Saturday, March 10, 2018

Shit my Kid Stumps me on

So, as a parent, we are expected to know everything about everything. And I think I hold my own pretty good. My daughter is super curious about so many different topics, she often asks me random questions out of the blue. But once in a while, she asks me something I have no idea about. And when that happens (depending on the topic) we either Google it, or pull out the encyclopedia.

(Yes, I am a freak who teaches her kids to use those paper things called dictionaries and encyclopedias.)

Most recently, she asked me why women are called "M-R-S" after they get married. I launched into a long-winded talk about women taking their husband's name, gender-equality, yada-yada, which she listened to and asked questions during, all very politely. At the end she very nicely clarified.
"But Mom, why M-R-S? What does it mean?" So in the end, I hadn't answered her question at all, but misunderstood it. And when I thought about it, I wasn't certain. I could tell her about the use of Miss, Ms., Mrs., Mr., Master, but I didn't actually know about the details of the abbreviations.

We ended up going home and looking it up online, and I am sharing it here for you! I'm sure you have all been wondering the exact same thing as my 9-year-old, lol!
Image result for mrs or ms or missApparently, Mr. and Mrs. are NOT abbreviations for Mister and Missus, but for Master and Mistress. (Ooooh, I am raising a tough girl, she did NOT like the term Master!!) And Miss and Mrs. actually had no connection to marital status at all. Miss was originally used for girls and very young women of 'no consequence.' If the woman was educated, or in a position of power, then she was referred to as Mrs. It's interesting (and unsurprising) that marriage to a 'respectable man' is also why that title is given. Ms. is ruminated about on many websites, and seems to be that 'in-between' title that was given to unmarried women. Women encouraged the use of it to try and prevent being identified as an individual, rather than solely as a wife.
Because I encourage my kids to write letters and emails addressing people with proper titles, we settled on women as Ms., unless we know for sure they use Mrs., and men as Mr.

We both agree, a simple first and last name is much easier.

If you're interested in reading more, some sites I found fascinating were:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer 2017 Star Trek Marathon

Happy Summer, everyone!

It began last summer, with Evan and I going through the Marvel movies in chronological order, but we only got about halfway. This summer, we wanted something Ella would enjoy too. So the three of us have begun the original Star Trek series, watching an episode every day or two as a reward for doing some schoolwork, etc. It's been fantastic!

As we are doing this, we are finding that almost every episode has a goofy expression on someone, or a ridiculous movement - something that makes us rewind and play that part again, sometimes a few times!! I've decided to compile these as we go along, so we have something to look back on and laugh as we remember :-)

Enjoy the awesomeness of the sixties!

The first episode actually plays twice through the Netflix compilation of episodes, (with the pilot, and the Managerie episodes) so we got to enjoy our favorites again!!

We enjoyed calling these guys 'buttheads' everytime we saw them from behind. I know, ace parenting.
This one is probably our all-time favorite. We watched it again and again and cannot make heads or tails of her expression. Ella rolled around on the ground laughing every time!

In the Charlie X episode, we enjoy a lot of laughs, as he did his 'curse face' often. So fantastic :)
Clearly someone agrees, as they make this awesome gif set.

This was an extra gem in the Charlie X episode.
We actually don't find Swashbuckling Sulu ridiculous at all. It's too epic. I had to include it for it's sheer awesomeness. We think Funko needs to make a Pop figure.
Kirk's evil doppelganger provided some great laughter for us.

And this is pre-Khan, too. 

We watched this one last night, and had to rewind and play a few times when the Romulan commander hit self-destruct. Pretty fantastic.

There is still one scene I'm trying to track down from one of the episodes we watched, and will post it if I can locate a shot of it. In the meantime, stay tuned for more!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Yes, I'm Letting My Son Do That.

A blog post.

 In which I defend my parenting, and my right to support my male child of nine in his decision to make a choice about his own body.


Yes, I support my son's decision to get both his ears pierced. How is it any different from your nine-year-old daughter's request to do the same? Is it written, or stated, or stamped somewhere that ear-piercing is solely for females? If you think it is, I highly recommend reading a history book. King Tut, Julius Caesar, the oldest mummy found thus far... perhaps read about them?

No, I do not feel this is indicative of "homosexual behavior," HOWEVER, if it were, I would not change my decision to support him. If you are looking to make me feel like my son getting his ears pierced is "gay," you are wrong. (And shame on you for trying to draw negativity to homosexuals.) Homosexuality is not a "fashion." An earring in a specific ear (or both) has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation, but their self-expression. Men have been piercing their ears and wearing earrings for thousands of years. That's a fact.

Yes, I have waited and ensured my son has thought deeply about this decision. While it is not permanent, my husband and I believe any sort of change to our physical appearances warrants consideration.

No, I do not think my son will have an easy time with this among his peers. Just as I have seen how adults have reacted and judged him when he has told them about wanting to pierce his ears, kids will be worse because (some) parents continue to teach prejudice, gender assumptions, and general hate. I expect him to be bullied and teased for this. I have discussed this with him in order to prepare him, and he is adamant in his decision. And I support and defend his right to express himself in a positive way. He shouldn't be ostracized for it, though I know he will be:(

Yes, I imagine his decision is partially due to being raised in a very liberal, open-minded household where freedom of expression and independence are celebrated. My husband and I have multiple tattoos, and have had/do have multiple piercings, and I usually  have my hair coloured some vibrant hue. My husband has both ears pierced and stretched to about 25 mm (I think). We also openly discuss themes with our children that they may come across in movies, or hear about at school or on a billboard, etc. We discuss love and hate, heroes and villains, right and wrong, and everything and anything that we feel will help our children to grow develop into kind, considerate thinkers.

No, I don't care if you think it is wrong, or girly, or gay, or whatever other word you feel labels ear piercing, that I allow my son to pierce his ears. Your opinion is your own and you are entitled to it. I have an opinion on piercing the ears of babies, but I have yet to make anyone feel like shit for their decision.

Yes, I DO care, however, if you tease, bully, or otherwise hurt my son for wanting to be unique and remaining convicted in his choice. You may not agree with it, but don't you DARE make him feel poorly. EVER.

No, I do not think this will lead to my son becoming obsessed with body modification. If anyone will be responsible for that, it will be the media, and our body-shaming society. (But that's another rant altogether.) Besides, did you ask that question to the little girl in the princess dress wanting to get her ears pierced?
I didn't think so.

All I ask, is that perhaps you could hold off your judgement against my son's decision, and really look at why you feel the way you do. Because most of the world's generalizations are due to someone deciding something should be a certain way, and everyone else adopting it.
Like sheep.
Don't be a sheep.
And if you don't agree with my son's choice, don't be an asshole and make him feel bad about it. That's just bad form.

And if you don't believe me about generalizations, maybe look up some history on pink and blue being assigned to certain genders. That's a good one too:)

Monday, July 11, 2016


I don't understand racism.
I mean, I really don't. Now let me clarify, I know the definition of the word, and I have witnessed it, and I have even been a victim of it. But I don't understand why it exists. My brain cannot fathom that degree of prejudice and hate. It does not compute.

Now, let me further clarify:
I am considered Caucasian. I was raised in a highly multicultural neighborhood, and attended a Mandarin elementary school. My family doctor from when I was 3-years-old was dark-skinned and accented. My best friends growing up were descendants of various cultures. Sure I had friends whose homes smelled, sounded, and seemed more like mine did, but there were many that (wonderfully) did not. I have memories of playing with friends at houses that were filled with the scent of cumin, friends whose grandparents made us sit and watch quietly while they knelt and prayed in their Buddhist garden, and I remember going to a birthday party where we all got to learn African dancing. I can honestly say that skin colour was nothing to me.
I do remember hearing references to skin colour growing up, usually from older people. I was often referred to by grandparents as "the little white friend," but I never saw it as a term of degradation. Perhaps they meant it as such, maybe they didn't. But I was what society deemed "white" so I felt it was just a term, nothing more.

As I reached my teen years, I realized my father used a lot of racist terms, despite assuring me he "wasn't racist." As an adult I can now see what bullshit that was. But instead of adopting these terms and this view of people, I grew up choosing not to use the types of words my Dad, some of my friend's parents, and even some of my friend's used. They were universally acknowledged as hateful, racist terms, so why on earth would I use them? I didn't want to be like that.
I remember as a teenager, visiting my grandparents out in Halifax, when I first heard blatant use of racist terms. My jaw hit the ground. I couldn't believe they used such words in their everyday language. As I grew, I learned more about Halifax - Africville, in particular - and discovered just how widespread and deep racism really was (and is, I suppose) there and all over the world.

Becoming an adult, I obviously saw more and more racism that I never understood as a child. I've even been victim to it on several, minor occasions. Asked to go to a Caucasian cashier at the grocery store by a cashier who wanted to only take customers of the same culture as herself. Or being told at a store that there were none left of a certain product, only to find that was untrue and the associate was only giving them to customers of their culture, etc. Nothing violent, but just that differential treatment was confusing, and hurtful enough. And it was NOTHING compared with what some people deal with daily. I have always felt that those who exhibited such behaviors were completely ignorant, and I distanced myself from such people. Anyone who I ever caught using derogatory terms for any culture, were called out. Of course, people defend their choices - "Oh, I'm not racist, I just grew up hearing it," or "I don't mean anything by it," or "oh c'mon, you know what I mean." I've just never understood the need, or fear, or WHATEVER it is that people feel that compels them to LABEL by skin colour. I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

The other day I had a very upsetting conversation with my kids. That was what prompted this post.
As I was surfing through Facebook, my 9-year-old son was periodically walking behind me (and peeking) at my screen as I scrolled. 
"Mom, what is racism?"
He made me jump, as I hadn't even known he was behind me. I then realized that my FB screen was plastered with posts about shootings, and hate crimes, and general awfulness. And my son had caught a good chunk of it.

***Just to also clarify: we don't have cable. My kids do not see the news on tv, or commercials for violent shows, or clips of upcoming breaking news, etc. I feel that there is enough hate and stress and trouble for them once they are adults, that they have no need to see that sort of thing as children. You may disagree, and that is your right, just as it is mine to expose my children to hate (or rather, not to expose them) as I see fit. ***

"Um, you know what buddy, don't worry about it."
At this, he looked at me rather sternly. "No, really, Mom. What is it?" 9-year-olds. Geez.
I thought for a moment. 
"Are you asking me what racism is? The definition?"
"Well, I don't know if I want to explain this to you. It's not a good word."
"Okay." He was still staring at me.
"Allright. I suppose you should probably learn about it. I'm sure you've learned a little bit at school, but not really known that was what it was."
"Okay?" He looks skeptical.
"So, racism." I feel really, really, REALLY upset at this point. I felt like my son was 5-years-old again and he'd come home with that gift of a toy gun from Uncle Trevor - a toy I'd prevented with great effort for as long as possible.
I didn't want to change how he saw people. I was also so worried I was going to explain it poorly.
"I suppose racism would be... treating someone differently because of the colour of their skin."
He frowned. "But... why?"
"I don't know, buddy. There is no reason, but some people are massive jerks and feel that if they don't have the same skin colour as them, they should be treated differently. Often, it means hurting someone because they have a different colour skin."
He was visibly upset by this point. "Who?"
"Well, there is a lot of problems in the United States right now because a lot of people are being killed for no reason. All because of the colour of their skin.
"That's really stupid."
"Yes it is, buddy. REALLY stupid."
He nods. "Who is Martin Luther King Jr.?"
This took me aback, until I realized that when we began talking I had stopped scrolling on my FB page right on a picture of and quote by Dr. King. I immediately relaxed, thinking that would be easier to explain.
"He was a really important man who did a lot of important things, but was most well-known for fighting for the rights of black people in the United States."
"Black people?"
Okay, that floored me.

***Another moment to clarify: My husband and I are pretty conscious of how we refer to people, as we both feel its just irrelevant to refer to people solely by their skin colour. If we are asking about a friend of the the kids, we ask things like "Who's that? The one with blond hair?" or "is she the one that loves Pokemon?" or another identifying factor. We don't define people by skin tone, and never have with our children.***

Now, I was stunned, because even though I know how my husband and I feel about not defining people by skin tone and how we've raised our children not to, it wasn't until that moment that I realized that we had actually succeeded. My kid did not know the term 'black people.' It blew my mind.
"Well, a black person is someone with dark skin."
"Oh, like _____!" He nodded. (This is his best friend at school.)
"No, not quite. _____'s family is Filipino. He's of Asian descent. Someone that is considered black would be..." (I was running through his classmates in my mind.) I named a classmate he knew well. "A black person like _______ often has African ancestors, or Kenyan, or..."
"No, _______'s family is from Jamaica!"
"Yes! Absolutely."
"So what colour are we?"
I didn't notice, but my 7-year-old daughter had snuck in to listen to us, and she asked that question. 
"Well, sweetie, we are considered Caucasian. Or white."
She snorted. "We aren't white! We're darker than that!" She was putting her arm up to mine. "And we have these!" She pointed to different moles and freckles up our arms. This made me grin, as we are both hopelessly pale.
"I know. But someone decided to call dark-skinned people 'black' and light-skinned people 'white' and I guess it stuck. What's important is that it doesn't matter. Different skin tones mean that people that once lived in different parts of the world, now live all together. Because the sun is brighter in certain parts of the world, some people's skin developed something to protect them from the sun..."
At this point I started to lose them, lol. Their eyes read summer break, Mom. I knew I needed to wrap it up. "Okay." I made both of them look at me. "Does it make any difference what someone looks like on the outside, for the kind of person they are on the inside?"
They both shook their heads.
"That's right. What is INSIDE is what matters. Good people have all different skin tones. Bad people have all different skin tones. Skin colour means NOTHING towards what kind of person someone is. Right?"

They ran off to play, but I was a mess. I was broken-hearted at having to talk to them about this, and worried that they would start seeing people different. I jotted down our conversation so I would remember. I just felt it was something I needed to have record of - that there are people raising their children without hate, or prejudice. Because I don't care what anyone says, prejudice/discrimination/racism - it's all taught. No one is born treating people differently. Assholes are made, not born. 

And I don't know what to do to make things better. And it hurts me. My cousin's son is black, and she is white. She posted one sentence several days ago on FB that broke my heart. She wrote: "If you've never had to explain to your child how to avoid being shot by the police, that's white privilege..."
I instantly felt sick. I had never thought about that. Her son is only a couple of years older than mine. It made - and still makes - me want to cry, and barf, and throw punches, and curl up to sleep. Because what can I do to make this world better?

So even if no one else ever reads this post, I have it. And I can read it and know that I am trying. I am spewing 2 more humans out into the world armed with love, 2 more humans that are confident in saying "racism is dumb." Because this hate seems so big, I don't know what else to do. 

So, just stop. Stop breeding this shit, stop enabling it in others. Stop letting it go when you hear it, or see it. 

Fuck. Just... love each other.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

We ♥ Barbie

So for many years, I have had discussions with other Moms about Barbie and her supposed negative
influence. When my daughter was a toddler, she began to enjoy Barbie movies and I felt their messages were clear and positive: Girls are strong and can do anything, friends and loyalty are important.
There's major physical differences
here, right? Right? Hello?
There were always Moms who disagreed, referencing Barbie's impossible figure, and first-world fashion standards. Now, I did (and do) find it silly that every single person in every single Barbie movie has the same height and body shape, but I never felt that was a point of importance to my daughter. All the Mario characters for Nintendo are short and plump. Do parents frown on this because it encourages obesity? As parents, shouldn't we encourage our children to see what is actually meaningful? Pretty sure that if a child wants to watch a Barbie movie because it looks fun and their parent tells them "no" because Barbie is too skinny, it's the parent causing the damage - not Barbie.
Now, Ella's first favorite Barbie movie was Barbie in The Three Musketeers. She wanted to be a musketeer for her preschool Halloween party, and I think we even wrote in her school record book that she wanted to be a musketeer when she grew up. It was the adventure she loved; the fact that Barbie and her friends kicked ass in skirts and sparkly tops, foiling the plan of the accented villain. She got to ride horses and had a sword, and an adorable kitty sidekick. But she also made mistakes she atoned for, made new friends, and overcame sexism. 
As she grew, we encountered many Moms who disapproved of Ella's love for Barbie movies and books. But I stayed resolute in what I felt she was taking from them. She wanted to be a surfer, and a rock star, and a ballerina, and a princess, and a fairy, and a
 teacher, and a scientist. The funny thing is, Ella never played with the dolls. With her love of the movies and books, she was given several, and I passed on mine to her, but she picked them up for a handful of minutes maybe 3 times a year. Dolls have never appealed to her, but Barbie's adventures and messages of friendship and girl power have.
Classic Barbie vs. Realistic Barbie
After a completely surprising comment she made the other day, I am convinced that the negative view on Barbie's figure is actually another symptom of what we raise our children to see, and how. In the years of Barbie thus far with my daughter, we have NEVER, not once discussed Barbie's breast-size, waist-size, height, or skin-colour. We have however, discussed how brave she is, why she made the choices she did in a particular movie or book, why friendship is important, how strong she is, how practice makes someone better at something, why it's important to stand up for your beliefs, and more.
A couple of days ago, my son and I were discussing one of the (many) professions I have had over the years when my daughter burst out in exclamation at my having another "thing" I could do.
"Mom, you're just like Barbie!"
Now, my immediate reaction was to laugh, as I am physically the farthest thing from Barbie you could pretty much imagine. "Oh, am I? Is it my long, blond hair?" I asked her as I flipped my brown/faded pink mop over my shoulder.
At this she squinched up her face and sort of laughed and went back to her drawing. She was confused. I ended up on another task, but her statement stuck with me. It was a little later when I realized what she had meant.
She thinks Barbie can do anything; she is the ultimate renaissance-woman. She has even said so over the years. And she sorted me into that category in her mind.
My kid had paid me the absolute compliment, and she didn't even see it that way. It was me who had immediately thought of Barbie's physical form, not her.
So I proudly disagree with anyone who says that Barbie is a negative influence on young girls.
Everyone has legs like this, right?
Super realistic, right?
Those proportions are totally
spot on!
Yes, I feel she is physically unrealistic, just like virtually every pop culture icon found in Anime and cartoons, not to mention the American film industry. No, I don't feel that she represents a realistic lifestyle for the vast majority of the world - and not just her fantasy movies. But I truly believe that if parents are active with their children in talking to them about what they watch and experience through media in all its forms, Barbie is an excellent role model for girls.

Barbie shows girls that they can do anything.
So, who is telling them otherwise?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Beanie Boo Party

A couple weekends ago, we celebrated my daughter's 7th birthday with a Beanie Boo party. She's totally obsessed with them. Any doll stuff she has, she uses with the Beanie Boo's. Barbie cars are driven by them, doll clothes are worn by them, and any boxes around the house become homes, spaceships, or vehicles for them. Any money she got for Christmas was spent on Beanie Boos. Under her loft bed, she has a MOUND of stuffies.

She ended up with only six of her friends able to make it, but it was really nice with only a few crazy girls running around:)

Aside from devouring snacks and juice, the first activity was to make some party hats for the Beanie Boos. We had just hit up the dollar store for stickers and ribbon and pom poms and I printed out easy templates online. Once each of their Beanie Boos were properly outfitted, they played Pin the Eyes on the Beanie Boo. This was fun to make, but I ended up with a very adult problem initially. After I drew Magic the Unicorn Beanie Boo (Ella's first/favorite Beanie Boo), I sent the pic to a couple friends to show them how it turned out. My ignorant mind was happily full of innocent thoughts when I sent it out:
D'ya see it? 



Now it's ALL I see. My terrible shading. I was going off of this picture, after all. And it was the night before the party that poor Magic's out-of-control Beanie bush was brought to my attention. 
Now, my daughter was really excited about the game, so I couldn't just scrap the picture. And she loved her little feet, so I couldn't just cut off the bottom. I ended up coming up with a little cover-up to make it less of a porno Beanie Boo.
Sigh. At least none of the kids or their parents know how accidentally inappropriate THAT game was! And they had a lot of fun playing it, laughing at each other, and spinning around. So in the end, the game was a success.

 After they played for a bit, we sang Happy Birthday, and the kids had some cake while colouring some Beanie Boo pictures I printed off the Ty website, here.
I (of course) wanted to make Ella a really elaborate cake with fondant Beanie Boos all over it, but she asked for just a simple round cake on a platform where she could hang her keychain Beanie Boos from, and with one on top. It was all sorts of awesome not to have to worry about making a big fancy cake!

  After cake and colouring, the kids played just played with their Beanie Boos while the grown ups tidied up a bit. Then we brought out the Beanie Boo bingo game that I had purchased on Etsy, for less than ten bucks, from here. I think most of the kids had fun with this one, when they were winning, that is. They would pass around the boards after each round, and the girls loved talking about the different Beanie Boos.
 Ella also asked for donations for the food bank in lieu of gifts, and a good portion of her friends did give her donations, which was great. She still received some gifts, which was a nice balance. She's excited to bring her donations in, though.

In the end, I think she had a fantastic time, which is what makes it all worthwhile<3

Monday, February 1, 2016


So it's been months since I shared what I've been reading, and I know I'll forget a few, but here's tryin'...

I know in November, I picked up Tower of Thorns (actually I received it in the mail the day it was released:-D) by Juliet Marillier. As you probably know if you follow what I read, she is one of my all-time favorites. I have all her books in first edition HC. As the next installment in her Blackthorn and Grim series, this one was another treat. Well-written, interesting plot, while still giving the reader a little bit more answers of the mysteries behind the series' namesakes. Still love her. I don't know how it happens, but I can't help but be swept away by every one of her books. Wish she released more than one a year!!

During these months, I ended up getting A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas from the library, unaware that the author had already written a series that was widely received. I quite enjoyed her new one, though I found it a bit angsty at times - an unfortunate by-product of some teen novels. I admit, I often get the stories mixed up between this one and Red Queen, as I read them back to back in a short time period. But I did enjoy it, and I'm intrigued to read the next installment.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I didn't want to initially pick this up, as there was so much hype around it. (I can't help but want to avoid the books the whole world is crazy about - I don't know why!) But I put it on hold at the library and was surprised to find I really enjoyed it. So much that when my time with it was up and I wasn't done it (due to picking it up at the same time as A Court of Thorns and Roses and not finishing it in time) I ended up buying it off Amazon. It was really quite enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to reading Glass Sword when it's released.

I know somewhere in here I read Winter by Marissa Meyer. Must've been shortly after it was released at the end of 2015. I was SOOO excited for this one, as it was the conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles, as I wasn't disappointed. It was well done, without feeling like Meyer rushed the end. If anything, she dragged out a cohesive wrap-up. Without any detailed spoilers, I like how it was (mostly) a happy ending for everyone. I still thoroughly enjoyed it, and am excited for what this author brings us next.

I was doing a lot of writing at this time, and I don't like to read fiction when I'm heavily writing, so I picked up The Organized Mind again. I've tried to get through this book before because I really want to get through it, but UGGGGGHHHH I cannot seem to stay with it. I'm not a big non-fiction reader as it is ( I prefer audiobooks for non-fiction) and I totally stalled again. Someday...

I'm currently reading Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis. I borrowed this one from the library after seeing it pop up on my recommendations. Only about halfway through it, but I'm enjoying it so far. It does remind me a lot of Cinder (with the whole lost princess becomes miraculous tech-genius) but I'm really trying to push that aside and enjoy the story. We'll see how I feel at the end, lol.
I'm also listening to an audiobook of Brain Maker by David Pearlmutter. I've only just begun it (and so far the reader's voice is driving me nuts) but the subject matter is quite interesting. It discusses how the food we eat and the condition of our "gut" can affect our brain as well as a myriad of neuro-related problems. He also talks about how changing our diet can help alleviate things like depression, MS, celiac-disease, obesity, IBS, autism, and more. Not very far in yet, but really interesting thus far.

I'm hoping to start diving back into some hard-core writing, so I think I'll hold off on some fiction after I finish Stitching Snow, but that likely won't happen for very long, lol. Hope you found some good reading lately!