Category: NaBloPoMo

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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The One Where There Is A Friends Reference

After approximately 87,000* Facebook messages we** managed to go out to dinner and as expected it was fabulous!

I could go on and on about my friends and my night out, but you would have no point of reference, so I thought I would keep it extremely succinct.

We grew up (okay, okay, we were in our 20s and some of us were married already. Whatever!) at a time when coffee shops were novel and everyone wanted a shebob just like Rachel’s, so sometimes we reference these things.

Tonight our conversations were all over the place. Have you ever overheard four friends who are also mothers having a conversation across a table? It’s quite remarkable, really. We zig. We zag. We share insight. We reminisce. We listen. We lament. We give advice. We offer support. We celebrate successes. We feel comfortable sharing stories – loudly. 

What I am saying is you wouldn’t have over heard us. You simply would have heard us!

We also have a knack for witty remarks and pop culture references and that leads me to Friends.

At one point (and completely apropos of nothing) a conversation about crows turned into a conversation about birds that mate for life which then led to – wait for it – lobsters!

Because LOGICAL!

 

 

*Slight exaggeration.

**Four friends from high school – which was a lifetime ago – getting together once a month to vent, dish, and laugh. So much laughing!

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25 Things That Made Me Smile Today

Please allow me to get right to the point (a rare treat for those who know me, I am sure!).

I give you a succinct, if random, list of 25 things that made me smile today.

  1. Early morning snuggles with Thing 2.
  2. My first cup of coffee.
  3. Braiding Thing 2’s beautiful hair so she would be fancier than her normal Hermione Granger for her school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, today, where she would be singing with her school mates.
  4. The fact that last Christmas’ Poinsettia is still alive and well .
  5. The thought that I might actually be able to get it to bloom in time for December.
  6. Thing 1 practicing his trumpet this evening for his school’s Remembrance Day ceremony tomorrow.
  7. CrockPot turkey stock.
  8. Finally making a yummy, flavourful, batch of turkey soup.
  9. Calling it thoup.
  10. Remembering my beautiful niece and her utterly adorable developmental lisp.
  11. Remembering how Thing 2, who reminds me so much of her, also had an extremely similar lisp for a few years.
  12. Being told by someone whose opinion I value, that they appreciate what I do.
  13. My enormous, yellow, Fall Mums which are still very much in bloom.
  14. The idea that my red SIGG water bottle is my health potion.
  15. The brilliant idea to buy a second SIGG bottle in blue so I will not only have my health, but also mana.
  16. My magical glasses which after all this time still make me happy every single day because they are awesome.
  17. Thing 1’s awesome hair.
  18. Thing 1’s school photos, wherein he decided to *not* cut off his hair for school photo day and wore his “Wookie Expressions” T-shirt with exactly zero irony.
  19. The word rutabaga.
  20. The fact that we call it turnip (and always will!) even though we know the difference between rutabaga and turnip.
  21. A weird elevator ride with Daddy-O this morning as we were leaving for the commute where the elevator seemed to have a mind of its own, went up instead of down, and picked up a neighbour who then, presumably, assumed we just really like elevator rides.
  22. Parting ways with my husband while he took out the recycling and continuing to walk right alongside the elevator neighbour (who is mostly silent) who parks near me in the garage and not being able to stop myself from saying, “I feel like we are competing in the world’s slowest race.”
  23. Savoury.
  24. Crowdsourcing recipe advice via Facebook.
  25. Being married to a Computer Elf.

C’est tout!

It really is the little things.

What about you?

What made you smile today? 

 

 

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Let’s Talk Turkey!

This week we have learned a valuable lesson at Chez Peady.

If you chop it up and put it on the table, they will eat it.

It doesn’t matter the time of day or meal in question.

If it is cut up into bite sized pieces and there’s maybe a little veggie dip, salsa, guacamole, or hummus for dipping the veggies will vanish.

I forgot! The Things are such great eaters they will try anything I make and usually without complaint because, as I have talked about before, I do make sure there is at least one thing that everyone likes for sure, but I am not a short order cook and I do not make extra meals, special meals or meals made to order.

Though, not too long ago I was dreaming of having a fully functional buffet brunch bar with waffles made to order, an omelette chef, a mountain of fresh fruit, and a great bottomless cup of coffee, for myself. This is a fantasy. This is not a hotel. It is a nice dream though.

So, knowing brunch was not going to appear magically* and really not feeling like a bacon-and-eggs brunch, I decided the cure for this breakfast break was to roast a turkey for dinner and roast a turkey I did!

I pretty much let the Things and Daddy-O fend for themselves** all day with no regularly scheduled meals – at all – until dinner. 

Yup.

Super Mom!

I couldn’t help it. I had a one turkey-track mind.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about next Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, I don’t have to wait until next year. I only have to wait until American Thanksgiving***.

I am so excited that we celebrate both Thanksgivings for all kinds of reasons, but I’d be misleading you if I didn’t divulge right now that one of the main reasons is for the turkey – and all the fun fixings.

For Canadian Thanksgiving we are usually not at home, so we don’t get to have any of the fun leftovers the following week. The hot turkey sandwiches drenched in gravy with yummy leftover mashed potatoes, carrots, and turnip**** on the side. The double decker club sandwiches with crinkle cut fries and gravy. The amazing turkey soup made lovingly by using every single scrap of leftover turkey. All delightful in their own rights and treats one really misses when one isn’t in charge of roasting the main course!

For American Thanksgiving we are almost always at home. When the Things were smaller I used to call in “festive” so they would have the day off school. Yes. Really. I would quite literally call the school and leave a message on the answering machine or speak to our lovely Administrative Assistant (in Ottawa) and happily explain, “It’s American Thanksgiving and we are calling in festive!”. It was very freeing actually and I think it gave the person listening to the message a laugh, on what was otherwise a random Thursday in November – which if you have never been to Ottawa – can be quite grey and cold. I hope it brought joy. It certainly brought me a lot of joy. We would stay home and I would roast a turkey and we’d watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a grand time! A scrumptious turkey dinner on a weeknight is very happy making, indeed. I love the fact that some American television stations televise Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life right after the parade on American Thanksgiving Day. Pretty much, it’s the perfect end to a very happy day.

I mean, who could deny the beauty of a day designed to celebrate the joy of a bountiful harvest with family? Throw in the fact that it is a super excuse for an extra thankful Thursday and another roasted turkey and well.. SOLD! 

So, with all of this in mind – and the fact that fresh turkeys were on sale – I went out and bought one to roast today.

I regret nothing!

It was scrumptious.

We had turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, turnip, corn, stuffing, fresh rolls and gravy.

And the best part is that, if we want we can have it all over again tomorrow because LEFTOVERS! (Yay!)

Now, I really must finish this post, so I can get the CrockPot fired up because while we are sleeping magical slow cooker elves will be making the base for an amazing batch of turkey soup. (Also, yay!)

Tell me, are you a fan of roasted turkey?

Do you gravy all the things?

Are you gluten free like me and left with a little sad space on your plate?

 

I am working on a stuffing solution. I will be back with one by the 26th! Mark my words. 

 

 

Which one of you is working on my replicator, again? We need to have a talk about the progress you are making.   harumphs *

**Don’t worry. There was plenty of food to forage. Protein, cereal, toast and Nutella,  Halloween treats – whoopsiedoodle!

***Hah! We are even Hobbits when it comes to Thanksgiving! Second Thanksgiving FTW!

****It’s rutabaga, I know, but it’s still turnip, you know?

Silent Saturday (A Weekend Twist On Wordless Wednesday)

Every year we visit Moncton, New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend.

Every year – at some point during the weekend – we make a point of going for our Thanksgiving Nature Walk.

This year was no exception and we had a great little trek. We were not in a hurry, the leaves were really beautiful in their new autumn colours, and there were all kinds of little creatures to appreciate.

We stopped to take a few pictures and I noticed there were a few Dragonflies on a nearby picnic table.

I was intrigued by them and hoped to get a decent photo after we snapped a few silly selfies of our little thankful family.

The wings of this Dragonfly remind me of a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Can’t you just picture a window with a little rectangle of red stained glass?

 

The One Where I Run Out Of Time And Am Simply Too Tired To Worry Much About It!

It is 11:23 p.m. as I am beginning this post.

Thing 2 just went to bed a little while ago and – I swear to you as I type – right now I hear Thing 1 walking around in the dark. Getting a drink perhaps.

Daddy-O has just started an episode of Poirot and if you know it at all (Do you know Agatha Christie’s Poirot at all?) you will know it isn’t exactly a thrill-a-minute-perk-you-up-and-write kind of program. Not at all. As a matter of fact I have recently decided that my husband pretty much uses Hercule Poirot and his 1935 crime fighting shenanigans as a sleep aid because he almost never makes it through an episode.

Meanwhile I, the one who resists it being started in the first place, am hanging on until the last minute – regardless of when that last minute happens to take place on the actual clock. You know the clock? The one that tells me I am up too late. The one that says Early Band is happening whether or not Mr. Poirot solves the mystery**. The one that at this very minute is breathing down my neck telling me to write something and hit publish tout de suite! (Did I mention Poirot is Belgian? That’s right! He speaks French.) 

I am exhausted!

It has been a really great week filled with all kinds of good news and happy making shenanigans and I think all the action has finally caught up with me and my “little grey cells”***.

Here we go again! I am asking questions about the storyline and my best husband is asleep. 

Perfect timing.

Goodnight!

 

*Full disclosure!

**Of course he solves the mystery! Oh mon Dieu! Of course!

***OY! Poirot says this! How did I get into this?!?

In Which We Express Our Frustrations About Toothpaste

 

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!)