Sunday, December 29, 2013

War cry of the marshmallow cookies. They don't stand a chance.

I have a love-hate relatioship with this time of year. I love the family time, Mr. T's vacation days that allow us to hang out in our pyjamas past 9 a.m. and the excuse to add Bailey's to my coffee every morning without worrying I have a problem.

I don't enjoy the crowded roads and stores, impatient people on those roads and in those stores, and the inevitable panic and anxiety that creeps up every year as the holidays wrap up. You can practically set your watch by it.

For the most part, I'm able to see the blessings more than the bad. This year, I haven't had to increase my dosage of meds, and have therefore, felt for more present than I did last year. Which goes hand-in-hand with the vicious circle of those panic attacks. Less medication means I feel more, both good and bad.

The past several weeks have been a revolving door of bronchitis and colds in our household. This is also the time of year where I feel the need to hyper control every aspect of the impending new year. The exhaustion of illness and the motivation required to set goals are about as compatible as Kim Kardashian and the general public.

I could say I want to get our house in a more harmonious state. Except the desire usually lasts until I get one look at our disaster of a pantry or hall closet and I remember why my most effective and desireable method of organization involves flammable liquid and a lighter.

I was eating relatively a relatively clean diet until roughly December 21. Now, I am in the midst of a trans fat genocide, however my means of exterminating the remaining candy cane Viva Puffs involves using my mouth, instead of a green garage bag (it's festive!) for disposal. Effective for the purposes of elimation. Not so effective for fitting into any pants that are not leggings on January 2.

Perhaps my goals need to be more realistic.

- Keep the children alive by whatever means possible in 2014, despite their penchant for power tools and UFC-worthy death matches (we'll probably need to re-think the miniature hockey sticks we brought home as party favours a few weeks ago).

- Drink healthier by replacing some wine with the serving of vegetables found in Clamato and a garnish of celery and pickled asparagus. Plus, this assists in the goal of being more patriotic, thanks to the Caesar's origins and Olympic-friendly colour.

- Show more grace. To those people in the crowded stores and to myself.**

** I reserve the right to leave notes on the windshields of People Who Park Like Douchenozzles.


- Turn People Who Park Like Douchnozzles into a regular blog feature. Because surely there must be redemption in public shaming and mockery.

Blessings, joy and strong coffee to all in 2014!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The running mom's Christmas wish list

I really suck at making Christmas wish lists. My in-laws like to get their shopping done early and usually start asking for them as soon as the barest hint of yellow marks the first leaves of fall. I'm sure this level of preparedness means they never find themselves frantically scouring eBay or Amazon for the fastest possible shipping methods a week before the holiday, because they only just thought of the perfect gift that very morning. And then praying on the beard of Zeus it makes it by Christmas Eve because they really don't want to have to print out a picture of it and wrap that up instead of the actual gift, because it didn't arrive in time. Again.

Me either.

Besides the usual Chapters gift cards and the journal-I-swear-to-start-keeping-in-201X-but-probably-won't-past-January-4, I've got a few other things to add that I think are universal for the special woman in your life who schedules hill training between preschool dropoffs and pretending to fold laundry, while really trolling People online. Here are the gifts the running mom in your life really wants.

Noise-isolating headphones. After listening to a chorus of “Mommy, someone spilled juice in the kitchen!"/Can you tell me all the minions' names again?"/"He's looking at me! MAKE IT STOP!" on repeat, every single day, we don’t want to hear anything except Rihanna’s newest mix or maybe some Iron Maiden while we run. We don’t want to hear the neighbourhood dog, we definitely don’t want to hear your kid if we don’t have to listen to our own, and we’re even negotiable on hearing a potential abductor sneaking up behind us, in the event they want to take us somewhere quiet.

A good sports bra. Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel beast. You’d think she’d be a bit kinder because she's one of us, but unfortunately she changes everything after a woman gives birth. And if there's one thing more disheartening than the eternal post-baby belly pooch, it's realizing that sound you hear 2k into your run is not your feet hitting the pavement, but your formerly gravity-defying assets slapping against your ribcage.

Wine. Also fondly referred to as liquid motivation in our home. I might not be super-eager to run home to the chaos I left behind, but you can safely bet the promise of a glass of zinfandel puts a spring in my step and pushes me up the mild inclines.**

A technical shirt. It need not be anything fancy or special. It just needs to be there as back-up in the very likely scenario that the one we’re wearing is the victim of an explosive diaper or someone rubs a massive snot ball on it before we can make it to the front step.

A banana. Chances are we were saving the last one in the house as a pre-run snack, but cut it up for one of the kids instead. Chances are even greater said child didn’t eat it, but made sure to feed it to the dog so we couldn’t either.

A life-size cardboard cutout of herself. It's a scientific fact that as soon the ear warmer goes on and a child gets wind of the fact that their mother is about to enjoy some alone time, they will develop a stomach virus in 3.4 seconds and begin to violently retch up the few meals and snacks they deigned to eat in the prior 48 hours.*** For the record, there is no scientific explanation for how someone who eats so little can yield SO MUCH VOMIT. At any rate, a decoy is always useful.

A nap. If there’s anything that kills motivation faster than discovering a Gilmore Girls marathon on TV, it’s exhaustion. And if your spouse/daughter/friend is a mom, there’s a 98% chance she’s tired. The two per cent who say they aren’t are either lying or heavy drinkers, and the alcohol has numbed their senses.

**It is highly inadvisable to break into this gift pre-run. It will not boost your morale or numb you to the ache in your quads, as you hoped it might. Not that I know from experience.

***This phenomenon is not limited only to running, and is also true of girls' night out, a mongrel-free grocery shopping trip and any event that involves non-refundable tickets.

Note: This post has been modified slightly from the original version that appeared as part of iRun magazine's Blog Idol 2.0 in December 2012. This new version takes into account the variety of bodily fluids (none of which are my own) that have tried to interfere with my running life during the past year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Road trip activities for adults

I used to love road trips. Key word: used to. The days when I could have long, deep, uninterrupted conversations about literature, pop culture and the arts (read: People magazine, Britney Spears' latest episode of crazy and the Simpsons' best moments) are long in the past. Now, my favourite road game is seeing how long Mr. T and I can tune out the protesting shrieks from the backseat before one of us whips around to growl the warning to "Be. Quiet." I say game because we see who can get the longest time. Being that I'm their regular chauffeur and have far more practice, I end up winning most of the time. My prize is usually a shoe to the back of the head.

My family always did family vacations via road trip. I don't even think I took a plane on any sort of vacation until we went to Disneyland when I was 13. My little brother and I are so accustomed to the car, we usually nod off within minutes of reaching the highway. Which has only become an issue since Mr. T and I got married, because he likes it when I stay awake to keep him company.

For our upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, we're embarking on a 13 hour torture voyage car trip to visit Mr. T's family for the holiday. Let the record show, I gently suggested we stop just past the halfway mark and stay overnight to give the kids (and ourselves) a break. Mr. T wants to get it over with it all at once. So I'm going with it. Mostly because nothing gives me more joy than a public "I told you so."

I've been trying to figure out ways to stay awake on the road. At this point, I'm convinced my drowsiness is biological and that Daniel Craig could be in the driver's seat trying to escape Russian terrorists, and my head would still be bumping on the window, with a little trail of drool running down my chin.

But I'll give it a shot using some of these road trip activities I've come up with for adults.

Mobile Purge
Nope, not a fancy way of saying "car sick." I noticed yesterday that since Shooter discovered how to take photos and videos while my phone is locked (which I can't even figure out, by the way), I have over 1,600 photos and videos stored on my phone. Cleaning those up should waste a good hour or two, and also stimulate me as I try to identify which body part I'm looking at, and who it belongs to.

Booze from A-Z
The alphabet game, but with liquor brands and types. Zinfandel for the win!

Celebrity Death Pool
We've had one going for a few years now, but it's about time we updated it, crossed off the names of the dearly departed and add Hollywood's latest train wrecks to the list. We each come up with some names, discuss the expected cause of death (accidental overdose, naturally) and predict a time frame. If your first list is all Lohans, try to think of a few more more and come back to it later. Lindsay and Michael are neck-and-neck for the top spot on our list, so it's certainly not just you.

Letter Writing Campaign
I've been meaning to write for Seth Rogen for years to demand he compensate me for the money and two hours of my life I wasted on The Green Hornet. And to Heidi Klum for trying to bring back shoulder pads. You don't actually have to send your letters in the mail.  Just draft one in a notebook and send it digitally once you find a connection.

You can also take this activity in a more positive direction and write to people you admire. For example, I would like to profess my love for Bill Hader (to Bill Hader, in case that wasn't clear), but I've never had to the time to devote to the care it needs so it doesn't end in a restraining order.

Words that sound dirty, but aren't
Exactly what it sounds like, and always a real crowd pleaser. Especially entertaining if your humour never graduated past that of an adolescent schoolboy.

To get you started:

Titular
Epidermis
Penal Code

I have...
Like the popular "I have never..." but this one is used as a time of confession to your travel partner. Like "I have...been flirted with by an tasty 26-year old who seemed to think the fact that I had a cute 18--month old was an attractive quality." Or "I have...lightly bumped the front end of our vehicle into a lamp post while parking."The good news is you have 10-and-a-half hours to hash these things out. Or sit in angry silence and listen to "C is for Cookie" play for the 647th time in a row. Beautiful family memories to cherish for a lifetime, am I right?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Forgive me internet, for I have sinned

I'm not Catholic, but I've often thought all that confession must be good for the soul. Of course, everything I know about the practice comes from TV and movies, though I'm pretty sure most priests in those confessional booths don't look like Antonio Banderas. Today I had the thought that maybe getting a few things off my chest would be a good start to my weekend. And since I"m running a half-marathon on Saturday  morning, surely I will be lighter on my feet without all the guilt weighing me down. That's how this stuff works, right?

Okay here goes (I should note that this only accounts for things in the past two weeks, because often days I have to think hard to remember the exact date my kids were born, so I can't possibly be expected to remember the wrongdoings I committed before that):

* On one of the many nights I was the last one to bed, I was fumbling around in the dark bathroom and suddenly realized I was brushing my teeth with Mr. T's toothbrush. And I didn't tell him. But at least this time neither of us had strep throat. Sorry honey.

* I promised my friend A. I wouldn't stay up late getting ready for Shooter's birthday party. The next day when she asked what time I got to bed, I replied with a vague, "Oh, not that late." In all fairness, 2 a.m. is still early for some people. Like strippers. And hey, my night involved glitter too.



* I just compared prepping my daughter's fourth birthday party to taking off my clothes for money.

* It was really 3 a.m.

* I voluntarily watched the movie Honey for the second time in my life (it was on TV) and I remembered some of the scenes, even though it's been years since I saw it for the first time. For the record, I do not remember a specific moment or scene from any of the Lord of the Rings movies.

* I finished the wine. All the times. This was not a one-time occurrence.

* 5 a.m. I HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM AND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT STOP.

*  I ran alone in the park after the sun had gone down, despite my mother's constant pleas to "please, never run alone in the park." Sorry mama, I won't do it again.

* I spilled dry cereal on the floor and let Little Dude and the dog eat it instead of sweeping or vacuuming it up.

I was right. I have a sense of clarity now. I should probably go ruin that with some sort of caffeine overdose or blatant disregard for the AAP warnings to avoid television for children under two.

Friday, September 20, 2013

And for my next trick, I shall make the contents of this cup disappear

I entered a few science fairs in my time. One time I tested steel wool in different fluids to see what elements caused them to rust the quickest, and another time I created an awesome tornado in two pop bottles. I never won anything - the judges were too bowled over by the girl who made Twizzlers dissolve in Coke Classic. For the record, Mr. T did the same thing in college, only with Coke and the enamel on his teeth and he never got a blue ribbon. Just inordinately high dental repair bills. But whatever. My collection of "Participant" badges just created a desire to find things out on my own terms.

On a completely unrelated note, I I like coffee. That shouldn`t come as a surprise  to anyone who`s ever known me for longer than five minutes.

When Starbucks introduced the new Trenta size a couple years ago, I was appropriately excited, until I learned the 24 ounces of life-giving liquid gold would only be available in cold drinks, and only through the U.S. What, you think Canadians just don`t like gigantic cups of coffee as much as Americans do, Starbucks? Come spend a day with me (and stick around through the night when Little Dude is teething).

Anyway...

Since two of my closest friends started working as baristas in recent months, I`ve been spending extra time with the siren when they`re on shift. Kind of like conjugal visits for people addicted to caffeine. Tonight, when I went into the store, I distractedly picked up a plastic tumbler on display and noted it looked bigger than usual. Since Starbucks knows that size matters and accordingly prints the cup capacity on the bottom, I flipped it over, peeled back the price sticker and nearly died from a happy coronary when I discovered it could hold a whopping 24 ounces. You can`t order a regular Trenta in a disposable cup, but for reasons unknown, you can buy the permanent tumbler, then watch your barista try to figure out how to make a drink that size when you bring in your own. The entertainment value more than pays for the cup itself.

The prospect of extra-large iced caramel macchiatos doesn`t really get me too excited. As a rule, I don`t particularly love cold coffee and I`ve had an aversion to Frappucinos since I hung up my own green apron five years ago. However, numerous friends, who know my only greater love than coffee is wine, posted the following photo on my Facebook timeline  (numerous friends and numerous times, I might add. Apparently word has gotten out).



So back to my science background (even though I failed high school chemistry AND biology. I blame the lack of recognition in my elementary years). Naturally I had to try this little experiment for myself. The thought of enormous iced lattes may  not thrill me, but wine in my very own sippy cup sends me to my happy place (and incidentally, causes me to do a dance for obvious, alcohol-fueled reasons).



Lo and behold, my field test proved one of those crazy viral internet photos is actually accurate! I may not have tried the one pot Italian meal yet, but really, who needs complex carbohydrates when they discover they have 750 ml of Riesling in a spill-proof cup on a weekday evening?

Not me.

The only problem is, I`m a fast drinker. I always have been. I get it from my dad - back when we drank iced tea, we were a nightmare for a server at restaurants that offered bottomless refills. A regulation-sized wine glass means I have to get up to pour when it`s gone, and therefore, am very aware of how much I`m drinking. When it`s all in one cup, suddenly it`s gone and what do you know? I can suddenly see through time.

Meanwhile, if Mr. T asks, it`s my new morning protein smoothie cup. Because apparently I`m training to become the new Ms. Universe.

Of fermented grapes. Shhhhhhh......

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stop referring to my childhood as "retro"

In two weeks, Shooter will be done her first day at preschool and we'll have reached yet another milestone that I'll pretend I'm going to remember to write in her baby book. And I will; just not for another nine months, when my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details and I have to fill in some of the gaps with what I'm pretty sure happened.

This realization comes on the heels of a conversation with a friend who recently felt like her "o" face  was on display. That's right - she entered into the territory of a large population of bearded, bespectacled 20-somethings with nothing else to do on a weeknight but rock out at a concert and she felt...oh it hurts to say it: old

Another friend spent less than 15 minutes in Forever 21, and felt Terminally 34 (though in the interest of full disclosure, I would probably wear shark leggings in the right situation).

Thus concludes a series of unfortunate events that reminds me the clock of my youth is now dragging its hand around to the twelve and the bell will surely toll soon enough. My good friend D is five years to the day younger than me. I have rounded the corner of 30 and can barely make it out in the distance behind me, while she still gets to enjoy another few years in her 20s. I will occasionally joke with our friend A, who is the same age as me, and one of us will make a pop culture reference that flies right over D's perky head. In that moment it occurs to us that she will never remember the time Samantha Micelli came home from a date with a hickey and pretended to do a new dance with her neck on her shoulder to hide it from Tony. She thinks Spinal Tap is an unfortunate medical procedure to detect meningitis, while I attended their acoustic reunion tour four years ago.

There was a time before I had my own kids, when my mom lamented that she should have saved some of her old clothes because the trends had come full circle and I could have used them. I laughed awkwardly while adjusting my fringed poncho and cringed at the thought of paisley pantsuits. This was before I found myself on the other side of the neon leg warmers I bought last winter for the sole purpose of wearing to brighten up a dreary winter day.

I am saving them in a box for Shooter, stained with the tears of my fading youth and a few drops of the Shiraz I opened when I realized this, along with the fact that she may also one day face a brief bout with shoulder pads.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I am that mom you don't know and never want to be

I don't know Lisa Gibson. I don't know where she is tonight.  I don't know her story, her background, what her experience as a mom has been like. If she's alive, I don't know how she'll ever come to terms with the tragedy that befell her two children earlier today.

The Winnipeg mother of two has been missing since around the time police came to check up on the family and found her two-year old daughter and three-month old son allegedly drowned in the bathtub. Police are looking for her, looking for answers, looking for a possible explanation that might shed light on how a mother could do the unspeakable to her babies.

It's not a completely foreign story to me. Fourteen years ago, a mother from our community also drowned her two children in a bathtub. At the time, I was seventeen. Her oldest child, a four-year old girl, had been in the junior church I led on occasion. We had known the family for years. Even though I was more than a decade away from becoming a mother myself, the tragedy rocked me. The loss of innocence, the senselessness was incomprehensible.

Now I have two babies of my own. I love them so much that sometimes the feeling overwhelms me and leaves me short of breath. In the moments of a smile, a giggle or a sudden, unexpected outburst of affection, I can't imagine a love greater or stronger than the one that binds me to my children.

But while I don't know Lisa Gibson or much about her beyond the public photos of her Facebook page, I know the beginning of the journey that can lead to where no mother ever comprehends she could possibly go.

I have never hurt my children or had the legitimate thought of intentionally putting their lives in jeopardy. However, when Shooter was three months old - the same age as Gibson's baby - I was suddenly rocked with postpartum anxiety that slammed into me so hard, I felt like I could hardly catch my breath.

When we were in Hawaii earlier this year, I had a boogie board out in the shallow part of the ocean. I'm not a strong swimmer, so I figured I was safe in these waist-high waters. I saw a wave coming, got my board in place but mistimed my dive. I was knocked underneath hard enough that the side of my head hit the ocean floor and I was sent spinning and kicking upwards, trying to find the surface It's a horrible cliche, but fitting metaphor for how fast, how unexpectedly, this illness crept up on me.

I've always been something of a worrier. That feeling intensified as I grew older, but never as much as it did after I gave birth. I remember coming home from the hospital and being terrified that all the usual things that were part of my normal routine could suddenly put my new baby at risk. The dishes left on the coffee table could be knocked off and hit her on the head while she slept in her bouncy chair. The knife I used to chop vegetables could fly from my grasp and hurt her as she cooed in that same bouncy chair as I made dinner. For the first few weeks of my daughter's life, I was convinced every mundane thing I did was a constant threat to her well-being. Eventually I relaxed a bit. I got used to having her around, maybe even a bit comfortable.

And then that three-month milestone hit. I'd found my stride as a new parent. I was sure from my vantage point, I could see any waves coming and the water was shallow enough to omit any real threat or danger. Our family was driving home from celebrating the new year in the mountains when I had my first panic attack. It had been a lovely season of celebration and cheer and Shooter's first giggles, which we'd managed to catch on video. Mr. T had to go back to work after being home with us for a couple of weeks over the holidays and I had nothing to look forward to now that Christmas was over, except for a few more months of dreary winter.

Up until that point, I thought I was free and clear from the risk of postpartum woes. I had weathered the storm of the first few weeks after birth and was convinced I had made it to the happy, easygoing side of motherhood. It was the fact that I wasn't expecting it that made it that much harder.

It was the memory of that family friend and the horrific events of that summer afternoon that made me seek help right away. I was fully aware that mental illness had been the driving factor of that mother and I hoped that full transparency would be what kept me from reaching a point of desperation, and of no return.

There were some terrible days on that initial journey. We were in a phase where Mr. T was required to frequently travel for work. I am blessed to have family who live close by and were more than willing to be here and help out in his absence. But even still, sometimes I felt my patience and love for my child being pushed to their limits. There were occasions where she missed her daddy and she didn't want to go to sleep and would cry, and then I would scream at her in frustration, be a little rougher than I intended to be and dissolve into a sobbing heap once I finally got her into bed. In those moments, I was never tempted to actually hurt my precious baby. But I also recognized I wasn't in control either - of the situation or my emotions. I knew I had the next day to get it right, but in those moments, the feeling of failure felt like a 50-pound weight on my shoulders and I cried accordingly.

Eventually, there would be light and happiness again. I started seeing a psychologist when I first recognized the symptoms. I took up running and for an activity that makes so many people feel like death, it made me come alive and feel somewhat in control again. At the very least, it gave me 30 minutes to myself a few times a week where I could pound out my frustration and insecurities and irrational fears. It took several months, but I fought through the worst of the storm.My anxiety didn't disappear, but eventually the clouds parted and I once again had more good days than bad. I learned a lot about myself in that period. About my triggers, my limits, about how to ask for help. I also had a glimpse of how much you could love a child, but be capable of doing something so monstrous.

It was learning from that experience that allowed me to seek help so readily when those feelings of panic began to resurface somewhere between the sixth and seventh month of my pregnancy with Little Dude. This time, I wasn't so quick to fight the idea of medication. I knew that the feelings, the tears, the panic, would be much more intense when I added a baby and hormones and severe sleep deprivation. I didn't want to think of what I could be capable of if I didn't at least try to get a handle on the fear.

There have been many things that have saved my life, and maybe the lives of those I love the most. I am so fortunate to have people who love me unconditionally and who don't judge me on my ugliest days. I keep expecting that when I admit the worst of my thoughts, these people will gasp in horror, declare me an unfit parent/daughter/sister/friend and abandon me. But they don't. Maybe some of it had something to do with my experience as a naive 17-year old. I knew nothing of the love for one's own child, but I saw close-up, how mental illness can destroy even the most lovely, the most unsuspecting and unsuspected.

It's that realization that keeps me from jumping to any judgement about Lisa Gibson. I don't know her personal story and I firmly believe that she should be held accountable in whatever means are deemed best for her for whatever she may have done. But I do see how a loving wife and a devoted mother can suddenly change into a person she doesn't recognize, a change she has no control over. I know firsthand that sick feeling that you just aren't doing a good enough job for these beautiful creatures you helped bring into the world. I know how soul-crushing it is to be trying so hard and doing everything in your power to make these little people happy only to have them express nothing but frustration and anger back at you. I know what it feels like to be so helpless to make them happy and lack the power make it all okay for them, and to repeatedly feel like it's never enough, will never be enough.

I pray that as family, friends and neighbours come forward and tell their stories about this family, that complete strangers will keep their unhelpful commentary to themselves. No, not everyone can imagine what it's like to feel this way. That's okay. I can't imagine how somebody would voluntarily spend money on a One Direction album. There are all kinds of people out there and we can't always relate to others and their experiences, or determine why they are the way they are. Or why they have such terrible taste in music.

What I do hope is that other parents hear Lisa's story, read the details and wonder to themselves "Could I? Could someone I know?" Let me reiterate something: the mothers who commit these horrendous acts love their children. They love them as much as you love yours. The very scientific way in which their brains function does not reflect a lack of love or affection for their children. It's so easy to fall into the "I would never" trap. And you're right - in your normal state-of-mind, unaffected by hormones and no sleep, you would never. If you had asked me 10 or 15 years ago if I would ever be capable of doing something so unimaginable, I would have fiercely denied it and been offended you could even consider such a thing.

I know better now. I know that the perfect storm of emotions and circumstances and misfiring neurons can turn somebody into a person they don't recognize. I know that it's so easy to slip from "I would never" into "I can't believe I..."

I know Lisa Gibson because sometimes I wonder, had my situation been different, could I have been her?

Monday, July 22, 2013

My un-royal English muffin did it first

The royal lady biscuit gave birth to a son today. I'm kind of over Kate Middleton trying to steal my thunder. First she got married on April 29, a full day before our own anniversary (we did it six years earlier, for the record). Then, in typical royal fashion, she decided to overshadow my birthday by ensuring every July 20 will be devoted to coverage of the prince's upcoming milestone two days later. There goes my bucket list wish of the Daily Mail breathlessly reporting how I celebrate my much dreaded fortieth.

In an impulsive, non-midlife-crisis move, the day before I turned 32, I cut off all my hair.


Okay fine, not all of it. Just a foot. Enough to give any ordinary man a complex at any rate. I was inspired by a recent photo of Charline Theron. I just wish I had remembered a few important details. Namely, that I do not have the facial bone structure of Charlize Theron.

Because I only decided about three minutes before my friend chopped off two lengthy ponytails that I even wanted to do it, I decided to tweet photos of the end result to give Mr. T some advance warning. We had words. Yes, it's my hair to do with as a I choose. But considering I can't switch brands of tuna without consulting him with a full rundown and spreadsheet outlining the potential cost-savings, and confirmation at least twice that he's fine with the change, this might have caught him a bit off guard. Serves of right for wearing my pants better than me. That'll learn him.

I mailed the ponytails to Locks of Love, because I figured if I wasn't going to get enjoyment of my long hair, somebody else more deserving should. I made this same move back in my early college days, long before I ever owned a flat iron. Fortunately while I may not currently be rocking Charlize's cheekbones, at least this time around, I'm not competing with Joan Rivers and her curling iron for Best Geriatric Bob on the E! red carpet.

I wish I was joking.

Of course, earlier today, People reported that Emma Stone/Ms-I-saw-Ryan-Gosling-without-a-shirt-from-less-than-a-foot-away, also chopped her hair. Careful Hollywood: between Duchess Catherine's obvious need to emulate me and now this, I might mistakenly start calling myself a trendsetter and demanding my own reality show with frequent cameos from Kanye West.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's all fun and games until someone feels fat

Back when Mr. T and I were first dating (I don't really want to admit that was a decade ago and that Friends was still recording new shows), we made a bet: he was confident he could comfortably fit into a pair of my jeans. While he's certainly not overweight, he's a muscular guy with broad shoulders, arms and thighs. I figured the entertainment value of watching him fight and wiggle his way into a pair of my pants would far outweigh the cost of the drink I had to buy him if - if - he won.

I thought it was a long shot. I was thinner by definition. However, the early part of the new century was all about relaxed fit flares with lots of stretch. And men don't have hips. I would have been wise to keep both factors in mind before I put my money where my spandex was.

Long story longer, he won. He slipped my super low-rise jeans easily over his legs and we never spoke of that day again.

Until tonight. Shooter is obsessed with her toy tape measure and decided to measure my rear while I stood at the sink washing dishes. Mr. T made a passing joke, and it was on. Somehow I found myself reverting back to my early 20....something self and I bet him, once again, that he couldn't fit into my pants.*

*Note: this is an entirely different scenario than getting into my pants, which I assure you, will not happen for awhile, largely in part due to the events of tonight.

Before you go blasting my naivete and telling me I deserve whatever was coming to me, keep a few things in mind:

1) After that first pants-trading (except not trading since I didn't wear his) incident, I gained roughly 50 pounds. And then a few years later, I lost that weight and more and there was a time where I was almost dainty by comparative standards to my original size. Despite bearing two kids, I'm still clearly living in that fantasy world.

2) There were no such thing as skinny jeans in 2003. Jessica Alba had never sashayed own the street in a tapered cut. I figured the odds were definitely in my favour this time as there is no way - no way - the narrowest cut of my jeans would even go over one of his thighs.

3) I'd had a glass of sparkling wine. It's my kryptonite. My inhibitions were lowered.

Summary: I owe Mr. T ice cream. And yes, the irony that we bet ice cream on how our pants fit is not lost on me. I had a few brief moments of utter panic after he successfully zipped them up and strutted around the living room in victory (though I can promise you if I'd asked him to bend over and pick Cookie Monster up from the floor, I may have had to call the jaws of life to come rescue him).

This little experiment did nothing for my self esteem. The day you have to admit your husband's ass looks better than yours in your own jeans is a one of sad defeat.

This is not going to turn into a sermon about accepting your body and being a positive role model for your own children. Mostly because other people have already expressed that sentiment better than I could.

Nor is it going to be an epiphany, wherein I realize that I have birthed two beautiful children and run several half-marathons and I'm so strong and that's the new beautiful (and it goes on like this). Because sometimes my beautiful children are more frustrating than life partners who fit into the Ashley Ultra-Skinny Cut better than I do, and most Fridays, cocktail hour is the new beautiful and the best part of my day.

No, this is valuable education about a) Leaving your dirty dishes because let's be honest, that's what sparked this fuse and b) choosing your battles more carefully and checking your bank account before committing to spending $8 that would have bought you a bangs trim and a coffee if you'd played your cards right. And gone on a few more early morning runs instead of hitting the snooze button for the better part of a month.

Consider this a hard lesson learned.

 Work it...
And make love to the camera.


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Greatest City on Earth

I've called Calgary home for nearly 32 years. For 24 hours now, I've been glued to my phone and the devastating images of my city and surrounding areas that I love so much, including Canmore and Bragg Creek. I may have mentioned once or twice that I don't deal well with anxiety.

Just last weekend, our family headed out to the mountains for the first hike of the season on one of our favorite family friendly trails. We had no idea it may be the last time for awhile we'd be able to visit the area.



As terrible as the situation is, I'm always so proud to live in a community that cares as much as ours does. For as many photos as I've seen of homes covered in water, I've seen uplifting ones of our incredible first responders working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the city they've sworn to protect. The offers of help flooding my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the phone calls and texts from concerned loved ones in other parts of the country have warmed my cold, cynical heart.

By no means do I know all the ways in which people can help at this time and that is sure to change in the coming days, but here are some of the ways you can assist at this time.

First and foremost...

Stay home. Or at the very least, away from high-risk areas. You know, like the swelling rivers that have been photographed extensively. Don't make natural selection do its job. The last thing the police and fire department need to do is be tied up rescuing people who had no reason to be in these areas in the first place. If you need a place to congregate and take photos, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to help (and gawk if you must) in the coming days and weeks. Even the mayor thinks you should.

Don't panic. Check your sources. Wait for reputable sources such as the City of Calgary, Calgary Fire Department Twitter feed or Calgary Police Facebook andTwitter accounts to confirm rumors such as water advisories and evacuations. Everyone has a friend of a friend who's heard something, but don't be the one to announce the sighting of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse unless you see them riding in yourself. So many of the reports circulating on social media aren't even accurate to begin with. And for the love of mankind, read the advisories completely before spreading potentially false information.

Other ways to help
  • YYCHelps - Fill out a volunteer form and indicate ways you'd like to help including housing displaced families or cleaning up. Information including community fundraisers, where donations can be made and places to go to for help with repairs post-flood (or if you're a Ms/Mr. Fix-It and want to volunteer for repair work) are also available.
  • Supplies are currently needed for displaced residents of the Calgary Drop-In Center.
  • If you can offer shelter to other displaced individuals and families, add your location and info to this map
  • Make a donation to the Red Cross here or text one:
  • Show your love to the first responders. They appreciate it more than you think.


What are some other ways we can help and show the word we really do live in the greatest community in the world?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

That screwdriver is not a toy

 Who me?

Dear Shooter,

At three-and-a-half, I expect you're starting to catch on to what makes an appropriate play thing, and what does not. However, I know you're developing brain is rapidly processing information, and it can be easy to forget. Based on the past week, let's do a quick review:

Not appropriate
  • Salt shakers
  • Your younger brother's left nostril
  • A power drill
  • Anything with the word "Panasonic" on the front of it
  • Hairspray
  • Sharpies
  • The cat keyboard your uncle thought was a good idea for your first Christmas, but failed to disclose plays a meowing version of "La Cucaracha"
Appropriate
  • Tupperware
  • Cotton balls (so long as they don't go anywhere near that nostril)
  • The plastic hammer that came in your toy Home Depot kit
  • Dried, dyed pasta*
  • Empty toilet or paper towel rolls
  • Washable markers or paint*
  • Bubbles*
  • Any of the hundreds of dollars worth of toys Playskool tricked us into believing would hold your attention and stimulate you
 *denotes toys that are appropriate only when played with in a confined, pre-approved area, under the supervision of an armed Guantanamo Bay guard

It's okay. Really. We'll try again next week. But if you could just point me in the direction of the Magic Eraser you absconded with, I'd be ever so grateful.

xoxo




Monday, May 27, 2013

If you can run like a banshee...

Do you remember the scene in Dumb & Dumber when Jim Carrey asks Jeff Daniels if he wants to hear the most annoying sound in the world? In the past few weeks, Little Dude has been working on replicating that exact noise and his favourite time to practice falls anytime between the hours of midnight and you've-got-to-be-bloody-kidding-me. Last Saturday morning, I went so far as to promise him high fructose corn syrup and early access to his college fund if he'd just let me sleep for an extra hour.

It's like having my very own pet banshee, if banshees had golden blond curls and the propensity to accidentally pee on their own faces. (Banshees, for the record, are mythical fairies who screamed to warn of an impending death. Irish folklore didn't bother to expound on their ability to sweat, grin, clean or pee, in the event you're ever tempted to misuse the expression).

As if the rude nighttime wake-up calls aren't offensive enough, the week before my half-marathon, he also had a low-grade fever and the trots. Our family, grandparents included, have continually battled every virus and bug to go around this winter. And wouldn't you know it, with a Saturday 9 a.m. start-time scheduled, I began puking on the Thursday at 8 p.m. I spent the better part of the following day trying to rehydrate and deliriously telling myself 21 kilometers wasn't that far and I'd be fine to try it, despite the rumoured challenge of the race. Mr. T and my dad finally talked some sense into me with the reminder that they weren't really in the mood to have to identify my body at the 14k mark and that it'd be a bummer of a Mother's Day weekend if I had a stroke on the course. I was crushed that all the weeks of training and extra hill work wouldn't be put to use just then and resigned myself to the 10k race that Sunday, setting my sights on the Calgary half-marathon, two weeks later instead.

The Calgary half was yesterday. As Mr. T and I debated the merits of a jacket versus arm warmers in the early hours of the morning, my stomach remained calm, devoid even of the usual pre-start line butterflies. Nor surprisingly, I didn't finish with a PR. I didn't even beat my time from the same race - my first half-marathon ever - two years ago. But I was able to run the race with Mr. T and my running partner. After days of solid rain, race day was beautiful, warm and sunny. And after attending a funeral for a beautiful little girl, just six days older than my precious Dude, the day before, I needed to run away from my own anxious thoughts for awhile and clear my head. There is valuable experience to be gained from every race, even if you don't set a new personal record. And if nothing else, you can at least try to consume your race entry's worth of bananas, chips and coffee once you cross the finish line, if that accomplishment isn't enough to satiate you.

Now if only I could convince my kids to just share the Oreos that come with kids' meals and cash included with birthday cards, rather than festering germs and explosive diarrhea.

Baby steps.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Walt Disney was onto something

When I was 17 and in my grade 12 year, I babysat for a single mom up the street from my parents while she worked the night shift as a nurse. At some point during that year, they adopted a cat. That's is the first time I can distinctly remember hating cats. It might have all began there. This particular cat would push a chair - placed in front of kitchen cupboards for the sole purpose of keeping it out - with its head, crawl in, then hiss and sharpen its claws when you tried to pull him out.*

*I realize I keep switching pronouns. It was likely an it, but may have been a he. I never looked.

I would keep the guest room door open at night so I could hear my little charge if he cried, and that cat would run into my room, claw at the carpet loudly enough to wake me, then dash out. At one point, I woke up and found myself staring into its large yellow eyes. The cat was just sitting there, watching me sleep. Undoubtedly plotting my demise. Because that's what they do. That's all they do.

My feelings for the feline race has not changed in the past decade or so. I have to be careful here, because one of my dearest, oldest friends in the world has owned several cats and has loved them. And I love her. I'm sure hers would never attempt a coup. But I'd also still caution her to sleep with holy water on her nightstand.

And then this weekend. Another good friend was visiting family in another city and texted me photos of herself after the family's adopted cat unleashed a holy reign of terror on her.
This did nothing to improve my relations with cats. In my defense, I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Let's consider the following an informal case study of cat bias in the Disney film franchise.

The Siamese Cats, Lady and the Tramp
Evil little pricks these ones were. If you don 't believe me, watch the clip below and tell me if you can't still sing "We are Si-ah-me-eese, if you please" in 10 years. Some years I forget my own anniversary, yet I haven't seen this movie in more than a decade and I can still remember the chorus.


The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
Would you ever let something that smiled at you like this curl up at the foot of your bed at night? No, you wouldn't. You would call a priest.

The Aristocats
Kindly old widow leaves her entire fortune to a gang of cats instead of her trusted butler? Please. Let's not pretend they didn't carefully manipulate and execute their master plan from day one.

Lucifer, Cinderella
If I had a cat, I'd give it Satan's Christian name too.

Yesterday Mr. T and I had the following discussion regarding my friend's grievous injuries (grievous because she couldn't wash her hair for three days due to the lesions on her scalp, and she still can't deep condition):

Me: "I promised A. I would aim my car at a random cat on the street to even the score."
Mr T: "That's so mean. What if it belongs to a little girl like Shooter?"
Me: "Then she should have made a better decision and gotten a puppy."

Conclusion: My opinion about cats isn't likely to change anytime soon, and in the meantime. I am going to buy my friend a Betta because at least when they go rogue, they only destroy their own kind or self-harm.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How to make coffee with only one hand and half your sanity

I have a love/hate relationship with thoe beautiful photo tutorials featured on countless blogs I read. I am more than just a little envious and wish I had skills that would lend themselves to such creativity. You won't find any useful posts on how to turn a piece of cardboard into a new headboard here (and if you do, assume extremist crafters have gained control of the site).

However, Little Dude is sick once again and fighting a fever. For the better part of two days, he's slept and/or wanted to be held. I never mind baby cuddles, but it occasionally presents a challenge when I need to complete essential tasks. Like making coffee.

Have no fear fellow parents; I can't show you how to make a four-course meal from the six ingredients you already have in your pantry, but I can reassure you that it's possible to brew a pot of life-giving nectar with just one hand. Behold...


"Don't even think of putting me down woman. You want it bad enough, you'll figure out a way.
"
 
What you'll need. Yes, that's a salt shaker. It need not be an awesome Tiki salt shaker like mine, but bonus points if it is.

Your thoughtful spouse made enough coffee for you both, but you slept in and now the coffee maker has shut off and you know better than to re-heat coffee.

Pinch all sides of the old, used coffee filter together so grounds don't fall out.

Grab an empty plate from your stack of dirty dishes since you can't hold a hand underneath to prevent dripping onto your already offensive kitchen floor.
Empty the old coffee. EMPTY IT. This is one of those times you don't have to feel bad for wasting. Do not re-heat, because a) It's gross and b) I will judge you.

Turn on the tap with one hand, then fill tank with cold water. Don't splash your almost-sleeping baby. You'll pay for that.

Fill the reservoir without spilling and creating an extra mess to clean up afterward. The people from Hamilton Beach have thoughtfully designed it so that the water has to be poured just so at a precise angle, so as to make this task as difficult as possible.

Grind your favourite coffee. If the answer is Nabob, discontinue reading. We can no longer be friends.
 
Fill a clean filter with coffee and try to keep your suddenly alert one-year old from grabbing the scoop and eating the grounds. It's bad enough you already have one kid that gleefully does it.
Sprinkle a bit of salt onto the coffee. My dad does because it supposedly removes bitterness. I don't know if that's true, but he makes awesome coffee so I'm not going to argue.
Once brewed, pour into your favourite cup. Mine conveniently has a fill line.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thoughts for Boston

I haven't run a marathon yet. It's on my bucket list, but Mr. T and I have come to an understanding that we'll wait awhile, until our kids are a bit older and more self-sufficient. Half-marathon training is a challenge enough as it is with two little ones, and we want to make sure we have the time and energy to commit to training for 42 kilometers. Both of us have said we'd love to try to run Boston in the future, preferably in the next 10 years. But even if that doesn't happen and we have to wait until we're in our 80s and the qualifying times are more forgiving, both of us want to wear that medal around our necks at some point.

Mr. T has traveled to the area often. One of his former company's home offices was there, and for a period, there was even talk of possible relocation for our family.

Though the word terrorism feels big and ominous and far away, for a multitude of reasons, today's tragic events hit close to home. We are parents and news that an eight-year old boy was one of the victims, and the realization that he was likely there cheering on a loved one, possibly his mom or dad, is almost unbearable.

We have been there at the finish line of races, as both runners and spectators. We know the anticipation that hangs in the air, the excitement of those final steps, whether you're taking them or watching them. We've hugged our family members and reveled in the feeling of pride and accomplishment. It is a place of joy and of celebration.

Being at the Boston Marathon is no accident or stroke of good luck. These runners have spent months, or very likely years, preparing for this day. Their families have too. They may not log the miles themselves, but they offer support and words of encouragement when the task seems insurmountable.

Someone on Twitter captured the feeling perfectly:


Indeed, it's like reading about a friend, even if you don't know their name or have never spoken a word to each other. Those of us reading about the horror may not have been close enough to feel the explosions, but they rocked us anyway. Because whether we've met face-to-face or not, we wave to each other on our weekend long runs, offer a "Nice work!" to cheer each other up a big hill (or maybe just a thumbs up, depending how much breath we have to spare) and chat nervously, yet excitedly as we await the horn signalling the start of a race. It doesn't matter if we struggle to keep an eight-minute kilometer or cruise easily at a sub-six. We challenge ourselves, push ourselves, test our limits and we discover camaraderie in that. It is a common thread that allows us to relate to one another.

A friend of mine ran the same half-marathon I did last fall. At some point in the final kilometer, her legs gave out on her and she collapsed on the course. Rather than accept help from a medic, she was instead assisted by two other runners who watched her fall and stopped to check on her. Abandoning their own race and possible goals, they hoisted her up, put her arms around their shoulders and helped her to the finish line. This kind of story is not uncommon in the running community.

And so our hearts ache as we watch events unfold that could break even the strongest of spirits. We mourn the loss of innocent lives at an event that shows us the possibilities of strength, endurance and good old-fashioned hard work.

In the coming days and weeks, authorities and officials will look for answers and numerous theories will be posed and debated. But as Newtown and Aurora and New York City showed us, there will not be a satisfactory answer, nor will we ever be able to make sense of it because there is no logic or explanation to madness and depravity. We can only maintain hope that goodness and courage and unity  - all of the things that running and the Boston Marathon embody - will prevail.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Those special times of the year, when Pinterest ruins my life

My birthday is my favourite time of year. More than Christmas and Thanksgiving and spring. Possibly because all those other occasions require work. Shopping and meal or treat prep, or cleaning and reorganizing. Or having really, really big plans to reorganize, but getting sidetracked by spring TV sweeps and the unexpected murders and plot twists that they entail. But I don't have to feel guilty about unfulfilled good intentions on my birthday, do I? Nope. I can stay in bed a little longer, eat an extra cupcake or three and let everyone else worry about disappointing me.

But it's not my birthday. It's almost Little Dude's. I know you can hardly disappoint a one-year old. As long as there are piles of tissue paper and someone sticks their head from around a corner to shout "boo!" periodically, he'll be happier than a piglet in crap. But I can disappoint all 34 of my Pinterest followers by not posting photos of beautiful plans and ideas for his upcoming party. I can disappoint Facebook by not reveling in the joy and beauty of handcrafting decorations myself, and by serving bowls of pre-made and, gasp, store-bought snacks and treats. "Somebody quick, call Child Services, she served brownie bites she bought at Costco!"

Okay fine, my friends couldn't give two licks about that. They will comment and like photos of my baby smiling and laughing and pounding a cupcake with his fist, then smearing frosting across his cheeks like war paint. Let's call a spade a spade: our kids don't care about these details whether they're turning two or 10. As long as there is candy, cake and friends, they're thrilled. We do this for ourselves. We do this to ourselves

I was up all night (I did sleep for 30 minutes before jumping out of bed like I'd been shot when the alarm went off) putting finishing touches on the party we had for Shooter's third birthday last fall because I wanted everything to be perfect. And yet there were still things I was disappointed with that just didn't look as nice as the plans I'd had in my head. She didn't care. In fact, all I wish now, is that on the morning of her party, I had enjoyed watching her laugh and shriek as she bounced on a giant trampoline instead of organizing a table of food that would soon be decimated by a crowd of hungry preschoolers.



I am not even remotely artistic. I am good at swirling yummy frosting onto cupcakes. And if someone needs me to run those cupcakes from point A to point B in roughly a six-minute kilometer, I'm your mom. But it ends there. Fortunately I have help this week from people far more talented than me. So my boy will have some pretty manly little touches that will at least make me feel like I've put in some effort, even if that effort was commissioning food and decor. So one day, when he tells me he hates me for the first time, I can show him the photo album and be like, "See? See how much work I put into pretending to be great mother just for you?"

And if all goes well, I won't be up until 5 a.m. faking it and Child Services won't come knocking on my door. Not that day anyway.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday Best

I never know if I should call Sunday the first or last day of the week. It's kind of like aces - are they high or low? And do you have to determine before the day starts? Because it seems like that could be a game changer. Last day of the week implies a certain finality and adds pressure. "Oh, I'd better clean out the fridge because it's the last day of the week and the lettuce will sense it that I didn't use it three days ago like I planned and wilt if I don't make a salad right away." While treating it as the first day creates a fresh start, but a different kind of pressure. One that involves preparation like meal plans and making sure you have enough wine and clean underwear to get your family through the week.

Our Sundays always start off the same. Fighting to get Shooter into anything besides jeans or pajamas and heading off to church as a family. However unlike traditional observation of the day, ours is hardly one of rest.

Mr. T and I are currently both training for half-marathons, two weeks apart. This isn't an unusual occurrence - it's our third time trying to coordinate schedules, which typically isn't an issue except for our long Sunday runs when we can each be gone for a couple hours. During my first half-marathon cycle, I was the only one training and I had a regular running partner that I met at 7:30 on Saturday mornings. That was also my first winter running, when I was still all "Oh man, running is the best! I don't care that it's still dark and -17. This is incredible!" Also known as the period when my brain was too fuzzy from lack of sleep to accurately process how ridiculous it was. But I know better now. These days, I am not entirely sure the promise of cheap pinot grigio would lure me out of bed before the first light streaks across the sky . Therefore during the winter months, we do our long runs on Sunday after church.

In the past couple months, I've been running with a new partner. It's possible I'm a bit of a running hussy. Or as Mr. T so delicately put it: "You'll give it up to anyone who shows you any kind of running affection. Two gels and you'll fartlek with anyone." Touche.

Our challenge of late has been attending church, getting home in time for me to eat and drive the 20 minutes to my route to meet my partner and then get home in time for Mr. T to head out for his run, while still leaving enough time in the evening for important things like grocery shopping, end-of-the-week crantinis and the newest episode of Revenge. Oh, and feeding and bathing the children. Of course.

 Yesterday seemed to highlight the gong show delicate balancing act perfectly.

12:15: Still at church. Mr. T gives me a warning look to stop talking and get in the car.
12:35: Finally make it to the car and am greeted by the shrieks of an overenthusiastic three-year and nap-deprived (almost) one-year-old.
12:45:Nurse Duder with one arm and check the weather on my phone with the other hand to determine how many layers are needed.
1 p.m.: Feeding session completed. Commence frantic search for crops, tank top and two matching running socks in the clean laundry. Which doesn't sound so complicated if you ever bother to fold your clean laundry and don't have four baskets of it to go through. I wish I was exaggerating.



1:05: Abandon the hope of matching socks and grab any two that are not made of cotton and will wick away melting snow that seeps into my shoes.
1:10: Toss my hair in a messy ponytail, use my daughter's flowered clips to pin back my bangs and throw a packet of instant oatmeal into the microwave while trying to get dressed and gather the various accessories required, including Road ID, sunglasses and iPod in the two minutes in takes for the oatmeal to heat.
1:25: Climb into vehicle after kissing both kids and a husband goodbye
1:28: Put on Garmin Forerunner and shove bites of banana into my mouth at first red light while keeping one hand on the wheel and trying not to forget to keep one foot on the brake.
1:34: Stuck at another red light waiting for a train. Take the opportunity to inhale container of oatmeal and craisins I brought along.
1:37: Still waiting for the train. Earwarmer, chapstick, hand lotion and a quick swig of water from my fuel belt to wash down the oatmeal caught in my throat. Say a silent prayer of thanks I had the foresight to apply Body Glide for inner thigh chafing before I left the house.
1:41: Curse the train and text running partner to let her know I'm running late.
1:49: Made it! Begin 16k run and bemoan sore hip flexors five minutes into it.

I have considered the various scenarios that would make this entire process less of a hassle. But those would require a modicum of effective time management which I no longer include under the "Organizational Skills" section of my resume for this exact reason. One day I will learn to prepare ahead of time. One day Mr. T and I will be able to run at the same time and have the kids bike along next to us, or be able to leave them at home without contemplating if the dog can be considered reasonable adult supervision. One day I'll look like Jessica Alba after two ki...Ha! I couldn't keep a straight face long enough to get that out.

Until then, something will just have to give. Like post-sermon socializing. Or bathing the kids.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Hole

I don't even want to know what kind of search results the title of this post is going to yield. Some lonely guy in Romania is going to be searching for something supremely sketchy and be mighty disappointed when he sees this photo of Shia LeBeouf.

 From the movie "Holes." Yeah, I know you get it.

So is the guy searching for any combination of the words "hole" and "the beef."

Well now that I've seen to the business of sentencing my week-old blog to the dregs of the web, I can move on to more important things, like my inability to endure human interaction this past week.The last time I felt like this, I was in my third trimester and and out running Saturday errands when I found myself taking a bit too much joy in keeping an asshat tailgater pinned in behind me and the slow guy next to me. It was at that point I realized that I was a giant sack of crazy and should seriously consider solitary confinement for the duration of my pregnancy.

According to very reliable sources (or Wikipedia), solitary confinement (also known as "the hole") is a "special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact" and is implemented when one is " considered dangerous to oneself or to others." What I hear them saying is that it's quiet, kid-free and involves limited communication with people who piss me off ( Loosely defined as the kind of people who create demand for a One Direction pop-up store, scheduled to open soon at Chinook Centre. I can't even). Is there a waiting list to get into this lockdown mode? Because I'd like to submit my name for consideration.

My indignation was sparked last week when someone asked if I was expecting baby number three. Granted I was wearing an unflattering top and have terrible posture, but let me offer this word of advice: do not ask women this question unless you're sure. Like, really sure. As one friend put it, "Go ahead and politely inquire if a baby's arm is dangling out of there." Later that same morning at Costco, as I waited in line to pay for a bag of coffee that weighed the same as my son at birth, an employee approached to ask if I'd lost my membership card. She held up the card in question and, despite the crappy quality of the thumbnail-size black-and-white in the corner, it took me all of two seconds to identify that a) it was not by card and b) the woman who it DID belong to was at least 10 years older than me. So in the span of two hours I have now been called old AND fat. And people wonder why most days I "joke" about unscrewing the cap on a fresh bottle of wine when the clock strikes noon.

So if I'm indeed "considered danger to others," there should be a caveat somewhere that provides allowance when dealing with the mind-numbing stupidity of others. Unless of course being locked-up means I can take an interrupted nap. In which case, just let me know where to sign on the written confession.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

In the beginning...

Once upon a time I decided to start a blog. And then I failed to update it on a regular basis so it kind of just faded from memory. My memory that is. It's floating around in cyberspace somewhere I'm sure. Lesson #1: The internet never forgets. Kim Kardashian and her second trimester peplum pants would best remember that.

I've tried a few times over the years to reignite the idea, but then important stuff came up. Like The Cosby Show marathons on TVTropolis and saving my oldest child from her own sense of self-destruction.

I can't make any farfetched promises, like that I'll update this every other day or that I'll post one great craft to do with your kids each week. Which is just as well because I have an attention span of roughly three minutes and 16 seconds for anything involving a glue gun, glitter or foam sheets. I will promise that I'll just try to share whatever place I'm at at the given time. Which six times out of 10, will likely involve liquid motivation containing 11% inspiration that was crafted somewhere in South America or Kelowna.Cheers!