Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Baba Yaga, A Russian Witch!

Today, I have the fun opportunity of going in to my school dressed up as a witch to read, "Bony Legs" for Hallowe'en. The story is a Russian folktale based on the witch, Baba Yaga, who lives in the forest in a hut that stands on chicken feet. She has iron feet and eats little children! She is dressed in a long skirt with an apron and wears a babushka on her head. Of course, I have the whole outfit kept in the dress-up section of my attic, complete with green rubber hands with long gnarly fingers and black nails.

I have an absolute blast doing this! All the kids laugh at my witchy voice and jump out of their skin when Bony Legs yells, "Bah!" as she does unexpectedly a few times. They all have a good chuckle as I turn the pages deftly (and sometimes not so deftly!) with my new fingers! In the storyteller's apron, which my mom made me 26 years ago, are several deep pockets from which I pull out various objects that are featured in the story as they are mentioned. I have a mirror, a comb, a piece of bread, a dog and a cat.

The teachers get a big kick out of me doing this, probably as much as I do. The kids sit quietly and hang off every word. It is such a neat feeling to have them in the palm of my hands, green as they are!

I'll be back to read more stories!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Mother of Invention, already planning my reading of, "Strega Nona"!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Healing Touch

I am lucky to live in a house in which my husband practises as a Chiropractor, alongside Registered Massage Therapists and support staff. These people work closely together towards the common goal of making people better. They are warm, sincere, and truly giving of themselves to others. This piece is just one person's perspective of these wonderful people. I have heard countless complimentary things about them over the years.

In The House of Healing
A stable force is in my home,
Constant, reliable, dependable,
Peacefully permeating the porous walls,
A friendly feeling of well-being,
Positive energy,
A surging power of trust,
Genuine, gentle, caring spirits,
Selflessly offering skill-honed hands,
Passing on The Healing Touch.
And this feeling steadily and evenly emanates
From its source,
Reaching me, as I rest
On the other side of the wall,
Totally relaxed, eyes closed,
Having received their Gift.

Mother of Invention, looking forward to my next treatment.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Word Play!

When I had my own Gr. 3 class, I had one period a week where we just played with words. They could be the spelling list for the week, words we'd been struggling with in our journals, or any words we thought were interesting.

We traced them on our backs, in the air, glued them with yarn on paper, used huge markers on chart paper, etched them in plasticine, painted them, used chalk on black paper, mimed them, played password, made up rhythmic cheers as each letter was said....the list is endless and the kids loved it. They didn't realize that in playing with them, they were really studying, and it was a heck of a lot more fun than writing them out 5 times each!

I realized that in my daily life, I really do play with words quite a bit and even coin quite a few new words and phrases from my OWN "dictionary"! It's just fun and always gets a reaction from people.

For example, I tend to "Verbify" nouns, (as I just did now!) I named my cat, "Mooky" and she really suits this because she has her own cool walk and springs about in a prancing kind of motion. I called it "mookying" around and it so suits her!

If I'm going to get new colour and highlights in my hair, I say I'm "re-blonding" it or "de-skunking the skunk line"!
When a child asked me in music class if I was going to be guitaring to a song, I thought it was neat and I just started using it.

Another form of word play I do is re-naming things by association. My husband wears those dollar store glasses to read with and I swear he looks just like one of those badgers in, The Wind In The Willows, in his tree house, snug by the fire, sitting in the armchair, watch on a chain in his waistcoat and those half spectacles perched way down on his nose. Now, all his glasses will forever more be called, "The Badgers"! Our friends have all picked up and use this term too.

In fact many of my new words catch on and somehow just become part of the language of those around us. Talk about local vernacular! I think it's neat. Words of this kind are more lively, fun and colourful. They enrich and infuse our language with more connected personal meaning.

Do you play with words? What phrases or words have you invented? Have you started using some new word because someone created it and you just love it??!

Mother of Invention, just goofin' around, transforming and tailor-making some more words!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Would You Like To Donate to....?

I'd be a disaster in door to door sales. I could never even muster up what it took to sell Girl Guide Cookies and those sold themselves.

I belonged to a support group for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and I always joked that the meetings were poorly attended because most people were just too tired to go! I was supposed to sell 1 book of 10 raffle tickets and I'd end up buying them all myself because I hated asking people for donations for anything.

In this day of mega canvassing for all the various health-related charities, I figure people are burdened already with donations. We all have our causes that we support yearly. Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke are pretty much givens. The Kidney Foundation and Blind Institutes also receive many regular donations.

This year, I was asked to canvass for The Canadian Diabetes Association and I said yes, although now that I have received the package of materials, (still sealed!) I am a little reluctant. I have a hard time "selling myself". I guess I don't really believe in bothering people in their homes either.

I became diabetic at age 13 under fairly dramatic circumstances; it was not diagnosed until I went into a coma and didn't awake for 7 days. My kidneys shut down and my life was in peril. There was some kind of miraculous "coming back" after doctors phoned my parents to tell them they were losing me. I survived to see my 14th birthday a few days later. (And my 52nd much, much later!)

I was in the hospital for 3 months and at home for 3 months during which my Gr. 9 teachers came to my house weekly for tutoring. I recovered fully and life has gone on ever since. Of course, I have had several long-term complications such as eye problems and neuropathy, and 8 months ago had a mild heart attack with a stent put in one blocked artery. Life has resumed in my new reality and I am lucky to have that.

So why do I feel apologetic asking for donations to a personally worthwhile cause and one that has touched almost everyone? Heck, I should be the walking spokesperson for this condition.

I will open the envelope and sort out the materials today. Then, I will take a big breath as I ring the first doorbell, looking down at myself just to make sure I'm not wearing my Brownie uniform!

Wish me luck. Hope there are no scary dogs!

Mother of Invention, just a little apprehensive and kinda wishing I had a few boxes of those delicious cookies with me!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Following Your Path

This picture begs the question, "where does this path go?" Then, you personalize it with your own larger questions of life like, "what path am I to follow?" and, "am I on the right road?" and lastly, "how will I know I have chosen the right road?" Is that answered by the degree of our happiness? And if so, how do we measure that?

These are things I think we have all asked ourselves. They could be called, "Universal Reflections". I posed some of these questions and possible answers in a post called, "Looking to My Inukshuks". (June 9th) I still wonder about a lot of this.

What do we do when we are at a Crossroad? What can help us with our options and ultimate choices? Some people say to look for signs along the road. Many say they actually hear voices that help guide them. Are they Guardian Spirits? Is it God, Jesus or whomever they believe is their Creator? How do they know these signs are real and are to be followed? What if they quite determinedly do not follow the advice given? What if we do not see, hear, recognize or understand the signs? Do we wait for Epiphanies? If nothing appears, how long do we wait before we take some form of action on our own?

How do you answer any of these?

Mother of Invention, with just a few of my many perpetual ponderings!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Coloured Bubbles Are Here!

The following is the e-mail I received from the company who is the first to produce coloured bubbles! Richard left me the site link in the last post's comments and it is a very cool, clever site! I'm getting some for sure!

Be the first to see what everyone is talking about-Zubbles!!!

Thank you for your interest in Zubbles Colored Bubbles!Spin Master Ltd., one of the fastest growing toy companies in the world have entered into a global license agreement with C2C Technologies, the emerging leader in temporary color technology, and the recent winner of the Popular Science "Best of What's New 2005" Grand Award for General Innovation for its development of colored bubbles.

Spin Master Ltd., based in Toronto, (Ontario, Canada!) will have the exclusive international license rights to market and sell the world’s first colored bubbles based on C2C Technologies groundbreaking temporary color technology platform.Zubbles Colored Bubbles will launch in 2007.

We will confirm the retail availability of Zubbles closer to the launch date.If you are interested in distributing Zubbles, please send us an email with ‘Zubbles Distribution Inquiry’ as the subject header.

We will contact you closer to the launch date with more details regarding this revolutionary product.Once again thank you for your interest!

-The Zubbles Colored Bubbles Team

Mother of Invention, adding them to my wish list!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Worth Pondering About Human Nature?

I get a lot of dumb junky e-mail things but the odd time I can relate to some of the content. What follows are some thoughts that just relate to human nature and I'm wondering if you too, have done any of these or have wondered the same thing? We could all probably add some so please do if you think of any!

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries might be getting weak? This is so true! I do this. Maybe I don't think I've pressed hard enough. Same with the camera batteries. Even though it says empty, somehow I think it might allow just 1 more quick pic!

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check
when you say the paint is wet? You could see how often people do this if you set up a Candid camera!

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle it comes in? I actually never wondered that until now. Guess I just know there's some substance in it that prevents this.

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white? Never wondered this but I can see how someone did, and it would be neat if the bubbles were coloured! Someone who read this is probably trying to figure out a way to produce and market it!

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance? I pledge guilty! Until I got Centra-Vac, I did this quite a bit!

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try? I have dexterity problems with my hands so try several times to get these open at the produce section of the grocery store! I even asked someone for help once!

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures? When I'm lying face up on the chiropractic table, I have wondered this. We have live ones too! My cats sit and watch the ladybugs and flies move around for hours! My husband has to vacuum them out often.

I have this one to add: Why is it that we actually watch a TV screen when it's only the satellite radio? Are we so conditioned to a boob-tube that we can't believe there would be no picture? My husband walks by the room and actually stops to peer in at it! Mind you, we just got the satellite a year ago and haven't used the radio much so this is quite foreign to us!

Mother of Invention, wondering if you can relate to any of these or add to them.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Take a Chance On a Chant!

When I taught a Gr. 2 class, we had a study unit on Beavers and of course, we did the usual little booklets with information and pictures the kids could colour. Children are like sponges and always love learning new things so I thought I'd try a new creative approach to help them to remember information. I wrote what we call a "choral chant". The musicality of language with its rhythm and rhyme really made it easy for them to recite individually and in a group. They learned it as memory work by themselves, one verse at a time. In teaching, this is called "chunking" information into smaller bits. Everyone was able to achieve this task and received a beaver sticker after each verse was recited at my desk. Their eagerness and success knocked me off my chair!
I told them that I thought we were so good that we should show this off by going on tour. We went through all the rooms from Gr. 1 - 8. The older grades and their teachers were very impressed that no one needed the word sheets and knew it "off by heart" as they say. The kids felt so good, you could see them puff up with pride as they left each class. They were absolutely busting with excitement to get to the next!
Although it's not quite the same without the kids, here it is!
Beaver Chant Poem

Chewing, gnawing on a tree,
Dragging it to where you’ll be,
Building a home for your family.
Swim, swim, dive, dive,
Working hard to keep alive.

Beaver, beaver diving deep
Swimming to the lodge for sleep,
Food for all is there to keep,
Crunch, crunch, munch, munch,
Strip the bark for your lunch!

Wolf, wolverine, lynx – beware!
Crouching low, at you they stare,
Licking lips, so go with care!
Work, work, slip, slap
Snap! You’re in the trapper’s trap!

Working hard as beavers should,
You quickly go and get some wood
To fix your home – it’s looking good!
Busy, busy, repair fix,
To the lodge bring those sticks
Mother of Invention, still seeing the looks on those kids' faces and wondering if any of them still know the chant!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset!

The sunrise on the top was taken in July through the window of our summer bedroom at about 6:00 a.m. when the actual sunrise was 5:30 a.m. Those days of sun streaming onto the bed are long gone. It is so much lower now already that we have to go looking for it at the front of our house and not until 7:15 a.m.!

On the bottom is a sunset that was taken at the cottage in July at 9:30 p.m. How lovely those long days of summer were! It is starting to get dark now at about 6:45 p.m. and in a few weeks when we set the clocks back, it will be at 5:45 p.m.

I will miss my daily dose of Vitamin D as we head into the dark season. It no doubt will affect people's mood and outlook on life. Many people will become a little down come November, which is the worst month of the year for depression. We need a little "fake" sunshine, AKA spirit lifters, to bolster each other up. More fun social and physical activities, lunches and outings with friends, interesting classes to take, books to read, movies to see and just about anything else to keep us from dipping into the doldrums. What do you do to keep on an even keel with fewer hours of sunlight?

Here's hoping everyone braces themselves and banks some rays to make it through the not-so-distant winter unscathed!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Less Pain, More Gain!

I'm slowly getting adjusted to my exercise program for my heart health! I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t hurt quite so much after the aquafitness classes. I am going twice a week plus once or twice for free swim. This is when I can really try to get my heart rate up in my prescribed target zone for 20 minutes with more intense aerobic activity in the water. The higher intensity I can do on my own also lowers my blood sugar and burns calories more than the resistance type exercises in the group classes.

I’m still getting massage once a week too, and man, that’s a dream at the end of the week! I take a hot tub bath to start every morning and it helps get me moving with less pain.

Yesterday, I did a 13 km bike ride (mountain bike) in the nice weather while my husband roller-skied just behind me. (He almost kept up!) Biking increases the heart rate quite easily and quickly, but it is so much more enjoyable on an outdoor trail! That will probably be one of the last outdoor rides this fall because we are supposed to get snow flurries on Thursday! UGH!

I am so glad I’m not teaching school this year as I don’t think I’d have the energy to do the fitness activities I need to do, and I’d be very stressed out about everything. The cut in pay will all work out in the wash somehow. We’ll just have to do without some things and really watch our spending.

As the woman in the L’Oreal ads says, “I’m worth it!!”

Mother of Invention, packing my swimming bag for tomorrow's 8:15 a.m. class!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pics To Go With Poem Below!

Indian Summer

Indian Summer is technically a fabulous warm sunny day in fall after the first frost. We've just had 3 days of Indian Summer in a row! They were a gift that reminded me of my favourite fall poem! We had to memorize it in Grade 4 and I still can recite it word for word! (Just don't ask me anything you told me yesterday!!) I love the imagery! I have taught this poem to Grade 3's and their illustrations are amazing.
William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)

Indian Summer

Along the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans
With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.

Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river's mouth,
Throughout the long, still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.
Mother of Invention, still lovin' it!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Easiest Turkey Dressing (Stuffing)

Making dressing (or stuffing) for a Thanksgiving turkey doesn't have to be a big production.. Today, I cooked 2 crockpots full of dressing for 14 people and we have about 1/2 crockpot left over for us. It's quick, easy, and you don't have to try and dig it out of the turkey! It is very moist and tastes great. And .....there is always enough! If you're dead set on stuffing the bird, it's a good way to make extra! A great idea for bringing to a dinner too.

I'm not a great cook by any means and I don't have many recipes to pass on to others, but this one's a winner. Try it for Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Crockpot Dressing

1 loaf of dressing bread or regular
½ cup margarine
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 beaten egg
1 ¼ cup chicken broth (use Oxo or Knorr powder and water)
Sauté onion and celery in margarine
Mix with egg
Season the bread the way you like
Pour the mixture over dry torn bread in crockpot (packed lightly) Mix
Put on high for 1 hour, then low for 4 hours.

Mother of Invention, looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Canadian Thanksgiving!

This weekend is our Thanksgiving! To me, it is the perfect time of year to celebrate this holiday.

We have just had a bountiful harvest so thoughts of thankfulness for our horn of plenty is at the forefront of our minds. Farmers have recently finished the bulk of their hard work and need the break. The children have been in school six weeks and can use a short pause before they gear up again for the next long haul. There are no thoughts of Christmas to detract from the focus that this celebration deserves. Finally, the leaves are at their peak of colour change so it is absolutely and undeniably the most gorgeous season to appreciate all that we have.

For me and most others I know, it means a gathering of family for a traditional turkey dinner on Sunday or Monday, complete with dressing, cranberry sauce, whipped potatoes, gravy, whipped squash, cabbage salad, buns, and pumpkin and apple pies. I am having 14 people here on Sunday and the weather is supposed to be totally sunny and fairly warm (22 degrees Celsius). Just right!

My family will enjoy the drive up from the city to view the fabulous leaves. Upon their arrival, they will wander down to the river in our back yard to see if the salmon are still running up to spawn. They will comment on how beautiful our flowers and fall decorations are and take pictures.

After the busy summers and the beginning of hectic fall routines, Thanksgiving is just what we need now to connect with special people and reflect upon all the reasons we have to be thankful. And believe me, we have many!

Mother of Invention, salivating already in anticipation of that succulent turkey with all the trimmings!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pics To Go With "A Vagabond Song" Poem Below!

A Vagabond Song

One of my favourite autumn poems I learned as memory work in Grade 5. (They were big on memory work in the 60's!) I love the quick flowing musical rhythm and the interesting rhyme scheme! The varied length of the lines is unique. You can't help but join in the author's invigorated mood and feel your heart beat rapidly with the excitement and enthusiasm for fall!
A Vagabond Song
Bliss Carman1861-1929 (Canadian)
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood --
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
Mother of Invention, just wanting to put these words to a tune!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Story To These Below

Ever Done The Flip Side of Breakfast?

Come on, fess up! I refuse to believe that I’m the only one who does this! Please tell me that, at least you’ve tried it. Ever since I had even a few baby teeth and could chew, I have maintained that eating toast upside down is the only way to go.

This, of course, is based on actual scientific data about which I knew nothing when I first developed my theory at age five. I choose to think of it as highly intelligent that I gathered all this anecdotal-experiential evidence to uphold my theory that eating one’s toast upside down was indeed the best way to really taste it. (My sisters and parents would vehemently disagree!) But remember that science can rationalize this most unusual behaviour.

What kid doesn’t love toast piled high with peanut butter and jam slopped on right to the ceiling? And what about the liquid honey from that neat bear dispenser? Old Colony Maple Syrup was the best! Don’t forget that lemon butter you could pour! I had all of it several times a day. And, having the sweet tooth that I had, I soon discovered that when I turned it over and ate it upside down, I’d get that sensational sugar hit directly and immediately upon contact with my tongue. Wow! What a hit it was! Everyone thought I was some crazy kid, telling me to stop. ("Mom! She’s doin’ that weird thing with the toast again!") But I held on tightly to my conviction.

Now we all had very long hair done in braids back then and some of us still have those beautiful locks in an old Eaton’s bag at my mom’s. Unfortunately, for little girls who ate toast upside down, this was not even a remote possibility. Seemingly, with every piece of toast I ate, there were globs of sticky gunk that dripped down, adhering to every part of my hair that was in its trajectory! And now for the "flip side" of all of this!

Horrified and embarrassed, my mom took me to a barber; he set me on the booster seat, and hacked off those braids in one fell swoop with what I imagined to be a rusty old ax! My turn to be horrified! And at a place where BOYS in my class got their brush cuts!

But hold on! It still makes sense to me. Those diagrams of where all the different taste glands of the tongue are situated explain it perfectly. At the front of the tongue are the taste buds that act as receptors for sweet tastes, and match up exactly with where all that sugar-glue makes contact WHEN we do the flip side of toast! There you go my sweet sisters! What a remarkable theorist for a five-year-old eh?!!

I implore you to try it just once and you’ll never eat it the "correct" way ever again!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put a piece of my favourite bread in the toaster, right after I put my hair up!

Mother of Invention, hair in a ponytail, anticipating the sweet sensation of my childhood!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine - A Wee Bit Late!

My Gr. 1 photo sports a beautiful little Pixie cut amazingly done by a barber without the aid of proper scissors!! The cowlicks have it going madly off in all directions! The week before this picture was taken, I had my long braids hacked off because there was so much gum, candy and honey stuck to them! That is because I loved eating my toast on the flip side! (That's another post altogether!)

My penchant for jewels is evident even then! I still have the glass heart my dad gave to his three daughters but, alas, I have lost the Canadian Red Cross pin they gave to every school kid in Canada in 1958 ! It had a gold background that I thought was real!

Mother of Invention, wishing I'd kept that pin!