Archive for October, 2010

Cards by Amy Rysavy - Prairie Paper and Ink

Well, not really, but maybe it is where you are?

Yesterday in Comox, it was a drizzly grey day and the wind had picked up. Again.

Before we moved west, my CP (critique partner) Sheryl regaled me with tales of woe regarding the “Southeasterners” that would periodically wipe out their power and blow down their fence. I see now that she was not exaggerating in the least. Come winter, this is a windy city! At least today the sun is shining. That’ll be good for all the kids out and about trick or treating tonight.

Despite the lack of snow and the fact that today is Halloween, I bought my Christmas cards yesterday. Stamps were on sale (10% off at Rexall!), so I am ready and set to go. Only trouble is, BH is a BAH Humbug and I bet know he’s going to give me grief if I do anything even remotely Christmassy.

My proof comes from past experience, as well as the fact that he was griping about the Halloween decorations going up too early. The girls were outside hanging “ghosts” in the tree and he stomped into the house.

“What’s the date today?”

“October 10th.”

“Do you want to come outside and see what these kids are doing?”

I wandered over to the front door. “Looks good to me,” I said, watching them do a great job. “What’s the problem?”

“Halloween isn’t for another 3 weeks! It’s too early. Besides, those things are going to get all raggedy and make a mess of the front yard. ”

“It’s not too early and they’re made of plastic. They are not going to get ‘raggedy’.”

He countered with, “No one else has decorations up.”

“Yes, they do. You aren’t paying attention.”

There was a hmmph and a muttering of something like, “Well, I guess if you’re okay with having a yard looking like that…”

Which was fine with me, because I am perfectly fine with a yard ‘looking like that.’ A yard that looks like kids live in the house and whoa, dare I say it? A household that does some decorating and some celebrating.

And just so you know, we are not talking Martha Stewart decorations. We’re talking run of the mill, “there’s a holiday-we have a few things-let’s put them up” kind of decorating. If Martha came to my house, she’d feel awfully sorry for the sad state of decorating affairs that go on around here and she’d have to work for months to fix our house up right for a photo spread.

So, anyway, back to Christmas. BG (Beloved Grinch) is going to give me grief, but that’s okay. We’ve been doing this song and dance for the last 19 years and we’ve learned to compromise. December 1st is usually the day for the decorations. Maybe this year, I can get him to November 15, but if not, that’s okay too. I don’t want to push him too hard.

I will, however, start nudging him along in the right direction soon. I’ll make a production of digging out the Christmas Card list, as well as leave those boxes of Christmas cards out in plain sight. I’ll start playing the Drifters on the stereo and I’ll point out everyone else’s decorations and/or lights when we’re out driving.

Needless to say, another decorating dance has begun.

Any BAH-Humbugs in your house? Are you a BAH-Humbug? I can’t imagine you are if you’re visiting my blog. I’d like to think we’re all kindred spirits here. If you are holiday challenged though, don’t feel bad. You’ve come to the right place and we can help you.

Happy Halloween and Merry Soon-To-Be Christmas. 🙂


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This morning I was uploading some songs onto BD’s ipod — I am pleased to report that she even asked for some songs from *my* era. What can I say? The kids has good taste!

While I was digging around in our music library and on Itunes, I came across the sample track of “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister.

Do you remember that one?

BH and I had actually talked about it some time last week…the discussion was about the lyrics…”what the heck were they saying anyway?” — which is actually a question I have about many of the songs from my childhood/teenager years. I admit that I was quite often singing the wrong thing (not hard to do if you have a hearing issue).

For instance, my most memorable mistake was driving to school one day with my friends and rocking to Melissa Etheridge. I belted out “Okinawa!” and both my friends’ heads swiveled to look at me in confusion.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s not ‘Okinawa.’ It’s BROKEN LOVER!”

Well, alright then!

Having never heard of Okinawa (Japan) at that time, I can only surmise that I must have been in Japan or been Japanese in another life!

So, back to “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. I always thought it was about a girl named Kyrie and then that word after…well, I thought he was expressing his pain or something. I don’t know!

The lyrics go like this…

Kyrie eleison, kyrie eleison, kyrie

The wind blows hard against this mountain side, across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide, setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories, my body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine, is where I find myself again

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going will you follow
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old, of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road, or only wished what I could be

Turns out Kyrie is the latin word for Lord. If said in its Latin pronunciation, it is pronounced… “keer-ee-eh” (with a long A sound at the end). For further clarification, the phrase Kyrie eleison (keer-ee-eh  E-ley-uh-sawn) means “Lord have mercy” or is a response to “Lord have mercy upon us.”

Okinawa, indeed.  🙂

Got any confusing songs/lyrics in your life that you want to share?

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Part of our curriculum this year is, of course, a second language. BDs are tired of French. I don’t know why, but they have had ENOUGH.

That being so, the eldest BDs are wanting to learn Latin and the youngest wants to learn German. In my search to find them resources, I came across FREE RICE (see description below). We’re not using it just for languages, though. It also touches on Art, English Vocabulary, Chemistry, Geography and Math and does so in a way that both educates and helps people!

I am impressed.  Go Team Free Rice! 🙂

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. Our partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

FreeRice has two goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

Thank you.

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Actually, I don’t have a surfboard (nor am I likely to), but I do have the money to rent one. Although, I must admit, I’m rather undecided if I’ll ever do that either.

First though, a little interesting stuff…

Over on the west coast of the Island yesterday, fall and winter were battling for top spot and the wind was blowing something fierce. So fierce, that the mondo waves there postponed the 2010 Tofino Cold Water Classic Surfing Contest.

They’ll try again today (it’s beautiful here in the Valley, so hopefully they have nice weather too), but just in case you have not witnessed the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver Island’s west coast where the contest is being held, a picture…

BTW, I strongly urge you to click on this picture to the right so that you can see the detail. The area is BEAUTIFUL! A trip to Tofino should be on everyone’s Bucket List.

So, my reason for posting is not to impress you with my obviously limited surfer lingo (“mondo” is all I’ve got in my repertoire), nor is it to promote tourism in Tofino. Rather, it is to impress upon you that this coming summer, I may no longer be in my right mind.

You see, I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ll take surfing lessons from the Surf Sister Surf School over in Tofino. They teach only females and they even do a mother/daughter camp. Now wouldn’t that be fun? If I’m going to be out of my right mind, I may as well bring my children along while I’m at it!

I haven’t decided yet…I’m mortally afraid of sharks thanks to JAWS and there *are* sharks in those waters…not prolific numbers, but I’m a bit of a worrywart and so if the possibility exists, I admit that my mind can quite easily run rampant with myriad scenarios, most of which include much blood and pain and probable death.

So, I’m a little frightened, but I hear there’s strength in numbers…anyone care to join me?

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I am thankful for my loving family and friends. I’m also thankful that I wasn’t born into or didn’t marry into this woman’s family…


As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family

1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don’t feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don’t care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family

1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family

1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family

1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel – please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family

1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)

1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!


Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos — a great place to laugh. 🙂

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I thought I’d share a little of what we’ve been up to this past month in a series of installments.


The girls are learning all about Egypt at the moment and specifically, mummification. Not only has it been interesting, but it’s also been great fun with some really good hands on learning.

The beauty of this little endeavor is that I’d only planned for them to touch on hieroglyphics. After sourcing out learning materials though, I discovered a whole unit on mummification and the girls were all for that and from there it morphed into “Everything Egypt.”

I’m not sure if your children are similar, but mine are rather enthralled with “gruesome” — not that mummification is, but at first glance it does give that appearance — and so that was the jumping off point that had them “hooked” and eager to learn more.

Incidentally, the girls really enjoyed hieroglyphics too — writing out their names, as well as creating some secret passages, which had hilarious results if deciphered incorrectly and made for some side splitting laughter.


Basic Hieroglyph History (from Neferchichi’s Tomb)

Hieroglyphic writing first began around 5000 years ago. Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs up to about 400 AD, after that they wrote in a short-hand cursive style called demotic. Eventually everyone forgot how to write in hieroglyphs.

But now we are able to decipher hieroglyphs thanks to a special chunk of rock and a determined Egyptologist. In 1799, a soldier digging a fort in Rosetta, Egypt found a large black stone with three different types of writing on it. The writing was a message about Ptolemy V, who was ruling Egypt at the time. Because the message was written during the time when the Greeks ruled Egypt, one of the three languages was Greek. The other two were demotic and hieroglyphic.

People realized that the three languages on “The Rosetta Stone” said the same thing. And even though people could read Greek, they couldn’t figure out how to match up Greek words with hieroglyphic words. For years no one was able to understand how the hieroglyphic message corresponded to the Greek one.

Finally, in 1822, a French Egyptologist named Jean François Champollion figured out how to decipher hieroglyphic writing. He realized that the hieroglyphs that spelled “Ptolemy” were enclosed in a cartouche, so he was able to match it up to the Greek spelling. This discovery enabled him to equate the unfamiliar hieroglyphs with familiar Greek words and to translate the entire message.

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Part of my busyness a few weeks back was volunteering for the BC Seniors Games. There were 3 500 participants from all over BC, aged 55 and up. Swimming was my chosen venue and I can’t begin to tell you how fabulous it was to see all those Seniors in the pool doing their thing.

The oldest swimmer in the water was 91 years old. 91 years old! Just think about that for a moment. Amazing!

2010 BC Seniors Games

The swim teams from each area had different ways of demonstrating their team spirit…some had matching T-shirts/swim caps, some painted their toenails blue (men included!), and each member of this particular team had matching tattoos.

The proof is in the picture…you’re never too old for anything! 🙂

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