for $20, no less!  I tried it on and it fit pretty well despite the low-key ruffles along the buttons.  No peek-a-boo holes or weird pulling or unnecessarily showing mommy rolls.  It actually... made me look good.

Before I could be too happy, I had to make sure it was $20 since it had no tag.  I found the lady working in the area and she said she'd find out for me.

All of a sudden it hit me: I've seen this before.  I remember distinctly having a dream about shopping for clothes in preparation for a return to Starbucks and needing to confirm the price.  Why I remember this so particularly is because when I woke up, I actually chuckled to myself and said, "That'd never happen because you're past you Starbucks years now!"  I told the whole dream and comment to Benny (who, of course, doesn't remember) and chalked it off to me just remembering a contented time gone by.

So here I was, standing in the middle of the Zellers' ladies' department, realizing that I had seen this all before.  I did get a bit giddy, wondering if this was some kind of confirmation that I'm on the right path for life or something.  But, despite whatever "Feeling" and "Intuition" sides I have in me, I wouldn't let myself get too far in daydreaming the implications of a dream meeting my reality.  Whether I am "meant" to be at Starbucks is yet to be seen.  I admit I do hope that with this stint I will go farther up the ladder than last time - as in, this time I have ambitions to do so - but I don't know how that would even play out.  I haven't even been certified as a barista yet!  I may have worked 4 years with the Company but I have also been away for 4 years.

Anyhoo, to finish up the Zellers bit of my day, the lady returned and said the shirt was indeed part the $20 clearance and to bring another shirt in for the cashier to ring it in.  I paid and went on to find 2 awesome black pants at Mark's (3 if you count a brown plaid one I bought for fun).  I wore the shirt today and it served me well.

So, if I'm still blogging in 5 years, 10 years time, we'll see what's become of this deja-vu moment.  I do have ambitions, you see, and they do include Starbucks, you see, but whether these ambitions will be realized is yet to be seen.  I must confess, though, that seeing my dream again in my own reality has added a sparkle in my eye.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

So I said I'd blog at least every other day...

... so this is my obligatory post.

Sorry, that's it.  It's past midnight when Daylight Savings Time is factored in and I have worship tomorrow so I'll have to post properly tomorrow.  I'll write about my deja-vu moment.  It was really cool!

G'night y'all.  And change your clocks so you're not late to meet God!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You know you're addicted when...

...even though you're completely engaged in the conversation, all you can see are the bushes and bears you are gathering in threes in your little town being played over the face of the person you're conversing with.

Move over Tiny Towers, roar in Triple Town.

Funnily enough, I was introduced to this game by my husband, Benny, who doesn't play smartphone games much.  I, on the other hand, have 10+ games running on Words With Friends (I was told at one point I couldn't create another game unless I ended a current one), have 130 tiny floors in my Tiny Tower, am challenging my times on Sudoku, delve into Hospital Story from time to time and let Derek play Jambalaya when I fail to hide the iPhone quick enough.  With Triple Town being free, why wouldn't I try out this game?

The red flags appeared early.  The first bit of info I read about this game is a review:

"I had to force myself to quit playing...in order to write this review, which might give you some idea of just how addicting it is."

I don't play the game all the time but I'm glad for the down time I have when putting Derek to sleep.  And maybe a bit after.  Then a bit before going to bed.  That's it though, I promise!

What about visualizing my town over my friend's face, you may ask? Well, it's not the first time I've superimposed virtual over reality.  Super Mario World was the first game this happened to.  Yoshi and Mario were flying everywhere.  I even dreamed about it.  Not about being in the game, just about what I saw on the screen.  And not as if I were watching the TV... I guess you could say like I was in the game watching it from a third person point of view.  Anyway, I don't fantasize, these images just kind of fall over whatever I'm really seeing, like a projected image over my life happenings.

Will Triple Town take over my Lent, you wonder?  No, I don't think so.  It's in my mind more because it's a strategy game and I keep seeing different ways to complete missions, so to speak.  Perfect scenarios that allow for no wasted space and trees to gather on the perimeter. Aaah...

Well, seeing as it's almost time for bed, I guess I'll be hunting for that perfect scenario soon!  Oh, before I sign off, what are the bears saying?  Sounds like "paaandaaaa"in a weird gremlin voice.  No matter, I just want it as a ring tone.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why I Stopped Blogging

I didn't start blogging because I thought I would amass a ton of followers.  I just did so because I had things to say and I thought that if one of those ramblings did perchance help someone in whatever fashion, it would be worth it.  It was encouraging to see that I got a good bunch of hits with my body image post and then decent hits with subsequent entries... but then I got a tad obsessive.  Well, in checking the stats anyway.

Then December rolled around and what with a wedding, Christmas gatherings, birthday gatherings then Chinese New Year gatherings, I stopped blogging.  If anything, those would be moments worth blogging about but see, I don't have much discipline and once something throws me off rhythm, I'm fairly easily derailed.  Much like my desire to work out regularly.

I have a lot of things I want to do - bake, knit, make cards, decorate the home, take voice lessons - but I just lose the drive to actually execute.  And it sucks!  So many opportunities wasted, so many chances to connect passed by, so many moments to live life to the fullest experienced vicariously, unnecessarily so.

While I don't blame my child hood, I certainly do look back to it as a major reason why I don't have the "up and at 'em!" attitude most people innately seem to have.  And I don't mean the Type-A go-getter attitude, just the regular motivation regular people have to do regular things.  I saw people around me work hard around me but I was never really asked to work hard myself.  Again, I don't blame my childhood - I'm an adult now and I make the choice to procrastinate - but it helps in understanding why I am the way I am.

Then I read these posts and tweets by Kenworth Reeves Jr. and Jon Acuff who keep saying I have a story worth telling.  In my mind, I reply, "But it's not exciting.  I'm just a stay-at-home mom with an incredibly cute kid who randomly finds awesome things and shakes a fist at petty moments and grand injustices.  Who would want to hear from me?  I'm not trailblazing in Children's Ministry as I once was - I'm not even in full-time church ministry anymore.  I don't have child woes or some illness to garner sympathy for.  My theological swords are kiiinda rusty.  I'm so out of touch with the rest of the world!"  And Kenworth and Jon would come back with bits like "God's excited about your small beginnings", "Life is a canvas and you are the artist", "What are you going to finish in 2012?" and "You're ability to create art is not dependent on your ability to create fame." These bits, along with others, kept reminding me that I'm not blogging to gain followers, I'm doing so to maybe give someone a laugh for the day or connect them to a great sale or introduce them to an amazing product. 

Basically, it's not about me.  I know, artists say that all the time but really, I want to do these things - bake, knit, blog, serve coffee - not because they will make me better (although I hope they do!) or more well-known but because the outcomes of these things may help someone else out.  And if it's just a handful of people, so be it.  I may not be one to dazzle as others do but if I can, as Kaarina Hsieh has shared, shine a small light in my little corner of the world, why not shine as best as I can?

So I'll try to blog at least every other day if not every day.  Since I'm giving up all sites except for email and daily news, that should allow me more time to blog.  Yeah, I'm late for Lent but better late than never right?  Oh, and before anyone tries to jump on me for referencing sites in future posts, I'm not being pharasaically strict on my Lent, just ensuring that I'm only going to sites for a purpose (like researching quickly a product we're about to buy) and after I've done I've completed my daily responsibilities, something that I haven't been that great on (I said I wasn't stellar at discipline!).

Okay, so enough explaining and whatever (although I must say, this may not be my most coherent/cohesive post, but you should get the gist of what I'm saying).  Off to bathe my son and make dinner.  Thanks for reading!

The song behind the song

In case you didn't figure out which song I was parodying from the post below, here it is.  This is one song that I haven't tried to figure out or memorize the lyrics to so if any of it offends you, I apologize.  As for the video itself... well, it's like its name.

Let's party like it's 1997!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Songs that keep me sane

In my mind runs versions of songs relating to parenting.  Here's one of the recent incarnations - can you name the song?

Oooh baby (oooh baby), 
You makin' me cray-zeh (makin' me cray-zeh..)

Every time you spit out food (every-time you spit-out-food)
Every time you spit out food (every-time you spit-out-food)
Every time you spit out food (every-time you spit-out-food)

It's on your FACE!!

I'll post the actual song later this week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Epic reply to Bald Barbie idea.

Yeah, I haven't blogged in awhile - one of those times where one day slips by, then two, then five, then I alternate between thinking "No one really misses my posts anyway.  Who's actually reading?" (read: insecurity) and feeling so bad for having let so much time pass that I'd rather ignore it than fix the problem (read: insecurity).

Well, I'll half solve the issue today.  Here's a reply to an article about moms pressuring Mattel to make a bald Barbie for their cancer-suffering daughters.  My initial reaction is somewhat the same:  Why not teach the girls about real beauty instead of spending all this a) time on lobbying for yet another commercial item, and b) money on Mattel instead of giving to causes that would help fight cancer.  And s/he touches on the commercialization of health as well, which is a pet peeve of mine.  I support breast cancer research but don't need it shoved in my face everywhere I go, and besides, what about the other forms of cancer or ailments?

Anyway, on to the reply.  Read the original article here.  Please mind that yes, politically incorrect statements abound and facts need to be backed up but this isn't a school paper here, just a reply to a newspaper article.

Stupid Stupid Stupid

Here's how life works. 1) Mattel has to pay some clown (figurative clown, not literal clown...had to clear that up since I'm talking to the Barbie crowd) in a suit to design your Bald Barbie (yes, even if it's just a "normal" Barbie without hair). It still needs to be designed. Prototypes need to be built, costumes need to be created, specs need to be in place, etc. 2) Then Mattel sources the necessary resources to produce Bald Barbie -- typically this involves exploiting tax loopholes and resources in third world countries so they don't have to pay much to make your plastic P.O.S toy. 3) Then they ship and transport their resources to mainland China so they can pay exploited children and adults 12 cents an hour, because in China no one cares about Barbie, and they sure don't have $7.50 to drop on a Bald Barbie, SINCE THEY ONLY MAKE 12 CENTS AN HOUR. 4) After Bald Barbie has been produced and packaged in a language that none of those poor Chinese people understands, it gets shipped to various ports and seaboards to make sure that dimwit mothers who secretly want their daughters to develop eating disorders and get breast implants when they're 18, can purchase them at Wal-Mart (Lowest Price Guaranteed!) for $7.50, because if they're daughter isn't beautiful like Barbie (Bald or otherwise) the world will probably cease to be. If you don't believe this to be true, please watch Toddlers & Tiaras, intercept one of Kim Kardashian's actual tweets to Barbie (fake meet plastic), or simply check out the Photoshop jobs done to any actress on the cover of any magazine in the Grocery Store checkout aisle. 5) So, let's say all-in, that the cost to produce Bald Barbie is relatively low -- outside of the design work which almost certainly happened in a first-world nation, everything else is dirt cheap -- labour, resources, shipping, etc. Maybe (BIG MAYBE) Mattel spends $3.75 to produce a single Barbie and get it to North America, and in turn, charges you the consumer $7.50. So they make 50% on every Barbie. Sadly though, when you buy Bald Barbie, your $7.50 investment has to cover those costs, so in reality you're only donating $3.75 to Cancer Research or St. Jude's Children's Hospital or wherever you think that money is actually being directed. On top of that, you only have so much discretionary money. So if you spend $7.50 on Bald Barbie, it means you have $7.50 less that you can spend on non-Bald Barbie the next time you're at Walmart, which would yield Mattel $3.75 profit (since Mattel has quarterly earnings they have to hit or else those poor Chinese folk are gonna start getting a dime an hour or get exposed to more toxic resources that will give them cancer....blasphemy, ain't it?), while the CEO walks away with $11.4 million a year (2010 quote). Why don't we be honest with little girls who have cancer (or any other type of medical condition for that matter) -- and really, what does this say about kids who don't have cancer but have a disease that doesn't take away their hair -- that they are somehow less important than those other sick kids who get their own Bald Barbie? That Mattel doesn't care about amputees, or children born with AIDS, or transgendered kids? Maybe Mattel needs to produce a Barbie with a penis for them, no? I'd buy Penis Barbie, wouldn't you? Alas, I digress. Instead of spending $7.50 on a toy of which only half of the proceeds will make it through to the proper channels, let's teach our kids about the commercialization of health (Hello Red Campaign for AIDS. Hello Breast Cancer Pink ANYTHING). Publicly traded companies latch onto causes like these so ultimately you'll spend your hard-earned money with them that won't go to those causes, or only a small percentage will be donated (hidden from public view -- ie they'll only donate to a maximum of $50,000, etc), so they seem like quality corporate citizens, and you'll want to move your bank account to CIBC or buy your next sweater at GAP, where those companies will profit of your naivete and make sure they pay out dividends to their stock holders every three months. Those companies pay a premium to get on-board -- call the Canadian Cancer Society and see if they'll let allow you to associate your business with them. They'll tell you to go screw yourself unless you have $500,000 to show you care -- this in turn gets passed back to you as the consumer, in a cost that the company needs to recoup. Just donate your $7.50 to St. Judes Children's Hospital of CCS or wherever instead. It'll go a hell of a lot farther in helping those follicly challenged little girls fighting cancer have the necessary chance they need to live a long and productive life, and hopefully, fingers crossed, they won't end up with an eating disorder or depression because they can't live up to a plastic standard of "beauty". 

Submitted by JohnnyBuck052 at 7:13 PM Wednesday, January 11 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Maybe our only hope for a vacay in 2012 - it's worth a shot!

So TICO - the Travel Industry Council of Ontario - is holding a contest to give away one dream vacation a week for 8 weeks. Seeing as I'm still looking for a job and we've really bunkered down to lower our budget for 2012, date nights are about as far as we may get for vacations. =P So help me out and sign up to get me votes. And hey, no hard feelings if you win the vacation. Best luck to all! Please click this link to help me out: http://gotico.ca/c/Trax20.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Courage and Calling - notes

**Excerpts that make me ponder and/or convict me from the book Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith. To be continually updated.  Imported from Facebook.  Will note when I update.**

It will require courage; making a move might disappoint a whole host of people and lead to greater financial insecurity.  But increasingly we recognize that we have no choice; we need to initiate a change. (15)

...what must not be lost is the inherent value and potential of the individual person who is loved, called, and equipped or empowered by God to do good work. (19)

The glory of God is the human person fully alive. (Irenaeus, 19)

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams observes that the biblical ideal is not so much that we need to deny the self as to decenter the self: To see the self in truth, as an integral member of a community and society in which the only indispensable one is God. (20)

From beginning to end the Scriptures assume the all-encompassing glory of God and his work.  But this is never portrayed in such a way that it reduces human activity to meaningless or even to mere robotic actions that have no inherent value or significance. (20-21)

St. Paul urges Timothy ot fan into flame the gift of God...Timothy was urged to be proactive, to take responsibility for his life and his actions, and he is urged to see the significance of these actions. (21)

Those who argue that the ideal is for the human person to "decrease" often do so on the basis of the text in John 3:30...John was speaking vocationally (sic).  His work was that of a friend of the bridegroom, not that of the bridegroom, and so, naturally, when the bridegroom appears, it is only appropriate that the friend of the bridegroom step aside... (21-22)

We are not merely "channels" or "instruments in the hands of God."  We are, in the language of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5, coworkers with God in the work of God in the world, knowledgeable and informed participants in that which matters to the Creator. (22)

...I am making a basic assumption: that each person is responsible for the choices he or she makes, and that these choices are meaningful and significant.  They make a difference.  Without God, such a thought would only lead to despair - as it has for many twentieth-century existentialists.  But with God (sic) and with faith in God, we are empowered by the thought that our actions are meaningful and that our lives can make a difference.  (22)

As Gary Badcock aptly puts it, "a theology of response does not need to be Pelagian it need only be a theology in which the reality of the human (sic) is taken seriously." (23)

We will be absorbed with ourselves if we cannot, in response to God's grace, find moral grounding, a clear sense of authentic identity and, in the end, clarity regarding our own vocation. (23)

What does it mean to take responsibility for my life in response to the way God has made and called me? (24)

Rather, we must ask, In this situation and set of circumstances, what is my particular calling which, yes, might be for the sake of the other but is still only what I am being called to do. (24)

The underlying assumption of this book is that religious work or church-related activities, while very important, do not inherenlty have more weight or significance than the work of the gardener, the business-person, the public school teacher or the pharmacist. (36, couched in the exploration of Proverbs 31 and good work)

While we certainly must not underestimate the capacity of any one person to make a difference in their sphere of life or work, the unfortunate assumption that many of us carried away from such presentations was that ordinary, daily, routine, common work was not important.  What really counted was the grand gesture, the dramatic stroke. (40)

[P]eople often assume they have done good work if they are exhausted, and that they deserve time off becuase they are completely spent.  But perhaps this exhaustion is a sign of overwork, which indicates that it may not be good work or that it is not hte right work for us, the work to which we are truly called. (42)

If a vocation represents a call of God -to serve God in the world - that vocation is sacred for no more powerful reason than that it comes from God.  Ir therefore makes no sense to speak of a secular vocation such a phrase is a contradiction in terms.  A vocation is sacred (sic) in that it comes from God. (44)

Both Reformers [Martin Luther and John Calvin] refused to make the sharp distinction between sacred and secular that was so characteristic of the medieval world and still is evident in the language of contemporary Christians.  But Calvin went further and affirmed that each person has been assigned a station or calling from the Lord; the vocation is not something accidental.  Consequently, it is our sacred (sic) duty to accept and even embrace what God has called us to.  The sacred is not distinct from the secular; rather the sacred is that which sanctifies the ordinary and thus makes it good and noble. (45)

Implicit in this recovery of a biblical theology of vocation is a renewed appreciation of the full extent of God's kingdom.  All vocations are sacred because the kingdom is not merely spiritual.  God is establishing his kingdom on the earth as all creation comes under his divine authority. To that end, God calls and enables his children to be his kingdom agents within every sphere of life and society.  Each vocation reflects but one means by which God, through word and deed, is accomplishing this. (46, emphasis mine)

It is important to stress that in all of this we must sustain a distinction between vocation and career.  A vocation comes from God, and though it will encompass work in every sector of society...it remains a fundamentally religious principle. (46)

We are not workers (sic); we are, rather, children of God who are called to work. (47)

This means, among other things, that if we are going to thrive in this world... our only hope will be that we have a life that is congruent with who we are: who God has made us to be and how God has gifted us, graced us and thus called us. (51)

But we can neither serve with grace nor make a difference for God in the lives of others if we do not learn to live in this truth...self-appraisal makes this genuine love for others possible. (54)

...in living truthfully we no longer live with a mask, a facade, but rather with a eep honesty about who we are and awho God has created us to be. (54)

"God is not looking for ability, but availability."  This is an unfortunate mesage largely because it is partially correct and partially false...It is more helpful to recognize that God is looking for people of ability who will make their ability available (sic) to God. (55)

...your vocation will in some fundamental way be aligned to how you see the brokenness of the world. (sic) (68)

Slowly and painfully, I discovered that my spiritual ambitions were different from God's will for me....It became quite clear to me that idealism, good intentions, and a desire to serve the poor do not make up a vocation. (69-70, quoting Henri Nouwen)

[T]he need does not determine the call...it is simply not possible. (75)

...if the Messiah himself is limited in this way, how much more are we....If a yoke is easy, it means that it fits us.  It is designed around the contours of who we are; it is congruent with the character, strengths, potential and personality that we are before God. (76)

The questions remain the same: Who am I, and who has God called me to be?  And yet it is essential we recognize that we consider these questions in very different ways through the various transitions of our adult lives. (78)

Vocational integrity and vitality are only possible if there is a break from parents, from home, from adolescence.  The problem is that often this break is delayed or denied.  Parents sometimes present their children from moving into full maturity...Moving into full adulthood is not just an ideal.  It is essential for personal and vocational maturity...Fundamentally, what happens in the break from parents is that God becomes our Father, our parent. (79-80)

And what is needed from parents, more than anything else, is patience, understanding and acceptance. (83)

if anything, this cultural reality [for conformity] only reinforces the need for intentionality when it comes to parental separation. (84)

One common mistake is that of assuming early that we know our vocation, and thus we pursue an education that later seems irrelevant.  The best advice is simple: keep your options open....do not fret if in your late twenties you still lack clarity about your vocational identity.  (84)

Clarity for vocational purposes can only come after we have lived with ourselves long enough to be able to ask, for example, what matters to me more than anything else?   Then we have an inevitable choice to make: will we respond to our vocation with focus, direction, purpose and courage.  (85 re midthirties)

It is not until I really know myself and accept and embrace who I am that I am able to, in some significant measure, give myself completely to God. ... First, we accept with grace our limitations...Second, it means, positively, that we accept responsibility for our first and abilities, and acknowledge with grace what we can do. (87)

...effective, meaningful work, done at a leisuredpace, with passion, focus, energy and, no less significant, joy. (87)

They speak of regulations and requirements of the organization in ways that should be challenged, because no one is in fact insisting on a particular policy of pattern of behavior. (88)

...if we fail to make some tough vocational choices in our thirties and forties, our indecision will catch up with us; we will pay for it in our fifties. (88)

...if we face ourselves honestly, we will know that no matter how accomplished we are or how talented, capable or connected we might be, we are not really in control. (89, emphasis mine)

Such people cannot say that their vocation is "raising children" unless they are called to work in an orphanage.  We are responsible for raising our children with care.  And it is a noble task to stay at home and care for home and family.  But eventually the children grow up, and the primary caregiver will go through a crisis of identity if she or he does not anticipate this transition. (90)

Christians may retire from their jobs or careers, but we do not lose our vocations. (92-93)

...for many seniors this chapter of their life is the time when they can finally do what they most love doing...the expression or focus of that vocation, the way in which it is fulfilled, will change. (94)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Mraz song is out!

I am dying now of happiness.  Musical happiness.  Romantic happiness.  =D

This song, to me, is like Mraz meets Train but Mraz wins with authenticity and originality.  If I heard Patrick Monohan sing this, I'd say, "Nice song.  Sounds like Train recycled well again."  Hearing Jason Mraz sing this though sounds fresh and while it may overlap in some ways to songs he's done before (like "Beautiful Mess".. actually I can't think of another one), the vibe is not the same as any of them.

I'd like to go on but I need to get stuff done so I'll leave this as it is.  Not a very good review I know but eh, those are my half a cent.

On to the song!