Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taking Inventory...

...or "In Which I Address An Irritating Personalty Trait".

I really hate certain aspects of social conversation. I suppose they could all be lumped under the category of 'Confrontation'. Or more benignly, I suppose 'Assertiveness' would do. In my personal life, I don't have a history of being terribly assertive and I avoid confrontation at very nearly all cost.


This weekend is the RVHEA Used Book Sale. This weekend I will step out of my box. This weekend I will ask people for money; a part of social conversation that I think requires a certain amount of 'Assertive'. Wish me luck.

Now. If I could just get past 'Procrastination' and stick a price tag on something, I'd be well on my way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

- J.P. Neufeld - Stepping Up and Speaking Out

Here's a hat tip to a fellow Canadian.

School Threat Foiled

J.P. Makes The Call

J.P. Sounds Alert

Thanks, J.P., for stepping up and doing something when many would have done nothing. Who knows how much devestation and heartache you prevented.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today I sucked it up and did some yoga. A whole 20-minutes of really bad, poor-form, wobbly yoga.

Right after K was born (or was it R?) I trekked myself off to my local Y for a session of yoga. I fell asleep at the end of every class. It was very embarrassing. I don't think the class leader was too impressed.

Since then little has happened in the way of regular, productive physical activity. Any regular activity has actually been going into the negative amounts, if that is possible, due to nagging little injuries. I've dealt with those little annoyances in the absolute worst way ever. Ignore, ignore, stay still.

So, being utterly fed up with myself, in more ways than one, I signed out this Yoga for Dummies DVD at the library this week. I was drawn to this one because the description didn't use words like 'meditation' and 'relaxing'. It used descriptors such as 'moving continuously' and 'dynamic movement increases your heartrate'. The lovely and entirely-too-happy-with-scary-biceps Chris Freytag in the cover art is actually almost sitting up - there's no hint of meditation anywhere!

I limped through the first 20 minutes. R tried it out too. But only because yoga helps those who want to be goalies, and could I please pull the drapes so the neighbours don't notice. All in all, it wasn't too bad. It was depressing, but only because it was so far from what I used to be able to do.

It may surprise some to know that I am fairly well qualified (or at least I was) in personal training, weight-lifting, exercise, nutrition and various other healthy living pursuits. I used to teach fitness classes. I trained others to teach. I worked in a sports therapy clinic. I was an example. My main transportation was a pair of roller blades and my best accessory was a 75-litre day pack.

Although the DVD is supposedly a weight-loss workout, I'm not even going to go there. I just want to be able to move without hurting myself. One step at a time, right? I just never though the steps would be so small.

♥ Bonni

No News Is Not Always Good News

I wish I had some good, exciting news or photos to show off for you.

Even my update will be boring. But, here goes.

No kayaking on the weekend for me. Kids are still sick. I'm having a hard time getting this neck pain under control. Blog changes are progressing along in the background. Not as quick as I had expected, but I'm working on it. K is now an official 'babysitter'.

I had been remarking of late about the 'economic downturn' and questioning whether it would be so apparent in our small town as it seemed to be in the larger centers. Because in my little world, things had been ticking along all happy and regular-like. Leave it to me to open my big mouth. Last week a beloved cafe closed it's doors. This week, it seems the economic downturn will strike closer to home. It will take some time before I learn how the changes on the table will effect my extended family, but change is here and it is not welcomed.

We're all feeling a little sad, tired and discouraged. It will pass. One day at a time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Notes From Korea #1

My brother, Matt, and his intended, Michelle, planned to leave earlier in the Fall for a year of teaching in Korea. Their host employer tried and tried...and tried and tried some more to find them employment in close proximity to each other.
This was becoming quite the process. Finally, it seemed things came together all in a rush. My mom put together a big traditional Christmas dinner just before they were about to leave. There were a few gifts exchanged and then they left - it was December 12/08.
Matt and Michelle travelled to Korea over the course of a weekend - being due to report for work bright and early Monday morning. I think it's purposely planned like that to prevent any culture shock and home-sickness from setting in. From what I hear, the culture shock is pretty near impossible to avoid and homesickness took a couple of weeks to set in.
Michelle writes of their adventure getting to Korea from Toronto:

"After saying our many goodbyes to family and friends (and shedding a few tears), we were off to the Toronto airport with our fingers crossed that we would not be paying an arm and a leg for overweight/oversize luggage. After watching the guy in front of us get small hand slapping for the amount he packed we were a little nervous that the same was coming to us. Luckily we ended up with a pleasant lady at the ticket counter who let us shuffle our things around to only pay one small fee before printing off our tickets and sending us on our way.

The first flight was short and sweet and after pulling an all-nighter in our packing attempts the night before, we were both too tired to keep our eyes open. We landed in Washington D.C which seemed strange considering we would eventually pass over Toronto again on our way to Korea. We managed to grab something to eat and a comfy chair while waiting for our next and much longer flight to depart.

I guess things were going a little too smoothly, and about the time we should have been preparing to board our plane an announcement was made saying our flight was delayed due to mechanical problems until further notice. Although we would have preferred the delay as opposed to getting on a faulty plane for a 14 hour trip...this also meant we would miss our connection in Japan. Then came the next announcement telling all passengers to head down to the United Airlines customer service desk to book new flights and in turn, new connecting flights.

It was a mad-dash to the desk which seemed to be located across the other side of the airport. Lucky for us we had all of our hand luggage packed up and were wearing our coats so we were at the front of the crowd and trucking along. The line-up at the counter was winding and didn't move very fast. Being near the front it didn't take us too long to work our way up to the desk, and while in line we made friends with several other soon to be English-teachers heading to Korea as well.

With a support group in place we all booked our new flights together which would leave Washington almost 5 hours later then our original tickets and land in Japan at 9pm. Our connecting flight was scheduled to leave Japan at 9am the next morning, so due to the inconvenience United Airlines provided us with free lunch in Washington, Free hotel in Japan, free breakfast in the morning and are apparently sending us travel coupons for future flights. It all worked out to be a pretty good deal for us.

We spent several more hours in the Washington airport packing in our free lunch, playing cards on the floor and drinking some good 'ol Canadian beer that one of our new friends had purchased at duty free and was getting tired of carrying.

Eventually we were on our way for the big 14 hr flight which didn't sound so bad but sure did feel long half-way through. I think we managed to bend our bodies in every and all ways possible to try to get comfortable. We could choose our own movies on the plane from a selection of about 6 different channels and plane food has actually improved since I last remembered it although still not entirely tasty.

Upon landing in Japan we took an airport bus to our hotel (the Crowne Plaza) which was very nice and had a large Christmas tree in the front lobby. We found our room which came complete with robes and slippers (which helped us since we hadn't packed for an overnight stay), as well as a kettle and tea bags to brew our own. It took us awhile to figure out how to flush the toilet but we figured it out and had a nice shower to freshen up as much as possible before putting our dirty plane clothes back on.

In the morning we got a complimentary breakfast at the hotel buffet (provided by United...I would fly with them again!) which included bacon, eggs, cereal, toast and fruit along with various other Japanese treats. We completed the morning with some massage chairs at the airport while waiting for our flight to leave. All in all it was a really nice stay in Japan.

Our flight to Korea was only 2 hours and they even provided us with a meal although we were too stuffed from our morning buffet to eat...and we weren't quite sure what we were eating so we opted to play it safe. Our luggage was waiting for us at the airport which had been a previous concern since we had changed our flights since originally checking our luggage.

A driver was waiting for us outside the arrival doors with a sign saying "Matt and Michelle" no last names, so we hope we didn't steal someone else's ride.
We're finally in Korea and ready to start our BIG adventure...
Michelle's view from her subway station
I'm glad they made it - together, with all the hurriedly packed possessions they could fit in that would have to last them through four seasons. They were happy to find their apartment was located in a very convenient place. It is right next to the subway station, plenty of food places and a Zellers-ish store which would prove to be very useful. They quickly discovered that Michelle's school doesn't turn the heat on. They also discovered some friends living not too far away. Friends who dropped by within a few days bearing a housewarming gift - toilet paper - and much knowledge about those baffling Korean appliances.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Update, A Rant, News and Some Whining

Hello. Some Random thoughts for you all today.

First Thought Not only did R have food poisoning then a fever, he now has a cold virus to rival all colds. If it's not enough to have one male in the house who is ill, the other male in the house is close to death. I'm not exaggerating, he said it himself. I think he might becoming down with whatever it is that is 'killing' R.

Second Thought The city has made a decision to not hire beach patrol lifeguards this summer. Who cares, you say? I care. It seems I care a lot. More than I should? Last week I read an article that mentioned the Recreation Director employed by our lovely city thought it might be a good idea to get rid of the summer lifeguards, a savings of $18,000. Then, in the next breath, she wants to hire a full-time arbourist at a measly cost of something like $6,000. Of course, it's only $6,000 if we get rid of the lifeguards... I never thought council would actually vote in favour of ditching our only supervised waterfront. But they did. And I'm angry for a number of reasons. Perhaps I'll blog about it when I can collect my thoughts somewhat intelligently.

Third Thought I have whiplash. At least it feels like whiplash. Can one get whiplash from skating 13K? Goodness, I am so out of shape, every time I move I hurt myself. I'm not sleeping because my back and neck hurt. I even stepped out of my box and bought some muscle relaxants. Man, a dose of those can make one very dizzy! And it says to drug up with 2 pills 4 times a day. 4 times! Not very likely.

Fourth Thought Being so frustrated with hurting myself every other stair climb, I have decided to soldier though and take advantage of exercising opportunities. My dad has a couple of kayaks. He was thinking about going for a quick paddle this weekend so I signed right up for an early morning paddle on Saturday. Dad is not too keen on the idea. He's worried about me flipping the boat and succumbing to hypothermia in the icy river before reaching the shore, leaving the children motherless. A bit alarmist of him, don't you think? Just for the record, flipping a kayak usually takes some effort. I don't think I have the range of motion or the muscle strength to accomplish that at this particular time. At any rate, I will paddle close to the shore. Hopefully, I'll have some pics up Saturday afternoon for you.

Fifth Thought Once final upcoming blog change for me. I'm tired of trying to tweak things in html unsuccessfully. SO I have been prowling about for a template that I like. A template that I can put my own header into, or not. A free template that I will be happy with so that I can spend time on actual blogs and links, labels and archives. I'm so looking forward to it. I'm sharing this thought with you so that if you happen to pop by in the next couple of days and my blog is inaccessible, you'll know why. I don't want to do a live change. I want to surprise everyone with the new wallpaper all at once. It will be so exciting. So if you're reading this and you'd like your link in my new sidebar, leave a comment and let me know sooner than later.

Sixth and Final Thought of the Day On the homeschooling front, K, the girl child, will be participating in a Red Cross Babysitter and First Aid Training tomorrow. She will be joining a number of other homeschoolers and their siblings for the day. This will necessitate a trip to the store to procure brown-bag lunch trimmings. I think I will leave the dying males at home and K and I will head out shortly before I take any drugs. I think we will also pick up some ColdFx (even if it is too late) and other throat soothing remedies. I wish these males would drink tea. It would be so much easier. Oh yes, homeschooling: not much has happened here this week. K is keeping up with her math all on her own. Pleasant to see such mature independence on her part. The kids are keeping up with their book club reading - many of the selections they are asking me to read aloud to them. I'm glad they're not too old for that yet. I was going to say that we're taking an early March Break, but a little more likely is that the February blahs are occurring. That's be about right on schedule for me - I'm a notorious procrastinator.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Missing M & M

Mr.M, my brother, and Ms.M, his fiancee are off on a year-long adventure. They are living it up as millionaires in South Korea.

Of course, I think most people are millionaires if they are earning a paycheque in South Korean won. But I digress.

Mr.M & Ms.M are teaching English to students for a year. They're also taking advantage of any and every travel/adventure opportunity that pops up.

The kids and I have been in regular contact with Mr.M and Ms.M (a fact I directly attribute to Ms.M as Mr.M has been known to be...well...we'll just say he focuses on the task at hand to fully immerse himself in the pleasure and experience of the moment). I am especially enjoying Mr.M's very colourful play-by-play descriptions of his Korean adventures to date. I'm sure he's showing his best betrothed behaviour for Ms.M.

M & M left just before Christmas, due to return in time for Christmas 2009.

Most recently, they've been able to post some pictures for us to see. Tiny Korean apartments are a good substitute for marriage counselling, me thinks. They'll know everything about each other well before they're due to fly home, I'm sure.

We are missing M and M very much.

We miss seeing them around town.

We miss having them coach R's soccer team.

R and I miss our Friday morning dates at the rink with Mr.M watching my other brother play hockey.

K is missing Ms. M's girly, trendy influence.

We miss seeing what sort of crazy local adventures they participate in.

We miss watching Mr. M at football and basketball.

As I'm sure you've surmised, M & M are great fun. I'm sure those Korean kids are having a blast learning copious amounts of English. Goodness knows, lessons would be fun if not informative.

Perhaps they'll be feeling altruistic and they'll let me share some of their travel notes with the blogosphere. Hopefully I'll have more to tell you about M & M in the days to come.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rideau Canal Skating

Thursday was remarkably Spring like. With very little planning, the kids and I, with my mom, jumped in the car and drove the hour and a bit to Dow's Lake Pavilion in Ottawa to do a little skating on the Rideau Canal. It's great the way they make skating on the canal so convenient. It lessens the blow of a $12 parking lot.

We stashed our boots in the white dome everyone is headed to in the pic below and we started out.

For those of you who have been so kind as to post pics of your adventures (Cristina and Marina) and your wonderful countryside (Dorothy) I figured I'd throw in some stark contrast. Having a scant 400 years of history in this country, there's little in the way of 'ancient architecture'. But, the canal itself is a marvel and the other bits are interesting.

Here we have the football stadium and below that, Lansdowne Park.
A bit closer to downtown you can see the YMCA tower to the left of the old Museum of Civilization 'castle' behind the bridge. There's another canal access point as well. They are all over the place. There's little to no official parking for the canal, but there's a lot of steps and seats and 'you are here' maps.

There's K skating by the University of Ottawa building. There's a big, lit up greenhouse on the top of the high rise.

I think anyone who has seen any advertising at all for the Rideau Canal Skating Rink has seen a picture like this. The roof line of the Chateau Laurier can be seen on the horizon.
Here we are in the heart of Ottawa. The Parliament buildings to the left and the old train station on the right. How I ever got to the ripe old age of 34 without ever eating a Beaver Tail, I don't know. But I couldn't let the same unfortunate thing happen to my kids. R's not a fan of sticky-sugary-sweet, so he held out for fries. I tell you, one Maple Beaver Tail is about as much stick-sugary-sweet as any one person can take. And that's saying something coming from this professional sweet tooth.
R eventually got his fries. Most of which were eaten on the go.

A kilometre from the end of our skate, all 13km of it, the kids took a brief break. The temperature had started to drop noticeably and we were definitely done. It was a great afternoon. Really, so easy to do. Living so close to Ottawa, it's really something we should do more. But, it's not to be this year. It was the last day of the season to skate. I'm glad we were able to fit it in.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


After our skating adventure on the Rideau Canal on Thursday (pics and blog to follow) we came home with an additional house guest. At least R did.

For 12 hours, he hosted the wonderful effects of food poisoning.

This was especially disappointing as R had a Friday night boys' night with friends planned - dinner and a '67s game in Ottawa. I called and cancelled for R on Friday morning. I wasn't very popular with anyone. I'm glad I did, though, as R certainly wasn't bouncing back very quickly.

R slept most of Friday away with a curious little fever. K made plans to get picked up by my mom and spend the night with her. They do girl stuff together like watch old episodes of Full House for hours on end. R and I hung out reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He thought he might like some gelato so we took a short car trip. He only had two small bites, but it stayed down. We were making progress!

K arrived home this morning, pale as death. She flopped on the couch and hasn't moved. No fever (yet?) but no appetite, energy or joie de vivre. Interesting.

I'd just like to note that when they were babies, the kids never got sick together. Any cold or other ailment was always spared the other until the first was mostly recovered. Most recently, this was experienced last Spring with the Chicken Spox. A lovely month-long affair.

R didn't appreciate being left alone in his bed while I was taking care of things around the house. K didn't feel up to moving over on the couch to make room for her brother. I was getting frustrated running up and down with pillows and water and the dog underfoot and can you get the curtains now mom and maybe I would like a straw now that I think about it and arrgh!

The cot! Years ago I bought a cot when the family bed was shrinking. It's come in handy over the years. Today I employed it in the living room.

So here we are on a lovely Spring-link Saturday afternoon. Cooped up in the darkened living room feeling very run down. R is perking up and is keeping down a generous helping (for a sick person) of soup. K just feels like dozing. Everyone is much more content now that they are lying down - separate but together. The dog is happier - and less underfoot - as well.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Hey all,
Sorry to be playing with things. Sometimes it's fun to clean things up and freshen up the wall paper. Of course, the procrastinator in me much prefers to play with blog colours than the hall closet shelf that's been a catch-all for years.

*photo courtesy of K and her new camera


Monday, March 2, 2009

Fundraising For Me

All year I have been fundraising by throwing my spare change into this biscotti container. Sometimes, I've even had a $5 or $10 in my wallet for a week or so...or I washed a bill in the laundry and claimed it...and into the container it went.

B and I sat one evening and rolled. We rolled until we hit $309 and ran out of nickel rollers. I'm using the money to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Home School Conference.

I know not everyone is a conference person, but I am. I leave the conference feeling motivated. I like bringing home hurriedly scrawled notes of good ideas. I like hearing the authors of a program/curriculum/method talk about how to implement a subject into your homeschool. I know it's a sales pitch. But don't knock it until you've heard Donna Ward talk about Canadian History.

This conference will be a special trip for me. I'm making a weekend of it. I'm carpooling with a fellow-homeschooling-girlfriend. I'm staying in a hotel. There might be evening entertainment or a yarn shop or a cafe visit or who knows what!? I'm taking suggestions. (Please keep in mind it's totally possible that I will ignore all advice and choose to hole up in the hotel all weekend reading stuff I've gleaned from seminars and new books I bought at the vendor fair.)

My fundraising has been particularly successful since we gave up Tim Horton's coffee. There are definitely greater amounts of change present when one doesn't make an almost daily trip there.

Further fundraising happened at my birthday party a couple of weekends ago when my family contributed a few bills to my efforts. They don't get the whole homeschooling thing, however, they understand being excited to go weekend adventuring. Remind me to blog about my siblings' weekend stopover in Paris, France to be at the Tour de France finish line one year.

The fundraising will continue the weekend before my conference at the annual RVHEA Used Book Sale. I've totally stepped out of my box and I've booked a table at which I will attempt to sell the books and things I'm done with. I need to make more than $20 to cover gas. However, to this event I am also carpooling!

I just had to share. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Christmas...Finally Packed Away

I'm embarrassed to admit that Christmas has been hanging over my head. Hopefully my procrastination will make someone feel accomplished...on the ball...or at least seasonally aligned.

It's March 1 and I still have garland on the stairwell. I've been telling myself...and anyone who asks...that it's 'Winter-y', not necessarily 'Christmas-y'. Then I nonchalantly move my hand to cover up the Season's Greetings - From Our Family To Yours! on the hanging ornament.

And here on the hall shelf, I still have 'Winter' things going on. Snowmen...that's not Christmas-y, right?

<--- This is why things have been languishing upstairs. This is the overflowing Christmas bin...and basket...and bag. It's all clogging up my laundry area. Which is causing the ironing to get behind...

See how one too-small-bin can throw a wrench in the works?

So today I finally got to it. I emptied a larger bin whose contents could be streamlined to fit in the smaller bin....

...and made a bigger mess.

But in the end, all is well. Christmas is packed away in the larger bin. I feel better.