Oppression breeds resistance

It’s been an emotional week. And I’m not American, or even in the U.S., so I can only imagine it goes even deeper there. Well, for some. For others, as we’ve seen, they take this as their time to shine.

I’ve kept politics out of this blog till now but I cannot be silent any more. It’s just not right.

I have a sister-in-law who is a writer. Robin has written many books for kids and teens and wrote her first non-fiction book on Pride. It’s aimed at tweens I guess, ages 9 to 13 according to the publisher Orca. You really should go to the link – you can scroll through some pictures and read reviews etc. but the part I remember most about the book and the website is the reminder: “Pride Day looks like a party – but it began with a riot.”

Pride is a celebratory book – but it goes back and looks at the history, teaching it to kids maybe for the first time AND most importantly showing them that they are not alone.

A line Robin recently posted about I think it needs to be repeated again and again: “…whenever there is oppression, there is resistance. People fight back – and that’s how change happens.”

I have a lot of friends sharing things to do in the US like the 10 Actions in 100 Days. I’m trying to find similar Canadian projects so please share if you know of any!

I don’t expect to change any minds but I want others to know they aren’t alone. While I welcome all discussion, anything disrespectful will be immediately deleted.

I don’t know where I first saw this but I love it.

Donations to help animals and their helpers

Sometimes my kid kills me. He might test my patience from time to time but he is a kind and gentle and loving kid.

For the last two years, he and I have picked a charity for my monthly donation. (Toby always picks MSF so Q and I try to do something different).

In 2015 he wasn’t so into it but last year he really helped narrow down choices and in the end we did an organization (Canadian Veteran Service Dog Unit – link) that trains dogs to help veterans with PTSD. Q called it “dogs for super heroes.”

He wanted to do animals again this year and we settled on WWF-Canada (same as his birthday charity). Then we saw the stuff about the adoptions you can do. Q insisted we each adopt an animal. Plus he wanted to chose a helper.

There were six options for the helpers – male and female for each of: polar researcher, wildlife ranger and marine biologist. I showed him the page with all of their pictures on it. None really looked like him but there are boys and girls and one has long blond hair and another has short brown hair and so on and it it turns out it just didn’t seem to matter to him at all what they looked like.

So, our African elephant (mine), polar bear (Toby’s choice), and giraffe (Q’s) are now being cared for by a “Female Wildlife Ranger” because that “sounds like a fun helping job” and she’s who he pointed at.

Our January 2017 WWF-Canada adoptions

In keeping with Q’s love of animals and his interest in helping them and the environment we’ve signed him up for a local camp on the next school break that focuses on our local critters and their habitats. I can’t wait until he goes!

Oh and one day I might write a post about Toby and bears and his name….

Q loves the Ontario Science Centre day camps

Q has been at Ontario Science Centre day camps this week. He has loved every one that he has done – he did a couple of PA day ones last year too. A bit odd that they insisted I register him as a 5-year-old when he is six on Friday (TOMORROW!!! uhm nope, not anymore TODAY) but there you go.

Tuesday – Super hero theme

Me: So, how was camp today?
Q: great!
Me: did you learn how to fly?
Q: No?
Me: shoot spider webs? or ice?
Q: no momma. This was REAL science.

Wednesday – circus theme

Me: I wonder what you’re going to do today when it’s a circus theme. Do you think you’ll become an elephant?
Q: No momma. (insert sigh) I told you. It’s real science that we do. And we get to play and our recess was in the space area and and and

Thursday – magic theme

Q hides in his room before bedtime

Me (to Toby): Ha! Finally! He learned how to disappear at the Science Centre magic camp!
Q (comes rushing out): No momma. We do real science!

So no surprise then when, at bed time, Toby says “Good night lovely boy. See you tomorrow when you will wake up 6.”
Me: Nope. Not until 1:23 p.m.
Q: what ?
Me: You were born at 1:23 in the afternoon. When you wake up in the morning you will still be 5. In the afternoon you’ll be 6.
Q: that’s not fair! the day doesn’t change. I am 6 the WHOLE DAY
Me: yes, you’re right. You are 6 from as soon as you wake up.
Q: You are too literal sometimes momma. The day is what counts.

Pencil Crayons… or is it Coloured Pencils?

I dug out my pencil crayons again today. And my mandala colouring book. And being the type of person I am, I ended up getting a little distracted with the order of the pencil crayons. You see the set I have all have numbers on them but if you order them numerically they’re completely out of order in terms of the colour spectrum.

Numerical order:

Well, that would just hurt after a while I think. It turns out there’s a little pamphlet that came inside the box. And re-sorting the pencil crayons in order set out in the little pamphlet made it far more pleasing to the eye:

So I wanted to go and look up why they were numbered “out of order.” And noticed that the tin called them “colour pencils” where I always think of them as “pencil crayons.” And down the rabbit hole I went…

First we have the whole colour vs. color right? Apparently we can blame the -our -or differences (for example: behaviour/behavior; honour/honor; labour/labor; neighbour/neighbor) on the publication of two dictionaries: “A Dictionary of the English Language” published in 1755 by Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” from 1828.

As an aside, if you like this sort of thing, Simon Winchester wrote The Professor and the Madman, which is a great book about the Oxford English Dictionary.

Back to the -our -or; the English-English merged the -or and -ur endings of the Old Frech (from wence the words came) whereas the American-English stuck to the Latin -or endings.

So what about “colour pencils” vs. “pencil crayons?” The wikipedia entry is titled “Colored pencil” although it recognizes in its opening line that “colored pencil” “coloured pencil” and “pencil crayon” are all the same thing. It notes “In Canada, coloured pencils are known as pencil crayons.” There’s no real explanation but seems like it was really just an acknowledgement of that the things are – crayons shaped and produced to be similar to pencils. It’s not coloured lead/graphite after all but rather are wax or oil-based.

And there are people who take this all very seriously. There is a Colored Pencil Society of America! And also a UK Coloured Pencil Society but it appears as though the Canadian version is no longer active.

Oh and there’s nothing on the Faber-Castell website that I could find that explains the numbering system. But there’s an awesome downloadable PDF that lists them all!


Tomato sauce

My grandmother has an awesome garden. Which means we’re lucky enough to end up with lots of veggies sometimes and there was a basket of tomatoes left over this weekend.

Me: What are we going to do with the tomatoes?
T: Why don’t you make tomato sauce?
Me: like to can? We have 1 basket of tomatoes. That’ll make 1 jar. If I’m lucky.
T: but it’ll be an awesome yummy jar.

So there you have it. Clearly, I’m easily swayed by Toby.

fresh ripe tomatoes

fresh ripe tomatoes

Take some tomatoes. Rinse them off. Then quarter them and throw them in a pot:

smushed tomatoes

smushed tomatoes

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Bring to a boil. Stir often. Wait about 10 minutes. Everything should be pretty soft.

Then put them in a food mill thing. It’s that thing on the left. I hope I’m using it right. It’s been ages since I’ve even assembled it. A fine sieve would work just as well.


Pour the liquid back into the pot and heat to reduce:

tomato juice

tomato juice

Once the thickness is to your liking, add 1/2 tsp citric acid to the bottom of each 500 mL jar. Fill to 1/2 inch of the top. Clean the lip, add the lid, add the ring. Tighten to just tight and then add to the canning pot. Once it comes to a boil, wait 35 minutes. Hopefully you had more than one basket of tomatoes and you ended up with more than one 500 mL jar of sauce:

one lonely jar of tomato sauce

one lonely jar of tomato sauce

Well, one jar of sauce and not nearly enough for another jar so Toby bought some tortellini and we used the extra tonight. First he fried up onions, garlic, and pancetta:

IMG_6804Then added the sauce:

IMG_6807And let it all cook together for a while before adding the tortellini:


Yum! Served with some freshly shaved parmesan and there’s enough left over for me for lunch!