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Don’t Just ‘Stand By Yur Man,’ but Join Him: Abigail Adams

Do any of you have a favorite year in elementary school? Mine was Grade 4.

I loved my teacher. I loved the projects. I remember them with startling clarity: the ‘Fort Langley’ replica we built in our classroom (the one where I got too bossy and the other girls told the teacher to tell me to back off), the popsicle-stick buildings we designed with paper mache hills and lakes, the poster projects about our favorite animal and sea creature (I picked Koala Bears and Jellyfish).

And my favorite: the book review about a famous person in history. The girls read about women; the boys read about men.

I read this book about Abigail Adams.

You know that song, ‘Raise Your Glass’? There’s this one line that I love: ‘if you’re too school for cool…’

Ah, yes, that’s me.

I think I also asked for homework in Grade 4. You know, because I thought it was cool.

Don’t worry, I’m cringing too. And, smacking my forehead. Oh, what was I thinking?

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Coffee, Crisis, & Character: “How can we help?” vs. “What do you have?”

Up until Friday night, I thought of myself as a coffee snob.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – or something, the reverse is true. As in, I apparently know nothing about coffee.

I don’t have a burr grinder. I prefer dark roast from Starbucks. I sometimes grind the coffee ahead of time. I can’t describe texture, taste or blend.

As a proud Vancouverite, this won’t do.

The epiphany came during an extended family visit near Coeur D’Alene, ID. Some of my husband’s family are heavily involved in coffee growth in Ethiopia. When they asked what I wanted for breakfast, I said Americano, dark roast.

Why do you prefer dark roast? they asked.

Uh, I didn’t really have an answer. I think it’s because I like the bold taste.

They brought me something different, and of course, it was the best coffee I had ever tasted in my whole life.

I guess I need to take a course on coffee, I said.

No, no, they replied. Just check out Coffee Geek.

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The Hunger Games and The Power of Pain: A #100blogfest Blog

I just read what may be one (or three?) of my favourite books of all-time.

A quick hello to all those following #100blogfest! Welcome to Lana Meredith: Stories of Hope in a Post-Fairy Tale World. I’m so glad you came! I hope you enjoy what you find and leave a comment – even if only to say hi – before you leave. If you like what you find here, please visit my home or ‘about’ pages.

On Fridays I pick a book, blog, article, paper, or magazine to share with those ‘non-compulsive readers,’ aka. the people who, unlike me, don’t seek out their literary fix at every turn. In other words, people who need a huge pull to get  them to read a book.

If you’re one of those people, look no further than The Hunger Games.

No, I’m not kidding. I had big plans for this week. Those plans got blown to smithereens when I took my good friend’s advice – okay, ten of my good friends’ advice – and read The Hunger Games.

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The Wonder Woman of My Week: Noelle Meredith

Yesterday we had a crisis of Meredith proportions.

Noelle had written yet another illustrated story. This time, it was painstakingly drawn and shaded in pencil. She wrote of two sisters: Rachel & Noelley. Yes, the ‘y’ was intentional; its pronounced, Noell-ey.

Rachel is sensible, responsible, takes care of Noell-ey. Rachel has curly hair and pretty dresses. Noell-ey is silly, always getting in trouble, and the baby of the family. She puts her hair in ponytails and jumps around the house.

No symbolism there, right?

Little Elliana found the title page of this book and decided she’d add her own whimsical drawings. Those drawings included scratching out much of Noelle’s original work.

And then Elliana decided to reorder the story.

Noelle found it. And the screaming began.

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Life, Death & Hope: A Salute to the ‘Courageous’ Jack Layton

On Friday I quoted The Toronto Star‘s reference to Rick Mercer as one of Canada’s great educators.

They must be right, for this morning I woke to the sad news of Jack Layton’s death, and my first thoughts were of Rick Mercer.

No, not really.

But a lot of what I remember about Jack Layton came through The Rick Mercer Report.

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The Good, The Bad and The Funny of Canadian Politics: Rick Mercer

This Friday I bring you another great, sadly unread, Canadian book.

Well, its not really a book. It’s a paper version of what you could watch every Tuesday night on the CBC at 8 pm. Well, every Tuesday between October and April, that is.

“No one on TV has done more to teach Canadians about their own country than Mercer,” says the Toronto Star.

And, despite the Toronto Star’s recent gaffe claiming Canucks GM Mike Gillis called Rick Rypien ‘crazy,’ (the writer quoted a vandalized Wikipedia article rather than the actual interview with Gillis), I think they got this one right.

There’s a good reason my niece’s Social Studies teacher used clips from The Rick Mercer Report in her Friday classes.

Rick is one of our national educators. And frankly, we could use one. Read more

The Fictional Wonder Woman of My Week: Tami Taylor, aka. Mrs. Coach

Here’s the thing about great writing: we can actually learn from well-written characters.

Here’s the thing about being a mom: you rarely get to pick what’s on television.

That’s not a complaint. Just a fact. TV priority goes as follows: Kids (for a limited time per day, of course; I HAVE read the research, people!), Dad (once kids are in bed, of course), then Mom. And since I’d prefer to use my rare alone moments with a book,well, its sort of a losing battle to get invested in a TV show that really only I will watch.

Hence the reason I have just now finished the series finale of Friday Night Lights. Read more

Good Sports, Sore Losers, and Why it Matters: RIP Rick Rypien

This post is dedicated to a fierce competitor and a lovable guy, former Canuck Rick Rypien. We’ll miss you, Ryp. We know you didn’t play for us anymore, but we will never forget your spirit. We all loved watching you take on guys who were a whole head taller than you! Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Five hours ago, the Stanley Cup was at my work.

No, no. I’m not kidding. I mean, the real thing was at my work.

You super-sleuths now know where I work, if you know the Cup’s schedule. I, sadly, was one of the few who did not know it was going to be there.

And of course, today is the first day of my four-week vacation.

I discovered the Cup’s presence early this afternoon when someone posted a picture on Facebook. Calling the direct line to my department, I asked a co-worker if it was gone.

“Sorry,” she said. “Only a half-hour window, I heard.”

Sigh. This is the plight of a true Canucks fan: never knowing – or not seizing – their half-hour window. Read more

British Columbia: ‘We Don’t Think That’s Funny’ (And Other Inspirations from “How to Be a Canadian”)

On Wednesday I wrote about a sadly unknown feisty woman in history.

Today, I write about a sadly unread great Canadian book. It’s not the great Canadian novel. Though, it may make you want to write the great Canadian novel.

No, this is your manual on How to Be A Canadian. As evidenced  by, ehrm, the title.

I bought this book ten years ago for my American husband. He wasn’t quite my husband yet. The prospect of moving to Canada from the greatest country in the world made his patriotic heart quiver with nervousness (as it should). But the Ferguson brothers description of what defines us (hint: Canadians are always defined by negation, as in, I am NOT American), unites us (see below), and makes us awesome (the ability to poke fun at every inch of our land, people and government), made David laugh and say, ‘ok, I might like it here.’ Read more

Victoria Woodhull: Daring the Impossible

My displaced Canadian tweep @jessiebellelane loves history so much she’s written about it. No joke, you’ll find it here (she wrote chapter 3). So, when looking for inspiration for a obscure historical wonder woman to write about this week, she was the first person I asked.

Her unequivocal answer: Victoria Woodhull.

I sheepishly admit I’d never heard of her. Afraid it was Canadian ignorance at play, I asked my American husband who she was.

He didn’t know either.

David: “Oh, but you know who they did teach us about? Betsy Ross.”

Me: “Who’s that?”

David: “She sewed the American flag.”

I sighed and passed him the drill he was looking for. We were assembling our IKEA wardrobes, that, after much finagling, had ALL arrived, with all the pieces – we think.

David: “Why the sigh?”

Me: “The most famous woman you can remember from school is a seamstress.”

David: (smiling) “What? You don’t consider sewing heroic?” Read more

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