Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A mountain out of a molehill? *

I guess this topic expands a bit on what Michelle wrote about the other night...

As I do everyday I went into statcounter last night and checked to see who was viewing my blog. I know, it sounds weird and all, but I like to know how people are finding my blog and where they're bouncing in from.

Anyways, as I was scrolling down, I noticed that someone found my blog through a blog address I hadn't seen before, so curiousity got the better of me and I checked it out.

This is what I found. Technically I don't really have a problem with this link, because there's some information about the person who gathered up the data.

I've written about this issue before, and I don't have a problem being listed on people's blogs. I find it interesting when I go to a 'new' blog, or at least it's new for me, and find that my blog is listed there. Actually, I feel a little 'honoured' that my little blog is deemed as 'important' or 'significant' to others in some way.

I did, however, have a bit of a problem with this site about a month ago, when it first went up, just because when I wrote the person and asked her a couple of quesions (mainly when did you adopt and why isn't your blog listed/what is the address) she didn't respond with that info. In fact, I have a feeling that the preface on her blog is aimed a bit at me, since I was the one to throw a bit of a stink about it. I'm such a sh!t disturber :P

I know my site is public and anyone can do something like this, it's fine. It's just when I see a site with no information about the person who gathers it up, it freaks me out a bit.

That said, I've started a new poll, feel free to vote on it and leave a comment if you wish. I'm curious what your opinions are with regards to this issue. If you want to leave an anonymous comment, go ahead, I'm fine with that...I'm more curious about what your comment about this issue is, rather than who you are. ;)

*If the creators of either site are viewing this, please don't see it as a personal attack, this is not my intention at all.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Only a blonde could think of this...*

You have to love the logic involved in this. First the sorority mentions that their numbers have been dropping for years, and then they decide to get rid of 23 members. They're going to increase the numbers in their sorority by dumping a bunch of their members. Bwah? How does that make *any* kind of sense whatsoever?

They now only accept girls who are "popular" with the boys...I think there's another name for that, but I'm too much of a lady to say it. Ok, I'm not, but it sounded good.

While I was never a member of a sorority during my undergrad or post-grad, hell, I don't even know if sororities existed on campus, I was too busy *gasp* learning. Now this isn't to say that sororities don't have their bright spots, I'm sure they do. It's just something that I was never exposed to...ever.

*No blondes were harmed in the writing of this post.

You knew this was coming...

In my never ending search for items of bad taste, I give you THIS!

You just *know* that someone's going to make a mint off of this. A doll for $82? Reeeeally. Some people...

Somehow I don't think C.J. is going to be sniping for that one. ;)

Monday, February 26, 2007


The other day I was blog surfing (yes it's a word and I'm sticking to it) and went to someone's page and saw a neat little feature which I literally drooled over. If you hovered your mouse (not clicked) on any of her links in her sidebar or any hyperlink in any post, a little window would pop up that would show a preview of the page in question.

How cool is that? I might be behind the times, but this was the first time I had seen it. Anyways, I tried to put the code on my page as well, but no matter what I did, nothing seemed to work.

Long story short, I bugged a few people who looked into it, but to no avail.

I figured, I'd write to the fine people at Snap to get some help. I wrote a quick note on their feedback form and figured I'd get a 'thank you for your question' response and that would be the end of it. Of course, initially I got that.

Then today I got a response from someone who said that they couldn't find anything wrong with the code, but she said she would pass it along to the tech department to see if they could figure it out. I just got another email from them with the code fix. How neat is it that they would take time out of their day to fix code for li'l ol' me?

To say that I'm impressed is an understatement. I'm seriously loving this...

Academy Awards wrap-up...


So how many of you stayed up until 12:15 (e.s.t.) this morning to watch the very end of the awards?

I couldn't bear to watch all of the pre-show craptics, err, antics...I mean, really, do we need to see Ryan Seacrest fumble over people's names and ask stupid questions just to fill the air? I turned it off when he asked one of the nominees if he was wearing boxers or briefs...then he filled the viewers in that this actor was doing the new Calvin Klein ads. Whoop-de-do.

I thought that Ellen DeGeneres was one of the better hosts (except, of course, for Billy Crystal who was brilliant at hosting) that the awards have had in years. She was funny and smart and wasn't insulting to the guests.

All I can say is WOW when it came to that dance troupe. How funky was that?!

I was disappointed, however, that they didn't give out the awards people really care about (come on, you all think like that) until at least half way in. I should have just gone to read a book in the meantime. Yes, it was great that some smaller films won awards, yay and all that, but I have a feeling that because the 'good' awards weren't given until later that they probably had a lower than normal viewership.

I was *SO* happy that Jennifer Hudson won! She really deserved the win. But I have to admit that when she and Beyonce were on the stage, it almost sounded like the two of them were having a sing-off, trying at every turn to out-belt each other. I have to admit that Jennifer can out-sing Beyonce, she's just got a bigger, stronger voice. That isn't to say that Beyonce can't sing, she just can't sing in the same league as Jennifer. :P

The best supporting actor, Alan Arkin, was purportedly a surprise...but since I didn't see Little Miss Sunshine, I can't comment if that was well-deserved or not.

There were no surprises with the Best Actor/Actress. I should have gone to bed at this point, but I wanted to see Martin Scorsese win his first Oscar. I know that the envelopes are supposed to be sealed and the vote is a secret, but I don't buy it. His three best friends just 'happened' to be chosen to give that award? I don't believe in those kinds of coincidences, nor do I believe in the Easter Bunny. :P

Overall it was a good show, just WAAAAY too long. I have an idea for next year, they should have one of the 'best editing' winners chop that show down...

By the way, I took my poll down yesterday about whether I should tweak my sidebars or not. 71% of you said that I should leave my adoption blogrolls as they are and not switch to the drop-down menus. Personally I like the drop-down menus, but I thought about it, each time I'd be adding a new blog to it, I'd have to re-jig the menu. After a while it would probably be a pain. :P

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Houses, houses everywhere...not a one to buy. ***UPDATE***

Josh and I have been looking for a house for quite some time, but it seems that everything in our price range (which I'm not going to mention) is either:

a) too small
b) too much needs to be done to it
c) or they've been raising monkeys in the basement

We've been looking for well over a year, I guess we're spoiled by the apartment that we live in. It's HUGE and in a great neighbourhood. The majority of the tenants are elderly so it's a nice, quiet building. Our main problem is finding a house that is comparable to our current master bedroom (which is 17' X 12' give or take). We've seen master bedrooms that are 10' X 10' (which is ok, but we have large furniture and a king size bed) or ones purported to be 20' X 13' but they didn't mention in the ad that the room was irregular and was actually L-shaped. Talk about disappointing!

We were in one house last year where there was obvious flood could see the markings and mold along the lower part of the walls. Another house we were in had a big hill in the backyard, which is ok, until you realize that the house was at the bottom of that hill...can anyone say "flooded basement"? When I looked at the basement window and there were black markings around the seal of it, I kinda decided that wasn't the house for us. I should have known at that point that we needed to switch agents when he explained it as "that's not mold, that's just stray spray from the stucco ceiling". Umm, stucco is white...this is black.

We've been in houses that had stained floors (not in a good way) which were described as "rustic". They literally looked like someone had used a magic marker to draw lines on, or someone had run a floor sander over it on too high a setting. The floor was ANYTHING but rustic looking.

We've been in houses that claim to have finished basements, but the insulation was hanging down, or disparate wires are hanging down.

We were in one house last summer where the owner of the house left his collection of porn magazines on his desk, so when we walked into the office, one woman's bits and pieces were splayed out before us.

We were also in one house where none of the light switches worked. We literally walked in, flicked the switch and nothing happened...nada, zero, zip.

We're now on to our third realtor who claims that it's "no problem" to find a place in our range and with our specs...we'll see. We'll give him until the end of the summer. I really want to move and be settled in our new house before "Little Maple" comes along. The last thing I want to do is uproot her X number of months after bringing her home.

***To answer Michelle's question, we're looking in the Thornhill or Richmond Hill area. For those non-Ontarians out there, that's just north of Toronto.***

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Please explain this to me...

Why on earth is there so much coverage of Anna Nicole Smith? She never had this much media attention when she was alive.

Yes, the entire situation is a tragedy and there's no denying it. But why is it that every time I go and turn on the news, her face is plastered all over it? I swear had she not died, CNN would have nothing to report on...and don't EVEN get me started on Entertainment Tonight (and other 'entertainment' shows).

ET seems to have put a lot of stock into believing that HKS is the baby's father, personally though, I can't wait until they have egg on their face when it's proven that Larry Birkhead is the real father. :P

The thing that I can't understand is why didn't the judge just get the DNA samples and have the entire situation dealt with. Test the baby and prove or disprove things once and for all.

The situation is becoming a media circus. Oh wait, scratch that, it already is...

Even Britney's little 'cuckoo for cocoa puffs' acting out hasn't dissipated much attention from ANS.

That poor, poor baby...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Which side do you fall on?

I was watching the news tonight and saw a follow-up story on the eight year old girl in Tennessee who was adopted as a three-week old infant. Her birth parents are of Chinese origin and apparently they were going through some 'tough times' when she was born and asked the agency for help. At the time, they didn't understand what adoption meant nor did they realize that this was a permanent decision.

The adoptive father asked her in the interview, "Where would you rather stay, in the United States of America?" (said with a lot of enthusiasm and she answered really quickly) "Or would you rather go to China?" (said with less enthusiasm and almost a bit of anger/hatred.)

She despises her culture and her heritage so much that when she's asked, she tells people that she's Mexican. I have to wonder, did she come up with that on her own? She was seen in the article, running around with a sombrero on her head. Did her adoptive parents buy that for her and tell her to wear that? I might be wrong, but I don't know of many eight year olds who would come up with such a story on their own. I know kids are imaginative, but that kind of takes the proverbial cake...

I understand that this custody battle has been going on for 6+ years and that there really is no "winner" in the case. Yes, the birth parents technically "won", but what did they really win? They'll have their child back, but what is she coming back to? A culture that she now despises and a family that she doesn't know.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Who ordered up the steaming plate of crazy?

So I'm a little late in discussing this, so shoot me.

It seems that things have now gone from bad to worse (if that is even possible) with Britney, she's now admitted herself into an in-patient rehab facility. Good for her, for finally doing something about her...issues. Though really, couldn't she have done it last week when she still had hair? What WAS she thinking?

Though I think her mom forced her into it, she probably realized she couldn't make much more money off her daughter while she's portrayed in the media as a loon. :)

From her divorce to her 'fashion shows' to her head-shavin', tattoo-gettin', wild-eyed lookin', sorry state this weekend, all the way to rehab...gee, I didn't see THAT coming. :P

You know it's really sad when K-Fed comes out looking like the 'better' parent...

In all of this, I just have two questions...where the hell are those kids and who's looking after them?!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

To tweak or not to tweak...

I'm debating about tweaking the adoption blogrolls on the sidebar (so if you're looking at the site through Bloglines, you'll actually have to visit the blog). :P

If you scroll down the sidebar, you'll see the drop-down menus I created recently (right below the "Headmeister blog design" logo)...should I do the same for the adoption-related ones as well?

Please take the time to vote in the mini-poll on the sidebar, and if you have an extra few seconds, tell me why you voted the way you did - the poll will be open for a week.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

How did I miss this?!

This past Thursday the Toronto Star had an entire section devoted to Chinese New Year. Not an article or two, an entire section.

We went over to my in-laws last night for dinner and they were talking about the section...Josh and I must have had a look like we were two deer stuck in headlights. Anyways for the Canadians out there that still might have the paper from Thursday, go read it...if not, you can read the section here.

There's one story about Chinese adoption, so if you just want to focus on that alone, you can read it here. There's a tiny mention of CB in it, as well as talking about FCC (Toronto). The main focus of the article, however, is on Deborah Maw's children (she runs an agency in Toronto - Open Arms).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy New Year!

Spitgirl here.

恭喜發財! (Gong1 xi3 fa1 cai2) - That last syllable is pronounced "tsai2".
新年快樂! (Xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4)

And a happy new year to all. Life has been fairly busy for me over the past few months (ah, the crazy life of a recently engaged woman), but I couldn't resist posting today, two days before Chinese New Year. Out here in California, the more liberal-minded call it the Lunar New Year, since more cultures than just the Chinese celebrate it.

First off, the obligatory Wikipedia reference:

That being said, I wanted to reminisce a little and talk about what Chinese New Year means in my family, and the various traditions we uphold. In no particular order, I want to talk about:
  • Catch phrases
  • Red envelopes
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Superstitions or lack thereof
Catch Phrases
Well, there are only two, and I've already posted them up above. I always was irritated in elementary school, when all the teachers would teach that Chinese people said "Gong Hay Fat Choy." I never grew up saying that, and then the teachers would look sweetly at me and ask me to pronounce it for the class. "Gong xi fa tsai," I'd say. They'd then look at what they'd written on the board and look at me as if I were crazy.

I was trying to explain this to a coworker this morning - there are over 40 dialects of Chinese, but only one written language. The pronunciation of the words have nothing to do with the words themselves, especially when you go from one dialect to another. In the United States, there's a fair split between Cantonese speakers and Mandarin speakers (two of the larger dialects, the latter of which is the national language for China and Taiwan, and the former of which was the dialect used in Hong Kong), with smaller number of people speaking some of the more rural dialects, such as Shanghainese and Toisan.

About 30, 35 years ago (the exact date is probably up on Wikipedia), the Chinese government decided that they needed to address the illiteracy rate, and decided to simply the characters significantly. Those on the mainland switched, those that were not underneath Chinese rule (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau), never did. The new system was called "Simplified Chinese," and the older one was then called Traditional Chinese. There is no real correlation between which people groups use one and not the other. As someone who grew up with two parents who had grown up in Taiwan, I learned Traditional Chinese, and hold fast to that now. (That means that every word I post in Chinese here will be in Traditional, sorry.)

Okay, anyway, back to the phrases. "Gong1 xi3 fa1 cai2," according to Wikipedia, means "congratulations and prosperity." It's close enough - the first two DO mean congratulations, and the second two is more "may prosperty come to you/grow." It's the most common greeting. (On a side note, some people came up with a rude little rhyme that continues, "Hong2 bao1 na2 lai2." Don't say that or risk being thought a rude lout - it means "fork over the red envelopes.") Many people also believe in the superstition of 8 being a good number because of this word "fa1". In Mandarin, the number 8 is "ba1," and it rhymes with this word prosperity. While Western societies believe the number 7 is lucky, Chinese believe it's 8.

The other one I've said during the normal new year - "Xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4." The last two words are general celebratory words ("le4" means unbounded happiness or joy), and the first two are literally "new" and "year."

So, the tradition goes: I walk into the door. I greet my grandparents and say those two catchphrases. They are pleased I am so well-mannered and welcome me in.

Red Envelopes
This normally came after supper, but it's a large part of this celebration - and any birthday, for that matter. These red envelopes are literally that - little red packets just about the size of an index card. "Hong2 bao1" means... wait for it... red... package. Bao1 is meant to be used for anything wrapped up, such as food (bao1 tze3) or a package, to package (bao1 ci3 lai2). You can pick them up in any Chinese grocery store or within specialty stores. Sometimes they have little people on it, sometimes they have a Chinese character on it. The ones I get from my mom come from the local Bank of America branch, and have both the BofA logo and a really nice picture of a flower.

When we were younger, we were made to kowtow (kuh1 toh2) to our grandparents for our red envelopes. Kowtowing literally means "knocking the head," and consists of kneeling on both knees on the ground and pressing the head between the hands on the ground. When I grew older and was more sensitive to these types of things, I was completely shocked that we would practice ancestor worship like this, and always felt very strange kowtowing. But then I joined a martial arts club and we bowed to each other like this every single day, and it took on a definition of respect.

The system of red envelopes is very simple - red envelopes are given to anyone of the generation below you. I wouldn't give hongbao to my siblings or to my cousins, nor to my parents or grandparents. But I give hongbao to my friends' children, my godson and his brother, and in the future, to my own children. When does it stop? I've heard many different stories from many different people, but my own family celebrates it by giving hongbao to the unmarried children, even adult unmarried children. (This holds to the belief that a Chinese kid is not an adult in the household until he/she is married.) Other people hold onto the magic number 30, and even others say when the first child of that generation gets married.

On a side note, this means this is the last year I'll get them on both counts. :)

On another side note, hongbao are also given on the children's birthdays as well as on the grandparents' birthdays as a part of the celebration.

There's only one real rule about clothing. Red.

Red is considered a lucky color - some might say auspicious, and if you believe the Wikipedia article, it's because it scares off demons. Nonetheless, red (and the pure red, not a dark red or pink) is widely accepted for anything that you wish to celebrate - New Year's in particular. (For instance, I also wear red at my grandparents' birthdays.)

There are a couple of things to note about food. 1. There is always food at any celebration. 2. Nian2 gao1! This particular type of food is a sticky rice pasta, somewhat along the line of "fun" (like chow fun or ho fun at restaurants). It's normally made in long sticks and sliced to about 1/4" thickness, then stir fried with meat and vegetables. This nian2 means "sticky," but it happens to be a homophone of "year," so of course you eat "year cakes" during the new year! It also helps that it's one of my grandfather's favorite foods....

I was reading through the Wikipedia article and realized that I really have none of these superstitions ingrained into me except for maybe the haircut one. (And we're not even Cantonese!) Having been raised in the United States, a lot of these superstitions seem pretty bizarre (including the one about opening umbrellas indoors) - but then again, walking underneath ladders and black cats would seem strange to one from an Asian country. Let's just say that the superstitions on that page might come from many different regions, and each region of China celebrates in different ways.

We will be celebrating this Saturday night with a dinner with our extended family at my grandparents' house, given that it is the first year we've really been together as a family, as my siblings had been travelling. As is the tradition within Western culture, we celebrate on the night before the new year (New Year's Eve), and cross into the New Year ("guo4 nian2") together - though we don't stay up.

On a separate note, last year's New Year celebration was where my boyfriend first met my parents, so I guess it was a lucky year for me. This year, the year of the Fire Boar, is considered especially auspicious for children, as everyone wants a child who is quietly industrious. (I wouldn't know, I'm a dragon. :) )

Happy New Year to you all, and I wish you a best and prosperous new year!

Blogger's block vs. blogger's diarrhoea

Is it even possible to have this? It seems that the last few days I can't seem to figure out what to post about. There's nothing overly exciting going on, and I don't like posting crap for days on end. Though today, I think I've gone from blogger's block all the way to blogger's diarrhoea...

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but when we get "Little Maple" we're going to eventually print this blog out or put it on CDs (which is probably a lot more environmentally friendly) for her to read all about 'what mommy did while we waited for you'. That's always what this blog has been about, but lately I've started thinking about how great this little outlet is. I've met some truly great people (listed on my sidebar under 'Bloggers we've met') and had email correspondence with a lot of others who I can honestly call friends. Had I never gotten involved with blogging and coming out of my proverbial shell I think the wait would have been all the more 'tedious'.

Speaking of the wait, while it's long, I think I've finally come to terms with it. Yes, I wish it were shorter, but the wait is what the wait is. There's nothing we can do about it, so we'll just ride it out. I know that other countries have shorter waits, but we chose China for several reasons and I really feel that's where our daughter is. I know it's trite to say that, but for me I really believe that it's true, and I don't think at this point I could give up the dream that is "Little Maple".

I went to this site just to see how long the predicted wait is (and I know it's not scientific, so if you haven't been to the site before, don't freak out and yell at me for posting this). According to that site, with a LID of September 13 '06, they predict our referral to come in anytime between 2007-12-06 to 2012-03-22 with a guesstimate of 2008-10-25. While I like their numbers, I still think we'll see our referral sometime around the beginning of 2009, with possible travel in March...but I'm not basing my guess on anything other than wishful thinking. :)

We're still hemming and hawing about her English name. We had a name all picked out, but now I'm having second thoughts about it, so we're kind of back to square one. We've got the Hebrew name down pat (but we're not sharing that yet)...nobody knows other than Josh and I and that's the way we're going to keep it. So there! I told Josh that when we hit our one year LIDiversary we're going to go and buy a bunch of baby naming books - hopefully by then we'll be on the downward slope of this wait.

By the way, sometime today or tomorrow I'll probably surpass 9000 hits on the 'little blog that could'. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Share the love...again

In honour of VD (err, Valentine's Day), I'm going to shake the lurker tree and see who else falls out...

If you find that your blog isn't listed in my blogroll, then please leave a comment if you want it added.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another month...another cake


When we arrived at the community centre, we went in search of Dolores and Shawn, Michelle and Mark, and Paula and Brett. Since I knew that Dolores and Shawn were at an arts and crafts table, we went to look for them first.

Of course, Dolores and Shawn were at a disadvantage since they didn't know what we look like (since there are no pictures of us on our blog...and we're keeping it that way). We sat down, shmoozed for a while and waited for Michelle and Mark to show up.

Once they were there, we all lined up for food. It was actually really good! Nic was a bit more adventurous than I was, but what I had was great. Next time they're in town, I think we're going to go to the restaurant we picked the food up from.

Anyways, when we got back to the table there was a lady sitting at the head of the table, wearing her coat and she had a stack of books next to her. She turned to Mark and started asking him 'so, what is this event about?' She was obviously a party crasher who had no compunction about eating the food she hadn't paid for. :P

She kept asking him questions about Russian adoption and 'why don't you adopt from Russia?' She had a tone, while inquisitive, was almost defensive at the same time like 'is Russia not good enough for you?' While she didn't outwardly say that, it's just the vibe I was getting from her...but I'm willing to be wrong about that.

While we were talking and getting to know each other better (there's only so much you can garner from a blog), we forgot that we were sitting at the A&C table and little kiddies kept coming up to us asking if they could make pig masks...oops.

A little while later Paula came over to us, so I was finally able to meet her. :)

Then it was time for the performances. All the children did really well, but I'll only give you a smattering of photos. We took over 20 and I'll post three of them.

The music kept going off and/or skipping each time these dancers went on stage. They were so enthusiastic and jumping around that it made the CD go loopy. Personally I liked it better without the music (which was turned up a bit too loud for a small room).

There was also a martial arts demonstration, and again, the children did really well. This is something that we're going to enroll "Little Maple" in, when the time is right. A bit to support her growth and knowledge in her heritage, but also so she'll know how to protect herself.

The piece de resistance was the lion dance. Some of the smaller children were a bit afraid of it, but for the most part it was enjoyed by all. The majority of the children though, just wanted to pet it and thought it was really cute (which it was).

If you go into my archives, I believe I posted about a lion dance that my friend's had for their wedding in July.

After the party, we all (minus Paula and Brett) headed over to the Pacific Mall to do a walkabout. Josh and I have been there a few times, but thought it would be really nice to expose the gang to it as well. When we had our fill of the mall we went over to the Mandarin for dinner. Paula and Brett and their friends who are also with CB, Rebekah and Scott (I think), joined as well.

A great time was had by all...and we're looking forward to meeting up again soon!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Share the love...

or as Celine Dion would say, "share the lurve". I found this cute little thing and thought it was amusing and decided to throw it out to all of click on my sidebar and send a valentine (or I'll cry)...

(and yes, before you say it, I know it's lame...cute, but lame.)

By the way, in case you forgot, you still have time to vote for Heather in the Share the Love blog awards.

Before and after

Our agency put on a CNY party this weekend (actually it was more of a LNY - Lunar New Year party). Since I've been in contact with a number of people (via their blogs) and they're with our same agency, I thought it would be nice if we all met up at the party and then went out for dinner! I emailed Nic and Tim, and they came up from Buffalo to meet up with us. I'll talk more about that in the next post...

Anyways, I had been emailing someone from my agency lately and for those of you that I've emailed know that I have my blog address in my 'signature'. Anyways, she went to my blog and wrote me back saying how much she enjoyed it and we continued emailing a few more times.

On Tuesday I got an email from her, asking if we could pick up the food for Sunday's party. At that point I had no idea how many people were showing up for the party and I figured 'why not?' much food could there possibly be?

On Wednesday I found out and freaked out a little. Since we have a Honda Accord I didn't think it would all fit in.

The amount of food was rather staggering, once I found out there were 325 people coming to the party, that is...

We had to pack 600 dumplings, 50 sweet rice dumplings, 200 dough fritters and 200 doughnuts into our car. GAH!

Once we found out how much food was involved, I emailed Kathy (who unfortunately didn't end up making it because Joel was sick), Dolores, Michelle, and Paula in a panic, asking if they could meet us at the restaurant on Sunday to help pick up the food. Michelle said that she would meet us and we agreed that if I needed her (or didn't) I'd call her and let her know. As it turned out, we were really close to needing help. Actually, at one point, I considered calling my brother who lives two minutes from the T&T supermarket where we picked up the food. I figure he could help since he drives a Pacifica...

When we got to the restaurant, the lady behind the counter asked what we were there for and I told her that I was picking up the order for our agency. She then took us into a small room and said 'here it is'. We asked her how much of it was ours, as there were containers on the floor and chairs. She said 'all of it, you'll need a buggy.'

At that point, Nicole said that the look on my face was priceless (and I'm quite sure it was). Josh looked at it and said 'holy *#(@'. While we can laugh about it now, yesterday it wasn't as funny. ;)

So the four of us made two trips to the car and slowly loaded it up. The entire trunk was full and so was the front passenger side (floor and seat).

We were not amused. :P

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Ok, file this one under just plain odd. Our illustrious provincial government thought of a 'great way' to divert liquor bottles from the landfill. They peeled some bananas, knocked their heads together, ooked a little and came up with this.

From now on, when you buy any alcohol from an LCBO store (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) you'll be paying a deposit on the bottle. When said bottle has been drained finished, you can return it to The Beer Store (yes, that's really the name of the store that sells beer) and get your money back. It seems odd to me to buy alcohol from one place just to return it to another.

Now is it just me that sees a problem with this?

For any bottle that's returned you can get between $.10 and $.20 back and the government is touting it like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. To me it just looks like you're "robbing Peter to pay Paul". Who comes out ahead? You certainly aren't making any money as the government claims you are, and really, how many of us would truly go out of our way to take the bottle back for the money? Yes, I can see people taking it back because they're serious about recycling, but for the money, no.

As mentioned in the article, the program is having an unexpected boon. Apparently in certain areas of Toronto, the homeless are going through people's 'blue boxes', taking the bottles out and returning them for the cash.

Personally I think it would be far better and get more people involved, if the return of empty bottles garnered a percentage of the bottle returned. For example, if you returned an empty bottle of wine, you should get X percent (for sake of argument call it 10%) of the cost of buying that bottle of alcohol...or at least get X percent off the cost of the next bottle. At least it would make people more discerning in what bottles they look for in their neighbours box.

I mean, really, are people who buy expensive scotches and bottles of Dom Perignon going to go out of their way to get their $.10 or $.20 back?

Friday, February 09, 2007

*tweet tweet* ***UPDATE***

Yup, it's true, I'm officially a full-fledged blogger chick. If you scroll down, on the right side of the page there's a little box with fresh meat new blogs to peruse! Woo! (Ok, so I have nothing interesting to post today, so shoot me.) :P

***Either I'm overtired or this is one of the most amusing things I've seen in a while. I'm sorry, but a picture of a rubber duck with dreds is just too damn amusing. Too bad I never took the initiative and bought Connie's 'ladies' and took them on my European odyssey (though I did think about it). ;)***

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

Sad...and weird all at once. In all this, I feel very sorry for that little least we know for sure who her mother was. I don't mean for that to sound as flip and/or callous as it does...

I wonder what's going to happen to her baby and if we'll really know what happened to her. The conspiracy minded part of me wonders idly if her lawyer/husband/whatever had anything to do with it.

First she gives birth, then her son dies, then she 'marries' her lawyer (though it was really a commitment ceremony, I don't know if it's legally binding). The timing, while obviously tragic, is somewhat curious.

Did she have a will?
Did she leave everything to her daughter?
Did she leave everything to her 'husband'?
Is their union legally binding?
How did she really die?
Who's the real father?

If it wasn't so bloody tragic, it would be a great plotline for a soap opera. You know, I wonder if shows like Law and Order (who have a habit of ripping stories off and claiming they're 'fictional') will do a take off of this, but change it JUST enough so they themselves don't get sued. I guess only time will tell.

Any thoughts? Comments?

I don't wanna and you can't make me!

Well it seems that our illustrious Toronto City Council is at it again. Yes, they actually had a petty argument about where each member would sit during a photo shoot and since they couldn't agree, the Mayor put the kibosh on the whole affair and cancelled the picture for the day.

How pathetic.

Is our City Council no better than 5 year olds in the supermarket holding their breath because their parents won't buy them a package of Ho-hos? Seriously! (By the way, as an aside remind me not to do a search for images of ho ho again; it's ho-hos damn it!) ;)

The whole fufura erupted when the Mayor wanted his executive committee to sit in the front row, but the councillors wouldn't budge from their seats. Apparently they had those seats during the previous pictures and refused to move when asked. I'm sorry, if the Mayor asks someone to move.

The amusing thing is, not that the rest isn't amusing/ridiculous, one of the councillors is roughly 4'11" and because of the staunch attitude of one of the councillors, she was told to stand in the back for the photo. Yeah, ok, she'll really stand out when she's surrounded by her much taller counterparts...

The other thing that boggles my mind, why on earth would they need to pay $1,000 for rental equipment for what would realistically take an hour (at most) to do?

So our Council can't agree on where to stand for a simple photo, how can they be expected to get *anything* done at all?!

So now the shoot has to be rescheduled; let's see if they can play well and share their space in their proverbial sandbox next time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Just call me Also Ran ***UPDATE***

So the finalists came out for the Share the Love blog awards, and I didn't get to be one. Boo hoo. It's an honour just being nominated...yadda yadda yadda. Maybe next year? On the upside, at least I get to keep the handy dandy little pic on the sidebar...woo.

Anyways, please take the time and remember to vote for Heather as she got into the finals for "Best Blog Design"! Go and your butt off!

***I just went to the blog awards site and apparently there was a mix-up as far as voting for the finalists goes. Anyone who voted between 10:00am and 3:00pm today, the vote didn't count and you need to go and vote again.

Out of curiousity, I emailed Heather (the one who ran the award, not the Heather we all know--if that makes sense) and I came >close< to getting into the finals with a tally of 25 votes. To those that voted for me, thanks! To those that didn't *pfffft* ***

Monday, February 05, 2007

A phone call and 9000 pieces later...

I was woken up at 4:30 on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago by some (insert offensive name here) who wanted to know where we lived. That's all they said, over and over "where do you live?" and my brilliant husband, instead of hanging up on the person kept asking "who is this?" so it turned into somewhat of a comedy of errors.

Anyways, I couldn't sleep after that and I turned on The Shopping Channel. Big mistake. Now I'm not one to buy things off the tv, but I saw this 9000 piece scrapbook set. Yes, you read that right...9000 pieces. I figured I couldn't go wrong considering it was only $37.00.

I received it a few days after I placed my order and it's still sitting on the dining room table. I have no idea how to even get started on this. You see, I'm not one of 'those people' who scrapbook. Not that I'm talking about scrapbookers in a negative light, I actually envy people who can take photos and scraps of paper/lace/embellishments and make something beautiful. I just have no skill when it comes to anything arty.

So here I sit with a 9000 piece scrapbook set and have no clue what to do.

Next time I think I'll make him hang up.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

What if this was their mother, sister or daughter?

Please take a moment and read this. If you're reading this through Bloglines, please take the time to go to my site and read this article (in case it doesn't show up as a hyperlink).

This Saturday started off like any other. I slept in, made my breakfast and read my newspapers (the Globe and Mail & Toronto Star) really slowly. That is pretty much how I start my day of rest. I endeavour to read or engage in activities that bear no resemblance to work. When the time comes, I'll add packing up the hubby and Little Maple for Shul to my to-do list.

On page three of the Globe, I was greeted by the enclosed article that talks about Orthodox Jewish women being attacked aboard Jerusalem's city buses. Were they attacked by muggers? No. Hooligans? No. They were attacked by Orthodox Jewish men vigorously demanding these women move to the back of the bus where it is assumed women are supposed to sit. Hmmm. Further in the article there are references to shops being torched for displaying immodest clothing in their display windows and gangs of men who splash bleach on immodestly dressed women who walk through Jerusalem's Orthodox neighbourhoods. Hmmm.

Seeing an article like this depresses me as it gives narrow minded people ammunition to blight Israel and clouds the reality that members of certain Ultra Orthodox sects have no idea how much damage they are doing to how the outside world perceives them and the Jewish community at large.

This and many cases like it are working their way through the Israeli courts. This is not about religion. The courts should see this in the cold clear light of day as a series of assaults, arson and harassment of a disadvantaged element of society. Some women who live within these enclaves receive treatment just slightly better than the average house cat. It is time for the learned leaders within these communities to re-read the Talmud and practice the Golden Rule to their women. Would this gentleman mentioned in the article be happy if his wife, sister, daughter or mother was thrown to the ground in a similar manner? Many know that to be sent to the back of the bus is dehumanizing and was a flash point for the US civil rights movement. I do not think this gentleman and many like him realize that to be sent to the back of the bus gets a North American's blood boiling.

It is articles like this that cast a dark cloud over the Orthodox movement. As Josh was part of it in his youth, there are benefits to the movement people do not see in the media or are seldom exposed to in their everyday life. The list of positive elements is long, but here is a short list for the benefit of blog readers.

Modesty/education: The notion that a woman should dress like a queen and be beautiful without losing her dignity. A woman who is uneducated cannot be an equal partner in the marriage: teach their children, generate her own income in a dignified way or help her husband when he needs help.

Discipline: Having one day of rest with the family allows one to have quality time disconnected from the electronic world, a chance to become better connected with one's community and recharge one's intellectual batteries.

Rituals: Gives one a chance to learn history, legends, songs and wisdom in an easy to digest form. It gives meaning and connectivity to what looks like to many, a bunch of strange writing and annual rituals that are perceived as a burden. Passover is a good example of this. Everyone knows the seder, but what's special is that my grandmother was born on the second night of Passover and it's on the second night (one year) that my grandmother's broken desk clock which sits in our living room, started moving and stopped when Passover was finished; that alone inspires us to do an extra good cleaning job on the apartment and sing well because we know she is watching over us.

Mitzvahs/Good Deeds/Golden rule: Do what you can, while you can! The Cub Scouts say "do a good turn to somebody everyday". Raising and teaching children is a mitzvah. Donating money to the poor. Taking the burden off of another person's shoulders. Helping an old lady across the street. Giving someone shelter. Most people know a good deed when they see it and it's a built-in assumption that the Almighty is watching.

As it relates to the article above, Jewish values are not being followed, nor are any mitzvahs being done in throwing someone down on a city bus, splashing them with bleach or torching their business. I wonder, in 120 years when this gent goes to the "Pearly Gates", the Almighty looks upon him, his lifetime of mitzvahs, and returns him to Earth in his next life as a woman. HA HA!! (Nelson Muntz battle-cry)


*bleat bleat*

Month #3 and we made another deposit in the "loonie/toonie" fund. So we've got a nice little amount starting to pile up in the account. We're easily going to have our plane fare saved up by the time we travel in two years. We still haven't decided if we're going to fly business or first class, but it's not like we have to make a decision anytime soon. ;)

This afternoon Josh and I went to see Dreamgirls. It's a good movie, but I can't quite agree with the Best Supporting Actor/Actess Oscar nominations for Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson (even though she'll probably win). Don't get me wrong the singing is incredible, but the acting not so much. I was fairly surprised at how much better a singer Jennifer is than Beyonce...that girl can BELT IT OUT! After I saw the movie, we went over to WalMart and I bought the soundtrack.

I guess I'm just a sheep afterall.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Are you kidding me?!

So, there's a new movement in Toronto started by our wonderful municipal government. It states that everyone that has a cat should get one of these. Yes, that's right, all Torontonians who are cat owners need to get a license for their cat.

I can hear a collective 'HUH?!' from those reading this. I can understand having a collar on your cat, especially if it's an outdoor cat. I can understand putting an information tag on the collar, in case s/he gets lost. But a license? How on earth can the city enforce that?

Are they going to seriously go door to door and ask if people have a cat? What if you say no, but you really have one? They can't come in to find out, wouldn't they need a search warrant?

I can envision it now...Deuce's picture at the Post Office with a hand-drawn scrawl over it "TORONTO'S MOST WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE!" I mean, seriously, doesn't the city have bigger issues than going after cat owners?

After I read that article it reminded me of this.

So I guess my question is should we really get involved with something so foolish?

By the way, there's still time to vote for me! *hint hint* (Does this count as 'thought provoking'?) ;)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

One year ago tonight....

I started thinking about our paperchase lately and remembered that tonight marks exactly one year since we had our first meeting with our S.W. to discuss the adoption.


How time fli...err, drags. ;)

We decided at some point last January to adopt, but unfortunately that date doesn't stick out in my mind. I know a lot of you out there have one event or date that stands out as *the date* you decided to adopt, but honestly, I don't recall when that was for us. There was no fanfare; we just knew we wanted to adopt.

I could go into the reasons why, but I won't. No offense people, but there are some things that I won't discuss on the blog.


Now for something completely different (well, not exactly, but I wanted to use that phrase). :P

The CCAA updated their site. Congratulations to all the parents who are seeing their children for the first time today. They also finally updated the site to show that everyone up to and including March 22 '06 have successfully been through the "Review Room". I'm hoping that sometime this year, we'll be through. Is that too much to ask? ;)

Johnny got "the call" today. He and Sharon are now the proud parents of a beautiful 25 month old son! A wonderful addition to their family and a little brother for Megan.

I'd like to thank the little people...

I'd like to direct your attention to the handy dandy little button on my sidebar. I'll wait while you scroll...

Are you there yet?

Well it seems that one of you nominated me for "Most Thought Provoking" blog for the "Share the Love Blog Awards". I'm not really sure what to make of that, but thanks! I guess whining helps. ;)

I figured, if anything, I might get a nomination for something else...but not that. Not that I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth or anything (hey, what DOES that phrase even mean?)

Anyways, this post isn't just about me, it seems that Heather got two nominations! One for "Best Site Design" (well, duh) and the other for "Best Writing"! I'm just glad we aren't up in the same category. Though it would have been amusing if I got nominated for "Best Site Design" on a site I didn't design...but that's just my twisted sense of humour.

So if you could take a moment and go here, you could vote for both of us...yes, I know, another shameless plug. Voting is open from now until February 6th and then on the 7th the finalists are announced. Like I said before, I don't think I really have a chance to come close to's just an honour being nominated. ;)