Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our God is not dead! He's Alive! He's Alive!

Matt Maher used to go to my former church.  He occasionally still shows up.  They used to play this song at Easter.  Ironically enough, Maher is Canadian.  So he left Newfie to go to school at ASU and attended my church before moving to Nashville for his big break.  I left my church to move to Canada (okay Ontario not Newfoundland but hey, still ironic, doncha think?  Yes, I'm channeling another Canadian.).  It would be even more ironic if Hubby gets a job in Tennessee which does indeed have a Planetary Science program.

I wonder if he gives concerts in London or even Toronto...hum...


1) 1. What did you and your family wear to Mass on Easter Sunday?

I wore light blue sweater tights, white skirt, light blue shirt underneath a white cardie, with my white (which black music notes) snood.  My youngest child wore khakis with a red sweater vest (with trains on it) over a red shirt.  My oldest wore a plain long sleeve black polo with khakis.  My husband wore khakis with a button down shirt.  It's got some sort of pattern of light blue and khaki on a white background.

2) Easter Bunny: Thumbs up or down?  

Down.  It's not that I've got a thing against rabbits, but I try to steer away from a lot of the secular things that detract from Christ.  It's already a pain to try and live in the world with it destroying the beauty of life.  I don't need fluffy bunnies to keep stealing the spotlight of the Paschal Lamb.

3) Do you prefer to celebrate holidays at home or at someone else's house?

It depends.  We rarely see family members so by default it's usually on a holiday.  But there are times when I enjoy the peace of staying home and celebrating alone.  I would, however, go mad if I had to entertain all the various relatives.

4)  What's your favorite candy?

Not sure actually.  I'm not a big candy person.  I like sweets.  I like chocolate.  But I'd say I prefer desserts over candy.  Give me cake.  Give me ice cream.  Give me cookies or brownies.  Keep the weird tasting jelly beans and pure sugar that is a pixie stick or sweet tart.

5) Do you like video games?

No.  I like to watch them.  My husband plays games.  Video games, board games, role playing games.  I'm not a gamer at all.  I really don't get the interest in such hobbies.  If I had my wish it would be to curl up with a good book or sing my heart out.  

6) Do you speak another language?

Um.  Not really.  I can translate French.  I had to back in the day when I was working on a Master's in musicology.  It helps that here everything is in French, although it's everyday language stuff and I knew more music-related terms.  Four means "oven" in French.  Raisins means grapes.  Etc.  I also took a class in German. Spanish I picked up in Arizona.  And I know a smidge of Italian because I'm a musician and most music terms are in Italian.  Crescendo, ritardando, diminuendo, allegro, fortissimo, etc.  

Basically if you are musical at all, you know a little bit of the Romance and Germanic languages because as a Western music musician it's par for the course.

Link up!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Week in Pics

Palm Sunday

From Top to Bottom:  HB, random relative, Knee.  Palm Sunday Easter Egg Hunt.  Held in doors at a family member's house due to being a bit soggy outside.

Random Uncle Shooting Rolls.  

Long story about the above picture.  Seems that a month ago there was huge amount of food after Hubby's Grandfather's funeral.  The froze it and saved it for Palm Sunday (which is when one side celebrates Easter although both came together because we are the only family that doesn't live in MO).  They still had so many rolls that they decided target practice would be a good use.  Now you understand why Hubby and I get on so well.  We both come from red neck families.  :)

Holy Thursday

Lord's Table-from Catholic Icing

Good Friday

Jesus on the Cross (Okay each kid created one so there are two Jesuses? Jesi?) Again from Catholic Icing

Holy Saturday

Yes, that's supposedly a lamb made as a rice crispie treat with jelly bean eyes.  Keep in mind I was having to do some eye balling calculations since marshmallows come in 300g packages and the US recipe calls for 10 oz.  Even after the conversions I wasn't completely sure.  So it was rather sticky.  That or it could be that Canadian food is a little different than US food.  There's less caffeine in a Mountain Dew and the ketchup is a little different too.  That's my reasoning for not being super creative and I'm stubbornly sticking to it.  It still tastes just fine.

Pre- Easter Morning

Knee's basket- Books (bought used) The Lord's Prayer illustrated by Anne Wilson, Baby Angels by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, The Story of Jesus coloring book illustrated by Virgina Lucia Buik, Videos- Joseph: King of Dreams by Dreamworks, Veggie Tales: Duke and the Great Pie War by Big Idea, Chocolate Jesus Fish, Chocolate cross, and Pocket Saints for Boys by Magnetic Catholic that you buy at Spoonflower.  Knee has Pope John Paul II (canonized?), Sts. Maximilian Kolbe, and Michael the Archangel

HB's basket- Books also used The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe illustrated by Tudor Humphries, The Story of the First Easter retold by Bill Yenne, The Easter Story from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson, Movies- The Prince of Egypt by Dreamworks, Brother Francis presents the Rosary by Herald kids, Chocolate Jesus fish, Chocolate cross, and more Pocket Saints.  HB has Sts. Francis, Patrick, and George.  There's also a GK but I wanted a fair split.
I'm so excited about Easter.  More pics to come!

Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1) If you're reading this it's because I'm on the road, I don't think I'll be able to link up.

2) So today (Thursday) I took the kids to the park and had a potty training success.  HB notified me that he had to poo.  Actually he said he had already gone which led to a little confusion, but we made it home quick enough for him to go.  Now what it's going to be like on the road, I don't know.  I need to remember his potty ring or he will not be happy.

3) Please explain what this means exactly.  About Eich's resignation "Seriously, we assumed that he would reconsider his thoughts on the impact of the law (not his personal beliefs), issue an apology, and then he’d go on to be a great CEO."

What?  You want him to apologize over something he believes is not discriminatory because you disagree with him?  That's like asking me to apologize to Obama-supporters when I say I don't like Obama.  Well, at least his policies.  Um, not gonna happen.  Why apologize for my beliefs?  Why think Eich should apologize for his?  And how does something they say is personal come into play with running a business?  They made it public.  They made it about running a software company. 

So maybe they should be apologizing to him instead since it's really none of their business what his personal beliefs are let alone wanting him to apologize for having them.  What is this the Gestapo?

4) What do you think about the Duggards strict dating rules?  They call it courtship but it's dating.  Their two daughters are legal adults, but not allowed to hold hands, kiss, be alone, talk on the phone w/o monitoring more than an hour, or text without monitoring.  Legally they can own their own phone but their parents won't let them text without their parents watching every text.

Personally I think it's crazy.  I think you should raise your children with moral fiber and than let them be adults.  You can't really bubble wrap adults.  At some point they will encounter people who don't have the same moral standards either in the work force or through evangelization.  If you have no idea why people's beliefs differ or more importantly why you hold yours, than how do you deal with such encounters if you've never had to?  Or do they expect their daughters to never learn how to support themselves if their husband beats them or dies and instead spend their days at home raising babies?  I'm all for women to have choices, but here's the's called choices.  It's just as bad for people to criticize me for being SAHM but I chose to and I know how to take care of myself.  Can we say the same about their daughters?  I'm not sure they would know how to deal with the world at large.  And I'm not referring to the need for college.  I just mean dealing with people who don't share their quiverfull beliefs.

5) Remember this article.   Well I want to point out that in the US picture, they open the pizza boxes and bury the health food.  It makes Americans look like they eat junk.  Compare to the Canadian photo we're the processed food is toward the back and the healthy stuff is for front.  In the first photo, Canadian's have two frozen pizzas and if you look on the counter there are three boxes of mac n' cheese because Canadians love mac n'cheese.  I don't get it, but they do.  What's not included is the several cups of Tim Horton's coffee and the associated donuts.  You're also missing the poutin, which is french fries smoothered in gravy and cheese.  It's a Canadian dish.  It's making it out to look like the Canadian diet is super healthy and the US diet not.  The real truth is that most Americans and Canadians have similar diets and similar waist lines.  Both have elements of the healthy and unhealthy.  It varies from family to family and each area you live in.

6) A recent local article, said that Target isn't doing so well in Canada.  One of the main reasons is that 90% of Canadians live within an hour driving distance of the US.  It's quite common that Canadians cross the boarder to shop in the US.  Some of the more Target-Canada complaints are the higher prices and lack of selection.  The lack of selection I haven't seen.  Target in London (of which there is one) seems to have as much as back at home.  The prices, though are unavoidable.  It costs Target more to pay for their workers and maintain the building.  That's because everything in Canada costs more.  So I'd be surprised if Target-US wasn't cheaper.

7)  Our local food bank is looking to shut down in 3 years.  They say they want to provide different food programs like food coupons, soup kitchens etc.  As an American, I am totally puzzled.  Why not not both/and not either/or?  Maybe I just don't understand how programs work.  But yeah, there's no soup kitchen.  And I doubt that any of the local churches offer gift certificates for food to the poor.  It's really quite sad.

and bonus!

Stephen Colbert is set to take over Late Night from David Letterman.  I'm so excited!  If only I could get some more American programs over my rabbit ears.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Privacy, Rights, and Any Ol'Thing

It's tax season!  Hurrah!  Not just in the US but in Canada also although with 15 days difference.

And I say this loaded with sarcasm.  Because the tax systems couldn't be more than different.  In the US, the system is set up to tax US citizens (and residents).  In Canada, you are taxed based on residency.  In other words if you are a Canadian citizen living in the US for the past 12 years, you don't have to file anything with the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency).  They could care less.  Even if you hold property or earned something in Canada.  In the US, you are obligated as a citizen to file a tax return form, declaring all income from anywhere, even if you no longer live in the US.

This naturally puts one in a sort of weird quandary and causes people to scream "Double Taxation!"  This is not exactly true.  Canada, as far as I can surmise, will tax you regardless of whether you already paid taxes or not.  You're expected to deduce the amount you paid in taxes when filing, but the remainder will be taxed, again. 

Hold, on to you shorts though.  The US tax system is well-aware of this oddity.  You must "pay" taxes or rather declare the income regardless of origination, but you get deductions and whatnot for paying foreign taxes.  So you aren't taxed twice.

The thing that irritates duel-citizens (because apparently nobody explained what being a US citizen entails) is that you must file taxes with two countries for the rest of your life as a US citizen/foreign resident.  You can avoid this by simply renouncing your citizenship, which is something I think a person should do as an adult anyways because being a duel-citizen comes with a lot of headaches and nutty privileges.  For example, I knew a Colombian citizen and life-long resident who could not get a visa into the US because the US restricts such visas.  But because her father was a Spanish citizen, she was also one and was able to secure a US visa on her Spanish passport even though, again, she never resided in Spain ever.  The US has always made people renounce their citizenship upon becoming US citizens although it's never enforced.  And as a matter of course, if you are a dual citizen you are required to use your US passport when entering the US.   In other words you can't use you Canadian one.  Thems the rules of being a US citizen.

Turning it back to we've been warned about two things about Canadian taxes.  1) Expect agents to be sent to our door who want to look over our US tax return.  Why?  They want to squeeze ever last penny out.  No joke. 

One of the things Canadians relish is that they have pseudo-privacy.  I've heard that it's in the Charter, but I haven't actually read that.  This is not espoused to Canadian residents, particularly temporary ones.  In fact the Charter specifies that we are not free to move about the country.  The only rights we have are those guaranteed by the Geneva convention, namely that if we're arrested we have the right to speak to our representative (ie someone from the Embassy or Consulate) and have a lawyer.  That's it.  We can be deported without due process for any reason.  This is true of the US as well.  So if you recall my post about Canadian animosity, and his discussion about rights, the irony of his post was palpable.  I haven't any rights in Canada anymore than he would in the US.  I can't vote here.  I have no right to a job either (Canadians get first dibs).  I am second class nothing.  So no, Canada is not the land of milk and honey or rainbows or whatever many libs *cough* Michael Moore *cough* espouse.  It's a foreign entity and I have only a few limited basic rights. 

*sniffle* I miss my country.  I haven't left since moving to Canada and it will take will power to cross back into Canada after our trip to visit family.  My husband may have to order me some Valium, since it's probably the only thing you can buy cheaper in Canada than the US. 

2) Expect a ludicrous amount of mail from the CRA filled with smiley faces.

This one was most disturbing.  I am amazed and just how much mail you get from the government.  I was rattled when the government (not my doctor mind you) sent me mail saying I should make an appointment for a pap smear.  I wanted to burn that in effigy.  I miss HIPAA .   Seriously.  I have no qualms paying Caesar what is his, but I absolutely refuse to bow down and love Caesar for getting involved in my personal life.  And sending me brochures discussing health-care with happy women gracing the cover smells more like desiring me to worship Molech than anything else.  Subsidiarity I say!  Subsidiarity!  For all that socialized medicine stands to entail for the poor, I have no qualms with wanting the government's lecherous hands to firmly placed back in it's own pockets.  Obama-care is messed up, true.  But I've had enough of government swarthiness, and would rather go home and deal with that hot mess.

Granted, I know that the US is no pick-nick either.  I've had visions of burning down the building where they keep blood samples and genetic information on my children.  (While buying my own island somewhere away from the long-arm of the government.) It's equally as disturbing and feels like a total violation of privacy. 

The point is no matter where you stand, there is no such like as true privacy or true rights.  You have to fight for both.  And don't let anyone take them from you while trying to sell it to you with a smile.  It's why the Chinese have a hard time throwing off their "benevolent" government and why DREZ's comment was totally uncalled for.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I should be in bed but I love these darn things...

1) Where do you live? And why do you live there?

I live in Ontario.  I'm an American.  I was born in Mississippi and lived there into adulthood, but lived about 10 years in Arizona.  I live in Ontario because this is where my husband could find a job.  It's closer than the UK.

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?
I was watching the German movie, Vision, about St. Hildegard von Bingen.  I'm a speed reader.  I read faster than my husband who has a Phd.  I think I read about three books a week, but that's only because I try and pace myself.  If it's a dense book like LOTRs or something by a Saint or the Bible, it takes longer.  Currently I'm reading the series Chronicles of Kings by Lynn Austin.  I'm on book 4.  But I'll probably be done on Monday even though I picked it up today.  It's a fictional telling of stories from 2 Chron and 2 Kings. 

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)
cradle to grave, baby, yeah!

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)
No.  It would take a book to detail my entire journey.  There are key moments when my faith surged forward.  This Lent in particular has been a big step into prayer.

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Too many.  Alas.  I feel bad about it.  However, I don't own a purse in the true sense.  I might have one stashed somewhere from ages ago, but if I do, I obviously don't use it.

6. Are you a good dancer?
No.  I'm not coordinated.  Yes, I'm a musician who is uncoordinated and had trouble marching in formations.  I can't do those fancy dance/exercise things well either despite them being fun.  Hubby is the dancer.  He does the St. Louis shag.

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?
We have one car so it depends on who has it and why.  But if we're together, it's usually Hubby.

8. What's your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?
Gosh.  I don't think I have one because I like how unique they all are to celebrate.

9. Which is correct? Left or right? (reference to tp)
I actually heard over or under with regards to tp.  And I prefer over but as my children snag the tp loader things and destroy them I'm just happy to have tp in close proximity to the toilet and that it's on a roller at all.

10. Do you have any scars?
Of course.  Nothing huge.  My most recent was from an oven burn on my wrist.  Ovens and I don't get on so well.

11. What's the most famous thing you've ever done? 
Famous?  I actually prefer my anonymity.  God has a calling for me in my vocation as mother, but he hasn't chosen to disclose it just yet.  I hardly think it will lead to fame.  God likes me to do small things.  I'm a in-the- trench sorta servant. 

Link up!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's Official: 2 years later

2 years or so ago I embarked on what turned out to be an epic journey of.....potty training.  *cue eye rolling*

Now hold on there.  HB is not the first kid I've potty trained.  Although he is my first kid to potty train, he is not the first.  I can't tell you how many I've worked with and that's because for over a year I worked with two/three year olds.  It becomes a rather large number.  And they weren't that difficult because peer pressure and the "me too" and "everybody goes potty here" attitude goes a long way. 

But that didn't work for HB.  Outside of school for four hours a week for about a year, he did not encounter any peers potty training.  To make it worse, his brother is not potty trained.  So why does he need to use the pot if Knee doesn't have to (yet)?

And my child is a stubborn mule just like his dad.

Then we got a sorta thing with the potty going until...we moved, which up ends everything.

So in October I despaired to a counselor about among other things the potty training and caved.  I started giving him candy for peeing in the pot. 

Miraculously it worked.  We had accidents; still do; he's four.  But no pooing.  Nope.  We've even gone places with boy distractions (toys and whatnot) and he's come to find me so I could help get to a toilet to pee.  Joy!

But....He would come to me with soiled underwear after hiding out somewhere besides the bathroom and demand I change him.  I would let him give it a go and then finish up the job, which got to be frustrating because....

he hates wipes.  If I had to clean him up, it would result in kicking and wiggling.

Now you might say "Well just put him on the pot at his usual time" Except he's inherited my genes and there is no real usual time.  It's usually once a day but not always and certainly at no fixed point in time.  The last three poos for example were two afternoon but then tonight he had one before bed.  This may be owing to him having the flu and not feeling up to eating.  Don't worry his fever broke and he's sliding back into his usual conspiring boyish good humor.  

I finally lay down the law.  Clean yourself up with wipes or I'm hosing you off in the shower.

HB hates the shower.  He especially hates cold water.  Yes, I'm a cruel mother.

After two occurrences of cold shower usage (hey, he could have chosen the wipe route), he conceded that life would be much easier if he used the toilet.  Especially since the last time he did not use the toilet resulted in the toilet overflowing.  Kids and tp.

So after he used the toilet, he was much surprised to notice that I gave him two jelly beans afterwards.  And since this weekend and almost an entire week, he has pooed in the toilet.  I think it's official.

He's completed potty training. 

And in case you are wondering, he rarely wets himself at night because he is four.  That I've never had to deal with.  Knee may be more difficult in that regard, but I think I'll wait til he's closer to three.  Seriously Knee floods regular diapers at night.  I've had to buy those expensive night ones.

Now I'm worried about our 12 hours of driving over Palm Sunday.  I'm hoping he will pee on command (sometimes he does) or at least the side of the road.  I'm probably make him wear a trainer (that's underwear not shoes) just in case.

public domain foto.  I think you've seen enough of my kids in their undies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Annunciation "Well Huh?" Moment

So I was in a used bookstore looking for Easter books for certain boys' Easter baskets.  I came across an old coloring book titled the Story of Jesus.  I flipped through it and stuck it in the stack.  Later on I actually went through and looked at the pages...

It says "An angel came to Mary in a dream.  He told her she would have a baby."

Now no where in the New Testament does it say that an angel visited Mary in a dream.  Joseph, yes.  Mary was visited but it leaves details out as to how.  So I guess would could say it could have been in a dream, but I doubt it.

What are your thoughts?  Is this heretical thinking or possible speculation?

All I've been able to come up with is the book is old (the copyright is 1997).  It is illustrated by Virgina Lucia Buik who illustrated other Biblical coloring books.  The publishers are listed as Playmore Inc Publishers (Canada) and Waldman Publishing Corporation (US).  There's no indication that the publishers are Protestants publishing some odd heresies about the Annunciation.  In fact it says later on that Peter was the head of the church.  So I'm sort at a loss.

I thought about tearing out the page but on the opposite page it has Mary sitting up in bed saying that can't be because she and Joseph weren't married yet and then the Angel says not to fear because the child is from God.  So I have no idea what to make of that one odd page.

The illustrations are beautiful.  It's a well done coloring book.  Goes right through the Crucifixion, Ascension, and establishment of the early Church.