Archive for the ‘The Crazy World’ Category

The Pen is Truly Mightier than the Sword

http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion/letters/article/894326–double-standard-for-picking-up-after-pets

Double standard for picking up after pets

Dear Editor:  On Friday, I was greeted by a huge pile of dog feces on my front step.

I seems someone thought my dog had been loose and pooped on their lawn. This person, seemingly lacking in class or understanding of constructive adult problem-solving, apparently felt the only option was to childishly throw it at the home of a resident who may or may not have been responsible.

In this particular instance, my dog wasn’t the offending perpetrator, although I will stipulate that occasionally my puppy has been off the leash, as we have children who are still learning to keep doors and gates closed.

My issue isn’t with this person, it’s with the general culture of dislike for dogs and their owners who intentionally or accidentally leave dog poop behind, while allowing more acceptance of outdoor cats.

Why do I have to be diligent about picking up after my dog — which I do regularly — while cat owners seem to feel free to open their back doors and let the community serve as their litter box?

Why do dog owners obey the municipal bylaw about picking up after their dogs while many cat owners let their cats roam free, for what seems to be the express purpose of pooping in my yard?

Lola Saldia

Summer Vacation Essentials

So of course as a stay-at-home-mother of two children, once the final school bell rings at the end of June, my life kicks into high gear. No more leisurely lounging on the sofa eating bon-bons all day watching soap operas. No NOW I actually have to work!! Ha ha that was for all you working folk who think that we SAHM’s do just that all day.

But seriously…summer vacation is in fact, anything BUT a vacation. Vacation from school means that we have to entertain our children all day long; keep them busy but not over stimulated, playing outside but not for too long b/c of the humidex level, spend quality time with them while teaching them to find things to do independently…the task is arduous for even the most hands on mom.

That is why I have compiled a list of things that I found absolutely imperative to have/do during the summer “vacation”…feel free to adopt any or all of my list, or leave a comment sharing you most essential item/activity during July and August.

The “I’m Bored Jar” – fun stuff, chores, homework practice, stuff you hate to do, anything it takes to get them to entertain themselves and not drive you crazy with the words every mom hates to hear “I’m Boredddddddddddd!” (I have to give a shout out to my friend Kristina for this great idea!)

The Air Conditioning – I’m not sure how people live without it, and make no mistake I am unbelievably blessed to have 3 and I try to maintain a spirit of gratitude every day I don’t pass out b/c I am sitting comfortably in my cool home!

The Good Book (or two) – aaahhhh I remember this time last year when I read several novels while away on vacation with hunny….I HAVE to make time to read, even at home with the kidlets. (Also a great thing to do at the splash pad!)

The Sunblock – Because nothing ruins your summer like blistering skin

The Guilty Pleasure – “Big Brother”, “So You Think You Can Dance” and this year’s new addition of episodic silliness,”Bachelor Pad”

The Cottage – I don’t have one, but I’m sure it makes the summer vacation that much better

The Quiet Time – Daily-after-lunch-one-hour-individual-quiet-time, an absolute necessity in our house. It doesn’t have to be every day, but certainly any day we are home and not out and about. They don’t have to sleep, but they do have to be quietly occupying themselves for one hour.

The Sidewalk Chalk and Bubbles – It’s incredible how kids of all ages can find the fun in these to simple and inexpensive toys.

The Half-Price Cinema – This is your chance to cool off, see a newly released movie (usually at half the price) and guaranteed that the kids will stop fighting for at least 90 minutes!

The Lopez Tonight Show – George Lopez doesn’t take a haitus in the summer so the laughs keep coming all season long! (Yeah I know I mention this guy in most of my blog posts, but it REALLY REALLY is the funniest show on tv!)

The Barbeque – Get out of the kitchen and grill dinner as much as possible! I especially love this one, b/c my hubby insists on doing ALL the barbequing, so it’s a win-win!

The Splash Pad – The beauty of most splash pads is that they are free for everyone to use no matter where you live. I have a particular friend who finds it hilarious that we go to other suburbs to find a splash pad where we can while away a sunny afternoon. Well “C”, until they put in a splash pad in my neighbourhood, I think we will continue to make use of them wherever we can. In fact I’ll be at one tomorrow morning, relaxing in my lawn chair with a cup of ice coffee chatting with a friend while the children run around and stay cool!

Notes from the Edge of Reality TV

So last night was the finale of American Idol Season 9 and I was predictably disapppointed in reality television. In the history of American Idol, voters have correctly chosen the best performer only about 50% of the time. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and David Cook were deservingly crowned the American Idol. However, the other 4 winners (Ruben, Fantasia, Taylor, Kris) won because they were popular, not because they were the better choice.

However hopefully, as Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert have discovered, Crystal Bowersox will find that it’s easier to spread her career wings without being fettered with the Idol crown.

Since it has been way too long since I actually wrote on my blog, I thought I would share my favourite moments from the finale, for anyone who is interested….

1.William Hung and General Larry Platt singing “Pants on the Ground”…very funny and surprisingly musical.

2.Simon Cowell’s classy goodbye speech, following Paula Abdul’s typically awkward and ditsy-farewell-to-Simon-speech.

3.Excellent performance by the previous Idol Winners (sans David Cook)…Kelly, Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin and Kris….

4. Bret Micheals singing “Every Rose has it’s thorn”…I have never been a Poison fan, however I like the song and I enjoyed Micheals on this latest installment of the Celebrity Apprentice, which he won. Despite having heard horrible things about his character and behaviour on his Rock of Love reality show, I actually liked him on the Apprentice. Considering his recent brush with death, seeing him performing onstage with Casey was very uplifting.

5. Alanis Morisette, Chicago and The Bee Gees, I love these artists. It was nice to see some talent in the midst of some really strange artists, namely Alice Cooper, Hall & Oates and Janet Jackson.

6. Dane Cook’s salute to Simon Cowell, “You have the honesty of Abe Lincoln and the charm of the guy who shot him!”

7. Crystal Bowersox performing “Black Velevet”, I know it was technically the penultimate episode, rather than the final episode; but I’m including it in this list, b/c it was the performance part of the finale on Tuesday night, and I have waited a long time to hear someone on that show sing that song well.

8. Kris Allen performed a great song, although he was definitely NOT better than Adam Lambert last season, perhaps he has enough talent to keep my interest for a little while….time will tell.

9. Clips from the last 7 seasons of the show. It was fun to see Simon’s hair change and t-shirts get tighter, not to mention getting to see all the terrible contestants freak out at Simon again. And of course no video reel on AI would be complete without a chance to revisit some of the more absurd auditions.

10. And my favourite moment of the Season 9 Finale??? The Fox Network cutting Lee Dewyze’s winning performance of “Beautiful Day” in order to move on to CSI:New York because, let’s face it…he didn’t deserve to win and….frankly….nobody wants to hear him sing anyways….

From iPod to iPlay

I have to warn you this post will put me squarely in danger of being labelled an old fogey. Despite what you think I am not a hundred years old, please bear with me, I promise not to use the term “whipper-snapper” or “shenanigans” at all.

During this past March Break, I had 2 separate moments that caused me to consider the world around me, specifically the preteens I came across in two different places. I began to reflect on this incredible phenomenon of youngsters growing up too fast and whether or not this is something that I can control in my children (7&4) As I am a fairly observant person, I tend to pay attention to other people arround me when we are out and about. (my hubby calls in nosy)

I took the children to a local Maple Syrup farm with some of our friends and they spent the day learning all about the making of maple syrup, eating pancakes, petting baby lambs and playing in the giant playbarn. As I stood at the only exit to the barn trying to keep track of the multiple children we had brought with us, I was momentarily annoyed by a group of teenaged boys running and jumping throught the levels and obstacles of this big barn. I was worried that one of them would squish one of the little preschoolers toddling around, or worse, knock over my daughter. As I mentally berated them for being too big to play in here and wishing they would leave, I considered the value of at least approaching them and asking them to take it easy. When all of a sudden, it occured to me that these youngsters were just the sort of hooligans teens that I tend to see leaned up against the wall outside the local mall, up to no good, talking on their cell phones and listening to music with foul lyrics on the latest iPod offering. And yet, here they were running and jumping (using their imaginations!) in an innocent game of tag in a childrens play barn. Hm. Interesting.

The second event that sparked my interest was as I sat with my hubby in McDonalds the other day, when I saw a Father with two young girls pass our table with their meals. I would guess the young ladies to be roughly 11-13 years old. The were both furiously texting messages on their cellphones, it struck me that girls so young had cell phones (I know it’s common, but I still find it sad). Later on after our meal we sat and watched our little ones running up and down the restaurant playland and I was surprised shocked to see those same two young ladies come into the play area and take off their shoes in order to run up the inside of the play structure. I had to take a minute to be sure what I had seen; these professional texters dressed like Rihanna, were now careening down the slide in Ronald McDonald land! Huh. Very interesting.

Having had a few days to ponder these things, I have come to the conclusion that children these days are in fact growing up too fast, which is no earth shattering revelation. However, what I think people have failed to realize, is that children don’t necessarily WANT to grow up this fast. Deep down inside, I believe that our kids want to play and have fun; sometimes they have grown up desires that will hurt them in the long run, but it is our job as parents to help them make more appropriate choices. The media tells us that children have the right to make all their own decisions, that they have spending power and therefore must have the wisdom to know how to wield said power. Not only is this selfish of them for trying to sell their product but it is a lie. Similarly, and lottery winner who becomes an instant millionare does not necessarily have the financial wisdom to properly care for and spend their new-found fortune. Children and teenagers need guidance, not to be controlled, but guided into making choices that will be in their best interest. I believe that is why God has given them parents, we don’t give birth to children and them push them out of the nest to fend for themselves. We are supposed to teach them, guide them and even sometimes deny them something that will be less than beneficial to them. It’s how we show them that we love them.

Think about when your child was small, you didn’t let her eat the whole bag of halloween candy right? Why? Because it would have made her stomach hurt. You didn’t let your son ride his bike off the roof into the swimming pool even though he thought it would be fun right? Why? Because as his parent, you had the wisdom to know it was a bad plan even when he couldn’t see the possibility of injury. It’s our job to see those dangers and to protect our children from all manner of harm, even when they think they know what is best for them and what they are capable of handling.

I wonder sometimes why parents feel that they HAVE to give their children all these new “toys” that come out like cell phones, iPods, laptops etc. I know my opinion is unpopular (it often is) and sometimes comes across as judgemental, but the truth is parents all over are caving to the pressure from their kids, the television, movies, AT&T and MTV. My biggest concern isn’t even that parents are buying their children cell phones, my biggest problem is that they don’t see the tremendous disservice they are doing towards their offspring. Children don’t need any more help growing up too fast, it’ll happen whether we encourage it or not, but why accelerate that maturing if we don’t have to?

Does anyone besides me even remember when we were 11 and 12? We weren’t watching shows filled with sex and drugs, we weren’t texting our friends and spending 6-8 hours a day on the computer. We were having sleepovers with nailpolish, potato chips and freezing each others bras. We were flipping through Tigerbeat magazine, swooning over Kirk Cameron (uh oh, I’ve revealed my age) not counting the bracelets on our arms to see how many dates inappropriate sexual encounters we’d had. Is no one paying attention? Doesn’t anyone see that deep down these kids just want to be young and play like children? We are not helping them by letting them do whatever they want, they won’t thank us for it. Trust me.

I for one, will continue to monitor what my children watch on t.v and in the movie theatre, even if they claim that the entire school has seen the latest vampire movie. I will decide what time my children go to bed based on what I know to be a healthy amount of sleep for children their age, regardless of how many times my son tells me he doesn’t need to go to sleep before I do because he’s not tired. I will determine what music, video game and internet usage my children are exposed to despite the ever increasing number of children under 13 on facebook. I will continue to do innocent fun activities with my children like snowball fights and hide-and-seek, assuming that they will have fun and making sure that they have lots of non-electronic, child-friendly leisure activities to choose from.

Maybe these teeny-boppers are just waiting for someone to invite them to put down the cell phone and go play in the playland with them. Maybe as parents we should put down OUR cell phones and do the same.

Phrases I could do without

Since the dawn of texting and instant messaging, there has been a steady decline in the english language. Personally I find it difficult to text in short form, resulting in really long messages, requiring much scrolling down. However, I find the use of the following phrases to be a bigger crime against language. Here are some of my favourite phrases in popular use today.

What can I do YOU for? This is just bad grammar.

If it’s not one thing it’s another…ok thanks for the clarification. Just to be clear, if it’s not ONE thing, then it’s ANOTHER thing…oh ok.

I could care less…the goal in using this phrase is to prove that you don’t care. However on deeper examination, it becomes clear that if you could care LESS, then that means you care more now than you possibly could. So you actually do care. Maybe try a different phrase to articulate your lack of interest.

Talk AT you later…sorry but this phrase is just abrasive and rude. No one likes to hear this, I mean really, who likes to be talked AT??

From the Get-Go…where exactly is the get-go anyways?

Sorry but…this is usually followed by something that the speaker is actually not really sorry about. We throw the word “sorry” around so much, it barely has any meaning anymore.

Same difference…so is it the same? or different? These two words are by definition opposites so which is it?

Guesstimate…the words guess and estimate are close in meaning, so it’s a little redundant to combine them. On the other hand since the word guess implies that there was no proof, and estimate implies that the opinion was based on some evidence. I think someone decided to turn “guess” into ‘guesstimate’ in order to bolster their claim about something.

It’s always in the last place you look…of course it was in the LAST place I looked, once I find it, it’s just silly to keep checking in other places isn’t it?

Money is the root of all evil…This is probably the most often misquoted scripture. Paul’s first letter to Timothy actually reads, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10). Come on people, check your source.

I have half a mind to….half a mind? Really? I wonder how much you would accomplish if you set forth with your entire mind.

24/7…the Ricki Lake show is long gone, why are we still saying this?

No offense but…starting a comment with this does not immunize you from any guilt resulting from the words you are about to say. The fact that you have already determined that the listener may be offended means that perhaps you should rethink them entirely.

I’m not going to lie…why preface a comment with this. Shouldn’t telling the truth be standard?

I gave 110%…that’s just a mathematical impossibility…stop exaggerating.

Literally…this word means “actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy” …so people who use it to say things like “I ate until I literally exploded!” kind of irritate me.

Let’s git ‘er done…unless you’re Larry the Cable Guy, please don’t say this. Ever.

R&R in the City

I love visiting Downtown Toronto, I’m not saying I’d want to live there, but I love visiting for short amounts of time. This past weekend I went to stay over at the home of my BFF, a happy down-town city-dweller. As today was my mothers birthday and she is no longer with us to celebrate, I decided to take a break from the everyday for a much needed 24 hours of R&R with no R&R. (Reat & relaxation with no Responsibilities & Real life)

 Things to Do when you are in downtown Toronto.

1. Avoid the Perfume section at Eaton Centre Department store. Seriously, we were passing through the store and were subjected to a gauntlet of sales associates battling for the right to spritz us with their newest pungent juice! On the other hand the lower level store “Lush” is a great place to find hand made yummy soaps and fizzy bath balls.

2. Enjoy breakfast at a corner diner. There is something very city-slicker about eating out for breakfast, besides it’s interesting to see how city people get all decked out for a plate of pancakes and a cup of joe.

3. Bring your Ice Skates. I can’t believe how many people were walking down the street with their ice skates, apparently Nathan Phillips square is the place to be on a crisp sunny Saturday morning. I’ll have to remember mine next time.

4. Visit the a used bookstore. We stopped at a little second hand bookstore located right next to a big flashy store that sells new books. I just love spending time running my fingers over the eclectic collection of literature, comics, philosophy, romance and cookbooks. I couldn’t help remembering how much my mother loved books and thinking that she would appreciate that I spent her birthday looking through old books.

5. Walk diagonally through the Yonge/Dundas intersection. Seems a small thing, but this Times Square-esqe intersection has the option to cross anywhere within the square, right left, or diagonally. It feels slightly dangerous and more than a little liberating to cross this large intersection right through the middle. What can I say? I live in a small town.

6. Order In. I know you can probably order dinner straight to your door regardless of where you live. However with the lack of free parking (or ANY parking in some places) around restaurants; and the fact that traffic can suck every spare minute out of your day, it’s easier to just go online or phone in an order, sit back and await the magic of down town delivery.

7. Take your camera. There are so many beautiful buildings, churches and theatres downtown. Check out Massey Hall, the Canon theatre, Pantages, the Princess of Whales, Roy Thompson Hall etc…

8. People Watch. I have yet to find a more interesting selection of people to observe in all my travels. Toronto has a huge range of people; from the rich and famous celebrities who work in television and film, to those who struggle with the everyday tasks of finding a place to sleep and food to eat. Downtown Toronto has representatives from all walks of life; every race, every age, every demographic, every religion.

I imagine there about a million other things to do and see in the City, but I only had 24 hours this time. The most important part of my trip was spending it with a great friend! It’s so much fun to get away and walk in someone else’s shoes even for a little while. It’s only fair, she comes to our home regularly where she is subjected to the unglamourous suburban life of her housewife friend;  loud and rambunctious children, suck-up dog and endless dishes and laundry. But I guess we all make sacrifices in the name of friendship; so if that means I have to eat out, browse through books and take long “Lush-ious” baths in her soaker tub, I guess I’ll bite the bullet.

SuperMarket Society – Part II

Previously we began our journey through the grocery store to bear witness to the fact that the “Supermarket Society”  is in fact an accurate representation of all that is wrong in the world today. We met the Buggy Rebuffer, Disrespectful Fruit-Handler and the Thoughtless Thief so let’s continue and see who else we find…

As I wander through the seemingly endless aisles of cereal, produce, sauces and toiletries I am constantly surprised by the number of times people knock things to the floor and do not recover them, or shove things to the side with no thought to the person whose job it is to organize and display the products. I turn towards the peanut butter aisle and come face to face with our next offender, the Careless Grabber. You’ve surely met this person, this man or woman in a supermarket near you. Not sure? Well this is the woman that leaves a trail of boxes and packages in her wake, oblivious to the fact that you have to stop and pick up random products either to clear a path for your buggy, or simply because you are a civilized person.

Moving along we begin our exit from the store because, if you are anything like me, you’ve just about had it with the inconsiderate, selfish, oblivious people all over the store. Having only had the patience to pick up 4 or 5 items, I proceed to the express lane where they accept customers with no more than 10 items. Where I am faced with our next offender the Express Lane Lout. This is the man who not only has at least 6 or 7 extra items, flouting the 1-10 item rule, but he is holding up the entire “express” line while his 9 year old daughter searches the cookie aisle for the elusive item they forgot. The other 6 people in line with me are equally as irritated as I am, does this man have no respect for the principle of the Express Lane?

After making my purchases, maneuvering around all the people blocking the exit while chit-chatting and looking at the flyers, I feel like I am almost home free. I’ll be on my way home and away from all the selfish and rude people in the supermarket. But wait, I have encountered one more offender on the way out of the parking lot, the Inconsiderate Pedestrian. I have pulled my vehicle out of it’s spot and am proceeding towards the parking lot exit when I find myself creeping behind a woman slowly walking down the absolute middle of the roadway. Now I drive a large van that is not in anyway invisible, and the last time I checked it’s possible for vehicles and pedestrians to move side by side through the parking lot in peaceful harmony. Unfortunately, this woman is selfishly hogging the whole road as she wanders aimlessly looking for her own car, and I am forced to slowly crawl behind her waiting for her to notice my car and move to the side.

As I drum my fingers impatiently on the steering wheel, I contemplate the events of my Supermarket Adventure. Could there really be so many people self absorbed and unaware of the fact that we all live in this community together. Is it possible that people can be rehabilitated for life outside the Supermarket? I certainly hope so for everyones sake, but I think from now on I will send my hubby to pick up our groceries!

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