Saturday 21 December 2013

Book Review: Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Have you read the Stephanie Plum Books? You know, One for the Money, Two for the Dough, and on and on; I think they're up to nineteen, now.

They're really funny. The first book was so funny, in fact, that I laughed out loud so much in a restaurant that the lady at the next table asked me what I was reading, and I went out and bought all of the books before I headed into camp again. At that time I think they went up to eight. And I read one in the morning and one in the afternoon for the next four days. Laughed my ass off the whole time. Well, not all of my ass--there's still a large chunk of it hanging around today, but I'm sure that you get the idea.

Anyway, let's fast-forward a few years to a couple of years ago. I read Wicked Business, which is the first in the Lizzy and Diesel novels.

Diesel is the mysterious hunk that showed up in a couple in-between-the-numbers Stephanie books, and he's enlisted Lizzy--a girl with witchcraft in her ancestry, and the magical ability to sense magic,or something--to find all of the SALIGIA stones. Apparently they're only going to find one per novel, because they've only found two so far in the two books so far.

Without getting into too much detail because let's face it--K2 will be up any minute now and I don't have a lot of time--I'll just tell you that there is great humour, a lot of whining, a lot of kooky, annoying, evil and endearing characters, a pet (a monkey--and actually, don't tell him that I called him a pet because I think that he's probably some kind of reincarnated pshyco who'd think nothing of jumping out of the pages and wrecking my house. I mean come on--I have two toddlers. I don't need no damn monkey who thinks he's a fucking human (albeit one stuck in the when-is-he-going-to-be-fucking-four-because-three-is-making-the-terrible-twos-look-like-good-behaviour stage of life), thank-you very much! Oh, and a cat, and if they ever make this book into a movie it'll be played by that orange cat that plays the oh-my-god-what-the-fuck-happened-to-your-cat cat in all the movies that have that so-ugly-it's-adorable cat in them), and some magic. And, of course, there's that underlying sexual/romantic tension that's probably going to take nineteen--I mean seven--books to play out.

Anyway, if you've read the Stephanie Plum books, then the above probably sounds pretty familiar. Granted, Rex, the Hamster, is pretty innocuous, but don't forget about Bob the dog's hi-jinx.

Seriously, the whole time I was reading the Wicked books I got so sucked in by the whining girlie-girl who's in a situation that she's completely inept for, that every time someone called her Lizzie instead of Stephanie, I had to check the front of the book for the title. And I'd think, oh yeah. Not an SP book. Right.

Don't get me wrong, the books are still really funny, and I do enjoy reading them, but, and I'm including the SP books here, I don't have the need to rush out and buy the latest one like I used to.

If you haven't read them yet, I will recommend them as a great read, but don't be surprised when you start feeling like you do when your favourite sitcom has lost it's edge--you still watch it because it still makes you laugh, but it might sit around on your PVR for a while before you watch it. Or, in the case of this book, it might sit around on the piano for a bit before it's finished.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Step # 4: Let People In

Step number four of these eight easy steps is to let people in.

My first thought is: There is such a thing as Over-Share.

I'm going to have to ponder on this one throughout the week, I think.

Because, on the surface I agree, but life experience has taught me that sometimes it's not worth it.


Sunday 8 December 2013

#9: Have a Special Shelf Where Your Child's Books Are Kept and Replaced after Careful Use.

This is from 101 Things Parents Can Do. I think number nine is an excellent thing to do for your children. I truly and honestly do. I'm not sure, however, that my reality is what the folks at Montessori had in mind. . . .

My kids have two shelves for their books. They're very special shelves. They're the bottom two shelves of one of my two bookcases. In fact, if it weren't for my new love of my Kindle, I'd be reclaiming these shelves in a super hurry. I'd still like to. I'd love to get the kids some bookcases of their own. In their own rooms.

But, every time that I think of it, I also think of how they'd have to be suspended from the ceiling and out of reach.

Space being what it is in our home, the bookcases are along the wall behind the dining room table. Easy access. Which is awesome, because my kids LOVE books. LOOOOOVE them. Which is totally awesome!

They love to read them. Well, they love it when someone reads books to them, because let's face it, they can't quite read on their own yet. Almost, but not quite.

They also love to play with books. They make great tunnels for Thomas and all his friends. They stack in really cool piles. And if you stand at the shelf, you can grab them one by one and watch them fly! K2 thinks that that's the coolest.

We now push the chairs back against the bookcases when we're not at the table. It's only a matter of time before K2 figures out how to pull them out of his way, but for now they keep the books safe.

It shouldn't be too much longer, though, before the constant reminders about how books are to be revered, respected and cared for sink in, and they can have their own bookcases in their own rooms, and I can buy more real books for myself!

Oh, wait. If I ever have time to finish reading the stack of books that are hanging out on the piano, I'll need those shelves anyway. . . .

Monday 25 November 2013

Steps 2 and 1: Be Happy Now and Stop Believing Your Own Bullshit, Revisited

In past entries I`ve focused on body image when talking about not believing your own bullshit. I can now relate it to how clean, or not so clean, my house is.

A couple weekends ago my house was a disaster. The kind of disaster that arises from getting ready to go back to work after being off for a year. You know, where you focus on things like your back-to-work wardrobe and getting scheduling and daycare stuff sorted out, and finishing the oh-my-goodness-why-did-I-procrastinate list of things to get done before going back to work, which soon becomes the holy-fuck-I`ve-procrastinated-what-the-fuck-was-I-doing list of things to get done before going back to work.

Now, my house was only a two-week disaster, IE it was immaculate for Thanksgiving and this disaster was only two weeks after that. It was bad enough, apparently, to elicit nasty comments from my mother. You know, the kind where when my 3-year old says I`m sick today`` (he was a little tired, I think), your mom says ``That`s because the house was so dirty, so it`s a good thing we`re cleaning it up.`` That was just one comment of many.

The house was not that bad.

The next weekend, after I`ve gone back to work, I felt myself stressing out about the state of the house. It took a comment from my husband to make me realize that I was believing some serious bullshit. I was trying to hold myself up to a standard that would make any woman crack, even Martha Stewart. Well, Martha Stewart without staff.

My house really is respectably clean and tidy, just not so much by Fridays when everyone`s working full-time, and when some of us also work a second job, but that`s just a couple hours on the weekend to remedy.

My bullshit I had to stop believing? That I could be Superwoman and get It All done. And be Sane at the same time. As soon as I stopped beating myself up for not being able to hold up to an impossible standard, I was Happier.

Which brings me to this weekend. It`s my son`s First Birthday Party!

We had a few people come over, which of course means Clean-Up-Time. I'd spent all day Saturday baking, so enlisted hubby's help to tidy on Sunday. My mom, for whatever reason, was walking around with a big frowny face. When she left to run a quick errand, my husband asked, "What the fuck's wrong with your mom?"

I could only imagine that it was because we weren't 100% ready for the party two hours before the party. Well, she would have been 99% ready the day before.

Regardless, I remember thinking that I wished she could just be happy in the moment. It's her grandson's First Birthday!

I had a 30-minute period of time myself where I was stressing out, and it was making me the opposite of happy, so I had a little pep-talk with myself:

The house doesn't have to be perfect, who else would really know that the cake wasn't 100% frosted how I wanted it to be, and people are here to have fun, not watch me cry! And since they all have kids, none of us judges the other--this I know for sure.

I was super-happy after this!

Sometimes, the day is too important to focus on the bullshit that drags you down.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

If You Pack Your Child A Healthy Lunch, We Will Supplement it with Crap, AND We Will Fine You

I had a MUCH longer blog post planned for today, but then I did some online crap. Slight error in judgement, and now I just want to go to bed.

However, I did see this on Facebook, and I have to ask:

How the fuck is a cracker made from refined flour considered to be better than real food?

Thursday 14 November 2013

Lily Allen Said It, Not Me.

(Language Warning)

Lily Allen has a Baggy Pussy. Yep. That's what she says here. It's a music video, and I'm sure that she's trying to make a point, and it's a good point to make, but I'm still on the fence as to whether or not she made it.

No, the point is not that she has floppy lips. She's pointing out how hard it is for bitches to have to make music videos where they're pretty much just objectified sex symbols.

At least, I think that that's what she's trying to point out.

I watched the video, and it did make me focus a bit more on how ridiculous the pop music industry has become, but maybe that's because I don't actually give a shit about a lot of pop music. Sure, I like to listen to "dance," or "pop" music--but only the kind that you can actually dance to, and I don't watch the videos--I just want to tune out to a beat that for some reason helps me zone out. Bad thing to do while driving, by the way. Next thing you know, you're going 75 in a 50 zone (that's km/hr). Ahem.

Mostly though, I like rock and roll. I don't watch those videos, either.

Not much for flabby body parts in any music video, really.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Heels, Christmas Baking, Hallowe'en, Snot Factories, and Play-Dough.

In other words, random thoughts for this week:

I made it through my first week back at work. I thought I'd dress nicely. This included nice shoes. I like my shoes. My feet and my ankles do not. I'm still wondering how the heck Kate Beckett runs down the bad guys in them. My shoes are very pretty. And really freaking noisy. I can't sneak up on anyone at work. On Friday I wore nice slacks and a nice sweater. And running shoes.

It finally looks normal outside. It snowed enough to cover the grass. It's November. We shouldn't ever see the grass in November. That's just weird and it freaks me out. Kind of like seeing grass in March.

I was supposed to take the boys to their grandparents' Friday instead of to daycare. The boys have colds. They're snot factories. Because someone can't get sick (not too sure why not) I had to take them to daycare. I wanted to say, "See you in the Spring." Because, it's winter, and my kids go to daycare, so they're going to be snot factories for the next six months. Ish.

I don't tell anyone when I have snot all over me. I just say it must be some formula or something. I get lots of snotty hugs. My kids love me. Lots.

I did some Christmas baking today! Woot! I even managed to freeze some of it before it got eaten! Double Woot!! I'm trying to think of what kind of Christmas baking I can do with the dried cherries I found at Costco. Cherries remind me that it's Saturday, so it's Cherry Saturday, so I should head over and see what's happening there.

Seriously, how the fuck does KB run in heels? That has to be CGI or something.

I made play-dough today. That's right. The home-made kind. It's way easier than I thought it would be, and it smells way better than the store-bought stuff. And, if the kids eat it, they won't die. They'll just get wired on the food colouring. I think next time the play-dough will be Turmeric Yellow. Instead of I-Didn't-Want-Pink-So-I-Added-Lots-of-Red-Dye. The food colouring I found must be my mom's. I never buy the stuff because I never use it. Maybe next time I'll make Blueberry-Juice Blue. Which will actually be purple.

I wonder if I could get away with wearing my Crocs at work. They're pink. So probably not. I remember buying pink ones so that I would never be tempted to wear them out of my yard. I wore them as part of my Millie costume on Hallowe'en. I don't think that that counts. That's right, I put an apostrophe in Hallowe'en. I remember it being a requirement when we had to learn how to spell it in grade three. You know, when it was a hallowed evening, hence the contraction.

What do you mean you don't know who Millie is? Doesn't everyone watch Team Umizoomi? Oh. Right. Just people with little kids. Right. Well, Millie rocks. She's a super hero with pattern power, and she doesn't fall into the trap of wearing heels. To, you know, fight crime.

I'm not sure how Geo does it in his roller skates, though. Poor kid.

Random on, folks.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Running in Heels

Today was my second day back at work after maternity leave. I thought that it would be a good idea to buy some new clothes. You know, to upgrade from the current lounge/yoga pant ensembles.

This meant a couple pairs of slacks, some blouses, a nice sweater, and some pretty camisoles. These aren't outfits that go well with Asics.

So, I bought two pairs of shoes from a store that likes to do a lot of BOGO events. I like this store because they're cheap, and they carry wide sizes. I have 6.5, WIDE feet.

The only shoes nice enough in my size and width were heels. I hate heels. Well, I like how they look, but I hate wearing them. But these are so damn cute. And pretty. And they fit. And they are fairly comfortable; it's not like I'm standing or walking in them ALL day.

But when I am walking in them? I have to really concentrate on not falling on my ass.

Which popped a random thought into my head:

How the fuck does Kate Beckett run in her fucking heels? Or any other TV cop? Scully wore heels. Jessica King had a fetish for heeled anything (her rubber crime-scene boots are AWESOME, by the way).

Is there somewhere that actresses go to learn how to run in heels? And is the ability to do so a requirement for playing cops? Or do they CGI the footwear in?

Casting Dude: So, can you like, run in heels?
Actress: No?
CD: Your character is hot, because, like, she's on TV, so she wears hot shoes. And, she chases a lot of bad-guys. So, like, you have to be able to run in heels.
A: Without falling down?
CD: Yeah.
A: And if I can't, can you CGI some on my feet in those scenes, or only film knee-up?
CD: Yeah, no, because hot shoes are like really hot when a hot chick is chasing bad-guys, to like, take them down and shit. So, if you can't do it, we'll have to go with someone else.
A: Then yes, I can.

My answer would have been no. Or yes, and the show would have been a comedy.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Number 39 : Memorize Poetry

Number 39 of 101 Things to do for Children is to memorize poetry, teach it to your child, and recite it together.

Does singing

       Get a haircut and get a real job
      Clean your act up and don't be a slob
      Get it together like your big brother bob
      Why don't you get a haircut and get a real job


George Thorogood is coming to town, so the local radio dudes have been playing his songs a fair bit. Something to do with winning tickets.

My three-year old picked up the above verse pretty quickly. . .

Sunday 27 October 2013

Step #2 Revisited: Was I Happy Now, Today?

It was tough. A busy schedule the past couple weeks has left me a little on the exhausted side. And, after checking the calendar, I've realized that I may have a touch of PMS.

So today I've been a bit whiny. The kind of whiny where your husband insists that you take a nap. So you do. And you feel better.

Anyway, today was tough. Not for anything other than some annoyances (like some gross mis- and lack of communication), but it did take some good effort and conscious thinking on my part to actually be happy.

My grandmother moved to town this weekend. Everyone, including her, is so very excited. She has a beautiful basement suite, and we'll get to see her all the time.

And yet, I found it hard to get excited today. It felt like an effort to get the kids out the door to go see her new place.

Was I really that tired? Is everyone else's bad moods affecting me? Or are my hormones making me that blah? I don't know. Maybe part of it is that I have one full week of maternity leave left, and a million things to accomplish in that time... No pressure on myself, or anything.

I do know that I am happy that she's here. I do love her place. I did manage to catch myself, and I consciously thought to be happy now, but I hope that tomorrow, or the next time I'm feeling a bit grumpy, I can give myself a pep-talk sooner.

My problems really are quite small after all.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Just How Bad Is Sugar, Anyway?

I just finished watching The Fifth Estate's episode on sugar. I have to confess that I haven't watched it entirely--I didn't start recording it until a few minutes in, and I cut it off because of child-related noise levels, but I'm still going to sum it up for you.

Sugar has two molecules: glucose, which feeds you, and fructose, which kills you. A ton of processed foods have added sugars; and a lot of those are sweetened with fructose, which kills you. Sugar makes you fat, gives you Alzheimer's, diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and it makes you fat.

The food industry wants you to eat more of their food, so they're adding sugar which makes it taste great, but it also makes you want to eat more. You never feel full from sugar. The associations dealing with most of the above diseases aren't standing up to the big foodies. They need more research. More people have to get fat, I guess. And slip into diabetic comas. And talk about--what were we talking about, anyway?

The American Heart Association is taking notice (the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation hasn't come back from their coffee break at Tim Horton's yet). They believe people like Stanhope when they say that sugar--fructose in particular--will give you heart disease. So, the AHA is putting limits on how much sugar you should consume. Are you ready for it?

Women: 6 teaspoons/day.
Men: 9 teaspoons/day.

They aren't talking heaping, either. They're talking level measured.

Okay, I say, but the labels measure sugar in grams. How the many grams of sugar is a teaspoon? Four. That's right. A teaspoon of sugar is four grams. So the tablespoon of Kirkland chocolate chips I measured out right now has seven grams, or 1.75 (let's call it two) teaspoons of sugar in it.

How many chocolate chips are in a tablespoon? Twenty-six. 26. Twenty-fucking-six. That doesn't even cover the bottom of a glass prep bowl! I'd like to say that I put the chocolate chips back in the bag, but I don't want to lie to you. I probably sprinkled three teaspoons or more of coconut sugar on my oatmeal this morning. I get one more teaspoon of sugar today. It's not even ten a.m. I'm so fucked.

I'm going to have to start drinking my coffee with cream only, again.

Which, to be honest, if you do that for a long enough time (like while you're pregnant), when you can have sugar again, your husband's coffee, which was never sweet enough, is now really disgusting. You do get used to unsweetened foods.

Try it.

That's right, I said I'm challenging you to cut out some sugar.

Pick one thing that you eat or drink every day, and make it sugar free. I'm not talking about substituting one sugar for another--sugar is sugar is sugar (although fructose will kill you faster)--or about substituting sugar with a sweetener like aspartame or sucralose or even agave because those aren't any better for you (that's a topic for another day, but you can check out Food Babe and 100 Days of Real Food for more fun reading).

I'm challenging you to drink your coffee or tea black or creamy, but not sweet. I'm challenging you to eat an apple instead of drinking fruit punch. I'm challenging you to give up your favourite chocolate bar for a piece of fruit (I know, I know).

I'm challenging someone to find a food at Tim Horton's that doesn't have more than three teaspoons of sugar in it. That's twelve grams.

Hmmm. What gets culled....

Thursday 17 October 2013

Whose Bullshit Are You Believing about your Body Self-Image?

I was at the pool today (the boys have lessons). I take the baby into the women's change room while my husband takes our toddler into the men's. We don't use the family rooms because there are only two at this particular pool, and the wait time is annoying.

I cannot change in the privacy cubicles--there is no safe place to put the baby; the "play-pen" (it looks more like a baby-jail, complete with bars!) is out in the open area, and sometimes I need to use it to keep Mr. Squirmy Pants from smashing his head on the (disgusting) hard tile floor by falling (crawling) off the benches.

So I just disrobe and let it all hang out while I'm changing. (I'm no good at "draping" with the towel.)

Do I have a perfect body? Fuck no. I'm 5'6" ish, 200+/- pounds, I had two kids (in my mid-to-late thirties), I haven't exercised regularly for a few years now (but I do try), I like chocolate a little too much, and I don't always have time to shave my legs. I'm lumpy, I'm bumpy, and one side of my cleavage is three times the size of the other side (they just grew that way).

Do I like my body? Honestly? Usually I don't. But, my husband still thinks I'm hot, and his penis concurs, so I've been trying really hard to if not love my body, to at least like and accept it without judgement. I know what I have to do to get it to where I'll love it; I'm not looking for perfection, but I'd love to be more fit.

Anyway, back to the pool. Yes, I'm sure that some ladies are looking at me and they're thinking, "Wow, she's really comfortable with her body!" Um, no. I'm not. Or at least, I wasn't. It's more a matter of "I'm naked out of necessity." The first few times I had to tell myself that "If anyone doesn't like how I look naked, they don't have to look."

You know what happens? If you keep telling yourself that, or something like that, enough, and if you get publicly naked often enough (appropriately--like in the pool's change room--not in the pool itself), pretty soon you are comfortable with your own body. Or at least resigned enough to it that you don't really care, and are, therefore, for lack of a better word, comfortable.

I wish everyone at the pool felt that way about their bodies. I see super-fit and hot mamas struggling with their crawling babies because they're trying to change in a tiny box so that you can't see them. I see beautiful women struggling with draping while they change; you can tell by their posture that they're trying so hard to be comfortable with themselves, but that inside they're failing miserably. I see gorgeous little girls, young girls, who are already so obsessed and uncomfortable and ashamed of their bodies because that is all they see from their adults, that they have to use the cubicles, and that makes me sad.

Seeing all of this tonight reminded me of this post about not believing your own bullshit. (You may also wish to check this one out.)

And then I was reminded of these comics. They're awesome. And so relevant. And they're a perfect example of how easy it is to let other people's bullshit become your own bullshit.

After looking at the comics, be sure to scroll down to the end and view the slide show titled "Meet our Body Image Heroes". These people rock. They've said a big "NO" to believing their own bullshit and/or everyone else's bullshit.

I have two three questions for you:

How do these comics make you feel? How do you feel about your own nakedness in public (change room situation), and/or in private? How do you feel about other people's nakedness in public?

Okay, four questions:

Whose bullshit are you believing about your body self-image?

Tuesday 15 October 2013

The Third Easy Step for World Dominance. I Mean Flat Abs and Amazing Sex.

I've been looking at 8 Easy Steps for getting flat abs, amazing sex, and ruling the world. Number three is:

 Look at the stars.
It won’t fix the economy. It won’t stop wars. It won’t give you flat abs, or better sex or even help you figure out your relationship and what you want to do with your life. But it’s important. It helps you remember that you and your problems are both infinitesimally small, and conversely, that you are a piece of an amazing and vast universe. I do it daily; it helps.
Huh. This makes me think of that scene in Ants where one little tiny ant is in therapy because he feels small and insignificant. He's told that he is small and insignificant. Pan out to a gazillion ants working away for the colony. 
It's a bit depressing, but in the end, isn't he important to somebody?
Looking at the stars is helpful. It might not feel like it right now, but your problems are little, really. But you are amazing because without you, and without the rest of us, the universe would be incomplete; it would just be a bunch of stars with no one to admire them. That we know of.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Random Thoughts for Sunday the 13th. Of October.

It's 8:15 and I'm wondering how I'm still vertical. Semi-vertical. I'm seated, so I guess my thighs are horizontal. I woke up at 3:30 when my husband left for work. Closed my eyes. The baby cried, so I thought I should get up and change his diaper. He stopped. I fell back to sleep for two minutes. Now he cried harder because he pooped and his bum is raw, poor thing. Changed his diaper, refreshed his bottle, roll my eyes at the folks who say "no" to bottles in bed (bad for their teeth) because otherwise buddy doesn't fall to sleep at all. As it is he cried for fifteen minutes before passing out again (I did try other things; I finally had to just go).

Fell asleep again. I think. Woke up at six to make cranberry sauce. It's fucking awesome, and I canned some for Christmas. If it lasts that long. We have a lot of turkey leftovers. The kids woke up. Fed them. Fed myself. Kind of. Helped my mom get the turkey ready for dinner (Thanksgiving). Got the rest of the food prepped. Cleaned the house. Had a bath. Finally. When was the last time I had a shower, anyway? I even shaved my legs. Hallelujah. Holy cow. Hallelujah took forever to spell. I wonder if my husband will even notice that I shaved my legs. I wonder if we'll have sex tonight.

Had a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving. Kicked my mom out of the kitchen a few times. I'm almost forty but there's no way in hell I know how to mash a pot full of freaking potatoes, I guess. She's a lot like her mom. Won't sit down unless you tie them up. But then again, my husband decided to play Warm Bodies while supper was finishing. Not her cup of tea. So I got him to change the channel so that she'd sit down for more than a minute. She sat for two. Will I be like that with my kids? I have two boys. Either I'll be cooking the big dinners, or I'll be driving their girlfriends crazy. Or maybe they'll have boyfriends. Maybe I'll just write myself a letter to read later: "Remember when your mom drove you crazy at holidays?" Yeah, I think I'll just enjoy their mashed potatoes because by then I'm going to be okay with sitting down and hanging out with whoever else is sitting down. Yeah.

Made coffee, and the coffee pot peed all over the kitchen. Hubby's excited because he hates it so now he has a reason to get a new one. Whatever. You just can't make a full pot because the basket's too small for how strong we like to make it. The grounds floated and clogged up the works. Cleaned it up and made a new pot. It leaked too. Come Christmas Daddy's getting a new coffee pot and this fucking piece of shit's going in the garbage. Like I have time to clean up coffee all night. Oh my god I had a cup. That's why I'm still awake.

Had a great dinner. Had a great day. Except for maybe listening to the baby cry all day because he's probably got five teeth coming out at once. Poor thing. Dosed him with teething tablets and Tylenol. Hopefully his bum gets better. Baboons would be jealous, I think.

I wonder why my dishwasher sucks? It was probably cheap. But hey, at least we have one. I'm not stuck washing dishes all night. And I'm totally okay with running two loads. From the look of the (neatly rinsed) piles of dishes on the counter, though, we might do three in all.

Ooh. There is more pumpkin pie in the fridge. 'Night.

Friday 11 October 2013

Cleavage, But Not the Good Kind

We went to Strong Start the other day. It was busy. Twenty-five or thirty kids. It was crazy.

There was a lot of cleavage on display, but it wasn't the good kind. I know that we're all moms, and we might not have the bodies that we used to, that we want, or that we used to want but now we've given up on, and I know that we're really tired and some days we don't care about our appearances (or just don't have the time to care--I mean, let's face it: some days we're lucky to get a two minute shower, which doesn't allow time for extras like actually washing your hair, or shaving your legs (I'd like to take this moment to apologize to everyone who was at the pool this week)), and I really don't care if you want to be frumpy, I mean, I'm the Queen of Frumpy, but could you maybe please wear longer shirts?

Or at least some underwear? I'm not talking thongs, either. That just makes me think of a girl I went to university with; she quite often had awesome underwear on; we're talking leopard prints and shiny colours, but it was always full coverage; no whale-tails on that girl. I know this because you could almost always see it. I pointed it out to her one day, and her reply was, "Better they see that [my underwear] than the crack of my ass." Excellent point.

The "cleavage" display reminded me of the time my boss and I were talking about how she felt like a babysitter to the front-end staff; she even had to tell the girls constantly that they had to dress appropriately; it's not the kind of business where cleavage needs to be on display. "You need a no-cleavage clause on the application," I said. "Front or back."

When I worked up north in the oil patch, some first aid companies had this in their hiring contracts. It's sad that they actually had to write in that we needed to wear appropriate clothing, and what said clothing was or wasn't. A lot of girls from other cities, though, thought that it was completely appropriate to head in to a remote camp, filled with a bunch of guys who spend their days off drunk at a strip joint, dressed like they worked at a strip joint. Forget being unprofessional; it's just plain distracting!

Don't get me wrong, I think that you should be able to work in a remote camp, naked, and not be assaulted or harassed, but the reality is different. You can be dressed in coveralls over so many layers that you look like the Michelin man, and still be harassed and assaulted up there.We're talking about an industry that used to use first aid companies as escort services (rumour has it that that's how a lot of FA companies got their contracts when they first started in the 80's); when I first started in the mid-nineties, FA Attendants were just starting to change their reputation from slut to professional person.

That was hard to do. You walked in to a rig having first to dispel the assumption that you'd like to make money on the side, and then you'd have to prove that you were there to do first aid in a professional manner, only. You had to do this for every rig that you went to.

So maybe seeing younger girls showing off the cleavage in the 2000's was a bit of a kick in the gut. It felt a bit like they (unknowingly) were undoing a lot of the hard work done in the nineties.

I digress. And the baby just woke up. So I'll sum it up.

Cleavage, especially back, isn't something I want to see. But, if I really don't want to see something on someone else, I don't have to look. That's my philosophy about myself--don't like my hairy legs, don't look at them!

Tuesday 8 October 2013

#13 Allow Sufficient Time for your Child to Dress Himself/Herself

Number thirteen of 101 Things Parents Can Do to Help Children is "Allow sufficient time for your child to dress himself/herself."

Some days that amount of time is a cool ten minutes. Awesome.

Other days I realize I should have woken K1 up an hour earlier.

However, since that hour IS FOR ME--that's when I can shower, for crying out loud!--(and who the heck wants to wake up a three-year-old that early, anyway?), those other days end up being the kind where I say,

Sweetie, let me help you get your shirt on, k? We have to get going.
No. No. No, please let me help you. Put your arms in--arms in the sleeves. No, not through the neck, through the sleeves--seriously? You know how to do this. You did it yesterday.
What do you mean, 'ow'? What? Why isn't your head coming through? How big is your head? Who the f*%k did the zipper up on this?
No, don't say that word; it's a bad word and Mommy shouldn't have said it. Say "Heck" instead. Who the heck did the zipper up. Say that.
Okay, go put your shoes on please while I get your brother. Any shoes, just put them on. Other foot. No, other foot.
I'm putting your brother in the car and when I come back you better be wearing shoes. Yes, you can wear your red boots. They're on the wrong feet. Doesn't matter, we're just going to take them off in ten minutes...
Okay, out the door, let's go.
Wait, where are your pants? How did I not notice that you aren't wearing pants?

I never know the night before how it's going to go. It's awesome when it's ten minutes. It's interesting when it's not.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Be Happy Now (Step #2)

Step number two of the 8 Easy Steps is "Be Happy Now."

I love this:

Not because “The Secret” says so. Not because of some shiny happy Oprah crap. But because we can choose to appreciate what is in our lives instead of being angry or regretful about what we lack. It’s a small, significant shift in perspective. It’s easier to look at what’s wrong or missing in our lives and believe that is the big picture—but it isn’t. We can choose to let the beautiful parts set the tone.
I think that Kate Bartolotta summed up in one short paragraph (for free) what took an entire book, a DVD, and several Oprah episodes to push down our throats. I mean help us. By helping Rhonda Byrne make a lot of money.


Personally, when The Secret came out, I remember thinking, "Hey, haven't I heard this before? Like, when I was a kid trying to learn how to ride horses and I pretty much sucked at it and my mom told me to visualize myself riding and what it would look like? And what did she call that . . . ? Right. Self-visualization (I picked a random website after a quick browser search. Okay, it wasn't entirely random, but it was the first one that looked like what I was looking for, but you'll probably actually read it before I will), a technique that sports coaches have been using for years. Years.

Visualize what you want and how to get there.

Back on topic. Ahem.

Okay, firstly, let's look at the "I'm a realist" view of Step 2.

Being happy now can be hard to do. Some days you do literally get shit on. Or you get hot tea spilled on you, bend back your big toenail 3/4 of the way back, and watch your daughter break her collarbone all on the same day (and maybe throw in a major-life-thingy like an illness or job loss). Let's face it. You are going to have some days where all you want to do is cry, so setting the BHN goal at 100% right off the bat might make you feel like a failure in your near future.

This brings us to the "Positive" view of Step 2.

I'm going to honestly try to be happy now, being thankful for all of those little joys in my life (like the cookies that I have in my cookie jar because my toddler insisted on making cookies even though I was dead-tired and the thought of cleaning up the mess was depressing) instead of being whiny about the little annoyances in my life (like a cookie-dough-and-flour decoration scheme in my freshly-cleaned kitchen).

And while I'm honestly trying to be happy now, I'm not going to beat myself up if I derail a little bit. It's okay to cry; sometimes it makes it easier to start over and say, "Okay, why was I sad, and was it worth being sad about, and can I change a thought here or there to make it easier to be happy?" I'll probably have to make lots of little changes often about how I think about thoughts that make me grateful instead of resentful, and happy instead of whiny and depressed.

Eventually it should become a habit.

And now, how I was doing Step 2 before I knew that there was a Step 2.

I have already been doing this on my own for a while now. Sometimes when I'm having a bad day I remember a  thought that a character had in Nicholas Sparks' The Lucky One. The dude in the story (so do not remember his name) has recently returned to the States from fighting in a war somewhere. He doesn't feel sorry for the people who are getting upset over not getting the best possible parking spot at Starbucks; there are people elsewhere in the world who wake up wondering if they're going to be blown to bits today.

When I'm getting upset I often stop myself and say, "self, is this a parking-spot-at-Starbucks kind of thing? Or is this an I-might-watch-my-entire-unit-die-horribly-and-painfully kind of thing?" If it's the former, it's pretty easy to find something to be happy about (like I have a car and I can afford to get a coffee). If it's the latter, well, if you're watching, you're still alive. Not that you should be happy about watching everyone die, because really, that would make you a horrible person. But, you are alive, and while that probably will not be easy to deal with, it can be something to at least be thankful for.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is coming, so this is a good Step to be thinking about.

What are we thankful for, and why does it make us happy?

Sunday 29 September 2013

#6: Make Bedtime and Morning-Time a Calm and Pleasant Ritual

Number six of the 101 Things to Do for Children is "Make both going to bed and getting up a calm and pleasant ritual."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system first.


Your entire day is filled with calm routine that allows your children the security of knowing exactly what to expect at any given moment, and by after dinner they know that story time and brush-your-teeth time and snack time and potty-break time all lead up to bedtime, and they willingly and lovingly accept it all with great serenity.

In the morning, you cheerily open the door and call out, "Good Morning, Sweetie!" Your child then calmly rolls out of bed and goes to the bathroom on their own and gets dressed without complaint, and they are so cooperative in getting out the door that you actually have time to smile at your coworkers over a fresh cup of coffee (you even had time to make the pot).


You're on maternity leave. Your baby woke up every two hours last night, so you're really tired, and you're hoping like crazy that everyone will sleep in until seven so that you can sneak in a shower, but your baby wakes up at five and will only sleep if he's in bed with you; this means no to the shower, but hey, you get to be horizontal for another couple of hours. Make that one. Hour. You want to cry when you think of what it's going to be like when you go back to work in a month.

You have a poopy diaper to change and a toddler to get on the toilet before he pees his pants, and for some reason, everyone except for you is crying (you're by yourself because your husband works at four in the morning. Lucky bastard) and you don't know why. You want to cry when you think of what it's going to be like when you go back to work in a month.

The rest of your day is not securely filled with routine. You try, but depending on how much sleep you got, and on everyone's mood, you might go for a walk, or colour, or go to Strong Start, or just hang out on the couch and watch TV for a bit before you remember that you're going out for the evening (everyone!) and you're hoping that the diapers are dry by then. Oh, darnit. Apparently you need to do some laundry. . . . You want to cry when you think of what it's going to be like when you go back to work in a month.

Now you're back home and it's an hour before bedtime, but the toddler fell asleep in the car, so you know that when he wakes up it's going to be a disaster. He finally wakes up and he's crying but he can't tell you why, so he goes to bed, and when he wakes up he's so sad and sore, so he gets some ibuprophen, and you offer him a cookie but he doesn't want it, and he's beside himself with--I don't know what this is, actually--and when he finally does come out he's more than happy to play or watch TV for the "Fifteen minutes until bedtime, Buddy." When you say "Five more minutes until bedtime," he says "Okay." Liar.

It's now way past bedtime and the baby's finally done his last pee and poop so you know that he's ready (he's chewing on you; that's a good sign that he wants a bottle). Toddler, though, he doesn't want to brush his teeth (but he does) or go pee (but he does) or go to bed (but he does). As soon as you close his door and get settled with the baby, Toddler has to poop (but he doesn't), and he didn't get a snack and now he wants his cookie; uh, no, you can have some crackers (and he does); afterwards he still wants his cookie. Too late, Bud. You close the door and he has to poop (but he doesn't). Then Daddy has to sleep with him. His crying is keeping up baby, who is screaming in his crib. You want to cry when you think of what it's going to be like when you go back to work in a month.

Finally upon the threat of pain of a sound spanking (empty threat, but don't tell him that), Toddler goes to bed. And, he's sort of quiet. Quiet enough that attempt number two with the baby actually works. But now it's past your husband's bedtime (he gets up at three. Yes, that's A.M.).  You don't even get to watch "adult" TV together. You know, like the Simpsons. So now you're thinking that you're probably not going to get lucky tonight, either. So you sit at your computer and write a blog post, instead. You want to cry when you think of what it's going to be like when you go back to work in a month.

Reality is Improving:

Okay, really, it's not always this bad. When we do have our shit together and we have a nice dinner at home with bath time and story time etc right after, and especially if no one naps past four or five (and especially if the toddler doesn't nap at all), bedtime is easy. Well, easier. It's at least a lot more fun for everyone involved.

I do want to cry sometimes when I think of how it's all going to go down when I'm back at work in a month, but then I think, after a few days of getting up at six so that they can eat breakfast before heading off to daycare at 7:10, they're going to be so freaking tired by the time supper rolls around that they'll be happy to go to bed!

Or, what's going to happen is that because I'm going to have to get up at five, I'm going to have to go to bed at nine in order to be sane and functional. If they're still farting around after 8:30, they're going to have to fend for themselves. Or just stay the hell in bed! Ha. Ha. Ha.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Does Every Woman Have the Same Bullshit that They Believe about Themselves?

I watched the season premiere of "The Big Bang Theory" last night.

Howard's been rubbing high-estrogen cream on his mother's back for weeks, and he hasn't been wearing gloves. He gets a little emotional. He becomes the Comedic-Stereotypical-Female; you know the one: she listens to, and believes her, own bullshit as told to her by the Scared Little Bitch inside of her.

As Bernadette tells him that the cream absorption is why he's been "bloated, and moody, and a giant pain in the ass", and he hugs a pillow to himself while responding that he feels "so stupid. And fat," I couldn't help but think of how women not only Believe Their Own Bullshit, but we all believe some of the same bullshit.

So then I got to thinking, is it, then, Our Own Bullshit? Or is it everyone else's bullshit, and we're just following along with it because that's easier than Believing in Ourselves?

It then got me thinking about how a local drugstore used to stock women's magazines--you know, the ones with all the skinny/fit, hot, beautiful women who've been airbrushed to death on the covers--right across the aisle from the chocolate. It was like they knew that you'd look at these unattainable ideals, feel like shit about yourself, and then sooth your soul with boxes of Lindt truffles.

Then my thoughts went back to, Whose bullshit is this, anyway? There are lots of days where I feel like Howard; I just want to cuddle up on the couch with a pillow and a soft blanket, eat chocolate, and read a book so that I don't have to think about how fat and stupid I feel. Do I feel that way because "Cosmo" is telling me to?


I don't buy those magazines because I know that I'll never be 5'10", 110 pounds, and I don't want to try to kill myself (literally) to try and be that. I also know that I don't need to wear hundreds of dollars worth of makeup to make me attractive. Just because I don't feel attractive doesn't mean I'm not hot and sexy. Just ask my husband's penis.

I feel that way because of how I see myself in the mirror. Rather, it's how my SLB sees herself in the mirror. My Confident Believer sees my nice smile and beautiful hair, and I just need to teach myself how to listen to her more often than I do to the SLB.

My hope is that one day the SLB will be silent.

Then the show went on, and I was wonderfully distracted by the scene where Howard and Raj felt each other up. It was still a scene that was full of Our Own Bullshit, but I laughed so hard I missed some of it for the tears in my eyes. I've just watched it a second time. I'll have to watch it again.

Because these two scenes alone can show us how much bullshit about ourselves we believe, and how utterly ridiculous that is, and then we can laugh it all away and start fresh, and start believing the Truth about ourselves.

Friday 27 September 2013

A Missing Monkey Mystery

Sometimes I just want to give the kids in Busytown a shake and say, "Listen to what some one is trying to tell you!"

I mean, if you're looking for a monkey (firstly, if it's Chimp Junior that you're looking for, you're looking for an ape, not a monkey, but what ever) and the baby monkey (chimp) keeps saying movie, or something like it, she's not just being cute. Junior said that he was going to a movie, and unlike Grandpa, her memory works just fine.

Max has the same problem with Ruby. Sure, he can only say one word per episode, but if she'd just listen to him the first or second time around, the suffering wouldn't be so prolonged. (Maybe their parents should show up once in a while and, you know, parent. Ruby's only twelve, and Grandma only stops by now and then.)

I guess it can be hard to decipher toddler- and baby-speak.

But for crying out loud, at least try!

Thursday 26 September 2013

Stop Believing Your Bullshit (Step #1)

Step #1 of
How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps
is Stop Believing Your Bullshit.

Kate Bartolotta put it this way:

All that stuff you tell yourself about how you are a commitment-phobe or a coward or lazy or not creative or unlucky? Stop it. It’s bullshit, and deep down you know it. We are all insecure 14-year-olds at heart. We’re all scared. We all have dreams inside of us that we’ve tucked away because somewhere along the line we tacked on those ideas about who we are that buried that essential brilliant, child-like sense of wonder. The more we stick to these scripts about who we are, the longer we live a fraction of the life we could be living. Let it go. Be who you are beneath the bullshit.

Stop listening to that Scared Little Bitch inside of you and start listening to the Confident Believer. They're like the devil and angel riding on your shoulders, but instead of pressuring you to do good things or wicked things, one is bullying you to feel horrible about yourself, making you doubt yourself, and the other one is cheering you on, making you believe in yourself.

Or as these Fabulous Ladies say, you have your Bad Wolf and you have your Good Wolf (scroll down or search the categories; you'll find it).

So what is my Bullshit that I have to stop believing?

On the days that I really hate myself, the SLB changes the lyrics so that all I hear is Bif Naked's voice screaming "I hate myself today," and then she tells me that I'm fat, lazy, stupid, a horrible mother, ugly, socially inept, a terrible wife, a neglectful friend, incapable of dealing with life's little bumps, and that I don't deserve to be happy, I don't deserve to have time for myself, and that my life is just too hard and I'm too tired, so I should just cry all the time.

Fuck her.

First of all, my life isn't that hard, so get over it.

As Kate B says:

If you can read this, your life is pretty awesome.
Setting aside our first world problems and pettiness, if you are online reading this, you have both electricity and wifi or access to them. Odds are you are in a shelter of some sort, or on a smart phone (and then kudos to you for reading this on the go). Life might bump and bruise us, it may not always go the way we plan and I know I get frustrated with mine, but here’s the thing

You are alive.


I need to stop listening to my SLB and I need to stop believing everything she says. I have to let my CB be stronger, and let her speak in a louder voice; I need to stop muzzling her, no matter how insistent the SLB is about it.

I'm not fat. Okay, I'll be realistic and I'll admit that I need to get more exercise, but it's not because I want to look like a porn star; rather, I'd like to be fit and healthy--I'm in my late thirties and my kids are three and under; being around for them and being able to do things with them is pretty important. And since I'm physically able to exercise, I don't really have a good enough excuse not too. I mean, if Arthur Boorman can change his life, after being told by almost everybody that there wasn't any hope for him, WTF is my excuse, SLB? I have to start believing that no matter how tired I am, exercise will make me feel better (and it does--I know it does--so again, WTF?).

I'm not lazy. I'm not super-type-A-with-lots-of-energy, at least not every day, but I accept who I am in regards to how much I get done. This is where my Bad Wolf needs to shut up about how much housework I'm not getting done, and the Good Wolf needs to say, "Meh, that laundry will still be there tomorrow; go play with your kids."

I'm not stupid. Sometimes I have moments that speak otherwise, but I'm really smart. Sometimes I'm really tired, so I'll do stupid things, but at least I learn from my mistakes. Or try to get some sleep.

I'm not a horrible mother, a terrible wife, or a neglectful friend. My kids are happy and they love me, my husband is happy and he loves me, and my friends love me--and sometimes we aren't too busy to do more than just talk on the phone.

I'm not ugly. So shut the fuck up, Bitch. You are no longer allowed to be around when I'm looking in a mirror. Believer, start talking louder!

I'm not socially inept. I'm shy. And, sometimes, the Brain-to-Mouth Filter is missing, or completely clogged, or part of the thought gets side-tracked on the way down, and what comes out doesn't sound at all like what I wanted it to. I need to believe in myself more when I'm in a group situation.

I am capable of handling life's little bumps. Sure, it's easier to do when I'm rested and well fed, but I can do it. My phone got shattered this week. Shattered. By a dog and a chicken pot pie. Not my dog. The pie was for my friend. Yep, it was her dog. I did not once get upset. Until I learned that when they fix it, they're going to wipe everything. I'll lose all of my pictures and contacts. I hated myself for sending the phone out for repair instead of getting a new screen myself (I didn't know you could). "I'm going to lose all of those pictures of the kids, waa." Then I said, "I still have my kids," and I felt better. It's just one of those things, and so long as I learn what I need to (back up your smartphone regularly, don't carry your phone on top of a pie when a dog is really happy to see you), it's all good.

I do deserve to have time for myself. It refreshes me, and I'm a lot more patient with my kids. I do deserve, therefore, to take some time to write everyday; I shouldn't have to feel guilty about this pleasure. So if I feel like I'm getting snippy and overwhelmed, it's okay for me to do something for myself (even if it's just reading a nice fluffy book while my kids watch BabyTv or TreeHouse).

Most importantly, I do deserve to be happy. Not happy because my life is perfect, but happy because I just am (I think this is step #2, so more on it later).

I'm sure that some days I'll need to have a good little cry, but I find that that gets rid of a lot of negative shit, and it makes room for all the good stuff. It's like taking all of the boxes of Negative Reinforcements that the Scared Little Bitch has filed away over the years, and shredding them, and making room for the great artwork that my Confident Believer is creating in my life.

Now if you all will excuse me, I'm going to go dig up some Bif Naked and I'm going to rock it.

Because "I Love Myself Today."


Looking at "How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex, and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps"

I found another checklist of things to do. It's only eight things. Not 101. At first glance it looks like I can complete this list before the 101 Things list, but I suppose this depends on how damaged my psyche is...

Before I even get to the Eight, I have to say that I love the statement:

If you can read this, your life is pretty awesome. 

Yes, it is.

I have to run right now, but I'm going to look at #1 later tonight: Stop believing your bullshit.

It sounds simple.

I'm a little worried.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Yummy Yoga Mats


#18: Eliminating or Limiting TV

#18: Eliminate or strictly limit TV watching and replace with activity oriented things which involve the child rather than his/her being a passive observer. When the child does watch TV, watch it with him/her and discuss what is being seen.

In theory, I wholeheartedly agree with this one. In practice, I would like to extend a big THANK-YOU to Treehouse, Disney Junior, and BabyTV. Without you, my house would be the next stop for Kim and Aggie, I would stink so badly that fruit-flies would continuously circle, supper would never get made, and I’m not sure when I’d get to poop.

K1 and K2 sometimes hang out watching a bit of nicely distracting TV while I try to accomplish a bit of housework or personal hygiene. This helps to ensure that the house is still standing when I step out of the shower. (And, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people would never have more than one child without TV ;) , but that’s just between you and me.)

Now, I’m sure that it’s possible to hold to the theoretical ideal for #18, but I know myself, and I’m much more relaxed when I’m not trying to be the perfect mommy. I know people who strive for that. They’re crazy. Or they’re driving other people crazy. Seriously.

Besides, they don’t watch that much, even when it’s on. Most of the time the living room and dining room are made into a climbing gym and the TV is just background noise. More often than not, they’re asking, demanding, that I fetch down the puzzles and the marble games, or they disappear into a bedroom to play with something (which usually goes something like this: K1 builds a train track and K2 destroys it, which results in beaucoup de tears).

The only time that they watch more TV than I’d like is when they aren’t feeling well. This mostly applies to K1. If he hangs out on the couch with you all day, just watching movies etc., you know that he’s not feeling well, especially if he falls asleep while doing so (this is the kid that never naps during the day).

In general, the kids do play/engage in a ton of activities where they’re involved and not just spectators. We have games, crafty items, building blocks, a kitchen/dining/living-room/hallway that you can do laps around, parks, gymnastics, swimming lessons, a piano, and a fenced-in backyard. They’re very active kids.

As for the “when the child does watch TV, watch it with him/her and discuss what is being seen” part of #18, well, that defeats the whole purpose of using TV as a distraction so I can go poop, now doesn’t it?

Okay, seriously though, I always answer their questions/comments on what they watch, and there are some programs that they don’t get to watch (Angelina Ballerina is a whiny, spoiled little brat). Their favourite shows tend to teach them something, or make them laugh.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get the kids ready for an outing. BabyTV is on. Not that anyone is watching… 

Monday 23 September 2013

How Clean Is Your House?

Some days I think that the state of my house drives my mother nuts. Crazy. Not quite to the point of disgusted, but definitely to the point of highly annoyed.

There are just more days where I decide that being relaxed and that choosing to ignore the Cheerio-Dropping-Monsters' mess as they make trains out of the dining room chairs, and rearrange the rest of the furniture into "Their House" is more important than getting uptight and OCD about how clean my floors are.

I don't ignore it forever; the state of my house has NEVER reached the point to where those foxy ladies from "How Clean Is Your House?" have felt the need to swoop in and set me straight (there are lots of examples like this one on YouTube). Never. My bathroom and kitchen are always clean. As for the rest of the house, eventually, like at least once a week, I look around and think to myself, self, put the book down. Just put it down. The bottoms of your socks are getting a little dusty with Cheerio crumbs (in my defense this can take as little as an hour after vacuuming/washing the floors to accomplish), and maybe you should fold some laundry. You know, the basket that's been sitting there all invisible-like for the last three days; yeah, it's not folding itself. Nope. No laundry fairies around here.

I also make an extra effort to tidy when I know that company's coming over, but if I've had a busy day, getting the main furniture and the floors tidied (and double-checking the bathroom) might be as good as it gets. I'll save Spring Cleaning for the Spring. And the Fall. I guess that's Fall Cleaning. Whatever.

Anyway, my mom used to stress a bit when company was coming and the desks (which are in the living room) were cluttered, but I was happy with the clean floors and with the fact that yes, you could sit unhindered upon the couch. I always had to tell her that "I think that my friends and family are coming to visit us, not to see how clean my house is. If this isn't the case, they don't have to come over." I also think that if they care that much, they can help me clean. ;) But that never happens.

Recently, though, she went to my brother's for supper. He met her at the door and told her not to come in because it was a freak show upstairs; his wife was freaking out because she hadn't finished cleaning the house yet. I've been to her house. It's always immaculate to the point that she would put Kim and Aggie to shame, even if you drop by unexpectedly.

They had to go next door to her parents' place for dinner. When my sister-in-law's mom said that it's okay to take a weekend off once in awhile, she looked at her mom like she should be committed for uttering such nonsense. Or so I was told. I think my mom will appreciate my laid-back attitude a little more from now on. At least, I hope so.

Now, I do understand the need to start your work-week with a clean house; I'm going to be going back to work in November myself. I'm hoping by then to be organized enough that we're not searching for shoes when we should already be half-way to daycare, ut I highly doubt that I'd choose housework over going to the park with my husband and kids. I know I wouldn't. I might ask my husband and kids to help out first/later if it was that big a deal, but it probably wouldn't be.

Because I would rather my kids remember all the fun we had going to parks, and baking cookies, and making forts out of all the furniture, and playing games and doing puzzles, and not remember only hanging out with Dad while Mom went crazy with the mop.

Sunday 22 September 2013

#4: Your Child’s Wardrobe: The Re-Do.

I think that I might have a problem with wordiness. These posts all seem so much shorter in my head, and then I start typing, and it’s like I have a bad case of overflowitis.

Since one purpose of this blog is to work on my writing, I’m going to edit a previous post for conciseness. Or re-write it, whichever is easier:

Number four of 101 Things Parents Can Do to Help Children is: Analyze your child's wardrobe and build a wardrobe aimed at 1) freedom of movement, 2) independence, and 3) freedom from distraction.

My children’s wardrobes were mostly free, as in we’ve spent maybe $300 of our own money on our kids’ clothes in three years. I’m not going to analyze that too much because truthfully, the free part has been awesome.

Firstly, THANK YOU to the awesome woman who gives us all of her boys’ hand-me-downs!

Okay, so on with the wardrobe analysis.

1) I’m happy to say that all of the big-boy clothes allow for freedom of movement, no questions asked. They mostly consist of sweat-pants and comfy jeans, comfy t-shirts and cozy sweaters. The only time they hinder movement is if the pants are too big and they keep falling down, or if they’re too small; I now have bins marked “Too Big” and “Too Small” and as we find these items, they get set aside for later or for Kid #2, respectively. And, they were all free.

As for kid #2, he’s starting to crawl, and sometimes his legs get jammed up in the sleeper; when that happens we change him into pants and a shirt, and his freedom of movement is back. And, they were all free.

#1) Check.

2) I’m guessing that by independence they mean that the kids should be able to dress themselves. Socks on by himself: check. Pants on by himself: check. Shirts on by himself: check-ish. Jackets: not so much. Shoes: check 90% of the time!

Independence for K2: yeah, his view on that is struggle vigorously while you try to dress him because “MOM! I said I want to roll OVER! LET ME GO!!!” He’s starting to get the hang of pushing his own arm through a sleeve, but he still doesn’t tuck his thumb in, so it can be a bit tricky, especially when he’s vigorously struggling… We’ll wait a bit before we require him to dress himself.

Hmm. Maybe by independence they mean individuality. K1 can pick an orange shirt and green pants and blue socks and if that’s what he wants to wear, that’s what he gets to wear. Double check. If he loves what he’s wearing, and it’s free, awesome.

#2) Check.

3). Do my kids find their clothes distracting? Only when the sizing fit is an issue, and that’s just a matter of dresser management. Easy fix. Otherwise, nothing at the playground ever stops them. And, at this age, they don’t care that they’re free. Every new bag is awesome.

#3) Check.

The wardrobe has passed.

Saturday 21 September 2013

What Are You Thinking About?

Quite often when Hubby and I are driving along, he'll ask me, "What are you thinking about?"

Tonight, while driving back from the lake, I replied, "Not much at all. Just really micro random thoughts."

"Like what?" he said.

"Well," I replied, "I was thinking that I've been wearing yoga pants a lot lately, and that maybe I should start wearing other pants, like jeans, but jeans are cold in the rain at the lake, and I only have one pair anyway. Well, I have two pairs, but the other ones are a bit tight; I can do them up and everything but I feel like I'd look a little stuffed in them, and I can't really wear slacks for camping/hiking, but I do have slacks, so I need other types of pants, like cargo pants, but I'm not really a cargo pants kind of person, and what kind of pants were our friends wearing tonight? It was hard to tell because it was dark, but they weren't jeans or yoga pants and they looked more like cargo pants but more stylish but they weren't slacks; they looked like the kind of pants that I look at at the store and think, meh, not my style, but probably if I put them on they'd look really good, or if Hubby bought them I'd think, good call because when he buys me shirts, they're shirts that I've looked at and thought, meh, not my style, but I put them on and I really like them. Then I was thinking about the pants a character in one of my stories that I'm plotting out would wear. She's a pacifist, maybe a hippie, but she's hiding out in some army guy's cabin (he doesn't know) (yet), and she's (maybe) eight months pregnant, and she's doing something outside in order to get ready for winter, like smoking a moose or something, and she's about to get shot at, but if she's hiding out because she's supposed to be dead, wtf is she wearing?

And that's about where Hubby asked, "What are you thinking about?"

Wednesday 18 September 2013

How I Became a Jennifer Crusie Dealer

It was Jennifer Crusie's birthday yesterday (the 17th), so in honour of that, I'd like to write a post that I've been meaning to for a while, and tell you about how I became a Jennifer Crusie dealer. (I'll do an actual review her books some other time.)

It all started a few years ago when I worked in the Oil Patch as a First Aid Attendant. Oh, wait, no, I started dealing when I went to school in 2003ish, but I have to go back to the first time that I worked in the OP as an FAA. Because before I became a JC dealer, I became an addict.

When you work on drilling rigs as an FAA, you have a lot of downtime. A lot. Unless you're working on a rig from hell, staffed by idiots who, against the lovely OP adage, "put their fingers where they wouldn't put their penises" on a regular basis, all you had to do was keep a clean FA Room, keep a clean and maintained ETV (emergency transport vehicle), make sure all of your pertinent information was up to date, and play nice with the rig pigs. I mean the men who worked on the rig. (This was usually the hardest job.) Otherwise, you could watch TV (if you had it; see this post), exercise, do correspondence courses, or read. Or sleep.

I read, a lot. When I first started up there, my stints were a three-week max, so I got good use out of my library card. On one pre-work library trip, I was looking for just one more book. As usual, I was vehemently avoiding the "Romance" racks (I like my books well-written, thank-you very much (I had been scarred by a very badly written Harlequin), and at that point I didn't think romance could be).

I spied the shelving cart, and there, in all of it's glorious yellow (JC has some of the best book covers, I swear), was Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. The book was stamped "GF" for General Fiction (thank goodness!), and the blurb on the back sounded funny, so I checked it out. Oh my god I freaking loved it! It is by far one of the funniest books that I've ever read. It is well-written. And when Davy was pleasantly surprised to bounce off a round and soft Tilda, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading about a "real" woman; not some uber-fit Twiggy who always had perfect hair and make-up. Tilda is also not a simpering idiot (this could be a whole post on its own, so I'll leave simpering idiots for later), especially when it came to men. I had a new heroine. I also had a new favourite author.

So I go to work, and in between jobs I manage to hit up the local library up north. I find some more JC books (Tell Me Lies and another one, but I cannot remember which one it was). I was excited! They were stamped "ROM" for Romance. Fuck. I actually stood there with abject disappointment and tears brewing in my eyes. No. No. No. I hummed and hawed for at least five minutes before deciding, okay, and I checked the books out. I read them. I laughed. I loved them. I still had a new favourite author! Phew.

(I did have another moment of panic later on when Jennifer Crusie teamed up with Bob Mayer; I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, so when I saw one of her co-writes, I bought it. Oh man, was I disappointed. Seriously, it was some of the worst drivel I've ever read. So when I saw Don't Look Down I stood in the store for a few minutes trying so hard not to have an anxiety attack. Deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. I bought the book, and thank-you, but Bob Mayer can actually write! Funny, funny, well-written book, and worth the leap of faith in JC. Every other co-write of hers is excellent as well.)

On the way home from the job I hit up a Chapters and bought every single JC book that they had in stock, even the ones I'd read from a library. I spent the next few years collecting every new and re-release I could get my hands on. I explored other "Romance" authors, like Sophie Kinsella and Diana Gabaldon. In more recent years I've collected even more romance (I was either pregnant, or, now, have two kids, so a girl's gotta get sex somehow when we're too tired/schedules don't mesh in real life), and I'm probably a bit of an addict, and Jennifer Crusie will always have a fond place in my heart as my gateway drug. I mean author. But this is another story.

Anyway, it's still a few years ago, and I now have a decent collection of books of all genres. I was taking a course at a college, and one of my classmates was deaf. She had an interpreter. Because the coursework was 90% practical practice, the interpreter had a lot of downtime. I noticed that she read a lot when she wasn't interpreting, so I approached her one day and said, "Have I got some books for you!" She was hooked (she aptly described the books as dangerous (in a good way)), and my JC dealing career started.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm back in the OP. I'm carrying with me a Rubbermaid bin full of books. Including my entire JC collection. A fellow FAA loved to read as well, and since we were sharing a house at the time, I happily lent her some books, Faking It and Bet Me included. I hooked another reader.

I've since lent (upon pain of Guido breaking your legs if you don't return the book) or recommended Jennifer Crusie to anyone who needs a good read. Oh sure, I recommend other authors, too, but none are as enjoyable. Or as addictive. But that could just be my opinion.

So, to Jennifer Crusie: Happy Birthday! And, thank-you for being such a great author. And thank-you for only co-writing with other wonderful authors! You rock. Even if your pajamas are being hijacked by old women.


Monday 16 September 2013

Verbal Diarrhea

I have a problem with this blog. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be a little boring. At the very least, it's not interesting enough that anyone wants to comment on it. But then, I'm a little bored with it, and I probably wouldn't comment on it either.

Whenever I feel like that, I remind myself that having a kazillion people follow my my blog isn't my goal. Just writing, and getting better at writing, is.

One of the many goals I have with writing is to have it get easier to do. In other words, I'd like my first drafts to just flow from my brain to the keyboard. Usually I pause a lot as I think of how to perfectly word what I'm thinking so that other people think it's awesome (I'm doing it right now, dammit). It's become an annoyance. Sure, it makes rewrites easier (or non-existent), but I don't think it makes all the pieces better as a whole because sometimes the awesome creative bits get stuck behind the filter.

I've been reading "The Frog Principle" series on Jennifer Crusie's blog and it's pretty much telling me to be more creative and less OCD now; I can worry about perfection later (like when the "toddler-crab" isn't trying to pull Mommy off the chair with its distracting pincers).

Another purpose (I just changed that--purpose used to read "point"--I'm doing it again!) of my blog is to serve as a venting ground. It's a place where I can be happily snarky and bitchy, if I so choose to be. Sometime when I was setting up labels I thought to make one titled "Verbal Diarrhea." I thought, Do you really want to think of your writing as crap? Because, isn't that what diarrhea is? Violently ejected crap? So I changed it to "Verbal Streams." Because Streams are so much prettier than Projectile Poop.

What.The.Fuck? I know I wasn't stoned on anything because I was breastfeeding at the time. Was I sleep deprived? How did I go from Snarky and Witty to freaking Vanilla and Purty? Seriously. (Head shake.)

Okay, no, I don't want my writing to be associated with crap (except for when it obviously is shit), but if diarrhea is "flowing through" to the Greeks, then surely it can apply to words that flow through from my brain to the computer without any interruption at all.

This post has mostly been that. I've stopped a couple times: mostly to fix typos, a couple times deal with whatever disasters my kids were about to get into, and once to get ice cream--at my toddler's suggestion (he's awesome, and it was Hagan Daas' Mayan Chocolate, so it was awesome), but other than that--oh, hang on a sec--disaster four averted--I've just let it go.

Anyway, things are getting rambunctious and I have to see if this sick and coughing mommy can convince a sick but restless toddler to be quiet enough that I can get the sick and coughing baby to go to sleep for a bit. But, before I go, I'll be labeling this post as Verbal Diarrhea.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Beaver Anus, Anyone?

While I will be looking at "natural flavour" ingredients with a whole new skepticism, I will also be wondering,

Who was the first guy to eat Beaver Anus, and say, "Oh my god! That tastes like Strawberries, only better!"?

Inconsiderate, Much?

I was at the park today with my friend who is fighting cancer. Let's call her Sue. This week was a Chemo week, which means that she's super tired (she's also fighting a cold and her husband has been doing extra work, so she's been feeling like a single mom lately, so she's super tired), but she wanted to go to the water park before it's too cold to go again, so we went.

While we were there she received a text from another friend--let's call her Tina--asking if Sue would look after her kids tonight. Sue explained that Tina asks this a lot. She always says no, but Tina keeps asking. It's not like Tina doesn't know what's going on with Sue. There's a whole FB group dedicated to providing Sue with dinners for her family on Chemo Weeks. And, since I know that Tina is a FB friend of Sue's, I know that she knows about this.

Sue ignored the text for a while, and I suggested she just type in "No" and hit send, but Sue eventually responded with a long negative, complete with the entire explanation of why not (there are about five different reasons why not, but hello, she had Chemo this week?).

It was all I could do to not rip her phone out of her hand and type in:

    "WTF? Are you fucking stupid? Sue had Chemo this week. CHEMO. All of your friends are cooking dinner for her this week because she's too tired from her CHEMO to cook a nice dinner for her family, and you want her to expend more energy than she probably has by looking after your kids all night? Even if her husband was going to be home tonight, WTF are you thinking? He's probably tired from working all day, too, and he probably just wants to hang out with his beautiful wife and kids, not help chase after your kids all night. Seriously, you should be offering to look after her kids. Inconsiderate, much?"


Saturday 7 September 2013

Oh No! Your Two-Year-Old Isn't Talking!

 Have you ever known someone who has a lot of training and/or experience in one subject, and they therefore think that they know everything about that subject, especially in regards to, oh, say, your child? And they make you feel like your child is constantly under scrutiny, and that if you don’t analyse and correct every issue, your child will be horribly delayed for life?

My mom has some training in learning disabilities, and she has a ton of work experience with children who have learning disabilities. Ninety percent of this training and experience occurred after I was a kid, so I didn’t have to bear under a constant scrutiny for developmental issues (thank goodness).

No, I get the “Hindsight is 20/20” version. In other words, since I didn’t crawl in the traditional fashion—I was more of a bum scooter—we know that my brain didn’t develop properly. I’m not actually sure exactly how I was developmentally delayed as a child, (maybe I would have been a star athlete instead of a bookworm?) but for sure I should have crawled, apparently, and my mom still beats herself up for not knowing that she should have been making me crawl instead of scooting around on my bum. I don’t know—my bum probably had more padding than my knees did. . . .

My kids, however, are fair game for the constant analysis, and just the other day I was reminded of how true this is.

Kid #1 has always been a shy guy, and Hubby and I can always tell when he isn’t feeling very confident about something. He was especially unconfident about Talking. He started to talk right On Time developmentally, but at some point he decided that animal sounds were a way cooler way of identifying animals, and he also decided that consonants were for the birds, thank you very much. Vowel sounds were in, in a big way.

So, time went on and he’d pick up a few more words here and there, but more importantly (to us, anyway) he could understand everything we said. And I mean everything. He could even follow complex, multi-step directions. He laughed and played with other kids, so he definitely wasn’t anti-social. He’s known his colours, numbers and letters since he was two, etcetera, etcetera. You get the point.

At about two-and-a-half, K1 was still not talking like other kids his age, but he was definitely communicating. Hubby and I could see that he wanted to talk, and we knew (and were told by a friend) that once he started talking, he’d be doing so in complete sentences. But, we could also tell that he just needed a bit more confidence in himself to make it happen, and while we supported and encouraged him to talk, we weren’t about to force him to do it (which would probably have shut him down completely).

At this point my mom started subtly suggesting to us on a regular basis that we should get him a referral to a speech therapist. The daycare lady began doing the same thing. Subtle was daily “discussions,” flyers on normal speech development sent home in the backpack, and notes left on the counter with the contact info for the Local Government Agency in Charge of Speech Therapy.

The pressure put on us became rather annoying, so a couple of weeks before Christmas I called for a referral, and we got an appointment set up for the end of January. By the time December and January rolled by, K2 started Talking a bit more. His confidence went up. He started Talking even more. Every day his word count climbed.

I still went to the appointment, and I will admit that I don’t regret going. I learned three important things.

1. Ultimately, my husband and I didn’t have too much to worry about. Go figure.

2. I did learn a great tip: during play, the car doesn’t go down the racetrack until the kid says “go!” for example. After they figure out that they have to say the play-trigger word, they’ll do it. This really got him Talking. In fact, by the time the therapist called for the one-month check-up, she was amazed by his progress. It was like he’d never needed to go.

3. I also learned where Hubby and I made our biggest mistake: we don’t baby talk. IE, instead of saying, “Baby crying” in a sing-song voice, we would say, “The baby is crying” in a normal voice. Apparently baby is easier for babies to copy.

You know how we talk to K2? The same way we talked to K1 when he was a baby.

You know why? Now, you can’t get K1 to shut the hell up! And, he asks some pretty good questions, and your answers will invariably lead to more questions, and he can even solve your puzzle for you:

            (Driving behind a dump truck)
            K1: Where is that dump truck going?
            Me: I don’t know.
            K1: But where is he going?
            Me: I don’t know.
            K1: Why not?
            Me: I just don’t know where he’s going.
            K1: But where is he going?
            Me: I don’t know. I can’t ask him.
            K1: Why can’t you ask him?
            Me: Because I can’t talk to the driver.
            K1: Why can’t you talk to the driver?
            Me: Because he can’t hear me.
            K1: Why can’t he not hear you?
            Me: (Enter some long, convoluted babbling on my part while my sleep-deprived/fogged up brain tried to explain this in a way that a three-year old could understand.)
            K1: But you have a phone in here. (Solution!)
            Me: (Reaching over to turn up the volume on the stereo) but I don’t know his number. (This led to a conversation about how I didn’t know who the driver was, and therefore didn’t know his number (“Maybe it’s eight!”) to call him. . . .)

I mean seriously, he doesn’t shut up unless he’s sleeping.

Sure, there are still a few words that you have to get him to repeat a couple of times before the context of the sentence helps you decipher what he’s said—some sounds are still a bit difficult for him, but generally he can talk so well that even strangers can understand everything he says.

This brings us back to the other day.

Mom was in the kitchen and K1 was talking to her. After a bit she says (and still within his hearing), “He’s still a bit delayed with his talking, hey? There are still some sounds he can’t say well.”

I took three good breaths before replying, “Mom, that’s normal. The speech therapist said that there are some sounds that kids don’t master until they’re in school even, like ‘F’.” (Our doctor said the same thing, but I didn’t think that his non-specialist viewpoint would have been appreciated, so I didn’t mention it.)

“Oh, yeah, ‘F’, and ‘R’ and ‘L’, too, are really hard. They’re the last ones, I guess,” she replied back. “I guess he comes by it honestly, if his dad and his grandpa didn’t start talking until they were three,” she said. (This statement would be true of his Talking in general, but not so much for the sounds themselves—see below.)

“Yeah, and really, he can put together sentences that I don’t ever hear coming from four-year-olds, so I’m really not worried about it at all,” I said. I could see some wheels turning in her head, still, and I wanted to tell her to back the fuck off, but I didn’t want to start our day off by making her cry, so I kept my mouth shut. Thankfully, so did she.

Later on I went online and I found a chart that lays out all of the average milestones for Speech Sound Development. Some sounds aren’t mastered until kids are eight. That’s grade three. That’s five years from now. K2 is having no problems with his Speech Sound Development, thank you very much.

I printed off a copy of the chart, and I’m going to give it to her, and I think that I’m going to have a conversation with her because she’s been analysing K2 on his development, too, but that’s another story for another day.

Talk on, folks. Talk on.