Friday, December 14, 2012

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2012 - Day 9-14

Hi! Never fear, Jacob's Advent calendar is still being opened on a daily basis, but my entire household has been struggling with some kind of plague and between that and work being stressful I've not had the time or energy to post.

Today though I've got some free time and I'm here to show you the mediocre magnificent treasures Jacob has uncovered thanks to the good people at Lego, George Lucas and my dad.

Feast your eyes on these beauties.

Sorry, you're going to have to squint a bit.
So, looks like we've got some kind of army guy from the Dark Side, one of those big walkie things from The Empire Strikes Back, some kind of satellite doohickey, a rebel pilot, a box droid and a federation weapons depot.

I LOVE the walkie thingy, I forget what it's technically called, but I love it. It's got to be my favourite so far. Jacob, on the other hard, was really stoked about the box droid (they always made me think of moving McDonald's trash cans) and the weapons depot. You can't see it, but the weapons depot came with enough pieces for a double-ended light sabre and even though we all know that Darth Maul (the best thing in Episode I!) was a baddie he had the coolest light sabre.

A pretty decent offering from Lego this week. Well played sirs (and ladies too).

I saw this online yesterday and it made me giggle, especially since it feels like October around here and Christmas cheer, as well as sales seem to be a bit low considering the date on the calendar. Enjoy!



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2012 - Day 6-8

Oh my goodness it's been so busy here!
Alright so here's the last 3 days of Jacob's advent stash. I am happy to report that they all actually look like stuff and are not nearly as disappointing as day 5's "troop ship" or "poop ship" as I like to call it.

Check it out!
More about our crazy week later.
Have a good one!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Me and Santa - It's Complicated

Alright, I promise this is a real blog post with no pictures of Lego or rants about George Lucas. 
I promise.





Remember back at Halloween when I wrote about how I had a complicated relationship with the holiday?
Yeah, it's kind of like that at Christmastime, only with Santa.

I kind of feel like Santa is that weird uncle I'm not sure how to act around. You know the one who wants to give you lingering hugs, drinks a bit too much and occasionally makes comments about how your legs "go all the way up". Let me tell you why.

My parents were anti-Santites. Not the crazy "adjust the letters in Santa and you get Satan" kind of anti-Santites, but still, I knew very early on that there was no Santa. I had a roommate in university that likened this kind of child rearing to abuse, but it really wasn't. Santa wasn't made out to be a bad guy or anything, we just didn't get presents from him, get our pictures done with him or write him letters. Other than being disciplined for telling other kids he was fake, he was basically just ignored at our house.

Who dat?


My parents had a couple of reasons for not incorporating Santa into our Christmas traditions. They felt that there was almost too much going on at Christmastime and that adding Santa to the mix would be too much. Christmas is my birthday, we do the presents and the tree and we were very heavily involved in what our church was doing during the Christmas season. All of that makes for a very busy time of year. Throw Jolly Ol' St. Nick into the mix and things get crazy. The main reason though was that they really wanted to raise my sisters and I in a home built on faith and Santa kind of makes that awkward. Think about it, Santa sees you all the time, knows if you're good or bad, gives you good gifts and can't be seen except sometimes. Santa's modus operandi really mirrors that of God. Right? God sees you all the time, knows everything about you,  including your sins, gives you good things and is most often not seen. Except, as you get older you find out Santa isn't real.  My parents just didn't want our faith to get muddled by the man in red. Makes sense to me.

Now I'm married though and trying to raise a family and my husband (who's family is huge into Santa) and I have agreed to incorporate the idea of Santa into our traditions. We get Jacob's picture taken with Santa, watch Santa movies, and up until last year Jacob got at least one gift from Santa. I was awkward about it first. I mean, I didn't know how to act or what I was supposed to do with this whole Santa thing. Was there letter writing protocol? How long is someone's list supposed to be and how old is too old to sit on Santa's knee?

I have know idea who these kids are, but that's pretty much how I felt.

Last year, Jacob figured out that Santa was a fake. Neither my parents or I had anything to do with his discovery, although my husband did cast some suspicion my way for a bit. Santa brought joy to Jacob and we didn't just want to give Kris Kringle the boot because Jacob knew that he wasn't real, so we decided to move away from Santa and towards St. Nicholas. We explained to Jacob who St. Nicholas was, that he was a real person who lived and died along time ago, we went over why people still thought about St. Nicholas and how Santa Claus was modeled from him. What we wanted to instill in Jacob was that St. Nicholas exhibited kindness, charity and generousity and how those are things we need to have in our hearts towards others all the time and particularly at Christmas. We thought it went pretty well until we got a note from Jacob's teacher letting us know that he was telling kids that Santa was dead. *facepalm*



Things are better this year. Jacob has a firmer understanding of St. Nicholas/Santa and I am slightly less awkward about Santa. I still don't know if I'd run over to give him a hug, but I'd at least nod and smile at him from across the room.

What up, Santa? How you doin'?
 

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendat (2012) - Day 5

Welcome back to the blog posts with what my possibly be the longest tiles ever!

Today Jacob, who is very excited that I put his Lego Star Wars toys on the vast and mysterious Internet, got this.

 
{Source}




Um...when I saw this I did one of those things parents do, I nodded and smiled and said, "That's nice honey" because frankly, I had no idea what this was. Then Jacob rolled his eyes at me and told me it was clearly a troop ship.

Well, ok then. I see. I see that Lego had some extra brown pieces left in their factory and put them in Day 5's little boxy window, but I do NOT see a troop ship. This is where my husband would point out that it should be called a "poop ship" because A. it's all brown and B. because it's a piece of crap. And he would be right.

Screw you Lego and George Lucas! Day 5 sucks and Han shot first!

Now, I'm going to go try to piece together my broken dreams while Jacob enjoys (because he loves it) his troop ship.

*sobs*

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar (2012) - Day 3 & 4

Word up errybody!

It's time for day 3 and 5 of Jacob's Lego Star Wars calendar and can I just say that I kind of miss the Lego City advent calendars?  I mean, this is great, Jacob loves it and it was a gift, but overall I like the Lego City calendars better. You could actually build a scene. One year we had people skating, a snowman, a hot chocolate stand and lots of other recognizable stuff. The Star Wars calendars are great, but I'm not a die-hard Star Wars fan and I can't tell what everything is. And how are Jacob and I supposed to make a scene with a bunch of random spaceships? I don't know.  Just shooting the breeze here.

Monday Jacob got this cool catapult thingy that goes with his Gungan soldier. You remember the one that is NOT Jar Jar Binks.

Day 3 - Gungan Weapon Depot
Did I say catapult thingy? My bad. Apparently this is a Gungan weapons depot.  Silly me.

On day 4 we got a star destroyer. At least I can recognize this ship.  
Remember that time Han attached the Millennial Falcon to a star destroyer and then when the bad guys put out the trash Han and the gang just drifted off with it? Yeah, me too. 
Good times!

Day 4 - Star Destroyer


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar - Day 2 (2012)

Hey! It's day 2 and I bet you thought I was going to forget, but nope, I'm here!

Today Jacob got this.


At first when I saw it I hissed, made the sign of the cross and rebuked the evil that is Jar Jar Binks, but then Jacob, after a very dramatic eye-roll, explained that this monstrosity is not Jar Jar, but just a regular old Gungan Soldier.

Oh. Well I guess that's ok then.

In honour of my son's love of the Star Wars prequels *shudders* here's a Lucasarts Christmas card from 1999.



Until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar - Day 1

It's time for Jacob's Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar - Day 1!
(Just so you know I totally say this as like a rocky, kind of theme song. It's pretty magnificent.)

This is Jacob.
There's a story behind the clip-on tie over the lapels, but that's for a different day.

Jacob's 7 and he loves Lego and Star Wars. Unfortunately, he loves the 3 new Star Wars movies, but I'm working on curing him of that horrible opinion. By working on it I mean that every time he mentions that he wants to watch one of these movies I begin a rage-fueled rant about George Lucas and his destruction of cinematic genius, how "Han shot first" and that Jar Jar Binks is possibly the anti-Christ. We all parent in different ways - don't judge me.
Fortunately for Jacob, my dad also loves Lego and for the last 4 years has seen fit to bestow a Lego Advent Calendar on his first grandson. 

I never did advent calendars as a kid so at first I didn't get the appeal, but over the last four years it's been pretty fantastic to watch Jacob get up and have little mini Christmases for 24 straight days.

Here's what Jacob got today.
[Source]

I imagine for the next 24 days I'm going to say this a lot, but I have no idea what this is. Jacob says it's a submarine from Episode 1 - Phantom Menace and he's excited about it. That's what counts, right. So, yay weird submarine thingy!

Join us tomorrow for Jacob's Lego Advent Calendar - Day 2! [Cue screaming guitars and hard rock vocals]

What Happened to November?

So I realized today that tomorrow is the first day of December and I was like, "What the heck happened to November??"
I remember writing a couple of posts, working A LOT and watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and BLAMMO! it's December all ready. I don't even know how that happened, but here it is.

About November:
I, once again, failed to grow a moustache for Mo'vember, but this lady did and her dedication to raising awareness to male specific cancer is astounding, if not slightly unnerving.

Siobhain Fletcher was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when she was 23, but she's grappled with excessive facial and body hair — one of the numerous symptoms triggered by the syndrome's hormonal imbalances — since puberty.
I did put off waxing my brows for far too long, but girl's got me beat.

So November is usually when my family puts up our Christmas decorations and this year was no exception. We've got our $14 fake tree up with all sorts of irreverent and sentimental decorations. We kind of decorate on the trashy end of the decorating spectrum. Dancing Santas, excessive use of mistletoe and bobble-heads sit among nativity scenes and lots of Christmas photos. I love Christmas, both the religious aspect and the kitschiness of it. Now I'm just waiting for the Christmas food. Somebody bring me some cookies!

This toilet has had a place on my Christmas trees for over 15 years.
Plus, it has realistic flushing sounds.
Work was pretty crazy through November so I feel like that's all I did - Work, come home, collapse. 
I did read some pretty great books, though. Trapped by Kevin Hearne is a great book if you like magic, mythology and lots of actions and adventure. I also totally endorse Ilona Andrews' novel Steel's Edge. Once again this book has action, adventure, sword fighting, a great, original world AND romance. So fabulous!


Yep! So, that's November in a nutshell. 
Stay tuned for some Christmas craziness in December and daily updates of what my little man Jacob gets in his Lego Star Wars advent calendar.

Catch you later!







Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Love This Series!

I don't normally review books on this blog because I already review books at www.wickedlilpixie.com, but this series is awesome and it deserves some major kudos.



Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles is a fabulous Urban Fantasy series that combines intelligent writing, fantastic world building, great characters, witty dialogue and some of the best knowledge of mythology and legend that I've read since I finished The Lord of The Rings. This series is not the regular sexed up vampire stories I usually read, Kevin Hearne makes me feel smarter for having read his books.

 If you're into this kind of thing check out my review over at Wicked Little Pixie.

Cheers

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Me So Horney !

Many of you know that I have the pleasure of being one of the book reviewers at Wicked Little Pixie (wickedlilpixie.com) a site that reviews all sorts of books and snarks about any number of issues. This was one of my first posts for Wicked Little Pixie. The post was published on October 3, 2011 and a couple of things have changed, but not the good stuff. Enjoy!!




This is not a review of the latest in PNR or Erotica.  This is a post about me.
WAIT DON’T LEAVE!!
It’ll be funny, I swear.
Some of the other bloggers thought this would be a great idea, and you like their snarkalicious humour, right? Right! So keep reading.

Have you ever met people with one of those last names. A surname that makes you giggle and wonder how in the world that became a last name? Like maybe the Woodcocks, the Wanks or even the Greatheads. (All real names in my home town!) Well I have one of those names.  My last name is Horney. Yeah, it’s pronounced exactly how you think it is.  I'll wait for you to stop snickering.

Having been Mrs. Horney for close to ten years I’ve noticed some pros to having a last name like this. Here’s just a few;
  • Telemarketers can’t say my name without sounding either confused or as if they’re about to burst into a fit of hysterical giggles. One actually did and, in a bizarre but wonderful turn of events, actually hung up on me.
  • I’m on a first name basis with everybody. None of my doctors, real estate agents, even my boss like to refer to me as Mrs. Horney. This makes me feel young.
  • Discussing holiday functions sounds downright dirty. For Example, this year I’ll be hosting Horney Thanksgiving while my sister-in-law hosts Horney Christmas, and my husband’s parents take on Horney Easter.
  • The Hubs and I are able to lighten the mood in some awkward situations. Prenatal class with a bunch of nervous, first time parents was a lot more fun after we introduced ourselves as Mr and Mrs Horney.
  • I can use the last name to get people off my back. I graduated university with a history degree the same year I was married. During my job hunt, when I was asked over and over why I didn’t just become a teacher I was able to respond with, “Who’s going to pay attention to a teacher with the last name Horney?”. Conversation done.
  • I have a theme song.  2 Live Crew’s classic Old School hit Me So Horney (FYI: This is uncensored!!). may not be polite, but nothing turns heads at a bar on karaoke night quite like singing the uncensored version of this song.
  • If I’m out, I can get free drinks from unsuspecting bartenders.
    Me:Will you give me a free drink if I prove to you how Horney I am?
    Bartender:Uh...hell yeah!
    Me: *slaps ID on bar* There’s my ID. Legally Horney 24/7. Make me a drink sucka! Muwahaha! (This was a lot easier to pull off as a newly wed in my early 20’s. Now it just makes me seem kind of sad and keeps bartenders from taking my orders)
The name’s not all unicorns and rainbows though. I get prank callers, I've yet to win any contests that involve a ballot and I’ll never be able to use my name to become a world-renowned children's author.  My name is not on my company’s website (Massage Therapy + Horney = wrong kind of clients) and someday soon I’ll have to explain to my six-year-old son why his friends' parents snicker when they hear his last name.

People with more refined (read:uptight) sensibilities than myself have asked me why I don’t drop the “y” or use my maiden name. Even my mother-in-law suggested I could pretend it was French and tell people it was pronounced Horn-eh, but I love the name (not to mention the man who gave it to me), it makes me laugh (still) and helps me to break the ice with strangers. What better way to get to know someone than sticking out your hand and telling them you're Horney?

What are some of the funniest, most horrible or down right ridiculous last names you’ve ever heard?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hey! It's November!!

Hey! It's November! And that means it's time for 2 of my favourite things; Mo'vember and NANOWRIMO.

Mo'vember is an initiative that raises money for prostate cancer research and men's mental health issues through the growing of moustaches. Men register individually or as part of a group to raise funds and then begin growing moustaches.

I've heard that there's all sorts of rules with Mo'vember like that you can't let your moustache touch any other facial hair or that beards and chinstraps don't count, but the overall vibe I get from guys involved in Mo'vemebr (known as Mo Bros) is one of fun and camaraderie.

I tried to put together a women's league this year, but I had a very hard time finding women interested in growing their upper lip hair. The ultimate kibosh was put on my Women's Mo'vember league by my husband who did not like the idea of me sporting a moustache, no matter how minuscule.



So if you see a dude with a sad, sparse moustache ask him if he's doing Mo'vember and then ask how you can contribute. Encourage his stache and tell him he's doing an awesome thing. If he's not doing Mo'vember maybe suggest that he has the perfect moustache for it and then run away. :)


For more information about Mo'vember go here.

NANOWRIMO, the National Novel Writing Month, began in 1999 in the San Francisco Bay area with twenty 21 people and since then it has grown in leaps and bounds. NANOWRIMO (pronounced NANO-RYE-MOE or so I've been told) is another one of my favourite November traditions.

The rules of NANOWRIMO are simple, register at http://www.nanowrimo.org, on November 1st began writing a 50, 000 word novel and at midnight on November 30th complete said novel. There are more rules, but that's the basic gist of it.

The official NANOWRIMO coat of arms. Notice the importance placed on coffee.
I tried doing NANOWRIMO a couple of years ago. It's a lot of freaking work! Essentially you need to start a story from scratch (them's the rules) and complete at least 1700 words a day if you intend on completing a 50, 000 word novel by month's end. I felt like all I did was come home from work every day and then hide in my room and write. I got to about 12, 000 words in my Paranormal Romance entitled The Immortal Highlander goes to the Faire before I dropped out. This year I've been asked by over 6 people if I'm trying again. People remember if you start an endeavour like this and they're genuinely excited for you.

Now, I may not have been cut out for NANOWRIMO, but it's so exciting to see a wave of of literary creativity throughout the month of November. I have well over a dozen friends, Internet buddies and clients taking part in NANOWRIMO and it's exciting to listen to their dreams for their novels, read tweets about their struggles and follow their word counts. Today's November 5th and already the NANOWRIMO website is reporting a collective word count of 598,141,628 for this year's event. That's crazy!

If you have a friend doing NANOWRIMO consider buying them some coffee, making a casserole for their,  inevitably starving and neglected family, or just lend them an ear so they can hash out some ideas for their Paranormal, Steampunk (with a hint of Gaslight) Contemporary Inspirational Romance novel that takes place in Spain or whatever. :)

So, those are 2 of my favourite things about November. What's yours?







Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Man Luther

**A little disclaimer.
If you don't want to read anything with a religious viewpoint then come back tomorrow and I'll post a picture of myself with a mustache and make references to my son's gas and how it can take down a horse or other large mammal.***

Alright, you're still here. Game on.

I was sitting in church today and I got to thinking about Luther. Not the BBC television show or Martin Luther King Jr civil rights activist, but one of my favourite historical figures ever, Martin Luther, reformer and all around cool German guy. We weren't actually talking about Luther and I'm pretty sure the charismatic church I attend would totally make him stroke out, but he came to mind nonetheless.

Luther was my main man in university. Due to my penchant for totally unmarketable religious studies courses, my roommate, a civil engineering student, was forced to proofread countless essays about Luther, something she never let me forget. She never understood my fascination with him, which is ok, I never understood her fascination with math and science.  The thing I love(d) about Luther is that he was just one guy, a guy with major issues who's convictions lead to a revolution that altered the religious, social, and economic fabric of Europe and I would argue the World.



Luther was a monk with daddy issues. He felt like he would never live up to the standards of either his earthly father who had high hopes for his son that did not involve his becoming a monk or his heavenly Father who he felt was ultimately out to get him and to who's standards he could never live up to. Luther's time as an Augustinian monk was spent living in fear of God's wrath and conversely cursing a God who made the hope of Heaven unattainable. Luther's transformation from angry monk to reformer came from his understanding of Ephesians 2:8-9.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 
The idea that through faith and God's grace mankind was saved was revolutionary, not at all in line with the current teachings of the Catholic Church and it shook Luther to the core. Like Luther I can easily grasp the idea of God's mercy- I am well aware of my issues, problems and bad habits. However, the concept of God's grace, that he saved me because He favours or loves me just as I am is mind-boggling and something that I have to be continually reminded because it's often easier to believe that I'm not worthy than it is to believe that I am loved and my sins not just forgiven, but forgotten.

I digress.

Luther didn't just sit on this discovery he essentially shouted it from the rooftops by nailing his 95 Theses, an article that showed how the current teachings and attitudes of the Church were heretical, to the front doors of his church in Wittenburg. He so held to his beliefs that he allowed himself to be excommunicated, damning in those days, chased into seclusion, mocked and threatened for the belief that God's love for us and our faith in Him is enough for our salvation and that the Bible, not the words of the Pope or his Cardinals, is the only and true word of God.

Luther then lead what can only be described as the first multimedia campaign. He made use of Gutenburg's new device, the printing press, to print hundreds of fliers for everyone from the ruling classes to the common man. He translated and printed a copy of the Bible that *gasp* anyone could read, not just the clergy. He even used common barroom and folk songs to develop hymns to further bring the good news of God's grace to the masses.

Luther wasn't infallible. He was an anti-Semite (so were most Europeans at the time, not that that excuses it), he was easily provoked to anger ( a German trait perhaps?) and he often seemed to lack compassion. He had issues like everyone else, but he allowed God to use him to spread a message that would (and still does) change everything. I hope that someday I have the passion of conviction so strong that it's revolutionary, that I will be willing to question the status quo and bring about change to what I feel is wrong in my culture, that I will be willing to use all the tools at my disposal to see that change come through and that I will be willing to accept that God's grace is sufficient for me all the time not just when I'm feeling good about myself.

Um yeah. That's all I've got.
A little serious I know, but I can't always be fart jokes and zombie pictures. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween and Me: It's Complicated

So, it's Halloween. Boo!

I have a weird relationship with this scariest of days and it all stems back to my childhood.

My parents were/are very devout Christians and as such didn't want their three lovely daughters traipsing about as witches, devils, ghosts and ghouls. We didn't even watch Scooby Doo*. This was serious stuff for my parents. For them, if a person believes in Jesus then they should also believe in the Devil and why would they want their daughters dressing up as his minions.

 At the same time, schools were a lot different back in the day. I remember that as soon as Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October) was done my classrooms went into full on Halloween prep. There were crossword puzzles, history lessons, spelling bees and math questions all involving Halloween in one form or another and all culminating in a huge, all day, Halloween party. Now, my son is in school and his teachers, for the last 4 years, have committed only an afternoon to Halloween. So clearly my parents were unimpressed by this onslaught of Halloweeness from my school. Which is why my sisters and I stayed home for Halloween.

Yup, we boycotted the holiday all together. Instead of Trick or Treating we went to church sponsored "Harvest Carnivals", pool parties or totally unscary costume parties. We stayed home from the school on Halloween and played games, made brownies and did fun stuff with our mom. We still dressed up because dressing up and imaginative play was huge for us growing up, but we dressed up as princesses, cowgirls, ninjas, angels, hippies, etc. We also ate candy. Tons of candy. My mom particularly liked those disgusting Halloween molasses kisses, so there were always lots of those around the house along with Rockets (Smarties for my America peeps.), mini chocolate bars and caramels. So it wasn't like we were deprived or anything my sisters and I just didn't do Halloween.


BARF! WORST. CANDY. EVER!


Which brings me to today. I don't know how to do Halloween as an adult. I don't have the same reservations about Halloween as my parents did and my husband has no reservations about Halloween at all. I mean, I would freak if one of Jacob's teachers brought a Ouija board into class for students to play with as a teacher from my elementary school did, and I also believe in the fact that there are good and bad things in the world both naturally and spiritually, but I want Jacob to have fun too. It's just so awkward. What are the mechanics of effective Trick or Treating? How do I promote imagination and still keep my kid from dressing up as a demon/ghost/ghoul/other undead critter? How much candy is too much candy to steal from your son's stash?

So yeah, I just don't know how to act, I don't what I'm supposed to be doing and I feel conflicted as a parent. It a good thing that there's tons of candy around to help me deal with these feelings. :)

Everyday we're [zombie] shufflin'. Jacob & Mommy at the pumpkin patch.


*I found out later, when I pointed out that all the spooky bad guys in Scooby Doo were fake, that my mom simply didn't like Scooby Doo and that's why we weren't allowed to watch it.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Internet & I Are Friends Today

Sometimes, when I'm surfing the Internets (as the kids say) I feel like the whole thing is run through with meanness and drama, kind of like butterscotch ripple ice cream, except the butterscotch is gross and makes you feel bad about yourself or whatever.

Today though, was a good day for the Internet and me. Let me show you...

First, I discovered that you can find all sorts of original Sesame Street videos on Youtube. I spent the better part of my morning fondly reminiscing about sitting in front of the floor model television counting and learning Spanish from super cool puppets and animation with awesome music. Observe...


How about another?

Now, I bet you feel happier and maybe just a bit smarter. I did.

Second,  I sent a mindless Tweet out about my love for Oikos brand Greek yogurt in Key Lime flavour. I do this sometimes, it's nothing major just letting people know if I find something good. This yogurt is good and I totally recommend you buy it. Get Key Lime though, I can't attest for the other flavours.
I digress.
The people at Oikos Tweeted me back (Twitted me?). How cool is that? I mean it's not earth-shattering or really that important but it's fun and it made me smile.

Look! I even got a picture of John Stamos (who looks so much better without the mullet) with some yogurt.
Then, because getting a John Stamos infused shout-out from a yogurt company isn't good enough, I won a contest and got a free book.

Author Jocelynn Drake is one of the authors of an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance anthology and she asked on Twitter for pictures of people's favourite Halloween costumes. This is mine...

I saw this on Pinterest about a month ago. It's called "Slutty Ghosts". Now, considering what most adult Halloween costumes look like I found this hilarious. I submitted the picture as my favourite costume and I won! Woo Hoo!


Cool, right? Right! Free book for me!!

And last, but certainly not least, I saw this...


You're supposed to sing it to the tune of that [obnoxious, but catchy] song "Call Me Maybe" and I intend to, like at least once a month or so. It's kind of lame and not the most intellectual of humour, but it hit me at the right time and made me laugh right out loud, which confused Jacob and made him ask me what I was laughing about. Since I didn't want to explain woman issues to the wee boy, I simply told him that the Internet was making me laugh.

Thanks Internet for a good day!
:)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm A Big, Fat Quitter and It's Cool

Yesterday I did something I've been putting off since June. I quit the gym.

Yep, I marched into the gym during the busiest part of the work-out day and boldly looked into the face of the young, lean, guy behind the counter and said, "I need to cancel my membership."

Now, it's not that I don't need the gym, or that it didn't make me feel good or that I wasn't seeing results, it's simply that I was not motivated to go. I'm not blind. I know I need to go to the gym. My genetically passed down pear shape has been growing and morphing into what more closely resembles a butternut squash and I explained this to the gym attendant/fitness Nazi.
It's kind of like a pear, but a lot bigger.

Of course I couldn't just quit, I needed to be reminded that by quitting my gym I was not just giving up I was putting my very life a stake. This was done in the kindest and most condescending of ways all while I stood under a 15 foot (I'm bad with measurements.) sign that read "No Judgement". Seriously. I'm only exaggerating this a little bit.

I kind of thought that this would be a big deal. That as soon as I quit I'd end up walking to the Chinese buffet next door to the gym (no joke!) and easing my sorrow with an all-you-can-eat marathon of epic proportions or that I'd end up face-down in a pie before the night was over, but you know what? It didn't happen.

What I did instead was go to the mall. With my husband and son in tow I had a sensible spanokopita combo at Jimmy the Greek and then bought a pair of skinny jeans and some cute boots.

I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I know I need to exercise and eat better and I'm committed to making those changes but right now I'm more committed to feeling happy, to spending time with my family and doing things I enjoy no matter how sedentary those things are.

So let's raise a glass of whatever suits your fancy, be it a wheat grass shake, tall, cold Dr. Pepper or pomegranate margarita without the salt, to loving the skin we're in. To wearing size 16 skinny jeans or size 0 sweats, to laughter as a way to ab definition and having as much and to working however much junk in your trunk you've got.

Cheers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back Home.

Recently, I've done some travelling for work. I spent 4 days in beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina and another 3 days in Niagara Falls, Ontario, hawking software at Massage Therapy conventions and I've got to tell you, I loved it. Yes, it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating and yes, I've been to Niagara Falls about a zillion times, but I had a blast. 


Hank Snow, one of Canada's finest country musicians, singing the original I've Been Everywhere (Man). It gets really good at about 39 seconds. This is what I feel like, even if it's not totally true.



North Carolina, Raleigh specifically, was beautiful and smokin' hot. Dude! I was wearing sweaters at home and then I flew into Raleigh and could have been comfortably wearing shorts and a tank top. Again, the people of the South ( I don't know if NC is actually considered The South, but everybody had awesome twangy accents, so I'm just going to lump it in with the South, ok?) once again amazed me with their capacity for kindness and generosity and just general friendliness. 
And the food!! We hadn't even made it out of the airport parking lot and my boss and I being given recommendations on where to get the best BBQ. We ate at a Waffle House, went to IHOP (Jacob, my son,  is convinced this is reason enough to move to North Carolina. Boy loves his pancakes.) and then my boss and I made what might be the greatest discovery since that one guy discovered that one thing that helps everybody and makes the world a better place. We discovered The Golden Corral. A monster sized buffet that dwarfs every buffet I've ever seen and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. I'm pretty sure angels sang as we entered the restaurant and then sang again after we figured out what to do and entered what can only be described as a coliseum of culinary delights. If you've never been to a Golden Corral and you love food, especially Southern food, I suggest you pack your bags and head to the closest one you can find. I also suggest you wear stretchy pants. Just reading the Golden Corral's "About Us" page on their website has me salivating. 
Golden Corral's legendary, endless buffet features an abundant variety of delicious familiar favorites and continuous new menu offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Golden Corral's legendary, endless dinner buffet features an enormous variety with 15 proteins including USDA, grilled to order sirloin steaks, pork, seafood, shrimp, and chicken. We are especially proud to serve USDA sirloin, aged and hand-cut daily by our in-restaurant butchers. The endless lunch buffet features a wide variety of home-style classics like our pot roast simmered for 12-hours, made-from-scratch meatloaf, crispy fried chicken, creamy mac and cheese, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes, beloved Bourbon Street Chicken, so many fresh salad choices and dozens of other items. Our endless breakfast buffet features made-to-order omelettes, fluffy pancakes, hot-off-the griddle sausage and bacon, fruit, French toast, pastries and much more. Our bakery and dessert buffet are filled with freshly baked breads, like our famous yeast rolls, homemade cakes and pies, delicious cookies, brownies, pastries, and ice cream.
I ate black-eyes peas (Fergie was particularly delicious. Heh!), hush puppies, mac and cheese and lots and lots of other stuff. It was fresh and tasted homemade and wonderful. Honestly, I wanted to spin in beautifully choreographed circles throughout the restaurant like some kind of chubby Disney heroine stuffed full of butter, cream based sauces and other yummy vittles. It was also pretty awesome that over 4 different servers came by to "chat" with us. We eventually called them on trying to hear our "funny accents" and they unabashedly admitted to trying to get us to say "aboot". I put on my best hoser voice and spun them a tale of dogsleds, canoes and igloos for their honesty. My meal only cost $14!! It was awesome!
In North Carolina I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some of the ladies from my bookclub. We nearly started a brawl in an Outback Steakhouse over which college basketball team I should root for (I'm picking USC so that nobody hurts me. Plus, I like quoting The Hangover's "wolf pack of one" bit), I was attacked , by some spicy ranch dip, and I nearly upended an entire table of cat-shaped canisters (that's me , bustin' up pussies all over NC - I'm hardcore like that.) at that most glorious of bookstores, B&N where I did, in fact, spin beautifully choreographed circles like some kind of chubby Disney heroine. These ladies rock and made me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants and shot pomegranate margarita out my nose. Thanks Steph and Candace for a great night!

I'm not smiling. That is a look of sheer terror. It just jumped out at me. It was horrible. Curse you spicy ranch dip!
Niagara Falls was pretty cool too. I got to eat awesome food, including some fabulous Indian food, I shopped at all the kitschy, little souvenir shops and had a great time hanging out with some of my co-workers. I ate at a Canadian IHOP (FYI: Their prices in Canada are 4x that in the US. *shakes fist at the sky*), nearly drank Starbucks dry and enjoyed seeing Niagara Falls (the city) from a different point of view.
That being said though, I'm very happy to be home. I missed my menfolk, got behind at my "real job" and I'm really very exhausted. As much as I love this new opportunity to travel and will continue to jump on it as often as I can, home really is where my heart is. 

:)



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Speak No Evil


Yesterday, I was perusing the Internets for plus-size work wear. The resulting experience brought on some serious rage and self loathing. I was so good to write a blog post. I downloaded pictures of evil, skinny models, from evil stores that don't sell my size or airbrush models' curves out of pictures or sell low quality, ugly clothes with jacked up prices because they're plus-sized or do other things I made up in my head because I was hurt and moody. It would have been so easy to write that post. To wallow in my bad mood and to point out every single evil or wrong committed upon the chubbier people of the world (meaning me) by the fashion industry.

Just one of the depressing images that comes up when one Googles "Plus-size work wear". 

Obviously, I didn't write that post and it's because I'm fasting.

Yep. I'm fasting. Not food, which might have been easier in the long run, but I'm fasting saying negative things. The family and I, along with our church, are trying to speak only positive things for the next 40 days or so. This doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to offer legitimate critiques of things or that I'm not allowed to say the word no or that everything that comes out of my mouth has to be butterflies, unicorns, rainbows and fuzzy, blue-eyed kittens. What it means is that I will consciously and to the best of my ability offer only positive words to those around me and myself. That I will think before I speak and that when I do I will apply a filter to let only what is positive exit my voice-hole. (FYI: I'm including things that I “say” on Facebook, Twitter and this here blog too.)



This isn't something super radical that I'm doing. People know that positive words spoken over a person or even a situation can have a positive affect . It's why psychologists tell you to say nice things to a newborn baby, why hostage negotiators don't get all doom and gloom and why Tony Robbins is a kajilllionaire.

Only the first one's free.


Speaking positively is a Biblical, psychological, sociological and, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume, scientific principle – speak good things and good things will result. It's not magic. I haven't been sitting in my living room repeating “I will win the lottery” over and over again, but it's only going to lead to good things, being positive and speaking positively over people and situations isn't going to hurt anything, right?

Right?


Because this last week has been freaking hard. This fast has shown me somethings in my life that I'm not crazy proud of. For example, when I told Jacob our family would be taking part in this fast the first words out of his mouth were, “Whoa! That's going to be really hard for you mom!”. Yikes! What does that say about me when my 7 year old knows it's going to be hard for me to speak positive things over people and situations? I also discovered that I'm an instigator and that I use sarcasm and hyperbole a lot! I learned this from a week in which I spent 3 of the 7 days laid up in bed with the stomach flu. Dude! It's hopeless!! See? I just did it again! Gah!!



So that's what I'll be doing for the next forty days. I'm really hopeful that it will be a change that sticks and that will help me to be a better wife, mother, co-worker, social media participant, blogger, sister, daughter, etc. That life and life affirming things will exit my mouth before cynical, negative or sarcastic things. Life's all about growing, right?  Right.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad And The Awesome - Pt.3 The Awesome

Alright, it's time for the moment that all 2 of the readers of this blog have been waiting for. It's time for a look back at what I found to be awesome this past Summer.

Baptism in the Square
I've been part of a church for almost my entire life and, being part of the Evangelical side of the Christian spectrum, I've been witness to countless baptisms since my childhood. I chose to get baptised when I was around 10 or 11 and had a very wonderful Pastor dunk me in the (freezing cold!) baptismal tank. (Shout out to my mom for picking out the white turtle neck for me to wear while I was baptized in front of a hundred people or so. Thanks a lot!!). I have been to baptisms in large churches and small churches, baptisms that involved very small amounts of water and huge tanks, and baptisms indoors and at the beach. I love baptisms. For me, watching someone make a conscious and public choice to accept the grace, mercy and redemption of Christ is powerful. I love hearing the testimonies of people who have encountered a real and loving God and have seen their lives, and sometimes the lives of their entire families, be changed. I find that there is an overwhelming sense of hope at baptisms and it's infectious and wonderful.

This summer the church I attend put out a full page ad in several local papers inviting people to a Free Baptism Service in our city square. Now, for the record, a baptism should never cost you money. The ad was both a marketing ploy to get peoples' attention and a call to those who have never felt welcome in a church and/or those who have wanted to get baptised but for whatever reason have not.
Not the best reproduction, but you can check out a blog about the ad here
The Baptismal service took place at Harmony Square, our town's city centre, and included music, a brief bit of speaking about what Baptism is all about, a call to salvation and then the baptism. Over 100 people, some from the church, some from other churches and many from off the street chose to get baptised. I was a volunteer handing out towels and I can tell you that this was perhaps one of the most well-organized, authentic and beautiful "church things" I've been involved in. The atmosphere was full of hope, joy and new beginnings. I don't care if you're religious or not, a day full of that is just awesome.
Completely overwhelmed by God's grace. (Photo by Layne Grime of  Jonathon Grime  Photography)

The Ladies of Readers Anonymous

I've been a voracious reader of genre fiction for the last 6 years or so. I can very rarely be found without a book and I'm usually either in the middle of a book or at least about to start a book or two. Reading genre fiction can be quite lonely at times. Most people don't read what I read, the books I read are never part of Oprah's book club and are often sneered at by those who see genre fiction as a lesser form of entertainment. However, thanks to social media and the magical wonderfulness of the Internets I've been fortunate to become part of a very active community of other voracious genre fiction readers from across the continent and even in some cases the world. The members of this community that I'm closest to are (mostly) part of a Facebook book club called Readers Anonymous.

Readers Anonymous, is a very informal book club that has become an outlet for those of us with a decidedly dirty sense of humour, a penchant for Alpha heroes and a book buying habit so acute there could easily be a TLC special all about it. It's more than that though, Readers Anonymous is a group of like minded friends who can just as easily discuss the finer points of Shifter mythology as they can offer a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to a hurting member. Needless to say when I had the opportunity to meet up with these ladies at a book convention in New Orleans, LA I jumped all over it.

Matching T-shirts make any group legit.
FYI: Do not walk down Bourbon St. in a group wearing shirts that can be misread as "Got Boobs?"
Trust me on this.

Now, in case you're not familiar with what a book convention is think about Comic Con and picture a much more hygienic and less dressed up group of, mostly, women who all read one branch of genre fiction or another meeting to discuss favourite books, authors, characters and genres. It sounds nerdy, but there's something empowering about being with 400 people who get your obscure references to obscure books. It's liberating in the way that any joining together of like minded people is. But enough about the convention because frankly, the best part about this trip was not the convention. Here's what was.
  • New Orleans was awesome. Never have I met people so friendly, so in love with their city and so kind. Yeah, Bourbon street is obnoxious and if a tourist isn't careful she can easily become caught up in its crazy and find herself checking "motorboat complete stranger" off her bucket list, but that's just one aspect of the city. The food *drools*, the old architecture and the history of this town is stellar.
New Orleans even makes dark alleys look good!


  • 40 or so new books from both authors I love and new authors was not a bad thing. :)
Go to Cafe Beignet to get your Beignets, but if you can't go there go to Cafe Du  Monde because it's iconic and  stuff.

  • Meeting and connecting with people I'd only previously communicated with on Facebook, Twitter or through blogs. I spent evenings laughing my butt off with author Dakota Cassidy (D'ahcoatah Cassiteh if you're nasty *snort*), blogger Chelsea from Vampire Book Club and others. I was pounced upon by Jen from Red Hot Books and connected with Pam (who is both gorgeous AND funny, which is not fair)from the blog I write for.
Author Dakotah Cassidy, Me, Pam, Nicole and Jen

  • And most importantly I got to meet the ladies of Readers Anonymous. I can't tell you how many times these ladies have made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry or have kept me from strangling my family with anecdotes of their own family trials and who have listened and offered support when life seemed to come at me with nothing but crap. It was a truly awesome thing to meet, share laughs, plot evil and commiserate with these ladies. In fact, when Jeff asked me what my favourite part of my trip was I had to admit it was time spent sitting on a hotel balcony, sweating, laughing, eating candy and occasionally reading really awful purple prose with a lisp.
Enjoying some grits, beignets and cafe au lait with (most of) the ladies of Readers Anonymous.


And that's the awesome.

I hope your summer was filled with awesome. I guess it's time to put away the flip flops and pull out the sweaters. It seems whether I'm ready or not Fall is here. Yay?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt.2 - The Bad

Summer 2012 was for the most part really good. Honestly I don't have a lot to complain about, but, in the name of good journalism practices or something that sounds equally official and intellectual, I give you the bad to the good, the dark to the light and the savory to the sweet of Summer 2012.


  • It was freaking hot!!

He totally did. I heard it when I played my Zeppelin album backwards. What do you mean , "what's an album?" *sigh*

 Sweet fancy cheeses it was hot. At one point it was so hot we had a clothing optional (within reason) rule at my house and 3 air conditioners going just to survive. If felt like I was walking through soup when I left my (blessedly) air conditioned office at 5pm.
I love the heat, but DUDE it was ridiculous. Not cool Mother Nature, not cool.


  • I got into a bit of a scuffle on the Internets over something stupid.




It is a well known fact that I am lacking in the verbal filter department. Sometimes people find this refreshing, sometimes hilarity ensues and sometimes I end up looking back on a weekend of arguing with people that could have been avoided if I'd just kept my mouth shut. With the social media being as it is, sometimes my knee-jerk reactions to things end up in front of a much larger audience than just my long-suffering husband.

This particular scuffle occurred after I lipped-off about a poorly written, lame-o book that's currently enjoying a crazy amount of fame and how some people in the Church at large seem to be handling members of their congregations' interest in said book. I think what I had to say was valid, but it didn't really need to be said. If I had simply kept my mouth shut and been confident in my own opinions I could have avoided an online argument that ended up with me being called a pornographer, hurt feelings and just general chaos. In hindsight I'm quite ashamed of how I handled it. I won't says lesson learned, because I have tons of work to do in the "I Don't Have to Be Right All the Time" department, but I will say that I am at least reflecting on the lesson and trying.

Side-note: If your last name is Horney and you're arguing about something relating to sex on a Christian message board, using your real name, people will call you out for your "ridiculous moniker". Just so you know and because knowing is half the battle.

  • The main thing that sucked this summer was that in the midst of all the cool stuff going on I really struggled with some pretty heavy depression. 


Whether it was a by-product of being stuck indoors, the extreme heat or just crazy hormones, this summer just seemed to be difficult. I know that my depression, and more-so my response to it, left people feeling ignored and hurt and kept me from experiencing some good times and that inevitably lead to a vicious cycle of guilt and anger and ultimately more depression. Which pretty much sucks hardcore.  Luckily, I have a good support system, fantastic pharmaceuticals and a family that is learning to help me pull out of the funks I sometimes find myself in. So, yes, it put a damper in my summer, but it could of been so much worse and that, my gentle readers *snort*, is called finding the silver lining.

And speaking of silver linings, stay tuned for part 3 of this in depth exposé on my Summer past- Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt.3 - The Awesome!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad & The Awesome Pt.1 - The Good

When I started writing this post it was raining outside and not just raining, it was pouring. I'm not one of those anti-rain people, but it was the kind of rain that proves that the seasons have slipped from Summer into Fall and I'm not quite ready to give Summer up yet.

So, in an effort to ignore the upcoming cooler season, I give you ...

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad & The Awesome Pt.1 - The Good

I became a soccer mom.
Yep, something I always dreaded turned out to be one of my greatest joys this summer. Watching Jacob make friends and succeed on the soccer field was phenomenal. His team wasn't always the best and he rarely wanted to go to practise, but we had a blast.

Jacob, obviously ready for some hardcore soccer.


It may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not the most social of people. I generally feel awkward around new people and end up coming off as aloof or snobby. This summer I really wanted to kind of break free from that and I think I succeeded. Our family went on a fantastic vacation to Kincardine (which should totally be pronounced Kink-er-deen) with one of my husband's co-workers and his girlfriend, I met some great people at a BBQ I was totally dreading with a paintballing friend of Jeff's and I made an effort to get together with people for coffee and lunch. It was fantastic meeting new people, finding out that I'm bolder than I think and just having fun.

The Horney's take over Kincardine!


One of the things I enjoyed most about this Summer was that we did a lot of stuff as a family. Whether it was Jeff, Jacob and I, just me and Jacob, Jeff and Jacob or whatever we did some great stuff together this summer. As a family we watched fireworks, went to Movies in the Square and discovered we all kind of love flea markets. Jacob and I attended a car show, went to see The Pirates of Penzance with my parents at the Stratford Festival and went for some traditional (for us) "Mommy and Jacob Day" breakfasts. Jeff went to his first major league baseball game with Jacob, took him to the Water Park and taught him how to ride a two wheeler! We also spent a lot of time with my sister Amy and her family which was fantastic. I never really had a relationship with my cousins so I love watching Jacob build friendships with his.

Watching some fireworks and getting eaten by mosquitoes.


 Other good things (in no particular order):

  • I read some fabulous books


  • Jacob started losing teeth.
  • Just about to put the kid to bed and he looks at his dad and I and says, "So, you guys  are the tooth fairy, right?"
    Oy Vey!
  • Vintage clothes shopping and extreme grilled cheese with my sister Amy at Netty Vintage and The Tipperary Bog.
  • Went to see some great movies; The Avengers, Expendables II. Yay for explosions and Chuck Norris!!
  • Started getting involved a bit more in our church.
  • Napped a lot


The thing that stands out for me from this past Summer is that the things that made me and my family happy usually involved great people and not a lot of money. Funny how that works. ;)

Stayed tuned for Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt. 2, The Bad (cue ominous music)