Thursday, January 20, 2011

How many ways can you describe POOP?

I never knew till I had kids that there are so many ways to describe poop.  Or the fact it has so many names, there's crap, doo-doo, shit, shite, No. 2, ka-ka, poopy etc ...  No one tells you  that you will worry about the color or texture of the poop.  That you will search it diligently for such things as, pennies, earrings, paperclips or other assorted items that your child may have swallowed.

In fact no one really tells you the true story about having kids at all.  I think its a secret conspiracy to keep the population growing and the pharmaceutical industry going.

A friend of mine forwarded on this 11 Step Program for having kids.  It was writtin by a women called Amy Lawrence.  I don't know her, but I think we'd enjoy an evening together with a few bottles of wine.

Enjoy, the 11 Step Program


Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)
Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent


Thursday, January 06, 2011

Coupons Coupons and more Coupons

For those of you that know me I am seriously into couponing.

I got introduced to coupons in a serious way  a couple of months ago at a coupon party and since Jun 2010 I have saved approx $3000 in coupons.  I have at least a one year supply of HBA (Health and Beauty) deodarants, toothpaste, bodywashes, hairspray, shaving gel, soap, shampoo and conditioners. I have a really well stocked supply of kitchen and house cleaning supplies and dishwasher detergent and dish soap.  Most of these products I got for free and just had to pay the tax on them. 

For Christmas I was able to spread the wealth and give generously to all my friends and neighbors as well. 

For those of you that don't coupon, start!  Why give your hard earned money away for free?
Manufacturers are giving you the coupons, use them !!

If you would like to get started I suggest that you visit
It is one of the best coupon/saving/shopping sites I've ever seen.  The community is amazing and people will help you out in anyway.  Spend a little time and read the posts and it will be well worth your while !!

Have a great night and Happy Shopping !!

Nollaig na mBan -- and Happy Birthday to Donna !!

Great Article from Irish Time HERE

From Wiki --

Little Christmas (Irish: Nollaig Bheag) is one of the traditional names in Ireland for January 6, more commonly known in the rest of the world as the Celebration of the Epiphany. It is so called because it was the day on which Christmas Day was celebrated under the Julian calendar, before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. It is the traditional end of the Christmas season and the last day of the Christmas holidays for both primary and secondary schools in Ireland.[1]

In the Scottish Highlands the term Little Christmas (Scottish Gaelic Nollaig Bheag) is applied to Hogmanay, New Year's Day, also known as Là Challuinn, or Là na Bliadhna Ùire,[2] while Epiphany is known as Là Féill nan Rìgh, the feast of the King.[2]

The name Little Christmas is also found other languages including Slovene (mali Božič), Galician (Nadalinho), and Ukrainian.

Due to regional civic traditions and religious observance, Little Christmas (Epiphany) is often assumed to be Orthodox Christmas Day. In the switch from the Julian (Roman) calendar to the current Gregorian calendar, some regions and local governments did not make the 14 day calendar adjustment in holiday observances. Many Orthodox Chistians commemorate Christmas Day on the *previous" December 25th (January 7 on the current Gregorian Calendar). These Orthox Christians also celebrate Epiphany, but 14 days later than those following the current Gregorian Calendar. To make matters more confusing, some ethnic groups assigned January 6 (Gregorian Calendar) for Christmas celebrations. Therefore it is not accurate to assume Gregorian Epiphany is the same as Orthodox Christian (Julian) Christmas Day

Little Christmas is also called Women's Christmas (Irish: Nollaig na mBan), and sometimes Women's Little Christmas. The tradition, still very strong in Cork and Kerry is so called because of the Irish men taking on all the household duties for the day.[3] Most women hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts. Bars and restaurants serve mostly women and girls on this night. Children often buy presents for their mothers and grandmothers.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Whew -- Welcome to 2011 !!

What to do this year? 
Well I'm going to spend a little time on myself. That's it.

I'm going to try and start simple, things like brushing my teeth twice a day and maybe even showering more than twice a week.  I might even go the whole hog and apply makeup and try to look a little presentable during the day.

I know, I know I shouldn't rush it.  As Bill Murray used to say "Baby Steps, Baby Steps". 

For those of you out there totally disgusted at the above, it might help to know that I have TWO Toddlers under "3" at my house.  They are both constantly moving and talking. Almost all the time in different directions.  Their mouths start moving when their eyes open and sometime by the end of the day my husband and I think that our ears will start to bleed.  My life is like a kaleidoscope that never stops.

Don't get me wrong, I love them immensely.  They really are my world and as they get older and we can "discuss" things its getting easier.  But the last three years have been tiring.  Two pregnancies, no sleep, a full-time job and life that keeps going will wear you down a little.  When I get some free time I glue my ass to the couch and watch tv into oblivion.

So 2011 is the year that I will try and take care of myself a little.  A pedicure here and there, regular haircuts, a little beauty return and hopefully by summer a little lost weight as well. 

I'll let you know how it goes ...

TomKat Christmas 2010

Taiwan -- Day 12 Tamsui, LAX, and Home

This was our last day in Taiwan. We all met for one final breakfast in The West before heading back to our respective rooms to repack our cases and organize all the information we had collected along the way. After our late checkout we loaded all our bags on the bus and headed over to the Miramar Mall for a last ditch effort at buying some souvenirs.  After some unsuccessful shopping we met at a local Thai restaurant for lunch. It was another delightful experience delivered by John. The steamed fish and coconut rice were fantastic.

View of the pool and green "skytrain" line.
Grand Victoria Hotel, Taipei

Bev and I at the Grand Victoria Hotel.

He doesn't look too happy but he tasted divine!

Mark trying one of the most disgusting drinks on the planet.
It looked like cold grease from  spaghetti sauce.

Next stop was the Jiannan Rd Station to take the Neihu Line train to Tamsui.  Tamsui or Danshui is a small seaside town at the northeastern tip of Taiwan.  It was once a small fishing village that is now home to three universities. Our original intent was to visit the Hongmao Castle (Fort San Domingo) but it was closed due to it being a Monday.

Train Route Map

Can you imagine? This is the water line from another typhoon.

Self explanatory.

This is nice to know.

Tamsui has beautiful views of the Taiwan Straight from Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf and the Lover’s Bridge.

View of Taiwan Straight

View of Taiwan Straight

Wireless Mark, Kate, Bev, myself and Cola Mark
Lover's Bridge, Tamsui

After walking around for a while we found a little shopping district, Tamsui Old Street and waterfront and all split up.  Eureka! I finally managed to buy some souvenirs for my parents and mother-in-law back home.

Not a bad price for "Sexy Look"

This is actually a space between two buildings being used as storage.

Isn't this beautiful?

Doors on a building in Tamsui

After shopping we met up with John again for our final meal before heading to the airport for our flight back to LAX.

Our final dinner. Tamsui

Our final dinner, The Taiwan 5

Our airport experience was again efficient and obstacle free. We checked our bags, passed customs and headed to the airport bar to have a final drink before boarding our 11p China Airlines flight back to Los Angeles.  The ten hour flight back to Los Angeles was great.  The attendants seemed a little nicer but they were also incredibly concerned with the call button if it was used. The only drink offered was water and even to get a pop I had to ask several times. 

The most expensive beer in Taiwan. $10 CAD a glass in the airport.
Thanks Wireless for picking up the tab.

Once we arrived in Los Angeles I collected my bags and caught a hotel shuttle bus to the Holiday Inn Los Angeles Airport.  The hotel was a fine airport hotel but after the 5 star dreams we had stayed at in Taiwan it made me feel like I was in the Bates Motel.


LAX Coastline

The next morning I was up and ready to catch my Westjet flight back home to Vancouver.  My two weeks in paradise had come to an end and it was time to head back home and my daily life.

I would like to offer a sincere Thank You to the Taiwan Tourism Board.  Not only did they put together a marvelous trip and allow me to participate in it but I also meet a fantastic group of people that I believe will friends for a long time to come.

The goal of this trip was to introduce Taiwan as a cycling destination to the world. That goal was at least partially accomplished as they converted me.  Within two weeks of arriving home my husband and I both purchased bicycles and can’t wait for better weather to be out on them all the time!

If you would like to know more about Cycling In Taiwan, booking a trip to Taiwan or Taiwan in general, please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Taiwan -- Day 11 Sun Moon Lake, and Taipei, Shilin Night Market

Bev at the marble wall The Wen Wan Resort

The next morning our group relaxed and blogged our experiences before heading back into town to rent an electric scooter so that we could explore the road along the lake again.  This time I thought it would be done in a nice relaxing ride with some stops for photos.  At first it was just myself but the idea caught on and eventually our Taiwan 5 group was at the store getting our scooters.  We had to rent electric scooters due to the fact that the Vespa rentals need an International Drivers License. 

View of the The Wen Wan Resort Grounds

Giant Spiders in Sun Moon Lake

My electric bike in Sun Moon Lake/

I had never ridden a scooter before but for some reason it didn’t look hard and I thought I could wing it. They are a little harder to control then they look but once you manage to balance your feet on the platform in front your fine. The only negative with the electric scooter is that you have to keep the throttle on all the time to maintain speed.  If you ease up then you slow down. We set off at a lovely leisurely place like five little ducks all in a row. As fate would have it, a quarter of the way around the lake Wireless Mark had more bike trouble. This time his engine cut out and wouldn’t restart.  Kate, Bev and I rode to the next bike store to order a replacement bike for Mark.  Then with time running out we couldn’t finish going around the lake so we had to head back to the hotel to check out.  We met poor Mark back at the bike rental. Sun Moon Lake sure hadn’t been nice to him and his bike(s), pedal or electric. His ride with the pros and the leisure ride both were ruined due to poor mechanics.

Riding around Sun Moon Lake

View of Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

We raced back to the hotel, showered and repacked everything before setting off on a three-hour bus ride back to Taipei.   

Count of mishaps by Day11/12:
  • 2 pairs of Sunglasses washed away,
  • 1 HTC phone went for a swim and but was saved by “Magic Rice”
  • 1 iPhone 4 lost, but found again
  • 1 GIANT bike – chain broken
  • 1 Electric Scooter, engine blown
  • 4 pairs of shoes that had to be thrown out due to wetness
  • 2 plunges of a bike and onto the ground
  • 2 iPhone 3 slightly damaged by water but saved by “Magic Rice”
  • and last but not least,
  • 1 DSL camera so waterlogged not even “Magic Rice” could save it.

Once we got back to Taipei we checked back into the Grand Victorian Hotel. Our plan for the evening was dinner and finally a visit to the Shilin night market. I had brought an empty suitcase to Taiwan in anticipation of all my shopping and so far the only store I had really been in was a 7-11. Our bus dropped us off at the night market and we had an hour of free time to wander around before meeting up with John and heading to a local hot pot restaurant.

Shilin Night Market

Shilin Night Market

Wow, I didn't try it, but I wonder, what is really frog eggs?
Shilin night Market

Shilin Night Market Fruit Stall

Shilin Night Market -- Clothes Stores

Another food stall in the Shilin Night Market.
I wish I had of tried it.

The hot pot was a new experience for me but it was delicious.  Basically you sit at a table for six that had an empty hole in front of each place setting. The hostess came along with six metal pots filled with stock and placed them in each hole.  She then turned on the induction heater below each pot.  Next came along plates of meat, seafood and vegetables, noodles and a variety of mushrooms. You then placed your selection of food into the broth till it was cooked and ate heartily.  It was a great way to wind down our Taiwan trip and converse with each other over a leisurely meal. 

Hot Pot Restuarant, Shilin Night Market

Cola Mark, Wireless Mark and Bev at the Hot Pot Restuarant
Shilin Night Market, Taipei, Taiwan

Food for the hot pot

After dinner we did a little strolling through the night market.  I picked up one or two things but I would have needed hours to properly browse and bargain my way through the market. Exhaustion was quickly laying claim to our little group and we headed back to the hotel.

Shilin Night Market Food Stall

Shilin Night Market. Food Stall

Shilin Night Market

Snakes in a jar, Shilin Night Market

Taiwan -- Day 10 Ci En Pagoda, Sun Moon Lake

We strolled around Ita Thao before boarding the bus and making our way to the Ci En Pagoda. What a beautiful building, breathtaking. It was built almost fourty years ago as a monument to his mother by the late President Chiang Kai-Shek. It stands 150 feet tall and nearly 3300 feet above sea level. To reach the Pagoda you must climb the 700-meter staircase to the entrance. You can do this easily and at your own pace. Once you reach the entrance you then can walk up the nine stories to the top. The Pagoda offers magnificent views of the entire lake and surrounding mountains. Also when you reach the top you can announce your feat by ringing the very large zhong with a wooden mallet. 

The steps to the Ci En Pagoda

Ci En Pagoda, Sun Moon Lake

Wireless Mark and Ci En Pagoda

Ci En Pagoda

Wireless Mark at the Ci En Pagoda
Look at the view behind him.

Looking down to the bottom of the Ci En Pagoda

Ci En Pagoda

Ci En Pagoda

The view from the Ci En Pagoda

View from Ci En Pagoda
 After our exhilarating day we headed back to The Wen Wan to relax before dinner.

Dinner that evening was family style at a little restaurant in town.  We had whole steamed fish, cold Hainan chicken, shrimp, rice, candied mushrooms and greens.  After dinner we spent our second-to-last night in Taiwan touring the town and enjoying the fireworks display and dance show.

Sun Moon Lake at night.
Dinner at Sun Moon Lake


Not a big fan of cold chicken with yellow goose-bumpy skin.

A cool bike.  The mom rode it with the son sitting on the toddler seat.