Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Fringe Hours

I love online book clubs.  I would love to do an "in-person" book club too but sadly, life doesn't seem to have time for that these days.  A group of friends and I tried it but we spent LOTS of time drinking tea and coffee and about 2 minutes exactly exploring our books.  Picking a book was really hard, too, since we all had such different tastes.  For now, anyway, the "in-person" idea needs to be on the backburner.

So, along comes an online book club (well, actually two, but that's another post).  I have done the Bloom: in-courage book club a couple of times before and really quite enjoyed them.  Sometimes, I struggle a tiny bit - my Canadian fairly left-wing social justice orientation makes it a bit hard for me to connect to the books (I can remember on book by an author who is very highly thought of my many, many women and it totally lost me when she used an illustration about needing a special, new outfit for a speaking engagement and not having the money and the Lord providing her with a unforeseen source of an amazing outfit... it's just a bit too "first world problem" for me to connect).  Generally, though, it's just so nice to connect up with other readers with a similar faith backgrounds who are clearly interesting in reading and sharing.

The book this time is called The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica Turner.  Needless to say, the title itself appealed to me.  My biggest complain every single day of my life is not having enough time.  I run from the time I get up (literally - my treadmill time is 5 a.m. since it is the only time I can fit it in!) until I fall, exhaustedly into bed, often dropping off mid page of a read.  At times, it's really discouraging because I'd LOVE to have a few minutes each day for little projects and to read more. 

I'm two chapters in so far and I have somewhat mixed feelings.  I often avoid this kind of thing because the talk about scaling back one's work upsets me because I don't have that option financially and I don't have a job that gives me many options.  I sometimes come away feeling very selfish because I work (honestly, I'd love to quit my job if I felt it was financially feasible at all and it's not like we live lavishly) and there can be in implicit judgement of mothers who work.  One things I have totally appreciated so far is that I don't feel that the book is prescriptive that way or that I am already seen as a selfish, lesser Christian woman because I have a profession.  I also totally relate to the premise of the book.  I AM overcommitted and I AM overwhelmed and exhausted and I DO take on more than most of the other people I know.

I started getting a bit squirmy, though, in chapter 2, when the talk came around to making myself a priority and the fact that "just because it's a good thing to do doesn't mean it 's good for you or good for right now."  I don't know - perhaps I'm squirmy because it's a stronghold in my thinking and I need to let go of doing.  I'm a Martha, I can admit that and it's something that I'm working on.  On the other hand, my weekly baking for the less fortunate (which I've done for over five years now and gives me tremendous pleasure) and my Sunday school teaching and helping with the kids choir at church, while they could be done by other people, weren't being done by other people and at least at the churches I have attending, it's getting harder and harder to find people to help.  Is it really o.k. for me to say no to teaching Sunday school since I'm already busy with planning lessons for my job and taking that time to, say, craft or read, instead of helping out.  I'm really not sure on that one. 

I think I'm just a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of putting myself before others and in fact, that goes against what I believe the gospel message is, to some degree.  Absolutely, I shouldn't kill myself serving others but on the other hand, isn't it better for me to bake for those who don't have that personal touch or, for that matter, chauffeur my kids to skating when they enjoy it so much and it's given Pk so much confidence?  I really don't know where the line is on that and I certainly do tend towards guilt and feeling selfish so maybe I can't be objective.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing how to find those "stolen moments" for myself.  For now, my blogging seems to be a key to that and it happens after the kids go to bed.  I'd like to find a way to do this without meaning only six hours of sleep - I'm awfully tired these days.  I am also really looking forward to learning from other women who are clearly feeling as overwhelmed as I am!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Little Joys

Have you noticed?  If you are further south than we are, it may not be such a big deal but here, it matters.  The days are getting longer.  Every year, at some point in February, the light changes and I know that I will survive the winter.  It has happened this week.  This morning, when I got out of the shower, it wasn't dark outside, it was light and my trips to the dogpark with Lucie are no longer at dusk.  I don't mind cold but I loath the short, dark days of January.  I can't believe how much better I feel about everything when the light is getting longer!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along

I stopped blogging at all regularly a couple of years ago.  Before that, one of my favourite things was the "Yarn Along" series at Small Things, the blog by Ginny S.  I love the premise and these weekly posts always helped me to remember how much I loved knitting and reading.  I get so bogged down in life and some of the things that I really enjoy slip by.  I started to yearn to blog again and to reconnect with my blog life a couple of weeks ago and so here I am and, of course, one of the first things I did was to stop by Small Things to see if the Yarn Along was still happening.  Much to my pleasure, here it was and here I am!  (And allow me to apologize, I see such lovely photos on other people's posts - sadly, right now, all I have is my phone.  I know, I bring the tone down but that happens with me...)

On my needles?  The Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood.  I have made several of these, including one for myself and I love them.  They are simple to knit and cozy to wear but look very pretty in a traditional, British way.  I have a not-so-secret love of traditional knitting (harkening back to my lovely Irish Grandmother, I think, who was a gorgeous knitter) and this wrap fits the bill nicely.  I don't get much knitting time but since Dh and I drive into work together daily now, I get some knitting done in the car and sitting, freezing myself at the rink while my kids do their skating lessons.

On my bookshelf?  So many books!  It's always an avalanche!  I just finished Anne Perry's Monk series book The Sunless Sea.  It amazes me that she is able to push out so many books but that while they aren't as wonderful as they were in the past, they still are pretty darn good!  This one took me a while but it was really engaging.  Now, I am excited to begin Louise Penny's The Long Way Home.  I had so many people tell me that I would love Louise Penny and I really put off trying her books because I so rarely find that books live up to their billing when they are so highly recommended.  I was so surprised to discover how much I love her books and I think that she just might be my favourite mystery writer around these days.  I'm guessing this will take a while but I don't mind!

I also had some books come in that I ordered, which is always lovely.  The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, the book for the next installment of the Bloom book club (at Dayspring incourage) and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, the book for the SheLoves Red Couch book club are both anxiously awaiting my opening them and diving in.  I just wish I had more reading time.  I am so addicted to online book clubs and these are two books that I think will be excellent reads!

Finally, I was also really excited to find a package in our mailbox today (is there anyone in the world who doesn't love getting things in the mail???)  The kids and I had read Babe:  A Marvelous Pig by Dick King Smith in January and we all loved it (Dh kept coming in and lying down with us because he wanted to know what would happen next).  I allowed myself one little indulgence in second-hand book buying and the kids and I picked our four titles to order for ourselves to try.  They had to come from England so we have been waiting not so patiently for their arrival. Pk can't wait to read The Invisible Dog so I think we will start with that one first!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sex Ed

I live in Ontario, Canada and for the last couple of days, the news has been filled with all kinds of furor about the new sex ed curriculum that will be coming as part of the Phys. Ed. and Health curriculum for Ontario public schools.  My facebook feed has also been filled with staunch objections.  I don't have anything definitive to say and I, for one, won't take a stand until I have seen it myself.  I have seen these things blown out of proportion so many times.  This post is just a few musings about my feelings about it all and I claim no expertise at all.

First of all, this makes me sad.  At the root of it, do I think kids should have to be educated about the risk of sexting at age 12 or to know about oral and anal sex at age 13?  No way.  I feel like I am 90 years old when I say that truly, I feel as if childhood has been lost to a large degree.  What happened to innocence?  Actually, we know exactly where it went.  We all became addicted to violent and sexualized t.v. shows and we allowed advertisers to grab hold of sex to sell things and we allowed the internet to take hold in our lives and our families before we had worked out how to cope with it.  The thought of my daughter sitting through talk about oral sex in grade 7 really saddens and sickens me.

On the other hand, the thought of my daughter ENGAGING in oral sex or anal sex at age 13, falling for the lie that it's not sex because there is no vaginal penetration or that it doesn't mean anything saddens and sickens me more.  I pray that I will be able to raise a daughter with enough pride and self esteem that she won't be so quick to fall for manipulation from a boy who has no idea what he's asking for.  I pray that my son will have the grasp of the value of the young women around him and that he won't assume that they are there for his gratification.  One of my greatest aims of parenting is that I am able to raise a daughter who has enough respect for herself that she will understand that she is a precious gift to be cherished and not some freebie to be given away at will and that my son will be a man who honours and respects women.  I hope that when each of my children does reach the stage of life of being sexually active in a healthy way, that each will have the wisdom and self confidence to demand that he or she be treated with respect and love, that he or she be worthy of commitment and that each understands the impact of what he or she is giving away.

I think, for me, that's the scariest part in all of this.  I would like to think that my child will have the good sense to make wise choices and to understand the impact of those choices.  Sadly, the adolescent brain is not exactly proven to choose wisely or to think beyond today.  I wish that my 18 year old self (who wasn't a big risk taker, thankfully), was able to make my decisions with my 42 year old brain and understand the impact of the decisions I would make.  We all know, though, that is not the case and so many lives are ruined by rash decisions made without understanding.

That's where this new curriculum comes in.  It's uncomfortable for us because frankly, kids that young shouldn't need to be told about this stuff.  They should be able to be kids whose young bodies are not seen as sexual objects (beyond simply as boys and girls).  They should be able to exist without being seen as potential objects of gratification by others.  They should be able to dress the way that they want without it being seen as suggestive or to dance with abandon or to have friendships with the opposite sex without there being risks and overtones at 9.  Unfortunately, though, we've given away their right to that innocence.  When we continued to allow the proliferation of media aimed at younger and younger audiences that are filled with overtly sexual images, we forced our children to be at risk.  When we allowed advertisers unfettered access to our children and programming and toys aimed at children that is overly sexualized, when we DIDN'T have the conversations with some children and yet allowed them to see and not to understand, when we made idols of men who do not respect women to become cultural icons and we made excuses for sexual violence and finally, when we stopped talking about the moral ramifications of our decisions, we took away their right to innocence.  Finally, when we allowed our own discomfort with topics related to sexuality to allow us to refuse to speak about it in our families and in our venues where we discuss our morality, such as our churches, we took away the innocence of our children.  The worst part is that even if we have been so careful in our own families, as soon as our children are out in the world with other kids, they are not safe from the decisions of other families. 

My daughter, at 7, comes home and quotes her teachers to me all the time, often spouting things that I have told her for years.  If the curriculum does teach my child to know the risks of her decisions, teaches my son about the specifics of consent and helps them to understand the nature of the law (and that minors cannot give consent to adults), I will feel relief.  At least it's a starting point for safety and our conversations about waiting, monogamy and a lifetime commitment can build upon that basic foundation.

It also makes me glad I teach kindergarten so I don't have to get into this with my students.  Now, if I can only figure out how to talk about this at home with my own kids...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Little Joys 2015

I used to do a series called "Little Joys" way back when and I've decided that I'd like to start again.  It's fun to look for those wonderful little moments that make a day more special.  I get so bogged down in the busyness that I forget to notice the sunshine that has finally appeared or the lovely cup of tea or the fabulous book that I can't put down.  I'm going to start today and try to make this a more regular thing.

A not-so-little joy for me is books.  I love to read and my bedside table is always an avalanche waiting to happen.  My kids are getting to the the stage where family novel reading is becoming something that we love, too, and I am so thrilled.  I have a passion for classics and I'd love my kids to be well read and we are having fun exploring our options.  Early this year, we read Babe: a Magnificent Pig by Dick King Smith and we LOVED it.  What a terrific book!  We ordered several others of his books from Abebooks (another of my book addictions are buying second hand books - I love getting books with little momentos of previous owners tucked inside and the wonderful bookmarks from different sellers).  We ordered them from England and they aren't here yet but we are all excitedly checking the mailbox each day.  We just finished Mr Popper's Penguins and we are in the middle of Stuart Little.  There are so many books I can't wait to share!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Gentle is my word for this year.  Last year, if you hang around here, you know that my word was "Intentional" and man, I was, when I remembered to be.  I worked on my exercise schedule and never missed a day and after all kinds of work, I managed to move to a job at a new school (well, actually, I did work incredibly hard at trying to get two OTHER jobs and God dropped this one, which was better than the other two combined, into my lap).  Anyway, after a year of working hard and trying to be intentional about everything, I decided that this year needed a slight change of pace.  As I limped into December, exhausted and overwhelmed, I kept praying and reflecting on the word that should be for this year.  Rest came to mind but it wasn't right and finally, I thought of gentle.  I sat down with my concordance and stumbled across this verse -

Isaiah 40:11New International Version (NIV)

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

This had special significance to me and the connection was interesting.  Two years ago, I was in a situation in which a church situation was putting demands on me that I felt I couldn't meet and when I expressed that, I felt that there was no understanding of my trying to juggle full-time motherhood with a full-time job.  I was so exhausted and felt like I was letting people (and God) down since I couldn't be what was wanted of me.  My mom mentioned how I was feeling to a minister friend of hers who sent me the sweetest email containing this verse and telling me that a loving God understood my challenges and treasured me as someone who was coping with my young.  I can't tell you what that meant to me at the time.  To stumble across this verse again made me felt as thought this was RIGHT.  My year is to be the year of gentle -  with myself, with my family and with those around me.  I can't say that I have been especially good at it (I push myself very hard and in turn, that can mean not being so gentle with my family) but I'm working on it.  

Did you have a word for this year?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saying Goodbye

This is my Chelsea girl.  If you are a dog person, you will know what I mean when I say that she was my heart dog.  We lost her on Thursday night and if you have been there yourself, you know what I mean when I say that my world was turned upside down.

You don't need the whole story but suffice to say that this is the dog who changed my life.  When we got her, we were living in a tiny apartment in the city and as we said goodbye, we now live in a small town near to nature, in a house and we have a car and a huge host of friends we would never have had without her in our lives.  Getting her ended up changing the entire trajectory of our lives.  It's a lot like when you have kids - you lose yourself and you find a new self that you didn't know was in there.  I am so happy to have the life that I do where I do and it's almost all, directly or indirectly, because of my girl.

I don't know if anyone else feels this way but sometimes, I get these little glimpses of myself 10 years ago (or 20 sometimes).  Generally, my life is so chaotic that I'm not pondering things or thinking bigger picture, my focus is almost entirely immediate.  Then, once is a while, for one reason or another, I have an experience that makes me realise who I used to be and that I still have that person inside me, despite the way my life has gone.  Before we had the kids, we spent a lot of time doing dog stuff - endless road trips to dog shows, hours and hours and hours of field training and obedience classes, hours spent with people who we would never, ever have encountered otherwise.  I can think of so many special memories - meals shared in odd places (e.g., barbecues outside at dog shows at dusk, a roast beef dinner in a barn in the middle of nowhere that was one of the loveliest meals of my life), amazing bathroom adventures (hunt test washroom facilities that sometimes bring new meaning to "rustic"), trips to new places, several anxiety-inducing border crossings, being in an RV at a dog show in New Hampshire as we had tornado warnings that went on for several hours... They may not sound as magical to someone else but they were such a huge part of my life and Chelsea shared that.  She also shared many nights up with a crying baby, hundreds of hours of hikes in all kinds of amazing places, hours and hours of drives to all kinds of places and naps, lots of cozy naps together.  Saying goodbye to her the other night truly was one of the hardest things I have ever done but, as was so typical of Chelsea, she gave me a little gift, too - a glimpse of a part of myself that I have discovered that I miss, a bonding time for Dh and I, as we both realised that we want to get a puppy and put a toe back in the water with training again, now that the kids are old enough to come along.  I love my new life as a mom and driver to activities and a "working mother" but I also still like parts of who I was and I'd like to try to make time for some of that again.

It's funny how tragedy can be good for the soul.  I will miss my girlie more than words can express and Dh and I keep catching each other having a little cry about something - looking to one of her favourite spots and not seeing her there, walking by the leash collection in the hallway and realising that it's pretty excessive now with only one dog, the empty crate downstairs.  I've also had the wonderful reminder, though, that I am surrounded by thoughtful and kind people who have been so wonderful and supportive, a husband who truly is my best friend and who shares the same vision as I do about how these things need to go (it was so clear to me that I couldn't let her suffer and that we needed to send her on her way and I don't know what I would have done if he had refused and we had to prolong the agony), a passion for dogs that he and I both share and that adds so much richness to our lives and a host of wonderful memories that had been dormant for such a long time.  

Thank you, my sweet girl, for the many years of love, loyalty, naughtiness and laughter.  Our family will never be the same without you and you have taken a piece of my heart that will never again be filled by anyone else.  I'm sure that you are now eating dog cheese with Mike (a story for another day), rolling in the grass in that special way that you loved and napping on the softest pillows.  Bless you, my love, and I look forward to seeing you again someday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Bafflement...

I haven't been here for a LONG time and I'm kind of glad because I very much doubt anyone is going to read this and if you do, you are probably someone who understands me well-enough that you will forgive me if I say something that bugs you.  I seem to be specializing in that lately and let me say in advance, if I do, I'm sorry.

Sometimes, the world seems like a place that makes relative sense to me and things bump along fairly o.k.  I'm reasonably sure that I'm on the right path and that I have found where I'm supposed to be.  At other times, I feel like the world is one big mystery and not in an exciting or fun way.  It's a bit like when we do something and one of the dogs gives us that head slightly cocked to one side, utterly baffled look as if we are entirely bizarre and incomprehensible.  That's how the world, and people in particular, seem to me sometimes and when life gets like that, I struggle.  I really struggle.  I am in one of those stages these days.

I've written here before about feeling like I don't belong and about the fact that I think to some degree, that's related to my childhood.  Over the last year, I've seen that more and more and more.  I grew up in a very devout Christian family but a Christian family that was decidedly left-wing and whose guiding principle was Luke 10:27:

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
This was taken very literally in our home and I have clearly internalized that because it's making life harder and harder.  I keep being thrown into situations in which this fundamental belief throws me into conflict with others and it's so uncomfortable.
For many years, I have dealt with this profound internal struggle.  On the one hand, I honestly believe that some things are fundamentally true (such as that we need to respect other people, that people have a right to their own beliefs and that we need to do the "right" thing).  On the other hand, I have this intense fear and guilt related to having conflict with anyone.  When I am in conflict, I feel sick, I can't sleep and I can't think of anything else.  It's utterly devastating to me and it taints every moment in my life when I feel as if there is something wrong with someone.  It's hard to live life conflict-free, especially when you are coming from a life view and a faith that preaches beliefs and values that are entirely in conflict with much of what is culturally dominant.  It's even harder when you are often in conflict with people who supposedly share your world view.
I was so grateful a few months ago when someone with whom I am friends on Facebook posted a link to an article on being INFJ.  Myers-Briggs is a personality categorizing system that breaks the world up into sixteen distinct personality types and I am an INFJ, the least common personality type.  Basically, it means that I am an introvert with a very strong sense of justice and rightness in the world who makes decisions based on intuition and feeling and who happens to struggle greatly with conflict.   Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Jimmy Carter are a few INFJ's - incredible company but not exactly a path to an easy life.  While it doesn't make life any easier, at least I feel like a bit less of a complete freak when the conflict and yet the need to see things be right gets overwhelming.

Of late, I am feeling more and more like the world is a baffling place and I have really struggled with how to remain true to my basic beliefs while also being respectful of other people.  I have gotten caught in a firestorm more than once and it's taking years off my life in terms of stress.  I have worked so hard to speak diplomatically but at the mercy of so many who don't seem to feel the same need to hold back.  It's my blog and you don't have to read it so I'm feeling the need to express some of the things that baffle me.  Ignore this and stop reading if you are going to be offended (if there is anyone who has made it this far).  I need to get some of this off my chest, knowing that the people from whom I am feeling judged won't be reading this:

1.  Vaccines - I vax my kids.  I am baffled by people who claim that vaccines directly cause autism.  I am baffled by people who claim that measles is not serious.  I am baffled by people who think that they can go to their naturopaths and get weird dietary things that will heal everything and keep them safe.  I am baffled by people who refuse to admit that vaccines are not entirely safe - they are not and have serious side effects that are admitted in their inserts, even if they are very rare.  I am entirely baffled by the fact that the vaccine debate is allowed to overshadow the fact that there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH OUR KIDS.  They have ADHD, allergic to everything, autism is rampant, we are seeing a rise in certain cancers, they are riddled with anxiety and they are killing themselves.  SOMETHING is causing that.  We need to stop calling each other names and start asking where this is coming from.  The sound research I have read would indicate that it's a combination of environmental factors - chemicals, radiation, too much time in front of a screen, overly busy families, contaminants (quite possibly some coming from vaccines) and stress.  Why are we so afraid to talk about what we are doing?  Why are people asking about it either screamed at from the health nuts for not eating nuts and berries all the time and using good vibes to heal themselves or screamed at by the pro vax people for being ignorant of science?  Clearly we can't just heal ourselves and science has been known to let us down in a big way.

2.  Shades of grey (or abuse or violence against women) - I made the mistake, when the Jian Ghomeshi case came out in the media, of saying something on Facebook about how I thought that needing to inflict violence on one's partner to get one's jollies was indication of mental instability.  I'm sorry, I did NOT imagine for a second that it would be anything other than normal thought.  It would seem that I am wrong.  I was totally impaled for being judgmental, close-minded and lacking understanding for others.  I am sorry that I offended anyone but I can't get away from the fact that violence is intended to inflict pain, injury, to create a power imbalance and to hurt someone else.  While middle class couples might think it's fun to pretend to "be bad", I can't help the fact that I associate violence with the women who ARE victims and that needing to inflict pain on other people and "love" that involves such a power imbalance is unhealthy and goes against Luke 10.  There is so much violence and abuse in the world and bored white people needing to find an outlet seems kind of pathetic at best and signaling emotional damage at worst.  Sorry if I offended you but I am entirely baffled that people think this is normal.  I heard crazy things like equating that homosexuality used to be in the DSM, too.  That offended me - two consenting adults in a long-term, committed relationship should NEVER be equated with someone who is hurting people for pleasure.  I was too scared to say that but I'm saying it here.

3.  Labels - I read a post this week about a school board that says that one board is trying to eliminate language that might be offensive to some.  Included are terms like "husband and wife", "father and mother".  I WANT to be inclusive and respectful.  I want to be kind and supportive.  I want everyone to feel "o.k." in the world.  On the other hand, at what point do I get to say that I feel disrespected?  I love being "mom", I am honoured to be "wife" and those are words that mean something to me.  I don't want to align myself with people who are homophobic or who bigoted but I also think that I need to be allowed to define myself, as well.  Just because our labels aren't the same doesn't mean that I see that one is of higher value than the other.  When I am against stuff like this, I worry about the company that I might be keeping but when we are SO extremely, it just makes everyone involved look ridiculous and as far as I can see, pushes progress backwards rather than forwards.

4.  My faith -Am I the only person out there who REALLY struggles with how to be true to my faith but to also be compassionate and supportive to those whose beliefs aren't mine?  I have some personal feelings about some things that I will never speak out loud for fear of being attacked or misunderstood but at the end of the day, I have decided that for me, I try to stick with "until I have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, I can't understand."  I've never had an abortion, I have never sat beside the bed of someone who was painfully dying, I have never had a child who felt convinced that he or she was in the wrong gendered body, I have never had to make the decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy or carry to term a baby who will be horribly deformed.  I will never take a public stand on any of these issues because I can't tell other people how to face these challenges when I haven't been there.  Sometimes, I feel like a moral coward because I know that many Christians would tell me that I was choosing a flexible morality.  On the other hand, I just can't reconcile myself to judging others based on my standards.  It's hard sometimes, though - I DO have my opinions and I really don't ever feel safe expressing them on some issues and that's tough, too.

5.  Parenting - aren't we all baffled by this one?  My personal struggle tends to be in finding the balance.  I read articles about how we aren't giving our children enough freedom to fail and about how they need to play outside unsupervised and that we try to fight their battles for them.  I get that and we try not to do too much of that (sometimes, I think, at the expense of taking a stronger stand when sometimes, we should).  On the other hand, I know that some parents think we are crazy to let Pk do horseback riding (she has been thrown twice) and we are not afraid of some of the things parents around us fear.  I also struggle on the "not having children with no free time who do too many lessons/activities" vs. "not giving them the opportunities to find their passions."  I feel judged by people on both sides. 

Anyway, there is my senseless rant and since some of this post was written with a little boy jumping on the bed in my room, I'm guessing that I don't make all that much sense at the moment.  If, by some chance, I have a reader and even bigger chance, that my reader has made it to the end, I am sure that I have offended you somehow.  Rest assured, I won't sleep because of it but the words were bursting to get out...