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Greetings Wednesday!

I’m participating for the third time in Joyce’s Wednesday Hodgepodge over at her blog From This Side of the Pond.  Each week she asks a bunch of varied questions and you answer.  And that’s that.  Check it out here:


Here are this week’s questions:

1. When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?

Hard to zone in on two, but if I must: table manners and the important art of good conversation.

I remember when I saw the movie Blast from the Past (1999) for the first time.  There was a quote about manners that really stuck with me.  Briefly, the premise is that Adam, a naïve man, comes out into today’s world after growing up in a fallout shelter for 35 years.  He falls in love with Eve.  The fun in part surrounds the fact that he acts like it’s still the 1960s when, well, its modern day California.

Cover of "Blast from the Past [Region 2]&...

Cover of Blast from the Past [Region 2]

The quote in question is about Adam and his (apparently surprising) excellent table manners as follows:

You know, I asked him about that. He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. See, I didn’t know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior.

I really liked that – good manners are about showing other people we have respect for them.  Well said.

On table manners, with a four-year-old and a one-year old we are very much in the world right now of trying to focus on basic table manners: stay seated through the meal; don’t blow bubbles in the your milk; USE your cutlery; etc…  We also take both our kids out to restaurants frequently enough, and do weekly Sunday dinners at my parents’ house, so that they are starting to get an idea as to how to behave in public.  So, yes, at this stage good table manners tops my list.

What I mean by the art of good conversation is the ability to make conversation with varied groups and types of people in a way that makes them comfortable and puts them at ease.  So a) not monopolizing the conversation and b) contributing adequately so as to be interested, interesting and engaged.  You know – polite.  My mother use to call it “singing for your supper”.  It’s a valuable skill.

2. Let’s open a proverbial can of worms…Common Core. Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)? If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?

Well, I’m Canadian, so I’m not familiar with Common Core.   My eldest daughter only just started school a little under two months ago, so we’re still on the school learning curve for this generation.  Give me a few years and I’m sure I’ll have many opinions on this topic.

What I’ll say, generally speaking, at the moment is that I think schools need to incorporate more physical activity into the day.  I think physical education needs to be daily and mandatory through to the end of high school.  Firstly, because present day obesity rates are appalling; secondly because being more active has so many positive side effects outside of helping to maintain healthy weight: physical literacy is really important for younger kids; being competent at sports and physical activities lends itself to higher self-confidence and self-image generally; and thirdly, studies also show physical activity boosts academic performance.

I was chatting with some women at the gym this morning after my workout.  One of them was a Grade 4-5 teacher and was taking her class swimming later that day as part of the phys ed curriculum.  She noted that some of the girls already tried to get out of it (at 9-10) because they felt they looked fat in a bathing suit.  All those issues start young – and they get worse in high school – not better.  So finding a way to tackle that earlier – and giving kids the tools to do so – is important.

And now that I’m off and running, two other points:

  • I also think schools could also do better teaching life skills.  Specifically cooking and personal finance.  Case in point: I only really learnt how to cook last year.  If I’d learnt in high school I’d have a) saved a fortune through my 20s b) had better tools at hand for understanding healthy eating, calorie intake etc…    But I was too busy taking advance science courses I’d never use again.
  • I think civics should be mandatory in high school.  We had one required history course, but not civics.  No explanation of how government worked; and the roles and responsibilities of citizenship.  And then we scratch our heads about low voter turnouts.

Some of high school should be to prep for college/university.  And there shouldn’t be any expectation that everything can be accomplished by simply putting more focus on it in school.  There is certainly also parental and personal responsibility for teaching and learning the skills needed for life.  But I think not everyone goes to college or university and so one of the main goals of school should be to prepare students for general life and to help make good citizens.

3. Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.

I don’t follow celebrities, so I wouldn’t even know where to start on this one.  I will look to other posters for inspiration here.  As far as fashion goes, I admire classic styles and the style of people who have figured out what flatters their shape and skin tone and who dress accordingly.

4. How are you affected by the changing seasons?

I’m a summer sun lover, so I don’t love saying goodbye to summer and I dread the cold, cold, COLD winter months up here from December through March.  I’d say I’m definitely happier in the warmer months when I can be outdoors and when sunlight lasts longer.

5. Scariest book you’ve ever read?

This one completely stumped me.  I have no idea.  I’m not a huge horror fan.  I adore vampire fiction and have a large library of that – but I wouldn’t say any of that is really scary.

I tried Stephen King for a while back in high school and while I clearly remember being scared by the movie Pet Cemetery, I don’t know that I ever read the book.  I know I read Carrie – meh.  And I have a vivid memory of trying to get through Needful Things and giving up about 700 some pages in because, really, sometimes longer is just longer.

So I got nothing for this one either.

6. What time of day are you most hungry? What’s your go-to snack?

I usually struggle to make it from breakfast to lunch – particularly if I go to the gym in the morning.  I’ve recently lost about 30lbs, which involved some big dietary changes as well, so my snacks have changed substantially.  I use to adore a mid morning bagel with cream cheese or a muffin.  I now basically completely avoid both of those food choices due to the calorie punch just not being worth it.

I generally try to keep fruit – I like oranges and berries – on hand for snacking.  And I do toast with butter if I need a carb fix.  I’ve caved a few times and still gotten a larger mid morning snack – but generally I’m holding strong.

7. Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?

Independent.  I’m also an introvert – so I’m quite happy on my own entertaining myself  – and working things out for myself.  I use to hate “group work” in high school.  I’ve gotten better over the years, but I still enjoy work on my own more.  And the best gift my husband can give me?  He can take both girls somewhere and give me unexpected time ALONE.

As for which I find harder to deal with in others?  Overly needy people drive me bonkers.  I have very little patience for it.  Even with my kids – and I know we are naturally at this stage and it’s completely normal.  I sometimes refer to this phase as the “claustrophobic love” phase of child rearing.  I KNOW I’ll miss aspects of this when it’s done and I’m trying to get my teen to give me the time of day.  But I also know there are many aspects – aside from aspirations of being able to pee alone again – I won’t miss once they’ve learnt to be more independent.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m currently taking a distance education introduction to macroeconomics course.  I took the intro to microeconomics while I was pregnant with my second and my eldest was a good chunk younger.  It’s a different world this time around and a huge challenge finding uninterrupted time to get work done.  Starting to stress I won’t find time to get it all done and starting to wonder if I might end up booking a chunk of time off work to slog through it.  Sigh.