Fast Five Friday – All hail Dr. Suess

The Lorax (film)

The Lorax (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Boy and I went last weekend to see The Lorax. I know, after my love affair with the Hunger Games you would think we would be there at the opening show. I might have been, but the Boy hates crowds and doesn’t see the point. I can’t really argue. My life won’t end if I don’t see movies I’ve been looking forward to on the opening weekend. I’m a big girl. I can wait. Not for long though – we’re totally going to see it SOON. In the meantime though we spent a kind of dreary Saturday at The Lorax. We may have been the only people there without littles under the age of 5 in tow. Meh. I’m not bothered by it. 5 year-olds just know where it’s at!

I love kids movie. LOVE them! And I love love love the Doctor. Suess that is. I know, the language is a bit nonsensical, and that can be annoying to some. But to those people I say – 1. Get over it. 2. Where’s your sense of imagination? 3. Take a minute and really listen to what the good Doctor is saying to you. He’s got some good stuff in there.

But first – a quick movie review. The Boy really liked the story, (he didn’t really grow up with the Suess like I did and had never heard of the Lorax before), but it wasn’t his favourite movie. I blame the migraine aura that started about half-way through for him. How can he concentrate on the goodness when anticipating the badness? I loved it for it’s far greater comment on consumerism than the book. I found it really relevant and expanded in all the right places. I say, grab yourself a 5 year old if you’re not man enough to go yourself and go see it.  I mean it’s got Betty White – how can you go wrong?

Anyway, this is getting to be not so fast – here are my 5 favourite Dr. Suess words of wisdom:

1. A person’s a person no matter how small.

2. Today you are you. That’s truer than true. There’s no one alive who is youer than you.

3. I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.

4. We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

and in tribute to the Lorax and this weekend’s Earth Hour:

5. Unless someone like you, cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change. It’s not.

Wedding Wednesday – Crap.

So you may have noticed Wedding Wednesday has once again taken a bit of a hiatus.  I assure you I have the next 5 weeks written.  Alas, I had to take the photos off my computer in order to create enough space for a software update. Which has delayed the post finishing process. Last night I sat down to put the pictures into the posts… I can’t find the CDs with the picture files. Crap.

I’m sure they’re somewhere. The Boy probably knows where they are.  Or they’re in somewhere perfectly logical like the bottom of a box in the sun room.  I just need to take my mind on a little adventure since they weren’t in the perfectly logical place I thought they were… my knitting bag.

This is SUPER frustrating on three levels.

1. When I sit down to finish off my posts I expect things to go smoothly.

2. I have a wedding wall planned in my head and a general update of all of our pictures in our house planned and the CDs are an integral part of that.

And perhaps most important,

3. The most common argument between the Boy and I is that he is O.C.D. anal about where things go and I am not. I insist that just because I don’t have a “spot” for everything doesn’t mean I lose things. I in fact very rarely lose things. I do, occasionally misplace things or forget things – but I think this just gives my brain the opportunity for a work out. And all is well, no harm done. The Boy will not see it this way and I will need to spend hours and hours rehashing why I don’t have spots for everything. Exhausting.

ANYWAY, if everyone could (as my Nanny would recommend) say a little prayer to St. Anthony – they’ll surely turn up.

Fingers crossed 😐

 

A little touch of Irish

Can you believe that March is almost over? This is crazy to me. Crazy.

This month the Boy and I did typically well for making delicious meals, but not as good at trying new recipes.

Some tried and true favourites I rediscovered this month:

Perfect Veggie Burgers

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Dough Balls

I’ve also discovered Hemp Hearts and Chia Seeds – both are slowly but surely changing my life. Well, that may be a bit extreme but I am looking forward to trying chia gel in my next baking undertaking.

Here’s what I tried that was new:

Pineapple Fried Rice – One word. Yum.

Butternut Squash Ravioli – kind of, we used the wonton wrapper trick from the Green Pea Pesto Ravioli of February

Hummingbird Cupcakes – as inspired by my new love – Pinterest! (FYI – if you’re looking for a breakfast cupcake this is it!)

Pineapple and cream cheese? Sounds like breakfast of champions to me!

And the one I’m sharing – I’ve gotta say, I wish I had had my stroke of creative genius BEFORE St. Patrick’s Day not after.

Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes.

I used Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cupcakes and then topped it with Martha’s Bailey’s Buttercream, which can be found in the GLORIOUS cupcake book, but is simply her Basic Buttercream recipe with 3 Tbsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Delicious.

Where I lost my creativity was in the colour.  Sure I made them green as per the Boy’s recommendation. It was St. Patrick’s Day after all.  But after enjoying a delish Green Monster the other day I thought – hey I should have greened up the icing with spinach or maybe avocado… hmmm so curious if it would have worked. But alas, food colouring.

Luckily they were still super delicious and I highly recommend them!

 

 

Fast Five Friday – Spring is in the Air!

Happy Friday All!!

Here goes – five things I’ve been loving about this wonderful crazy early, crazy warm spring weather we’ve been having up here in Northern Ontario the last 2 weeks.

  1. Shirtless boys. The true sign of the first few warm days of spring. It makes me LOL every single time.  Oh this 19C day is SO hot you can’t possibly wear a shirt? And you’re right, you do have the body for it. Hilarious.
  2. Driving with the windows down.  In the heat of summer it can be 24C and you find yourself driving around with the windows up and the AC blowing. Let’s be honest, you know you’re guilty of it too. But in those first few days it’s too refreshing not to take full advantage of that warm breeze as you drive around town.
  3. Sleeping with the windows open. Goodbye super hot sweaty apartment. Hello warm breeze and waking up to the sunshine and singing birds.
  4. A renewed vigor for physical activity.  The Boy and I have doubled our walk route, and there’s talk of learning to run together. Sure it probably won’t happen but that doesn’t make the first days of spring any less wonderful
  5. No socks. This is my absolute favourite and to be honest it’s the one reason why I’m wishing this spring took a more typical warming pattern.  I’ve ditched socks this week, and next week when it’s back to cold – I’m going to be bitter.  Usually I ditch the socks as soon as possible and don’t bring them back until October. Nonetheless, sockless in March? I’ll take it!

There you have it, five fast things I love about Spring! Tell me – what’s your fast five?

A Video For BFF Kristyn

BFF Kristyn and I have been yogi-ing it up for 6 weeks. I don’t know about her but I’m starting to see a difference – I can upward dog now!

But one thing neither of us can get the hang of is Chaturanga.  I’ll admit it.  I belly flop.

So last night after a TRES HOT hot yoga flow I came home and I turned to Google. Yes, I know that watching a video is not going to give me the arm and core strength I need – but to be honest I feel better now knowing what I’m aiming for in the modified pose.

How many weeks do you think we need to put in before we can do this?

Week 12? 13 maybe? Totally realistic goal!

Namaste.

 

Kony 2012

Have you seen this video? I saw it for about a week on my Facebook news feed before I watched it. Regardless of what you think about the intention – I think we can all agree, it’s a pretty powerful video. It’s a good example of marketing. And it’s causing quite the stir.  I’ve got some thoughts about it. But if you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do.

Pretty effective marketing right? Well, that’s just the point.  It’s marketing. It’s one side. It’s emotionally stirring. But it’s not without it’s faults. And neither is the organization Invisible Children and they’re taking some serious criticism. You can read a great critical review of them here, and their response to some of this criticism here.

Point 1. I’m glad that it’s receiving criticism and I’m glad that they are responding to it.  Dialogue is a good thing.  Always.

Here’s the crib notes.  Invisible Children is a not-for-profit. They’re a very financially successful NFP with a multimillion dollar budget.  Multimillion dollar NFPs are few and far between to be fair, but when you get to a certain size it typically means that you are no longer running your show out of your mom’s basement. That means not all of your budget can go to programming.  It simply can’t. This particular NFP is obviously big on advocacy, and there’s a reason that advocacy groups don’t generally get a LOT of funding and rely instead on fundraising. Advocacy doesn’t have a direct quantifiable deliverables – which is typically a requirement when applying for funding. Direct service, local programs, building schools etc – that’s quantifiable – people (funders, and especially government funders) like those stats. It feels good to give to an organization that you know 100% of your dollars are going to a new computer for a kid in need.  No one wants to pay the hydro bill – as they say. So 35ish% of their budget goes to programming, it’s low sure – but it’s not as low as you might think it is. Large NFPs take people, and people take money. A little aside – NFPs are given a really hard time for staff salary which drives me crazy in general. Just because your life’s work is trying to do some good in the world doesn’t mean you have to work for free. It is unlikely that you are going to see the Executive Director of a NFP making multimillion dollars a year (though I’m sure there are exceptions) but it doesn’t mean they have to work their butts off and live below the poverty line because they are working with low-income populations.  That criticism drives me crazy.  Sorry. Rant over. The other large part of their annual budget is travel.  Without crawling through their processes and their financials – this percentage does seem quite high and it is my hope that some of the criticism that IC has taken over the last couple of weeks will force them to take a look at those processes and justify or reform those practices.

Point 2 – Criticism is good.  Financial reporting and questioning financial reporting is good. But people that work for NFPs (no matter what the cause) should not have to work for free.

Summary of point 1 and 2, IC seems to have gotten themselves caught up in a viral video – and while that was their goal, I think it went faster than they ever thought it might. If you’re goal is to have everyone in the world know about your NFP and your cause – it would be advisable that you have your ducks in a row before you start, or you are going to get ripped apart and your cause is going to go down the toilet right alongside your cause.

The video.  I don’t like the video. Here are some things I don’t like about the video or the whole kony2012 movement.

1. I hate the poster. I think it prays on uneducated paranoia and American’s current hatred and fear of bin Laden. I understand why they have used the images they have – it’s because they are effective. They get you riled up. But they don’t encourage you to do your own research.  I don’t like that. Kony is clearly not a nice person, but he’s not Hitler. 1 child soldier is too many, but 30,000 (questionable statistics) over 26 years, are not 10 million+ in 5 years.  It’s not on the same scale and I don’t like that they’ve drawn on those heart strings and guilt to correlate the two.

2. I don’t like the bracelet.  Although like the poster, I understand the reasons behind it. For some reason completely unknown to me, people like bracelets these days, and people like getting some small token to show not just that they’ve done some good – but that they haven’t given their money away and gotten nothing in return. People are weird that way. But this bracelet in particular is a red string (Kabbalah) with a dog tag (military) and a serial number (Holocaust). It’s like imagery overload and I hate it.

3.  While I understand the rationale behind the movement, making a war criminal into a celebrity makes me nervous for the same reason outlined here.  This guy’s army is made up of children.  His bodyguards are children.  If you were a bad person and you though the whole world was coming for you, would you go politely and turn yourself in? Or would you arm yourself as much as possible which in your case means kidnapping more children and use them as human shields. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stop the guy, but doing it so publicly with such hoopla makes me nervous.

4. The video is geared toward youth. I may be able to read into the video and pull out what I don’t like about it, and what I do.  I can Google Kony and Invisible Children, I can see the imagery and criticize it, make my own opinions and follow-through as I see fit. But I’m 29, and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of or researched some of these issues. I know the world isn’t rainbows and sunshine. What concerns me is the millions of children who will be overcome with emotion from this video, those that the imagery will take over them.  That they will go to their parents and say “I need to do something” and their parents will be so overcome that a video has made their video-game playing isolated privileged children CARE about something that is going on outside their own little world will blindly send money and engage with IC without questioning or researching the organization. I worry that parents and teachers won’t take the opportunity to teach their children about the world, about how NFPs work, engage in the conversation and will blindly follow like little sheep.

So, to recap – I don’t like the propaganda boasting poster, bracelet and video target. And the whole thing makes me nervous. I hope that parents and educators will use it as a starting point for conversation, and apparently IC is planning a new video that goes into more detail about next steps and their goals for the year, how they want to go about Kony2012, etc etc. Use the conversation. Question. Question. Question.  Notice the imagery and don’t get swept up in the viral-ness of it all or the flashiness of the video.

And that leads me to my final thoughts:

To be honest I wasn’t really in love with the idea (and I’m still not – if that isn’t clear yet) until the last 2 minutes of the video, and again, I understand that it was designed this way. What this kind of awareness building does/has the potential to do is flip that triangle. And that is pretty amazing when you think about it. This is the potential of social media.  And this is the potential of this campaign.  Kony aside what the people over at IC have done is asked millions of people worldwide to consider what they spend their time thinking about. They’ve given millions of people the opportunity to act in really simple ways. Sign a pledge. Share a link. If it works, it has the potential to make millions of (largely) youth take ownership of their own political freedoms, and their own political process. But it’s really risky. If it doesn’t work then IC has only given millions of youth something new to be apathetic about. And that’s why the conversation part for me is so important.  You can’t just sign a pledge, share a link and save the world.  It takes time, and it takes true engagement.

For my part, I do not plan to send IC money. I will not be putting up a poster (though to be honest I am curious to see how their April 20 plan plays out.)  But I am writing this post – I’m engaging in conversation. This post coming a week+ after the huge backlash against the video and IC is intentional.  Let’s keep talking about it, keep IC in our radar and remember that there are issues out there in the world that deserve attention.

In University when I was studying the Holocaust the question that kept coming up was “how could political leaders let this go on?” and I was always of the firm belief that there was a war going on. Problems with global anti-semitism (of which there were plenty) aside, the threat of Hitler taking over the world was real – first things first – win the war. In this case, the threat of Kony taking over the world is not there. There are really excellent arguments that Africa does not need white Americans to come in and “save the day,” and I agree – it’s colonialism plain and simple.  But the fact of the matter is – we live in a global society, and while the “savior” paradigm is dangerous – so is sitting back and thinking, until we solve all the problems in our own nation we have no business engaging in the problems of other nations.

When my kid is studying this in history class (and hopefully media class) 20 years from now and they ask me what I thought or did at the time, I do not want to have to say to I didn’t agree with how the leading agency spent their money or all of their strategies so I disengaged from the conversation. Or that I spoke with only those I see in person and left it at that. I’m committing to engaging in the conversation, and I encourage you to as well.

A Weekend with Local Talent

The Boy and I headed to London this past weekend

We hadn’t been home since Christmas, which meant the weekend’s main focus was see as many people as humanly possible while still having meaningful non-rushed visits with each person. All in all I’d say we did pretty well.

We laid low and only checked in with a certain elegant country couple’s growing baby bump on Friday.  Saturday, we checked in with the Boy’s Grandpa home from a month long stint in the hospital. He’s looking better than he has in a long time – which is always good news.

Saturday night we checked in with the SIL and her manfriend and the Boy’s BFF Paul. After watching the Leafs win (finally) we headed out on the town and laughed at the local shenanigans.

BFF Paul no more army = grown out hair. What a rebel

Let’s set the scene:

We drive downtown, and by-pass all the bars with lines – we’re too old to stand outside in the cold. We end up at The Poacher’s Arm a great little bar that was still really busy, but no line.  No real chairs either so we ended up sitting off to the side and watched the youngin’s cause some raucus.

Some context:

Now. I’m a girl.  I went to Univeristy of Western Ontario. I am not nor have I ever been a Western Girl. What we had on our hands was a party of Western Girls. Young girls, dressed to impress and very impressed with themselves. No one tells them no. They do whatever they want. They’re Queen Bees and are followed around by Wannabees. They wear mini dresses and high heels to a pub in March and complain they are cold.  Put on a coat and maybe some pants! They think they are the local talent.  They are not.

Shenanigans:

We are sitting and listening to The Whiskey Sinners the local talent for the night, and since we were off to the side, and couldn’t see the band we suddenly hear the music stop, and one of the band members say “I’m not going to tell you again, stop touching my equipment” this was followed up by some muffled whining and then “I don’t care if it’s your birthday, stop touching my shit.” and  “NO! You cannot touch the microphone, go sit down.” more muffled whining.  “I’m rude? Well sorry, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get over it.”  And then the music continued and we saw the girls sit down, pull their chairs up as close as possible to the band and proceed to be really, really obnoxious. One had a ribbon pinned to her chest that said “Birthday Girl” another had a ribbon that said “2nd Place.” (The Boy thought this was hilarious).

Behind us comes the bouncer. He’s watching the girls.  I turn to him and say “We’d be happy to take their table if that would make your life easier.” He smiles, “I bet you would! I’d be thrilled for you to take the table, it’s coming soon – I’m just waiting for the right moment.”

It didn’t take much longer after that the girls took their coats and left their primo table. Which we yoinked.  We then enjoyed the rest of the night listening to The Wiskey Sinners and catching up with those we were really there to see.

Love me some accordion!

Conclusion:

At the end of the night the band actually apologized for their behaviour, they said if we saw some negative feedback on Facebook it was coming from two of the most obnoxious people they had met, and all because they told a girl they couldn’t touch a $1000 piece of equipment just because it was her birthday.

We laughed.  And then, I spoke with them and told them we loved their response and cheered their commitment to not taking shit from privileged annoying girls.

And hey – they do a mean cover of Mumford and Sons The Cave.

So all in all pretty awesome!

Fast Five for Friday

Hurray for Friday! So I had this thought a while ago, five fast things I love on Friday. Five things on a theme.  And as I said – I wrote this a long time ago, but didn’t post it (don’t ask me why – there’s no picture I was waiting for)

So here we go.  Five things I’m liking about my new (5 months is still new right?) job. Some context? I’ve been at my new job for three weeks five months, and my assessment so far is… I like it…. but it’s really different from everything else I’ve done.  Ever. (This is still my assessment five months later – with the addition of, it’s got potential for growth).

But there are things I like – so here’s five.

  1. Let’s be honest – it’s the pay. While some of what I’m finding harder to get used to is the bureaucracy and formality, (this is still true at 5 months) they’re paying me for it – so it’s fine.
  2. One hour lunch.  Until I’ve completed my probation period, (1 more month to go) I have an hour lunch.  I have so much time to catch up on blogs, run errands, leisurely eat – whatever! Mostly though, I just come home and read some blogs and watch Income Property and Property Brothers and dream of having my own little shit-hole house that I can gut and beautify. After my probabtion period I have the option to compress my work week, get a half hour lunch or work a half hour extra on either side of my day and presto – 1 day off every 3 weeks.  Sweet.
  3. The people. I’m in a branch of about 50, but my unit is only 4.  And I like ’em.  That’s always nice.
  4. The problems.  I’ve got some messes to clean up – and I like that.
  5. It might be only BFF Kristyn that gets this last love – but I had to include it just for her (I found out the other day The Boy loves this too – I knew we were meant to be).  Papermate Medium and Fine Blue pens. I came in my first day to find one of each in my desk.  Brilliant.  It’s the little things.

And that’s just it.  It’s the little things. That’s why I wanted to start this Fast Five Friday segment.  Feel free to play along with each week’s theme and leave me a comment with the five (or as many as you can think of) things you love about that week’s theme.

It’s easy to list the reasons you hate your job, but c’mon people – let’s focus on the positive. Give me at least 1 thing you like about your job, it could be as simple as the pens.

Happy weekend!

Congratulations! Thank you! x150

We didn’t plan a receiving line.  But apparently we didn’t need to.

After some high fives and fist pumps

Some hugs and smiles

The congratulations started pouring in.  We started with the family – of course

But things started getting crowded so we headed out to the beautiful day

And we said “Thank you” to all 150 people.

And while at some point we thought the line would never end – we were so happy to see each and every one of them.

And we were wonderfully rewarded…

Champagne and 10 minutes to check in with each other.

 “Hi husband! How was your day?”