Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Luckily it's digital.

I took a couple of photos yesterday, so today I popped my memory card into the computer to view them. I had taken 8 or 9 pictures, but I saw "229 files found".

What the heck?

Well, there were 9 photos I recognised, and 220 I didn't recognise. Here is a random sampling of the latter:

I love this kid.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Missed the Saturday dance

Don't really post much anymore.

I was going to do a whole thing where I changed all the lyrics and made it funny and cute, but I couldn't think of a computer-y rhyme for "-ore", so I bailed.

I watched "The Exorcist" the other night. It's an odd choice for me - I don't like horror in general. But it was coming on "Encore Avenue", which is commercial free, and I thought "This movie is a huge part of our culture - maybe I should give it a look."

It was interesting - quite rude actually. Half the horror is just the disgusting things that demon does and says while inhabiting the body of this little girl. I was so worried about it that I Googled Linda Blair to check how old she was when she was asked to say those things. She was 12, but it turns out a grownup said the really bad lines and they just voice-overed it. So that's good.

But any rate, the movie wasn't as scary as I had expected, probably because I turned the volume down to almost nil, and looked away during the worst bits. GREAT ending though.

I kept saying "Aw, poor kid" for the entire two hours.

Knitting a lot but nothing I can show you.

I'm going on a hike tomorrow morning, early...plans are to leave at 7:00 AM. I'll try to remember to bring the camera so I can show you the good bits.

Monday, February 13, 2012

You're wonderful, and marvellous, and special.

You people are the loveliest! Thanks to you, my daughters both met their fundraising goals in ONE day! Thank you so, so much. They just couldn't believe you'd do that for them. They were so amazed and happy, they were inspired to spend this past Saturday at a local gourmet shop, owned by a friend, with pamphlets and a donation jar. Apparently my youngest daughter, 7 years old, was walking up to people, as bold as brass, and saying "Hi there! Do you know that the Newfoundland Pine Marten needs our help?" I wasn't there but I hear it was a marvel.

And, they raised another $80!

So, thank you all again for your wonderful gifts. The kids are watching the mail for their "Planet Protector" badges, all because of you.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Does anyone save UGLY animals?

My daughters are really into fundraising. Last week a man came to our door, introduced himself by telling me his name and that he was homeless, and asked if we had any bottles he could have. We loaded him up, and as he left, my daughter, in considerable distress at the thought of him out in the cold all day and all night, said "I'm going to save up and buy him a house." She has $4.97 so far.

At the moment, they are also raising money on behalf of Earth Rangers and their "Bring Back the Wild" campaign to benefit the Nature Conservancy of Canada. They have chosen for their funds raised to go toward habitat preservation for the Newfoundland Pine Marten. They can be very creative in their efforts - in the past they have sold brownies from a stand at the bottom of the driveway (proceeds to the SPCA), they have sold paintings they themselves made (proceeds to themselves), and they have done bottle drives (SPCA, again). This Saturday, we are off to my friend's gourmet food store, where the girls are going to dress up and hawk some homemade cookies in little cello bags: all profits to the Newfoundland Pine Marten via Earth Rangers.

It's a cute little program, where the child can set up a webpage of their own, featuring a little cartoon avatar they can customise, with a fundraising meter to show how close they are to their goal (the oldest has set a goal of $75, and the youngest wanted to go for $500 but upon reflection she set a goal of $75 as well -- she says didn't want to give TOO much to the animals: she'd rather give to humans. Our homeless friend Tom, for example.).

But they aren't doing too well, so far, and since both Tom and the Pine Marten are facing habitat loss, I thought I'd direct you to their fundraising pages in case you wanted to throw $5 their way. They'd be thrilled...so far they each have $10, donated anonymously by their mother. (Keep that on the down-low.)

My oldest daughter's page is here, and my youngest daughter is here.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Lost Post

Saying that title in my head, I alternate between "Lawst Pawst" and "Loast Poast".

I just found this document in the cobwebbed shelves at the back of my laptop. (Virtual cobwebs, virtual shelves.) I apparently wrote it in March of 2010, which makes it nearly two years old. (I'm so desperate for content these days, I am posting two-year-old opinion pieces.)


I’ve always been one of Those mothers: the ones who took Women’s Studies in university, read “The Beauty Myth”, and took back the night, and then have a family of daughters who aren’t allowed to have Barbies.

Those Mothers, in case you haven’t met us personally, have also been known to ban Disney (harmful female role models) and use our bodies to block the magazine racks at the grocery checkouts so our cart-riding children can’t see this month’s Cosmo headline. (10 New Ways to Please a Man in Bed.)
Raising girls this way isn’t easy, but the payoff is that my oldest daughter, 8 years old, still loves her Playmobil and stuffed animals, and plays with her hobby horse every day. Other children her age have moved on to (and, in some cases, past) the eye-rolling, hair-tossing, boy-kissing, lip-gloss sucking world of Hannah Montana......while Charlotte is still a child.

Last week my husband called the kids from the family room to tell them Presto! was on TV – a Pixar short about a stage magician, his magic top hat, and the hungry rabbit inside it. It’s a hilarious film with a lot of visual laughs, and it can be hard to find, so the girls came running to see it. I heard Ian say to them, “They put Presto! on before Snow White.”

“Snow White?!” my daughter exclaimed, “Did you tape it for us?”

Ian said “Uh, yes, I did,” and glanced over to the doorway, where I was standing glaring at him (in an attractive, non-confrontational way, of course).

“Snow White, huh?” I said with my mouth, while my brain was yelling it’s violent! It’s scary! It victimises women, and vilifies them all at the same time! Snow White is a passive and gullible role model who needs to be rescued! All Disney movies encourage women to languish prettily while waiting patiently for a man to save them!

(See? Total abdication of female power.)

I looked over at my children, who were excited and happy, laughing at the Presto! rabbit's antics and settling in to the couch with blankets, getting ready to watch Snow White. My husband was sitting with them, remote in hand, saying “You guys are going to like the seven dwarves, they’re so funny.”

I realised something at that moment, while I was working up the courage to say yet another “No” to a misogynistic, commercialised mega-corporation, and force my family to turn off the TV.

My children have two parents.

Two parents.

I walked down the hall towards the kitchen, thinking. Maybe it’s okay, having laid groundwork – important groundwork, I feel – to let their Dad show them Snow White. Maybe it’ll be all right if he takes this other direction: a direction that I’ve never wanted to go.

As I plugged in the popcorn maker I thought, I can worry about the big issues – the undermining of the female role in our society, the future of my daughters’ self-esteem – tomorrow. Right now, their Dad can show them this classic Disney film, with a story they’ve read in books anyway, and they can all have a laugh at Dopey together.

Because successful parenting, at its most fundamental, is about balance. We’ve all heard “everything in moderation”, and it applies just as much to how we nourish our children’s minds and emotions, as it does to how we nourish their bodies. It’s just as dangerous to keep my children 100% sugar-free, as it would be to only feed them white bread and Nutella:  there’s a ditch on both sides of this road.

My husband and I have different roles in this parenting adventure, just as we do in this marriage. And the best way to equip our daughters for the potholes ahead is to show them that there is a left and right, a feminine and masculine, a yin and a yang to everything. To help them to know how to steer around the obstacles of adolescence and adulthood without hugging one side of the track too closely, they need to see the give and take of different people compromising while loving each other.

I walked back to the family room, popcorn in hand, listening to my family laughing together. It’s been a long time since I watched television at all – even longer since I saw a Disney Princess movie. That evening I didn’t watch Snow White: I watched my children see something fun and funny, that they hadn’t seen before. I watched my daughters laugh at the dwarves and frown at the witch. I watched them have a wonderful time with their Mom and Dad.

And I’m pretty sure they’ll be okay. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Brr. And Ooooh!

I have a dog, but I don't often walk him.

Actually, that was part of the reason we got a Sheltie - because I read a lot of books which said that Shelties are a good choice for an older person or a sedentary person, because they can adapt to the amount of exercise their owners usually get. A Jack Russell, just to name an example, can't.

Hi buddy!

Recently I decided to start walking my dog, though, whether he requires it or not, because....well, it turns out MY species, the rare and dangerous shanissimus naturalis, needs more exercise than canis lupis familiaris.

And, it being January, my hands got cold.

"Mittens!" I cried. "My kingdom for mittens!"

"Stash diving", as people call it, is fun when you have been buying yarn for 8 years and using, relatively speaking, hardly any of it.

The green is Kauni Effektgarn, which changes colour from yellow to green and back again, slowly. The white is Lanett Superwash, left over from a baby sweater from yonks ago.

My thumb is not, in reality, as big as this photo makes it look.

It's just a made-up pattern - ribbing for 4 inches or so, with a few cable twists at the wrist for tightness, and then starting the colourwork, which adds a lot of warmth.

3 mm needles, which in retrospect are a little too big. The fabric should be tighter. Next time I'll do 2.25  mm and add a few extra stitches.

The two mittens are a little different from each other - I knit the dark green one first, and found the wrist too loose, so changed it up a bit for the yellow one.

And this weird, long photo is just to show the colour progression, but you can't see it anyway with that terrible light. (It's January.) Due to the phenomenon of perspective, the green looks huge and the yellow tiny, but that's just an illusion.

Now my hands are a lot warmer. And my dog is tired.