Monday, November 30, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - November 30, 2009

For Today, Monday November 30, 2009:

Outside my window...it's sunny and cool, just hovering around the freezing point and not going up much today.  But it's great to have some sun again!


I am thinking...about how to make this Advent a holy season in the midst of a lot of activities and seasonal busyness.


I am thankful for...my mother.  Today is her 83rd birthday and she's here in Toronto for a visit.  She returns home tomorrow, and it's been a lovely week together.


I am learning....about giant amounts of misinformation that have been spread about diet.  See my current reading below.


From the kitchen...I need to get back into cooking mode after a week of the kitchen being out of commission due to painting and dinners out.


I am wearing...my nightwear and housecoat.


I am creating...a welcoming space for my visiting family this weekend!


I am going...to my theology class this morning. I'll take my mom down with me and she'll visit my brother in his office at the same college. It's a gorgeous building and they'll have lunch while I'm in class.


I am reading...Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.  A very interesting expose about how the dietary advice that's been doled out over the past 20-30 years has made us fat.  I posted a video by the author, Gary Taubes, a few weeks ago that is very interesting and pointed me to the book.


I am hoping...that Z feels better soon. He's got a terrible sore throat that doesn't seem to be abating. No fever or cold symptoms (yet). He is supposed to be travelling tomorrow for six days, so those plans are still up in the air.


I am hearing...the Weather Channel....my mom's favorite, I think!


Around the house...we got our dining room and kitchen painted, new chandelier installed, and just need to re-organize and replace the accessories and dishes we had to move.  It's lovely to have a new space!


One of my favorite things...is my new chandelier in the dining room! Along with new paint and crown molding, it feels like a completely different space. Pics to follow soon.


A few plans for the rest of the week:  today I have my theology class, where we'll be discussing Thomas Merton.  Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Toronto branch of the Ontario Genealogical  Society.  Z leaves town on Tuesday for six days.  On Friday, my sister and her family arrive for the weekend to see their new niece/cousin.


Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


My mother and her new granddaughter, and namesake, at their first visit together.


Visit our hostess to view more daybooks!

Simple Woman's Daybook - November 30, 2009

For Today, Monday November 30, 2009:

Outside my window...it's sunny and cool, just hovering around the freezing point and not going up much today.  But it's great to have some sun again!


I am thinking...about how to make this Advent a holy season in the midst of a lot of activities and seasonal busyness.


I am thankful for...my mother.  Today is her 83rd birthday and she's here in Toronto for a visit.  She returns home tomorrow, and it's been a lovely week together.


I am learning....about giant amounts of misinformation that have been spread about diet.  See my current reading below.


From the kitchen...I need to get back into cooking mode after a week of the kitchen being out of commission due to painting and dinners out.


I am wearing...my nightwear and housecoat.


I am creating...a welcoming space for my visiting family this weekend!


I am going...to my theology class this morning. I'll take my mom down with me and she'll visit my brother in his office at the same college. It's a gorgeous building and they'll have lunch while I'm in class.


I am reading...Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
Media_httpwwwassocama_ojcco
.  A very interesting expose about how the dietary advice that's been doled out over the past 20-30 years has made us fat.  I posted a video by the author, Gary Taubes, a few weeks ago that is very interesting and pointed me to the book.


I am hoping...that Z feels better soon. He's got a terrible sore throat that doesn't seem to be abating. No fever or cold symptoms (yet). He is supposed to be travelling tomorrow for six days, so those plans are still up in the air.


I am hearing...the Weather Channel....my mom's favorite, I think!


Around the house...we got our dining room and kitchen painted, new chandelier installed, and just need to re-organize and replace the accessories and dishes we had to move.  It's lovely to have a new space!


One of my favorite things...is my new chandelier in the dining room! Along with new paint and crown molding, it feels like a completely different space. Pics to follow soon.


A few plans for the rest of the week:  today I have my theology class, where we'll be discussing Thomas Merton.  Tonight is the monthly meeting of the Toronto branch of the Ontario Genealogical  Society.  Z leaves town on Tuesday for six days.  On Friday, my sister and her family arrive for the weekend to see their new niece/cousin.


Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

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My mother and her new granddaughter, and namesake, at their first visit together.


Visit our hostess to view more daybooks!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Journal

Today, we were to host my family for a group birthday party:  my mom, my husband, and my sister-in-law all celebrate birthdays in the last 10 days of November, and we invited extended family to celebrate with us today.  Z wasn't feeling well last night, but I figured I could manage on my own.  I awoke this morning with a sore throat and achy glands, and that germy feeling in my mouth and sinuses. Z commented that he had the worst sore throat he'd ever experienced.  We decided that hosting a party with three octogenarians and an infant plus two toddlers was probably not a good idea, so my brother is having all the non-sick ones over instead.  It also meant that I missed mass and choir on this first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the new liturgical year.

Earlier this week, I was at my local Catholic book store (Pauline Books and Media) and I picked up a book of readings for Advent earlier this week featuring scripture, readings from Thomas Merton, and prayers for each day of Advent and Christmas.  This will be my companion through the season.  There are similar books in the series featuring readings from Padre Pio, G.K. Chesteron, Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and others.


The preface to the book is a wonderful quote:
Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence.  Waiting for our Lord to be born.  A pregnant woman is so happy, so content.  She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her.  One always hears that stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand.  But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence. - Dorothy Day

Sunday Journal

Today, we were to host my family for a group birthday party:  my mom, my husband, and my sister-in-law all celebrate birthdays in the last 10 days of November, and we invited extended family to celebrate with us today.  Z wasn't feeling well last night, but I figured I could manage on my own.  I awoke this morning with a sore throat and achy glands, and that germy feeling in my mouth and sinuses. Z commented that he had the worst sore throat he'd ever experienced.  We decided that hosting a party with three octogenarians and an infant plus two toddlers was probably not a good idea, so my brother is having all the non-sick ones over instead.  It also meant that I missed mass and choir on this first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the new liturgical year.

Earlier this week, I was at my local Catholic book store (Pauline Books and Media) and I picked up a book of readings for Advent earlier this week featuring scripture, readings from Thomas Merton, and prayers for each day of Advent and Christmas.  This will be my companion through the season.  There are similar books in the series featuring readings from Padre Pio, G.K. Chesteron, Thomas Aquinas, C.S. Lewis and others.



The preface to the book is a wonderful quote:
Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of silence.  Waiting for our Lord to be born.  A pregnant woman is so happy, so content.  She lives in such a garment of silence, and it is as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her.  One always hears that stirring compared to the rustling of a bird in the hand.  But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence. - Dorothy Day

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A winning day!

We attended the award ceremony for the Nihongo Art Contest at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre today.  Michael won an Idea Prize for Kanji - Grades 4-8.  The competition is open to students across Ontario who are studying Japanese.  This art form requires students to capture the meaning of a Japanese character in an art work that incorporates the character itself.

This is the first year that the competition has received works done using computer graphics, of which Michael's was one.  Before the ceremony, guests were able to browse the artwork displayed in the gallery.  Here is a shot of Michael standing beside his piece, in which he used the Kanji character for "sword" to create his entry.


Here he is with a couple of friends from the Toronto Japanese Language School who were also winners.



Lily (left) won in her category and Sarah (centre) won the grand prize for her beautiful depiction of cherries.


Here she is with one of the judges holding a poster created from her artwork.

A winning day!

We attended the award ceremony for the Nihongo Art Contest at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre today.  Michael won an Idea Prize for Kanji - Grades 4-8.  The competition is open to students across Ontario who are studying Japanese.  This art form requires students to capture the meaning of a Japanese character in an art work that incorporates the character itself.

This is the first year that the competition has received works done using computer graphics, of which Michael's was one.  Before the ceremony, guests were able to browse the artwork displayed in the gallery.  Here is a shot of Michael standing beside his piece, in which he used the Kanji character for "sword" to create his entry.

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Here he is with a couple of friends from the Toronto Japanese Language School who were also winners.

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Lily (left) won in her category and Sarah (centre) won the grand prize for her beautiful depiction of cherries.

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Here she is with one of the judges holding a poster created from her artwork.

Friday, November 27, 2009





1.  I feel quite stressed out today.  I have too many balls in the air, and am feeling rather overwhelmed.  I am becoming a frantic list maker and it's still not helping much.  Once the weekend is over, things should settle down.

2. Took my mom to see Mirvish production of The Sound of Music on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre here in Toronto. It was her birthday gift.  A nice performance, though not earth-shaking, and a couple of the voices were disappointing (namely, Liesl and Franz).  Maria sounded too much like Julie Andrews for my liking, which is a bit wierd, but it was almost channelling.  She was selected for her role in a reality TV series called How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

3.  I'm planning a small family birthday party for my mom, my SIL, and my husband on Sunday.  They all have  birthdays in the last 10 days of November and I still have gifts to get and a meal to organize.  We'll be 10 adults plus three littles, some of whom are vegetarian.  I have no idea what to make.  I know where to get the cakes though.

4.  My niece is coming to visit this weekend.  She is originally from Paris but lives in Montreal now, working for a French multi-national dairy products firm.  We haven't seen her for a while, so it will be good to get together and find out how she's doing.

5.  Z just finished week 2 of three weeks out of town.  He got home late last night and will fly out again Monday or Tuesday, first to Dallas and then to Atlanta for the weekend.  My sister and her crew are coming next weekend to see our new niece (the object of my mother's visit THIS weekend.)  So our spare rooms are getting a workout!

6.  I've put the Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board on my Christmas list.  We already have a Wii, but I"m wondering whether I'll actually enjoy this?  Anyone out there with experience?

7.  I am trying to do some "experience" gifts this Christmas, as we've been struggling with clutter in our own household.  Magazine subscriptions, memberships, arts events, etc are all on my idea list.  My mom really enjoyed the show and so I'm looking for something similar for Christmas to enjoy with her.  Fiddler on the Roof is a definite possibility!

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1.  I feel quite stressed out today.  I have too many balls in the air, and am feeling rather overwhelmed.  I am becoming a frantic list maker and it's still not helping much.  Once the weekend is over, things should settle down.

2. Took my mom to see Mirvish production of The Sound of Music on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre here in Toronto. It was her birthday gift.  A nice performance, though not earth-shaking, and a couple of the voices were disappointing (namely, Liesl and Franz).  Maria sounded too much like Julie Andrews for my liking, which is a bit wierd, but it was almost channelling.  She was selected for her role in a reality TV series called How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

3.  I'm planning a small family birthday party for my mom, my SIL, and my husband on Sunday.  They all have  birthdays in the last 10 days of November and I still have gifts to get and a meal to organize.  We'll be 10 adults plus three littles, some of whom are vegetarian.  I have no idea what to make.  I know where to get the cakes though.

4.  My niece is coming to visit this weekend.  She is originally from Paris but lives in Montreal now, working for a French multi-national dairy products firm.  We haven't seen her for a while, so it will be good to get together and find out how she's doing.

5.  Z just finished week 2 of three weeks out of town.  He got home late last night and will fly out again Monday or Tuesday, first to Dallas and then to Atlanta for the weekend.  My sister and her crew are coming next weekend to see our new niece (the object of my mother's visit THIS weekend.)  So our spare rooms are getting a workout!

6.  I've put the Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board
Media_httpwwwassocama_ixwio
 on my Christmas list.  We already have a Wii, but I"m wondering whether I'll actually enjoy this?  Anyone out there with experience?

7.  I am trying to do some "experience" gifts this Christmas, as we've been struggling with clutter in our own household.  Magazine subscriptions, memberships, arts events, etc are all on my idea list.  My mom really enjoyed the show and so I'm looking for something similar for Christmas to enjoy with her.  Fiddler on the Roof is a definite possibility!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rapt: Attention and the Focussed Life

I had to return Rapt: Attention and the Focussed Life to the library recently, and I finished it just under the (pay no fine) wire.  It's an excellent read, and I'm considering buying a copy to keep and mark up.  A few excerpts:
According to the under-appreciated mid-twentieth-century psychologist Nicholas Hobbs, the way to ensure this calm but heightened attention to the matter at hand is to choose activities that push you so close to the edge of your competence that they demand your absolute focus.
This would explain my gifted son's distractibility with his school work.  Most of it doesn't push him anywhere near the edge of his abilities.

Further on, Gallagher talks about leisure time, reminding us that "evolution has primed us to focus on the thrills of the savannah".  She explains our tendency to waste time thus:
If left to their own devices and genetic programming, and without a salient external stimulus to attract them, most people go into a mode of low-level information processing in which they worry about things or watch television.
And a final shout out to those of us who revel in our work lives:
If most of the time you're not particularly concerned about whether what you are doing is work or play, or even whether you're happy or not, you know you're living the focussed life. 
I'm putting this one on my Christmas list.

Rapt: Attention and the Focussed Life

I had to return Rapt: Attention and the Focussed Life
Media_httpwwwassocama_hckgd
 to the library recently, and I finished it just under the (pay no fine) wire.  It's an excellent read, and I'm considering buying a copy to keep and mark up.  A few excerpts:
According to the under-appreciated mid-twentieth-century psychologist Nicholas Hobbs, the way to ensure this calm but heightened attention to the matter at hand is to choose activities that push you so close to the edge of your competence that they demand your absolute focus.
This would explain my gifted son's distractibility with his school work.  Most of it doesn't push him anywhere near the edge of his abilities.

Further on, Gallagher talks about leisure time, reminding us that "evolution has primed us to focus on the thrills of the savannah".  She explains our tendency to waste time thus:

If left to their own devices and genetic programming, and without a salient external stimulus to attract them, most people go into a mode of low-level information processing in which they worry about things or watch television.
And a final shout out to those of us who revel in our work lives:
If most of the time you're not particularly concerned about whether what you are doing is work or play, or even whether you're happy or not, you know you're living the focussed life. 
I'm putting this one on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesdays - Parenting

Join the fun!

Come on in and join the fun at You know...that Blog.com. Tell Jenn I sent you.  We want to share the haiku-love!

This week's challenge is about Parents or Parenting.  I have a three month old niece and my mom just arrived for a week, so I'm on this!

visit from my mom
not really to see me but
her brand new namesake

Silly Haiku Wednesdays - Parenting

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Come on in and join the fun at You know...that Blog.com. Tell Jenn I sent you.  We want to share the haiku-love!

This week's challenge is about Parents or Parenting.  I have a three month old niece and my mom just arrived for a week, so I'm on this!

visit from my mom
not really to see me but
her brand new namesake

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday



Join the fun over at Roots and Rings, every Tuesday!

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A math teacher.  Isn't it every little girl's dream?

2. Name 3 of your irrational fears.

You know, I don't think I have any.  I don't really like okra.  But I'm a big girl and am allowed to not eat everything I'm served.  I'm not big on competitive sports, particularly one involving a racket or bat or club.  So if I ever had to impress someone in a business situation with my golf game, or a tennis match, I'd be pretty frightened.

3. If you had a $200 gift card to any store, what would you want it to be? (Nothing responsible allowed. Can’t be used for groceries or anything)

My first impulse was to say amazon.ca, but I am on a book-buying moratorium until I can clear some shelf space.  So let's say Sephora.  I have a lot of outdated makeup that is probably oozing with bacteria and I'd have no qualms about tossing it all for new stuff.  And I'd like a bottle of Miracle by Lancome.

4. What is your most (blog-friendly) embarrassing moment?

Waiting in a restaurant for a table in a then-fashionable drop-waisted dress.  A woman came up to me, rubbed my tummy and asked me when I was due.  I wasn't. Due.  I guess she should have been the embarrassed one, but I was mortified.

5. If you were only allowed to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

This is too evil to contemplate.  Can I choose a food group?  Fruit?  Cheese?

6. What was your favorite toy growing up?

Spirograph.  My favorite toy that I NEVER GOT, EVEN THOUGH I BEGGED SANTA was an EasyBake Oven.  Apparently, there are lots of grown women who have never forgiven Santa for this, and a lot of their parents who blithely said "You can just use the regular oven, anytime.  I can help you."  Yeah, right.

7. Do you have a “go to” outfit? What is it?

For dressy occasions:  Black velvet pencil skirt, some kind of dressy top.

For every day:  Black cords or jeans, v-neck long or 3/4 sleeve top.  Leather jacket.  Oh look.  That's what I have on today.

8. Who was the best teacher you ever had?

Mr. Cook in Grade 7 and part off Grade 8.  I was in an enriched class and he was terrific.  I can't exactly remember why, but when they switched him out in Grade 8 for another teacher, we all cried.  Okay, maybe just the girls.

9. If you could buy any car right now (something at least SORT OF within the realm of reality…so, you know, a Rolls Royce may not qualify), what would it be?

I like the Nissan Cube, but my family doesn't.  Could it be because they are men?  And this is a car targeted at women? But this is my fantasy, so that'd be it.

10. How do you reckon that Chelsea comes up with 10 of these questions every week? It was hard! What’s your theory on how she’s so creative? Are you going to help her?

Chelsea is clearly brilliant.  Anyone who would research toilet paper the way she did shouldn't be stymied by coming up with ten questions every week.  But yes, I may help out.

Quick and easy wreath

This is so cute.  I'm thinking of doing one in Advent colours.

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All you need is a wire coat hanger, some ornaments (think:  dollar store) and some hot glue.

Check out Just a Girl for full instructions!


Ten on Tuesday

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Join the fun over at Roots and Rings, every Tuesday!

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A math teacher.  Isn't it every little girl's dream?

2. Name 3 of your irrational fears.

You know, I don't think I have any.  I don't really like okra.  But I'm a big girl and am allowed to not eat everything I'm served.  I'm not big on competitive sports, particularly one involving a racket or bat or club.  So if I ever had to impress someone in a business situation with my golf game, or a tennis match, I'd be pretty frightened.

3. If you had a $200 gift card to any store, what would you want it to be? (Nothing responsible allowed. Can’t be used for groceries or anything)

My first impulse was to say amazon.ca, but I am on a book-buying moratorium until I can clear some shelf space.  So let's say Sephora.  I have a lot of outdated makeup that is probably oozing with bacteria and I'd have no qualms about tossing it all for new stuff.  And I'd like a bottle of Miracle by Lancome.

4. What is your most (blog-friendly) embarrassing moment?

Waiting in a restaurant for a table in a then-fashionable drop-waisted dress.  A woman came up to me, rubbed my tummy and asked me when I was due.  I wasn't. Due.  I guess she should have been the embarrassed one, but I was mortified.

5. If you were only allowed to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

This is too evil to contemplate.  Can I choose a food group?  Fruit?  Cheese?

6. What was your favorite toy growing up?

Spirograph.  My favorite toy that I NEVER GOT, EVEN THOUGH I BEGGED SANTA was an EasyBake Oven.  Apparently, there are lots of grown women who have never forgiven Santa for this, and a lot of their parents who blithely said "You can just use the regular oven, anytime.  I can help you."  Yeah, right.

7. Do you have a “go to” outfit? What is it?

For dressy occasions:  Black velvet pencil skirt, some kind of dressy top.

For every day:  Black cords or jeans, v-neck long or 3/4 sleeve top.  Leather jacket.  Oh look.  That's what I have on today.

8. Who was the best teacher you ever had?

Mr. Cook in Grade 7 and part off Grade 8.  I was in an enriched class and he was terrific.  I can't exactly remember why, but when they switched him out in Grade 8 for another teacher, we all cried.  Okay, maybe just the girls.

9. If you could buy any car right now (something at least SORT OF within the realm of reality…so, you know, a Rolls Royce may not qualify), what would it be?

I like the Nissan Cube, but my family doesn't.  Could it be because they are men?  And this is a car targeted at women? But this is my fantasy, so that'd be it.

10. How do you reckon that Chelsea comes up with 10 of these questions every week? It was hard! What’s your theory on how she’s so creative? Are you going to help her?

Chelsea is clearly brilliant.  Anyone who would research toilet paper the way she did shouldn't be stymied by coming up with ten questions every week.  But yes, I may help out.

Quick and easy wreath

This is so cute.  I'm thinking of doing one in Advent colours.

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All you need is a wire coat hanger, some ornaments (think:  dollar store) and some hot glue.

Check out Just a Girl for full instructions!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Poetry Party: Expanding the Heart in Gratitude

Christine Valters Paintner hosts an almost weekly poetry party at her blog, Abbey of the Arts.  This weeks assignment is about gratitude.  She is also giving away some books.

The rules for this weeks assignment are as follows:

1) write a haiku (or several) that captures the essence of a heart-expanding moment for you, something in the course of ordinary, everyday life
or
2) make a list of 5 simple, everday things for which you are grateful. 
You are, of course, welcome to write a longer poem as well about the ordinary things which make your heart sing and overflow.
My contribution is a haiku about something that I am grateful for:  moments in my day when I can find time to read.  In particular, Toronto has a great public transit system, so when I have to travel downtown, I usually take the subway.  My haiku:

the train doors open  
pull out my book, find a seat
a reader’s commute

Poetry Party: Expanding the Heart in Gratitude

Christine Valters Paintner hosts an almost weekly poetry party at her blog, Abbey of the Arts.  This weeks assignment is about gratitude.  She is also giving away some books.

The rules for this weeks assignment are as follows:

1) write a haiku (or several) that captures the essence of a heart-expanding moment for you, something in the course of ordinary, everyday life
or
2) make a list of 5 simple, everday things for which you are grateful. 
You are, of course, welcome to write a longer poem as well about the ordinary things which make your heart sing and overflow.
My contribution is a haiku about something that I am grateful for:  moments in my day when I can find time to read.  In particular, Toronto has a great public transit system, so when I have to travel downtown, I usually take the subway.  My haiku:

the train doors open  
pull out my book, find a seat
a reader’s commute

Simple Woman's Daybook - November 23, 2009





FOR TODAY
November 23, 2009...


Around the house...there lots happening this week!  New crown molding and paint in the dining room, insulation under the floor, plus hanging our chandelier.  New paint in the kitchen.  I spent a couple of hours on the weekend stripping a hideous border off the walls.  Just that step alone improved things immensely.


I am thinking...about what I have to get done before 10 a.m. this morning:  dog to board, bank, meet contractors, buy paint, get school books ready, tidy kitchen.

I am thankful for...all the work my husband and son put into organizing the second floor of our house and clearing the last of the leaves outside.

I am learning...that sometimes you just have to put your library hold list on "suspend" so that you can catch up!

From the kitchen...not much is happening!  The kitchen has been emptied in prep for a new paint job in the next couple of days.  Hoping it will look much better than the yellow paint and ugly floral border against grey floor tiles and countertop.

I am wearing...black cords, black v-neck shirt with purple and white screen printing.

I am creating...a warm and inviting dining room space for meals, study, and relaxation.

I am going...to take my mother to see The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Wednesday.  It's her birthday gift.

I am reading... Just starting The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood and finishing up Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winnifred Gallagher


I am hoping...that the renovations will only take three days as estimated, and that the new insulation under the floor will really improve the environment in the dining room.


I am hearing...my dog snoring beside me in his bed.  


One of my favorite things...brown paper packages tied up with string - can't wait to see Sound of Music this week!

A few plans for the rest of the week...   theology class today, pick up mom from train station tomorrow and bring her to our upside down house, Sound of Music on Wednesday, my niece visits from Montreal on the weekend, Michael's Nihongo Art award ceremony on Saturday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... This was taken outside my local (tiny) branch of the public library, stashed inside an small community centre.  I love it that the parents/caregivers can just leave their strollers outside while using the  facilities.  They even have an awning that can come down in inclement weather to protect them.




To see other daybooks, please visit our hostess!

Simple Woman's Daybook - November 23, 2009

Media_http1bpblogspot_cpvac




FOR TODAY
November 23, 2009...

Around the house...there lots happening this week!  New crown molding and paint in the dining room, insulation under the floor, plus hanging our chandelier.  New paint in the kitchen.  I spent a couple of hours on the weekend stripping a hideous border off the walls.  Just that step alone improved things immensely.


I am thinking...about what I have to get done before 10 a.m. this morning:  dog to board, bank, meet contractors, buy paint, get school books ready, tidy kitchen.

I am thankful for...all the work my husband and son put into organizing the second floor of our house and clearing the last of the leaves outside.

I am learning...that sometimes you just have to put your library hold list on "suspend" so that you can catch up!

From the kitchen...not much is happening!  The kitchen has been emptied in prep for a new paint job in the next couple of days.  Hoping it will look much better than the yellow paint and ugly floral border against grey floor tiles and countertop.

I am wearing...black cords, black v-neck shirt with purple and white screen printing.

I am creating...a warm and inviting dining room space for meals, study, and relaxation.

I am going...to take my mother to see The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Wednesday.  It's her birthday gift.

I am reading... Just starting The Year of the Flood
Media_httpwwwassocama_llhot
 by Margaret Atwood and finishing up Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
Media_httpwwwassocama_njcwg
 by Winnifred Gallagher



I am hoping...that the renovations will only take three days as estimated, and that the new insulation under the floor will really improve the environment in the dining room.


I am hearing...my dog snoring beside me in his bed.  


One of my favorite things...brown paper packages tied up with string - can't wait to see Sound of Music this week!

A few plans for the rest of the week...   theology class today, pick up mom from train station tomorrow and bring her to our upside down house, Sound of Music on Wednesday, my niece visits from Montreal on the weekend, Michael's Nihongo Art award ceremony on Saturday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... This was taken outside my local (tiny) branch of the public library, stashed inside an small community centre.  I love it that the parents/caregivers can just leave their strollers outside while using the  facilities.  They even have an awning that can come down in inclement weather to protect them.
Media_http2bpblogspot_gopyp



To see other daybooks, please visit our hostess!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conducting and leadership.

This morning our organist/choir director mentioned this fascinating Ted Talk, given by Iraeli-born Itay Talgam, on conducting as a metaphor for leadership.  Great lessons here for musicians and non, and some pretty good jokes as well!

Sunday Choral Report - Christ the King

It's hard to believe that we've hit the last Sunday in the liturgical year, and that Advent starts next week.  For Christ the King, we had a couple of rousing hymns:  To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King (CBW3-438) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (CBW3-437) as processional and recessional respectively, and were joined by a guest trumpeter.

During the offertory, we sang Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  (Here's a version from YouTube).  During Communion, we sang Teach Me, O Lord by Gordon Young.

Homilist and celebrant today was Fr. John Reddy from Saint Michaels College School and he was excellent, on topic, by the book, coherent, and kindly.

Conducting and leadership.

This morning our organist/choir director mentioned this fascinating Ted Talk, given by Iraeli-born Itay Talgam, on conducting as a metaphor for leadership.  Great lessons here for musicians and non, and some pretty good jokes as well!

Sunday Choral Report - Christ the King

It's hard to believe that we've hit the last Sunday in the liturgical year, and that Advent starts next week.  For Christ the King, we had a couple of rousing hymns:  To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King (CBW3-438) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (CBW3-437) as processional and recessional respectively, and were joined by a guest trumpeter.

During the offertory, we sang Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  (Here's a version from YouTube).  During Communion, we sang Teach Me, O Lord by Gordon Young.

Homilist and celebrant today was Fr. John Reddy from Saint Michaels College School and he was excellent, on topic, by the book, coherent, and kindly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another reason I want to go to Rome

This just makes me happy!



(H/T to The Anchoress)

Seven Quick Takes Friday


Catch some more Friday Quick Takes by dropping by our hostess!

1.  On Monday we finally get the dining room min-reno started....crown moulding, light fixture and paint.  Plus our kitchen will get painted at the same time.  Before then, I need to strip the border paper in the kitchen and empty out the dining room so work can begin.  I'm just happy it will happen before Christmas!

2.  November is birthday month in my family.  So next weekend my brother and I will host a party for my husband, sister-in-law and mother, who will be in town for a week.

3. It's been great spending time with my newly arrived nephews and niece these past couple of weeks.  It's been a long time since I've lived in the same city as one of my sibs and their family, and I'm really enjoying it.  With teen sons, I miss reading stories and answering all the "why" questions, and smelling little freshly bathed heads.

4.  I recently discovered a very interesting blog with "life hacks for home managers".  It's called Simple Mom and I've started using one of her downloads for planning my day called the Daily Docket.  Lots of good stuff there.   One of her recommendations is to use the "brain dump" process from David Allen's Getting Things Done.  This is crucial to my mental sanity, to get all those nagging to-dos out of your head and onto a piece of paper so that you don't spend mental energy trying to remember them.  Try it!  It's incredibly freeing.

5.  There's gonna be a lot of talk about the new mammography recommendations coming out of the US.  Here's a good piece that describes the math behind recommendations of these sorts. It also has a couple of links to other worthwhile articles.  This is one area where so-called common sense doesn't necessarily work.

6.  I listened to a really interesting podcast from CBC's Ideas yesterday called Neuron Therapy (mp3), an interview with Stuart Shanker, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, York University.  He talks about the concept of self-regulation (or self-control) and how difficulties with this process may underly all kinds of mental and physical disorders, in particular, autism, his area of research.  Fascinating listening, and something that I will definitely follow-up on, particularly as it pertains to learning and teenagers *cough*.

7. I had an appointment today with my excellent and hilarious dentist.  Today, our topic of conversation was tween girl pop culture.  He has two daughters so is very familiar with the vampire/Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers stuff that I have been lucky to avoid, having two boys.  He then started to regale his assistant and me with the words to some Hannah Montana song that apparently is on the radio all the time.  I suggested that they should really create pop songs with physics facts in them so that at least we could learn the words to something useful, and he commented that Thomas Dolby's 80s hit "She Blinded Me With Science" featured the physicist Magnus Pyke in the video and shouting in the background.  So, in honour of my newly cleaned teeth and physics for all, here it is!

Another reason I want to go to Rome

This just makes me happy!

(H/T to The Anchoress)

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Media_http2bpblogspot_jazhf

Catch some more Friday Quick Takes by dropping by our hostess!

1.  On Monday we finally get the dining room min-reno started....crown moulding, light fixture and paint.  Plus our kitchen will get painted at the same time.  Before then, I need to strip the border paper in the kitchen and empty out the dining room so work can begin.  I'm just happy it will happen before Christmas!

2.  November is birthday month in my family.  So next weekend my brother and I will host a party for my husband, sister-in-law and mother, who will be in town for a week.

3. It's been great spending time with my newly arrived nephews and niece these past couple of weeks.  It's been a long time since I've lived in the same city as one of my sibs and their family, and I'm really enjoying it.  With teen sons, I miss reading stories and answering all the "why" questions, and smelling little freshly bathed heads.

4.  I recently discovered a very interesting blog with "life hacks for home managers".  It's called Simple Mom and I've started using one of her downloads for planning my day called the Daily Docket.  Lots of good stuff there.   One of her recommendations is to use the "brain dump" process from David Allen's Getting Things Done

Media_httpwwwassocama_orpej
.  This is crucial to my mental sanity, to get all those nagging to-dos out of your head and onto a piece of paper so that you don't spend mental energy trying to remember them.  Try it!  It's incredibly freeing.

5.  There's gonna be a lot of talk about the new mammography recommendations coming out of the US.  Here's a good piece that describes the math behind recommendations of these sorts. It also has a couple of links to other worthwhile articles.  This is one area where so-called common sense doesn't necessarily work.

6.  I listened to a really interesting podcast from CBC's Ideas yesterday called Neuron Therapy (mp3), an interview with Stuart Shanker, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, York University.  He talks about the concept of self-regulation (or self-control) and how difficulties with this process may underly all kinds of mental and physical disorders, in particular, autism, his area of research.  Fascinating listening, and something that I will definitely follow-up on, particularly as it pertains to learning and teenagers *cough*.

7. I had an appointment today with my excellent and hilarious dentist.  Today, our topic of conversation was tween girl pop culture.  He has two daughters so is very familiar with the vampire/Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers stuff that I have been lucky to avoid, having two boys.  He then started to regale his assistant and me with the words to some Hannah Montana song that apparently is on the radio all the time.  I suggested that they should really create pop songs with physics facts in them so that at least we could learn the words to something useful, and he commented that Thomas Dolby's 80s hit "She Blinded Me With Science" featured the physicist Magnus Pyke in the video and shouting in the background.  So, in honour of my newly cleaned teeth and physics for all, here it is!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, father and son.



Today is the day that I gave birth to our older son on his father's birthday.  Eighteen years ago.

It's hard to believe that I have a son who can vote now, even if he has to wait another year to *ahem* legally drink alcohol outside the home.  He's away at Queen's, and we sent down a gift with his brother when he visited him last weekend.  He is, I believe, working hard at his studies and, I hope, playing hard too.  His father and I are very proud of the young man that he has grown to be and know that these next few years will shape him even further.

My husband?  What can I say?  It's been 26+ years of marriage that has flown by in an instant.  He's out of town this week, so we don't get to celebrate his birthday together today, but we'll do it right on the weekend.

We met when I was in my fourth year of undergraduate studies at Queen's.  I was a Math major and he was a graduate student in the same department.  We had Matrix Algebra class together, and I made a friend switch seats with me so that I could sit beside him.   He had arrived from France where he had done a Maitrise, after leaving Beirut and the civil war in 1977.  He had a charming accent and insisted that in his culture, you take others out on your birthday.  I can't recall where we went, perhaps the Grad club, but that was our first time socializing outside of class, even if it was in a group.  We attempted to get together over the Christmas break, but I don't think it worked out.  Our first real date was in February, and we were engaged the following October, and married in August 1983.  We were both PhD students by then, living the good life in Kingston.

Fast forward through years of study, work, trying to get pregnant, having two beautiful boys, moving house, going back to school, moving to Atlanta,  returning to Toronto, to the present, and I am hard-pressed to imagine being more blessed.

To these two men in my life, I send my love.  And I thank God for all he has blessed me with in this life.

Happy Birthday, father and son.

Media_http1bpblogspot_zchie

Today is the day that I gave birth to our older son on his father's birthday.  Eighteen years ago.

It's hard to believe that I have a son who can vote now, even if he has to wait another year to *ahem* legally drink alcohol outside the home.  He's away at Queen's, and we sent down a gift with his brother when he visited him last weekend.  He is, I believe, working hard at his studies and, I hope, playing hard too.  His father and I are very proud of the young man that he has grown to be and know that these next few years will shape him even further.

My husband?  What can I say?  It's been 26+ years of marriage that has flown by in an instant.  He's out of town this week, so we don't get to celebrate his birthday together today, but we'll do it right on the weekend.

We met when I was in my fourth year of undergraduate studies at Queen's.  I was a Math major and he was a graduate student in the same department.  We had Matrix Algebra class together, and I made a friend switch seats with me so that I could sit beside him.   He had arrived from France where he had done a Maitrise, after leaving Beirut and the civil war in 1977.  He had a charming accent and insisted that in his culture, you take others out on your birthday.  I can't recall where we went, perhaps the Grad club, but that was our first time socializing outside of class, even if it was in a group.  We attempted to get together over the Christmas break, but I don't think it worked out.  Our first real date was in February, and we were engaged the following October, and married in August 1983.  We were both PhD students by then, living the good life in Kingston.

Fast forward through years of study, work, trying to get pregnant, having two beautiful boys, moving house, going back to school, moving to Atlanta,  returning to Toronto, to the present, and I am hard-pressed to imagine being more blessed.

To these two men in my life, I send my love.  And I thank God for all he has blessed me with in this life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great gift idea from the kitchen!

These are so cute!  So perfect for single people in your life!

A single serving pie-in-a-jar.



The recipe uses those squat half-pint jars.  You line them with dough, fill 'em, top them with whatever topping you life (dough, crumbs) and freeze.

A tiny perfect gift.  Really.  The link above also has some cute gift tags to add to the jar.

Great gift idea from the kitchen!

These are so cute!  So perfect for single people in your life!

A single serving pie-in-a-jar.

Media_http2bpblogspot_njmin

The recipe uses those squat half-pint jars.  You line them with dough, fill 'em, top them with whatever topping you life (dough, crumbs) and freeze.

A tiny perfect gift.  Really.  The link above also has some cute gift tags to add to the jar.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flu vaccine insanity

Excellent commentary in today's National Post about the "the stunning amount of misinformation being bandied about" about the H1N1 vaccine.

Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill University Office for Science and Society, writes:
No rational person with a plumbing or electrical problem would seek help from a former Playboy centrefold, a comedian who specializes in facial contortions or a retired neurosurgeon. We would seek out a licensed plumber or an electrician. Yet when it comes to immunology, a field more complex than plumbing or wiring, many see no conundrum in being swayed by the rhetoric of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey or Dr. Russell Blaylock, none of whom are immunologists.
After debunking the vaccine-mercury link, he goes on to comment on the Guillain-Barré symdrome issue:
The anti-vaccine crowd commonly brings up the possible link between vaccines and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare but potentially dangerous neurological disease. That possible connection arose in 1976 when 48 million Americans were inoculated against the swine flu and 532 developed Guillain-Barré. That means roughly 10 cases per million vaccinated. No such relationship has been found with any vaccine since that time, suggesting that there was a problem with that specific vaccine, perhaps bacterial contamination. But here is the important statistic. The flu itself can cause Guillain-Barré — somewhere between 40 and 70 cases for every million people who get come down with influenza. In other words, the risk of getting Guillain-Barré from the flu is 40 times greater than the risk of getting it from the vaccine.
I'm a strong supporter of evidence-based decision-making in medicine.  The next shit-to-hit-the-fan will be about the new guidelines coming out of the US for mammography, an opinion that I have held for a number of years.  It's already starting in my Facebook news feed.  But it's hard to convince people in a sound bite that there are downsides to screening.  More to come.

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia


This is great...very creative high school students. A must see!

[H/T to Penni at martha, martha via Facebook.]

Ten on Tuesday



Another ten from our hostess Chelsea at Roots and Rings.

1. What are some of your family traditions?
We celebrate Saints days with dinner out for both our boys.  We have family dinners every night except for Friday. We eat lamb at Easter.  Everyone gets a Christmas stocking, and everyone buys at least one item for everyone else's stocking.  We have a fave sushi place three blocks from home that we eat at every couple of weeks.

2. Do you know how to change a flat tire?
Yes.  I've done it twice, on two different cars.  But I follow the directions on the jack.  I'm good with directions.

3. Do you subscribe to any magazines? What are your favorites?
When we moved two years ago, we gave up most of our subscriptions because we were overwhelmed with stuff.  My favorite magazine, to which I subscribed for over 20 years, is The New Yorker.  I also like Vanity Fair.  These days, I get two daily newspapers (local and national) plus a weekly Catholic paper. Most of my magazine type reading is done online via my RSS reader.

4. What are your top three favorite office supply items? (If you don’t share the love of office supplies with me or if you are male, you may skip this question.)
My label-maker, good pens (my husband spots them and brings them home), planners of different sizes.

5. Are you a good public speaker?
Yes, I think so.  In fact, I was complimented by a nun after my theology class today on my articulate speech in a tense discussion during class.  I used to be very nervous, and then I took a Presentation Skills course at work where they videotaped us.  I looked so confident, that I never felt nervous again.

6. How do you feel about acronyms?
I worked in telecom for 17 years, and it's all about acronyms.  So I'm comfortable with them. I love it that Rachel Ray refers to EVOO in her cooking show.

7. What’s the most creative things you’ve ever done? (Bloggers, feel free to include pictures!)
This is a hard one as I am a crafter, but I am very proud of the floor cushions I made out of old skateboarding t-shirts, incorporating the labels into the seams.  I also made a quilt for my older son out of old jeans.

8. I’d rather jam a pen in my eye than…
...watch the American Idol auditions.  I cannot bear to hear people sing off key.  I cannot bear to see people who have no clue that they don't have talent.

9. What company has the best advertising?
Apple.

10. When is your birthday?
July 9, 1960.   The big one approaches!

Flu vaccine insanity

Excellent commentary in today's National Post about the "the stunning amount of misinformation being bandied about" about the H1N1 vaccine.

Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill University Office for Science and Society, writes:

No rational person with a plumbing or electrical problem would seek help from a former Playboy centrefold, a comedian who specializes in facial contortions or a retired neurosurgeon. We would seek out a licensed plumber or an electrician. Yet when it comes to immunology, a field more complex than plumbing or wiring, many see no conundrum in being swayed by the rhetoric of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey or Dr. Russell Blaylock, none of whom are immunologists.
After debunking the vaccine-mercury link, he goes on to comment on the Guillain-Barré symdrome issue:
The anti-vaccine crowd commonly brings up the possible link between vaccines and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare but potentially dangerous neurological disease. That possible connection arose in 1976 when 48 million Americans were inoculated against the swine flu and 532 developed Guillain-Barré. That means roughly 10 cases per million vaccinated. No such relationship has been found with any vaccine since that time, suggesting that there was a problem with that specific vaccine, perhaps bacterial contamination. But here is the important statistic. The flu itself can cause Guillain-Barré — somewhere between 40 and 70 cases for every million people who get come down with influenza. In other words, the risk of getting Guillain-Barré from the flu is 40 times greater than the risk of getting it from the vaccine.
I'm a strong supporter of evidence-based decision-making in medicine.  The next shit-to-hit-the-fan will be about the new guidelines coming out of the US for mammography, an opinion that I have held for a number of years.  It's already starting in my Facebook news feed.  But it's hard to convince people in a sound bite that there are downsides to screening.  More to come.

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia


This is great...very creative high school students. A must see!

[H/T to Penni at martha, martha via Facebook.]

Ten on Tuesday

Media_httprootsandrin_sdahr

Another ten from our hostess Chelsea at Roots and Rings.

1. What are some of your family traditions?
We celebrate Saints days with dinner out for both our boys.  We have family dinners every night except for Friday. We eat lamb at Easter.  Everyone gets a Christmas stocking, and everyone buys at least one item for everyone else's stocking.  We have a fave sushi place three blocks from home that we eat at every couple of weeks.

2. Do you know how to change a flat tire?
Yes.  I've done it twice, on two different cars.  But I follow the directions on the jack.  I'm good with directions.

3. Do you subscribe to any magazines? What are your favorites?
When we moved two years ago, we gave up most of our subscriptions because we were overwhelmed with stuff.  My favorite magazine, to which I subscribed for over 20 years, is The New Yorker.  I also like Vanity Fair.  These days, I get two daily newspapers (local and national) plus a weekly Catholic paper. Most of my magazine type reading is done online via my RSS reader.

4. What are your top three favorite office supply items? (If you don’t share the love of office supplies with me or if you are male, you may skip this question.)
My label-maker, good pens (my husband spots them and brings them home), planners of different sizes.

5. Are you a good public speaker?
Yes, I think so.  In fact, I was complimented by a nun after my theology class today on my articulate speech in a tense discussion during class.  I used to be very nervous, and then I took a Presentation Skills course at work where they videotaped us.  I looked so confident, that I never felt nervous again.

6. How do you feel about acronyms?
I worked in telecom for 17 years, and it's all about acronyms.  So I'm comfortable with them. I love it that Rachel Ray refers to EVOO in her cooking show.

7. What’s the most creative things you’ve ever done? (Bloggers, feel free to include pictures!)
This is a hard one as I am a crafter, but I am very proud of the floor cushions I made out of old skateboarding t-shirts, incorporating the labels into the seams.  I also made a quilt for my older son out of old jeans.

8. I’d rather jam a pen in my eye than…
...watch the American Idol auditions.  I cannot bear to hear people sing off key.  I cannot bear to see people who have no clue that they don't have talent.

9. What company has the best advertising?
Apple.

10. When is your birthday?
July 9, 1960.   The big one approaches!