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Slow Down and Let Your Kids Set the Pace

Posted by Stacey on January 31, 2015 in Life Musings |

Some thoughtful and kind person recently sent me a blog post about how it is important to slow down and let your children set the pace.

Yes, this was someone who witnessed the frenzy of screaming, cajoling, bribery and veiled threats as my sweetheart and I were trying to get our girls dressed in clothing, with coats, hats and boots and out the door to one of their classes.

See the thing is with kids classes most of them are 30 minutes long. If you show up 5, 10 or 15 minutes late for the class, that means that the half hour of quiet that you have paid for has now been reduced to approximately 10 minutes.

And anybody who knows what it’s like living with five-year-olds or any kids in that age bracket, basically anybody under 30, you cherish that time that you were buying – those fleeting quiet moments that you’re buying where you can sit in an uncomfortable and usually freezing room watching your kid behave like an angel for some total and random stranger.

Because really who gives a shit if the kids learn how to skate-ski-paint-dance-swim or whatever it is that you have registered them in? The reality is you were buying quiet time.

So “slowing down and letting the children set the pace” really is a bunch of bullshit. You are doing everything humanly possible to get them dressed, watered, drained, pooped, and into a car and out and into the lesson as fast as you possibly can. Because I’m telling you, an extra 10 minutes of quiet is golden time.

I also understand that this blog post will probably make me lose my nomination for parent of the year. That’s okay because I’m enjoying these minutes of quiet while my kid is in some class right now.

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Show Some Gratitude Today

Posted by Stacey on January 28, 2015 in Life Musings |

Although this may sound somewhat morbid, do you ever think about what life would be like if you or your life partner stopped being an active participant in it?

Let me put that another way, what if you suddenly weren’t part of your family, say if you died unexpectedly.

Or perhaps even worse, imagine if your partner suddenly disappeared from your life. Yikes.

Let me explain a little further. In the morning I wake up and head downstairs to our kitchen where I grab the coffee pot and pour myself a cup of coffee.

Somewhere, someone has made a pot of coffee. Every morning someone special in my life makes that wonderful pot of coffee.

Another example, my kids are in swimming, dance, soccer, ballet, painting, skiing, and an entire host of other activities. Their lessons are added to the shared family calendar (thank you Google!).

My role in this is to make sure that they get to the lesson on time (no small feat that). I am the person behind the wheel.

How the kids get registered in these programs I have no idea.Where the clothes come from that the girls wear, I have no idea.

How the girls get their hair done in a way that looks reasonably fashionable or stylish, I have no idea. If it was up to me the kids would go to school looking like a raccoon had nested in their hair overnight.

What food to pack in their lunches is beyond me. Who knew that peanut butter and jam sandwiches are not allowed in elementary schools. That was what I grew up on!

Let’s be clear, I have my roles and responsibilities around the house as well.
I don’t think anybody knows where the garbage goes after it leaves the little silver can underneath the sink

I’m pretty sure nobody knows that the small container of rice on the counter has to be refilled and where it gets refilled from.

You know that magical pot of coffee that I mentioned that appears every morning? If it wasn’t for me there would be no coffee beans in the house to make that coffee with.

Similar to the garbage, is there anybody else in our house that understands the compost doesn’t just sit there and compost magically on the the end of the counter?

I guess what I’m getting at is that we all have roles and responsibilities in our homes.

It is difficult to imagine what life would be like if the partner you have always relied on suddenly wasn’t there.

I will say definitively that my life would be significantly more difficult without my partner. First off where was that magical cup of coffee that is always there first thing in morning.

Give a little nod to your partner and recognize them for all the good that they bring your life. Think about all that they do to make your life better and more wonderful.

In spite of the difficulties you may or may not have, think about all the good things they bring to your life, like that magical cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Till next time.

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Strange Societal Values

Posted by Stacey on January 26, 2015 in Life Musings |

Okay once again I need to start with a disclaimer; I love animals. In fact I love animals so much that for 15 years of my life I even refused to eat them. That’s more than most people can say.

Jimmy and Matthias

Jimmy and Matthias

I also love dogs. I very much love dogs. I’ve had a dog or dogs in my life for the vast majority of my life and I detest people who hurt or abuse dogs in any way, shape, or form. With that out-of-the-way, let’s proceed.

A couple of years ago there was a thing on the news where some young couple were found to be drinking in the beer garden at the Cloverdale rodeo grounds while their two children were left locked in their family car in the parking lot. Both kids were wearing soiled diapers and were clearly upset by the time the police found them. You know what the consequence for these people was? A stern talking to from the police.

How many times do see very young couples or young women or young men walking with a kid in a stroller and the parent with a cigarette in their mouth or hand. Cigarette smoke filling the longs of those poor impressionable little children. You know what the consequence for these people are? Nothing. Other than the fact that their kids are going to be more prone to lung disease and respiratory illness, these parents are not going to face jail time for the irreparable harm they are doing to their children.

There are far too many stories of people treating children so poorly or so savagely that it makes my blood run cold it and it makes me sick to my stomach. All too often there are no consequences for these people.

And then you have the case of the (now former) CEO of Centerplate who was caught on camera in an elevator kicking and yarding on the leash of his young puppy.

Let’s be crystal-clear hear – what he did was wrong, it was cruel, and it was hurtful. It is incredibly cruel to hurt another being that has little or no opportunity to defend itself. What he did was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Shortly after being caught hurting his dog his employer forced him to make a $100,000 donation to an organization that will help animals. That donation really is a fine that he paid for his actions. A $100,000 fine.

His employer also forced him to agree to do 1000 hours of community service.
After continued public pressure on Centerplate, the CEO (now former) resigned from his position as the CEO of that company.

Now he has been charged with two counts of cruelty to an animal and could face a $75,000 fine and two years in prison.

How about a little perspective here. Why is it that we will give a guy a $100,000 fine shame him out of his job and then pursue criminal charges that could lead to two years in prison for kicking a puppy and yarding on its leash and yet what happens if you hurt a small child in our society?

Just another case of society’s misplaced priorities.

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The Truman Show Vs the Walking Dead

Posted by Stacey on January 25, 2015 in Life Musings |

Before I begin I want to make it clear that this blog is not a cry out for help and I’m not going to do anything drastic or crazy or stupid. I also want to let you know that I may use the occasional expletive or swear word, so be forewarned.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Have you ever thought about the purpose of your life? What is it all about or what are you trying to achieve in this rat race?

Let me back up a little further. Last year was a hell of a year. It was a year of significant losses for me with a number of close friends, relatives and acquaintances dying. And then my childhood home, with my massive collection of uninsured Lego inside, burned to the ground. In short it was a fucked up and painful year.

And now this year has started out on somewhat of a similar theme. A wonderful person I know passed away early in January and now this weekend I found out that two distant relatives of mine have died.

All these losses have made me wonder what the fuck is it all about. What is the purpose of my life?

I go to work and I enjoy my job and then I come home. I enjoy being with my children. I enjoy spending time with my wife.

Of course that is until they start screaming and fighting and yelling and telling me that they don’t like me and that I’m a horrible human being because I insist that we leave right this minute so that we can get to some silly thirty minute lesson where they are going to hopefully learn something about music/art/dance/swimming/skating/skiing or whatever the lesson of the day is about.

As an aside, the only lesson that is really important is swimming because your actual life may depend on it at some point. Just saying.

Overall, life is quite pleasant. Pleasant like Jim Carrey’s life in that movie where his life was all scripted, what was it? The Truman Show? I often feel like my life is the Truman Show.

As a result I’ve been thinking perhaps rather than living on the set of the Truman Show perhaps a life with Rick and Daryl on the Walking Dead would be more fulfilling.

Of course I wouldn’t want to be involved with all the nastiness of the actual walking dead and having to fight with all the horrible people who see me and family as food and are trying to continually kill me. However, the other aspects of their life where they have essentially become hunter-gatherers seems somewhat appealing to me.

A return to the land and live free of modern day encumbrances and grow my own food, hunt for our own meat and live with nature. Going to sleep when it is dark and rising when the sun comes up again. Being at one with nature.

Of course it seems appealing from the safe confines of the set of the Truman Show but do you ever think about what it would be like to revert to being a hunter and gather? Where the only thing that matters is where is your next meal coming from? how are you going to find some asswipe? where you going to sleep tonight or is this water safe to drink?

Perhaps from the safety of the Truman Show it looks glamorous and exciting. But I have to say with the way this last year has gone and the way this year is started it sure made me wonder what the fuck this is all about.

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Amazon dot ca Vs dot com

Posted by Stacey on January 12, 2015 in Life Musings |

Check this out for an absolutely ridiculous situation; if you shop on Amazon dot ca rather than Amazon dot com you can expect to pay significantly more for the very same products.

I was recently looking for a cast iron tortilla press (don’t ask why I was looking for a tortilla press!). Seeing as there were only cast aluminum tortilla presses available locally, I went online to find a cast iron tortilla press. Not thinking about it too much and being the loyal Canadian that I am, I started out with the Amazon dot ca and searched for tortilla presses – BINGO!! I found one; the Imusa 8 inch cast-iron tortilla press. Retail price on Amazon.ca $69.40! Great stuff – and it is reduced from $79.99 – as you can see in the picture below.

Imusa Tortilla Press - Canada

Imusa Tortilla Press – Canada

 

Being a curious sort of fella I went on Amazon dot com – Amazon dot ca’s American brother and did the same search for an Imusa 8″ cast-iron tortilla press. I was very surprised to see the exact same item for sale on Amazon.com.

Imusa Tortilla Press

Imusa Tortilla Press

The exact same item on the american version of Amazon for $28.99.

This has nothing to do with the cost of shipping because the consumer pays for the cost of shipping on top of the purchase price (or you can get free shipping if you buy a specific dollar amount of goods).

What’s up with that?

Perhaps this only applies to tortilla presses? So when we were looking for new swimsuits for our kids I went to Amazon dot ca and found Speedo swimsuits. A reasonably good quality swim suit for $45.12. Unfortunate that Speedo only has black suits. Oh well.

Speedo Swimsuit

Speedo Swimsuit

 

Same routine as the tortilla press. Drop the dot ca, go to Amazon dot com and there is a very similar Speedo swimsuit for the kids.

Speedo Swimsuits

Speedo Swimsuits

 

 

Well look at that! The Speedo swimsuit, which is available in four different bright colours only costs $18.06 on the dot com site?!

I’m not sure what the difference is or why the Canadian version of Amazon charges more than twice as much as the American version. I really do not understand how a business can do this. How is it ethical to charge more than twice as much for an item in one country when you are an online retailer?

Is there a logical explanation to this?

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Making New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Stacey on January 3, 2015 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

Traditionally on or around the beginning of the New Year people make resolutions. They make resolutions to make changes that they’re going to make in their life to attempt to make their lives better.

Typically I do not make New Year’s resolutions because I’ve always thought of them as kind of arbitrary and well, let’s just say silly things to do.

However, this year I have actually decided to change my tradition and make myself a New Year’s resolution.

My New Year’s resolution is relatively simple, “Choose green more often than not”.

Greens

Greens

So what does it mean to say “choose green more often than not”?

To me it is a philosophy or a change in the way I live my life. For example, when I am having lunch I will choose salad – the “green option” more often than my default choice of french fries.

Another possibility to choose green, is that instead of jumping in the car and going to the grocery store I will walk or ride my bicycle more often than not. This is a choice where my individual action will make my world a little bit better.

When I meet friends or clients at my local coffee shop I will be sure to have with me and use my personal cup rather than a throw away cup.

Other possibilities could be turning the thermostat down one or 2° or whatever is practical for when I’m not home or when the household is sleeping. I can encourage people in our home to use a drying rack for clothes when practical, especially in the summer months.

These are all small, individual choices that I can make in order to choose green more often than not.

Are you making any New Year’s resolutions? Feel free to add your resolutions or thoughts on the issue in the comment section. As always comments are free and if you choose to for whatever reason you can post anonymously.

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Christmas Tree Disposal Options

Posted by Stacey on December 30, 2014 in Life Musings |
Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Some of the more Grinch-like people I know have already taken their Christmas tree or Festivus Pole down and are already struggling with the Christmas tree disposal question.

Rather than throwing your Christmas tree over your back fence into your neighbour’s yard, consider reducing inter-neighbour conflict by disposing of your natural Christmas tree at one of several community tree chipping events:

Kinsmen Club and 1st Kinsmen Scout Group

Date: Saturday, January 3 and Sunday January 4

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Town Centre Stadium Parking Lot A

 

Kinsmen Club and Centennial Music Department

Date: Sunday, January 4

Time: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Centennial Secondary School

 

The Friends of Mundy Park Heritage Society

Date: Saturday, January 3 and Sunday, January 4

Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Location: Mundy Park Gravel Lot (off Hillcrest Ave)

 

Scouts Francophones de Maillardville

Date: Saturday, January 3

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Location: Canadian Tire (1200 Seguin Drive, off Lougheed near IKEA)

Trees must be free of any decorations or tinsel and all chipping is by donation to support the community groups organizing the events.

If you are like me last year and you missed each of these Christmas tree disposal events, you can also take out all your post-Christmas aggression on your tree and hack it to bits and then put the remains in your Green Cart, as long as the lid is completely closed and the tree is cut into one-metre lengths and a maximum of 10 centimetres in diameter.

Whole or cut trees can also be dropped off for free at the Coquitlam Yard Trimmings Drop Off Facility (995 United Boulevard). If you choose this option, you should be aware that it has been scientifically proven that it is impossible to ever get the needles of Christmas trees out of the vehicle you transport the tree in. Good luck with your Christmas tree disposal – whatever method you choose.

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Community Consultation Hijacked?

Posted by Stacey on December 29, 2014 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

Over the last couple of years a buzz word that I hear a lot (too much of) is “community consultation”. Any change that a business or community wants to make has to go through a “consultation process” to help the impacted community members come to terms with what is about to happen to their community.

When Vancouver mayoral candidate Kirk Lapointe was talking about where he would put emergency homeless shelters all he would commit to was having more consultation with communities.

Mayor Gregor Robertson

Mayor Gregor Robertson

I heard Mayor Gregor Robertson on the radio and when he was asked about community opposition to turning an empty hotel in downtown Vancouver into an emergency shelter for homeless people he admitted that perhaps they should’ve done more community consultation.

When they want to talk about putting a new pipeline through Burnaby to pipe bitumen from the Alberta tarsands to the BC coast, either via the northern route or the route through southern BC and Burnaby, people say they need more “community consultation”.

Anytime there is a project that somebody is trying to push forward that another community group is opposed to, any project, whether it is a homeless shelter or a pipeline to pump bitumen into tankers to go to China, or building higher density housing along Cambie Street or adding carriage homes to a municipality, any of these projects will require “community consultation”.

Really what I wonder is what is the point of the community consultation process? Is the consultation process supposed to help people understand the pros and cons of the project or is it just a way for some community groups to organize and block a project from moving forward? Do you really think that there will ever come a time there will ever be enough consultation to bring everybody on board?

So really, what is the current community consultation process really about? My concern is that it is being used as an opportunity for people to vent and oppose projects. And that to me is a travesty.

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Changing Attitudes about Christmas Day

Posted by Stacey on December 28, 2014 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

I don’t know your feelings about this topic or issue but I am feeling quite shocked at the way that Christmas Day is now treated.

Christmas Day is one of the biggest days to open movie blockbusters. Christmas movies like “Into the Woods”, a sort of freakish remaking of all the classic and horribly disturbing children’s stories that nobody in their right mind should ever read to a kid under the age of 39. I suppose nothing says merry Christmas like a horror movie.

Another thing that surprised me was that there were 4000 people who visited the Vancouver Aquarium on Christmas Day! That’s correct, four thousand people visited the aquarium on Christmas Day.

Interestingly, the local No-Frills grocery store was closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year but the Shoppers Drug Mart and the Starbucks next to it were both bustling. I remember when I was a kid everything was closed on Christmas Day. Everything other than the Chinese restaurants.

I suppose the times they are a changing.

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Coquitlam to Jingle All the Way

Posted by Stacey on December 17, 2014 in Community Events with Comments closed |

You can be a part of Coquitlam history as the community aims to break the record for the largest group of people singing Jingle Bells together.

Evergreen Cultural Centre

LaFarge Lake Lights

Join Coquitlam’s Park Spark team on Monday, December 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at the Innovation Centre (located right beside the Evergreen Cultural Centre). The singing will take place outdoors on the plaza between the Innovation Centre and the Evergreen Cultural Centre. Look for the Park Spark tent and flags.

The first 100 participants will receive a free jingle bell.

The current record for the largest group singing Jingle Bells while ringing bells is 488 people, held by Albany, New York (according to Recordsetter.com).

Coquitlam’s Jingle Bells record attempt will take place rain or shine, and participants are encouraged to wear festive attire including holiday hats, ugly sweaters, and jingle bells.

While the singing is expected to last approximately 30 minutes, the event provides a great opportunity to visit the holiday lights display around Lafarge Lake and City Hall.

For more information about the Jingle Bell record-setting attempt, visit www.coquitlam.ca/parkspark.

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