Yay! Our final post to wrap up a horrible year. You’ve probably already read tons of “2016 in review/memoriam” articles, so let’s get on with business, shall we?
These last few weeks of the year . . .
> We listened to the explanation of what happens in a household where one spouse loves the Christmas decorations/festivities/general merriment, and the other doesn’t
(Don’t get us wrong: he loves Christmas and all the fixins; he just hates “the decorating and all that stuff.”)
> Which leads us to our phrase of the week: “There’s nothing better than spiteful decorating.” – The Girl (Think Christmas ornaments hanging from the kitchen cupboard, the knife bar, and coat pockets; ribbons on manly boots; bows on the toilet tank; forcing a t-shirt like this one on a Grinchy husband . . .)
> What we didn’t buy into: the scourge of capitalism, part 1. (a.k.a “Note the irony in the product description of a $199 copper pole”; a.k.a. “This is how Toronto consumerism is sometimes represented, unfortunately”). They took their web page down, but Google is only too happy to provide you with a cached web page, as am I equally happy to provide you with a screenshot. Yer welcome.
> Anyway, if you’re going to celebrate Festivus, do it right.:
> What we’re reading: the scourge of capitalism, part 2 (a.k.a Why people hate Big Pharma. And drug dealers.)
> What we’re watching, with laughter (and tears): Kim’s Convenience, season finale: part 1 and part 2. Tune in next week to read my response to one short-sighted white man’s review of this multicultural-celebrating comedy series.
> The Trump presidency is not a natural thing. What we’re watching to take our mind off the ugliness in the world: great moments in nature.
> What we ate: due to lack of time, our annual Christmas cookie baking spree was smaller this year (three types of cookies instead of five). Still, the gingerbread man (courtesy of The Boy) with tighty-whities and pink nipples more than makes up for it.
> Finally, ring in 2017 with knowledge. Because knowledge will always beat ignorance in this world: a great general knowledge site for kids (of all ages).
This week, now that we can slowly face the Internet again . . .
> We laughed at “Me-cycle” requests like these two (from the same person) for an office chair and sofa from the Toronto Freecycle group. As the holidays approach (okay, let’s face it, these requests can happen any time of the year), it’s interesting to see these outlandish requests for something pricey but free.
> We ate lahmacuns (alternatively spelled “lahmajoun”, a.k.a. Turkish pizza or “pide”)
> We couldn’t stop watching this mesmerizing show of a great graphic artist drawing logos (courtesy of The Girl).
> Our current word/phrase: “I like the flavour, but not the labour,” says the Girl, about foods that she likes (pomegranate, pommelo) and even about foods she doesn’t like (lobster, artichoke). Think about that during this holiday season of preparing foods.
> Funniest thing we heard on the radio/tv: this line from an imagined RomComCon: “I hope to go to the Canoe Pavilion with you. We can go out in the middle of the lake and get rained on.” (This, from one of the best originators of “fake news”, who unfortunately, now have to stamp almost every story with “SATIRE” in ALL CAPS, in case people can’t distinguish it from truly evil fake news in the world.)
> We learned that millennial moms love cloth diapers (just like non-millennial moms from years ago!). Granted, we never spent $$$ on “collectibles”, but it’s great to see that buying cloth diapers is addictive!
> We found this great web page about the most amazing-looking cakes.
> We found this interesting article that confirmed what we’ve always suspected: buttons that don’t work.
> Finally, post-U.S.-election activity should include:
> understanding why it’s important to not normalize Trump
> protesting with your wallet (here are alternatives to Trump-family-related businesses)
> seeing the ridiculousness and humour of the situation
> And buying Kellogg’s products!
despite the U.S. election results.
No more posts this week, while we step back in sadness and contemplate what is happening in America.
It seemed like there was a lot of outrageousness (other than the third U.S. presidential debate) this past week . . .
> Outrage #1: This family that heartlessly moved and left their dog behind with the garbage
> Outrage #2: Another dog, and another cruel family. Seriously, can someone start a Facebook-outrage-protest page, or whatever they call those things, to get the adoptive family to re-gain their common sense and give the dog back to grandpa?
> Outrage #3: these family court judges (and the father) who don’t take into consideration a child’s gender preferences.
> Outrage #4: the second kill on The Walking Dead’s season premiere. We blame Daryl. TWD fans understand.
> We couldn’t stop watching this funny bit about Barack Obama polishing his resumé for his upcoming career change.
> We listened to this take on whether or not parents should swear in front of their children. While we hate the fact that today’s generation seems to swear more gratuitously and less meaningfully than previous generations (just take a look at how frequently Buzzfeed feels the need to add “AF” to their writing), our household operates pretty much like Benjamin Bergen’s, and our kids never swear.
> Funniest thing we heard on t.v.: Stephen Colbert, referring to Donald Trump hugging the American flag (4:52), comments, “It’s really surprising to see Trump go after Old Glory like that. Normally, he goes for much younger glory.”
> We ate Naturally Imperfect mushrooms. Just one in the Naturally Imperfect line of produce. Well done, Loblaw’s!
> We learned that clowns don’t interpret the meaning of “racist” the way the rest of us do. Guess Lulu Pullitzor Palooza and Buttons Blammo have made sure that no one will ever find them funny after this.
> And finally, we (re-)found this great YouTube channel where this “King of Random” is king-maker. What creative girl or boy wouldn’t love this site, with quirky party tricks like this, for example? The Girl assures me that I sent this link to both kids quite a while ago, on how to Make Gummy LEGO. However, I’m getting old, and don’t remember that at all, and it only came up today when the Boy asked, “Please, can we make these?” Guess we have our DIY/eat project lined up for next week . . .
This past week . . .
> We couldn’t stop watching 58 very good impressions by this guy (thanks to the Girl for finding this).
> We listened to this interview which confirmed that we’re not the only ones who are peeved by mispronunciations (really surprised that our favourite, “mischievious” wasn’t mentioned).
> Our current word/phrase: detritus (now properly pronounced, of course). As in, “The detritus that was spewed during the debate was hard to take.”
> Funniest thing we heard on the radio was this even-better-than-usual episode of “Because News”. Practically every joke was spot-on, and we think Ashley Botting was the star of the show who should have won.
> We ate homemade cookies and more cookies!
> We’re loving this product: our fantastic lunchbox system. Packing two lunches every day over the years, we’ve learned after many takes what works and what doesn’t work. This system is great because it’s modular, and the boxes and ice packs can be stacked in different ways for different meals and components.
> Our DIY project was these closet hanger space-savers. Rather than buy plastic ones like these (which are getting harder to find, anyway), we made our own with inexpensive chandelier chain ($1.64/foot) and S-hooks made from thick-gauge wire.
> We learned some great parenting hacks. Even if our kids are past the age when most of these would be useful, and even if we’re finding it hard to read past number 5 on any given Buzzfeed listicle these days, this one had a few gems.
> And finally, we found this great web site for parents who want to sell on consignment all the stuff that their kids have outgrown and outplayed. Very well organised, takes a lot of the work out of your hands, and best of all, it’s parents running it for/with other parents. Look for one in a Canadian city near you!
Not because he was some sort of “abstract figure”.
Not because he lived in a “beautiful energy retrofitted house” or rode a bicycle (tandem or not).
Not because he wrote a powerful and truthful letter, encouraging change and action and hope.
But because he wasn’t the typical politician who fought for power, glory, money, and advantages for himself and his circle.
Because he returned phone calls personally to the average citizen who needed to be heard, and who desperately wanted change.
Because he was an ordinary man, who truly cared for others just as ordinary as he was, but who didn’t have his position and his voice . . .
Jack Layton was indeed the great prime minister that we never had. May we not let the opportunity pass to do the good that he wanted.
During a long walk on a blustery day recently, the Girl and I passed the time by having a conversation about politics. She wanted to know about certain strategies and definitions in Canadian politics, as she had heard them discussed. So it was that I explained things like vote-splitting, strategic voting, vote swapping, and majorities and minorities.
And good for her: she listened all the way through, understood, and paraphrased it back to me, seeming genuinely interested. Even the Boy, while not completely immersed in the conversation, didn’t chime in with his “I’m booooooored” (which seems to be the whine-du-jour of late). Then yesterday, the Girl and one of her homeschooled friends had a fun little creative session on the easel in our home, where they came up with some pretty silly nicknames for political figures: “Mad May”, “Jumpin’ Jack”, “Mighty Michael”, and “Bouncin’ Bev”.
It’s nice to see kids show an interest at a young age, and get some sense of how our political system works (or in some cases, doesn’t work).