Saturday, June 30, 2007

So... what'd ya think?

This is a purchase I thought long and hard about. It's a "KidCarry" child hip carrier- supposedly good for kids up to 45 lbs.

Our update on Daniel tells us he's 31 lbs now; I tried to imagine how we will move around China with an-almost-3-year-old-31-pound-toddler. I figure that, if he's into it (or even if he's not), I'll try to carry him a lot to promote attachment. But, given that I'm barely 5'2", and we will be in Nanjing- one of the "furnace cities"- in August (we hope!), I thought I might need a bit of help. I started looking into hip carriers, and, to be honest, this was the only one I found that I think *might* work with a 3 year old.

When our girls were infants, I was big into the sling thing. Attachment parenting and all that good stuff. I found that they were happy to be carried on my hip in the sling even when they were 2 years old. But it got tricky getting them in there. And they could wiggle out almost at will.

DH was not into sling-wearing. So, when our second child arrived, we bought a MEC Backpack Kid Carrier for him to wear and tote around our oldest. Ms. Independent had other ideas, however... she wanted to WALK wherever she went, thank-you very much.

Fortunately, our second daughter loved that Backpack. And her stroller. She was 4 years old and still loved her stroller. We'd pull into the parking lot of the Mall or a park and she'd wait for us to take out her stroller with a look that said, "What? Me, walk!?!".

We still have the MEC Backpack. My only complaint with it is that is it large, and would be a real pain to travel to China with. The KidCarry, on the other hand, is light, easy to pack, and looks promising... so, we'll see whether it will live up to its claims, or if I just flushed $70US down the tubes!

Ah...long weekends

I'm on my second cup of tea, the chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs have been made and devoured by little mouths, the dogs are fed, and I've already had a first pass at blog visits and Yahoo group reading... can it really get any better than this??

My "China Scrapbook" is calling me, I think... but so are the dirty floors and the litterpans in the basement... so, once I rouse myself enough to finish at least one of those jobs, I might just have to do some scrapbooking today.

I visited a few websites this morning and was inspired to be crafty. I also have started thinking about Daniel's 100 Good Wishes Quilt again. Most of his good wishes are scrapbooked, but not all. Maybe that's what I'll do today. Now, as for his quilt... let's just say that I live in hope that he'll be cuddling under it sometime during the winter... (or maybe that should read "he'll be cuddling under it during some winter" - LOL!).

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hold the Presses! Teapot Auction!!!

Some of you know that I am involved in Ruff-Spots, a foundation which raises money and awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering as a humane method of pet population control. Well, we are having a "Celebrity Teapot Auction"!! Most of the "celebrities" are local, but some have national and even international reputations (good and bad!?!)! Anyways, check out the Press Release below, and be sure to check out the Teapot Auction at

For Immediate Release

Contact: Linda Ryan
Telephone: 782-SPAY (7729) June 29, 2007

Local & International Celebs ‘Serve Up’ Their Teapots to Fight Pet Overpopulation

Volunteers of Ruff-Spots Animal Welfare Foundation are determined to help responsible pet owners who want to spay or neuter their animals but who find themselves unable to afford the cost of the procedure. Ruff-Spots is a charitable organization committed to helping control the pet population in our communities. The group is currently taking on an aggressive fundraising campaign to raise awareness of pet overpopulation and to help establish an affordable ‘Spay/Neuter Assistance Program’ in the province called ‘SNAP NL’.

The group’s Fundraising Coordinator, Linda Ryan, recently asked local personalities to give up their teapots from their personal collections for the cause. “Prevention is key”, says Ryan. “Many good pet owners realize that ‘fixing’ their animals is the only way to reduce the number of unwanted animals. We understand that for people on a fixed income, the procedure is really expensive. People need to act responsibly when it comes to their pets. The problem is tragic, and we should all take a hard look at the sobering statistics of cats and dogs that are given up to shelters or abandoned and left to die inhumanely.” Tremendous as the problem is, Ryan says, “It can be solved if each of us takes just one small step--starting with spaying and neutering our pets!” Ryan says, “Support for the cause has been overwhelming! Business members and celebrities jumped at the chance to help in any way they could, and this is a very unique and fun way in which to do that! The problem pulls at all of our heartstrings, and we are very grateful for their caring and interest.”

As a result, an eclectic display of teapots was ‘unveiled’ at a fundraiser tea at The Tea Garden in Holyrood on the weekend. Teapots belonging to local celebrities from Andy Jones (who donated a pot used in the popular stage production ‘Letters to Uncle Val’) to Andy Wells (who doesn’t normally drink tea yet ‘christened’ a teapot selected especially for the event) generated much intrigue among the 120 guests who attended. Perhaps one of the most unique ‘pots’ in the collection is that contributed by well-known Newfoundland artist Lloyd Pretty who hand painted a tin can that he had used for many a “mug-up” at a favorite fishing spot on the west coast of the island. The oldest teapot contributed is estimated at 100 years old from the personal collection of Sheila Guy-Murphy. Undoubtedly, the most ‘well-known teapot’ is that from international singing star Rita MacNeil. Ryan visited MacNeil’s Tea Room in Big Pond, Nova Scotia two years ago. It was this visit that ‘brewed’ the idea of a tea fundraiser and teapot auction. She contacted the star who graciously sent a ‘signature’ pot from her Tea Room Collection. You can read Rita MacNeil’s letter to the group and the significance of tea in Rita’s own life on the Ruff-Spots website. The teapots are being auctioned on-line at until July 28th.

Ruff-Spots Animal Welfare Foundation was formed in 2003 by a group of just seven people. In just over four years, the foundation has grown to include a network of volunteers and has disbursed over $28,000 to animal rescue shelters and organizations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.


You’re Invited…Would you like more information on the subject of this release, or to schedule an interview with Ruff-Spots’ volunteers ‘over tea’ featuring Rita MacNeil’s teapot?! You are welcome to contact Linda Ryan at 570-2140 (daytime) 364-8413 (evening).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And now for something completely different...

I saw this YouTube video on Julie Kenner's blog and it is too funny!

Any of you who write for a living, or who correct student's writing will appreciate it (Warning: it may not be appropriate viewing for those under 14).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


This is it- the source of my most recent anguish and, now, my great relief! It's actually more impressive in real life, with it's nice red stamp and all. But we could only get a photocopy in black & white.

The letter arrived today and we were able to go and sign it at the adoption consultant's office this afternoon. Hopefully, tomorrow, it will be winging its way back to China with the other documents that the Province had to sign.

Now, we wait for our TA. That needs to come, at the latest, by the first week in August. Hopefully, it will get here before that- or I'm going to be a wreck again. Let me tell you, the grey hairs are plentiful these days!

Not that I thought this would be easy... I just didn't expect it to be so hard every step of the way.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What!?! A Holiday?

I'm so distracted these days, that I didn't even remember that today was a provincial holiday. Discovery Day. This holiday commemorates the day, 510 years ago now, when Giovanni Cabotto (John Cabot) sailed into Bonavista Bay and "discovered" Newfoundland.

Now, I don't get this particular holiday- its one of those "funny" ones that some employers give, some unions negotiate for, some stores close for, but most don't. At the university, faculty don't get the holiday, but staff do. If you work for the federal government, you don't get it, but if you work for the provincial government, you do. Bottom line is that, at our house, we got ready for work this morning. It wasn't until I drove into the parking lot that I realized what was happening.

So, after calling my research assistant and assuring her it was OK to stay home (we had planned to meet today), I called the Province's adoption consultant. I left, oh, probably a 3-4 minute voice mail message for her. Just so she gets it first thing in the morning tomorrow. Because we NEED to get that LOA tomorrow and sign it!!! Otherwise, we won't be able to do so until next Tuesday- which could have serious consequences in terms of our TA arriving on time to travel with our group.

Can you spell STRESS?

Quote for the Day...

Love is inventive
to the point of infinity.

-St. Vincent de Paul

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's coming together...

Yesterday, we bought a new bed for our Daniel. The style is like the bed in the picture above, except it is stained cherry. We also got a chest of drawers- is that what other people call them? We always say "chest of drawers" here.

This was one of my big stressors of late: what will Daniel sleep on? A toddler bed? A single bed? Or should we get a double (since Mom or Dad are probably going to be lying down with him for a while!)?

Actually, we initially considered bunk beds. Then decided against them. Then, we almost bought a set of bunk beds yesterday. Anyways, we came around to deciding that a single/twin bed would be the wisest choice. In a more "masculine" colour. LOL!- there's not much masculine in this house filled with girls, barbie dolls and hair clips everywhere you look- but I have a feeling that will change.

We started shopping weeks ago for a bed. But the other half is pretty picky. No particle board. Real wood only. And not pine. (Me, I like pine.). Finally, we found a furniture store with the real deal in real hardwood for decent prices. Yep, 100% Canadian birch.

So, we'll have a bed. And a chest of drawers. Now all we need is to plaster the walls, paint, and put up the border. I know, I know... what can I say? We're a little bass ackwards. But at least I don't have to worry where he'll sleep now. (Of course, if he's like our daughters, he'll be in with us half the time anyways!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Travel Plans

I'm letting myself get a little happy tonight.

We still have no word on our LOA, but we have a travel itinerary! A couple of conversations with a very friendly travel agent that our adoption agency recommends, and presto! - next thing you know, I have real travel itineraries in front of me.

It is exciting just to see the flights and our names and seat numbers- it makes everything so much more concrete.

I hope our flight plans don't have to be changed because of the delay with our LOA... but, hey, even if they do, we'll eventually be GOING TO CHINA!!! And I have the real proof now.

I might have to sleep with it under my pillow.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Continuing Story...

I really was not trying to keep anyone in suspense about how our little dog Oscar came to live with us. But I have not been able to get myself to the blog to write anything. I had a lousy cold all last week (I'm still trying to shake it), I was super busy at work, then there was the "Kick Off" Soccer tournament with my daughter this weekend... busy, know what it's like.

I also was hoping we'd get some good news about our LOA before I blogged again. Still nothing. And, what is worse: if we do not get it in the next few days, I fear that we will not get it for a few weeks. Apparently, CCAA officials are going on another trip abroad, and won't be available to apply their chop to things like LOAs. Sigh!

So, I'm finding it hard to get really excited over the fact that we've been assigned to a travel group for August. If things go well, we'll be in China from about August 11-23rd, and we'll get our child on the 13th. But I am really cautious about counting on those dates too much, since that letter has to arrive soon for this to happen.

And, I may have blew our chances today. My sister forwarded me this e-mail that clearly said "Do Not Delete". Oh no. I hate those. But, the attachment said "Chinese Proverb", so I figured I'd play along. I opened the "proverb"- allegedly sent from Norway in the 1960s (What the heck!?! They didn't even have PowerPoint back then!)- and it was OK for a few seconds, then it started with the dire warnings of the harm that would come my way if I did not forward it within 4 days. So, I got really cheesed off and hit "delete". So, that's it. Big trouble... seriously, people... get a grip. IF ANYONE READING THIS SENDS THOSE KINDS OF E-MAILS OUT, BELIEVE ME, YOU ARE NOT ENDEARING YOURSELF TO YOUR FRIENDS!!!

OK, so now that I have displaced my frustrations, I have to go get my organic vegetables. We're members of a local Organic Veggie Co-op and the pick-ups start tonight. Yippee! Then, I'm off to more soccer (I actually do love doing the soccer Mom thing).

Oscar's story will have to wait, I guess...
But wait 'til you see him- he is SO CUTE!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

And they call it...

... puppy lo-o-o-ove.... (I was such a big Donny Osmond fan when I was 9 years old!)

So, just to be clear: I still know nada about our LOA. It is probably sitting, unopened in its courier envelope, in a government office somewhere. At least, that's the good scenario. (I won't even think about the bad scenario.) The only two people in the whole Department who can deal with a LOA are away. But at least one should be back tomorrow, so I might have a nicer post to write tomorrow night...or a really, really rotten one.

But, I promised to tell you the love story of Louie & Lady, didn't I? So, here it goes:

We had Louie for about 2 years when my sister-in-law needed a dog-sitter for a couple of weeks while they went on a summer vacation. We were the obvious choice for this kind of favour. Since Lady was young (about a year old) and smaller than at least one of our cats, we agreed to take her.

The day this 15 lb bundle of black curls and cocka-poo wiggles arrived, Louie was smitten. They were buddies within an hour, and it soon became really obvious that Louie was a "dog's dog". Even my husband had to admit that Louie was different with her around.

But, you know what happens with all summer loves... Lady went home. I swear, if I did not know better (ahem...let's keep in mind I'm a scientist), I would say that Louie went into mourning. He moped around the house and the yard for at least 2 weeks. And, once again, even my husband had to admit that Louie was a dog in need of another dog.

Right! All we needed was to find another dog! But we wanted a specific sort of dog- not a specific breed or anything, but a dog that was younger than Louie (not a small puppy, since, by this time, we had a toddler and a preschooler), a dog that would be smaller than Louie (since I thought that might have been part of what worked so well with Lady), and a dog that would be great with our small kids. Guess what? We found one. At our municipal Humane Services shelter. And that's Oscar's story, for another day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Our First Dog...

This is Louie. He is the first canine member of our little family.

Our oldest daughter was 18 months old when we decided that it was time to get a dog. Both my husband and I had always had a dog in our families growing up, and we wanted our kids to know what it was like to grow up with one, too. (Really, we never had a plan for more than one dog!!)

So, off we went to the SPCA and found Louie. He's almost exactly one year younger than our daughter, making him 9 years old now. Wow.

Anyways, Louie was a handful when we first got him. He had a thing for feet, and socks, especially. But not just socks from the laundry basket. I've known several dogs who loved to dig in the laundry for socks. No, our Louie had a real thing for the socks on your feet. I remember sitting in the rocking chair with our sleepy toddler, spending the whole time defending my feet and my socks against this dog who just couldn't get enough of them.

He eventually got over the sock thing. But he still has a thing for any type of paper product: tissues, cardboard, the kid's homework sheets.... it doesn't matter, he'll eat them all.

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but Louie is a little short for his weight. Seriously! He's not fat- he weighs about 40 lbs- a respectable weight for any dog who would be just about 6 inches taller! But, Louie has short little legs. They work just fine, but make him look like an overgrown Corgi!

Next, I'll have to tell you the love story of Louie and Lady (don't worry, he's neutered)... which is the reason why Louie is not an "only dog".

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Spoils of War

Today was the first day of the year that I spend some real time in the garden. Gardening is always theraputic for me. Digging in the dirt just makes me calmer. And I really needed to find some calm this weekend.

You see, of the 7 families that make up the (potential) travel group with our agency, we are the the only family who has not received any word on whether our LOA has been sent by the CCAA. As of last evening, 5 families had been contacted by their provincial authorities and told that the LOA had arrived and was waiting for them. One family, unfortunately, was told that the LOA was still at the CCAA. We're hoping that our agency can hurry that LOA along in some way, so they can travel with the group.

We, however, know nothing about our LOA's whereabouts. Our agency does not know, since the letter goes to the Province. The Province either has not seen it yet, or has not seen fit to tell us they have.

Now, I'm still thinking that maybe the courier package containing the LOA has just not arrived yet. One family out west just got contacted late yesterday afternoon because their Ministry had just received the letter then. So, there is still hope. Maybe our LOA will be opened on Monday. We can't sign it until Tuesday afternoon anyways (travelling husband), so that would be good timing. Yesterday would have been even better timing, though.

SO, I looked for some calmness in the garden- and ended up taking out my frustrations on the dandelions. I might have won a small battle against them this morning, but I know they're winning the war. And, you know what's crazy? I LOVE dandelions!

But most of our neighbours, who spend gads of money on lawn care companies, don't seem to share my joy in these wonderful yellow flowers. Especially after the pretty yellow petals have turned into equally pretty puffy seedheads that the neighbourhood children just adore picking and blowing- right onto the other lawns!

Since we're fanatically pesticide-free, we deal with the dandelions in the old fashioned way. Good ol' elbow grease. Keeps the neighbours content, and is far cheaper, for me, than a licenced therapist.

I was a little sad looking at all those flowers lying on their sides, turning brown in the sun, when, mere minutes before, they were so vibrant and spunky. Oh well. They will return. Of this I am certain.

Friday, June 8, 2007


There are times when I count my lucky stars that I live where I do.

Often, this happens when I'm able to stand on a cliff in the salty morning air, look out into the ocean, and feel a connection to Nature that transcends time.

Then, I can jump back in the car and be at work in 10 minutes. Rare, huh?

This one is a small iceberg. But majestic nevertheless. Isn't it interesting that "majestic" is a word so often used to describe icebergs? I think it is because they simply radiate alarming purity and starkness. Nature unplugged.

Makes me shiver- and not just from the cold.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Turtle

This is Wilson, our pet turtle. He is a 9 year old Red-eared Slider. The pictures are from when we first got him, almost 3 years ago- but he hasn't changed much!!

He came from a local humane society. I am active in that world, so when I was asked if I knew anyone who wanted a turtle, we decided to take him. Ostensively, he was free... but his tank and the super-dooper filter that he needs cost over $400! My husband gets a lot of mileage out of the "free turtle cost $400" story.

Let me say right now that I don't recommend turtles as a pet... UNLESS you are:
1) willing to shell out (get it?) the money for an adequate-sized tank,
2) able to get a really good filter for that tank- otherwise, the tank will really smell,
3) happy to have this critter in your home for, oh, about 30 years! Yes, they can live that long, if they are taken care of properly.

If you can do all that, turtles are neat to have around... we see him kind of like a living "water feature" in our front room- and he's certainly a conversation-starter. Plus, he doesn't bark, doesn't shed on the floor, and doesn't really eat a whole lot!

IF anyone reading this ever does decide to get a turtle, please check with your local SPCA or other animal shelters first. There is a continuous problem with people purchasing Red-eared Sliders and other exotic pet turtles and then thinking that they can "release" them to the nearest pond once they get tired of them. This is REALLY a BAD, BAD idea- introducing a non-native species into a pond system can mean very bad news for the other wildlife native to that system. SO, sometimes they get rescued. And, rescued animals are just fine, thank-you very much!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Google Earth Meme

So, I'm feeling very bloggy tonight. Two posts in one night... must be a record for me.

Anyways, I came across this photo that my husband had saved on our laptop. He's into walking in a big way these days and has been using Google Earth to map out distances for his walks. This one shows a 5 km trail from our street. Our house is near one of those red dots on the left.

Then, I thought, "Wouldn't this be a cute idea for a meme!?!"
So, I won't tag anyone in particular, but how about finding your "space" as viewed from outer space and sharing it? Just go to Google Earth and find your neighbourhood, save the image, and then post it on your blog.
Could you imagine even a few years ago that we'd be able to do this!?!

Our Kitty

Introducing Binka... one of our kitties- isn't she purr-dy!?!

We've had her for almost a year now. She was born in Montreal, no less. Travelled with her Momma and 1 week-old brothers and sisters to the Burin Peninsula, NL... then found her way to us. So, she's a "CFA", as we say locally (standing for "Come-From-Away"!). Our other cat is a CFA also. More about him another day.

Since I'm really nervous about posting pics of my kids on this blog, I've decided to post our pets... should take me about a week to finish.