CD Success

So it looks like the CD exchange was a success – I’m enjoying seeing people announce their CDs going out and being received – so fun.  

Now I would ask that you post your playlists so we can find new music to enjoy – if you’ve got any good stories as to why you picked a particular song we’d love to hear that too.  


The Return of the Great MT CD Exchange (part deux)

Early last year we did a massively successful CD exchange where some of us were able to share meaningful music with other MTs from all over the globe.   It was cool, it was fun and it helped us to learn about new and different artists and genres and generally have a good time.    I want to do it again.    This time though I want to twist it up a bit – inspired by Gloria’s trips down memory lane I’d like us to create CDs with certain songs on them.  

Here’s how you’ll participate if you’re interested – email me at lonestarcanuck at gmail dot com.     We’ll set a deadline of March 30th  to email me and say you’re interested.    Then I’ll put all the names in the Magic Toque of Choice and match you up with two other people.   In this way you’ll make two cds to send out and receive two cds in the mail.    Or maybe you won’t.   Life’s like that sometimes.    

We’ll give it a few weeks for people to get the CDs out and then we can post our playlists so people can go hunting for new stuff or rediscover old stuff or just hum along.    

The twist that I’m putting on it this time is to give you some ideas for songs to include – you can use these ideas or you can just make a greatest hits kind of compliation that is songs you cannot live without.  

  1.  A song that was popular when you were a kid (from 0 to 10 years old)
  1.  A song that you liked when you were a tween (11 to 14 years old)
  1.  A song that you loved when you were in high school
  1.  A song that reminds you of your university days (or late teens/early twenties)
  1.  A song that reminds you of summertime
  1.  A song that makes you think of someone you love (husband, wife, kid, friend, pet)
  1.  A song that makes you want to dance
  1.  A song that reminds you of home (place or time or state of mind)
  1.  A song that people would be surprised to learn you like.  ( So if you’re normally into country music but there’s a rap song that you like…that sort of thing. )
  1.  A song from an artist you’d like to get to know personally…if you know what I mean…wink, wink, nudge, nudge…say no more…

Let’s see if we can make round two a huge success.    Remember though that this is supposed to be a fun activity so if you don’t want to or can’t or it’s too much to take on right now then don’t worry about participating – there may be a troisieme fois…  


Phone a Friend

This is inspired by Erin’s wonderful Common Knowledge I Don’t Possess diary where we all admitted our inabilities and issues.  

I’d like to turn it around a bit and look at what skills, knowledge and quirks we have.    My kids like to watch Cash Cab and play along and when they come to a question that stumps the contestants we always talk about who we know who we’d call for the answer to the question.   Fashion?  My friend Michelle.   Books?  My friend Cynthia.   Chemistry?  My friend Barb.   Food?  My friend Carolyn.    Carolyn is also the one who I would call about anything Tolkien….

I used to be very good at naming supporting actors in any movie – people like Vincent Schiavelli and Geoffrey Lewis and Joe Morton.   I could tell you their names and give you two or three examples of movies they’d been in.     And I can name all the provinces in Canada and their capitols…in case you’re ever on Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Cash Cab and you need that information.  

So, what do you know and what could you be counted on to answer for your friend on the phone?  


The MT Mixed Tape Extravaganza

Resulting from a music discussion earlier this year…, late last year…uh… whatever…

So anyway, it was put forth that we would invite people to participate in a mixed tape (CD) exchange.   Remember making heartfelt mixed tapes for old sweethearts?   Mine were full of Peter Gabriel and Dire Straits because I was the coolest kid in Northern Ontario…

Here’s what you’ll do if you want to participate – email me at lonestarcanuck (at)  

I will pull names out of a hat and match you up with two other participants.    Then I’ll tell you who to contact – you contact them and get their mailing information and arrange to send CDs to them.   Two someones will contact you and arrange to send CDs to you.    It’s simple in its craziness.  

At the end you should send off two CDs and get two CDs – unless someone flakes out.   Which happens.   Heck, the last time I tried to do this on the internet it happened and I didn’t get a damned thing…but I helped a nice lady in Wisconsin to discover Ruthie Foster and so that makes it all worthwhile.  

Now, as far as what to put on your CD – it’s totally up to you.  You may have a wonderful favourite song from your youth that you think needs to go out to the world or you may just be absolutely in love with something new.  

Think about what you want to share and maybe about songs that say something about you as well – expect lots of Stompin Tom Connors and kd lang if I get your name…and maybe some Tragically Hip….and Great Big Sea…

I’ll set a deadline to email me by the end of next week so those who are out on vacation can participate.   I’ll also post reminders in open threads in the hopes that we don’t miss anyone who wants to participate.  

And if you don’t want to participate at all that’s totally cool too.  

Thanks to all who have emailed so far.  I’m keeping a list and I’ll give it a week or so for everyone who wants to participate to email then send out your lucky match ups.   Don’t even think about worrying that your taste in songs is “good enough” or anything.   Whatever you like and want to share is good enough.   If you feel the world needs to know more about “The Elkherders of Greater Siberia” and their tune “To all the Elk I’ve loved before”  then put that sucker on your disc.    It’s about learning new stuff, y’all.  


Secrets and Lies

I’ll be vague.   We’ve recently (like two days ago) found out that someone in the family has been keeping a secret.  It’s kind of a dangerous secret and kind of a scary secret now that we know.   The worst part of it is that it’s come out of the blue.   That someone is not always the person we believed them to be and that a part of them has been kept from us by members of the family.  

Vague enough for you?

We’re completely gobsmacked.   I mean, within families there are always things that simply are not everyone’s business – it’s no secret that my brother in law drinks too much or that my brother wears women’s underwear….(okay they aren’t women’s underwear but I would really prefer that over the underwear he does wear) – but to think that part of the family was hiding something from the rest of the family and behaving like everything was okay really hits me hard.  

In a few days when it’s had time to settle I may see the reasons behind keeping this secret.   Right now though, I’m disturbed because we didn’t know and because we didn’t know, we took risks with our kids and had we known we could possibly have helped.  

You’re probably getting a cloudy picture of what I may be talking about.  

I don’t want to come out with it – the secret itself isn’t important…well, it is important…but what’s in my head right now is more about how the family worked to keep something out of the family news.    It leaves me curious.   Is this standard operating procedure for most families?   Do large chunks of families know things and keep them from other large chunks of families?  

I guess I’m looking for normal – fully realizing that normal is a moving target….

Thank you so much for your stories and support.    I’m just working through all of this and at the “most wonderful time of the year” it does kind of put a damper on things.   Everyone is safe now and I think that with beaucoup de counselling the person in question might be able to redeem themselves and find a healthy life.    I really appreciate you helping me talk through this – even with the wink and the nudge we’re all doing!


Favourite Books for Older Kids

My kids are a little older (11, 9 & 6) and out of the Robert Munsch phase and into the JK Rowling phase.   This used to be easy for me – I taught grades 4 through 7 and could list off recommended “good” books.   Things have changed and some of the books that I loved as a child have left my kids yawning.   One of my all time favourite books, The Witch of Blackbird Pond left my daughter questioning the sanity of every character and mine as well for giving it to her.    

So I took a step back on the pushing and the recommending and I started to notice what they chose for themselves.   This past summer was a great time for reading around here.   My 9 year old son seems to have turned the corner from reluctant reader to active reader and has started to seek out books that interest him rather than having me force him to read.   It’s a nice change.  

One book that he has really enjoyed is

Mike Stellar:Nerves of Steel  by K.A. Holt.    Written directly for this age group, Mike Stellar is a fast talking, quick thinking, smart aleck kind of a kid who is a bit shocked when he finds out that he’s moving to Mars in 8 hours.    There’s suspense, intrigue and plenty of humour.   It shot straight at my own little smart aleck’s sense of adventure and fun.    I have to admit to really enjoying it myself.

Another series that they are devouring is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.    Starting with The Lightning Thief

The best example I can find that they love these books is that they keep coming to me to read passages from them.    They love them so much they have to share.   Cool, eh?  

Here’s the amazon summary of the first book:

The escapades of the Greek gods and heroes get a fresh spin in the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, about a contemporary 12-year-old New Yorker who learns he’s a demigod. Perseus, aka Percy Jackson, thinks he has big problems. His father left before he was born, he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years, he’s dyslexic, and he has ADHD. What a surprise when he finds out that that’s only the tip of the iceberg: he vaporizes his pre-algebra teacher, learns his best friend is a satyr, and is almost killed by a minotaur before his mother manages to get him to the safety of Camp Half-Blood–where he discovers that Poseidon is his father. But that’s a problem, too. Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, humankind is doomed. Riordan’s fast-paced adventure is fresh, dangerous, and funny. Percy is an appealing, but reluctant hero, the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to Harry Potter are frequent and obvious. Because Riordan is faithful to the original myths, librarians should be prepared for a rush of readers wanting the classic stories. Chris Sherman

#2’s other favourite and often re-read series are the Bone  books by Jeff Smith.    
Personally I didn’t have a problem with handing them to an 8 year old but when I went looking for photos to go with this story I found that other parents thought less of me for that.    The Bone books weren’t really written for small children and so the adventures can be a bit dark.   Classic comics other than Archie and Jughead do tend to lean toward the dark and dramatic.    The thing was that when #2 was so reluctant to read these books made him stop his danged whining and read.     So I’m recommending with a caution that you should probably read them yourself first to judge if it’s something you want your kid to read.   No judgey if you decide to take a pass on that one.    

Other hits around here have been The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch and the rest of that series – If You’re Reading this it’s Too Late and This Book is not Good for You.    My daughter howled her way through that series.      And Carl Hiasson’s wonderful Hoot,  Scat and Flush

In other news…thank goodness for the autosave feature on these diaries because I closed the danged thing by accident and it was still there after finished cursing and reopened the page.  

So aimed at older kids from say 7 to 15 – what are your kids loving?    Are they open to your favourite books or are they helping you to discover new stuff?  


So you think you can lurk

Hey.   S’up?  

We’re going to do one of those fabulous intro type diaries because it’s Saturday night and I’m too tired to think of a really fun story for your Sunday morning reading.    I’d love to tell the story of the whiney 6 year old who followed me around the mall today and wouldn’t stop whining even after I validated his feelings about how I wasn’t going to give in and buy him the plastic sword.  

“I know that it’s very frustrating when mommy won’t buy you what you want”


“I know you must feel like you never get what you want”


“I hear you whining”


“Seriously, I hear you whining…”  


“This isn’t working…”


“Why don’t they put bars in malls?”


So go ahead and introduce yourself and maybe share a recipe or a household trick or a money saving bit of advice you’ve been holding on to.  

Here’s your chance to really dive in and be welcomed.  



I Can’t Be the Only Mother Who Ever…

  1. Poured beer in a coffee mug to watch the kids play out on the front lawn at 10am…on a Tuesday.
  1. Wiped a snotty nose with my sleeve and then rolled it up.
  1. Threw away an outfit rather than wash the poop off of it.
  1. Counted Cherry Kool Aid as one of their 5 fruits/vegetables for the day.

  1. Fed a cold and starved a fever.
  1. Dropped a kid off at a birthday party without a present and spent the time they were at the party shopping for and wrapping the present.
  1. Sent the kids to bed without a bath.  
  1. Used the kids as an excuse to get out of something I didn’t want to do.
  1. Turned the radio way up to drown out the crying.
  1. Dressed a boy in pink sleepers.
  1. Painted over the yogurt smeared wall rather than try and wash it off.
  1. “Lost” a particularly irritatingg toy.
  1. Did not chase after the bus on the first day of school.
  1. Got my money’s worth out of a diaper.
  1. Raided a piggy bank to pay for the pizza.  

Confession is good for the soul…your turn…


You, the Internet and You

A week ago I had dinner with mamacita in Anaheim.    I know…you all wish you could have been there.    

I was in California for a work trip and thought that since it was about the only time in my life I’ll be going to California (actually I’m headed for San Francisco in September get your tickets now!) I should take the opportunity to meet people I “talk” to every day.    

I had told my co-workers (a motley collection of misfits and ne’er-do-wells) that I was meeting a friend for dinner and wouldn’t be able to eat with them.     As it worked out mamacita and I ended up having dinner with them anyway.   It was a strange dinner for all involved but mamacita says she’ll still talk to me so that’s good.  

What kept coming up though was how we knew each other.    We said we’d met on the internet and none of them wanted to believe that.   At one point we did tell one of them that we were porn stars together.     We ended up making up something about going to the University of Iowa together and I think we studied Criminology or something.    

It struck me as weird that they had such a hard time believing that two people who had never met in real life would want to meet and that the connections we make here every day might lead to real world friendships.    

That is all.  


Saturday Night Super Diary

Let’s play a game, shall we?  

Answer these questions in your response and we’ll see what we learn about each other…kay?  

  1. At what age did you become a parent?  
  1. Name three places you’ve lived.
  1. George Clooney or Tobey McGuire?
  1. Do I look fat in these pants?
  1. Is your family complete or would you like to add more people (more kids or maybe a second spouse…)
  1. Is it wrong to drink alone?
  1. How many pounds was your largest child?  (there’s no point system but if you adopted a toddler then it’s not fair to say your largest child was 26 pounds because you’d totally win…if there was a point system)  
  1. What other sites do you frequent?
  1. If you were Queen of the World who would be the first person you’d kick off the planet?
  1. If your high school boyfriend asked you out today would you go out with him?