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Hi, I'm Karen but I'm better known around the web as Sassymonkey. Most days you can find me on Twitter and at BlogHer.com where I am a Community Moderator. Find out more.

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Tuesday
Nov182014

Kindness Matters. Always. 

I was part of a Twitter chat today based on a NaBloPoMo writing prompt about kindness. I don't do NaBloPoMo because, besides all the necessary things I must do to function as a human being in the world, I can't think of anything I'm able to successfully do for 30 days in a row.   

I've said it be before and I'll keep saying it. Kindness matters. Always. 

Kindness Matters | Sassymonkey.ca

I know how easy it is to remember meanness. I know how easy it is to be thrown off track by one critical comment. I know how the things that are said and done stick with us and try to eat away all the good. The first person who ever said that sticks and stones may break our bones but names will never hurt us was an idiot. Names hurt. Mean comments hurt. Slights. Lies. Omissions. Secrets. They all hurt. They make us question the very core of our being. 

Meanness is like a cannonball. It's big and splashy and loud and soaks everything in the immediate area. 

Kindness often isn't like that. Kindness is quiet. Kindnesses are usually small. While we might rant about a moment of meanness for days to our friend, an act of kindness often only gets mentioned softly if we recall to mention it at all. Meanness is hard, kindness is soft. 

If meanness is a cannonball, kindness is skipping rocks. Until the rock is out of our hand, we don't know if we threw it exactly right. We don't know if it will skip three times or five. Every skip is another small splash, another set of ripples. 

The thing about kindness is we often don't see the ripples. We don't see how people carry kindess forward. Maybe they shovel a neighbour's drive way. Maybe they compliment the mom in the grocery store who is struggling. Maybe because you left a nice comment on their blog, they've gone on and left three more. Maybe they tell someone they did a good job. 

Cannonballs are big. Ripples are small. It takes a lot of kindness -- a lot of skipped stones making small ripples at the same time -- to drown out meanness. 

We don't know where kindness will take us. We don't know where it will take the person to whom we're being kind. Each act of kindness is only the first skipping of a stone, but if we all pass that forward -- if we keep the stone skipping -- I know kindness can outdistance meanness.

Kindness matters. Always.  

 

Monday
Nov172014

Meal Plan Monday November 17

Now that we are back on the meal plan wagon (I didn't post last week but we did mostly follow our plan), we are sighing with relief. It's just been so much easier. And delicious.

Meal Plan Nov 17 | Sassymonkey.ca

Sunday: Spatchcock chicken and wild rice pilaf.

Monday: Spaghetti squash roasted and topped with chicken enchilada filling. Inspired by this recipe at Closet Cooking and the fact I have three different kinds of squash hanging out on my kitchen counter.

Tuesday: Franks and beans. It's chilly this week and this feels warm and comforting. But I'm not down with all that oven action so I'm tossing it in the slow cooker.

Wednesday: Falafel. Do you never find you have one spot in your meal plan that you just can't figure out. That was Wednesday this week. I dug around and finally landed on falafel. Probaby will be a cross between this Martha Stewart recipe and this one from Cookie and Kate.

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Deep dish skillet pizza. (Lee is excited about this one.)

Saturday: Pork shoulder ragu from Dinner: A Love Story. We've wanted to make this for ages and but always think we should save it for company and then remember an awful lot of our friends don't like pork.

What are you cooking this week? 

Tuesday
Nov112014

Remembrance Day 2014 

Aside from one year when I was out of the country, I haven't missed a Remembrance Day ceremony in over a decade. In that time I've attended ceremonies in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Ottawa is the always the biggest, as you would expect, but even in the short time I've lived in Ottawa I've seen the crowds grow. In my lifetime I've seen the veterans go from being several generations older than myself to members of my own generation and younger. The men and women who serve do something I was unwilling to do (I would be a very, very bad soldier) and I deeply respect the work they do and the sacrifices they and their families make. I go because I believe it's important to recognize the past. Those who do not are doomed to repeat it. Lest we forget. 

Military March Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Military March Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen holding hands Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Governor-General David Johnson and Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne, Princess Royal saluting Canadian veterans, Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Canadian veterans receiving vice-royal salute, Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial, Ottawa

Governor-General David Johnson and Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa


Military March Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Military March Remembrance Day 2014 National War Memorial Ottawa

Wreaths left at the National War Memorial, Ottawa, Remembrance Day 2014

Tomb of the Unknown Solider National War Memorial, Ottawa, Remembrance Day 2014

 

Monday
Nov032014

Meal Plan Monday November 3

We fell of the meal plan wagon and we fell hard. We kept making efforts and not following through. There has been a lot of wondering what we have and what we could make quickly around here. We actually did make things more often than not but we fell into a food slump and as a result I'm sick of everything.

So I pulled out a cookbook and found something new to try this week (Monday). I added in something we hadn't cooking in awhile (Wednesday). I put in one meal Lee needs to make (Saturday). Re-instituted pizza night (Friday). A night or two we can punt around as needed (Tuesday and Thursday). We're trying to get our freezers down to more manageable levels so nights use freezer leftovers (Tuesday and Saturday). And we're having fish on Sunday because I want fish.

We're moving from a Monday-Sunday to a Sunday-Saturday plan. It works a bit better for us right now.

Sunday: Fish en papillote with couscous (couscous from this recipe).

Monday: Mujaddara from One Pan, Two Plates.

Tuesday: Pulled pork tacos.

Wednesday: Janssen's Thai green curry meatballs. (My notes from the last time I made this said they were great but missing something so I'm going to try throwing some basil into the sauce.)

Thursday: Pasta with sun dried tomato pesto.

Friday: Homemade pizza.

Saturday: Turkey pot pie.

I am hoping this will put us back on track because this flying by the seat of our pants thing isn't really working for me.

Tuesday
Oct282014

Ottawa Shootings, the War Memorial, and Me

We were out of town last week when the Ottawa shootings happened. I wrote a little bit about how the shootings made me feel for BlogHer. I followed the #MyOttawa and #OttawaStrong hashtags on Twitter. 

On television and online I saw images and video people visiting the War Memorial and it bothered me that I couldn't be there. We arrived home Saturday and Sunday morning we went downtown. To the War Memorial, to show our respect to what happened there and to the soliders who had taken up the ceremonial guard. To be present and bear witness. We happened to to get there moments before the changing of the guard. 

From there we walked to Parliament Hill. Because it's open. Because we could. 

I wasn't prepared for how I would feel seeing the flowers and the notes left for Cpr. Nathan Cirillo. I thought the crowd would be smaller on Sunday. It wasn't. 

I'm still processing everything from last week but I know this — I hope I always live in Canada where a child can run carefree ahead of her parents on the lawn of Parliament. 

Changing of the Guard at the National War Memorial

Ceremonial Guard at the National War Memorial

Ceremonial Guard at the National War Memorial

Bagpiper at the National War Memorial

A Note for Nathan Cirillo

A Beaver left for Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial

A cross left for Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial

Note left for Nathan Cirillo

Thank you Nathan Cirillo and Kevin Vickers

The Peace Tower Flag at Half Mast October 2013

Child Running on the Lawn of Parliament, October 2014