Archive for December, 2005

If You’re Going to Spam Me, Spell it Right!

Penis muscule.
3.25%% Aprovved Ratee.
And my favourite:
hervorgehobenen Element anzuzeigen.

The above are all titles of spam email that I’ve received. I’m picky about spelling. I don’t know how it happened but, I’ve turned into a bit of a stickler for spelling and I’ve been known to correct my DH on his grammar occasionally (it’s for the good of the children, honest!).

So what’s my point, you ask? If you’re going to spam me, at least take the time to spell correctly.

Really, do you think I’m going to be fooled into opening up an email with a mis-spelled title?

Yes, some of them are good for a laugh. For instance – penis muscule. Are they going for penis muscle? penis miniscule? pen is musical? musical penis?

It’s a new game! WordSpam! Brought to you by the makers of Monopoly. Ok, I’m clearly getting carried away. And I obviously have some issues if I’m mildly peeved about spam spelling. Or I don’t have anything else to write about. It all results in the same thing: I should go now.

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What Evesdroppers Would Hear At Our House

Sounds of small children and a larger (husband) child wrestling…
2 1/2 year old daughter: "You wan a piece of me? You wan a piece of me? Giggle Giggle"
40-something husband: "No, I don't want a piece of you!"
Daughter: "What? You're not hungry?"

5 1/2 year old son: "What are you doing?"
30-something mother: "Looking at my grey hairs. Look. See how this hair is a different colour?"
Son: "How do you get them?"
Mother: "Some people think they're from stress. Other people think they happen naturally when people get old." (Mother is thinking that they just started growing in when she started being a stay-at-home mom. Definitely stress related.)
Son: "So which is it?"
Mother: "What do you mean?"
Son: "Is it stress?"
Mother: "I don't know."
Son: "Are you stressed?"
Mother: "I don't think so."
Son: "Well, if you are, you need to tell me."
Mother: "Ok."
2 minutes pass..Brushing of teeth and general getting ready for bed stuff happens.
Son: "Are you stressed?"
Mother: "No."
Son: "Well then you must be getting old."

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So Many Ways to Give, So Little of Me/My Time/My Money to Go Around

‘Tis the season to contribute to charitable groups. And this season, I’m feeling squeezed. I don’t every recall feeling like this before. I don’t like it.

I consider myself to be a “giving” person.

  • I contribute to a Knit for Kids program every November. I buy the yarn to knit scarf/hat/mitts and donate the finished product back to the store where I bought the yarn.
  • I toss my spare change in the coin boxes at various check-outs when I shop.
  • I donate my time and, through my business, products, to my son’s school.
  • We give a new, unwrapped toy to the city toy drives at this time of the year.
  • We contribute at least once, if not twice, yearly to the local food bank.
  • We give to the Air Cadets when asked outside stores. (How can you not give to them? They corner you on the way in and the way out.)
  • We top up our grocery bills when asked, for the extra money to go to a specific charity.
  • I buy paper running shoes/stars/whatever piece of paper is being offered at the time, to support Diabetes, local childrens’ hospitals, whatever charity is asking at the check-out for some stores.

Off the top of my head, that’s all I can come up with. Looking at it on paper, I give more than I realized.

I’m still feeling squeezed.

My son came home with a paper mitten yesterday. It was from his school. They’re looking for new mittens to be donated, to go to children who otherwise would not have mittens.
Earlier this year the same school conducted a charity drive looking for clothing and games/puzzles/books for the people of Kashechewan. That drive came on the heels of one for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
We’ve only had school for 3.5 months. That’s an average of one “ask” per month.

Today, I walked by a Salvation Army person, ringing their bells, collecting money.

I opened my mail today to find a request for money, from our local hospital, where I received stitches for my thumb.

I just feel like it’s too much.

I know there are people living in far worse conditions than we are. I know that every day x amount of people die from heart disease/stroke/cancer of any kind. I know that without money/food/clothing people die. Yet still, I feel like I’m all tapped out. I suppose another feeling that also comes with this is guilt. Guilt at not being able to give more than what I do. I don’t want to feel guilty.

Someone, please, just donate a few billion dollars and make all of this go away.

Edited: fixing up spacing and other coding issues.

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Holiday Audio Hell

As previously mentioned, our family celebrates Chanukah and Christmas. This is all very good until you get to the sounds of the season.

We have dreidels. Lots of dreidels. 3 of them play The Dreidel Song when you a) spin them; b) press the button on top of them and c) just look at them the wrong way. They are not terribly sophisticated devices and as such the song is played in that electronic pitch we’re all quite familiar with.

We have a Christmas train that goes under the tree every year and magically disappears on Christmas Eve, after the kids have gone to bed. The Christmas Train has a coal car that is musical. It plays a medley of Christmas tunes. Loudly. Without a volume control switch.

My children have the strange notion that it’s not really fun in our house unless the train is running, with the music on and the dreidels are spinning and singing their songs at the same time. It’s enough to make anyone mad, really. (mad-crazy, not mad-angry)

Luckily, both of the children have happily adapted to some adult music and they request Harry Connick Jr frequently enough to almost erase the memory of the train/dreidel audio nightmare.

While I groan about the state of my musical torture I really must say that I do enjoy the holidays and we’re having quite a bit of fun getting ready for them. Also, I’m sure the time will come when my children will no longer clap their hands with joy, squash the squeals of delight when the train makes it’s appearance each year and the dreidels will gather dust. I will most likely look back at the memories of the dreidel song being played 85 consecutive times and smile. Or maybe not. Perhaps I’ll choose to remember crazy dancing to Harry Connick Jr. instead!

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Winter Survival

Snowpants.

Without them, I would not survive winter.

I think my snowpants are 9 or 10 years old. Mr. Athena and I got matching pairs (oooohhhh, how cute?!). Black. Nothing fancy. And they were on sale. I think we purchased them because we were headed Up North (Map of Elk Lake, ON CA) to stay with my grandparents for Christmas. Zoom out on the map (if you click on it) to see why it is simply called Up North, in our family. At this time of the year, without snowpants, it would be called Where Hell Goes to Freeze Over. So you see, we needed snowpants if we were to survive the trip. Especially since we planned on having some sort of “I’ve been inside this small house with too many family members for too long now.” escape, even if it was the great outdoors.

The Snowpants (at this point, they’ve earned the respect from me, to have a capital S) have served me well. I ended up working about 2 km from home for 5 years. I walked as often as I could. Those snowpants ensured that I made it to work safely and comfortably on even the worst winter days. I particularly recall one morning where only 2 of us from our whole department made it into work. Traffic was horrendous and the other person that made it in was also a walker, like myself. Without those snowpants, I would have been at home that day. Wait a sec…damn those pants!

Life AC (after children) has seen the Snowpants back in action every year. I can handle walking my child to school or even playing outside in the snow for extended periods with my beloved Snowpants on. I toboggan with abandon and relentlessly attempt to build snowforts. I enthusiastically approach the outdoor skating rinks, to try to teach my child how to skate. These Snowpants have changed my life.

I’m generally cold-bodied (she types, sitting here with a fleece jacket over her shirt and rubbing her sock-covered feet together, wishing she had her slippers on). Without my Snowpants, I would be miserable, whining and stamping my feet, trying to encourage blood circulation. Of this, I have no doubt. If you find yourself cold, like me, invest in a pair of Snowpants. Not only will you survive Winter, you may actually be able to enjoy it!

The only drawback about the comfort and warmth provided by the Snowpants: I want to wear them everywhere, as soon as the temp starts to get to 0 (Celsius – that’s around 32 Farenheit). I’ll be the first to admit, it’s not always practical to shove on your Snowpants when you’re running to the grocery store to pick up 2 things. But it does make that cold seat in the car/van so much more tolerable.

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Has Text Messaging Killed the English Language?

I never thought license plate language would take hold of us. License plate language – that’s right — the URL8 and LUVNLYF shortforms we’ve all seen on license plates – is really text messaging at it’s earliest stages of development.

I used to think it was cute. On license plates. I’ve never cared for it in messages. Now that’s not to say I don’t use internet shortforms. I definitely indulge in those, in the appropriate forum. But I don’t think text messaging shortforms have any place, other than license plates. I believe that if you are going to take the time to form a thought and put it on paper/in an electronic form, you owe it to your audience to spell it out correctly and completely.

I like the English language. I will acknowledge that learning how to spell came rather easily to me. (I’m sure the gods of hubris will strike me down for typing that and any minute now, I will make a huge typo…look for it, will you?) Spelling English words is not always easy. There are lots of silent letters (knight, know) and similar words with different spellings (deceit, receipt). It’s enough to make anyone create a few shortforms.

Recently, I encountered a very smart article that informed me there are several movements afoot to actually reform English spelling. I wasn’t intuitive enough to bookmark that article but I have since found several sites about this subject.

I tried this one. A headache started coming on the moment I read the phonetically spelled paragraph. Visions of text messages started dancing in my head.

Then I found the Simplified Spelling Society. I see their points in their sidebar (Why don’t comb/tomb/bomb rhyme? Why do they/say/weigh rhyme?). Obviously this is a complex subject that many people have given quite a bit of thought. Or should I say thot. That just pained me type “thought” incorrectly.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve got English (okay, Welsh) blood in my veins. I need to see the English language written/spelled as it should be. Yes, I recognize that the language we use has already evolved from what it was. Spellings have changed. Expressions are no longer used (when was the last time you said “fortnight”?). But I like my language the way it is.

One or two more links on this subject:
BTRSPL (Better Spell)
BBC News reader debate

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Children Should Be Seen and Heard…as long as they’re not screaming.

I learned fairly quickly in my career as a parent that politics, religion and parenting styles are all grounds for good solid fights, er, I mean, intellectual debates.

I opened up my browser this morning, jumped on over to Yahoo and this popped right out at me.

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