FITFS Following in the Footsteps of Darlene Foster Supermegawoman

Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster

  “Never let a day go by without a dream”  Darlene Foster

My favorite series is the FITFS – that is Following in the FootSteps of my blogging heroes.  These are all people I admire and in some way or really in many ways and would like to emulate them.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a Supermegawoman at least according to her grandson -“My grandson calls me “super-mega-woman-supreme” and finding out just a little about this amazing lady confirms the moniker is accurate.

 

According to the archives Darlene Foster first posted on her site June 19, 2010 and titled it “Hello Dreamers”.  Darlene’s platform through much of her work is about dreaming, but not Just dreaming.  Its about making dreams come true.  One of her dreams, Hot Air Ballooning came true that very month.

Author Darlene Foster

Author Darlene Foster

Two days after that first foray into wordpress land Darlene announced publication of her first book Amanda in Arabia.  See?  A dreamer making her dreams come true.  I don’t have to say it but I will – YOU INSPIRE!

Since then two other books have been published about Amanda – In Spain The Girl in the Painting and In England The Missing Novel.  Now being for YA and I am definitely OA I had not read the books, however, after reading a couple of adult reviews I now have them on my list.

She is pretty modest about herself and says, “A bit about me. I am a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. I love travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends.”

Now before you get all excited about her perfection I must tell you she does have a quirk or two.  It seems, and keep this just between you and I, her best friend is, well,  oh I guess I just have to come out and say it – her best friend is Flat Ruthie.  And not because she has no personality.  I mean her best friend is FLAT.

Flat Ruthie

Flat Ruthie

Ya see what I am saying here?  AND last summer she also hosted Andy the Traveling Armadillo, who I have mentioned previously but if you need a refresher just pop over here.  So obviously our fave author here has, shall we say, a strange taste in friends although she seems to manage okay with those of the human species.  So you are safe to pop over, have a look, say a little hello and get to know this incredible, incredible, woman.  I have poached photos and words liberally and she has so much more to say and to show you.  Awww I haven’t even mentioned recipes and…and….oh boy..

 

You can contact me at darlene.foster@telus.net
My website is http://www.darlenefoster.ca

 

Author Darlene Foster

Author Darlene Foster

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Tis The Season

I don’t know of any other time of year when we get to say ‘Tis and Twas so much. I notice as I scroll through the TV guide that many of the shows have to do with Christmas – of course. There is touching, funny, scary, sentimental, moralistic teaching, ….

national lampoons christmas
Each year I have my favorites as do many of you. Number one, the one I stop no matter what I am doing to view, is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which is so extreme with Sparky‘s foolishness (Clark Griswold aka Chevy Chase) that it can only be enjoyed if you suspend any claim to reality. The first time I saw it twenty three years ago I decided it was too silly to ever watch again. I guess back then I had a more serious kind of humor. Anyway I fine myself watching it every time it comes on TV, cheering at the tree selection, the multicorded lights which illuminate one house and cause a nuclear plant reset, Uncle Louis’s rug and even the sizzling kitty.
It always amazes me to view complete destruction of windows and walls when the next scene shows everything cleaned up awaiting the next disaster.

This year G2 at four is in awe of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (even though he calls it Redolph the Rudenosed Reindeer) and G1 at nine is on the fence about whether he believes or not.  He made an extreme request for a computer of his own and something else that cost $500 and when I mentioned those were very expensive requests he said I shouldn’t worry because it came from Santa for free.  He has been notified that Santa does not bring computers to nine year old children.

G2 did turn a little pale when he received an email from the jolly fellow himself.  Isn’t the web wonderful? PNP is a great site and I had fun sending it to adults also!

There is one disappointment for me – so far anyway – and that is A Christmas Carol.  Sure it has been on a few evenings now but its just a poor copy of the original.  The original starred Alastair Sim – well to be perfectly honest it was a remake at that time also – in 1951 complete in black and white.  Part of the charm of the film is that in one scene Scrooge looks at himself in the mirror and if you are very quick you can see the camera man behind him filming.Alastair Sim Scrooge

This story has been filmed and remade so many times but for me there is only one true version.  Perhaps someone will show it this week.  I do have the movie on tape VHS – remember those?

I’ve been noticing TV story line trends for a few months now in my scrollings and so often, regardless of season, the story is about some big city man or woman who goes back to their small town for some reason and there finds true love that they had not noticed before.  How many twists can there possibly be?  Rather tiring I think.

Oh by the by..my new theme is an actual photo I took LAST winter..so far we have had no snow here in this part of Southern Ontario and I so wanted to feel the season so like many things through out my life I shall just pretend. HO HO HO

A Proclamation of Love, A Declaration of Intent

My ever entertaining 3 year old G2 is telling all who will listen he is going to marry Mommy.  To prepare for said nuptuals he is brushing his teeth at least three times a day, more if he could get away with it.  Today he asked for his shaving kit, a child’s Christmas toy he received complete with cream, razor, mirror and brush and proceeded to spruce himself up.  The same goes for hair combing.

He adores his Mom, her blue eyes, long blonde hair..she is perfect.  Previous to this his affections were reserved for Ariel the Mermaid and then Rapunsel all of whom have long hair.

He first mentioned his intent yesterday and I replied that it was a wonderful idea.  This morning he mentioned it again, watching me closely for my reaction.  Again I told him that was wonderful.  Then he said, “I told my Daddy and Daddy said ‘no’ that Mommy is his.  But I am going to marry her.”  He is pleased that Daddy seems on board with the idea now.

In addition it has become a training tool in matters so far unsuccessful.  He has developed an attachment to his soother lately.  Today Daddy told him to put it away and when he firmly replied, “No”, Daddy said he didn’t think Mommy would want to marry anyone with a soother.

“Fine,” he said and promptly deposited it in the kitchen.  Now if we can just use this to ensure number 2 is properly looked after.

I remember both my sons at the same age deciding they were going to marry Mommy.  Then at about 8 they felt it necessary to assure me that,”Mommy, I will live with you forever.”  And that is exactly where G1 is at that exact age.

Ah the purity and sincerity of youth.  I love it!

Comes That Time of Year

Comes That Time of the Year

I have been enjoying reading all the blogs on WordPress, or at least as many as I can manage, particularly those of my BB’s (blogging buddies), as most are tallying up, evaluating, assessing and reviewing all they have achieved either in life during the last twelve months or in their pledge of commitment to WordPress Postadaychallenge or Postaweekchallenge.  It is the reviewing and the assessing that helps us set our goals for the next year and gives us a sense of accomplishment for our efforts.  It’s an opportunity to perhaps brag a bit or pat ourselves on the back and I am amazed at what I have learned from my comrades-in-type and impressed that I sort of hang around with the best of the best.  Some of you have taken up the Postaday2011 Challenge Questions and I confess that I am joining the pack for no other reason than to celebrate the ‘us’ of it all.

Unlike many of you I did not reach my goal of 365, not because of writer’s block or lack of material but because the presence of mind simply wasn’t there.  It may have been because of personal upheaval (Lord knows there was lots of that this year) or just too dang tired.  Declaring there was not enough time simply didn’t cut it as proved by 5 Minute Fridays.  Five minutes is never too much to ask, and as long as it is clear it is a twelfth of the hour attempt all is forgiven.

So to recognize WordPress.com for all their support and encouragement:

1)      WHY DID YOU START THE POSTADAY/WEEK CHALLENGE?  I was new to blogging and started with WordPress at the encouragement of MB my daughter-in-law who thought my tales would be of interest to others. I chose Postaday for structure and to gain experience.

2)      DESCRIBE THE STATE OF YOUR BLOG AT THE TIME OF THE CHALLENGE.  Raw is the only word that comes to mind.  I think I started in December and posted once.  It wasn’t much and many of my first blogs did not include tags or categories.  It takes me awhile to find my way around techie things!

3)      HOW DID YOUR BLOG EVOLVE OVER THE COURSE OF THE CHALLENGE?  Well the easiest answer to that is that it grew from being tentative observations to embracing ideas, memories, and recognition of events including acknowledging others in the WP family.  Themes began to emerge which I would like to strengthen this coming year.

4)      DID YOU POST AS OFTEN AS YOU HAD HOPED?  WHY OR WHY NOT? No I sure did not.  Weekends away were skipped and in this last two weeks of the year my dedication slipped as I became preoccupied with other things.

5)      WHAT TYPE OF BLOGGING STRATEGY WORKS BEST FOR YOU?  Definitely looking at what is going on in the moment and framing it for presentation.  I have found first thing in the morning is best as my mind is fresher then.  Since my mornings have become more structured since August it would mean starting before my day begins and I have had some difficulty achieving this.

6)      IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?  I guess there is nothing as what I have learned was a part of the growth for the year.  Even the techie stuff.

7)      WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ACCOMPLISHING THIS YEAR?  Hmm.  Definitely the enriched relationships I have developed. People in word who become part of my heart, my family.  Joss Burnel my Crowing Crone, Judith Baxter, who is growingyoungereachday my down under friend, Val Erde and Pat Cegan for inspiration and encouragement, Tricia at the domesticfringe, Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation, Paul Johnson The Good Greatsby.

8)      NAME 3 GREAT BLOGS YOU HAVE DISCOVERED THROUGH THE CHALLENGE.  Wow keeping to 3 is very difficult but certainly Susan Castle at susanthecoach.wordpress.com whose experience and ability to succeed amazed and motivates me.  My friend Mark at redriverpak.wordpress.com whose humor and journey gives me strength and who is my idol (hmm guess that is my American Idol hehehe), and Colleen at bikecolleen.wordpress.com who seems very brave in all things.

9)      WHAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE CHALLENGE?  Definitely how quickly so many people/bloggers became important to me.  Many who don’t even know I exist.  I was also surprised at the wealth of knowledge out there.  If I could read fast enough I would read everyone.

10)   WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO WANT TO BLOG REGULARLY?  Do it.  Don’t think about an audience, just do it for you own self-expression.  Be sure to tag your work and reply to every comment and acknowledgement.  Also read and comment on other blogs.  You know how much work you do to post so you know that to show appreciation or recognition of others is equally important.

11)   WHAT ARE YOUR BLOGGING GOALS FOR 2012?  Do it.  Fine tune.  Organize. Read Read Read.

A little wisdom from Erma Bombeck to whose list I would only add…blog blog blog and be sincere.

If I Had My Life To Live Over

by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck
after she found out she had a fatal disease.

 

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

© Erma Bombeck  

When Words Are Cheap And Easy

When Words Are Cheap And Easy

There are times when words are cheap, easy, irritating, even down right annoying.
There are times when words are anemic wishes and not motivational, not inspirational, and not even true.

And one of those times my friends sits just around the calendar corner.  Oh and not just ONE of those times but THE time of all times.  THE lies of all lies, THE deceit of all deceits, THE hope of all hopes, THE despair of all despairs.

Yes, Yes!  I hate to even say the words but here goes.  I shall swallow my fear and loathing.  New Year Resolutions.  There..I’ve said it.

Do you know even those who smugly say they don’t make resolutions in fact are making a resolution to not make resolutions?

There are a lot of things I don’t currently like about myself and wish to change and here I sit trying to decide if in fact they are mere wishes or if I have what it takes to make the changes.  I know I need to….should..but but can I?

Resolutions are words and I have to decide if I will parade my intentions for applause or if I will take those words, those intentions into my very being and make them real.

Is your resolution reality or fantasy?

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Chris…Chris..Chris

 

It’s Beginning To LookA Lot Like Chris…Chris..Chris


So here’s the scoop..after a tiring week by all, as all weeks should be, in anticipation of a smashing weekend full of festivity and shopping I made my way back to Kitchener on Friday…early on Friday arriving at oneish.  Lunch with my best friends sis and sis in law, chatting the afternoon away then out to Kelsey’s for fish and chips dinner.  I categorically do not like fish and chips but theirs is wonderful.
Home post dinner for a short restful evening, a good nights sleep then a day of shopping, visiting, topped off by our annual brothers and sisters Christmas dinner
Suddenly at 9pm I felt the need to call dear old auntie Fran to set up lunch with her.  After many rings a clearly incoherent elderly woman answers.  I abandon my glass of Pinot Grigio, sis drops her glass of rum and coke and we race off to aunties.
I have keys to her apartment but alas they are in Hamilton.  Someone lets us in this secure building and we head off to the 10th floor sis bruising knuckles knocking, place a call to sis number three to come over with her keys and I race down to the super’s apartment to let us in.
On entry find auntie barely conscious, dial 911, try to keep her awake.  We figure it is probably hypoglycemia, but she has been ill so follow emergency’s instructions not to give her anything to drink.
Ambulance arrives and the next hour and a half spent trying to get her blood sugar up which finally happens almost to an astounding normal of 4.4 and parameds leave.  She seems better, others must go and I also tired I could lay on the floor to sleep.  We get in the elevator to leave but I have to return, she has been I’ll after all.
Long long long night and good thing I stayed.  She has trouble with her cough and breathing so I get her ventolin from kitchen.  Breathing easier but still restless.
Finally at 6:50am she falls asleep.  By 9 I let her know I have to go sleep.  Family will be here shortly to do Christmas baking.  Sis is at work til 3 but I am supposed to go visit sis in law at noon.
Have left a note for the bakers that I am sleeping but not to worry about noise. Will try to get a couple of hours..have set alarm.  Sis left her cell at home so cannot let her know updates.
Am soooooo tired but not sure I can sleep.   I expect that one drink at dinner party tonight will render me..well…will see.
That’s it for now. Hope y’all have a wonderful day.

(YAWN) And Another Day Passes WHA?

 

(YAWN) And Another Day Passes WHA???


Perhaps I have been in a dream for the last few days and have revived long enough to post…something, never before having vacated my keyboard for such a long time.  It certainly doesn’t look good for a devoted postaday2011 participant to not postaday.

I could say the hustle and bustle of the season has me otherwise occupied, and that I am baking, shopping, wrapping, singing, decorating.   Something that would sound legit and noble all at the same time.

Alas the sad truth is that my nimble, flying across the key board fingers have been engaged in one activity, that being the flying across knitting needles.  I have but one major gift to complete and normally as I tend to amble along the path of crafty creation, such a venture would take months normally.  Truth be told, and you know I am always truthful mostly, I actually bought the materials a few months ago.  There was a big sale my sister hauled me to in September.  She is not only the crafty one..I means the craftsman or crafts woman of the family, she actually completes what she starts in good time.  Hmm which may explain why her marriage has lasted four plus decades and my attempts at such institution have….but I digress.

I expect that if I could get my….together I could accomplish all things desired but for now …aw heck I will aim at the new year to deal with my procrastination..

Now I am not free of my literary hauntings as there are posts begging to be, well posted.  My review of 11/22/63 is getting less patient each day it is delayed but as I wish to do it justice it will wait.  And I am so dying to do an endearing post on the only proper version of Dickens Christmas Carol/Scrooge, the one with Alistair Sims, which I watched the other night which I have entitled ‘Cut me throat and tear me liver if I be lying.’. I love that line so much it could be no other. And then there is the hilarious one about a Christmas gift to the postman who…nope can’t do it now.  It just has to wait.

My friend, Procrastination, has taken complete control so my focus remains singular…knit..knit..knit.  If I conquer this baby by The 24th there will be no stopping me in what I can achieve!

Two people I think about all the time though…

a dear blogger in Bulgaria of all places Patrecia at 
http://misswhiplash.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/bad-news/

and my own hero Mark facing what could be the best or worst surgery of his life at redriverpak.wordpress.com

If you have a couple extra prayers or well wishes do send their way.

I have a whole bunch of folk I could ask for but right now these guys are a good place to start.

11/22/63 The Book

 

11/22/63 The Book


Today most people are thinking about the approaching Thanksgiving thinking, planning, cooking and getting ready to celebrate with family and friends.  It is my experience that this holiday is primo, better than Christmas, or what ever your major day of the year is.  It’s a day where commercialism has no hold, no gifts except that of appreciation.

Unless you were born prior to 1960 you will not have a memory of the events of 11/22/63.  You know I did not appreciate this fully until a day long ago,when I made a comment about Jack Kennedy and my  sons asked, “Who is Jack Kennedy?”

That got me thinking about perception and the things that shape our world.  Now I don’t mean our world in the broad sense, I mean our personal internal world and all the things or events that help shape who we are, that touch us in some way.

For some of a more current generation it might be 9/11, or the assassination, or….?  For my parents generation who lived through the second world war it may have been an event for that, the Holocaust, the loss of friends, sons, fathers, mothers,…well you get the idea.  For my mother who served in the WRENS in Britain, it was the memory of working in a command center and when a submarine went down off the coast of Britain and while radio contact was maintained there was no way to rescue those men and all she and her people could do was listen to them die.

Stephen King, my greatest inspiration, although I cannot read some of his books, has published 11/22/63 and in that magnificent King way of his has given the events a twist – of course.  What if the assassination could be prevented?

I cannot comment on the story as I have just begun to read it, but it does make me wonder – if we could change the outcomes, would we or even should we?

Our growth as human beings depends on our ability to adapt and learn and move forward.  There comes a time when, I believe, most of reach a point of acceptance, liking who we have become and are comfortable in our own skins even though, by that point our skins seem to hang loosely on out bones.

Secret Tapes

Secret Tapes

I have discovered the illicit fun to be gotten from having the recorder on my phone
tape delightful secret words.  I have meandering chatter by G2 as he explores his imagination with his toys unaware that his sweet voice ……

This past Saturday my sister and I went to visit a dear aunt; a sole survivor of ten, and my Mom’s sister who is now 84 years old. I listened, awestruck as she recounted things from her youth, the war and life in Canada.  She and my mom were both war brides.

It was the best three hours I have spent ever.  Tea and chat – laughs and tears.  She is the
last historian for that side of the family, the last voice to be heard.  I sit now listening marveling at her memory which may take a few minutes to unravel but unravel it she does.

I listen to, “It was in 1936 and…..”

Several things strike me as wonderful and in some ways a little sad; her work ethic for
one.  We seem to be afraid of this kind of work ethic these days, and would call it child labor, but then everyone worked.  When she was 10 she delivered papers early in the morning then returned home for breakfast and off to school.  After school it was chores, then supper, then brownies and then she ran deliveries for the local merchant.  The next morning it started all over again.  She said that each week when the merchant would pay her she would have him keep back a portion of her pay and then each Christmas a huge basket of food would arrive at their front door from the shop keeper.  The gift was anonymous and no one ever did find out who it came from.

Her husband to be was from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and both he and his brother Gerald were in the same unit.  Gerald never did make it home and when he first died it was unknown who he was.  His brother had arrived at the cemetery in
France to deliver something and seeing his brother’s body was the first time he
knew he had died.  My aunt took a few moments to remember and name several others who did not make it home.

Working hard is not something this lady did…it is something she continues to do every
day..and she continues to do for others.
She is smart as a whip about current events and her opinions are based
on good thought….she is who I would like to be when I grow up….you know..once I
leave my sixties..it takes some of us longer to grow up than others.

If Snowflakes Fell in Flavours

If Snowflakes Fell in Flavours
 
One or two years ago, thirty odd to be almost exact, I took my children to the Haliburton Highlands each summer to a cottage. It was a delightful little rustic dwelling with a wood stove and screened in porch right on Lake Haliburton with a shallow beach ideal for wee ones and a diving platform further out. When the odd storm came up we would wrap ourselves in blankets and sit on the porch and enjoy nature’s fury as the wind blew horizontal rain and thunder clapped and lightning provided a better show than man could ever construe.


 
Most times the weather was ideal with sun and gentle breezes rustling the leaves of mighty oaks, elms and maples that sheltered us in a world far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. No TV or Internet just games, running, laughing and splashing ourselves into deep untroubled sleeps at night. The only goal was relaxation and community with other cottagers.
 
We met many people over the years but one family in particular remains a frequent memory. When we first met they were just ordinary folk on holiday and then they told us about their lives. Family singers and musicians were very popular then and this whole family sang and produced records.
 
I don’t remember if we bought the most recent LP (long playing record) or if they just gave it to us but ‘If Snowflakes Fell in Flavours’ quickly became a favourite often played once we returned home. Shortly after that holiday I flew out west to Vancouver Island to visit friends with two young children and took a copy to them.
 
The family of singers have no idea how much pleasure they brought to us and I have no idea what happened to them but for one summer the very thought of flavoured snowflakes brought smiles and happiness to a few of us across the country.

**Thanks to Google again.  A search shows the song  was by Sandy Offenheim and all my favs are there including Let’s Play a Statue Game.  The bio says that Sandy Offenheim is a Canadian teacher, children’s song writer and performer, who recorded four albums of her original kids’ songs with her husband Harold and their children, Nadine and Stephen while they were growing up.

Well I am glad I had that memory today and want to thank Sandy and her family for providing such wonderful entertainment.

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