Category: Activism

Five Fun Facts For Friday February Fifth

writing mother blogger plan SAHM WAHM

Hi!

How are you?

Missed you!

Love you lots!

What’s new?

I have been crazy-busy and I haven’t been managing it very well.

However, I am a smart person and one of my strengths is knowing my limits. That is a very good thing. In the spirit of self preservation I allowed myself to not post here. (I was still posting there, and everywhere else, mind you. What am I crazy?!? Of course I was still posting. You should just go ahead and follow me in all the places that way when stuff happens you will know where to find me. You never know when you might need a little dose of silly and I carry it with me wherever I go. Picture a little jar of glitter or cupcake sprinkles. Yeah. Like that! I am armed and ridiculous. So… find me. We have all the ways to connect. Connect, people!)

December was when my last post went live. 

Suddenly that seems very, very, long ago.

Meh.

In the grand scheme of things it’s not.

Anyhoo!

Here I am. Hi! waves

It’s Friday and I am happy and life is good. I have lots to be grateful for and I am really looking forward to the weekend!

This is my Birthday Week and since Monday was kind of a ridiculous day (notice a theme?) we are having a bit of a do-over before next week begins. The plan is to go out for burgers with the Things and then maybe catch a movie. (Ooh! That reminds me. I have to pick up movie admissions at Costco. That is quite the savings, isn’t it? I love Costco.) I know we’ll have fun! Who wouldn’t have fun with M&Ms in the giant bag of popcorn?

All this to say, all’s well. I’ll write more. I will.

I have plans.

So, without further ado, here are Five* Fun Facts For Friday February Fifth!

  1. Once again, for the third (?!?!) time since starting Tempered With Kindness, I have a new blog host. (This, in part, is why I have been reluctant to publish here.)

  2. It is Black History Month and there is a new Heritage Minute featuring none other than Nova Scotia’s own Viola Desmond. You learned all about her here, remember? Check out the new Heritage Minute here.

  3. I still do not have my 2016 Mom CPU! Oy. Not good. I cannot find one anywhere. Someone suggested ordering one online in January and that seemed silly because how long would it take to arrive, blah, blah, blah… it’s just a simple calendar… I’m sure I’ll be able to pick one up. How hard can it be to find a big magnetic Mother Word calendar for my fridge?! Well who’s the silly one now?! Derp. You all must have the exact calendar I want because there are exactly ZERO in my orbit. harumphs

  4. I have once again resurrected my CD collection and this time I am on a mission to keep them in my space. They need a proper storage solution, mind you, and I am accepting suggestions on this front. Do you have a CD collection? How do you keep them? Are they out of sight, out of mind or welcome in your world?

  5. I was featured in a BuzzFeedNews listicle (Great word, Joe!) and I almost died laughing about it. You can check it out here and in 14-16 months you are welcome to come shopping with me at Halifax’s new IKEA and we can BUY ALL THE FLEUFEGNUUGEN! Deal?

Thanks for reading and sharing and engaging. You are all my favourite!

Happy Friday!

Have you read any fun facts lately? Have any to share? Feel free to leave a fun fact in the comments. I will respond to every single one with another fun fact. We will all be so smart by the end of these shenanigans!

 

 

*Bonus fun fact: I love Frente! (The exclamation point is part of their name. What’s not to love?) Best Bizarre Love Triangle cover ever.

**Extra bonus fun fact: That first fact up there just will not format properly and I want to throw a tantrum. I am going to hit publish instead. Grr! shakes fist in technology’s general direction

 

Five Worthy Causes For Your Kind Consideration On Giving Tuesday

 

Today is Giving Tuesday.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

Well think of it as the Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) of charity. 

Giving Tuesday is like “opening day of the giving season.”

It is a day to think about others and to take advantage of a doubling of your dollars because many charitable organizations have a “matching” sponsor. This means that you literally double your donation in some cases. 

Give $20 and your organization receives $40.

Donate $50 and voila $100 goes to your favourite fund.

How cool is that?

You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here (please do!) but I want to quickly share with you a handful of my favourite organizations, in case you want to make a donation before midnight!

Free The Children Free The Children is the brainchild of Craig and Marc Keilburger and you can read all about how they founded this amazing organization and the subsequent We, Me To We, and We Day awesomeness here.

David Suzuki Foundation – I have been a fan of David Suzuki for as long as I can remember. A few years back, he actually stepped down as the head of his own foundation to take attention away from his own struggles with a government that seemed determined to paint him as a radical. Oh! He’s radical alright! Radically awesome!

World Wildlife Foundation (Canada) – I hope you know about WWF Canada, for the love of our planet. This organization is famous for its symbolic wildlife adoptions (which make fabulous gifts for Things of all ages), Earth Hour, and many other initiatives. I wear my feelings for WWF Canada on my sleeve and I make no apologies for it. I wrote a guest blog way back when. I have written about it here on my blog and also here. We have one home. It’s the planet we live on. It’s time to show it the respect it deserves, isn’t it? 

Because I Am A Girl – I am! You might be. Thing 2 is. My sister is. My mother, too. You either are one, have one or were made by one. Girls matter! Educating girls improves the lives of everyone. BIAAG Canada is taking this knowledge and sharing it around the world. You may have heard about their Pink Lemonade Stands and their using small actions to drive big change initiatives. How wonderful! We are big fans and my face goes all gigantic grin every time Thing 2 emerges from her room in the morning sporting her pink BIAAG T-shirt. “Girls’ rights are human rights.” Your darn right they are!

BIAAG, Thing 2,

Malala Fund – Oh Malala! What a wonderful human being! If ever there was a person with a higher purpose than she ever could have known, it is Malala Yousafzai. Malala is an education activist and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. She was in school when the call came that she had won. She told her teacher she would finish her studies for the day. Malala is walking the talk. I am a fan. Her book is beautiful, the children’s adaptation is great, and now there is even a movie!

So, whether you donate, share, learn or do some small act of kindness today you have taken part in Giving Tuesday and you have made a difference. 

What you do matters.

I, for one, appreciate it.

Thank you!

Permission

Yesterday Thing 2 was hanging out in my room with BB, reading to me, doing a bit of homework, and – after she finished that – watching Disney Channel Canada on our TV. 

I was in and out doing things that need doing on a Saturday. You know. The typical things. Making meals, tidying up, putting away laundry, the usual. 

At one point I popped in to check on my daughter to see if she needed anything and she was gone.

I found this on my desk.

notes remote control change the channel Things

So I wrote a reply.

change the world Things permission

Then I brought it to her.

Things message received smart girl wise kid world changer

I think she got the message. 

I’ll keep reminding her though because apparently nagging mothers get decent results.

For the sake of the world, I hope so. 

Christmas, Naturally.

It was a very rainy and windy weekend, but for a little while today the rain stopped and I went out to run a few errands.

First stop was at the local farmer’s market which is undergoing major renovations, so it looks at once dilapidated and delightful. It’s confusing, really. I can no longer even imagine what it will look like in the end.

There was a point last year around this time when it stared to feel cozy and nice, but yesterday the makeshift roof was leaking and dripping rainwater on all the things.

I looked around for a minute at the nice, simple homemade, natural wreaths, with their red ribbons and berries, then at the winter holiday planter boxes filled with evergreen boughs, glittery twigs, ribbons and bright red ornaments (which I was coveting, if I’m being honest) and pickles (yes, that’s right) and it just felt odd, but I digress …

Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Outside, where I parked the car on the new makeshift (?) parking lot there was a table filled with plain evergreen wreaths. They were so festively fragrant I wanted to just stand there the whole time. I took a photo to try and capture it. Can’t you just about smell Christmas?

Then just before entering the building there was another table covered in these gorgeous, bright red, bunches of berries. I don’t know what these berries are, but I know I want all of them. They look so festive, don’t they? These were used in some of the wreaths and planter boxes inside the market.

I have always found the idea of a simple Christmas very appealing.

Every year we say we will keep it low key and simple and we typically do a good job of not going over the top, but when I see things like naked Christmas wreaths and – what I am going to call – winter berries, I am convinced that I would love nothing more than a house in the middle of the woods, filled with the people I love, a real Christmas tree decorated with our treasures and memories and a few homemade additions from nature, and an honest-to-goodness old fashioned Christmas.

That’s the problem with simple. It never really is, is it?

Lest We Forget

Poppies Remembrance Day Lest We Forget

It is Remembrance Day in Canada and I have already observed my 2 minutes of silence, as I do every year – twice actually – here in Bedford, Nova Scotia and again with my Ottawa, Ontario observers just a little while ago.

It is a really important observation, this silence. We remember. We stop – for a scant two minutes – to show respect for fallen soldiers, for wars long since ended, for living veterans.

Two minutes is very nearly no time at all. Yet for some, apparently, it is a torturous two minutes of wasting their time. Can you imagine? Someone who has absolutely no clue what actual torturous things are, complaining about having to be still for 2 teeny tiny minutes? Unreal!

So what would you do when faced with such a person?

This is what singer/songwriter Terry Kelly did.

He carved in stone an experience from his life where this exact situation occurred.

Isn’t this brilliant?

I love when a person takes a negative situation and not only finds a way to turn it into a positive, but goes a step further and creates a beautiful thing that can at once tell us what happened and remind us to never be that person or allow that situation to happen again.

From Terry Kelly’s YouTube Channel:

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o’clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry’s anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.” 

Isn’t that awesome?

I think so.

Even though I have heard Terry Kelly songs for most of my life (He’s an Atlantic Canadian, too!) I hadn’t heard this song or the story behind it until a Remembrance Day Ceremony at my son’s school in Ottawa. (I appreciate the irony of this.) Since then, though, it has become one of my favourite ways to commemorate the importance of those two minutes.

We also wear our poppies, of course.

Since Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia is a day off school and work (so that people can observe and take part in special ceremonies all over the province), schools usually have a special observation a day or two before November 11th.

Thing 2’s school had a Remembrance day ceremony on Monday and she was excited to get to sing a beautiful song*** with her classmates. She wore a red dress and had her poppy on. The ceremony, which was scheduled for 9 a.m.,  was mainly for the students and a few guests. I was happy to hear that Geoff Regan attended. It’s nice when politicians keep their feet firmly planted**** in their communities. She reported that the 2 minutes of silence were successful – except for some cute Grade Primaries who felt compelled to clap for their Music Teacher’s rendition of The Last Post on his sax – once settled though, the silence was observed well.

Thing 1 also took part in his school’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Tuesday. He told me (without my asking) when he walked through the door after school, still in Band Concert dress – complete with poppy – that their 2 minutes was the best yet. He said it was eerily silent and that you couldn’t even hear people breathing or shuffling in their seats. Not a single cleared throat, cough or sneeze broke the silence. He seemed particularly pleased, actually.

My kids get it.

I am so thankful.

We Shall Keep The Faith

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ Fields.

And now the torch and Poppy red,
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ Fields.

– Moina Michael

With that I will leave you for today. 

Peace.

How do you observe Remembrance Day? 

 

 

**Please visit www.terry-kelly.com.

**When she came home all excited a month ago to tell me they were singing I cried. Not just because she’s adorable and because the song was beautiful, but because I know the songwriter! She is amazing! *tears This could be a whole post on its own.

****I believe this to be true of Mr. Regan because he has been present at so many community and school events. Why, just last spring I was slinging BBQed sausages and hotdogs with him at Thing 2’s former school Spring Fair. 

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In Which We Express Our Frustrations About Toothpaste

Ramona Quimby Toothpaste Waster

 

I have been using the same brand of toothpaste for my whole life. I love it. It makes my teeth feel clean and my breath fresh. It is just the right kind of mint and provides the perfect level of teeth cleaning frothiness while I brush.

I have stuck with the same brand and upgraded to different “new and improved” variations within the same brand when one would appeal to me (and as I got older and was the one paying for it). I went through all the developments; paste, gel, cool mint, baking soda, tartar control, and finally my favourite extra whitening. Oh the joy when that little innovation entered my life!

I like taking care of my teeth. I smile a LOT. I want to be an old woman with a great and happy, healthy, smile. So, I prided myself on getting the best for myself and for my family.

I am not big into make-up and all that goes along with it, but I fell for whitening toothpaste –  brush, paste and flosser.

So, imagine my chagrin upon learning that my toothpaste is among the worst offenders from an environmental and health perspective. The very product I was so enamoured with is loaded with microbeads! 

Do you know what microbeads are?

Microbeads are invasive little specs of plastic that are showing up in places they should not be. They are in so many cosmetics that it is easier to list the products they are NOT in than to name the ones they have invaded. It is pervasive. It is terrible.

Would you voluntarily give your kids plastic to swallow?

Never!

Would you choose to eat a healthy meal of baked, plastic microbead infused fish?

Of course not!

Do you think that rubbing your body with plastic makes it cleaner or worse do you think you need microbeads to have a good complexion?

Well … 

I, for one, am horrified at the lengths we humans seem to be willing to go for the sake of some arbitrarily conjured beauty standard.

I feel betrayed. 

I miss my favourite toothpaste.

We immediately threw out the offending brand and vowed never to use it again.

Then we had our teeth cleaned at our Dentist’s Office.

I bet you know where this is going …

You know those little tubes of toothpaste the Dental Hygienist hands you – along with a new toothbrush and a teeny travel sized floss – as she tells you you have no cavities, but you should floss more (even though you floss all the time. Seriously. Is there some kind of Dental Hygienist pact wherein it is written that they have to bring up the flossing at every, single appointment? I really want to know, but I digress .. where was I? Right! Dentist gifts!)? Yes the teeny tube of National Brand name toothpaste.. you know the one, right? Well it was the very same offending brand we had sworn off. 

We had to ask.

Why is this brand being handed out? Are you concerned about the microbeads? How can we avoid them?

Now, you need to know that we happen to have a lovely Dentist and a fantastic Dental Hygienist. We asked our questions out of true curiosity and not at all with righteous indignation*. We intended to strike up a conversation about our concern not because our concerns are more important than anyone else’s, but because our concerns were (and are) very real and though in this case they are very much our concerns, they really ought to be your concerns too.

We had a good chat about it and the conclusion was they are in “everything” and you “can’t avoid them”. How scary is that?

I’ll tell you how scary. PFOA scary. That’s how scary.

You don’t know me well enough to know all my stories yet, but we here at Chez Peady are pretty savvy when it comes to the environment and we try our best to not make the planet – you know, the ONE place we have to call home – worse off by living our lives with nary a concern for our fellow humans, the water, the wind and the woods. Sometimes that means we need to take a stand.

And stand we did.

We went on the hunt for a toothpaste that had fluoride, but did not contain microbeads.

This was not as simple as walking into our corner drug store and simply selecting the competing National Brand. Oh, no, no. I won’t try to convince you, but suffice it to say that most of the alternatives also have microbeads.

We settled on a natural (and there’s a branded word that gets tossed around like a hot potato!) brand that doesn’t have microbeads. We purchased two – one for the kids, one for us – and went on our merry way.

And we brushed.

And it tasted weird.

And it didn’t froth.

And it wasn’t minty fresh.

And my teeth didn’t feel clean.

And all I wanted to do was grab my old whitening brand and use it so I could have the fresh from the Dentist feeling I had come to expect from my toothpaste.

It was terrible.

There was no going back though. My health and health of my children is too important.

We continued to use the natural brand of toothpaste and we survived. I have since found one that suits me better, though it will never be the same as what I was using, and we keep our eyes peeled for changes in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy. 

There is good news on the horizon though. We have a new Prime Minister who is making a point of getting Canada’s good reputation as a world leader – in matters of the environment and otherwise – back to the standard we, as a country, would expect.

We have a Minister of the Environment & Climate Change. Her name is Minister Catherine McKenna and she is one of 30 smart, capable, forward thinking Cabinet Ministers (50% of whom are women – “Because it’s 2015.” – Oh that just never gets old!), who are charged with the task of getting Canada back on track. This is so logical and amazing to me that even a full day (almost 2, now) after all the oaths were taken I am still emotional about it all.

I am so hopeful that we will see the real change we have been hearing so much about and that we will begin to see an action plan take shape. One that is designed to keep our environment healthy and our children safe.

No, not from big scary monsters and men with pointy teeth, but from itty-bitty, minuscule, invasive, pervasive and utterly unnecessary pieces of plastic.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Yes. Yes it would.

 

You can read more information on microbeads here, or here, or here.

I really hope you do. 

 

 

 

*A crucial life skill, by the way. There’s a whole post in those two words, actually. Another day!

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(Ramona Quimby is a beloved character from the talented mind of Beverly Cleary and she is, quite frankly, near and dear to my heart. We are kindred spirits!)