Thursday, May 29, 2008


Your Gemstone Says...

You are a person of high morals and ethics.

You have a lot of personal integrity, and you are very loyal.

You are a very charitable person, and you have faith in others.

Almost everyone is very impressed with you.


All right, all right, y'all know what I'm going to talk about today! If you took my advice and tuned in to Wednesday night's SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, then you saw 25 yr old. Brett Banford from Salt Lake City, Utah audition for the show.

Brett has Down Syndrome, and stated he was there to show people, that people with disabilities can do whatever they want to. He's a Special Olympician and they showed a clip of him running with the S.O. Torch. He performed a wonderful hip hop routine with some martial arts thrown in, and told Cat Deeley, the host of the show, that he loved her.

If you go to MY FOX UTAH and click on Local News on the left hand side, then hit page two at the bottom, you'll find a video of Brett's performance and his interview at his home. I was so proud to see the local news station feature him and his family on the 11 p.m. news last night.

Brett's mom deserves an ovation herself. She's raised a fine young man, with a positive attitude and loving spirit. Even though Brett knew he wouldn't get on the show, he tried anyway to bring attention to the fact that people with "dis"abilities aren't really "dis"abled.

My arm is going to be "dis"abled from now on. It's going to affect my typing and writing and my quality of life. But when I look at my two beautiful children who have Down Syndrome, and at Brett who's so full of life, I know that my arm is the least of my problems.

I encourage you to visit MY FOX UTAH tonight if possible, to see the clip of Brett. By tomorrow, it'll likely be off the website, but you never know.

Brett Banford, you're my hero. My kids loved watching you dance, and I had tears in my eyes as I watched you perform. He's a fantastic ambassador to the world. Dance on, Brett!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE rebroadcast their audition show from last Thursday. I thought Monday p.m. was the premiere night, so my apologies. I feel I must apologize for the completely disgusting and unprofessional performances by Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Mia Micheals last night as well.

I'm apologizing only because I've raved about this show, and they demonstrated an uncommon talent for humiliating some of the people auditioning. The guy who calls himself SEX (David Stollar) comes to mind. Being the soap-box orator and disabilities advocate that I am, I went on SYTYCD's discussion boards yesterday and today, trying to educate the obviously uneducated public about SEX and his mother, as well as The Golden Helmet.

I know a bit of something about a lot of disabilities, and a lot about several. It's my belief (and I'm not a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist) that David Stollar may suffer from a disability called FRAGILE X SYNDROME. Women have two XX's and men have XY chromosomes. In FRAGILE X SYNDROME, the X chromosome is cut in half, or shows a "leaky" structure, hence the name. This causes mild to moderate mental delay (or retardation if you're not politically correct), and some differences in physical condition. These people have low muscle tone, coordination problems, speech problems, cognitive delay, and a hard time knowing what's "real" and what isn't.

When Nigel ripped into David about his performance, you could tell from the camera on David's face that he knew he was being mocked and humiliated. These people (like my own children who have Down Syndrome) aren't stupid, they're justslow. They know when someone's making fun of them, being mean, or ripping them apart. Yes, David and his mother are delusional in believing he's actually a dancer and deserves to be on the show. I strongly suspect, however, that he's been encouraged to dance all his life, by physio-therapists and support workers who've known that this is one way of exercising his whole body, building up tone, and helping him with his memory, coordination, and love of music.

The same is likely true of The Golden Helmet, although I suspect his problems are likely more mental/emotional. Perhaps he's got terrible burns on his face? Perhaps he is cognitively delayed and thinks of himself as a Superhero who dances? Who cares? Does he deserve to be laughed at, humiliated, and shrieked at? Obviously any person with common decency would say, "no".

I hope this doesn't taint anyone's ideas about the show. It usually is an excellent exhibition of amateur and professional dancers (they let pros in on season two). I'm still tuning in Wednesday for the two hour show to see if it can possibly live up to last years season. And I hope I've done a tiny amount to educate the public over at the SYTYCD forums. In fact, one blogger did thank me for bringing it up. So there are people out there with some compassion and human kindness.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I know AMERICAN IDOL is the reality show of choice for many writers/editors/agents, and I've seen ongoing blog posts about it. :)

However, my dh and I have been watching SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE since it's premiere four years ago, and for a man who doesn't watch much dancing or skating, believe me this is a BIG deal! My macho man loves the various dance styles, the competition, cheering on our favourites, and the continuity. (the only problem is if you live in Canada, you can't vote!)

Some of the judges leave something to be desired - ballroom judge Mary Murphy with her constant screaming comes to mind. However, the fact that each pair has only five hours with their choreographer to learn the dance of the week (which they pick from a hat so they never get the same dance in a row)and they produce such polished results is simply amazing.

From watching the audition show last week, the level of dancers is much higher this year. They show plenty of bloopers and stupid people who've obviously never seen the show, or only want their one minute on TV. That's the same as AMERICAN IDOL, CANADIAN IDOL, and LAST COMIC STANDING. (another show that's just started and we love to watch)

If you want to see some terrific ballroom, jazz, hiphop, "crumping", contemporary, or "Broadway" dancing this summer, you must tune in to FOX on Monday nights. I guarantee you'll quickly become as addicted to this show as you are to AMERICAN IDOL.

I only wish my template allowed for full viewing of the element on the right. However, I plan on posting each Tuesday about what's happened on the show and who the best and worst competitors are - it's a great adventure to watch these kids vie to become "America's Most Popular Dancer". They may only get $250,000.00 to win, but that win also guarantees them being picked up by a dance group, show, or training to become a better dancer or choreographer. It's "made" the careers of the past three winners, and I can't wait to see what this season will bring.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I got this MEME from my friend Amelia at THE BELL WETHER, which is a super business for handspinners and weavers. Amelia sells wonderful fibers, spindles, and spinning wheels. Anyway, on to the MEME:

1) What was I doing ten years ago? 1998 my kids were six and four years old. I was a SAHM who spent a lot of time at their school and various doctors/specialists because they have special needs. There was no part-time job imaginable that would allow me the kind of time off I needed for all their appointments: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physio-therapy, program meetings, etc. etc. I was happily raising English and French Angora rabbits, along with a few Fuzzy Lops and Holland Lops. I used the angora for spinning, and bred and sold all four breeds as a "backyard business". I made a lot of "bunny" friends and "spinning friends".

I was also beginning to write and wrote my first novel - a medieval taking place during the Third Crusade - during this year. It did well in contests, but didn't garner any requests for the full manuscript. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of my writing towards publication. :)

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? (in no particular order)

a) go to the specialist and find out when my shoulder replacement surgery's going to be.
b) buy "National Treasure 2" on Blu-ray for family watching tonight!
c) get groceries on the way home from the doctor
d) try and do my homework assignment from THE JOURNEY CYCLE - hmm...that might go over to tomorrow! :)
e) wave goodbye to my neighbor whose porch I fell on in January, smashing my shoulder and making the past five months horribly miserable. They're moving to Cold Lake, Alberta today. Nice knowing them!

3) Three snacks I enjoy:

a) raw pineapple just before it goes too ripe
b) chocolate ANYTHING!
c) butter tarts/squares

4) Four things I would do if I were a billionaire:

a) Have a private Foundation for grants to groups supporting kids with Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD, and any cancer or cardiac problems.
b) Buy a restaurant franchise across the country to employe disadvantaged or at-risk youth and give them their first trained job experience - with a decent wage.
c) Buy myself an island get away. :)
d) Buy myself a ranch so I could raise sheep, alpacas, llamas, and any dog breed I wanted - all so I could show them, do agility training, and sell their fiber/wool.

5) Five places I've lived:

a) Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
b) Barrie, Ontario, Canada
c) Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
d) Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
e) Sudbury, Ontario, Canada - guess it counts as I lived there till I was five.

6) Peeps I want to know more about:


Saturday, May 10, 2008


Tonight my kids both hugged me and said "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!" They're a few hours early, but who cares? I don't need cards or flowers - their loving arms and hugs meant everything.

They've been so great since my accident in January, I feel as though we should be celebrating "Kid's Day". They've both showered me with cold packs, blankets, helped me up the stairs, helped me out of the car, and every single day after school come home and said, "how's your arm, Mom?" They haven't missed a single day.

About six weeks after the accident, I had a "homemaker supervisor" in to "assess" our needs re meals and light housekeeping. She couldn't bend her mind around the fact that although my teens are 15 and 18, they have Down Syndrome, and are really like having 7 yr old twins. I explained over and over that I couldn't think of one friend whose 7 yr old was capable of cooking an entire family meal, or doing the family laundry. She seemed to think that I was somehow lacking as a mother because I haven't "trained" (her word, not mine, believe me) them to cook, clean, and do all our laundry. Well, they can make toast, sandwiches, cereal, and eat bananas. They like to vacuum. (it's still "fun")

However, if you have a seven year old who can buy your groceries, make a meat/potatoes/salad meal, and keep up with your laundry and dry-cleaning, I suggest you rent out him/her and make yourself a fortune. :) In the end, I got my "light housekeeper" and won the argument.

The truth is, this Mother's Day, I owe them for their loving kindness, their patience with me when I've been crabby over the ongoing pain, their smiles and hugs at the end of the school day. They've kept me going and given me a reason to get out of bed in the a.m. (even if I go back when the school bus goes). We pay so much commercial attention of being "thankful" for our mothers - and yes, they did raise us, and yes, we're raising our own - that I think we forget that without these warm bodies sitting around our dining table, we wouldn't have the privilege to be called Mom's.

If we can live up to their delight in us, their love for us, then we are truly blessed to be mothers. It's a symbiotic relationship; this giving of life, providing life, and nurturing it to adulthood. Without our kids, we wouldn't have this wonderful journey of learning about how to love what's important and lasting in our lives.

Even if they can't cook a pot roast. :)

Thursday, May 01, 2008


THE JOURNEY CYCLE is an online course provided by the Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA. Instructor Robin Matheson will be teaching the plotting structure of the Hero's Journey using Fairy Tale motifs that we can all relate to. There will be 2 assignments, as well as the opportunity to use your own work when you need help with trouble-shooting.

You can still sign up for this course today - I'm in the class, and really looking forward to it, if only for the brainstorming potential! You can find it at the Kiss of Death's website KISS OF DEATH, under the KILLERINSTINCTS online class line-up. You don't have to be a member of KOD to join in.

Register today and start Saturday off by learning how to work your way through your WIP with structure and expertise! Robin is a wonderful instructor and has five published novels she'll be using to share examples of THE JOURNEY CYCLE.