Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cool Stuff From Last Week - Part II

I am aware that "Last Week" is actually two three a few weeks ago, but I promised to report on it...

I mentioned in Part I, that the girls presented their Class Expert projects last week a few weeks ago. Pepper did hers on volcanoes and presented on Tuesday, and Norah did hers on The Great Wall of China (click photo to enlarge)

She and Max sat researching in front of the computer on several separate occasions. They started with the basics: what; where; when; why; who; how.

She jotted down the questions and answers and ended up with a pretty concise history of China as it is represented by the Great Wall. She then was able to present and discuss the subject in front of her classmates with ease.

In grade 1, she did an awesome project on the solar system. Her and Max started with a soccer ball as the sun, then did calculations to figure out how big and far away the planets would be away. They made them all out of plasticine, and for the presentation, Norah took the class out into the hall put the soccer ball/sun at one end and paced out how far the planets would be. If I recall, she was able to demonstrate Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter before she got to the end of the hall. She then had to explain the approximate location of the others, like "over on Fleet", and "at the community centre". Also: "the next closest star would be in Calgary"

In grade 2, she did a PowerPoint presentation with a video on taking care of her Betta, Nemo (still swimming, by the way!)

OK, so I realize this isn't the most stellar and fascinating of posts, but it's been "out there" picking away at me for while. Also I've got to post some dawgs every once in a while to showcase the awesomaucity of the rest of them. Consider this the plain bridesmaid in the ugly dress making the bride look even more stunning. It's got a nice personality, but, y'know.

[Does anyone else do a once-over of a hyper enlarged photo of things in your living room before posting to make sure there aren't any underpants on the floor, or beer-bottles or knives laying around? No? Just me?]

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Friday, June 26, 2009

"I'd be honoured to attend" *updated*

After years of pretty effectively using a paper calendar, a while back, we decided we were getting pretty bogged down and needed a better way to organize our family's whackadoo schedule. Without, you know, actually cutting back on any of our Super-Fun-I-Absolutely-Cannot-Live-Unless-I-Do-This-And-I-Promise-I'll-Practice-EVERY-Night-WITHOUT-You-Reminding-Me activities.

So we've started using the Google Calendar. I suggested it offhand and Max jumped in with both feet. We put in our own activities and those of all the kids. Basically we can see when one has to tag-off with the other. And conflicts where we have to sign up a babysitter (or turn to our ever-gracious and wonderful, loving, caring, flexible and compassionate family and/or friends) for extra eyes and hands. So far, it's been pretty effective as a "don't book shit here" tool.

The technology is built one way though, and can't be expected to cover off every eventuality one could come up against.

Case-in-point, I got this notice today (click for better resolution):
Please join me...Now upon reading this, instantly, I knew that it was a "hey, you'll need to be home so I can do this". I've been "invited" to several things that had nothing to do with me, where the "invitation" didn't faze me at all. But no matter how many times I re-read this one, my mind kept jumping to "Uh, really? You want me to go with you? I mean, 'ew'!"

Please note, as you can see here, I said "Yes" (so that it would appear in MY calendar). But in the comment section I added: "I'm honoured that you'd invite me."

UPDATE: The very next day, I got a notice in the mail from the hospital for a breast ultrasound*. So I put it in the calendar as "Boob Test" and invited him. I was actually waiting to see his response before I updated, but as a rule, he doesn't open email from me. Surprisingly, even one titled "Invitation for Boob Test"

*[no, they don't just hand these out randomly, nor does everyone just get one in Canada - it's a long boring story that ends with me with lube all over my breasts. There are far more exciting stories that end with me with lube all over my breasts - and even some beginning that way - that I don't share, so I'll probably not bother with this one. Suffice to say: I'm healthy & would like to stay continue to know that I'm staying that way for as long as they'll keep plying me with lube.]

UPDATE 2: Apparently he DID respond. But Google calendar didn't register it by sending me an email back. He responded "maybe" with a request for a pre-test. Pig. [please to not be pointing out how I walk into that one, boobs-a-waggling]

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I thought Norah was Gigantor, and then Pepper was my delicate little princess at 7 lb 7 oz. Stewie brought along yet another anecdote to put in the file labelled "THERE ARE NO PATTERNS, STUPID", weighing in at 9 lb 3.5 oz (evidence to the left)

This was the first time, of all three that at the exact moment of birth I uttered "thank GAWD that's out of me". There may or may not have been expletives.

Also: "Hey look! A boy!", as we were rather expecting a girl. For no other reason than, um, patterns. With three kids & two engineers - constantly looking for patterns, don't you know - the file is getting full.

He was born ON his due date, making him a "ten-percenter".

One Year Later... One year later...

And additional three...

He wants hot-dogs for supper. And Shark-bite bay Trick-Trax for a present. I have no idea what that is, but we can do hot-dogs.

Mostly, I include this one as it's a good depiction of those *freakish* eyelashes. You know, the ones girls pay thousands of dollars to have implanted.

Happy Birthday, Boy!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to Bild a Tiyr Swing

Pepper came up with this plan all on her own and showed it to me (click on picture to get more detail)
I was particularly impressed with her ability to sketch out a plan.
The only flaw I could see (which of course I pointed out to her because I'm like that), is the absence of a large cantilevered strong horizontal post upon which to fix all of the above plan. She seemed unfazed.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh, Baby!

Oh, yeah. They totally want one.

The Boy is a little more "uh, yeah, there's only room for ONE baby in this house, muthafukka" The smile is totally fake.

[Thanks to our special friends, BA Berg & Co for supplying the beautiful little prop - and causing me just a teensy bit of "just one more!!" Just a teensy bit. It went away. They have two boys also, one two weeks apart from Stewie, the other two years older. They came for brunch last week]

So what do YOU want that mom says "FUCK, NO!" to?

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I hate horses

...because every time I see them I fall in love with them all over again, and I want to have them again. And that sucks because I can afford neither the time, nor the energy, nor, of course, the money to venture down that road.
We were out at a family friend's farm for grandpa's birthday party and they had a two-week-old colt named Thunder.

"Hello, giant nose!"
Unrelated to horses, but: Harmzie & the BILs (and, well, Max, because he's not my BIL). They made a whirlwind trip in from Calgary for the occasion.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cool Stuff From Last Week - Part I

Preamble: The two girls, Norah & Pepper are in grades 3 & 1 respectively, and are both in the same "Alternative" program 1-2-3 classroom.

My kids' class has always (since Norah's been in grade 1, anyway) done a year-end project called "Class Expert". It is an independent learning project where the kids must select the subject and present it in a manner of their choosing:

PowerPoint, model, speech, book, poster, even "puppet show" is listed in the instruction sheet as an option - I'm sure just to get the parents open to the idea that anything goes. I'm sure they've never had a puppet show. Never. Myself, I was hoping someone would do an interpretive dance.

The very first year, we wrastled with this. How much do you stand above them cracking the whip? And when does it cease to become their project?

We concluded it's theirs: if they were excited about the subject; if they had tossed around some notions about how we were going to go about exploring the subject; if they were engaged and interested in discussions on it; if producing the project didn't lead to melt-down, screaming fits; and ultimately, if they learned enough in the end to stand up in front of the class and talk about it and answer questions about it. We quickly scrapped the absence of melt-downs or screaming fits as criteria for success.

Pepper this year chose the good old stand-by: volcanoes.

And she wanted to build one. So we built one.

If one were to observe, one would say I am using the term "we" rather liberally. But while I built the whole plaster-encrusted thing from the ground up, she directed the process, and ultimately painted and decorated the whole thing. More importantly, she painted the insides and understood what we had done (sectioned a mountain), why it was in layers, and what the different layers were made up of (alternating hardened lava and compressed ash). Also, that the red stuff is called "magma" until it comes out of the ground when it becomes "lava". Yeah, so there's a few things I learned too.

I made her some speaking points to organize all the things she learned, but she provided her own flavour to it of course. Here she is pointing out the very important notion that "if you touch lava, you die."

What we took from this experience, as we have the previous two years, is the opportunity to explore. Since the presentation last Tuesday, Max found some really cool volcano videos at Discovery Channel [that's not it, but the link is downstairs. I'll update it if I remember and anyone cares. And I'm sure that's Candace Bergen's voice, but I can't find a credit anywhere that I've bothered looking], and she has nagged to get to see them and talks about what processes are happening. Norah too, and Stewie, for that matter all took an interest and learned about volcanoes.
So speaking of Norah, her presentation on the Great Wall of China was on here too, but somehow I deleted the photos, so I'll have to post them under separate cover tomorrow whenever I post next. I'll also share a synopsis of her first two projects.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm Totally (Not) Going to Blogher!!!

I started a comment on The Bloggess's post today about Blogher that got too long. So rather than eat up miles of her comment area* and totally piss everyone off**, I though I'd just parlay that here and piss you off because you already love me. It's about Blogher and how she's going and hanging out in the bathroom. Go read it. I'll wait...[the part where she says "If you’re not going to Blogher then just skip this post" just ignore that. I know we're not supposed to ignore what The Bloggess says, but indulge me] ...................

Totally jealous. But if I were to go, I'd probably be not be in the bathroom, because that seems to be where all the real bloggers are (or "bloghers"? See? I don't even know the difference).

But it would never get to that point, because if I even brought it up, Max would be all "what? why? you're not even a real blogger" and I'd be all "I'm as real a blogger as you are a squash player"*** and he'd be like "no way" and I'd be all "way", and he'd be all "you mean that thing you do that wastes time when you should be giving me hummers?" and I'd be all "dude, you *never* got hummers before I started my blog [not even before we were married -- or rather, early in our marriage, mom -- so there was no fraud there, in case you were wondering], but if that's what you want to blame it on *now*, then yes" and he'd say "It's not even real!" But I'd ask, "If I 'fake' my entire life, and am 'real' on my blog, which is actually real? And would I be 'real' in a room full of strangers, or would they be strangers or would I be the strange one, or just the drunk on the table trying to drown her public anxiety?" and he'd answer "well, we don't have enough air-miles for you to go anywhere. Plus you don't have a passport."

We often have 'real' (not the opposite of 'fake', but rather In Real Life) whole conversations where one of us will have the discussion with the other right in front of them without the other actually speaking. This "conversation" is usually summarized by "see? I don't even need you to have a conversation. I know exactly what you're going to say."

[crying in my lonely fake-blog beer. At least the beer is real. Except that it's a glass of wine. Or sometimes Gin + OJ + 7UP, which I still haven't named]

So, to summarize: what is the name of my Gin + OJ + 7UP drink? I'm taking suggestions. Remember, a Gin + OJ + 7UP + GRENADINE is a Singapore Sling. While delicious, that's just too many ingredients to keep on hand for the summer.

Yes, I have two, if not three posts to write to summarize last week. And three filthy kids to bathe. And a shit-hole home to tidy up. Yes, I'm stalling.

*[like I used to do to Nenette and is a large part of the reason I started my own, because she said "GETTHEHELLOFFMYBLOGALREADY!" although she said it nice]

**[I'm too small to piss off The Bloggess, although if I did, everyone would be wondering "hey, who pissed off The Bloggess so bad?" and come here and find out and be all "Really? hmph"]

***[I would TOTALLY never say THAT in real life, because he's worked WAY harder and WAY longer on squash than I have on any of this. He's got like 175 squash followers. Maybe more. But they don't count them like that because they're all "we're way too fucking cool to bother with something as bourgeois as 'counting followers'" But if I were to spring the word "bourgeois" on them, they'd be all "I totally loved the 2003. It had a delightfully peppery after-taste"]

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Sunday, June 7, 2009


Talking of the cranial functioning whilst driving on the phone (even with head set):

Max: "...I've driven while on the phone, and you just don't pay the same attention that you do in a conversation [with a person *in* the car]. You can go blocks and blocks without realizing what you've driven through."

Me: "I know. [Sotto voice so kids don't hear] Way back, I recall driving home [to farm] after a social from [insert name of my small town] and getting home thinking 'whoa, I don't recall the drive home' [Sleep-deprived and party euphoria, people, relax]"

"Hmmm. Unfortunately, I get what you're saying."

"...and the same thing has happened early in the morning when - groggy - I get to work and my brain says to me 'dude, I sure hope there were no red lights on your way in, because I was on auto-pilot'"

"Your brain calls you 'dude'?"


"Your brain is stupid."

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Vaseline

This is my Mothers' Day post.

This photo was taken by either Pepper or Stewie (I can't recall which because it was a little while ago, but I'm thinking Stewie, just because he grabs the camera more often).

I "doctored" it (I say this to preempt someone commenting "shopped!") because I thought "hey, the jacket & plates are already black, the wall and shirt are already white. Maybe if I B&W it, no one will notice the blue undertones of my skin." Except now I've told you. So you can just imagine me belonging in an early version of Star Trek (there's NO way I'd fall for Jim though. Gimme a break. Spock.)

My main point is: the kids need to learn to use the soft-focus more.

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