All Kidding Aside

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Snow Days

     When I was a kid, I took the bus to and from school. I hated taking the bus…however, the best thing about taking the bus were the snow days we’d get during the year.

     Not only did I get to spend my day off from school with my grandma, but she always had goodies at her house that my parents didn’t really have around…chips, cheezies, cookies…and she always made my favourites when I was around. She would make macaroni and cheese casserole and hamburgers just for me. I’d also get to watch my ‘soaps’…

     One time, I think it was 1977, the snow storm was so bad, that they let us out of school early. I remember the snow drifts in my grandparents driveway (which, when you’re a kid, seemed like it was a mile long) were so deep, that the bus driver waited to make sure that I actually made it inside. Then she wasn’t sure if I made it or not, and sent my cousin to make sure that I actually made it inside. Mrs. Dilt’s was the best.

     That night, I spent it at grandma’s. My mom, who was a school teacher, got snowed in at her school…along with all the students that didn’t walk to school. The air force base in Trenton brought them food from McDonald’s. I remember being jealous. Not of staying over but of the food.

     Of course, it’s still Christmas break, but if the kids were to go back to school on Monday, there wouldn’t be enough snow to create a snow day. Still with the weather changing all the time, (above zero one day, below zero another), well, there might not be any snow days this year. I’m ok with that. As long as there isn’t any freezing rain, then I’m happy.

     My good friend, William, loves the snow. He thinks it’s the most wonderfullest time of the year. Ok, I know wonderfullest isn’t a word, but for him, I’d use it. It’s the only time of year that it works for him. I think summer vacations would be a nicer blogpost….but, since William has to feed his cuss jar when he talks about snow, and I haven’t done a snow blog in a while, I thought I would send this off for William.

     So, if you don’t enjoy snow, maybe you’ll at least enjoy these pictures.

Someone forgot to close the front door. I wonder if William’s house looks like this inside?

I’m not sure if that’s an owl, Yoda or a gremlin…you decide.

Someone else, besides William, who likes the snow.

Truly, the only good thing about snow.

Not a good thing to be in.

Here would be William’s furniture set.

I hate it when that happens.

You know it’s bad out when…

The absolute worst thing about winter.

The second worst thing-being plowed in.

Um, honey, where’d we park?

Ok, maybe this is the worst thing about winter. Those ladies are probably laughing at this poor dude.

Very funny.

Hopefully your cellphone battery is well charged.

Where the hell is this? Um, hell?
Even the abominable snowman doesn’t look happy. Why? Because it’s freakin’ snowing!!!
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The Best Babysitter’s In The World

     No, it’s not the tv, although I have used that before when I’ve been on midnights and my daughter has a day off from school, and no one else can babysit her. We don’t do that very often, and she usually just let’s me sleep for a couple of hours before getting me up. She knows not to answer the phone or the door, and she knows that she can come and get me if she needs something.

     Still, although the tv isn’t the best babysitter in the world, it is helpful in this case. It keeps her occupied while I sleep.

     I’ve heard that some dogs make great babysitter’s. They protect the family house during the night, and during the day, they are protective of the people that look after them. I suppose some pets aren’t as babysitter-worthy as dogs, like say a gerbil.

     We have two cats, but they don’t count. They like to sleep all day, and they’re not at all vicious. I guess we should have invested in cat training school or something.

     But, here are some examples of the best babysitter’s in the world. I applaud these pets for being patient and they truly are God’s creatures. If there was any doubt before that all pets go to heaven, these surely have found a spot there.

It’s a good thing the dog likes the same show that she’s watching.

Twins!

“Those strained peas you had for lunch are quite tasty.”

Wow, what a day! We’re pooped.

You can sit on me as long as you tell me a story.

A rose between two thorns?

I must need babysitting too….my cat does this to me all the time!

Cat: Let’s have a staring contest….I bet I’ll win…

Layin’ in the sunshine, takin’ in some rays…

Bookends.

Hopefully the dog’s not a drooler.

Mmmm, I can still taste the blueberries on this pacifier.

Awww, come on…..read me a story.

Now, that’s friendship!

Monkey see, monkey do.

Praying is good.
Who needs house alarms and babysitters when we’ve got our pets looking after our kids?
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The Little Christmas Tree And, The Littlest Snowman

     Last year, I sent out this little blog. Some of you may not have seen it, but it’s about one of my favourite things….an old record that I used to have, but somehow lost. I wish I knew where it was.
     So, please enjoy this little blog from last year, with the youtube videos of both the Captain Kangaroo story and the Red Skelton story.

*****

     Growing up, we used to have this record with all sorts of Christmas favourites on it. Rosemary Clooney sang the C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S song (one of my personal favourites), Doris Day sang Suzy Snowflake and even Captain Kangaroo told a story about the littlest snowman with the red candy heart.

      I used to sing-along to all the songs on this old record over and over again. They are timeless favourites that anyone would love to sing along to.

      But, although I knew the words to every song on the record, there was a story that pulled at my heart strings way back then, and quite frankly, it still does.

      It was a story by Red Skelton called “The Little Christmas Tree”. I used to cry for the little tree because he didn’t know why he had been cut down. He has a conversation with Santa, and Santa helps the little tree to know that he does have a purpose.

      The record is long gone (I have no idea where it went, and no one in my family can find it), and although you can get this record in CD form, The Little Christmas Tree is no longer on it. My husband bought the CD for me a couple of years ago, but it just wasn’t the same without that classic on it.

      I guess others in the world loved this record, and this story, too, because now you can find it on YouTube.

     I hope none of you mind, but I’m going to share with you a glimpse into my childhood.

The Little Christmas Tree by Red Skelton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDVVO76wb2A

The Littlest Snowman by Captain Kangaroo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ugx7p5UPHYs

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Reading, Writing And Geometry?

     **Disclaimer** Just to warn you, I’m on another rant.

     The school boards in the province of Ontario are falling by the wayside. They’ve allowed a government to come in and tell them what they should be teaching our children.

     Last fall, I did a blog about how hard it is to try to teach a child how to read. There, their and they’re, laugh (when it should be laff)…you get the idea. It’s tough, but we’ve all been through it.

     Lately I’ve been thinking that as a parent, maybe I should go back to school. My husband, too. We’re both so dumb that we can’t figure out our 8 year olds math. I use the term “math” very loosely. This isn’t math. It’s geometry.

     Ok, so geometry is part of math. Maybe for a highschool kid…maybe even for a grade 7 or 8 kid, but not for an 8 year old. Of course, it’s been almost 40 years since I was 8 years old, but holy crap, if I’m lost, what about the kids?

     My child is learning about Venn diagrams. Do you know what a Venn diagram is? My hubby and I had no clue what that was. Our daughter explained it to us this way. Circle A is all the people who like vanilla icecream. Circle B is all the people who like chocolate. The area in C is all the people who like both.

     Great. We understand that. Looking at the diagram, yes, now we know we’ve seen one of those before. We just didn’t know what to call it.

     Looks unassuming until you get a question like putting a mixture of words into the Venn diagram, like jump, girl, juggle, can, blue, jumble, etc. There were a few other words, but I can’t remember what they were, but this was the gist of the question that she had to answer.

     Yeah, we don’t get it either. Neither did she.

     So, can my child add and subtract? Yes, she can do that math….because I’m teaching her.

     I’m more than a little pissed at the teaching system here. Apparently the children haven’t even attempted to learn how to cursive write yet. I guess that might be left up to us as well.

     Another thing they are learning is a basic form of geometry: angles, shapes and lines. Why do they have to know about this yet? Basic math is what they should be learning. They should be learning to add and subtract, do long divison and do simple multiplication. Do I have to teach that to her, too?

     Yes, learning angles and stuff like that are things they will need eventually in life….maybe. I know for a fact that all that angle stuff hasn’t really been of benefit to me, but then again, I was in grade 9 when I took geometry.

     But, the stuff they will need in life, the basics, they seem to be getting the bare minimum if any at all.

     I guess I better start running off some math exercise sheets from the internet…oh, not for her necessarily, but for us, the parents.

     But, I swear, if she comes home with a question that has an equation requiring the answer to be x=2, I might hurt someone if they’re standing too close to me because my head will explode.

  

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Extreme, And Sometimes, Extremely Ugly Christmas Trees

     I love Christmas. I love decorating the Christmas tree, the lights and the ornaments bringing the tree to life. We have one of those pre-lit Christmas trees….ok, I know that’s cheating, but it’s easy to put up and to decorate.

     When hubby and I were first together, we had a very small tree with no ornaments. We made our own out of dried apple and grapefruit slices and pine cones. It was a pretty tree when it was lit up.

     I’ve got a thing against real Christmas trees. We never had a real Christmas tree growing up, and we’ve only had a few real trees as a family. I just don’t see the point to cutting down a tree when there are some really nice ones that last forever. Yes, they smell nice and all, but they also have to be maintained, and you risk bringing “things” into the house that shouldn’t be there. Also, we have cats and cats like to climb trees…it’s much easier having a fake tree.

     Some people decorate their trees outside their homes as well. We don’t have any evergreens on our property, but some people decorate their shrubs, hedges and even their deciduous trees.

     However, I took a look around and found some Christmas trees, some unexpected and some fun, some rather ugly ones and some unusual ones. Let’s see if your tree is on my list:

     This tree makes the fun and unusual list…and unexpected. Those are lobster traps with pine garland and bows on them. A very fun fishing (or should I say, lobstering) community tree! I like this one. Someone was very creative when they came up with this one.

     This one is along the same lines as the above tree, but not as nice. Sure, it’s the right colour, but still not as nice. I give this one to the ugly pile.

     Here’s a tree made out of beer bottles (or some wine bottle perhaps?). I’ve seen these kind of trees before. Not my thing, but for a beer or liquor store, it would be quite the sight to see…and, it might even help business. However…

     …..this tree is made from 40,000 bottles. Impressive, yes….but extremely ugly.

     Speaking of ugly….this one is a crocheted Christmas tree. Ok, it looks more like a merry-go-round to me, but I didn’t make it. Um, I would never make that, and I like to crochet!

     For the person in your life that is the “naturalist”, this is a ginsing tree. Need a little energy in your life? Just break off a piece and eat it. Not my cup of tea, but it is kind of fun. Would I have this in my house? Maybe…but I’d have more decorations on it.

     Well, for the person who doesn’t know what to do with all their empty Mountain Dew cans, here’s an idea. However, I suppose if you don’t like Mountain Dew you could always substitute your favourite green beer cans for the pop cans. This would most definitely be a man’s tree.

Here are some more men’s trees. Beer kegs make a lovely tree outside of your fraternity.

Not sure what to do with your busted bicycle wheels? Here’s an idea.

For the computer geek/gamer in your life, how about a Pacman tree?

For the librarian, a book Christmas tree.

For the lover of music and singing, a singing tree, made up of many people…singing!

For the kid in you, a Lego tree. Who wouldn’t love a Lego tree?

For the movie buff, a Godzilla tree.

     If you had a big enough yard, you could have a fireworks tree! Of course, your neighbours might not like it too much, especially if their houses were to catch on fire.
     I’ve shown you a lot of different, fun and strange Christmas trees, but this one at the bottom takes the cake.

     Santa would think you were on crack if he came down the chimney and saw your tree like this. 
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Shhhh…It’s A Secret!

     I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know that when anyone in my family is pregnant, and that includes friends, someone let them all know what their baby was…a girl or a boy. Not so difficult, right? At least then you’d know whether to buy little pink things or little blue things.

     Actually, I tend to buy more neutral type colours like greens, yellows and purples, but that’s because often the baby showers are before the baby is born. Ultrasounds have been known to be wrong before. You just never know.

     But, regardless of what the baby is, wouldn’t you want to shout it from the rooftops that you had a brand new son to carry on your name or a brand new daughter that you could dress up in pretty little dresses? At least for a little while anyway…

     David Stocker and Kathy Witterick from Toronto a few months back aren’t forthcoming with the information of whether their baby (probably about 7 months or so now…at the time of the article, he was 4 months) named Storm is a boy or a girl. When people ask, they shrug, throw their arms out in an I-don’t-know fashion and continue on.

     What? I don’t get it and apparently, not too many others do either.

     “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs”, Stocker stated.

     So the baby is born and the proud parents let the grandparents know that the baby was happy, healthy and had all its fingers and toes. Great.

     When asked what the sex of the baby was, they replied, “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now–a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand-up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a progressive place?…)

     So how do you explain this sort of thing to your other family and friends who are interested in knowing what sex your baby is? I’d be embarrassed if it were me. So as a grandparent, they’re not allowed to change the baby’s diaper? They’re not allowed to babysit for fear that they might blurt out that the baby is a boy (girl)?

     Remember a few years back on Saturday Night Live, there was a character called, “Pat”, a genderless name with genderless clothes and a genderless hair. You never knew whether Pat was a boy or a girl. I could never figure it out, which was exactly what they were going for.

     The grandparents worried that the baby would be ridiculed. I fear it will happen eventually to everyone involved.

     The couple have two other children, Jazz, 5 and Kio, 2, both boys. As you can see by the photo, that little boy looks like a little girl. I guess the parents are ok with the fact that this little boy likes pink and to wear his hair in three braids, and likes to wear dresses.

     Oh yes, you read that right. Both Jazz and Kio can choose whatever clothes they like from either the boys section or the girls section. The couple believe that they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be. I say they’re setting those kids up for failure and a lifetime of bullying.

     The parents believe that the children can make meaningful decisions from a very early age. Sure, maybe about what they want for their lunches or who to play with, but why would you let a child decide what gender it is? Imagine the scaring mentally if the child decides later that it chose wrong?

     “We thought that if we delayed sharing the information, in this case hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messages by the time that Storm decides Storm would like to share.” Witterick

     So Jazz likes pink and wears dresses and his hair up in braids. Kio also wears his hair long and likes purple. As a result, both little boys are almost always assumed to be girls. The parents don’t want to “out” their kids, stating that it’s the boys choice whether they want to offer a correction.

     As for Christmas, that must be difficult. There are a few “genderless” toys out there, but really there aren’t that many. Yes, girls can play with Legos and fire trucks and yes, boys can have stuffed animals and action figures. But, genderless toys exclusively? Wow, that’ll be tough.

     So what? You either get a roomful of Barbie’s or a roomful of fire trucks with sirens. Should the child be allowed to play with either of those if they want? Absolutely! It is frowned upon that a boy might play with a Barbie, but I suppose GI Joe does need a girlfriend. Otherwise, Joe might find Woody pretty attractive.

    

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