Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok, so I am sure that many blogs over the next day or two will mention Thanksgiving and what people are thankful for, but I can't let this holiday pass by without writing something about it. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays. I love what it stands for: gathering together with family and friends to celebrate the end of the growing season and the harvest. Growing up in a predominately agricultural area has helped me to appreciate more what goes into growing and harvesting our food. To me, one of the best sights in the world is to see farm equipment out in the field in late September, late into the night. Usually, you can only see the lights of the tractors, as they move up and down the rows, but you know what the lights mean: someone is working hard.

To often in today's world, we tend to be so negative and look at all the things that are going wrong in our lives. I found this quote that puts things in perspective for me:

H. W. Westermayer (Whoever that is!) said: The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts… nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.

I am not going to list what I thankful for. My life is so blessed that I wouldn't have the time to list everything. But I will say that I am thankful for Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For Alicia

Today I got an email from my dear friend Alicia. She wrote "I just wanted to make a request for your know that you started your blog to entertain me, so I am letting you know that you need to write a new post AT LEAST once a day. That way, when I check it each day there will be something new for me to read. So, get on that!"

So at Alicia's request, here is my post for the day (I hope it entertains her enough):

I just ate a grilled cheese sandwich. It was yummy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Squishy, squishy

Sitting in church today, my friend's two year old son puts his hand on my upper arm, starts squeezing and says "Squishy! Squishy!" Good thing his hand wasn't on my stomach. That would have been a severe knock to my self-esteem!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why the man should always drive

Last Christmas Husband bought me a book entitled 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die. My goal is to visit as many places as possible. Living in New England for 5 years made it possible for me to see a lot of places listed in the book. In fact, there are only two places in the book that I definitely want to go to before we leave the Eastern United States: The Baseball Hall of Fame and the Corning Museum of Glass. Because the Hall of Fame is on the way to Boston, we have decided to hit it up on one of our trips down there. The Glass Museum is a bit out of the way, but I am determined to check it off. We planned to drive there a few weeks ago, however our corner of Northern New York was hit with a snow storm, so we stayed home. Then last week, we planned to go again, but this time, the area the Museum is in was hit with a snow storm,so we stayed home once again. Friday, we were determined to go. We got up early, checked the weather and discovered that we would have to drive through not one, but two, bands of severe snow. I was disappointed, but undeterred: "We'll go on Saturday," I said. Saturday morning dawned sunny, beautiful and bitterly cold. But no snow! A quick check of the weather showed some small pockets of light snow along our route, but nothing to be concerned about. Nevertheless, we packed the car with sleeping bags, a shovel, and winter boots just in case the satellite map was wrong. I was extremely excited. After weeks of waiting and planning and cancelling, we were finally going to the Glass Museum! Just as Husband released the parking brake and put the car in gear, we heard this popping sound. Not too concerned we started out of the driveway, only to discover that our brakes didn't work! Husband had to press the pedal all the way to the floor to get them to engage. Me, being the brilliant one that I am, said "Maybe they are really cold." My dear husband gave me a look that only a husband can give: Wives, you know the look, the one that says "Oh you little dear. Thank you for trying to help, but you definitely know nothing about this, so just sit there and look pretty." We drove a couple of blocks before realizing that the brakes were not working at all. In fact, when Husband pressed on the the brakes, they would make a whooshing sound. A phone call to AAA, a 30 minute wait and one tow truck ride later, we were at the mechanics. Thanks to the generosity of great friends, we got a ride back to our apartment and waited for the call from the mechanic. Diagnosis? The brake power booster is shot. Unfortunately, because it is Saturday, they aren't able to get the part until Monday. So, since we are for the time being, a one car family,we are now a no car family at least until Monday. Not a real big deal. Just a minor inconvenience. We are grateful that we have a car and that it is a quick and easy repair.

I want to point out how happy I am that Husband was the one in driver's seat when this all happened, because goodness knows I would have never heard the end of it. Since Husband was the driver, objective reality clearly indicates that it was not Husband's fault the car broke. However, if I had been the driver, it most certainly would have been blamed on me, because after all I am a woman and all men know that women can't drive! I am sure that I would have had to tell my husband, in painstaking detail precisely what I had done from the time I got up that morning to the exact second I broke the car. But because Husband was the driver clearly no one is at fault, except perhaps the car manufacturer; the parts manufacturer; the car company owner; the guy who changes our oil; our mechanic, his wife, daughter and dog; the cold weather, Barack Obama; and of course, me because I drove it on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh Christmas tree?

Last night, while Ryan and I were out for a walk, we passed a house with a Christmas tree in the window. Yes, you read right: A Christmas tree, up already. Although my friend Natalie would disagree, I say it's too early! Why can't people wait until December? Doesn't this take away the magic of Christmas? I would think that by having Christmas decorations up for 6 to 8 weeks leading up to the Holiday, you would be tired of it by the time Christmas actually comes. I know that I can only take so much hype. Maybe I am a Grinch, but I say it's too early!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Something to make you smile

Ryan and I saw this commercial about a year ago, and we love it! After an extensive search on youtube, I found it. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank a veteran

Growing up my parents instilled in me and my siblings a great respect and admiration for the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the military. I remember standing out in the cold and snow at my town's Remembrance Days ceremonies because it was what we did. I remember being intrigued by the stories from the eras of the World War I and World War II. My maternal grandfather fought in World War II and although I would beg him to share his experiences with me, he never did. Instead he would simply say that what he saw and experienced was better left in the past. As I grew older and learned more about these Wars, I began to realize the depth of the horrors that the men and women who fought in them saw. I recall reading about men who would lay in trenches infested with mice and lice, with 2 feet of water in the bottom of the trench, turning it into mud. Themes of fatigue and hunger are prevalent in the stories. I heard first hand stories from a veteran in my hometown about watching his friends die from enemy bullets.

Every year, Canadians wear poppies to show remembrance for the sacrifices of these men and women. The history of this practice can be traced back to a poem written by a soldier during World War I. John McCrae was a Lieutenant Colonel and he wrote this poem the day after watching one of his friends die in a battle in France:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae

I remember learning this poem in Elementary school and repeating it every Nov. 11. I will never forget the Remembrance Day ceremony when I was in Grade 6 and I was chosen to lay a wreath in memory of those brave men and women. I felt so honoured. Even at a young age, I knew that the men and women of the military deserved respect. They had sacrificed everything so that we could enjoy freedom. To me, that is what the Poppy signifies. And I wear it with pride

I have been to Arlington Cemetery. What a sobering sight. Rows upon rows of white headstones marking the graves of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I recall standing there, in the middle of the sea of white and being moved to tears. It was then that I vowed to never let my children go a day without knowing about these people.

On the same trip, I went to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. The second I walked into the plaza, tears sprang to my eyes. I don't think they were tears of sadness, but rather tears of gratitude. As I walked around the Memorial, I came across an old man, dressed in his military uniform. I asked him if I could take his picture. He consented. After I took the picture, I shook his hand and said "Thank you" through a tight throat and tear-filled eyes. This man looked me right in the eyes and said "It was a honour to serve."

This Tuesday November 11 marks the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. Since that day there have been numerous wars, millions of lives lost. Even as I write this, we are engaged in a war in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Wars are never popular with everyone, and one of the beauties of the freedom we enjoy is that those who oppose war have the right to express their opinion. I hope those who oppose war realize that they have that right because men and women fought and died for that right. Whether you are for or against war, please take some time in the next few days to think about these sacrifices. And if you have a chance, thank a veteran.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The difficult life of an army wife, part two

Ryan has been home less than a week and I have already failed as a military wife. My previous attempts to be a good army wife have been less than stellar, but I figured once Ryan returned from Iraq things would get better. I have been trying so hard to make his transition from the battlefield to the home front as seamless as possible. I stocked my cupboards with his favourite foods (read: chips, candy and other JUNK!). I've been letting him sleep as long as he wants to (read: ALL morning!). I have not said anything about his stuff being all over the house as he tries to organize it (read: at one point I couldn't even walk through my living room!). And being the good wife I am, I insisted that all of his clothing that was with him in the desert be washed. After spending 90 minutes at the laundromat and doing 7 loads of laundry, I was feeling pretty good about being such a kind and thoughtful wife. This would be a good time to point out that Ryan was with me at the laundromat and that he put himself in charge of folding all of his army related clothing. (Keep this in mind as you continue to read. This one fact is very important!) Several hours later, Ryan was getting his things together for work. He asked me (his wonderful amazing totally awesome wife) where I had put his Physical Training (PT) shirts when I put the laundry away. After thinking for a couple seconds, I told him I didn't put any PT shirts away. He insisted that he had given me the PT shirts to wash, I insisted that I could not remember sorting, washing or folding the grey PT shirts. Ryan, being the amazing husband he is, kept saying "I am not blaming you for anything." (and of course, I was thinking "You can't blame me! I never saw them!") We started searching the house, trying to find the shirts. I even searched through the garbage bag in the kitchen. It had potato peelings, onion skins and watermelon rinds (disgusting!), but no shirts. (Ryan supposedly searched the trash bag outside, but I have my doubts. However he came up empty handed as well.) Eventually, Ryan decided to go back to the laundromat to see if we left any clothes there. He left and I sat down to watch TV, convinced that where ever the shirts were, it was all Ryan's doing. After all, he was the one who "supposedly" gave me the shirts to sort with the laundry; the one who "supposedly" folded all his army clothes at the laundromat. I could not remember the shirts. And besides, a good wife would remember the clothes that she had laundered. This was clearly Ryan's misplacement problem. The trip to the laundromat turned up nothing and Ryan returned home, resigned to the fact that he would have to purchase new PT shirts. After his return, he continued to gather things up for work. He asked me where his army socks were. All of a sudden I was hit with a sinking feeling. PT shirts? I had no recollection of sorting or washing PT shirts. But socks? I remembered socks. Lots and lots of socks. It was at that point I had one of those flashbacks that you see on TV all the time: me putting the socks in the laundry basket; me putting the socks in the washing machine; me putting the socks in the dryer. And that was where the flashback ended. That was also when I realized I had misplaced a load of laundry! (ok, in all fairness I should say "WE" misplaced a load of laundry, since Ryan was at the laundromat with me). Yes, me, the wonderful amazing thoughtful wife. This was my first time washing anything army related and I had left some clothes behind! Ryan watched as realization dawned on my face, and I am pretty sure he knew that I knew he was right. So, back to the laundromat we went. Yep. Back to the laundromat. The one that Ryan had just returned from less than 30 minutes before, claiming that none of our clothes were there. One of the workers was emptying out a dryer full of PT shirts and army socks as we walked in. Ryan stopped her, saying "I think those are our clothes". Her response "I was just putting them in the back. They have been here all day". No kidding! I had left them there all day! I apologized to Ryan for leaving his clothes, but made it clear that I was not taking full responsibility because he was just as capable of making sure we had all the laundry before we went home! He laughed and said "You have to write a blog about this". Later as I was folding the PT shirts, I still could not remember ever having them at the laundromat! If Ryan hadn't asked about the socks, I never would have realized that I had left the clothes. I guess I can chalk this up to a learning experience: Lesson 1: Make sure you have all the laundry before you leave the laundromat! Lesson 2: Letting a husband help with laundry is a bad idea, because if something goes wrong, he will blame you even though he was right there with you; Lesson 3: Sometimes, (but rarely) a husband knows what he is talking about!

Help wanted

I am new to this whole blog thing and am still learning the ropes. Often it takes me two or three tries before I get a post to look the way I want it to. I think I have mastered most of the important aspects of the world of blogging, except for one: How to link other blogs in my posts. I see this all the time in my friends' blogs. They will reference something and there is a link to it. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to do this! My friend Caranine is an extremely adept blogger and has references and links to her own previous blogs right in her text. How she does this, I do not know! But if anyone reading this knows how to accomplish this task that has eluded me, please enlighten me!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Ryan, carving pumpkins for the first time
in his life (that he can recall anyway!)

I am smiling because I have a knife!

Ryan decided to make it difficult and make a cat

This is my pumpkin. I know, I'm boring!