Lydia & Elizabeth & Bast & Moyer

Today’s the big day! It’s time to reveal our fun little vlog project that we did with our friends Lydia and Elizabeth.

We gave them a list of Canadian trivia questions. They answered them, then we told them the right answers. The results were quite spectacular.

First, watch their video:

Hahah, they’re so cute and clueless.


Next, watch our video:

Keep your stick on the ice.

Hope you learned something new! Happy Monday!


A Very Canadian Video

My Internet friends Lydia and Elizabeth have a vlog. They’re quite delightful. You should watch their vlog.

My Mom Friend Jan and I decided to join forces with these ladies from Nashville and make a fun little project. Over Christmas break, MF (Mom Friend) and I got together to record our part of the vlog. We discovered that we’re rather delightful as well.

Here’s a Bast (me) and Moyer (MF) History lesson (with lots of links): I prayed I’d meet someone like her (weird, right?), we met at church, we teamed up to teach the toddler Sunday School class, we became good friends, we ended up teaching at the same school, she wrote a guest blog post for me, she joined the blogging world for herself, and this September we started working on the same teaching team at school. We see each other 6 days a week. It’s kind of ridiculous. You’d think we would run out of things to talk about, but we never do (much to MF’s Bearded Husband’s dismay). So put the two of us in front of a camera, and the result? 20 minutes of footage. It’s really spectacular. All 20 minutes of it. I won’t make you watch all of it in one chunk. No no. That’s too much awesome to handle at one time.

So instead, here’s a teaser. A little Canadian treat.

Watch for our L&E debut in the coming weeks!
In the meantime you can follow everyone on Twitter:
Lydia & Elizabeth
Mom Friend

__________ Comes to Canada

I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I have an Internet friend coming to visit. On December 27th. That is soon, folks. I’m sure you’re all just brimming with excitement. Or you’re entirely weirded out that an Internet friend is coming to visit me. Guess what? I AM TOO. It’s entirely weird. We are both well aware of its weirdness. Yet, it’s not weird. We know each other and now we’re just getting around to hanging out. It happens when you write and connect with people who are far away. You are friends who have never met.

Yeah, still totally weird.

Jessica Buttram posted a picture that represents this weird phenomenon quite nicely:

My guest (who shall remain nameless and faceless for now) and I have not yet discussed this initial greeting, but I am certain it will be AWKWARD. In fact, I almost hope it is because it’ll provide us both with great blogging material. Yes, my guest does blog. Yes, there is a link to said blog on my sidebar. No, I will not tell you who it is yet. This person is not Canadian, which provides me an opportunity to show off the great white North (that is sadly rather brown and barren at the moment).

I have devised a list of uniquely Canadian and/or Waterlooian (that’s not actually a thing) activities and experiences:

Things to eat/drink:

  • Tim Hortons coffee (I will not be partaking in this adventure….ew)
  • Timmy Ho’s donut
  • A box of Smarties (these are M&M type candies in Canada)
  • Real Maple syrup (Look out, Aunt Jemima) and Maple Sugar candy
  • Apple Butter (made famous by the tiny town in which I do community theater. They have a whole FESTIVAL dedicated to this stuff, that’s how good it is)
  • Poutine (cheese curds and gravy on fries)
  • White vinegar on fries (I’ve discovered that this is VERY Canadian. You use vinegar to clean. We put it on fried stuff. Because it only makes sense?)
  • A Mennonite-type meal in a Mennonite-type home (ie, cooked by my mother at our house)

Things to do and see:

  • The St. Jacob’s Farmers Market (conveniently located two minutes from my house)
  • Get to know “Good Hands Sandi” (the owner of an exceptionally cheesy B&B)
  • Mennonites. Horse and buggies. Bonnets. Suspenders.
  • Talk in Mennonite accents.
  • Niagara Falls
  • Balls Falls (mainly for the photo opp. Wait. Let’s be honest. ONLY for the photo opp)
  • Toronto (CN Tower, of course)
  • Write a rap song
  • Kitchener Rangers game (nothing more Canadian than going to watch teenagers play hockey on a Friday night)
  • Five pin bowling (even though I hate bowling)
  • Waterloo Park (they have a turbo cheesy light display that seems to get cheesier with each passing year)
  • Attempt to explain why and how exactly King Street and Weber Street intersect in five different places.
  • Pronounce “Weber” properly.
  • Watch an episode of George Strombolopolous Tonight
  • Sing the alphabet pronouncing the “Z” as “Zed”, thus making it not rhyme (and very Canadian)
  • Wander the aisles of Canadian Tire

This list is not person-specific (except for maybe the rap song). If you visited me here in the land of Canucks, you too would get to experience many of the items on this list (I guess we could write a rap song if you REALLY wanted to). I know, you’re jealous. Mennonites ARE great.

Do you know of any other uniquely Canadian or Kitchener-Waterloo based activities that I could subject my guest to?

On an unrelated note, does anyone know how to run background checks on strangers?

Our Home and Native Land

The other day I watched a news report that told of Members of Parliament having to use lyric sheets in order to remember the words. They then tracked down people in the House of Commons and made them sing it on their own without the aid of song sheets. Many of them couldn’t. Politicians who don’t know the words to our national anthem? Absurd! How could this happen? I was completely but not really all that outraged.

At the beginning of school day, after the children enter the classroom and I do attendance (hopefully without anyone saying “testicles”) everyone stands and we sing our national anthem and sit down after a moment of silence. It’s a routine and I often forget it’s significance. I hear kids singing the words wrong all of the time.

Here are the real words:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Here’s what a lot of kids sing:

O Canada!
Our home and nature land!
True parrot love, in all our sons command.
With growing hearts, we see me rise,
The True North strong and the!
From far and while,
O Canada, we stand on car for me.
God keep our land, glorus and free!
O CanaDA! we stand on guard for me!
O CandaDAH! we stand on guard for MEEEEE!

More or less, this is what happens. There are definitely variations, but there are few kids that get every word right, even if the words are posted in the room. Since it’s just part of a routine, the only time it gets truly “taught” is in Kindergarten, or if you are in choir and have to do a Remembrance Day assembly. We don’t take time out of the day to teach the words and meaning of O Canada. When I have my own class, this is something I will change. My kids will know the words. They will know why we sing it and they will belt it out every morning. I decided this the other day.

Then I did some intense introspective reflection and realized I might be part of the problem. Please, let me explain.

We sing O Canada in English, but since we’re Canada and we have two national languages, we sing it in French too. I am not opposed to this at all. Most of the time, schools play a hybrid of the two. I really only have to know the last three lines in French. And the last two lines are the same. It’s convenient. But when a school plays the entire thing in French, I panic, then I mumble sing. But sometimes tiny children are staring at me, listening to what comes out of my mouth. The solution? Sing something that sounds like something close to the actual words. Here are the actual words. Listen to this video if you want to hear the French pronunciation:

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Here is what I sing (I’ll type it phonetically, because “French” pronunciation changes some things):

O Canada!
Tear err de nose eye yuhh.
Ton fron le send, de fleu on gloria,
Tar ton bra son porlay le pay yuh,
Eel say pour tay la quoi!
Ton histoire eh tune, eh puhPAY-yuh
(Here comes my favourite line)
Day blue blee ahh text dwah!
Eh tah va leh, de fwois tramp-eh
Protejera, no foy eh say no dwois.


I have to go brush up on my French.

Tim Hortons

Let’s talk about a phenomenon that is quintessentially Canadian. There is one on every corner. It is named after a hockey player. The commercials in the winter almost always include hockey. It’s a place that sponsors hockey teams. It is home of Timbits. It is a place that every Canadian is very familiar with. Some people wear t-shirts threatening injury if they don’t get a piece of this phenomenon. I’ve even seen bumper stickers proudly proclaiming their allegence to the brand. It is something that is ingrained in any born-and-raised Canadian, but I haven’t figured out why.

Let’s talk about Tim Hortons. Timmy Ho’s. Timmies. Hortons.

The only time I partake in Tim Hortons is on the way to the cottage, because unless you count a farmer’s field, it’s the only place to stop for a bathroom break. And I ain’t peeing next to no cows. I don’t particularly enjoy Tim Hortons, but I do not hate it either. I know some who are very passionate when it comes to the chain, and insist it is a part of our Canadian heritage. This is beyond my understanding, so I called in my Facebook friends for help. I posed this question: Tim Hortons: Love it or hate it? Why? and got some interesting responses.

The first thing people do when asked about Tim Hortons is compare it to Starbucks. My dear friend Kristi put it perfectly:

You can’t really compare it to Starbucks. It’s like if someone asked you the question: “Wendy’s, love it or hate it?” and you reply with “I really like the Keg”.

Exactly. You can’t compare the two. They are completely different places, meant for completely different target audiences. In this post, we shall not compare Tim Hortons to Starbucks. It’s like comparing a Kia to a Mercedes. Or a Heat’n’Glo to a Valor*. Or Walmart to Banana Republic. There is nothing wrong with either, both are good for their respective audiences, but you can’t compare them without one of them looking like absolute dung.

Through my scientific research, I discovered that Tim Hortons is polarizing, and gets blood boiling. You have responses like this:

because it’s dirt.
need i say more? – Jocelyn

In contrast with responses like this:

Jocelyn your comment is dirt lol need I say more? – Scotty

Some people really like the food:

Their Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter cookie is the best – Karen

No one makes better French Vanilla [cappuccino] – Sam

Others really like the prices:

Its a decent price and is perfect when you want a quick fix and don’t want to pay crazy prices. I’d choose Timmies. – Tory

Donut = 12 cents. Need I say more? – Geoff

Some people have something to say about their coffee:

I’m a coffee snob and need real coffee not cellophane sealed packets :P – Shannon

Their coffee has no flavour! – Karen

Not a fan of their coffee. – Luke

I’ve now had enough [good] coffee to make Timmies pretty awful. – Angela

Others have issues with different aspects:

Have you been in a Tim’s washroom lately? Especially in Harriston, Hanover and Hepworth… Eeeewwww!!!!!! – my mother

I have noticed the staff tend to be really rude… they always yell “can I help who’s next” which isn’t even grammatically correct… shudder! – Annie

A few people are indifferent:

If there’s no Starbies to be found and I need a caffiene fix … It’ll do. – Paula

I’m not sure what I really learned from this experiment, other than some people love it, some people hate it. Either way, Tim Hortons has worked it’s way into Canadian culture. As Scotty so passionately puts it:

Timmies was born in the [hockey] arenas. It’s made for the work force men who strap on the steel toes and get the job done. It’s made quick and tastes delicious and 89 cent donut to go with that makes excellent breakfast. Besides you can spend 10 dollars a week on Timmies coffee or spend more then 20 bucks at Starbucks… don’t come around easy**. Or you could also buy Maxwell coffee…does the trick and is really good coffee.

I guess you could say that Canadians like Tim Hortons because it’s closely tied with things we love: hockey, hard work and “doing the trick”. And really, who could ever pass up a donut testicle Timbit?

Explain exactly why this is an appropriate thing to have on your webpage?

*Obscure fireplace reference. Making my father proud.

**This phrase makes me certain that Scotty has watched a lot of commercials.

How many Timbits could you eat in one sitting?

The Accent

I did it.

I asked some of you what words you would like to hear me say in my Canadian accent. Then I made a video.

Blame my webcam for the terrible quality and my pasty whiteness.




Now you may go ahead and apologize profusely for ever thinking Canadian accents are wretched.



For Your Information

In the past few months or so, I’ve made a lot of new blogging friends. People that I would likely be friends with if we lived in the same city. Or country. I’ve also done a lot of guest posting and appearances on their blogs. I had a posts scheduled this week, but moved them to next week in order to encourage you to visit their blogs.

You can blame this cop-out of a post on them.

I now present you with Shaun Majumder, a successful Canadian comic who describes how I sometimes feel amidst my American blogging friends. We’re not idiots. We know that you think we’re lame.

Yeah. That’s right.

Today I make an appearance on Knox McCoy’s blog, as part of his Awesometown series. The council of Awesometown are all Americans apart from myself and Leanne Shirtliffe. Represent, y’all. Go check it out. Leave a comment describing the awesomeness of Canada.