Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

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Starting November 1st a number of large libraries in the US have begun boycotting Macmillan Publishers, suspending all electronic book purchases from them. The same day was the start of Macmillan’s library embargo, the limitation of public libraries and consortium to the purchase of a single copy of new e-book releases for eight weeks from the date of publication.


Libraries, in collaboration with partners in the Digital Downloads Collaboration, are fighting back against this limiting of access to a segment of society that may rely on libraries for access to literature in all its forms.


In an open letter, Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent said that a surge in e-book borrowing circumvents the assumed obstacles to free access to library books, ie transportation to and from the library and the requirement to physically return the book. Apparently he feels the digital age of e-borrows threatens the economic value of the books they invest in by making them more easily available to those who borrow them at no charge. In what could perhaps be categorized as an attempt to offset this restriction, Macmillan sells libraries perpetual access to the e-books they purchase and cut the price to libraries.


Publishing a book is not a costless undertaking by any means, so minimizing losses will be on every publisher’s to-do list. Meanwhile, libraries and their like are in the business of making books accessible at no or minimal cost to their members. Two sides with opposite takes on the situation who have not yet come to an agreement both are happy with.


Looking from the outside in are the writers, who naturally want to be paid for their blood, sweat, tears, and very souls they put into writing those books, and those who do rely on libraries for access to literary enrichment they cannot afford to buy at retail prices.


We are yet to see how this standoff will play out.

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20180210_092535Anyone who has ever experienced the family vacation knows the family vacation experience starts weeks before and ends weeks after the actual vacation.


This is about a family vacation experience, and about different perceptions.  Writing a story is all about the use of perception.  Twisting and focusing the reader’s perceptions, utilizing opposing perceptions, and even tricking the reader into thinking you are following a certain line of perception before revealing your true intentions.  What you do with this depends on your story and its goal.


Real life is drama.  Don’t shortchange your readers by forgetting that in your stories.


Feel free to skip to the parts that actually interest you.  I am also sick again as I write this, so please bear with me.




Of course, there are the “pre weeks” aka “the months you can’t get back”; the weeks where one of you spends a painful amount of time researching vacation possibilities (because travel agents are for wusses, people less cheap than you, and people with a different type of common sense).  They endlessly read opposing reviews, getting excited and then woefully disappointed by the same resorts, before finally taking a great intake of air, holding it indefinitely, scrunching their eyes tightly closed, and hitting send.  The vacation is booked.


And then once the vacation is booked it is the stressful “vacation time coordination”. Anyone with differing vacation in-house work rules will find this more difficult.  We are lucky in this.  Unlike some, we don’t have to definitively and un-irrevocably book vacation time all at once for the year and not be able to change plans.  Still, you have at least two people with different work vacation booking rules, plus kids/others, to try to book everyone off for the same week and it can be a juggling act.


Then it’s the preparation time.  You have to make sure you pack all of your stuff, that everyone else has theirs, and plan for every possible contingency and buy a pharmacy.


How you think it will go aka “the boring story” or “what your character wants” – You make your list, pack and purchase, and everything is packed nicely and easily.  Stress free.  And you happily and contentedly go to sleep looking forward to your vacation.  Your vacation is flawless. You do stuff, relax, enjoy, and come home refreshed.


How it really goes aka “insert drama here” – Ugh.  Let us not forget how real life can get.  You have a job, kids, dogs, and a house.  So, in between looking after all of that, you have to find the time for packing, lists, shopping, re-packing, and cleaning.  And, if your dogs are lucky enough that you have someone willing to house sit/dog sit so they don’t have to spend the week stressed and panicked in a boarding kennel, you also want the house clean when you leave.


Starting with the dogs, the husky, Roxy aka The Big Dumb Bunny, decides to pick that time right before your vacation to start blowing out her coat.  In the middle of winter and -30 to -45 wind chills.  How a dog can shed more than her weight in hair every hour is beyond me. Cue the endless vacuuming.  We call the other dog, Meeka, the “good dog”.  She does not blow out her coat, steal all your socks, or make you put her out every five minutes.


20180210_173118.jpgThe kids.  Anyone with kids can tell you that you really need to plan a week off kid free to clean the house for anything upcoming of importance.  This still applies when they are teens.  As fast as you try to clean, the place is unraveled around you into a bedlam of chaos and mess.  And, the virtual extra large dogs aka the Big Dumb Hair Bunnies you need to vacuum up endlessly.  You are also trying to get all the laundry done, and make futile attempts to pack your own stuff.


Just a quick interject – naturally, pre-vacation week you get sick (cough cough). You feel like Bill the cat from Bloom County looks. If you don’t know, look it up.  But you still must be up before six every morning, go to work, and deal with the kids, dogs, family, house, etc. every evening, plus vacation preparation.


Three days prior to vacation you announce to the entire household (repeatedly), “Tomorrow night I have to pack my stuff for the trip.  All my stuff.  I have nothing packed.  So let me do that or I won’t have any clothes to wear.  After I pack all my stuff, I can help you with yours.”


Two days prior to vacation, the “I MUST PACK ALL MY STUFF” evening, …guess what. Yes, you guessed it. Kids.  One, who is old enough to handle it in my opinion, absolutely needs your help to figure out and fill out the grade 10 course registration for next year that ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DONE THAT NIGHT OR THE WORLD WILL END.  Because it has to be handed in tomorrow, since it is due when you are gone on vacation.


The other kid has a mountain of homework that she absolutely cannot figure out on her own, even though she is the one going to school to learn it and knows it better than you do.  Seriously, some of these math word problems I am sure are written in some archaic ancient dead language from a planet in a far away galaxy.  Mostly I repeated the questions on the page until she started actually thinking about them and solved them herself.


Now, it is past bedtime for everyone, you still have laundry and cleaning to do, and have not packed a single sock.  Or maybe you did pack a sock, but the Big Dumb Bunny stole it.  At this point you are too tired and sick to know or care.


The Nightmare before Christmas, I mean (um), the night before vacation.  Okay, now you really need to pack.  You start your morning with slopping an entire cup of coffee on yourself minutes before you have to leave for work.  Nice.  Now you have to do laundry again because you had to pull clothes out of the stuff you washed to pack, because you don’t have enough clothes that fit.  You bust your butt at work all day making sure everything is done. You half expect at this point that your car will break down on the way home.  Somehow the stars and planets align and it does not.


However, and, I should have put that in all caps.  Let’s try that again.


HOWEVER, you get home and while you were at work the good dog puked, the toilet upstairs plugged and overflowed, and the house is a complete disaster.  The panicked teen tries to resolve the overflowing toilet by staring moodily at the toilet bowl, water flowing over its sides to flood the bathroom floor, glares at it, and starts throwing all the towels on the floor in an effort to make it all stop without asking for help, and the water continues to flood over the toilet bowl.


Meanwhile, on the downside, aka the kitchen, water has begun to flow from the ceiling light fixture located directly below the offending toilet.  Cue the sudden discovery by your spouse that something is wrong upstairs.  This, by the way, is next to the brown spot in the kitchen ceiling from the other kid previously trying to fill water balloons by placing them over the entire tap end, forcing the water to wash back up the space between the water pipe and the tap covering until it wets and stains the ceiling below.


20180210_075200.jpgIt is your last evening to pack, and you are overtired, still sick, and trying to clean, do laundry (again), deal with dramas, back up all your life’s work so you don’t risk losing it if anything happens to your laptop (because you stupidly think will all that spare time while you are up hours before everyone else every morning on vacation you will have time for writing), and attempt to pack your stuff, finally.  Only, the evening is gone before you know it, you have accomplished little if anything, the house is still a mess, you are still doing laundry, and EVERYONE HAS GONE TO BED WITHOUT YOU.


Oh yeah, and you still have to pack all your stuff for the week, but you can’t because everyone went to bed.


Vacation day!  You are not sure what time you went to bed.  Eleven?  Eleven-thirty?  You are up at two am because you are supposed to be ready to leave the house by 4 am.  Showered, dressed, and dolled up.  Your brain is mush.  You know you are forgetting a thousand things.  You have half an hour to pack.  You are constantly being interrupted despite your pleas of, “Let me pack!”  Your spouse is trying their best to help.  You gather stuff, set it down, turn, and it is gone. Your spouse packed it in their bag.  At this point you are now packing without knowing what you actually packed.  You can’t find anything because your brain is mush.  You will take stock of everything you are missing when you get there.


20180208_194931You will get there to find that you are missing basic essentials like deodorant, hair brush, and a toothbrush.  You will spend an exorbitant amount of money buying two of the three at the little resort store, only to find halfway through the vacation it was packed in your spouse’s suitcase.


After arrival and after going through the customs security screening and passing through the door of “Thou Shall Not Go Back”, the thirteen-year-old discovers she left her phone in the bathroom on the other side.  Being stupid Canadian tourists they let us through and watch in confusion as I scurry with her to retrieve the lost phone.  Later we learned how terrified our handler was that we committed such serious a faux pas, and we speculated was possibly shocked we were not arrested for it.


20180210_112138.jpgThe vacation.  Day one, everyone wakes up cranky.  Everyone is moody, miserable, and fighting.  The beds and pillows actually inflict pain; they are so bad.  But, once settled in, each person has the time to start living the moment instead of only reacting to a fast paced series of reactionary moments.


While on the drive from the airport to the resort the previous evening, you are taking in the world the local people live in through the bus window, your kids, who are sitting much closer to the front of the bus, are noticing how rude, insensitive, and disrespectful they feel some of our fellow vacationers are being towards the travel guide whose job it is to get everyone to their hotels.


20180209_153704.jpgWe are in a place where the local population is predominantly dark skinned.  You notice how kind and friendly all of the people working there are, how some struggle with the language barriers between them and their guests, but they still do their best to help.  Your kids, however, whose sole experience with different people in your other raced neighborhood is what they learned in school about the history of black slavery, are feeling weird and at odds over watching all these dark-skinned staff serving the predominantly white guests.  They question the appropriateness of it, not understanding it is so only because of the nature of the local population’s demographics.


20180210_103428(0).jpgDuring one dinner, while you are observing the strange behavior at the next table, your spouse is observing a very different scene behind you.  The table next to you, a larger group, are taking turns politely clapping each person as if each is taking a turn quietly sharing some life affirming moment.  The moment feels almost cultish to you, and you wonder if this is some sort of retreat for some group.  Your spouse reaches across the table, touches your hand to get your attention, and looks you in the eyes.

“Get ready to move fast, there is going to be a fight behind you and I think it will be ugly.”

You glance quickly at your teen sitting next to you and then at the couple quietly arguing being hind you, just at the moment the whispered argument gets louder.  The wife was very inebriated, and the husband not.

We each had a very different memory of that dinner.


Naturally, being a vacation of the sort we have not been on in years and may not again for years to come, everyone has to take a turn being sick.  Another wrench thrown into that perfect vacation.  Another drama, another obstacle to overcome.  I have to say, I don’t know when I felt a sickness like that.  After the vomiting the large ball of discomfort settles in to take up permanent residence in your stomach.  You are cold and hot.  Every inch of your muscles and skin hurts.  The weight of your body against the mattress is agony.  Even the feather weight of the light sheets is pain.  Luckily we packed a pharmacy.

At one point, as I lay there, my spouse thought he saw bruising.  It was only shadow.  I said I had the lividity.  That now I know what dying feels like and it hurts like hell. That I am now The Walking Dead and if I didn’t feel like such crap I would probably be eating everyone.  My spouse called me a dork.


20180210_075334.jpgOf course, the vacation was not all bad.  Kids and teens, being who they are, were in a constant flux between getting along and annoying each other.  Anyone with teens knows how little you see them when they start hiding in their rooms.  And, with work and kids, how little time a couple actually has together.  We had eight full days, including travel both ways, of all four of us being together 24/7, getting reacquainted with each other.  That was through good and bad, sickness (literally, with us taking turns being up all night vomiting), and health.  We still like each other.


20180211_144645.jpgThe trip home.  The plan was to have everything packed and cleaned up the night before and ready to go.  Everyone is up, showered, dressed, and last bit packed with lots of time to haul our stuff to the front lobby, get lunch, and hop on the bus to the airport.  Easy.  No fuss, no muss.

The reality; okay that actually did sort of work out for us.  Not so much for the other family with two small boys who were on the wrong time zone.  They missed the mandatory check out time, thus incurring the wrath of the forewarned late checkout surcharges.  The bus did wait for them while they hurriedly put their two small boys on the bus and scurried off to hastily pack all their belongings and race back to the bus.

It also presumably did not work out so well for the others who our vacation company on-site liaison, bus driver, and hotel staff were unable to locate.  They missed the bus.  All but one eventually made it to the airport, where we all looked at each other wondering what fate befell the mysterious man they kept paging over the intercom to make his way immediately to our boarding gate.


20180211_105331.jpgGoing through customs is its own experience.  Leaving Canada, the fourteen-year-old was randomly selected for the “sniff test”.  Yes, apparently they had to make sure a fourteen-year-old girl was not carrying or recently in contact with cocaine.  I, being the concerned parent, laughed at her plight.  The Canadian customs staff were typically Canadian, indulgent and kind about it.

And then there was the phone in the bathroom incident on arrival, which we teased the thirteen-year-old about and told her that her father would have had to contact the Canadian embassy or consular service or whatever they have there to have our government try to negotiate our release from a foreign country prison.

Coming home, we learned while in line to check our luggage that the rules for carrying going the opposite way are different.  We hastily shifted items from our carry on to our checked luggage.  On the way to security I ended up having to throw out my chapped lip stick because that apparently is illegal.  Every man woman and child went through a cursory pat down.  The Dominican customs people were all very understanding and kind while processing all of us.

On arrival in Canada, and after a slightly bumpy landing, it is time to breathe a sigh of relief.  It is over.  You are home.  Cue laughter.

We are in the back quarter of the plane.  Naturally, disembarking is done from the front to the back.  Everyone is collecting their stuff from the overhead compartments and beneath the seat in front of them, committing incredible acts of acrobatics trying to squeeze through the ten-inch aisle with their stuff to the front of the plane, and stumbling numbly down the tunnel ramp on legs and buttocks that are no longer functional after a more than six-hour flight trapped in tiny uncomfortable seats with their legs pressed to their chins.

20180211_144010.jpgLiterally, with the last of the rest of the plane passengers passing through the door at the end before us into the great terminal beyond, an airport worker hurriedly rushes to the door and closes it in our faces.  We, and our fellow back of the plane passengers, are left staring dumbly at him as he motions us to stay and runs off through the secondary set of doors.  We look at each other.  There are a few nervous chuckles.  We are literally in a dry aquarium.  A glass-walled prison with no way out except to race back to the plane, whose door is presumably closed by now, and no place to shelter.  Is there some sort of airport security event?  Should we be afraid?  But, this is Canada, so the worst it might be is that someone forgot to say please and thank you.

After some moments of the same man who locked us in and another worker looking around in confusion, the other trying his swipe card on some random card swiper at a desk through doors the rest of the plane did not disembark through, a third airport worker came along and let us through.

20180211_143714.jpgAt last, we are home.  Or at least on the last leg of home, driving home with a slight detour that involved going in completely the opposite direction of home for some distance before realizing we are going the wrong way, and made it home.

The vacation, naturally, does not end there.  Because now you have to catch up at work and do all the other post-vacation stuff.  But the real story has already ended and that stuff happens after you cut to end story.


And that, my friends, is how an unexciting vacation story becomes filled with obstacles and drama.  Real life throws a wrench in things and so must you when you write your story.


While we were all in this together through various stages, every person would have had their own unique perspective and experience.


There is more to the story, of course.  The monkey on the beach, the walk off-resort through a possibly sketchy area, and the salami taxi.  But that is the fine details you flesh out later in your story.


Now, if I were to re-write this from each person’s perspective, each would tell a very different story.


Follow me on my blog.

You are here:  The Intangible World of the Literary Mind

This blog is about writing, being an author, and life.


LV Gaudet, author

This blog is for the fans of dark fiction, those stories that slither softly into your dreams in the night to turn them dark and foul.



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‘Tis the season of re-gifting.


Or, in some cases, re-re-gifting, or maybe just giving the appearance of doing so.


Playing “Guess the Gift” is something of a tradition in our family.  When your shopping is being done on budget, and one that is never enough to begin with, most of your shopping is done in search of “The Great Bargain”.

bargain shopping

Bargain shopping typically does not come with the fancy shmancy boxes to wrap the gifts in so the receiver of the gifts can’t guess what it is just from the feel and shape of the wrapped gift.


biting the giftThe gift-wrapping challenge begins.  The gift recipients study their gifts carefully, resorting to thoughtfully weighing, sizing up, feeling up, shaking, and even biting, their gifts trying to figure out what they are before unwrapping them.  While you seek out boxes whose dimensions and shape will hide the true nature of the gift inside, stuffing the boxes so items can’t rattle, or even adding a strategically placed fake rattler.


re-giftedAnd then the gift opening fun begins.  The wrapping paper is unceremoniously ripped off, or perhaps that is the ceremony, revealing the box within.  And then the joke emerges.  What did you get this year?  I got the Sony radio/cd player I bought myself this past summer, re-gifted something I already owned.   My twelve year old got a Dremel saw, used only once, re-gifted.  My partner got a tissue box, the ultimate in re-gift, since the tissue papers it once held have all been used.  Of course, the boxes are only camouflage for the real present inside.

happy holidays

merry christmashappy hanukkahhappy kwanzaa.jpg





… or whatever else you celebrate at this festive time of year.


And now my gift to you …

Garden Grove Cover-FinalGarden Grove can be downloaded in multiple ebook formats FREE on Smashwords using coupon code YV67F until Dec 31/15.

 Can you handle a little darkness in your life?


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newbieI’m pretty new at the publishing game by any successfully published author’s standards.  So far, my publishing credits include a number of flash fiction and short stories published in writing e-zines, one short story in a mystery anthology published by Second Wind Publishing, and a novel also published by Second Wind.  My contribution to publishing them involved writing them, a great deal of editing, and pressing “send” on the email.

While I’ve been writing for years, I’m a publishing newbie and there’s a lot I don’t know.

With the ever-changing landscape of the publishing world, no matter how much any of us learn there will always be more to learn.

Articles discussing the finer points of how to write fill the internet in droves, but there seems to be very little information on the other side of writing – the business side of writing.

The how-to articles on writing better also tend to be a confusing overwhelming glut of opposing opinions.  Do you listen to the blogger who vehemently insists you must mercilessly gut your writing of all of what they consider unnecessary extra words, streamlining it to a tight bare-bones written masterpiece?  Or do you listen to the blogger who just as passionately says that it is the flow and artistic expression of the writing that matters most and that you must not sanitize it by worrying about gutting it of what another might consider extra words?

The truth is that regardless of the area of the writing advice, what you need to follow will probably lie somewhere in the middle.  It can be difficult to decide which advise to follow and when.  Too much contradicting advice can leave you feeling even more confused and uncertain.  The best writers will take the advice to heart and figure out what is best for their self and each particular story.

Writing is entertaining, can help you explore questions and issues in your life, and can be used as an outlet for the unpleasant emotions we as humans tend to bottle up inside.  But if you want to be published, writing is a business too.

While exploring the answers to my own questions it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one asking these questions.  So, I decided to share my discoveries.

I make no claims to be an expert.  Actually, I definitely am not an expert.

Like a lot of writers, I’m learning as I go.  Mostly from researching online articles from various sources and comparing notes on what they say.

The first rule of thumb with online information is “take it with a grain of salt”.  In other words, never assume the information is accurate and always question the quality of the source.  So with that in mind let us go forth and learn the business together, and be forgiving when I do get something wrong.

Corrections are always welcome.  You can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t know you made them.

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Ok, I admit it, I’m a comma junkie.  I write mainly by the seat of my pants, my fingers flying across the keyboard and barely (not always) keeping up with the words flowing through my head.  And I can type faster than I can hurriedly scrawl illegible scribbles mimicking words.


Apparently I like commas.  I mean I REALLY like commas.  I don’t worry about things like sentence structure, punctuation, and spellings when I write.  Later I’ll get a good laugh at the ridiculous suggestions Spellcheck gives me that often rendered sentences moot.  All that can get fixed in editing after the story is written.


I just let the words flow as they will, living in the moment of the story, and trying my best to type fast enough to keep up.

When I go back and edit afterwards, it’s a cornucopia of commas everywhere that I didn’t even know I put in.

Even on the fourth and fifth rounds of editing I still find myself removing excess commas.

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What can possibly be more annoying than getting an unwanted telemarketing call?  Just read on and I’ll tell you.

Apparently there is some unwritten rule that they must happen when you are (a) in the middle of eating supper, (b) in the middle of getting your kids to do something important like bathing, (c) on the toilet or in the shower, or (d) any other time it is entirely inconvenient to drop whatever you’re doing to race for the phone.


The Three Annoying Types of Calls:

Generally, we get hit by three main types of calls.

1.            The talks too fast to butt in forcing you to be a rude schmuck and hang up on them calls.

These are the ones who also generally think that any words sounding similar to “No thank you”, “No thanks,” and “I’m not interested” really mean “Oh please please please tell me more.  I’ll just totally die if you don’t go on for another 30 minutes on your products and/or services!”

They also are entirely unable to grasp that “No” means “No” and will try to send or sign you up for crap regardless of how emphatically you say “NO!  NOT!  NO I DON’T WANT YOUR F-ING CRAP!”

And to add that final insult to injury, they take on the injured tone and ask you “Why not?” as if you’d just told someone you don’t want to be their friend after all.

And, of course, some of these are the outright scams like the caller who tells you that they are calling on behalf of your internet provider because your IP address has been used for questionable online activity and you could face legal problems, but its ok because you are probably the victim of a hacker or virus and if you just give them remote access to your computer they can fix it all up (for a fee) …  yeah, and I’m the  Queen of Sheba too and know darn well they could not possibly be trying to both hack me and bill me for doing it too.


2.            The dead air calls. 

Yeah, we’ve all had those.  You drop everything, dodge kids and dogs, leap over obstacles of toys and laundry baskets in a mad race to catch the phone … and there’s nobody bloody there!

“Hello?  Hello?” you say, pause and wait.  “Hello?  Is anybody there?”  You pause again, listening for any background sounds, wondering if you just got butt dialed or a friend or relative’s toddler is playing with the phone, or if someone dialed and got distracted.

You half expect to start hearing the laboured heavy breaths of a prank caller or some kid to ask you if your refrigerator is running followed by the warning, “Well then you’d better go catch it.”  Both of which would probably grate my annoyance nerves less than telemarketers intruding into my home via telephone and trying to push crap on me that I don’t want.

And eventually you or they hang up with the sure knowledge burning angrily through you that you just wasted those moments on a freaking telemarketer spam-crank calling you with their automated dialler.


3.            The telemarketing machine calling me because I’m not even good enough for a real person call.

Yeah, it’s frustrating and you ask, “What?! I’m not even good enough for a real person to harass and annoy me?!  You have to send a flipping machine to do your dirty work?!”

But they are, at least, the least annoying of the three.  You don’t feel guilty for hanging up on a machine, and you don’t waste time talking to dead air.


And then things turn from annoying to ugly.

After days of repeated hang-up dead air telemarketing calls at home – one per night every night at about the same time and all originating from a different long distance number …

… and this despite the fact we are registered on the National Do No Call List


I am now getting harassed on my freaking CELL PHONE!

Yep, not only am I now having to drop everything and race to answer the phone (and this is a number that almost nobody has and is used only for calls from immediate family members or for the kids school or daycare to reach me anytime anywhere), but I am now also PAYING PER CALL TO ANSWER AND HANG UP ON A FLIPPING TELEMARKETING AUTO-DIALLING ANSWERING MACHINE!

To top it off, I’m not on an unlimited monthly plan or anything like that.  I’m paying prime $$$ for those handy but expensive per minute pre-paid minutes that are more economical for people like me who rarely use their phone.  And if this keeps up, I’ll have to go buy more minutes because they’re getting used up a telemarketing pre-recorded auto-dialling machine.

You got it!  I’m paying to be annoyed and harassed by a machine spewing out a pre-recorded message!

Silly me, I thought since cell phones cost the consumer money every time they answer it, they were legally off limits to telemarketers calls.

Apparently Air Miles Canada (or so the recording claims to be) has a very important message that I need to spend $$ just to listen to.

I wonder if they get a cut from the cell phone company.



Anywho, while I have to chose between turning off my cell phone and missing an important call from my kids’ school or daycare or wasting my money hanging up on telemarketing machines, I have added the cell to the do not call registry – for what its worth.

Since they’re calling me at home too and I’ve had that phone on the list for a few years now, I already know the registry only works for the ones who chose to follow the rules.

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How awesome is this?!

I let the kids ride their bikes to daycare this a.m.

Baby wild bunny

 The youngest (7) is just giving it with all she’s got to keep up with the 9 yr old and her bigger bike. (7 yr old’s bike is too small and has very small tires).

 Baby bunny comes racing from a yard, runs right between the 7 yr old’s small bicycle tires, comes back and dodges her again, and runs off.

 Of course, that wasn’t the end of it.  The little bugger came back to sit in the middle of the road.  I had to shoo it off so I wouldn’t risk running it over.

 My awesome 7 yr old didn’t even flinch, and no wipeout.  She managed to avoid hurting both herself and the baby bunny playing a game of tire dodge.

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It’s that special day of the year again, when the kids make their Mom’s breakfast, make her cards, write her poems, and give her hand-crafted gifts.  All gives happily received, especially the one that don’t involve Mom spending hours cleaning up after their creation.

This year was especially nice.

The older daughter’s grade 3 class put on a formal Mothers’ Day tea, complete with white table cloths and fancy table decorations, beautiful décor, a picture together, and a cellist playing as the Mom’s trickled in.

The event held an afternoon of entertainment performed by the kids, songs and poems, and a few video clips.  Each kid got up to say a little speech about their mother:

Mother’s Day Speech

Written by

Sidney Gaudet

“Good afternoon Moms and grandmas.  My name is Sidney and this is the grade 3’s Mother’s day tea.  I am here to talk about my mom.  I am the daughter of Lori.  My mom has long blonde curly hair; she has glasses and gray eyes.  Now I told you what my mom looks like mom can you come up?

In my family there is my beautiful mom, my silly dad, my ANNOYING SISTER and my two smelly cats and me.  My mom works in an office; she is a payroll worker for truck drivers.  What she does is that she pays truck drivers for their work.  At home my mom cleans the house, does the laundry and makes supper.

My mom’s favorite color is purple.  My mom’s favorite actor is Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean.  My mom likes to order stead at a restaurant.  My mom likes hollow chocolate.  She does not like when my sister and I fight.  My mom does not like it when my Dad says inappropriate words.

These are the things my mom likes to do in her spare time.  Well, she likes to play on the computer, read, watch TV plus go out.

Can I tell you something funny about my mom?  Once my mom and I went on a tube ride and she almost fell out.  I like it when me and my mom go out together, also when we play together and talk together.  Mom is especially good at games, cookies, reading, making stories, and also being funny.  She is so good at making stories that she was Author of the Month in January.

If I could give my mom anything in the world I would give her a big bouquet of beautiful white daisies with jewels in the middle.  My mom is special because she is always herself and never anyone else.  Also because she is my mom.  I love you mom.”

Presents included a wonderful 8 page card and large silhouette picture on black paper.

And on Mother’s Day:

The 3rd grader gave me another card, bookmark she made herself, and “M” fridge magnet.

The younger daughter also made me a great card and gave me a wonderful fridge magnet picture of herself.

And, last but not least, I have no idea how they got there and managed it, but they also gave me Cuisinart 15-pc. Compact portable blending/chopping system that chops, grinds, crushes ice, and will make some superb smoothie drinks this summer at the camper – along with a gift card for the liquor store to buy ingredients.  Summer, here I come!

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It’s that time of year again when we take a day out of our lives to stop and remember the men and women who made huge sacrifices fighting for others.

Ideally we wouldn’t need a special day to remember.

Ideally there would be no wars to be fought, no blood spilled, and no atrocities inflicted.

Since that isn’t the case, ideally we wouldn’t need a special day to remember because we would remember every day.

But sometimes we need special reminders.  One day a year obviously isn’t enough or we wouldn’t still have men, women, and children suffering at the hands of that terrible monster we call War.

It seems that Remembrance Day has less meaning to each generation.

The legions were started to help war veterans having difficulties fitting back into society after returning home from the First World War.

As more wars followed, the number of veterans grew and so did the need to remember the sacrifices they made as they fought, suffered injuries to both mind and body, and were killed.

But these days it seems the faces of the veterans propagated by the media around Veterans Day are growing older and fewer.

Some might even think the veterans’ organizations and legions will become a thing of the past as the old veterans from WWI and WWII vanish into the distant memories of the history books.

Perhaps that makes it even more important now than ever to remember the men and women who fought for others, for their cause, for their freedom.  It’s more important because the veterans are not a vanishing breed.  On the contrary, wars continue to be fought every day right now and more veterans are returned home injured in mind and body, or for burial, somewhere in the world each and every day.

The veterans of war are not vanishing or dying off; their faces are just becoming unrecognizable to us as new generations of them are created.  They are not just the old grandfathers and grandmothers and great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers.  They are the sisters and brothers, the fathers and mothers, and the sons and daughters.  Their faces are decades younger than the veterans whose faces are splashed across the Veterans Day advertisements and newspaper stories.

And, to the newest generation, as with the newest generation for generations past, Remembrance Day is about having a vacation.  A day off from school with their parents home from work.  A day for learning new songs and poems about stuff they don’t really know with meanings they don’t really understand.

Knowing the importance of it much more than the newest generation does, and seeing how the real meaning is vanishing over generations, I want to make sure my own kids know the significance and the importance.  I try to explain it to them, and I know school does the same, and somewhere along the way they will eventually learn the deeper meaning of it all.  The sooner the better, and maybe one day they can help the world evolve into a new world where war is a thing of the past.

It is not just about remembering that people died for us long ago, it is about remembering everything that war is.  The cruelties and atrocities committed against the innocent.  The loss of life, property, and the indignities forced on others.  How war makes good people do terrible things and bad people do even worst things.  It’s about remembering the victims and the warriors fighting on their behalf.

This year, as my daughters eagerly planned for their day off holiday, I decided it would be a good idea to have them do something to earn that day off, the extra play time, and the extra movie night they wanted.  To earn it by showing me what Remembrance Day is to them.

So, I asked them to write me a story or poem about what they think Remembrance Day is about.

This is what they wrote (for the sake of legibility I typed up what they wrote) …


As I’m sure you noticed, the six year old wrote “Happy Remembrance Day” and “Have a Happy Remembrance Day” on her poem.

Now what could possibly be happy about a day dedicated to remembering death and war?

Well, I asked her that.  I asked her what makes a Remembrance Day a day to be happy.

Her answer – “A happy Remembrance Day is when you remember that the soldiers died for you.”

Maybe she has a deeper understanding than I thought possible for a six year old.

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If there is one thing that I learned about job hunting, is that you don’t realize how it can affect a person (specifically yourself) until you are doing it yourself.

Sure, I should know all this already.  Right?  After all, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve ever job hunted.  In fact, I’ve job hunted no less than six times.  Closer to ten really, since you don’t include every job you’ve ever had on your resume.

I’m sure that at my age and experience employers won’t care to read through the details of the one day I worked at the indoor miniature golf place when I was sixteen and got fired the same day for having an accident with the drink machine.  You know the kind, those purple, red, and orange fluids forever turning in a machine that looks like they should be slushies but are really just a poor imitation of flat soda pops.

It’s your first day of your first job ever as an inexperienced and very nervous (and outrageously shy) sixteen year old kid.  And yes, the simplest of tasks, working a lever to drain liquid into a cup has suddenly become as difficult to your terror stricken mind as rocket science would be to a sea slug.  A fumble and to your abject horror you are sprayed and your white blouse that you had to buy just for this job is now soaking wet with sticky purple juice.  You want to crawl under that drink machine and hide forever.  Instead, you put on your bravest face, clean up the mess (and yourself as best you can), face the manager’s wrath, and finish out your shift trying to act like nothing happened while the customers snicker and make comments about your wet and sticky purple condition.  When your shift is finally done, you hold onto that sigh of relief that you can finally skulk off home to shower and hide under the blankets in miserable embarrassment, wondering how you are possibly going to face your boss and co-workers again – only to be told on the way out the door not to bother coming back.  You slink home in a ruined shirt that cost more than you made and thinking that this is the end of your chances of ever having a job.

Is it one of life’s most embarrassing moments?  Absolutely.  In the long term do employers really care or need to read about that job in your resume?  Only if you are going back to that same employer in the following weeks to ask for another job.

Ok, so enough reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and flash back to today.

There are two type of job hunting really.  Most of the times I job hunted it was of the more passive job hunting.  You look at the job ads once or twice a week, maybe less, and you send out resumes.  If someone bites then great, but if they don’t then it’s no biggie.  You’re not in any hurry anyway.

But this times it’s pulling out all stops, full-time aggressively job hunting.  This time the clock is ticking, the calendar is turning, and the daycare is devouring the savings like a Least Shrew the size of the empire state building (a tiny animal that has to eat non-stop).  And let us not forget those gas prices that make you cringe every time you start your car these days.

Job hunting has proven to be a bit of a roller coaster.  One day you are sending out resumes to every employment agency you can find that deals in full time placements, finding all kinds of job ads in the paper and online to apply for, and you are thinking, “Wow!  This is going great!”  Flash forward a few days and the jobs seem to have completely dried up and you are wondering where all the jobs have gone.

Sure, there’s still plenty of jobs in the paper, but let’s face it, I really don’t know anything about operating a drill press, installing paving stones, or building windows.  I probably wouldn’t be the best professional driver (just ask my seven year old about my parking skills), and I’m really not interested in becoming an apartment caretaker or professional pooper scooper.  And let’s be honest with ourselves, those lowest paying entry level jobs are exactly that.  It seems that all the jobs listed are either completely out of my comfort zone or well above or well below my experience and skills.  So yeah, I won’t be applying for that job as a mechanic either.  I’d be looking for something akin to a sink plug to change the oil.  And I don’t think anyone would want to see me trying to park a forklift.

In the past, every time I job hunted, the paper seemed to be filled with ads for office work and accounting clerks of all levels.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I remember the entire jobs section being much bigger, sometimes with pages of ads just for one section alone.  Now, the entire jobs section seems to have shrunk drastically, fitting in less space than the ‘General Help’ used to.  Of course, a lot of employers have moved into the technological age with online listings instead of the old tried and true dead-tree listings, but searches for those are coming up with pretty small lists too, and most of those aren’t even in the region I list in the search criteria.

At this point you’re thinking to yourself, “How am I ever going to get a job if there aren’t any jobs to get?”

And then the phone calls start.  The employment agencies you sent resumes to are calling to interview you and they all seem to already have the perfect opportunity lined up for you.  You do the meet and greets, do their tests, and some of them even call you back about that perfect opportunity.  You even get some interest from the other job ads you applied for.

You go for interviews, you keep scouring the paper and internet for those elusive job opportunities, and you sit by the phone waiting for it to ring.  Ok, I did the interview and thought it went all right, now will he call me back?  It’s worse than waiting for that call after a first date.

Things are happening, people are showing interest, and you are hopping!  This is going better than you ever imagined it would after staying home raising your kids for six years!

And then the phone calls stop.  You’ve had interviews, you’re waiting to hear about possible interviews for those perfect opportunities from the agencies, and you’ve spent hours searching for every possible position you can send a resume for.  It may have only been days, but in your mind it feels like weeks.

Now you’re wondering, “Where’d everybody go?”

When you do get those calls (or emails) it’s to give you the old “It’s not you, it’s me.”  In job hunting it sounds a little more like this- “We decided to go with someone who was a better fit for the organization.”  In other words, you’re nice and all, but the chemistry just wasn’t there.

Now you’re thinking, “I must be nuts.  Who’s going to hire me after I’ve been unemployed this long?”

You know you can do the job, but how can you hope to convince someone else to at least read past the unemployed for six years bit, and actually look at the resume based on just your short impersonal cover letter?

Of course, taking upgrading courses would have helped, but it’s not easy to find free childcare and large sums of extra disposable money.  Heck, if I had that I might almost be a CGA (Certified General Accountant), minus the required work experience while learning.

And just when your hopes are starting to slip, the phone rings again.  The opportunities trickle in, interest in what you have to offer trickles in even more slowly, and sooner or later all of it ends in rejection because that’s just the way the it goes.

So you sit by the phone waiting for that call while scouring the ads, Googling random companies for addresses, and wondering just where all those pages of job ads from years ago have gone.

Sooner or later that right chemistry will happen.

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