Monday, December 22, 2008

What the hell is this white stuff?

8 years ago when I decided I was desperately unhappy in New Zealand and was going to run away to somewhere Utopian, I chose to return to Canada. This decision was made because I had family here, not to mention the requisite passport and citizenship (which I did not possess for a return to the UK).

Having made the decision to return to the mother ship, all I needed to do was pick a location. I have family spread all over Canada so I could have picked just about anywhere. I considered the Maritimes, where I could live in small town bliss with my Nova Scotian rellies. I pondered a return to the province housing my closest relatives on my mother's side, where I could live in Metropolitan HELL in Ontario. Both of these options were swiftly rejected because, well, they get snow. Lots of it. For long periods of time. And I am morally opposed to shovelling.

So, I moved to Victoria. My father lives here, and it's a rather mild climate. IF a snowfall happens, we get a maximum of 2 inches which melts within a week. (Whatever you do, don't ask any of the locals about the "Blizzard of 1996"...you'll never get away).

Because of this fact, when it began snowing the night of Saturday, December 13th, I didn't think much of it. I went to bed around 7pm for a few hours sleep before work. When I got up, there was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground, my road (which is on a steep incline) had turned into a solid sheet of ice, and my car was going nowhere. I called in and made the poor sucker already at the front desk pull a double. I had the next three days off so I wasn't concerned, and figured that true to Victorian history it would all be gone shortly.


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Imagine then, my friends, when a week later the snow was not only still there, but more was falling. I spent the day this past Friday (the 19th) listening to warnings that there was a "significant snowfall warning issued for Greater Victoria" and that we would be well advised to stock up on groceries, candles, flashlights etc. Yet again, I didn't take it too seriously. I mean, I've lived here 8 years and have never had a problem. We went grocery shopping because we needed to anyway, and we got a new propane tank for our BBQ "just in case", but mostly because we needed one. And then we went to bed Saturday night watching the snow fall lightly.

HA!

HA HA!

HA HA HA HA!

Clearly I should have listened to the weather folks more closely. I had to get up at 6am to get to work. My car? Not going anywhere. I trudged my unfit, lazy ass out to a main road and stood there trying to call a cab for a half hour before I finally managed to flag one. I regretted that decision once I'd gotten to work and realised I had to shovel. Did I mention I'm morally opposed to that activity?

Folks, let me tell you. In years past, when we got our pre-determined 2 inches of snow, the city all but shuts down. There are maybe 3 snow plows and 2 salt trucks in all of Victoria. People end up trapped. Stranded. HELPLESS. It's ridiculous. So to have this much snow fall, is a tragedy. Some people are truly stranded this time.

My back yard currently has over a foot and a half of snow in it. The rest of the country is cheering that us Victorians are having to endure this. I can hear them gloating from here.

On the upside, we got to go sledding today. And Hotty Hubby and I have gotten a workout from all the shovelling we've done. I hadn't realised how hard it was to walk through so much snow.

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On the upside? It all looks so beautiful out there! And the kids, they're loving it.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes......

You may (or may not, if you are not as observant as I might like you to be) notice a change around here. Yes that's right.....we have colour! And a new header!

Not so long ago I won a contest over at the home of Badass Geek. As my prize, I was awarded a new blog design.....and this is it folks! Ain't it awesome??

That's really all I have to say today other than please go check out his blog and then go check out his other site "Shift Design Services".

Thanks Mike/Michael/Geek/Badass. I love it :)

And now.....I'm off to play in the snow with the kids. Dramatic and exciting posts to follow. Maybe. Well, maybe not. But pictures??

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Who needs a compass? I have a 6 year old!

Driving home from school this afternoon, I found my sense of direction being tested and decided to return the favour. The end result was not what I expected!

Girl Spawn: "Are we going North now Mama?"

Me: "Ummm."

GS: "Yup, I think we're going North."

Me: "I think you're probably right. Hey Ash, do you know what the opposite of North is?"

*Girl Spawn looks at me like "this incompetent boob can't be my mother"*

GS: "Uh yeah. South."

Me: "Great! So what are the other directions?"

GS: "Mama...they're left and right of course!"

Well of course. How silly of me.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Mischievous Mayhem

Last week, I read something over at Football, Ballet, and Beer! that reminded me of some of the Christmas Traditions (and yes it should be capitalized - it's very very important dontcha know) that we've had over the years. More than anything, I was glad to see I wasn't the only one who experiences the effects of idiocy at Christmas time, not the only one who gets sucked into the imustkeepthekidshappyandentertainedsotheydontriot nightmare that so many of us experience at this time of the year.

We have the standard traditions that many folks share - stockings that are opened first thing in the morning, one or two gifts ripped apart on Christmas Eve, and the family get togethers.

Here in the MadWoman household we subscribe to a few other ideas. On Christmas Eve, if we're not with family, we chow down on Chinese food. We sprinkle reindeer food out on the lawn to guide the sleigh in and keep the deer happy while the fat man delivers the goods. We also - and this is what we have in common with Dto3 - invite evil Elves into the house. Yeah, you heard me. We write a letter to Santa asking him if he can send some of his elves to visit. And they came! What we didn't bargain was the mischief they would cause.

Enter....the world of Elves -

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Through the mail box they came, with a letter introducing them. Twin elves by the names of Penelope M. Sassafras and Marvin H. Feldspar. They claimed to be there to keep an eye on the spawn and that they wouldn't be able to do much fun stuff because they had to be on their best behaviour.

ELVES LIE!!!

That first night, as we slept curled up and dreaming, they got into my stash of cotton balls. Apparently they missed the snow, and these were a good substitute for their nightly snowball fight.

Forts were made and balls were thrown.

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At least they were quiet, and it was easy to clean up. I can't complain too much. The kids thought it was fantastic, and were looking forward to seeing what else the elves would get up to at night - as long as they stayed out of their rooms. I figured it was a pretty safe bet. There should be no reason for the elves to enter the treacherous grounds that masquerade as children's rooms right? After all, it's hard to even see floor in there and half the toys are bigger than the elves.

HA! Cue the underwear thieves. Not only did they brave the battleground of Lego and Barbies, but they stole all the kids' underwear. As if this weren't bad enough, it appeared they weren't satisfied with the way Hotty Hubby and I had decorated the tree.

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If you look close, you can see they also tried to hide in the tree and then couldn't figure out how to get down again. Sad really...aren't they supposed to be magic?

For the next week or so they were relatively well behaved, and would just take to hiding in random places. It became a daily challenge for the kids to try and find them.

On our mini ceramic Christmas tree (having removed some of the decorations) and on a shelf after knocking off cards....

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The final straw came on Christmas Eve. Spawnlets in bed, gifts under the tree, and us curled up in bed. The little buggers got into the FLOUR!! Oh yeah. Apparently "snow angels" are a Christmas Eve tradition for them. They were disappointed that they'd been dispatched to somewhere without snow, so they improvised.

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The kids have convinced me to invite the elves back again this year. I'm hoping we get some better behaved ones this year, but Hotty Hubby tells me not to hold my breath.

So what are your Christmas traditions? Do you delve into the "I'manidiotwhohasnothingbettertodo" world of the moronic to keep the kids happy or do you do something normal?

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here's to cheesy clichés

It's something that I aspire to, something that warms my insides and something that not enough people value anymore.

They walked along the sidewalk in front of me, hand in hand, heads close and whispering to each other. Occasionally she would giggle and gaze up at him with her beautiful smiling eyes. He clearly adored her and anyone who wasn't completely blind would have been able to see this. As I trudged along behind them feeling sorry for myself and wondering what the hell was the matter with the world, and particularly my life (it had been a hard day), I began to eavesdrop just a little bit.

He made funny little jabs at her about how it was her birthday next week and "boy are you ever getting old...I might just have to find me a young thing to take up with". She took it all in stride, something that many women would have trouble with. I know that depending on the day, I certainly get my back up if Hotty Hubby makes a comment about my age. This woman just laughed and squeezed his hand. For all I know she was squeezing it hard enough to hurt him, as a promise of the payback pain yet to come, but to me it looked like a loving thing.

They chatted back and forth about the upcoming week and how she might like to celebrate her birthday. A big party? A night of drinking with her girlfriends? She giggled at each suggestion as he made them, telling him not to be silly....she just wanted to have a quiet night at home with "the love of my life". This pair seemed so at ease, so in sync with each other. Every cheesy cliché that has ever been uttered appeared to fit their relationship.

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As we continued our walk and I listened more, I wondered if this was how all married couples are. Do you become more of a unit the longer you're married? Do you get more laid back and get better at letting the small stuff just roll off your back? Does it take a special kind of person?

I have no idea how long this couple has been married, it could just be a couple of years, but I got the impression it has been many years since they first said "I do." I suppose when he made the joke about her age, he could be considered correct. To a random stranger like myself, she would look older. If I had to guess, I would say she was at least 70. Her companion at least the same age. But as they gazed at each other and strolled along through town, they looked like the young newlyweds I'm sure they once were.

Hotty Hubby and I have been married for 6 1/2 years now. It's been hard work, incredibly hard. But worth it, so very very worth it. We've had some great ups and some horrible downs, but we've always come out the other side. Watching this couple in action made me optimistic all over again. If they can make it, surely we can too right? But what makes their relationship so special, so apparently easy? It has taken me three days of thinking about that to come up with anything.

I saw a clip of Will Smith's interview with Barbara Walters today (it should be airing soon) and in it he said that part of the secret to his successful marriage to Jada Pinkett-Smith is that "Divorce is not an option". BINGO!!

Let's assume that this couple has been married since they were in their early 20s. They're a bit younger than my grandparents. Back then the same philosophy applied to most people, it just wasn't an option. So you entered marriage knowing that until one of you died, this was the person you would be with forever. Nowadays? Well, hell....you're 2 months into your marriage and decide you don't like the way he leaves his socks everywhere? DIVORCE!! Hollywood stars do this regularly. Elizabeth Taylor has been married how many times?

Obviously there are times when divorce is the best thing for all concerned, but I think people take it too lightly a lot of the time now. Personally, I'd like to subscribe to the Will Smith school of thought (I never thought I'd hear myself say that) and say right here and now that for me, divorce is NOT an option. I happen to be married to one of the most loving and wonderful men that this world has seen. Sure he can't find a laundry basket with a bloodhound helping him, and if the dishes are piling up and he needs a plate, he'll just wash the one he needs...but he loves me and our children and that's good enough for me.

That couple on the street? It's something that I aspire to, something that warms my insides and something that not enough people value anymore. I want to be them. I want to be 70 years old, walking down the street hand in hand with my husband, giggling because he just told me I'm getting old.

How about you?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good use of star power

I'm running short on time today so I'll leave you with this.

John C Reilly, Jack Black, and a whole slew of other stars in "Prop 8: The Musical"

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Motel Mayhem - Starring........

There are days when I get home from work and marvel at the miracle that everyone survived the night. That I haven't clobbered anyone with a tire iron or a baseball bat yet is a feat unto itself. Aside from the interesting characters that stumble drunkenly saunter into my office, we have a few folks who live at the motel on a more permanent basis that provide entertainment for those of us who are unfortunate enough have the pleasure of working the front desk.

I'm 99.9% sure that I see more of these people than the other front desk staff, because I am the one who drew the short straw to perform the Night Audit duties. Either that or it's my cheerful, "come talk to me so I have a reason to kill myself" personality that entices them. Regardless, let me introduce you to a few of them today as I'm sure in the weeks to come they will provide fodder for this here blog.

The Creeper is our longest residing member of the "Let's Annoy the Mad Woman at the Front Desk" Pack. (Doesn't have quite the same ring as Rat Pack does it?). The Creeper is in his late 30s, and has resided at Motel Macabre for approximately 3 years now. Vertically challenged, portly and bald, he often resembles an overweight Mr. Noodles without the cute appeal. This fine specimen is most likely to be found skulking around the parking lot under the guise of having a cigarette. In actual fact The Creeper is merely waiting for the most opportune moment when Mad Woman is most engrossed in her book so that he might go regale her with yet another tale of how meaningless and boring exciting his life as a hermit is. Creeper will first appear within an hour of the beginning of a shift and will henceforth time his visits in such a way that one can not predict so as to avoid them.

Rain Man has been chilling at Casa Cheap-o for about 3 months now. While he is an incredibly nice person, he experiences much the same lag as one would expect from someone trying to download War & Peace on a dial up connection. Rain Man often makes his first appearance close to midnight, drifting in on a cloud of Maui Wowie. After determining how your night is progressing he will proceed to walk 10 steps behind you in the journey that is conversation. Thankfully his visits are short and infrequent, though always entertaining. Rain Man also has a protective side that will become apparent whenever The Creeper arrives, as well as any of the Miscreants.

Drunken Lout is one of the more entertaining residents, although admittedly hard work. (And I do not get paid to actually work!) Lout fancies himself a bit of a comedian and will tend to practice his stand up routine in office, no matter how hard you try to ignore him. Lout it also quick to anger when inebriated and will issue threats of bodily harm loudly and often, until he realises that should you poke him in the shoulder, he'll go over like a tree that's been munched by a beaver.

Miscreant #1 has checked in and out a couple of times and will likely continue to do so. Often confused with Drunken Lout, this Miscreant floats in not on a cloud of the Wacky Tabacky, but rather on the incredibly strong vapours of Mr. Daniels (Jack to his friends). Not interested in all the sordid details of the nasty divorce and custody battle? That's a shame because you'll hear them anyway. Story done, Miscreant #1 will vapourize (hehe) back to his room to watch nasty porn which he will subsequently leave in his room upon departure.

Miscreants #2 and #3 enjoy sitting outside their room shouting at any person passing by that might possibly have a penis between their legs. Should that person also happen to be in possession of hooch or drugs, their appeal increases tenfold. These ladies women girls get their rocks off by sleeping with as many passing male tenants as possible, and the occasional female. If intoxicated enough, they are apt to proposition whoever happens to be at the desk. Window screens will be flung into cars, cigarettes extinguished on bedspreads, sex traded for coke (and not the yummy, mixes well with Pop Rocks kind). Should you have reason to confront these two - and you will - go with bat in hand and an explanation prepared that no, the bat is NOT to be used for sexual games, sorry.

Pseudo-Security Guy (PSG) is the alter ego of The Creeper. PSG will take on the role of the boy in stories of ages past as he cries "Wolf" all night long. Or, in the case of Mayhem Motel, "Siren!". You see, PSG/Creeper has naught to do but peer through the window blinds in search of non existent trouble. A pleasant night it will be if you do not have call to extricate yourself from behind the desk to investigate yet another PSG claim.

"Mad Woman! I hear sirens in the next town over! This is surely a sign that the elderly woman in room #222 is beating her 25 year old boy toy with a walking stick for his refusal to rub cream on her hemorrhoids! YOU MUST INVESTIGATE!!"

**Beware: Should you make sounds of refusal, PSG/Creeper will begin to weep (I kid you not) as the realisation that you've had enough of his shit begins to sink in.


So there you have it folks. That is the regular cast list for the world that I am a part of at night. I'm sure from time to time others will make their way onto the list, and provide hours (ok, minutes) of entertainment and blog content. As I tried to dream up names for these wonders of nature, my mind kept flashing to various words.

Asshat. Dumbass. Fucktard.

All three appropriate, and yet not what was calling to me. And then it hit me! Two words that I once used on a regular basis when I lived in the UK.

Wanker. Wally.

Neither of these words is overly harsh, yet they seem so perfect for some of the people that I meet through my job. Honestly, I'm constantly amazed.



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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yup, naked under my clothes again.

While watching Dancing With the Stars last night, I was yet again amazed at how little clothing they can get away with out on that dance floor. Clearly not as amazed as Hotty Hubby as he watched Kym Johnson cavort around the dance floor in this:

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I realise that they are technically in costume, but are you really considered IN costume if it is as skimpy as this? Personally I think it looks ok but the resident hotty is not so sure.

Hotty Hubby: "Humph. Must be nice to have a job where you can wear your underwear to work."

*giggle*

*snicker*

*snort*

Hotty Hubby: "WHAT?!"

*gigglesnickersnort*

Moi: "Weelllll.....it's just that I wear my underwear to work everyday. Don't you?"

I'm pretty sure he's still trying to figure out how to respond because all I got at the time was some stuttering before he went back to watching Lacy Schwimmer bouncing around the floor.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A standing ovation for you, Mr. Olbermann

I'm sure many of you have seen this or read the transcript that accompanies it. But I still think it warrants sharing.

I have always respected him and his views on various subjects but when I first read the transcript for this video, I was moved. To then see him read those words, with all the emotion and emphasis that they require, I found myself cheering.

Everything that I have thought about, everything that I have wanted to say, everything that I wish everyone was saying was just spoken by this wonderful man in a much more concise and eloquent manner than I could muster in my previous post.

I can only hope that many people see this. That enough people question the VERY off kilter wording of the Proposition, and that they ask for the decision to be revoked in whatever way necessary.



You can read the transcript HERE.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mixed Emotions

Not too long ago, I posted a blurb that got me thinking about the differences between the Blue candidate and the Red candidate. Until I found said blurb, I had only half heartedly been following the whole election process, the selection of the candidates and subsequently the entire Presidential race. After reading the blurb (so shoot me...I like the word blurb), I became even more interested. I already knew that I liked B.O. and that I wasn't sure about J.M. but I wanted to make sure I had all the information. I wanted to be informed. I started researching more into everything. Honestly, everything I read just made me like B.O. even more. J.M. still had my respect, I agreed with some of the things he stood for, but I was still wary.

When people read that post, I got a couple of emails and one comment saying how glad they were that I couldn't vote...as a Canadian. At first, I took exception to that. It ticked me off that because I had posted something that was so clearly pro-Obama, it would provoke a comment like that. It bothered me that because my choice of candidate (if I could have one) was not as they wanted, that they would be glad of my inability to vote. Then I thought about it. It's a fair comment, an honest opinion and one that I respect. I have often thought the same thing about people whose choice of political party differed from mine. "Ugh...I wish they couldn't vote". How ridiculous of me to think that....if we didn't all have different opinions, how boring would this world be?

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it wasn't the comment that upset me per se, it was the fact that NO, I couldn't vote in the U.S. election. I got over it, and I tried to keep this blog as politics free as possible. I think I did fairly well. I have continued to watch everything play out, discussed things with friends and family, and sat quietly by hoping to see history made....no matter what that history was.

I have many American friends - Republicans and Democrats alike. We've discussed things at length and it's always nice to hear thoughts and opinions that differ from mine, even if I don't always agree with them.

This past Tuesday night, I was happy to see that much hoped for history realised. I came rushing home from a PTA meeting and switched the channel on my Hotty Hubby (much to his non political dismay). To hear that Obama had won the Presidency, that such a monumental event had taken place was amazing. I had tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and JOY in my heart.

I honestly did NOT think that I would see this happen in my lifetime. I had always hoped I would, but I certainly wasn’t holding my breath. So to see history being made, my day became that much better. I feel like a collective weight has been lifted off the world’s shoulders. I see hope in people’s eyes, and happiness in their voices. I am looking forward to seeing what this charismatic, intelligent and people minded man can do with his country, and by extension the world, in the next 4 to 8 years.

On the flip side, I was also incredibly happy to hear John McCain's speech. FINALLY it seemed like the man was back. My respect came back for him somewhat as I listened to his amazingly gracious speech and heard him announce his support of the new President Elect. What hurt to hear was the Boos from the crowd each time he mentioned Obama. I fully understand the disappointment of not seeing your candidate make it to the White House but that was immature and quite frankly annoying. Kudos to McCain for silencing it.

So that was the happy moment for Tuesday....seeing history made, and seeing the hope all over so many people's faces...amazing. I honestly hope that he can bring the people together and help dig the US out of the hole that it has sunken into in recent times. Whether you are Red or Blue....I hope you'll support your new President.

As the title of this post suggests though, I have been having mixed emotions. Not about the Presidency. No...I was happy to see B.O. make it. My sadness - and that's exactly what it is, sadness - lies in the decision that came about in California.

In the midst of my joy over the election of Barack Obama, I was at the same time saddened to see that Proposition 8 had been passed. It was not that long ago that I danced around my living room doing my “happy dance” as Ellen Degeneres announced that she and Portia De Rossi were getting married. I had yet more tears in my eyes as I saw the beautiful pictures of them on their wedding day, not to mention reading about all the other folks tying the knot. It was another wonderful piece of history….an extension of what we had already achieved here in Canada. Since 2005 it has been legal here in Canada for a same sex couple to marry. It makes me proud to say that.

I have many gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered friends. To see those rights taken away, the same rights that are awarded to me, makes me mad. It angers me, as it does many people that I know, that the religion card can be played to prevent same sex couples from marrying, but it does not matter one iota that I got married in a park with a Justice of the Peace officiating and took ALL mentions of God out of our vows.

Like many of you out there, and many of my friends, my focus was on my husband on my wedding day. I entered into an agreement with HIM. I promised to love and cherish HIM. I vowed be with HIM forever. God had nothing to do it. God was not invited. I wasn't interested in God that day. Does that sound harsh? Probably. Could that statement alone alienate some of you? Possibly, though I hope not. I would hope that you can see beyond the lack of God in my marriage ceremony. Did the powers that be, the ones that decide if my marriage is more legal than another's, care that God wasn't asked to the party? No….because I married a penis, not a vagina.

And yet, if my beautiful, wonderful, loving friend Kelsey (I love ya hon!) wants to get married down there in San Diego….Sorry babe! No can do!

Screw that noise.

I'm disappointed. As a friend of mine said recently on her own blog

I thought California was a little more progressive but I guess not.


I'll second that.

I sincerely hope that someone takes another look at this. I really do.

Alright, I'm hopping down off my soap box now, preparing for the onslaught. Be gentle.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

On the road...err...plane? again.

Awhile back, I mentioned that there was a potential move coming up for my family. A potentially BIG move. One that could be life changing for us, provide more opportunities in some areas, and perhaps less in others. A move that could see a lot of the emotional stress that we (I) have experienced in months past disappear.

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That move is finally happening!

I grew up a military brat, so moving is nothing new to me. In fact, this is the longest I have stayed anywhere. 8 years in one city is a huge thing for me, and feels a little weird. To compensate for the weirdness (as if I could), and to drive Hotty Hubby a little bit nuts (easily done), we have lived in 7 different houses in those 8 years. And if I can't move house, I move furniture. He learned long ago to turn lights on when he entered the house at night if I was sounding like I needed to move again. There's nothing quite like walking into your own house and crashing into something that wasn't there 4 hours ago.

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Well, now we'll be starting over again. We are busily selling everything we own and trying to find a home for the one wonderful pet we own.

We are heading to the "Land of the Long White Cloud". To Aotearoa. To the "youngest country on earth". We're moving.....to New Zealand.

11 years ago, when my mom and stepfather announced we were moving to NZ, I alternated between balking at the idea (dude, my friends were all in the UK) and being incredibly excited (hello?! NZ!!). I went with them, but three years later I decided that it wasn't that I wasn't making an effort, it was that NZ sucked ass. Hindsight being what it is, I can see now that I was wrong. Had I actually bothered putting in any effort and made friends, gotten a better job or even moved to a different town, things would have been different.

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Instead, I moved back to Canada in 2001, and shortly thereafter I met Hotty Hubby and had kids. Now, we're heading back with our hopes high but not unrealistic. We realise that we're giving up some things to go. We also realise that it might take awhile to get on our feet. But we have support. Our friends and family here support us, and my mom and sister are there.

So there you have it! We're flying away. Going to the land of the reverse toilet flushing, the amazing All Blacks, and the super laid back attitude of the people. My kids will feel at home walking around barefoot most of the summer, my husband will feel at ease with the relaxed way that everyone is, and I am looking forward to just ..being.

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Tell me about your moving stories, where have you moved to? What's the furthest you've gone either permanently or just to visit? Any international moving advice you can give someone like me who isn't shipping anything except our clothes and ourselves?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perspective

I had an entirely different post planned for today. An upbeat, news-filled, happy post that might even have made a few people laugh if they have the same warped sense of humour that I do.

Then I sat down. Then I switched on the tv. Then I did something that I would not normally be doing at 4 o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon. Then I watched Oprah. Yeah yeah, make all the jokes you want about it. Go on, get it out of your system. I'm not opposed to Oprah, I even quite enjoy her show most of the time. But today I knew she was doing a bit on kids that have featured on her show before or have "touched the hearts of millions". I could claim to have a heart of stone or an icy personality and use that as the reason for why I don't watch those episodes but I'd be lying. I could tell you I had no intention of watching because I have too much to do. I'd only be half lying. Truth is, I'm a sap. I big, giant sap. I cry at the drop of a hat when it comes to those shows. Happy or sad news, I cry. And so, even though I knew that most of today's show would be happy stuff, I planned to avoid it.

Then I got a phone call and I sat down. When I got off the phone, Oprah was on. So I watched a few minutes. Then a few minutes more. Well now I'm half way through the show and there's no point in missing the rest right? Besides, I'm not doing too bad...this is all good news and not a tear in sight.

Then she got me. Cow. She had me and she knew it. Sucked in again! Dammit! One of those stories that puts things in perpective for you. A story that makes you re-evaluate the way you look at the trials in your life. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Since my son was born I have had many heart stopping moments. He has asthma and we've had many hospital trips to deal with the fact that he's not breathing properly. Again. It's scary. I've moaned and dripped and complained and wondered "why me?". We all do it. Both kids have fallen and cracked heads on concrete, I have lost each of them at least twice in large departments stores as they zip into racks of clothing and laugh quietly to themselves as mommy panics. And yet, despite all my whining about the things they put us through, I am (of course) happy to be their mother.

Just as happy, I'm sure, as this mother and father were to have their little boy. Watching the joy on the faces of these parents and yet knowing what they must have been going through, was amazing. But I was bawling like a baby the entire way through.

Watch the video. It'll warm your heart. As the father reads excerpts from the letters he wrote his son, and you see the pictures of that beautiful child, take a moment to think about your own life. Do you have perspective? Do you look at your problems as bigger than they are?

We all deal with issues. For some of us, like me, they are smaller. Sure, CJ has asthma but it's something that we can deal with. I can complain all I want but it's a manageable, small, problem. For others, like one or two I have posted about before, the issues are larger. Life threatening things that impact lives in huge ways that many of us can't even begin to imagine.

I'll likely always be dealing with the issues that surround the health of my children, but it does me good to get some perspective sometimes and remind myself that really I have it very lucky. There are so many others who are dealing with so much more than me.

Do me a favour. Send out some love to someone who is having a hard time right now. It doesn't have to be health issues. It could be a move that is hard on them and their family, it could be marital problems, it could be the health of a loved one. Anything. Send them some love. And watch the video.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Mastering the art of delegation

It's something that employers occasionally value. Something that can be very useful. A talent that can bring home the gold or send you to the unemployment line. Something that I've been perfecting over the years. Recently I've noticed that it seems to be something that my darling daughter is catching onto.

I am a firm believer that delegation should only be used when absolutely necessary. Like when you can't be bothered are too busy to get off the couch and ask Hotty Hubby to get your drink. Or when you dying of thirst and send your four year old to fetch a beer water from the fridge.

Girl Spawn has discovered a new use for it. I haven't yet decided whether I should be proud or horrified. Decision pending, stay tuned.

For her birthday in July, one of her little buddies gave her a lovely little mini armoire type thing. It came with nail polish, lipstick, and so on. Clearly all stuff that I would LOVE to have smeared on walls, bedspreads and furniture. Needless to say, Girl Spawn was under strict instructions that despite my great love and trust of her 6 year old abilities with nail polish, I think it might be better to keep them up high. Y'know...out of reach of her little brother right?

The other night as Hotty Hubby and I sat talking, the children played upstairs. I thought it unusual that there had been no screams of pain yet but figured it would eventually come. It usually comes fairly quickly. Sure enough, I was not disappointed.

*CRASH!*

Silence.

Girl Spawn: "Oh my gosh! CJ! Are you ok?! Oh my gosh! I'm sorry! CJ?"

Silence.

I looked at Hotty Hubby. "RUN!"

Silence.

Hotty Hubby: "Breathe buddy...just breathe"

Silence.

Girl Spawn: "I didn't do it! I swear!"

Silence...and then....a huge intake of breath, followed by an ear piercing scream from Boy Spawn. I hear Hotty Hubby asking the boy to squeeze his finger and just before I can comment about how now is NOT a good time to be doing fart jokes, I realise he said "squeeze" his finger. Testing for a broken arm? Interesting.

Seems Ash had decided that she desperately wanted the make-up. She desperately wanted it and she knew how she was going to get it. Send her brother up. That this would require him to climb not only the dresser but the shelves on top of that to get to the hidden treasure. It was as he climbed these shelves that he fell. About 4 feet down.

When asked why she didn't go get it down herself (because that would have been so much better) the darling child who so takes after her mother replied "It was too high and scary, I might have fallen".

Well. Of course. Silly me.

Boy Spawn did not, thankfully, break anything though he did come away with a bruised nose after hitting it on one of the million toys on his sister's floor. Yesterday when I noticed this bruise I commented that he had "really done a number on his nose!".

Ash promptly piped up - "Which number mommy?"

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 08 - Poverty.....It needs to end now!

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I have been known to sit on my couch and literally scream at the television. I'm not talking about screaming at the idiots who picked all the unfit, argumentative people on Survivor. I'm not talking about yelling at Carrie for actually going BACK to Mr Big AGAIN! No, I'm talking about watching things like the Stand Up 2 Cancer show with all those rich celebs sitting on the stage. I mean see the devastation that was left by Hurricane Katrina and her cohorts and wondering why more wasn't being done. I'm talking about seeing all those children sick and dying and not enough people helping them.I'm talking about hearing the news that Johnny Depp just got paid over $55 MILLION in advance for the next Pirates movie.

REALLY?!?! The economy in the US and all over the world is going down the drain, there are men, women and children dying of horrible illnesses and starvation not only in third world countries but right HERE at home, there are people quite literally freezing to death on city streets because they are so poor they can't afford somewhere to live and all our shelters are full. Some of those people are children. But by all means, pay the good looking guy $55 MILLION to do a stupid movie!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Johnny prance around in those pirate duds as much as the next person. But what does someone DO with that much money? What do these celebrities do with the millions of dollars that they get paid to do their movies and tv shows?

Having spent a good portion of my time yelling at the tv lately, this thought has been on my mind. When I was watching Stand Up 2 Cancer I was so happy to see Jack Black stand there and say something about if all those famous people just donated 2% of their earnings, we could find a cure. Yes, I'm sure we could, but we could feed entire nations too!

Remember those commercials that say "For just a dollar a day, you could feed this family and provide healthy drinking water for their whole town?"....it's TRUE!

I can't do much to convince the celebs that they don't need that 15th house or that 102nd luxury car, but maybe I can convince YOU. Maybe, just maybe I can convince you to do something about poverty.

Donate to your local food bank and help the people in your home town. Donate to one of the many charities that help internationally. Lobby your local politicians to DO something.

Today is Blog Action Day for 2008 and their cause is Poverty.

Spread the word, do your research, tell your friends. Together we CAN end poverty!!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Speaking of lessons learned ....

As a follow up to MY educational weekend, I thought I'd share what a fantastic day the girl spawn had yesterday. All summer I had been procrastinating and yesterday when I realised that it was the day before school, I thought I'd better pull my thumb out of my ass and do something. So I did.

Shoe shopping with Ash, we took the route directly to Beelzebub's next door neighbour and went to Walmart. Yeah. So shoot me. We needed shoes for her for school but surprise surprise, when you leave it to the last day of summer vacation it's pretty slim pickings in the velcro department. So I told her that she'd have to learn how to tie her laces.

Well wouldn't ya know it? She learned in about 2 minutes flat!

Off we went to the park in the afternoon to let the kids ride their bikes. The hitch here was that Hotty Hubby had removed the training wheels from Ash's bike. Ah well. "You'll have to learn to ride a two wheeler honey, you're 6 now. You can do it."

Yeah. She learned in about 2 minutes flat!

Before dinner we headed to the store to pick up some last minute stuff. For once the kids behaved all the way around the store and it looked like we were going to get away clean. First time in shopping history.

Then.......it all flipped on its head. Ash had been playing with a twist tie and put it down on the conveyor belt at the till. The belt moved, she reached for twist tie, but it kept going. And so did her hand. Unfortunately I was at the other end of the grocery cart, and not close enough. Next think I know, she's screaming, the cashier is yelling AT HER to "MOVE your hand" and Ash was screaming "I can't".

I started yelling at the cashier to "SHUT IT OFF!!" and all the cashier could do was scream "I can't!! It's automatic". Yes dear, I realise it's automatic....unless there's something in front of the sensors. "PUT something in FRONT of the SENSORS!!!!!"

She finally had the sense to put one of those divider bars in front of the sensors and we got it stopped. Sadly by this time, Ash's thumb was stuck between the belt and metal at the end. I was having flashes of a little boy who'd had his hand eaten up in an escalator and hoping she wasn't that badly hurt. I didn't see any blood yet, but that didn't mean anything.

I pulled her hand out, no blood. Phew. Not broken. Phew times two. But swelling in a big way.

Out of nowhere these two staff members came running from other departments. The first aid people. They had ice and a first aid kit and an incident report form. They were fantastic. Ash was still screaming and people were starting to look freaked out. I finally got her calmed down and thankfully it looks like just some bruised muscle in her thumb.

HOLY CRAP! If there was ever a way to get the adrenalin going in the evening it's that.

And through it all her little brother just sang to himself and asked the cashier for a balloon. Haha.

I asked her if she knew now that her hands should NOT be up on the belt. Her answer was a resounding "YES mom!"

She learned in about 20 seconds flat!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In which I get schooled

This weekend was the last of the summer, the last hurrah before the spawn return to school, the weekend that you can hear all the parents in town breath a collective sigh of relief. It was also the weekend that I have looked forward to the most every year since I had children.

The Saanich Agricultural Fair was on! Yippee!

This fair is on every Labour Day weekend here in Victoria and it's become a family tradition to attend. Somehow we never end up going into the midway and hopping on the rides. This, I think, has less to do with my inherent distrust of carnies and the claptrap rides that they haul with them, and more to do with the fact that I refuse to auction off my spawn sell my soul spend a fortune on ride tickets just to stand in line for an hour for a ride that only I will enjoy and that's only because it makes Hotty Hubby look like he's going to puke.

Instead we wander around the agricultural part of it. We look at the animals, we watch some of the shows and we check out the market. And I take pictures. Duh. It was a learning day for all of us yesterday, but for me especially. Allow me to share the lessons with you....

Lesson 1 - Those silly signs they put up in various places in the parking lot mean nothing if you're driving a big truck and think the world belongs to you. As a matter of interest, there was a sign just like it on the other side of the truck with an arrow pointing in. Just how blind WAS this guy?

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Lesson 2 - The spawn are sadly now at an age where I cannot fool them. When we saw these empty cages I acted all shocked and asked CJ "Where'd the chickens go?! Do you think they escaped?!". Now, I happen to KNOW that my acting skills are of the highest caliber, so I can only think that it is because he is growing up that he would answer "ooohh. No mommy, someone came and got them" and walk away from me shaking his head.

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Lesson 3 - Some turkeys are like some women I know. Ugly and bitchy. This old bird (ha. haha. funny eh?) has lovely feathers, but she was a nasty thing. Those fuzzy, half cut out of the picture folk behind her? One of them is a child....who had just been bitten by the turkey. Screamed. Bloody. Murder.

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Lesson 4 - Some turkeys are like most men I know. Horny. Relentless. Possibly scary? Meet "Tom". According to his handler (who took great pleasure in making the bird do his "gobble gobble gobble" thing to freak out the kids) "Tom" was looking for a girlfriend. Well let me tell you dear readers....my ego couldn't decide which way to go yesterday. UP....Ooohhh the turkey thinks I'm hot. I must look good today. Or DOWN....Oooohhh the turkey thinks I'm hot. Must lose this neck fat.

Damn turkeys. Remind me to get a 30 pounder for Christmas dinner.

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Lesson 5 - Things in the bird world are incredibly similar to things in the human world. Women like to shake their asses and men like to puff out their chests.

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Lesson 6 - When taking your 6 year old, who can now read, to the fair....avoid signs like these. They tend to make the spawnlet get teary and concerned as she waits for an answer to "But mommy! It says ROASTER....does that mean they're going to cook it? WHO EATS RABBIT?!!"

I can't very well look at her and say "Well actually honey, I eat rabbit". I'd be disowned on the spot and then who the hell would wipe my ass when I'm 90? Yeah. I knew you'd be on my side.

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Though, I have to say I'm not partial to stew, so the next sign didn't pose quite the same moral dilemma...

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Lesson 7 - We soooooo got the better end of the deal when it comes to childbirth! Oh shut up. I don't want to hear about your 30 hours of back labour. This poor goat is going to have FOUR (!!) hooves kicking their way out of her HooHa. And the rabbits? Holy crap man.....some of them squeeze out like 12 babies! I'm glad to be human and have the option of drug induced stupors where I can come out of the fog later to find myself holding a cute little sleeping bundle of (pooping) joy.

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Lesson 8 - Folks in the country need more to do. Live in the city? Go to a movie, out for dinner with a friend, concerts, shopping. Live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm? Three words my friends..... Poultry. Drag. Races.

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Lesson 9 - Never stand in between a pimp and his Hos. This duck, while temporarily enjoying the lavish attentions of the mini ones, kept an ever vigilant eye on his girls in the cage up behind my head. Then, he noticed that not only was I in his way, but I also made a darn good platform. So he came at me. Fun times, lemme tell ya!

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Lesson 10 - The final lesson. The absolute pinacle of the day. Where I learned that clearly I slept through too much of school and should return with the children tomorrow. We spotted this fine specimen of a (Foghorn)Leghorn and of course the children were ecstatic to see a "real" rooster. I'm not sure where they've been seeing fakes...but I digress.

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In the conversation that followed, I may as well have packed my snack for recess on the spot.

Ash - "Look Mommy! A REAL rooster! Do you think it's a girl or a boy rooster mommy?"

Me - "I dunno honey, it's kind of hard to tell in birds."

Brief pause. Sound of giggles behind me. I turn to see Hotty Hubby just killing himself laughing.

Me - "WHAT?!"

Hotty Hubby - "Meg. It's a ROOSTER"

Me - "Yeah. And?"

**CLICK**

Me - "ooooohhhhhhhh"

Clearly, I made the right decision when I chose NOT to homeschool my children.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4...tell me that you love me more

It's official folks. We are now the best parents ever according to the spawnlets. Why, you ask? Well let me tell you.....

Because we took the spawn (ages 4 and 6) to their first official adult concert. Ever. Because we rock. Because it seemed like fun. Because it was..well...it was free.

Yeah ok, I admit I'm a cheapskate but I'm a fun cheapskate so there.

This weekend was a long weekend here in B.C as we celebrated BC Day and more importantly the 150th anniversary of BC being...umm...BC? Clearly I need to brush up on my Canadian History but that's another topic altogether.

So, the Canadian government (such as it is) gave B.C. $6.6 million to put on these festivities all over the province and what we got here in Victoria was fantastical. The Snowbirds did a wee bit of a fly past, there was free entry to all sorts of touristy places all over the city and on Monday there was multiple free concerts.

We braved the masses and headed downtown, determined to find a parking spot even if it meant I had to pay a parking ticket or pay to get my car out of impound. After parking on the 7th floor of a parking garage, we threw the youngest in a stroller and dragged the whining 6 year old down the streets teeming with people who had a look in their eyes like they hadn't been out of the house in two years. You know...this look....


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As we walked through the heat, down through the Inner Harbour towards the grounds of the Legislature Buildings, we could hear Sarah McLachlan singing away and she was rockin' it. We'd already managed to miss Colin James so we sped up. What we neglected in our hurry, because we're such fantastic parental figures, is to feed the spawn. So by the time 8pm rolled around they were starving.

Hotty Hubby left me and the spawn standing by the Legislature and off he went in search of nourishment. In his absence, the kids and I got to listen to Sarah croon away and then this kid by the name of Shawn Hlookoff hit the stage. I first heard of him back in November when Remembrance Day rolled around here in Canada and he had penned a song as a tribute to all our soldiers. Well, while the video below might not show it, the boy can certainly rock it. He's 23 but it certainly making his name known.




By the time Hotty Hubby made it back, he'd managed to miss Sarah and Shawn singing but at least he came bearing food. I think the kids might have chewed on him if he'd come empty handed. Did you know that for a mere $23 (!!) you can buy 4 hot dogs and 4 cans of pop from a food stand in Victoria?? I know. Bloody ridiculous. Yet, there's not much I can say after he'd gone all the way to the other side of town to get it all and missed most of the concerts.

So, we ditched the stroller by a tree and trekked into the crowd to see if we could find ANY green space that was within view of the stage and/or jumbotrons. Aha! There's a big space, let's go there! Sit children, eat...for the cool people will be on stage soon. As I stood up to stretch my legs (I'm old and can't sit in those positions for long), I noticed a "gentleman" and his wife behind me. He looked like he had a broom shoved firmly up his arse and I thought perhaps he might be related to the bank lady and if he wasn't his pursed looking wife certainly might be. Seems they had likely been sitting in their chairs all day, listening to the music and enjoying the atmosphere and had so far not had any ingrates dare to stand in front of them. Well, now the "big show" was getting geared up to start and we appeared.

Don't get me wrong, it pisses me off as much as the next person when some giant behemoth plants their ass (or head) in front of me or my children and blocks our view, but usually a politely worded "get the fuck out of the way" works wonders no?

I sat back down again, and watched more people fill in around us to watch the final concert. The next time I stood up again to stretch my legs, I felt someone standing right up against me!! I turned and it's the "gentleman" from behind us. Clearly he and his wife had voted in favour of intimidation vs politeness and so he was doing his best to scare me into sitting. This MAY have worked had I not been a good 3 inches taller than him. I glared, he sat back down. The distance between us by this time had grown to a good 15 feet thanks to us moving forward a few times as more space opened up.

By the time the last show was ready to start, ALL the space around us had been filled in with people. Standing people! And buddy with the broom filled arse was sitting there looking mightily pissed off. At least by this time I could honestly say it wasn't ME standing in front of him anymore.

Anyway....show starts...and I look down to see CJ laying on the grass at my feet. Asleep. Yeah.

So, Hotty Hubby, Ash and me rocked it out ......to FEIST!! Yeah baby. Free concert. Feist playing. Topped off a relatively awesome afternoon. My six year old, it turns out, is rather a Feist fan and would like me to get her the CD. Go figure. I knew my musical tastes varied widely but this girl takes the cake. Hannah Montana, Feist, System of a Down and Mozart. Uh huh.

We stayed til just before the last song and then made a break for it so as not to get stuck in the herd of cattle crowd. On our way out my snide, vindictive and..I'm not ashamed to admit...bitchy side rose to the surface and I looked broom guy straight in the eye (which was hard given the people now standing DIRECTLY in front of him) and said "I'm guessing we're the least of your worries now eh buddy?!". I was met with shocked spluttering from both him and his wife and it was a perfect finish to the evening.

And now, I bid you adieu and leave you with a little ditty from my daughter's new love. Feist.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'll have another one when you do. How's that work for ya?

Back at the beginning of July, I took part in a cyber-baby-shower for Lollie over at Lollies Follies. Well, madam has birthed the spawnlet and still looks as good as ever. And the baby is pretty cute too. You can check out Lollie and her follies over here.......be sure to leave a congratulations message for her!

On the subject of babies, I am constantly amazed at how often I am asked when I am planning on squeezing another melon out of my body. Like it's anybody's business but mine right? Lately I've begun to wonder if this question, invariably uttered by the well meaning yet nosy old folks around here, is perhaps as bad as asking an overweight woman when she's due. Either way, the question illicits the same reaction from me now. Let's just say, if you ask me when I'm due or when I'm going to have another one, I might just have to pinch your nipples in a vice grip while muttering "I'll have another one when that starts feeling good".

There was a time when just holding a baby would make me well up with tears and get all broody. This started when I was about 15, much to the dismay of my mother. Consequently I babysat mostly annoying toddlers that would do away with any desire to have children so early. This mysterious affliction of mine stayed with me, apparently incurable, until just a year ago. CJ was 3 years old, finally potty trained and sleeping and it hit me smack in the middle of the forehead that I did NOT want another one. I'll get my baby fix from all the friends who are pushing them out.

This doesn't seem to stop the busybodies. I can tell them til I'm blue in the face that we're done, that two is just fine for us, that I might have to ship the extras to their house if we do in fact (by some miraculous conception - Hotty Hubby had the snip) get preggo again and they give me that lopside grin and the condescending tone while saying "Oooh sweetie, you don't know what you're missing!"

I don't? Is there some other string of events that everyone else got when they had children that completely bypassed me? Am I missing sleep filled nights, children who use the potty from birth and no projectile vomiting? If so...sign me up. But as far as I can tell, the explosive diapers that compounded the grand total of 2 hours sleep a night, to be followed by a teething baby chaser were what most people got....and I'm done thanks very much. However (!!) if you ever find a way for Hotty Hubby to give birth, I'm game for letting him do it all.

And as for asking me when I'm due?? Yes, we get it, I'm overweight. Nay...I'm fat. There I said it. But unless you see me having contractions 2 minutes apart and that baby's head sticking out from between my legs, you might want to think twice about asking me when I'm due.

I'm just sayin'.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

18 years comes to fruition today

The summer that I was 11 years old, we were living in Wiltshire, England. That same summer, I was sent away. I was to go and stay with my step-grandparents in Plymouth. I wasn't entirely sure how long I would be there, but I knew I had to go. See, my mother was pregnant and was due any day. So off I went for a time, until one day we got the call. A screaming, pooping bundle of middle of the night torture for the rest of my life beautiful baby girl had been born.

That girl, that bundle of joy now so often referred to by everyone, was named Hannah Kathleen. She....is my sister.

From the very beginning the child worked her way into my heart in the best ways. Although she was bald for a very long time, she somehow managed to be one of the cutest kids my 11 year old eyes had seen. Of course, now that I have my own children I think she has to rate third on the Cutest Kids Ever list, but I'm pretty sure she can deal with that.

Over the next few years, I became her biggest supporter and her biggest tormenter (umm...sisterly duty..duh). She followed me around, I pushed her away until I grew up enough to realise it was because she loved me and looked up to me. I was her babysitter (STILL unpaid by the way) and her defender against the evils of the world.

When I was 16 I went away to boarding school and had to leave her behind in Germany. Part of me wanted to rejoice at the thought of going away and not having to be the glorified babysitter anymore, but a bigger part of me knew I was going to miss the little rugrat. After two years of intermittent visiting in the school holidays, we all moved to New Zealand....where I promptly decided I was a big girl now and could live on my own. I could still see my baby sister though. Perhaps not so baby anymore. She was 8.

But at 21, when I decided to move back to Canada, I knew that I was making the biggest and most life altering decision of my life. Not big like "oooh I'm moving to a new country" or starting a new job, but big like "I'm leaving my little sister behind".

It's been 7 1/2 years since I left my 10 year old sister behind in New Zealand. In that span of time I've seen her only a few times.

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I am incredibly grateful for the wonders of modern technology for allowing me to keep up with the happenings of my beautiful sister. In the last 7 1/2 years she had grown from a snotty little brat little kid into a smart, elegant, beautiful, witty, funny young woman.

This girl.......no.....this woman, excels at everything she sets her mind to. Homeschooled since she was 9, she had acheived high grades and honours. She went back to school this year in preparation for university and is just as much a keener a top student there as always.

Hannah is a phenomenal musician, playing a multitude of brass instruments in more than one band. She's got a great head on her shoulders and a good sense of self. I often tell her she gives teenagers a bad name because she does her homework, cleans up after herself, is responsible and and and and and....but truthfully? I think she's awesome.

She is proud of herself (I hope), her acheivements and her devotion to her religion. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and anyone who breaks that heart had better watch out, because big sister will come to hurt you...well I would if I wasn't thousands of miles away but the sentiment is there.

My name is Meg and I look up to my little sister. She is one of the best people to enter my life and I'll be forever grateful to have her as a sister.

Hannah turns 18 today. Happy Birthday little sister. You're beautiful and I love you.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a good thing he loves me. You love me right honey?

Recently Hotty Hubby has expressed some concern about the way I have represented him here on my wee bloggy. I'm not sure who he thinks is reading my drivel but he seems to be somewhat torn between laughing at the way I portray him and worrying that some RCP (that's Randomly Connected Person) will read my words and begin to see him in a different light than the one he should be viewed in - dim, preferably with a slightly coloured hue.

Until today I had laughed off his worries and told him not to be so silly. Hardly anyone reads this crap anyway, and the ones who do? Well most of them don't know us personally. Those who DO know us personally know that he is so much more than the bumbling idiot I might have deliberately inadvertently portrayed him as.

But then today, I was cruising the blogroll over at All Mediocre and one of the blogs that caught my eye was Frogs In My Formula. She just so happens to have a post up right now about how her husband is worried that everyone will think he's a jerk.

Well shit. Maybe Hotty Hubby is right? But wouldn't that mean the world was ending? And as far as I can tell, the moon is still in sky as I write this.

I haven't been doing this blogging thing very long, and often times it can be hard for me to come up with something to write about, let alone something that can be turned into a good read. I mean, I could sit here and drone on about what I did today, and how much my groceries cost and blah blah blah. But I'd like to think I have a little bit more of an entertaining mind than that. After all, the title of this blog is "Mind of a Mad Woman".

So, I've latched onto the "Mad" in said title and run with it. As a result you'll find me blathering about my spawn and Hotty Hubby. Occasionally I might throw in a little ditty about how my life would be so much better different if it weren't for the questionable actions of my mother.....or the way I got suspended from boarding school for a week when I was 16 (long story - another day). I'll even throw in a few posts here and there about my thoughts on religion, politics etc. All the stuff I hate to love.

But on the whole my blog, like my life, revolves around the strange beings residing in my house. So should I be more careful about what I say about him on here lest some random stranger read it and bring it up years later at a "Husband's Widowed by their Wife's Blog" convention? Or is it ok to continue on as I have been, as long as I throw in a few sappy posts like this one .

For the record, my Hotty Hubby is a rockin' individual who loves his kids with all his heart, despite the multiple injuries they seem to incur when with him. He also happens to love me for some strange reason and I really can't complain about that. I mean, he IS hot. Like, duh.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm better than you are...neener neener!!

I am a perfect mother. No really, I am.

Doesn't every mother, every parent wish they could say that and actually have it be true? I certainly wish I could, but the most I can say right now is that I do my best, and sometimes that just isn't good enough. And I always find myself comparing my parenting skills to that of the hippy chick in the park or the hoity toity mom in the supermarket or the stressed looking mama trying to wrangle the kids into the car just so that they can get home for some quiet time.

Why do we do this as parents? I think us mothers are more guilty of it than anyone, but it seems to be a universal trait attributed to anyone who has the misfortune pleasure of have at least one spawnlet cruising around the house. I have been in groups where all the women do is talk about other moms and how awful their parenting is.

"Oh did you see her yesterday, she was letting little Timmy drink pop. MY kids won't be getting any pop til he's 30, and that's only if he can keep his basement room clean"

"I heard she let's the kids watch more than an hour of tv a day. Those are the kids that will getting remedial classes come high school"

You know the drill. We've all heard it, and I'm sure if most of us were honest we'd admit to actually doing it on occasion. I was especially guilty of it when Ash was a baby. I thought it was something I had to do as a right of passage into parenthood or something. If I didn't do it, I would be shunned by all the other mamas at the overcrowded disorganized playgroup. Truth is, the minute I got up and walked away from the group doing the gossiping...they'd be talking about me. So, as I have progressed down the road in the last 6 years, I have tried to be better about not doing those things anymore. Well, not often.

One thing I can tell you though, is that I am a much better parent than my husband. Well duh!

It's not a case of my form of discipline being better (it is), or me being more fun (I am) or even the fact that they love me more than him (they do). I know I am a better parent purely because my children get injured faaaar more often when in his care than in mine.

When Ash was about 18 months old, I decided to take advantage of the fact that Hotty Hubby was home on a weekend and go get my hair done while he took her to the park. 2 hours later, I had the most fantastic hair ever with awesome highlights & lowlights, all straightened and framing my face beautifully. I could never have predicted how awesome I'd look...ummm.....where was I? Oh, 2 hours later H.H showed up to retrieve me before I spent a couple hundred more dollars and before I could even utter a hello he was launching into a spiel about how sorry he was and it wasn't really his fault - all while shielding her behind his legs. When she was finally allowed to peek out from behind him, I understood. My poor baby girl had her face all scraped up with bits of gravel still embedded in it. Seems H.H had stood behind her on each trip up the ladder to the slide and she had no problem. So he went to sit down for the 9th try. It would be on this attempt that she fell. Backwards. Onto her face.

"But it's ok cos there was a nurse there who checked and her neck isn't broken"

Gee you think?

Or the time that I went out for a movie with friends and returned to see him standing in the hallway all twitchy, waiting for me to open the door. "I'm so sorry. It wasn't my fault. I told her to stop". She'd pulled a cupboard (that I'd asked him to secure to the wall a million zillion few times) and it had tipped, sending a very heavy candle holder down onto her head.

"But it's ok cos I put a bandaid on her and sent her to bed"

Um. Not so much honey. See that gash there? That requires stitches.

Or the time that we had friends over (about 20 of them) for a bbq party in our new house and I left to go pick up beer so that I didn't have to deal with all the kids anymore (priorities people!). 15 minutes later I returned to hear "HIDE THE BOY!! She's back!!"

Lots of scurrying, some whimpering from CJ, and "I'm so sorry! It wasn't my fault! He just FELL!" CJ fell of the kid's picnic table in the backyard and smacked his eye. Big, swollen, black & blue.

"But it's ok cos I put some ice on it and fed him some pop!"

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See? I am the better parent. When they are in MY care they just fall backwards off bus stop benches and crack their skulls, walk along the backs of couches & fall off onto hardwood floors and fracture their arms, bounce on their beds and crack their jaws on the headboard when they fall, or run out in front of cars multiple times.

What kinds of interesting injuries have your children had? And who is the better parent?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Are we going to play with our friends balls today??

I spent much of my youth in the UK and on British Air Force Bases in Germany. Needless to say, most of the tv we watched was British. Eastenders, Coronation Street, Blackadder...all sure to entertain the adults. But what about the kids? What did the little ones watch?

Obviously, there was the normal cartoon fare that we all grew up with, but the British also have a flare for adding a little something special to the tv listings. Nowadays there's the creepyover-inflated Teletubbies and Barney, both of whom would be better off as roadkill reel in the kidlets like a moth to a flame. But back then, there was Rainbow.

Like many of you, I have a soft spot in my heart for the dry British humour which they seem to be able to execute with the perfectly deadpan face. They are also pros at injecting the sexual innuendos and double entendres into everything they say and do. Apparently, when they weren't shooting the kids shows, they needed something to occupy their time so they shot episodes that, well, weren't altogether PG if you knew what their meaning was.

And so, without further ado (and to take the place of the witty post I had intended to write before extreme fatigue and writer's block struck me down like lightning to a tree, I bring the 18A version of Rainbow.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh what a journey...

Dear Ashlee,

I first suspected I was pregnant with you for the normal reasons....which will be explained to you at a more understanding age. I wandered around the grocery store's pharmacy section for almost 30 minutes before I gathered the courage to actually touch the shelves holding the wide variety of pregnancy tests.

When you're older and get to see the movie Juno, you can picture your mother in that same role, just a few years older. I pissed away, quite literally, about $60 in preggo tests. That a big huge you're pregnant dumbass plus sign appeared on the first one was not evidence enough for your mommy. No sirree Bob. I needed to take at least 5 more to make sure some asshat in the next stall over wasn't putting some weird mojo over on me in some extraordinary attempt at a joke.

Having finally accepted the fact that there was indeed a bun in the proverbial oven, I then needed to find a way to tell your father. As proven with the multitude of pee sticks used, I can take awhile to get to the end result. Consequently, I have officially known you for 3 days longer than Daddy has. There are days when I wonder if this is a good thing or not, depending on your attitude to life in general.

You have made life incredibly interesting from the get go my dear. This last year has proved no different.

It was incredibly difficult for me to send you off to kindergarten in September. To hand you over to another person and trust that they would care for you, teach you and not kill you when you screamed at them for looking at you the wrong way for the umpteenth time in row, was one of the hardest things I have had to do since birthing you (which by the way hurt like a mofo). I consider myself incredibly lucky that you ended up with Mrs. Shortt for a teacher, the woman has the patience of a Saint.

You have grown from a Dora loving, Treehouse watching pre-schooler with a temper to rival that of Beelzebub himself into a girl who worships Hannah Montana and has a temper to rival...oh yeah...Beelzebub. Your relationships with everyone around you are deep and profound. You care for your friends with all your heart and go out of your way to see them happy. Even your relationship with your little brother seems to be blossoming in some ways. You have graduated from the pinching and scratching when he looks at you, to just hauling off and punching him directly in the head. His screams of protest seem to give you great delight and even a stern warning from me is just a drop in the pond of words to you. The boy follows you around, worships the very ground you deign to tread on with those big boat feet of yours, and on the odd occasion you acknowledge his presence while in public (because heaven forbid any stranger see you interact with him), that mere act sends him over the edge.

I sometimes worry that there is a teenager stuck in your small body. When you roll your eyes at me and sigh for the third time in as many minutes to really emphasize the fact that you do not in any way care for what I am telling you. When you stomp up the stairs and slam your door to the sounds of my "If you slam that door one more time I'm going to haul it off it's hinges". When you scream that you hate me.

Those worries are all overshadowed by the beautiful, smart, loving girl that you are growing to be. Yesterday when I heard you reading "Room on the broom" to your brother, I caught a look on his face that was just pure awe. His big sister was reading to him, spending time with him....slumming it for just a few minutes. You have caught the reading bug from me, and it makes me so happy to see you sitting with a book, soaking up the knowledge and using your imagination to fill in what the pictures don't show you. Somehow you inject princesses into almost any story, and it seems almost plausible that the witch on the broom might have come across a princess who can kill the dragon.

You recently had your very first sleepover which caused me to lose sleep for the days leading up to it. It just couldn't be possible that I had a child who was old enough to sleepover at anyone's house that wasn't direct family. There was nobody that old in MY house. I had babies for cripes sake! You and Hope were up very late that night, constantly coming down to both Auntie Tif & Uncle Dan. It made me smile to know that you were so very happy and having fun.

I'm still rather in denial about this day. 6 years ago today I was holding you in my arms and snuggling up to the most beautiful baby girl I had ever had the pleasure of seeing. Today, you are still that baby girl. You always will be.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. Daddy and I love you so very much. I wish I could bottle up the energy and joy that you carry with you every day, if only so that I could keep up with you.

You are an amazing little girl.

I love you

Mommy

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Vampires, long weekends and kissing girls....

It was brought to my attention recently that I am currently living life rather like those of the undead persuasion. At first, I couldn't decide whether or not to take offense at this, but have since decided that given my current career choice and the effects of the weather of late, that these people could perhaps be correct.

In case I have forgotten to mention in the past, I work at night. When all of you are tucked safely in your beds dreaming of whatever it is that rocks your boat (for me it's a cross between Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy right now), I am hard at work performing my duties as a Night Auditor for a local hotel chain here in sunny Victoria. Alright, "hard at work" might be stretching the truth just a tad but I'm working for at least part of the night. I arrive here at 11:30pm after a mere few hours of evening napping time, and I do the financial balancing act that is required of me and fax in a few reports. This takes me til about 2am and then I find myself actively searching out things to do. Often it is harder than one would think. Ideally I would like to tuck myself into a corner and sleep, and logistically it is possible. Problem is, all I can hear is my mother's voice in my head telling me how incredibly wrong it would be for me to do so. And so instead I prop my eyes open with toothpicks and listen to CMT all night in an effort to stay awake.

When I mentioned to friends that I was taking this position, I think it just confirmed in their minds that I am indeed insane. Why on earth would any smart, non-crazy person take a job like this when they have children at home? Especially with summer vacation coming up?? Um, because now I don't have to pay for daycare of course. That's the stock answer I give everyone. And it's true....mostly. No more paying $1200+ in daycare fees every month. Instead, the only thing I am paying is the devil. I had to trade in my beaten and battered soul to be able to stay awake for the peanuts I'm making in a business I did not go to school for. Is it worth it? Sure. I sit on my ass for 8 hours a night and get paid for it. I watch tv, I read my books (vampire themed oddly enough) and I blog away. It's 5:30am right now and here I be.

So, I am up all night and attempt to sleep during the day - tres bloodsucker no? Another point in favour of that theory is that I burn when the sun comes into contact with my skin. I kid you not, today I took the kids to the playground to run off some energy and in the first 10 minutes of being there, despite the copious amounts of sunscreen I had drowned myself in, I was a beautiful shade of crimson that rather reflects the intense screaming pain that I am feeling in my back on and off. The spawn, on the other hand, had hopped out of the car and shedding their clothes as they ran, had promptly gone about 10 shades darker brown and now look as if they could pass for the child from the Jungle Book.

Clearly they get their colouring from Hotty Hubby and I have to ask how fair this is. Why could my mother not have thought 30 years into the future and married someone who might actually provide me with some sort of gorgeous skin pigmentation to compliment my naturally blonde hair and blue eyes? Would it be too much to ask? Harumph.

In other news from the land of the bloodsucker (that'd be me, for those who are a bit slow)....it was Canada Day weekend here this past weekend. This means tons of tourists come up here with their fanny packs and their socks & sandal combos (MAJOR fashion faux pas people...come on!) and they walk as slowly as possible around this city of mine, and take in the sights. Victoria is a beautiful city to visit, and this weekend was glorious. The Tall Ships were in town for the first time in 2 years, and the sun was out for all 4 days. The street performers were raking in the dough, and the vendors who populate our inner harbour peddled their wares to the unsuspecting crowds.

(**side note...if you ever come to Victoria in the summer months, be sure to keep an eye out for the Darth Vader violin player....you'll have really seen it all then**)

A note of advice for all you folks who might be planning trips, to anywhere, in the near future. If you are going somewhere for a weekend...especially a holiday weekend....and plan to stay in a hotel - BOOK A ROOM IN ADVANCE. Now, I'm not one to complain (much) as quite honestly some of these people gave me something to do at 3am....but wouldn't you think that if you knew you were going to be somewhere and need a hotel room that you'd reserve one? Just a thought. Every single hotel in town filled up fast and some of the high end places were charging upwards of $400 a night for their rooms. Bloody ridiculous, and yet people were paying it because they hadn't had the foresight to reserve ahead of time. Well, consider me your foresight!!

On a final note... have you heard this song? Katy Perry is a rather, umm, eccentric girl to say the least but the vast majority of her music is pretty decent. Her most recent song is getting a LOT of air time here and has become the new fave song of my soon to be 6 year old daughter, temporarily replacing Hannah Montana. As she belted this out at full volume in the backseat of the car the other day in the grocery store parking lot, it prompted a round of glares and "tsk tsks" from the old ladies waiting for their taxis. The old me would have turned the radio off and told Ash to stop singing, for fear that I be judged on my poor parenting skills. Now? I turned it up and sang along with her. Look at me! All growed up!


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Too sexy for this blog.....

Oh readers, if you could have seen me this past week. Or heard me. You'd have thought I was so smoking hot. I mean really, truly attractive. You would have been hard pushed to look away and find something hotter.

How does it get better than someone like moi, laying flat on their back in extreme pain, coughing and hacking up a lung? I sound like someone with TB in the old Westerns.

You know you want me right now.

I had so much more to write but it is stinking hot outside and in today and I think I sweated out all my motivation. Perhaps tomorrow will bring cooler temperatures and a newfound desire to write more of my book and blog away.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A bittersweet day....

Dear Mrs. Shortt,

Ever since I found out I was going to be a mother, one of the biggest decisions I wrestled with was over that teeny tiny matter of education. For years, I vowed that I would homeschool because there couldn't possibly be a school or a teacher that could live up to my high, yet uninformed, ideals.

Then, a friend told me about Rogers and I began to rethink things. Quite the dilemma...a life of instructing the children myself and losing a great deal of hair from the stress, or handing them over to a school that had a great reputation and hoping for the best. For the sake of my sanity and the mortal well being of the kids, I chose the latter and registered Ash at the school. Meeting you at the New Parent night gave me another glimmer of hope that my baby girl might actually do ok on this journey.

Over the past year, I have seen Ash continue to grow in fantastic ways. To have her come running from her classroom with a huge cheesy grin on her face, looking as pleased as can be, saying "Guess what Mrs. Shortt taught us today!", gives me a great feeling inside.

To know that you have dedicated your life to teaching these most precious gifts that are our children is wonderful, but to know that you also have made time to love and teach each of them individually is especially great.

You have given my beautiful daughter a fantastic beginning to her school life. I still remember my first teacher and I have no doubt that 20 years from now, Ash will still be talking about "Mrs. Shorty Pants who lives on a farm".

Thank you for loving my daughter. Thank you for encouraging her extraordinary love of reading and showing her how to enjoy and excel at the rest of her academics while still taking the time to play.

Most of all, thank you for being such a wonderful person and amazing teacher that all of us parents love.

We'll miss seeing you every day next year. We may have to bribe the administrators to get CJ into your class when he's ready.

Best Wishes
M & C

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