Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sam I am

A friend of mine adopted a baby boy named Sam, who is now 5-years-old and loves to kayak.

He said to her the other day:

"Mommy, I missed you so much when I was in that other ladies tummy."

I love that. Any parent gets teary-eyed when their kids say the cutest things.

But to an adoptive parent, this one takes the cake. With the icing. And a cherry on top. Add a few rainbow-coloured sprinkles, a dollop of whipped-cream, and a sparkler.

Make that two sparklers.

Heck, make it a whole room full of sparklers.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Paris, 13 years and 4 months old:

"I don't just want a hoodie, I want a hoodie with a brand on it."

First trip to American Eagle Outfitters.

First time wearing Tommy Hilfiger (no, I did not buy the $80 shirt. I'm talking about wearing it inside the change room).

Thankfully, I haven't lost my memory and I still remember when I would only wear Keds.

I can relate.

Let's just hope I can relate for another 4 years and 8 months.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Darth Vadar, Roller Derby and Divorce

Sunday morning. Blog time. But no real inspiration. That's what happens sometimes after watching movies like Blood Diamond (my wedding band has no diamonds, whew) and the Last King of Scotland where the subject matter is more important than my safe, Canadian blog. But I still feel like writing. Instead of diving in to a dissertation on African history and economic policies, I mindlessly wander into the internet (yes, I recognize just how awful that sounds).

Today I googled "learn something new" and came across a website called How Stuff Works. Intrigued, I moved in.

I searched for "Africa" and initially was presented with safaris, photos and maps. Not very useful at all, far below the ratings I would give to the movies I watched last night. And way, way below The Covenant, a favourite book by James A. Michener on the history of South Africa .

Then I got malaria (not me, the website results), AIDS, poverty relief, Bono, Unicef, African elephant crisis, foreign aid, and Kwanzaa, which is a holiday celebrating African traditions, so we are told.

That sounds a bit more like the Africa reported in the media.

I then searched "Susan," thinking perhaps this site can help me understand how I work. My results came up as flowers, cookie recipes, teenage bedroom decorating tips, and roller-derby.

Obviously, this website knows nothing.

Search for "Life" and you get Darth Vader.

Search for "Family" and you get a blood disorder.
Search for "Friends" and you get an exercise health guide and a guide on how to raise capital by borrowing from friends.
Search for "War" and you get The Learning Channel's Junkyard Wars.

Search for "Peace" and you get car magnets, posters, the United Nations, and a Few Good Men.

Search for "The Universe" and you get language translators.

Search for "Meaning" and you get divorce.

Oh boy. I am trying to find something witty and smart to say about this. But obviously, our world is full of stuff that is just plain stupid.

Search "Stupid" and you get "Will a turkey really drown if it looks up during a rainstorm?"

Here is a real kicker, search "Diamonds" and you get precisely that, down to the right cut. A clear, concise description of everything you need to know about diamonds. But keep reading down to the bottom of the "Cutting Diamonds" section and there it is, an overview of how diamond marketing really work, Africa, cartels and all.

Now, that is some good stuff.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Tigger's a Wonderful Thing

This post may be a bit wobbly and venture off course. You see, I get motion sickness and I just got back from Playland. You do not know this, but I have already made 10 spelling mistakes while I have been writing this. My fingers are still dazed and confused, stumbling around the keyboard that just won't sit still. Back and forth, left and right, you would think I was on a schooner rounding Cape Horn.

But of course, tonight I couldn't even go on the Pirate Ship, an all-time favourite on the midway. No, by the end of ride two, the new roller coaster, my stomach was ready to give up... literally. Thankfully there was a beer garden in sight to ease my land-loving legs.

After songs from the Go-Go's and Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues, no doubt), I was ready to make one last foray into the seven seas. Or at least the old roller coaster.

About 18 years ago, according to my memories, Playland was full of tight jeans, slouch bags, straight long hair, too much eye makeup, and teeny tank tops. Oddly, the lineups look the same today, like a bad reunion party from a high school group on Facebook. Yet retro cool, with Gwen Stefani belting it out while the two kids in front of us make out.

"You melt me down
I'm at my lowest boiling point
Come help me out
I need to get me out of this joint
Come on, let's bounce
Counting on you to turn me around
Instead of clowning around
let's look for some common ground"

Speaking of bounce, have you been on the old wooden roller coaster lately? Oh My God! I bounced like Tigger dancing to 'Whoop-de-Dooper Bounce.' Every twist and turn and roll and wave of that wood-stack is built to shuffle your queasy body around. Up and down, side to side. Did I mention I get motion sickness? Who cares! I was more worried about peeing my pants from laughing so much.

My friend Carla went to laughter yoga the other night. No bending, stretching, down dog or cobra, just standing around inducing laughter. Hmmm... seems kinda like throwing out the sun and veggies and popping a multi-vitamin, in my wobbly opinion. Make that class walk the plank, I say laughing to myself, and head on over to the wooden roller coaster. Best medicine I've had in a long time. Except Graval. And maybe hot pink cotton candy.

After the rides I was kinda looking to find something solid, straight and narrow, hence the theme through my images tonight. Enjoy and pass the mini donuts.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Solid Rock

Just a few pictures from a rock climbing adventure a few weeks ago. I like the first shot because it focuses on the rock, while the climbers are just blurs behind. Makes me feel as though the rock is more solid.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Go Fish

I like playing cards, especially on rainy Wetcoast days in front of the fire with a nice cup of chai and a delicate Japanese bowl full of GORP. A day kinda like today. Well, not just kinda, more like exactly.

It is Father's Day. And my husband wanted to go fishing. So yesterday my younger son and I went to Canadian Tire and bought some fishing rods, a giant net, and a small box of tackle. This morning, breakfast done, we packed a picnic lunch, dug some worms up from the dirt around our compost, put on our hoodies, and set off to a nearby lake.

Fast-track to the lake. A small dock with some experienced fishers and us newbies. (By the way, did you know that my last name, Rybar, means Fisher in Czech? Coincidence?)

One rod didn't come with line. Another rod broke within 5 minutes. The line on the third rod became so entangled I spent twenty-minutes trying to unravel it before just cutting it loose and starting fresh. The fourth rod worked, then didn't, then worked, then didn't. Lesson of the day: don't buy fishing rods from a company whose name includes "Tire" but not "Fish."

The sandwiches were good. The weather was not. Needless to say, we packed up the tackle box less than an hour after the first worm hit the hook. Happy Father's Hour!

I like Fathers that care more about getting out than getting upset, and today Tony earned his fishing hat by being thankful of our chaotic, fishless excursion.

Back home, in front of the fire, cards dealt, my younger son says, "Ahhhh... this feels good."

"Do you have a two?" he asks, popping a peanut in his mouth.

"Nope. Go fish," I reply, slurping my chai.

I laugh. He laughs too.

We already did.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Early birthday present

Today, an old friend I haven't seen for a few years said she didn't recognize me... because I look younger.

Three days to my birthday and that is a beautiful present to receive.

I don't think I will cut my hair short after all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I friend of mine told me today about the dictionary of the f-word. A historical reference guide from fuck to fuck and all words in between. I find it hard to believe there is an entire book dedicated to the history of one word, but there is.

Here is an excerpt from one comment posted on Amazon about the book:

"I know there are still those who consider themselves to be guardians of the English language (a lot of them being English teachers) who still take offense at the proliferation of the word. I'd like to see these elbow-patched, corduroy-jacketed souls buying a copy of this book and assigning a student who was misfortunate enough to be heard uttering the expression the task of reading the book and submitting a 10-page report on it. F***, I'm tempted to do it just to see if I can get it published somewhere."

In 2005, the Canadian Press added fuck to its pages, right between FTP and Fudgsicle. Last month, the CBC aired a radio show about how racial words now have more profanity power than sexual words.

I'm having one of those days when I could easily use the F-word in the wrong way at the wrong time. I'm tired and I can't sit anywhere in the house without seeing something that needs to get done. I haven't had a moment to myself since Tuesday.

Fortunately, the kids are out playing in the streets (reminds me of a previous post) and I can merrily get my f***ing frustrations out in an intelligent post about the dictionary.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Easy Bake Oven

My friend sometimes works night shifts and depending on the evening, he engages in many ways to keep himself occupied. Like taking naps. And watching movies. Reading books. Playing runescape. Whatever.

Tonight I heard that one of his fellow co-workers likes to bring in a crock pot and make "pulled pork". I have no idea what that is, and have no desire to eat it, but I kinda like the idea of a bunch of techie guys sitting around at 3 am playing online games and eating pulled pork. And then have a nap.

Another co-worker brings in an easy bake oven and makes individual cookies, one at a time, for 25 cents each. He has a sign-up list and I understand it can get long.

I wonder what would happen if the three women I work with were to all come in night after night to get our work done. I suspect we would bake cookies too, and watch movies, and read magazines. And maybe do our toenails and dye our hair and talk about boys we like and boys we don't like. We would make steamed rice and Thai red curry sauce. We would wear our pyjamas and pink slippers. We would bring our pillows too.

Sleepover would take on a whole new meaning. Work would too. I think I could sign up for that.

Martini in Black

This was once my favourite photo. But then not really, as it kinda reminds me of the eighties. And Duran Duran. I took it at Milestones in the bar.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Seriously Though

"The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously."

Nicholas Butler


Gloria. She is adorable. And impacted by Aids.

When World Vision called me a few weeks ago, how could I say no when they said a little Tanzanian girl needed help. A HopeChild.

Yes, we are still paying off our minivan and the monthly sponsorship will just add to our debt. But isn't that the point? We buy a bigger van to hold our family and our toys, and Gloria is just trying to survive along with her community. We can afford to help.

We can all afford to help.

Her face on our fridge, along side the photo of our Mongolian friend Lkhagvadorj, is a good reminder on those mornings when we don't feel like packing a lunch, those days when we don't feel like walking, those evenings when we don't feel like cooking. We do it anyways, and mentally put the pennies saved in their direction.

There are currently 562 Hope children that could use help. Nelson, Sanjay, Rose, Eliana, Beni, Jean. Congo, India, Tanzania, Zambia, El Salvador, Haiti.

They all need hope. They all need help.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Gentle Reminder

For some reason these remind me of Shirley Temples. Which reminds me of the Spaghetti Factory. Which reminds me of sourdough bread. Which reminds me of the San Francisco. Which reminds me of White Rabbit candy. Which reminds me of Victoria. Which reminds me of Cowichan Bay. Which is where I took this picture.

I want some for my backyard.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Yesterday, my two sons worked together to set up a lemonade stand.

The youngest one loved every minute of it. That is, until his friend walked down the street and they both disappeared into the basement.

Meanwhile, I was sitting outside having a great time catching up with neighbours I hadn't seen in a while, and making friends with new neighbours I had never met. In fact, I connected with one stranger who's son will be going to the same school as mine. We might even share daycare, strangers no more.

I don't remember the good old days when every house had a porch and every evening was spent rocking back and forth 'chewing the fat' with those that walked by.

But I do know that my favourite place in my house is my front steps. Painted blue with peaks of old green where the blue is chipped away. Grass growing up from the cracks, and occasionally a wildflower or weed. Both are good.

When the sun is warm, the neighbours are out, and you have a drink to entice them to sit for a while, there is no place more human than the front yard.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Pirate Cookies

A few days ago I walked into the store and saw a box of Pirate Cookies. Despite that they were once my favourite cookie, I had completely forgot about them. (For some reason, I can not find any information on Pirate Cookies on the internet, and since my camera is currently not charged you will have to imagine the blue bag and brown Oreo-style cookies for yourself.)

According to Kraft, peanut butter made its mark in history over 3,000 years ago.

"Peanuts were first cultivated in South America by the Incas, who liked the small vegetable so much that they decorated pots with peanut designs and made them in the distinctive peanut shape. The Incas also made the first peanut butter."

But according to Peanut Butter Lovers, there are many claims about the origin of peanut butter.

"Africans ground peanuts into stews as early as the 15th century. The Chinese have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries. Civil War soldiers dined on 'peanut porridge.' These uses, however, bore little resemblance to peanut butter as it is known today."

Everyone seems to agree that peanut butter as we know it was created by George A. Bayle Jr., who processed and packaged "ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn't chew meat. The physician apparently had experimented by grinding peanuts in his hand-cranked meat grinder. Bayle mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of barrels for about 6¢ per pound."

But really, at this point, I don't really care where it came from, I'm just glad it made its way back into my home. Pass the milk, matey. YUM!