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At Home With Ailsa - September

At Home with Ailsa -- My Update Page! - At Home I * At Home II * At Home III * At Home IV * Archived At Home With Ailsa Pages! * February '05 * January '05 * December '04 * November '04 * October '04 * September '04 * August '04 * July '04 * June '04

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Friday, September 17th, 2004. Hi, Honey! You're Home! And wouldn't you know it, I'm on my way out the door... but I think I can squeeze in a wee chat before I go! I think I have everything ready for my trip to California -- there's soooo much paperwork to prepare and then all the packing and what-not. So here's an exciting and fun thing that happened to me, yesterday -- I got a call from the Travel Agent I booked with (I found it online, then booked it) to say that my Credit Card had been declined. Well, well, well. I was absolutely livid! Good thing I had read that Deepak Chopra book about how to stay calm, 'cause I needed that "Sooooo-Hummmmmm" Exercise to deal with the situation without losing grip of my sanity. It turned out that my Card had been cancelled because I had finally (after 14 years of trying) gotten this particular card to change my name to Forshaw, which is what it has been for God Knows how long. These losers couldn't get it right, and I was stuck with an old married name on the Card -- very annoying.

So what was the most infuriating was that I could have already been on my Trip before I found out that they had screwed up my Card, and that would have been a total nightmare, since who travels with Cash, these days? I never even think about having Cash available... Man, of all the things, and here I never, ever go anywhere, so the level of coincidence that there would be any screw-up with my Credit Card now is astronomically high --- low?? Whatever -- me brains mush, today -- too much thinking, not enough time! ha,ha,ha! I got everything solved, but now I need to contact some big Head of the Corporation to tell them to change their intensely stupid Policy that would ever, evah allow one card to be cancelled without the Cardholder to be asked. No, no, no. Very bad. Why, if I had a rolled up newspaper, someone's nose would get a wee skelp!

Oh, and speaking of the "Soooo-Hummmmmm" Breathing Exercises from my favorite Deepak Chopra, I have big plans to do that quietly on the Plane! I think I'll bring the book with me -- maybe it'll be calming to read that during the Flights. But I'll tell you -- I really regret having read my entire Oprah Magazine, because that would have been perfect reading material for the Plane! Ah, well. Maybe I can find something good to bring with me. And it took me ages to find a gum with real sugar in it, since I am allergic to Aspartame -- that stuff is in practically every type of gum, and I'll need the gum for the Take Off and the Landings... It's Wrigley's Spearmint, in case you, too, are in search of something plain!

Did you catch the First Show of Survivor for this Season? Looks good, looks good -- hey, do the girls have to submit their Chest Size when they apply to be on the Show? ha,ha,ha! That's good for me, though -- that just draws more and more attention to the Buffs, which I still have a connection for, in case you're wondering... just drop me a line if you need more than 300 of them, and I can score you a great deal! (With your own Logo on them, of course -- the Survivor Buffs are available on the CBS Site, I'm sure.) And The Apprentice was on, too -- I loved the bit where Brandon, I think his name was (the Lawyer), was soooo arrogant as to put his head back on the chopping block when he had been given an Exemption, so that was crazy enough for The Donald to Fire Him, and I was happy to see that. Dwight was shocked by that, but I said to him that in Corporate Culture, that would always be a huge mistake. And all those girls bickering -- what's that all about? Surely everyone ought to know by now that you don't bicker in the Board Room -- and hopefully nowhere else, either, since bickering is just plain annoyink!

Tip of the Day: (Or Week, as the case may be...!) Be on the look-out for Conflict of Interest things in your Real Estate Life. Like if you have an Appraiser come over to appraise your house, then they hand you their Realtor Card on their way out the door -- they can't possibly be neutral about your Property because they want to represent the Sale, and they would Low-Ball the Price for a quick sale. (There are always exceptions, of course, but I would use that as a rule of thumb, so you might want to at least be aware of that as a potential problem...) We have a friend who recently went through a huuuuge hassle because of a Conflict of Interest -- he's selling this incredibly beautiful house, had a uyer, the buyer wanted to bring in his own Inspector for a House Inspection, and then, surprise, surprise, it turned ou the guy was also a Contractor of sorts and he gave the Inspection Reoprt with a big list of all the things that needed to be fixed and his Estimate for him to do the work. See the problem there? Yep. So that wasn't good -- not at all. The Buyer ends up not knowing who to believe, and the deal fell through.

So if you have to get an Appraisal or a House Inspection, ask first to see their Qualifications and their other Affiliations. Keep in mind that the vast majority of folks who DO have a Conflict of Interest never own up to it, so the onus really falls on the consumer. Oh, and that shady contractor also brought his wife along to the House Inspection (not a good sign when the Spouse tags along), and guess what she was -- that's right, a Realtor...! You gotta watch out, and be aware of your surroundings, even in your very own house! ha,ha,ha! (Again, as always, we use Realtors, know lots of Realtors, and lots of them are great, but as in every Profession, there are some bad apples, and it's your own life you have to watch out for, so ask whatever you need to ask and be sure of who is involved in any Real Estate Transaction.)

Okay, must get going! I'll see you when I get back, and I'll tell you everything that happened, except for the boring parts, of which there may be many! ha,ha,ha!

So in the meantime, take extra good care of yourself, and I'll take extra good care of myself, and we'll meet again before you know it! Love & Luck, Ailsa !!

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Wednesday, September 15th, 2004. Hi, Baby! Man, I've been busy, today! Sorry I didn't get those pictures on, yesterday -- totally ran out of time...I've been searching for some good Travel Deals for my Trip down to California. I finally found some great Flight, Hotel and Car deals, so now I'm all set. I like the new way they book for Hotels, too. As long as you get there before 4:00pm on the same day as the Reservation, you can cancel it if the Hotel is not to your liking. There's nothing worse (well, there are technically all sorts of things much worse, but you know what I mean...!) than Pre-Booking a Hotel only to arrive at your destination and the place is horrible.

We've learned the hard way over years and years of Travel to go right into the Hotel and look at the Room. You can't tell by the Lobby, since many places spend a fortune to make the Front Facade of the Hotel incredible, but the rooms are terrible. And I check to make sure the room really is Non-Smoking, and that the Pool is Operational, since a dry pool wouldn't be much fun, now, would it? ha,ha,ha!

So I'm not sure how much time I'll have over the next little while to do much work on My Website. Even before I go, since there's a lot of stuff to get ready before I head out. I'll be sure to bring my Camera, though, so can take lots (or some...) pictures so I can show you what I've been up to when I get back. Hey, you could take some time to check out the rest of the site -- maybe try my favorite Exercises and then make a Pie! ha,ha,ha! Or just have the pie -- whatever!

I wonder if I'd be able to take in a Taping of The Ellen Degeneres Show?? I'm a long time fan of Ellen's, and that would be very cool, except that it's supposed to be a business trip -- that's kind of like business, though, since I'm sure I would make some great Business Contacts! You never know! Think I'll go into her Website to check it out. Just think of the stories I'll come back with -- some true and a few completely made up...! yuff, yuff!

Okay, better get going! Thanks for popping in for a wee visit, Y'All!

Later, Baby! Ailsa!!

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Tuesday, September 14th, 2004. Hi, Honey! It's nice to see you, today, and you look fabulous, as always! Are those new Hair Plugs? Beautiful -- you can hardly even tell -- it melds right in with the Spray-On Hair, which was a stroke of genius on your part. I wouldn't have thought of that! ha,ha,ha! So MY hair is quite a bit darker than I thought it was going to be -- I colored it, yesterday... and of course I started working on the Computer while I was in the middle of the 'coloring process', got caught up in a Dr. Phil Show (which I watch while I'm working) and whatever I was writing about, so by the time I went to rinse out the color, I had myself a shade slightly unexpected. Ah, well. Dem's the Breaks! It still looks good, just not what I expected.

And it's "all things expected and unexpected" that I thought I would chat about today. This theme keeps coming up in my Life, and perhaps it's happening in your Life, too. It seems that the vast majority of personal problems come from what we expect from an event, a person or a job, then it's the unfulfillment of those expectations that cause all the bother. And no one can decide what level of expectation is reasonable... like at Christmas, when Dwight has some crazy notion that Christmas should be just like in the Norman Rockwell Painting (but you can't hear them bickering in the background! ha,ha!), which it never is. Partly because he's not related to Norman Rockwell, and partly because everybody has some craziness in their families, and that's not depicted. Although, that would have been funny to see a little hair-pulling -- that's the sort of thing that appeals to my sense of humor! ha,ha,ha!

So it turns out that someone in my house thinks my expectations of Marriage are waaaay too high. I'm not in agreement with that, since I don't think it's unreasonable that each Partner should be kind and decent to the other person. There's a little bit of room for bad behaviour, but not a wide, wide margin of error. Surprise! Who'da thunk that I would believe that?? It's like it just came out of nowhere. Here's the dilemma -- I have no intentions of 'lowering the bar' any further on the marriage thing, and someone else says he thinks he does more than enough,already. Okay, then. We're at a stalemate. And that reminds me -- I think I'm gonna check out eBay today to see if I can find a Flight on there. You never know. Travel is sooo different with the Internet, now -- you can really search around for the best prices.

Quick Interlude -- you know what I just saw on some crazy Ad on TV? It was a charming Ad to get people back into this particular Church (they must be bringing in some serious coin to afford an Ad on TV...). So here's the 'catch phrase' that always brings 'em runnin' back -- "Find out about God's Wrath!" Yes. That sounds like something fantastic to find out -- how about the Compassionate Side? I Hope to God we're not taking a giant leap back into the Dark Ages where the whole'Fire and Brimstone' Sunday chat takes over. Yuck. It's more fun to bring folks in with the Great Music, give a great message to uplift their Spirit, collect some money to help someone in need, and make life nicer, not more difficult. I used to laugh when I went to a ervice (not my own Church...) where the whole Sermon would be about the 'Sinful Little Children'. Hmmmm. Yes. Children are lovely and sweet -- that's just a crazy thing to say about any kid. No wonder so many people grew up with a terrible sense of self-esteem if that was being drummed into their little heads. Man. I spent a tremendous amount of time at the Church when I was little, and the Signs that hung in the Sunday School area read "Live & Love in God", and that has stayed with me forever, so I would imagine the opposite message would hang over someone's head, too.

Okay, I better go check on that Flight Info -- and from what I can tell, it's cheaper if you book the Hotel along with the Flight. The best deals were if you were flying in a 'Twosie', which I won't be -- if only I knew someone else in Calgary wo wanted to Fly to L.A. very, very soon! Ah, well. I'll keep searching and let you know what I can find.

I'll be back in a bit with some more new pictures!

Thanks for popping in for a wee visit! See You tomorrow! Ailsa!!

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Monday, September 13th, 2004. Hey, Welcome in! And "Yo to Mah' Playahs"! ha,ha! Cara just taught me that phrase! I think I got it right... So I've been busy today looking for some good deals to travel down to Los Angeles to see about some things I've been working on. Lots of great deals if you travel in "a Two", but it didn't seem those same deals were available for an Individual Traveller. Ah, well. I'll have to keep looking. It's been an awfully long time since I've travelled on my own, so I'm a little trepidatious about it, for sure. And I'm coloring my hair, today, so I put on my big T-Shirt, and Aidan came in, saw it, and says, "Oh, is it another painting day?" ha,ha! Nope. Not this week -- I'm gonna be too busy for painting.

I did see our Finishing Carpenter at the Movie Store on the weekend, so I've arranged for him to come over some time so we can have a look at the Fireplace Mantels. Remember Dwight and I started working on them? Yes, well, that didn't work out very well, so all the pieces that we carefully cut and I painted 'accidentally' found themselves under a tap and wouldn't you know it, some water dripped on them...hmmmmm. So that wasn't good. Now I'm just going to call in an 'outsider' to get the job done. Sometimes it's just easier that way. (There's a Tip!)

We celebrated Aidan's 5th Birthday on Saturday. Hard to believe my little baby is 5 already. I have to make a conscious effort not to call him, "Baby" all the time, since that's my pet name for him. My other name is "Little Man", so I guess I could go with that until I have to switch yet again...! Kids -- they're constantly growing! It was a pretty good birthday, though, except that Dwight wouldn't participate in it, which was weird. I don't think it's fair for an adult to bring in their stuff to a child's special day. Better to 'put on a happy face' for the kidlet, and deal with whatever it is that is the problem some other time, away from said child. So I'm not happy with that. Luckily, Aidan is so young that he dwells in his own little world, so he didn't notice, and he had a great day, and got lots of cool presents. And a cool Pokemon Ice Cream Cake!

Uh, oh. I've gotta go get this stuff out of my hair! I'll see if I have time to pop back into my Site to work on it a bit more, today... I think this is gonna be a bit of a crazy week! At the very least, I'll try to get some new pictures up...

Here are some nice pictures from Aidan's Birthday -- he loved that Blow-Up Teenage Mutant Turtles Chair, and that's me in my new Kimono, which I totally looove (!), and then the fancy Cake for Aidan. There's a ton of it left over, so we'll be eating Ice Cream Cake for quite a while!

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See You Later, Baby! (It's okay if I still call YOU that, ain't it?? ha,ha,ha!) Ailsa!!

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Friday, September 10th, 2004. Hi, Baby! You're Home, again! And Welcome in... unfortunately, I've already finished all the Gin, but I'm sure I can find something for you to imbibe in! ha,ha,ha! No, no. I haven't had any Gin since that one night in my Early Twenties when that crazy (yet delicious!) Lemon Gin made me think it wasn't so very bad to crawl back to our Tent -- we were out camping by the beach! Ah, well. Gin has a little bit of an affect on your perception of things! ha,ha! That's why you do those things in your Twenties, so you can get it all out of your system before you turn 40, 'cause that's just sad if you're doin' that after that age!(Hopefully, you can afford a Hotel Room by that time!) Oh, and a quick word to the wise -- you gots to watch out for anything that says "100 Proof" on the Label! Like Southern Comfort, which I also haven't had for years and years. Ah, Parenting -- it's a sobering experience, so-to-speak! har, har!

So this is always a strange Weekend for us -- it's Aidan's 5th Birthday, so we want Aidan to have a great Birthday. His 1st Birthday is when the 'September 11th Attacks' happened, and it was a horrible day. We sat in front of the TV trying to take it al in and try to figure it out. It was no day for a celebration, but here we had this sweet little baby whose Birthday happened to fall on that day. And then every year on September 11th, we all have mixed emotions -- except for Aidan -- we all go to great lengths to make sure he doesn't associate that with his Birthday, since that would have too big an impct on him. It did make us feel like Aidan is here for a special purpose in the world. Maybe he'll do something when he is an adult to bring Peace, or find some solutions that help us all. Or he'll Build Homes for a Living!

Quick Tip: This Weekend, in light of everything that has happened over the last number of years, go out and do something nice for your Fellow Man. Or Woman. Or Child. And do something nice for each person in your own home, too. It's gotta start somewhere, and if we each did our own bit, maybe it would all work out that much better. Plus, you can do a little experiment... start giving out compliments more freely -- there's always something nice you can say about pretty much every body and everything. Watch and see if this makes a difference in how you're perceived. It might even change your perception of yourself, too -- and all without the aid of a wee drop of Gin! ha,ha,ha! (Or not....)

Oh, before I move on to The Apprentice, do you ever take a step back from your life to have a good look at it? I'm not sure why I like to do that so much, but I think it's a useful skill. It's fun to make up little 'life experiments' for yourself. You can get into some pretty weird little habits (saying mean things to a spouse, swearing, doing something that you know fer sures irritates other people in the household -- or in society at large... or eating more than you should, or staying out longer than you ought to... all sorts of things that you know somewhere in there that it might be time to try something new...) that you pick up over the years. Well, if ever there was a good time to start 'tweaking' your life, it's this Weekend. Sometimes it takes something catestrophic to change your life, and we've been through the catastrophe, so now it's a good time to make a change.

Keep track of how things change (or don't change, as the case may be...) after you've made your own adjustments. You know that whole notion that when you treat someone well, they will automatically fall into line and treat you well in return? I'm here to tell you that that is not true. Sounds nice, ain't true. Some folks are just plain toxic, and you're better off without them in your life. It's worth a try to see if your changes will make any difference in the other person, but if you are dealing with an extremely difficult person, maybe the best change is to remove yourself completely. And you don't need anyone else to agree that the particular person is toxic to you, because that very same person might seem like an angel to everyone else -- who cares what they think? The other big thing we all came away with after 'September 11th', is that Life is Short -- you don't want to waste it. (Now, the question is, 'Am I talking directly to myself, or is this just for you'?? ha,ha! A little bit of both, me thinks!)

Okay, now for something much lighter -- did you cath the first Episode of The Apprentice? I missed the first part of it because one of my Best Friends called from Toronto, and that takes precedence, of course! I missed the first episode of Joey, too, but Dwight and Cara said they didn't really like it ... that ain't good! I'll have to see it for myself, then we'll see. But I did see the last half of The Apprentice, and so far, so good. I came in at the bit where the two Teams (All Male with One Female, and All Female with One Male...) when they were trying to come up with a Company Name. Man, some people are just pushy and rude right from the get-go, so it's interesting how the dynamics work even at the beginning. I loved when the Teams had to come up with a new Toy for Mattel (I have a cool idea I'll need to write and tell them about...I'd forgotten about it until last night!). That Meanie on the Men's Team (wouldn't you know it -- the only 'girl'... ugh, she's makin' us look bad! Lucky thing we're all our own selves!) said some horrible things about the wee boys who were testing their Products -- who does that sort of thing? An insensitive oaf, that's who. I had a Lawyer with that personality, once -- horrid. Now I avoid that personality type like the plague -- you don't want to deal with either! ha,ha!

And did you love the bit where that guy, Rob, kept saying the reason he didn't participate in the Group was that he wasn't even invited in?? No Formal Invitation arrived at his desk, and so he sat relatively mute... that's just the sort of Executive Material The Donald is looking for... ha,ha,ha! Plus, Rob was particularly rude to Caroline, Donald Trump's 'Right Hand Woman', so-to-speak, with a giant, "Excuse me? in a mean tone of voice. Yeah. Don't be dissin' The Donald's Chick -- that ain't good! You'd think that would be obvious, but apparently not! So he's gone. Peas scoot, you're oot, as they say in Scotland. I think that's how you might spell that -- I've said it a million times, but I think that's my first time actually writing it down! It's like the Scottish Version of 'You're Fired'! har, har!

Thanks for swinging by for a wee visit! I hope you all enjoy your Weekend! I thnk I'll be extra busy with Aidan's Birthday, so the chances are slim I'll have any time to write!

I'll go grab you some new pictures -- Aidan's been in my Office with many times over with a series of 'costume changes' saying he's 'The Mayor of...' whatever the aminal he had on his back was! So he was the Mayor of Horse Town, the Mayor of Bear Town...then there was a pig, a giant elephant, another giant pink elephant, and now another bear! Apparently, all the Mayors are very hungry, and they've all put in their Orders for sandwiches -- preferably with the crusts cut off. Some Mayors can be really picky! ha,ha,ha! So now I have to go make some more sandwiches (sammiches!) for 'Da Boy'!

Here he is, the Birthday Boy! "Mr. Mayor", he prefers to be called! ha,ha! The second picture is perfect for us, since Aidan was telling me he was the 'Mayor of CowTown', which is another name for Calgary, where we live!

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Can you tell I have a penchant for large stuffed amimals? I have zero resistance against anything that cute -- and that includes Aidan! ha,ha,ha!

See You Soon! Love & Luck (same thing??), Ailsa!

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Thursday, September 9th, 2004. Yo! What up, My Peeps?? People? Peoples? And what happens if I'm down to just one lone Reader? Does that person become "My Peep"? I need to know these things, for future reference! ha,ha,ha! I Hope to God I'm never really down to One Lone (or lonely!) Reader! No, no. That not be good, as our Neanderthal Pal, Ned, would to prevent that possibility, go ahead and please-oh-please tell everyone you know about my little Site. You don't even have to like them. You can write and tell me what you can't stand about them, then I'll change their names and make a 'Tip of the Day' about how to deal with annoyink folks! ha,ha!

Man, can't wait to see the The Apprentice back on TV, tonight! Yippee! Wonder what they'll look like? Come on, now, we all know it's all about The Looks! And The Attitude... can't wait to see which ones are 'the meanies' -- they're my favorites. Those ones and the ones who have to work out in the Gym -- it's soooo hot in there, though -- they always have to take their shirts off... now how does that affect the Ratings?? ha,ha,ha,ha! (Okay, I'm thinking about Kwame! ha,ha! I hear he landed a great job making over $500 Grand a year -- now that's a good wage!) And, of course, Dwight really enjoyed the Business aspect of the Show and the very short skirts on the women -- a little something for everyone!

It's freezing outside, today. I just took the dog out a while ago, and it's barely above Zero -- now that just ain't right! Poor Tia -- I don't want her to get a chill out there... and here we're just at the beginning of the Fall. There was snow North of us, yesterday -- none here, yet, Thank Goodness. Crazy. I'm not sure what's happening with the Weather. And I hope all the people in Florida are able to recover from what they are going through. What a nightmare that must be. I guess it makes Cold Weather seem not-so-bad... I wonder what sorts of things they can do in Florida to safe-guard their homes? A friend of Dwight's makes those Roll Down Window Covers -- they're pretty cool -- they're made of metal and they kind of act like a Shutter, only they literally roll down over the window. I would imagine that's good for protecting the windows. I think I'd be inclined to get some sort of giant version of that for the whole house, but I'm slightly over-protective of everything I have! ha,ha! Here's a quick Link if you would like to find out more information about Florida or would like to make a little donation...or adopt a pet!

Tip of the Day: I'm thinking of this because I was watching Trading Spouses the other night and one of the Moms is a smoker, and she's been placed in a non-smoking house (she keeps flicking her ashes into their pool ... wight says he would go ballistic, which is true enough...), and, Aidan's Birthday Party is this Saturday, and one of our guests (who just recovered from yet another batch of Chemo Treatments for Cancer) will be smoking his behind off, so I need to do this, myself... First, if you don't want anyone smoking inside your Home, go ahead and put up those little stick-on signs at every Entrance. And then create an area where your guests can smoke if they must -- and leave a Coffee Can with sand or coffee grounds in it so they will 'Butt Out' outside, and not throw those stooopid butts all over your yard. That drives me crazy! I used to say to Dwight I was going to go over to his house and ball up all sorts of little papers and throw them all over his perfect lawn... but that's because I used to have to start drinkin' before they even got to our house so I could get through the visits! ha,ha,ha! Oh, and that reminds me -- I'm all out of Baileys... that's my 'choice of drink' when I'm being polite, but also enjoying myself just a little bit more! har, har!

You know another time when some folks think they can smoke in your house with complete abandon? When you're Building and often when you're Renovating. I can't stand that, because I'm allergic to smoke, plus, it's My House, no matter what stage it's at, so I don't want my house to smell gross. And when those crazy guys think they can smoke in the house any time after the Framing Stage (the Exterior Walls are up -- let's say the 'Lock-Up' Stage) -- man, that's infuriating. I had to put signs up all over the place to stop them from smoking in the house. The first Carpenter (yes, Rick the Dick, I called him... but never to his face! ha,ha!) used to spend so much time smoking (mostly outside), that it cost us just as much to wait for him to finish with 'his smokes' as we did for him to finish the Cabinetry...and quit arguing with us (that was a total nightmare!).

Anyway, we learned a few things -- be very, very clear with your Trades and Sub-Trades that there is to be No Smoking anywhere in the House during the Build. Put it in a Contract if you have to. And if you are paying by the hour ("R-the-D" was paid $45./hr), and they are spending a tremendous amount of that time smoking, you have every right to say something. Nicely, at first, then start looking for a non-smoker or someone who will respect your wishes if they won't accept your concerns. It all depends on how badly you need them, and how quickly they can work. But you should never walk into a Brand New Home that reeks of Smoke -- that's just wrong. It should smell lovely and fresh and clean... my favorite Scents!

Here's my New Wreath -- well, it's 'Newish', since I just take the same old Wreath Base and switch out the Flowers for each Season. It's easy and fast (I'm a Twenty Minute Girl -- I'm happy to do it if it takes me about Twenty Minutes -- and then I'm happy to do the jobs that I think will take Twenty Minutes, but end up taking the whole day -- sometimes that just happens!).

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Thanks for popping in for a wee visit! Hey, you should swing by for some Bailey's and Coffee with me, some time -- promise it's just for fun, and not so I can 'get through the visit'! ha,ha,ha! I also happen to find it very tasty! And we can have Cake, too! Doesn't that sound like fun? We'll talk about all the people you can't stand -- those are always the best conversations, ain't they?? ha,ha!

See You Tomorrow, Baby! Ailsa!!

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2004. Hey, Baby! How You Doin'? (Getting ready for the new Joey Show with our favorite Adrianna from the Sopranos -- yippee, she's back from the Woods!) Well, Sept. 8th is the Anniversary Date of the Day we moved in here -- two years ago! Wow, time flies when you have a ton of stuff to do! Dwight and I were talking about it last night, and it's funny that when we first moved in here, we felt like there was hardly anything left to do, but two years later, we still have a list of things that need to be finished. It's such a big house, that you can live very comfortably without a whole Floor being done -- there was a point when we weren't sure whther to Develop the Lower Floor, since we thought the Main Level of the house was plenty of room to live in, but now we don't know how we would have managed withought the Lower Development. You get used to whatever you have so quickly! Hope that works the other way around, too, when we Down-Size from here...!

Oh, and since we happen to be at the Two Year Mark in this house, and we're selling it, here's a good bit of info -- I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating since it could be very beneficial for you. If you are in the United States, 2 - 5 years is the amount of time you have to live in a Primary Residence (or live in the place for 2 out of the 5 years, if you own more than one home, I guess - I'd ask an Accountant about that...) before you can sell it and claim the first $500,000. of Profit from the House Tax-Free, (that's if you're Married -- you can claim $250,000. if you're Single). In Canada, the rule is generally 1 Full Year of the House being your Primary Residence. I think there is often some confusion about whether those rules apply from the time you Own the Land to the Time you actually Move Into your House... I would always err on the side of caution when it comes to Real Estate and Taxes, so go from the time you move into your house, then you won't have to worry.

I think I'll go into Town to Order Aidan's Birthday Cake, today. I used to make all the fancy Birthday Cakes, but Aidan wants a Pokemon Cake, and our Local Safeway has one like that, I'm pretty sure. And I think we can get a Pokemon Ice Cream Cake at Dairy Queen, too, so maybe we'll get both -- you can never have too many cakes, isn't that right? ha,ha,ha! Ah, you're only 5 once! And our Home Schooling Program is going well -- Aidan can spell his own name and he already has a good handle on the letters of the Alphabet and their sounds, so it would be great to send him to 'regular school' already reading. I think he'll be an early reader, so that's good.

Here's a wee bit about Reading and Children -- there's a lot of info out there that is annoying to me as a parent and as an educator -- every child will learn to read at their own rate. Some kids take to it very early, and some take their time becoming Readers, but if you remove the "They should all be reading by Six Rule", everyone will be much better off. It would be nice if you could set a date that everything will be done by, but just like everything else in life, that's not how it works, and it can put undue stress on a child. And a parent. If you are a parent or know a parent who is dealing with this, the best thing you can do for the child is to give them whatever they are actually interested in to read. I am a real fan of Archie Comics -- kids love those. Any comics are good, though, because they let the child see what's going on in the story, whether they can read every word or not, and that's good. The important thing is to get them interested in Reading, then the rest will follow naturally.

I've taught English at every level, from Kindergarten to College, and one of my favorite ways to get 'Older Readers' interested in Great Literature is to read it in Class during a 'Silent Reading Time' (yes, that still exists). I used to bring in some John Updike or whatever else I was reading at the time, and I would say to my students, "Oh, you don't want to read this -- it's full of Adult Content -- too much swearing and stuff for you...maybe when you're a little older... " Of course, they're all John Updike Fans, now, 'cause that's just the sort of thing older kids really want to read! ha,ha,ha! I think when Educators make Literature seem boring or irrelevant, no one wants to read it, let alone take anything valuable from it, so if we were all to lighten it up a bit, I would bet we'd have a whole lot more 'Life-Time Readers'. That's why I love the Oprah Book Club so much -- I would hazard a guess that Oprah has had a bigger impact on Adult Readers than anyone else in our time, and I'm ever-thankful for that. The more we read, the more we know about other peoples' lives, and the more empathetic we become... and that makes for a richer, happier Society, so kudos to Oprah on that one!

I finally remembered to pop outside with my Video Camera to take some Digital shots of the New Shutters (it took almost the full two years to convince Dwight that there were indeed important to the house... and then to get him to put them up... but they're done, now, and they look great! I'll get the pictures for you. Actually, I went out to take some pictures of the new Wreath I just made on the weekend -- I switch the Wreath on the Front Door to suit each Season, and we're already in the Fall, so I needed a whole lot more Orange and Burgundy. I'll put those pictures on tomorrow...

Hey, you can sort of see my new Wreath! But there are the new Shutters -- isn't that better? I think that crazy Dwight was just trying to get out of another job! ha,ha,ha! It's good to get those little jobs done, though, so now we're both happy with that.

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Okay, I've got a ton of stuff to do, today (including a big pile of Presents to wrap for Aidan!), so I better get going. I haven't heard back yet from the Colleges I've Contacted about an Administration Degree in Education at the Masters Level, but I'll let you know when I do. I'm interested to know if the Costs vary from College to College, and if I can aply my other Masters Level Courses that I've already taken to that sort of Degree. It's fantastic that you can find out that stuff online! And what I liked about the Link I followed yesterday (<>) was that you can be in the U.S. or Canada, and you can start looking at Colleges as young as 16, which is great. It's good to see what sorts of Courses and Degrees are available Online, which I believe is the Wave of the Future in Education.

Thanks for swinging by for a little visit! See You Tomorrow, Baby! Ailsa!!

Oh, and this Link is good for Canadians and Americans, too -- it's a little tricky finding good links for Canadians, that's why I always point that out. I look forward to the day when Canada gets a bit more progressive with Internet Marketing... < Learn How To Cut Your Bills in HALF! >This is a Great Canadian and U.S. Link mortgage refinance, renewal, second mortgage, home equity loan Loans. Interest Rates are still really Low, so it's a good time to get a new Mortgage or think about a Home Equity Loan to Renovate Your Home and/or Consolidate Your Bills. As long as you're careful, this is a viable option for many families.

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2004. Hello, Hello, Hello! I hope you had a great Weekend! I spent mine cleaning -- oooh, now you're jealous, I'm sure! ha,ha! I thought we were going to head out to the Mountains for a wee break, but then Dwight wanted me to clean my Van, which I refused to do (he did it), but then I felt guilty about that so I thought I'd straighten up the Pantry (it's a Walk-In Pantry, 9 feet by 5 feet, so it's big), and that ended up taking me the whole day, yesterday. There was waaaay more stuff in there than I thought. I have it shelved all the way around, three large Rows high, so there was a lot of space for stuff to get lost.

I ended up throwing out two garbage bags full of stuff that didn't absolutely have to be in there -- old jars of Baby Food from when Aidan was a baby (I think he only ate about 5 jars of baby food -- he liked Bananas, then I think he went straight to Barbequed Ribs! ha,ha,ha! We used to call him BamBam because we'd never seen a child quite like that. He was walking at 8 months, and he was pushing 4 year old kids in his 'car' when he was 10 months old... hilarious! I can't believe it's almost his 5th Birthday! Aidan is beside himself with excitement -- today he wants to help me wrap his presents -- they are all in the Gift Wrapping Room (my old Exercise Room, only I didn't want to be all alone in there when I was exercising, so I dragged all my equipment out to the Lower Living Room and replaced the Gym Equipment with Two Tables and my Sewing Maching that I never have time to use... works out well! I had to be ruthles with the rest of the stuff in the Pantry, too -- candies from Christmas, Hallowe'en and Easter... man, we must buy a lot of fancy Chocolate Treats that no one ever eats. I'll have to try to remember that for the next Holiday!

I've been going through a bunch of our things to see what we can simplify before the next move. It's a huuuge job -- we have a ridiculous amount of stuff... now how did that happen?? Cara and I arrived in Calgary with only what I could carry in our little Sedan, and now I can't even go to the Store without bringing my giant Cargo Van so I have enough room to stuff it full with more things that we may or may not need. Perhaps a little over-compensation, you say? Hmmmm. Maybe you're right about that! Ha,ha! Ah, well. What are you gonna do? It's almost the winter (yuck!), and I hardly ever go out then because I hate to drive when the roads are bad, so that oughtta cut down on the shopping for unnecessary items, to a certain degree! Oh, and speaking of Degrees, I want to get a Master's Degree in Administration (think I still want to be a Principal at some point in my life...), so I think I'll do that Online. I'll let you know what I find. Of course, I'm going to go through my own Online Education Page!

Hey, did you happen to catch the new Episode of Renovate My Family with Dr. Phil's Son, Jay McGraw? As cute as he is, I'm not so sure he was a good match for this Show. It's kid of likie 'Trading Spaces meets Dr. Phil', and at one point poor young Jay tried to tell the Lead Contractor how to do his job ("If you keep doing the same thing the same way, you'll just get the same result, so now we have to try something different..." ) Yes, that's relatively good advice for the rest of your life, but not in Construction, and the Client is rarely able to hand out 'helpful advice' to the Contractor. Funny how they never appreciate that, especially from someone with no experience in the Trade. Even advice from some one else in the Trade is rarely welcome... they're just like that. So that didn't go well for ol' Jay -- that's two fights wiht the Contractor, now -- wonder what will happen next week?? Now we're hooked! ha,ha,ha!

The other big thing that happened in Renovate My Family that was very scary was the run in with the Electrical Wires. Now how on earth did that happen on a TV Show?? Surely they do their background work and know to always "Call Before You Dig". That's like the first lesson of Big Construction, lest you not survive you're first Build -- literally. Even if you have to wait for a few days for the Call Before You Dig Inspection Team to come over and Flag Your Property before you do any digging, it's an essential wait. Dwight said they would have to foot the Bill for the Power Company to come out to resolve the problenm, but they were very lucky that no lives were lost -- it's no small matter hitting Electrical Wires or a Gas Line during a Build, so I was disappointed that the Contractor on the Show didn't make it sound more serious. I think he referred to it as more of a 'little glitch'. Yeah, that's like saying it's "a little deadly". So Always Call Before You Dig -- that's how you ask for it when you call Information or look it up in the Phone Book or Online. Better Safe than Sorry.

Tip of the Day: Go way out of your way to get along with your Contractor or Builder. That whole 'in yo' face' thing that they show on TV is NOT good, and it's not reasonable behaviour. Just think of how incredibly annoyink it is when someone comments on your own work when they don't know the first thing about what you're doing. It's a real Pet Peeve amongst Contractors the whole thing about a Client saying the job is nowhere near being done when it's at the End Stages. The vast Majority of Construction Stuff looks 'unfinished' to the regular eye, but to a seasoned Contractor, they know exactly how much more work needs to be done to complete the job. When the job is 90 % done, it can still look like it'll take forever to finish, but come back later in the day, and Voila, it's done. So it's a good idea to get a timeline for how long it take to complete any particular job, then just wait for it to be done. And always expect delays, since they invariably happen. You'll love the End Finish, so might as well wait and see how it looks at the end.

Oh, and here's something else that was irritating (albeit entertaining!) on Renovate My Family -- when Jay says, "What?? Not even ONE ROOM is done??" Okay, now somebody needs a Time Out. Nobody ever completes one room at a time -- that's not how a house is built. It's ONE JOB at a time -- all the Electrical, all the Drywall, all the Painting... like that. Never only one room at a time. Really, someone should have told him that before they started filming. The upside is that Jay McGraw is filthy rich, now, and he'll have a much better handle on how to deal with Contractors when he's ready to build his own house! And my best guess is that he'll hire the right people, then leave them alone to do the job he hired them to do. The only time you want to intervene is if you know for a fact that someone isn't doing the work correctly, and then you're just stopping by to Fire them (yep, we've all been there!). It's always wise to have another Contractor in the wings before you do that, and then only do that sparingly. You never, ever want to get a reputation that would prevent new contractors from working with you -- especially bad in a small community.

Here's my nice, tidy Pantry. I have no idea where the old pictures are of what the Pantry looked like before -- I thought it looked good until I was finished cleaning it, and now it looks fantastic, so it was worth spending a good portion of the day doing that.

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Oh, and there's a French Glass Door on the way into the Pantry -- it's a normal size, it just looks different when the door is opened for the shot... it's nice to be able to peer in there to see what's available if you are ever in need of a wee schneister (snack!)...

Okay, better get to work on that Degree thing! See you tomorrow, Baby! Ailsa!!

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It's the Labor Day Weekend! Saturday& Sunday, September 4th & 5th, 2004. Hi, Honey! Welcome Home! Man, you're lookin' good ... is that extra Blush that's giving you that special glow, or have you been drinkin'?? ha,ha,ha! Wow, the Labor Day Weekend, and we still haven't done anything fun this summer. Well, there was Dwight's Family Reunion in the Forest -- that was as exciting as it sounds! yuff, yuff! We thought about going out to the Mountains at least fro a Weekend Getaway, but that never did come to fruition, either... and if we don't hurry, the roads will close to Waterton National Park (or at least, they used to close on the 21st of September -- don't really know whether this is still the case, but I'm assuming it is...), or we'll end up having to take a Winter Vacation, which Dwight never has time for... Ah, well. Perhaps I'll take a little vacation all by myself... we'll see about that!

Oh, and speaking of a little vacation you take all by yourself, I noticed that Dwight has been getting all his paperwork (and there's a lot) ready for the up-coming Hunting Season. Now, we have many difficult times during the year, but Hunting Season is by far our worst. I said to that boy that this year he has to tell me in advance (imagine!) if he has any plans to go hunting. If you're a long-time Reader, I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to you that I don't like hunting, and see no useful purpose in it, given that we can easily buy our meat at the Grocery Store. No need to go out and shoot it, first. However, Dwight likes to poke around in the woods with a gun, so that's that. If he does ever go, though, the deal is that I never, ever want to see a gun, so he would have to 'do the trip' without me being anywhere near anything -- and I don't want any of the yucky meat in my 'good freezer', either -- Dwight actually has a separate Freezer that I never go into to store this sort of thing. Ick.

So guess how the 'tell me in advance' rule came to be... last year, I discovered that Dwight was planning a week long Hunting Trip when I happened upon the info on the Calendar. Yes, that was a delightful week... I had said to him at the time, "When were you gonna tell me? On your way out the door?" He was all mad and said he was going to tell me, it was just that he forgot...hmmmm. So I've given him fair warning to tell me first, so I can be sure to plan something fun, too. It's a shame he's got it in his head that he can do anything he likes -- that ain't aworkin' for me! ha,ha! Ah, what are you gonna do?

Aidan received his first Birthday Gift in the Mail, today, and he was soooo excited! Since his 5th Birthday is on September 11th, he was going to wait until his actual Birthday before he was to open his gifts, so we decided to put the gift under a tree in the same location where we have our Christmas Tree at Christmas. Well, that plan didn't last very long... Aidan came running down the stairs about and hour after he got the gift and said he had 'found' a Card with his name on it under his bed. I said to him, "Oh, did it accidentally fall out of the Gift Package?" "No", he says, "I just found it..." So we opened it and of course it was a 5th Birthday Card with some money, so now he is even more excited about the prospect of going to the Store (Walmart is Aidan's Store of Choice for all things Pokemon and Power Ranger-related!) to spend his new money. Aidan says, "I wonder how they knew that I loved money so much??" ha,ha,ha!

Tip of the Day: First, Cara was reading my Site, today,and she wanted me to tell you that if you have a bother with Ants, try that old trick of drawing a chalk line -- they don't like to cross it. Now, I think I tried this once when we lived in Santa Monica, California, but I think the line of ants (it was literally a huge line out of nowhere -- very weird!) scoffed ot the line and went across it en masse, but it can't hurt to give it a try.

And here's my Tip -- If you live in a 'Cold Weather' Place (like Alberta!), this is a good time of the year to go out and have a look around your whole house to see if there are any little 'holes' or tiny spaces where mice could get into the house. It's unbelievable how tiny a space needs to be for these little yucky things to get inside. Carry some Steel Wool with you while you're perusing the base of your house, and you can use a little of that to put in any holes. Check the Dryer Vent, too, to make sure it's secured to the Exterior Wall and if it's open, maybe cover the opening with a piece of metal mesh. That oughtta keep the little varmits out!

That's Aidan and Tia watching the Storm and then the Rainbow in his room. And that's the Purple Care Bear Aidan insisted on getting at the Calgary Stampede -- but when we got home he told Cara 'secretly' that what he really wanted was a 'Green Care Bear'... Oh, the mind of a child!

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And there's Aidan at the Kitchen Island working away on his 'Home Schooling'! He fills each of the Cups with the correct number of marbles -- then he does a little more Painting! Nothing like having a giant Island so there's enough room for all your Work!

Thanks for swingin' by for a wee visit! I hope you have a chance to do something extra-fun, this Weekend! We're having an Open House on Sunday, and, no, that doesn't qualify as 'extra-fun', but it is necessary, so we'll vacation when the house is sold!

See Ya, Baby! Ailsa!!

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Friday, September 3rd, 2004. Yo, yo. What up, Y'all? How you doin', ta'day? I hope you're first wee bit of September went well -- we're all set back into our School Routine, and almost everyone else we know (with school-age kids) is preparing to head back to school on Tuesday, after the Long Weekend. Can't believe we're at the Labor Day Weekend, already...I happened to have been very, very pregnant over the Labor Day Weekend just before Aidan was born (his birthday is September 11th), so she thought it would have been hilarious if I had gone into Labor with Aidan on Labor Day -- Cara was 11 when Aidan was born, so that really appealed to her sense of humor! ha,ha!

I'm watching Steve Harvey -- he's one of my favorite Comedians, and he has this little Show on during the day -- it's very funny. Very good Writing. I'm not completely sure how old the Series is, but I am glad to see Steve Harvey at least on TV, these days. I hate to see great Talent wasted. Which reminds me -- I wonder what's going to happen with Wayne Brady? Remember they took his Show off the Air before the Summer? I never did understand such a stupid decision. I don't get why they just don't move the Show to another Station or into the Cable Category (you know, like Showtime and Bravo...). I have heard that Wayne Brady is putting out an Album -- or CD, I guess is the right name for it, now...! I'm hoping that he puts out a Christmas Album, because he would be great at that, and I'm sure it would sell well.

Since we're already on a TV track, I'll mention what I was going to say, yesterday, when I got off on a tangent about putting Seat Belts in Every School Bus. I should make a separate page just for that -- maybe later today -- I'll see how my tme goes... Anyhoooo, did you see that new Show, Renovate My Family? The Host is Dr. Phil's Son, Jay McGraw. The idea behind the Show is to Renovate a Family from Top to Bottom (and I mean, "Bottoms...'! ha,ha! I wish we could get them all to try my Apple Crumble Diet!). A Team comes in (including a Set of Blonde Triplets -- all Girls! ha,ha,ha! That part was hilarious, but I'm thrilled to see any Show where they have Female Contractors or Construction Workers -- if we could get more Women into the Trades, we'd all be better off...and so would the women!) and they completely Renovate the Family's Home. Then the Family is taken to a Health Facility to have a look at their Overall Health to see what can be done to make their whole lives healthier, and therefore, happier (in Theory).

So Renovate My Family is a great Show -- we all enjoyed it. They discovered that their House Foundation had a very serious crack (not a regular crack in a concrete Floor -- that's normal...), and they concerns that the whole house would collapse into itself (not good), so they tore the whole thing down to start from the beginning. Now, the best part of that procedure was that I got to see how they Build a Foundation in a Southern Climate -- I'll need to know that in case I ever get to build in, say, California! ha,ha,ha! (I'm California Dreamin', as usual!) It looks like you only have to crib the Footings, then pour the cement into the footings, and go ahead and build the Subfloor and Regular Framing. That would save a huge amount of time and money, so that's good news for me! I think I would always be inclined to do a 4 foot Frost Wall, just in case, and I would think it would be wise to have some sort of tight wire base (which I would run 2 feet into the ground around the base) to prevent any yucky wee beasties from getting in... (nobody wants a wee moosie in the hoosie ... a mouse in the house, if you don't 'speak Scottish'! ha,ha,ha!).

Quick Tip: If you do ever, God Forbid, find a wee mouse in yo' house, use Peanut Butter on a Mouse Trap instead of the old-fashioned cheese. It's much more effective and it'll help you solve the problem. Also, and I just heard about this, so I haven't actually tried this, but apparently a 'Minty' Plant (like Mentha Pulegium -- or any plant with 'Mentha' in the name...) can repel insects and maybe some small beasties. You have to be careful with those plants if you or someone in your home is Pregnant or a Nursing Mom, but I would think it's worth a shot -- especially with Ants. If you try it and it works, drop me a line and let me know!

I think they built the Biggins Family (the Show chooses one Family per Episode) a 3200 square foot house -- very nice. I liked that they chose a Box Shape, because that's a very good shape to choose if you want a great big house on a City Lot. Once you get a good handle on the different basic shapes for houses, you can really play around with what you are going to do on the inside. Think of the Outside as a Shell -- it's fairly inexpensive to build... it's what's on the inside that'll drive the Costs up. Like a zillion TVs... if you saw the Show, you'll know that they first chastised the family for watching 'too much TV', then put 6 TVs in the Kitchen, for Goodness Sake, and a TV in every bedroom. Yes, that'll sove that problem... not that I see TV as any sort of problem -- that's the least of anyone's concerns. They did build them a fabulous Theatre Room, though -- the Big Screen came down from the Ceiling and covered right over the Window -- what a great use of space!

Now here's what I didn't like -- I didn't like the use of the 'O' word -- obese... no one wants to hear that word, and I'm not so sure it really helps anyone... It seems to me that it is a very hurtful word, and the definition is just wrong, since 'Obesity' is defined as 'weighing more than 30 pounds over the Ideal Weight'. See a problem with that last sentence? That's right -- 'Ideal Weight'. Who exactly determines what is an Ideal Weight, hmmmmm? I've been the same Height (about 5'7") for, oh, 28 years, or so. I weighed between 113-115 for the early Teen Years, then 155-118 for the next few years. I was considered very, very thin...then after I had Cara (when I was 25), I balanced out around 127 pounds. Now, my life was a living hell back then, and I attribute such a tiny weight after having a baby to my insane life. I never, ever want to go back to anything like that, again, so if any moron were ever to say to me that 130 is an 'Ideal Weight' for me, they can go straight to hell. That's how mad women (and men!) get when they hear the 'O' word in reference to themselves.

I wouldn't even bother to think about 130 pounds as an approachable weight for me, now. For one, it doesn't allow for enough Muscle Mass, and that's critical for good health after 40. I never see any sign of recognition on the Weight Charts that Muscle weighs more than Fat, and it's not about an actual 'weight'. It's about Structure, Inches and Overall Health. Mental Health, too. I will be incredibly happy if I ever get back down to 145 -- I'm workin' on it! I'll let you know if it ever happens! ha,ha! But when they told the Biggins Family at the Spa that 4 out of 5 of them were Obese, their little faces changed from being happy and willing to truly fed up, and for good reason. They could easily have said "We want to help you change your Lifestyle and Eating Patterns...". I'm sure they would have been receptive to that. You don't have to stop eating all the foods you already love, it's more a matter of When You Eat it, and how much of it you eat. There's no need to feel deprived.

And the other thing that made me really mad was during the Exercise Routines with Mela and her Daughter -- the Trainer had the 'Girls' use 10 pound weights (Free Weights) on their first time out. Oi, that made me soooo mad. You never, ever start with a weight that is too much for you. Particularly with Women -- you have to take the whole thing very slowly and work up to a heavier weight, not start out with something that is just gonna hurt them and make them never want to do that again. How intensely stupid is that?? That's not useful or practical. Whenever you start any new Routine with Weights, start with the smallest amount you can get, and work your way up to a comfortable weight. If you're at the Gym, and you have a Trainer who won't listen to you, skip them and either find another Trainer, or just ask them to show you how to use the Equipment properly, then work away on your own. Form and Technique are more important than the amount of the Weight when you're just getting started. Check my Exercise Page for some Effective and easy Exercises.

Oh, oh. I've gone on too long! Better get going! Thanks for popping in for a wee visit!

I'll go grab some nice new pictures for you! Be right back...

I woke up to a beautiful Rainbow in the Western Sky, this morning! This is highly unusual, since we normally only see Rainbows to the East (out of Aidan's Room!). This Double Rainbow you could see out the Dining Room and Living Room Windows, so I was thrilled. You can't see the mountains in the Rainbow shots since it was hazy, but normally you can see the mountains to the South and West, which is always lovely.

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And that's one of the Dining Room Windows -- there's another matching Window, and then a Corner Window looking out toward the Deck. How do you like the Drapery? Pretty, eh? I got it all at Linens 'N Things. They have incredibly beautiful Products -- great Prices, too!

See You on the Weekend, Baby! Ailsa!!

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2004. Hello there, You! You nice Reader, You! It's nice yet somewhat generic -- I call Aidan 'You',all the time, just because it's cute, not because I can't remember my second child's name! ha,ha! Aaaah, my socks are wet -- wonder where I got them wet? I just put them on, too ... now that's annoying! I've been busy workign with Aidan this morning -- I made up all the Alphabet Cups and then I thought I ought to make some Number Cups, too, so that's what we've been doing. Aidan got his Marbles out so he could count his marbles into the corresponding Number Cup, so that's a good exercise. He's very, very excited about 'Home Schooling'! Hilarious, since I didn't realize that he really 'got' that this is 'Home School', but when Dwight came in the door last night, Aidan shouts to him, "Daddy, did you know it was my first day of Home Schooling??" And he learned to spell, write and type his name, so it was all very exciting. That's such a landmark thing when a child first learns to write out their own name. Then they write it on everything!

So we were watching the News last night and a story came on about the question of whether we should bother strapping our children in when they are on the School Bus. Hmmmmm. Let's see, parents or other caregivers get a huge Fine (and rightly so) if they don't have their children safely belted in whenever they are in any vehicle. Send them off with the Government, and suddenly it's completely okay and safe for the same children to be on a giant bus with absolutely no seatbelts. Unless your child is Special Needs, in which case special provisions are made and the Funding is made available to put Seat Belts in each bus. Now, if you're a long-time Reader, you'll know that I am a Special Needs Teacher (that and K - 13 and College, but that's another story...), so I am very happy that at least some students are treated well. The problem is that the Funding goes to the squeaky wheel, as with everything, so the Parents of 'Regular Children' need to speak up more in favor of Seat Belts on every school bus if we are ever to see a change.

It gets frustrating for Parents and Teachers alike that we are constantly having to Stand Up for our Children's Rights. You'd think it would be basic common sense, but when it comes with a Dollar Sign attached, often the Government doesn't see it the same way. What I don't understand is how is it that the Government (and this is any goverment, since this has been an issue since Seat Belt Laws were implemented for Standard Vehicles, and we've had plenty of different Gov't changes since then, so this isn't Party-Specific) can make a Law for the People, but not have to abide by it themselves? How is that reasonable?

Of course, I was thinking about how we could make some fairly inexpensive and Easy-to-Install Seatbelts for every Bus, and I've come up with a simple solution. (No, it's not Home Schooling for everyone! ha,ha!). You know the material used for the Straps of our Kids' Back Packs? Well, you could use that in about a Two Inch Width, with a Plastic Adjustment Piece (again, just like the Back Packs) so it could be adjusted easily by each Student.You could Bolt the Seatbelt through a Metal Grommet to the Back of each seat in the School Bus (4 Bolts Per Seat, or Three Students per Seat...). The Seat Belt could Buckle up at the Child's Side (not in the middle of their Waist), just like in the car, only with a plastic clasp that will hold.

As far as I see it, Anything is Better than Nothing, so if the Powers That Be are waiting for Reports and 'The Perfect Seatbelt', let's go ahead and see if there's a Manufacturer who might be willing to make these. I'm sure Parents would be happy to pay for a Seatbelt, or do yet another Fundraiser to Raise the Funds for the Whole Bus System for their School District. Waiting for Government Funding to come through hasn't worked yet. Remember when each School had Two Computers per School? Then it was a big deal to get One per Class, or a Whole Room with Computers? For the most part (in Canada, anyway), it's Parent Fundraising that makes the difference, so maybe that's where we need to go with this issue, too.

Or a Lottery. I love a Lottery for Fundraising -- what's wrong with that? Everybody wins, since you can choose to support a program you believe in, and you may win something at the end. And if the Money from a Lottery Supporting Seat Belts in every School Bus, we'll all win. And so will our Children. Wonder who we could find to help with that? Must think about that! I really like the whole idea of any Lottery for Educational Funding -- they've done it very successfully in Georgia and California -- why not try it everywhere? I'm not much of a buyer of Lottery Tickets (except for the $100 Lotteries to Support our Local Hospitals and Children's Services -- we feel like we're making a Donation that they need, and if we win, great, but either way, it's a good cause...). And if the Lottery Tickets are like the Scratch 'N Win where they are under $5.00 each, they would sell a whole lot more of them. Maybe that coupled with a bigger extravaganza Lottery... so many things that could be done to Raise Funds!

Rats, I've run out of room (and time!)... I wanted to mention about that new Show, 'Renovate My Family'. Ah, well. I'll see if I can remember to do that, tomorrow...

Better get going -- I think Dwight is coming home early, today (annoying, because he hates when I'm on the computer, then I have to cut my day short, which I don't like...). Thanks for popping in for a wee visit! If you happen to know someone who could help in the Cause of Getting a Seat Belt for Every Student, pass along my little inexpensive idea. I'm sure we could figure something out to make things better for our Kids, right?

See you tomorrow! Ailsa!

More Car Safety Tips!

(Oh, I'll be right back with some Pictures and a Tip of the Day!)

The Tip is to enjoy even the tiniest moments -- sometimes those become your best memories, in years to come.

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There's crazy wee Tia, The Dog! She insisted on going out during the Storm, yesterday Evening, and she was drenched when she came in! What a funny girl! So there she is, patiently waiting for me to finish whatever I was doing to go and 'clean her up'! She has her own sink with a Spray Nozzle to make 'Dog Cleaning' extra easy! And then there's Aidan watching the Storm and the Gorgeous Rainbow afterwards. He's standing in the Bow Window in his Bedroom -- both the Kids' Rooms have Bowed Windows, because I love that in a Child's Room!

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September 1st, 2004. Hey, Baby! Welcome in! Are you celebrating the Beginning of September, or does this mean the start of a whole lot more work for you?? (Maybe both...!) I sent Cara off to School, this morning, but Aidan is going to stay home with me. At least for the time being. He just doesn't seem big enough to attend Regular School, yet. We bought all sorts of neat Materials, and we've set up the Dining Room like a 'Mini-Classroom' -- and I bought all the materials I would have purchased (Teachers in Canada almost always have to buy their own materials, if what they want doesn't conform to what the School Board allows for...) if I were setting up a Center for Independent Learning in a Kindergarten Class.

So far, Aidan's favorite thing to do is the Painting, so we have a ton of pictures on the Fridge, and many more waiting for a place... which reminds me -- I know I've mentioned it before, but it's something I wasn't aware of until we were 'Appliance Shopping' for this house. If you have children or Grandchildren and you have a big plan to showcase their Art on the Fridge, get a White or Black one. The Silver (I think it's Aluminun) Finish on some of the Newer Appliances won't accept Magnets. They look nice and neat, but they aren't useful for 'Fridge Art'. Our Fridge and Freezer Combo are the matching Full Size Fridge and Full Size Freezer (which I would have a difficult time doing without, now...), so there's plenty of room for Aidan's Beautiful Paintings (that's what he calls them! ha,ha!)

Oh, and since it's September 1st, you might want to chec out your Horoscope for the coming month -- can't hurt, right?? The one I like best is at . It's completely free, and you might find a little nugget of truth in there that could send you in a new direction or remind you of what you've been trying to accomplish. And that reminds me of a book I was reading during the Open House last Sunday -- I went down to my 'library' to get a copy of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (I knew I had bought that for Cara), but I couldn't find it. Istead, my eye caught the title of a book I picked up years ago, but never really got around to reading about Numerology. Very interesting. I did study Numerology for a while a long time ago, mostly because I had a ridiculous amount of spare time on my hands, but also because those 'Sciences' intrigue me. Anyway, when I get a full understanding of it, I'll share the info with you, then we'll all know what 'Number' we are! Frankly, I think anything that makes you feel good about yourself is fine -- as long as we're not talking about Crack Cocaine, or nuthin'... we're still talking about books and ideas, right? ha,ha,ha!

Just briefly, because I don't want to forget, did you happen to see 'Trading Spouses', last night? Man, I truly looove that Show! I'm not completely sure why I like to have a wee peek into other people's lives, but I do. And so do millions of other people, too! Anyway, there were back-to-back episodes last night with the first and last episodes on the same night. They had the Dads trading places, so that was interesting to see how they would cope in different households. I'll tell you, those Shows didn't make the Moms look very good. I think there's a notion that all Moms are great (I'm sure the vast majority are), but it really showed how certain behaviours (like, crazy levels of cleaning, ludicrous levels of laziness and ineffectiveness) can cloud a relationship with children and a spouse.

Both the Dads were really nice guys -- and they both had a positive impact on the opposite family. One thing that really struck me was the inability for some folks to understand how to be hospitable to someone new and clearly different. You can't talk about money as if it's nothing in front of someone with absolutely no money -- there's nothing more obnoxious and hurtful. And for the City Mom' to ask the 'Country Dad' to order from the Wine List when he had never been to a 'fancy retaurant' was just mena. Although the Mom didn't seem aware of his discomfort.

The great thing about this Show is that it can teach everybody to have a little more compassion towards people who are different from themselves. They all want to be loved and accepted in their own lives, but some folks work quite a bit harder at that than others. I thought the saddest part was when the 'Country Wife' didn't get out of her Rocking Chair to say goodbye to her husband, or get up to say hello to him after he'd been gone for a full week. She must really hate him, to be like that. And the kids were sooo bad -- that reminded me that I should do a Page on Child Discipline, since there are so many things you can do as a parent to help with those kids before they do each other in... I'll maybe get to that this month.

Tip of the Day: I heard this Tip years ago, and it has always stuck with me -- I can't remember where I heard it, but it had a huge impact on me. So here it is -- Always Look Good for Your Spouse (or Life Partner...). Simple, but effective. It's sooo easy to look good for everyone else -- to go to work, go out shopping -- anything else, but often the one who is the most important person to you (hopefully), you'll be at your very worst. I read a little article online a while ago about men being careful not to date a woman if she wore make-up -- what an intensely stupid article. It implied that women who wear make up and take good care of themselves are 'High Maintenance', and you want to avod that at all costs. Well, I'm here to say that those notions are insane, and any man or woman who takes good care of themselves is a good bet, since they are more likely to take good care of their partner, too.

That doesn't mean that you have to put on your best outfit to say goodbye at the door in the morning, or to greet them when they come in in the evening, but at least looking nice is important. And being nice is equally important. The most important people in your life are the ones you should be the nicest too, and not the other way around. Too often, people's behaviour is the absolute worst with the ones they claim to love the most, so it's good to keep that in mind. If you wouldn't behave badly at work or in the store, don't behave badly at home. I can't stand that old notion that 'I want to be free to be myself at home', which really just means, "I want to behave as badly as possible at home, because you people have to stay". I'll tell ya', you'd be fired at Work and escorted out of the Store if there was some seriously bad behaviour, and the same thing can happen at home. So Look Good and Be Good, just to see how that works out for you -- you might be pleasantly surprised!

There's the Matching Full Size Fridge & Freezer Set. That must be an old picture, since I see the Island wasn't done, yet. We actually finished building that after we moved in -- sometimes things work out like that. You think you'll get the whole house done before the Move-In Date, then it arrives and so do you, and there are still some things left to be done. It's not that big a deal -- you just stay on it until everything is finished. The problems arise when someone (let's say their name is Dwight, for easy reference...! ha,ha!) won't agree to do any more work -- and won't let the other person (let's say the other person is ME!) hire outside to get the work done. Now you're lookin' at trouble! ha,ha! But if you are still working well together by the time you move in, you'll be fine. Then go ahead and hire someone and you can deal with the 'fallout' later...!

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The last picture has the Island all done, and some of our 'Art Collection' on the Fridge and Freezer. Now Aidan has these Magnetic Roses, so he likes to use those to hold up his Masterpieces (also Aidan's Term!).

Thanks for swinging by for a little visit! I hope September brings some nice changes into your Life -- you never know when great stuff will happen, but September always feels like a 'renewal' month for me -- probably from all those years Teaching -- and a New Year starts in September for me!

Okay, better get going! See You Tomorrow, Baby! Ailsa!!

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