Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A beautiful life

Often I find quotes or short stories that resonate. Poetry that fires up those synapses and gets me thinking about the bigger picture. For my birthday, my father gave me a card that did just that. It's a Hallmark card and the message is one I think maybe my dad has been trying to relay to me in some way. It's also a lesson that I have been learning for myself in recent months after certain events. I wanted to share it with you.

How to make a Beautiful Life: Reflections for a Daughter on her Birthday

Love yourself.
Make peace with who you are and where you are at this moment in time.
Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying in this noisy world, make time for yourself.
Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.
Take chances.
Make mistakes.
Life can be messy and confusing at time, but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path might be a stepping-stone.
Be happy.
When you don't have what you want, want what you have.
Make do.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.
There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to make your own way.
To know where you're going is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been, too.
And if you ever get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.
Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that's inside you.
Make a beautiful life...The kind of life you deserve.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clean Up Stage Left!!

Whence spring these inclinations, rank and strong?
And harming no one, wherefore call them wrong?

Those are the words of an anonymous author from 1833. It was written in defence of one Captain Nicholas Nicholls who was sentenced to death by hanging. His crime? Sodomy. He was gay. In the society that I like to associate with, this is not a big deal. But back then, it clearly was.

Over the last 150 plus years, the LGBT movements have come to the forefront of politics, social mindedness and water cooler discussions in a big way. 11 years ago, Ellen DeGeneres "came out" to the world as a whole on Oprah. Later, her character on the show Ellen did the same thing. From there on out ratings slid and the show was later cancelled. She went back to doing stand up and has since gotten herself a great talk show. She's hilarious, she's a great entertainer, and she's gay. Big deal right?

Wrong. The other day, the California Supreme Court overturned a previous ban in the state and announced that henceforth, gay marriage was A-OK. This has sparked almost as much discussion in the media as the election and the war.

After the Supreme Court announced their decision, Ellen used her show as a medium for an announcement of her own. She was getting Portia De Rossi.

Cue the media storm! Holy Shitballs...did she say she was marrying a chick? What IS the world coming to? In a recent article in Gaywired, one Wendy Wright was quoted comparing the marriage of Ellen to her lesbian partner to the shit storm that has become the polygamist compound in Texas.

“We need to look at the consequences of that and we can look at the polygamy community in Texas. There are consequences. When you redefine marriage to mean anything it can mean nothing. Once you start breaking down and claim that marriage can be something other than between one man and one woman, you do open the doors to it being anything.”

Seriously lady??! First of all.....who was it that decided that marriage could ONLY be between man and woman? is this anything like the dudes shacking up with multiple women in Texas?

As if this wasn't bad enough, Greg Gutfeld from Fox commented that Ellen announcing her plans on her show was akin to "having a bowel movement on air". When I read that, I just about peed my pants with laughter. And then I flashed to an episode of Oprah with Tom "Scientology Rules" Cruise jumping all over the couches. I'd say that was closer to a bowel movement on air than anything.

If Ellen wants to marry a chick, let her. If she wants to announce it on HER show, let her. If one of my dear friends announced she was marrying her girlfriend, I'd be jumping for joy. She's happy. Shouldn't that be all that counts?

How does Ellen marrying a woman, or ANY same sex couple getting married affect YOUR marriage in any way, shape or form? Does the mere act of them getting married and then *eep* having sex mean that you now need to take some extra credit courses at the local community college to brush up on how best to perform the mundane missionary sex that you're used to? Ahhh....maybe you're pissed off that someone is getting better sex, better conversation, and better SHOES than you are.

You know what? SUCK IT UP!!

Ellen....(not that you would EVER read my blog)....I jumped around my kitchen doing a happy dance when I saw you announce your engagement to Portia. I seriously had tears of joy in my eyes.

Wendy Wright.....Fark Off.
Greg Gutfeld.....yeah...same to you buddy.

Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgendered.....what do ALL of these have in common?? Yeah...we're all human. All the same species, all living on the same planet (physically anyway). Deal with it.

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Why didn't I think of this??

Over the past 3 years, 9 months and 2 weeks (thank you Lilypie for the exact count), I have heard numerous times, from numerous sources, how CJ's health issues could have been prevented.

If only I had breastfed him, not fed him peanut butter so early, introduced solid foods more slowly, slept hanging upside down from a clothesline, spun in circles while in labour or eaten less garlic and onions while pregnant. I'm sure you'd be astonished to learn that all this expert advice came not from a doctor, but from mere strangers. Passersby on the street. People in waiting rooms. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I was to get this advice, this sage wisdom, all from people who have NO FREAKING IDEA what they're talking about!

CJ is lactose intolerant, and has "sensitivities" (they won't classify them as allergies) to tomatoes, oranges, pineapple, and strawberries. He also has asthma that we are finally able to control without multiple emergency hospital trips. I cannot even begin to describe the guilt that I saddled myself with, but suffice to say that the saddle is large enough for a sumo wrestler and his girlfriend to be quite comfortable lounging in.

Could I have prevented some of these issues of his? Possibly. But what fun would that be? How boring would my life be if I had been the perfect parent that some of these others CLEARLY are and done nothing to jeopardize my spawn's health. Well, I haven't the faintest idea what I would do with myself from day to day.

While there are times that I wish I could wind back the clock to the day he was born, and force my unwilling body to produce that much needed milk despite the infection it was already fighting, I am just completely unwilling to repeat the hundreds of sleepless nights and shitty diapers. So asthma it is. Suck it up people.

What I did NOT know back then was that there was something I could have done to prevent all of this. I could have saved my son, myself and all these strangers a lot of time and advice giving if I had just done one thing.

Dropped my son off the top of a building onto a trampoline.

Yeah. That's what I said too. But it appears that the parents in India and other Hindu & Muslim cultures have got the market cornered on how to ensure a healthy, strong child. Go up onto the roof of a building and hurl the screaming, shit covered spawnlet out into mid-air and hope like hell that the people with the trampoline/sheet below aren't smoking the wacky t'backy are paying attention.

Wonder if there's a limit on the height of the building and the drunkeness of the parents?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Pop! goes the Victorian

It's been days since my last entry and I have no real excuse other than the fact that by some miracle Spring finally decided to grace us somewhat permanently with its presence. For the last three days, as proved by my sunburn, we have had beautiful weather.

What astounds me is the number of people that pop out of their holes the minute the good weather hits. It's rather like sitting on the flat lands and watching the Prairie Dogs pop up out of their burrows.


If you're ever looking for some quick entertainment, I highly recommend peoplewatching. As horrifying as seeing all those pasty, lily white legs emerge was, it made me smile. We spend so much of the year complaining about how cold or wet or windy it is, and then the second we have just the eensiest bit of sun, we get sunburned so we have something else to complain about. And of course, that sunburn is a long lasting investment. Think ahead to those days when you are the crazy cat lady or the crotchety old man sitting on your porch yelling at the kids and bitching about how you should have invested more in sunscreen. If you use your brains now, and slather it on, it will totally hamper your chances of a good chin wag in 50 years. So put the bottle down, back away slowly and head back out into the sun.

I, on the other hand, take to hiding in my house. I do not deal well with heat. I think that perhaps in a past life I may have been a polar bear given my love of sleep and cold. My motto has always been something about how I can always add more layers to combat the chill, but if I were to take more layers OFF, I am likely to be arrested for gross public indecency. And that does no one any favours.

Over the next few months you may very well hear more whining on my part about the heat while Hotty Hubby and the spawn frolic in the rays and the blistering heat (which, for the record, is anything above 20C or 68F)

I should look and see if I have any relatives living in the Arctic.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

No that's ok Dad, don't mind me

It's a Monday, and like all Mondays I am lagging behind most of the world. As a result of this unexplainable lag, I find myself musing over various things, cruising the net when I could be cruising the house-cleaning-highway, and I find the strangest things sometimes.

Take this for example. I'm all for spending time with your spawn (if you must) and getting them involved in sports, but there are some people who take it to an extreme. And I can only imagine how the poor kid's mother feels. "Woot! My husband caught a foul ball. My life is now complete. The fact that he didn't DROP MY CHILD ON HIS HEAD is merely a bonus." This guy is probably the same guy who says he is "babysitting" when the children are in his care. Really, who the hell takes their baby to a baseball game, wearing a glove on one hand, with any hopes of catching a foul ball?! Obviously the answer is this guy. I don't think Hotty Hubby would be brave enough to come home if he pulled a stunt like this.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

And then there's this guy (are we sensing a theme here yet?). His parents must be proud. All the other boys make it over the itty bitty jump, but not their son. He decided to hinder his ability to ever procreate. This may be a good option. Note of interest:- The crowd watching this race doesn't rush to his aid, instead they giggle. The other boys run OVER him probably while wincing to themselves. I don't imagine he's overly comfortable.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Just a couple of things for you to mull over.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Six and a half years ago

Just over six and a half years ago, I was causing some concern in my little circle of friends. Hotty Hubby and others thought I was just a little bit crazy. They were right, of course, but not for the reasons they thought. I had been dreaming for weeks that I was walking down the road with a little girl. A blonde little girl. Strange, considering we had not yet had our spawn.

Two weeks later, I peed on that stick that forever changed our lives. Considering the fact that Hotty Hubby and I had only been together for about 3 months, and the fact that he didn't want children til he was closer to 30, it took me 3 days to gather the courage to spring all sorts of wonderful on the man. Obviously, he stuck around. Whether he has ever regretted that decision is beyond me, but if my experiences with the hellions are anything to go by, chances are he's considered the fact that trekking around Outer Siberia might occasionally be a better option.

Before I was a mother, I used to judge a lot. Now? Well. Those women you see in the shopping mall with two screaming children? That's me. The kids that throw sand in your kid's face? Those would be mine. They watch altogether too much tv, they eat way more crap than healthy stuff and they have an attitude that would rival the most devilish of teenagers. But they're mine. They give me hugs and kisses at just the right moments, complete with snot trails and jammy fingers. They love almost unconditionally. I say almost because there are days when I wonder if they might walk out the door if I don't get them that cookie.

It's been rather a rollercoaster of emotions for almost 6 years, and it's been totally worth it. There is no better way to experience life than through the eyes of a child.

It's Mother's Day today. A day devoted to me, my mother, my grandmother, and all of you other moms. My children have made breakfast in bed for me and I have some homemade surprise gifts sitting up waiting to be opened. I never thought I would be so thankful to see yet another piece of paper with handprints and a poem, but I am. I'm a sap.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you. I leave you with a slideshow of my darlings. They make it all worth it.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

If I could be half the woman...

Beautiful. Courageous. Willful. Strong. Steady.

Those are just a few of the words that I have used to describe my mother over the years. That's her up there in the picture. She's on the left of her mom and little sister. Born to a military father in Toronto, Canada in 1953, my mother is one of the most amazing people I know. She is the eldest of 3 girls and gave birth to two girls of her own. Because of my mom, I am the person I am today, like it or not. The good, the bad, and the ugly.....we learned how to deal with it all because of the way my mom dealt with life.

Mom, pregnant with me

(That's mom at Circus World.)

In the late 80s, my mom suddenly found herself a single mom. I have known many people to end up in this position who don't cope very well. Granted, I don't remember much of those years, but from my perspective it was ok. We were ok. My mom looked after me, worked, went to school and held things together as best she could. Then she met a man who would take us away.

She was so in love. He was a smooth British man in the Air Force who knew all the right things to say and he said them. I have pictures of my mom sitting in a field full of flowers and she looks so happy. I have always loved seeing my mom smile. She married that Englishman and we lived all over Europe. By the time I was 11, I had a baby sister and got to see my mom do all the things she must have done with me, and more. She was gorgeous when she was pregnant. She was rather the size of a barge heffalump cow gloriously pregnant woman with a large baby inside her, but she seemed to take it all in stride as was her way.

My mom helped me learn so much. I love to read. I remember that if I couldn't immediately get an answer from mom or find her, chances were she was curled up with a book somewhere. I swear the woman would have lived in a bookstore given half a chance. Some of my best memories involve just sitting around with my mom - reading.

As I got older, and became that hormonal, bitchy, moody, horrible teenager that I dread having in my own house, my mom dealt with me. Sure, I spent many a weekend grounded. I had privileges removed, friends turned away from the door and tv viewing time suspended. I screamed, I yelled - she screamed, she yelled. We drove each other crazy.

My mother trusted me, and had that trust broken. She loved me and had that love thrown back in her face so many times that any normal person would have thrown up their hands in frustration and walked away, but she continued to love me. For years, I never understood it. Then I had my own children.

When I was scared, my mom was there to comfort and protect me. When I got my heartbroken by yet another boyfriend, she was there to offer sage advice and tell me it would all be ok in the end. In recent years, as I watched my stepfather walk away, I wished that I could do the same for her, or at least on the same level.

I am sure that over the last 29 years I have disappointed my mother in many ways. The day I laid my head on her lap and cried and she found out I'd pierced my ears again. The day I wrote her a letter to tell her i'd lost my virginity months before. The day my "friend" stole stuff from a house I was babysitting at, when they weren't meant to be there in the first place. (Yes, I'm a moron).

I've disappointed her, I've hurt her, I've screwed things up time and time again and my mom still loves me.

She is one of the strongest people I know and is a daily inspiration to me in the way she deals with life. Sure, we have had our screaming matches ups and downs, but I cannot imagine my life without my mother. When I need advice, I ask my mom. When I need someone to tell me I'm an idiot, I go to my mom. When I need someone to tell me whether I'm right or wrong, my mom's the person.

Amazing. Inspirational. Role-model. My hero.

Those are a few more words for my mother. I'm sure it would come as no surprise to learn that I've had some other choice words for her over the years either, but I'm pretty sure she's had some choice ones for me too.

It's my mom's birthday today. Technically she's 55 but while she has the wisdom that comes from the experiences she's had over the last 55 years, she still has the heart of a young girl. And the face too. My mom is beautiful.

We don't always see eye to eye but one thing is for sure - if I can be half the woman, half the mother that my mom is, I will be happy.

Happy Birthday Mom! I miss you all the way over there in New Zealand and I love you so much.

Love always,


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Monday, May 5, 2008

Bob the Gorilla needs more to do

I climbed a mountain today. Not only did I climb it, but I reached the top and then dug away at it til it was gone. No more mountain. Take that Sir Edmund Hillary.

Of course, when I say mountain, I am of course talking about Laundry Mountain. There are many mountains in this range but my house is built around just one. The size of this changes from day to day, and often from hour to hour, but it never ceases to amaze me how insurmountable the task of conquering it seems.

I think that my neighbours are sneaking into my house in the middle of the night and piling clothes in my laundry room, dirty dishes on my kitchen counters and papers on every other available surface. There really can't be any other explanation. The spawn are little neat freaks whose rooms are never out of order, Hotty Hubby has never been known to leave his socks and underwear on the floor and me, well I am like the not so famous version of Martha Stewart. I just cannot figure out how they are getting into the house.

As I ran my 10th load of clothes through the machine (yes yes, it's been that long since I did any laundry), I had yet another load in the dryer doing it's second round. There seems to be some sort of issue with the heating element (??) and it takes 2 hours to dry one load of clothes. Bloody ridiculous if you ask me but at least it gives the gorilla that lives in my laundry room something to do.

My goal today, given how much I adore goals and the impossibility of meeting them, was to get my entire house clean. For any normal person, this might be achievable. For me? Far too many distractions. But I did my best. I even decided that for extra motivation, I would challenge a friend to a house cleaning race. This would have been fantastic if the traitorous wretch she hadn't thrown me under the Molly Maid bus given up. Really Alison? One kitchen and you think you're done cleaning. Ha! I laugh in the face of your intelligence.

I honestly had no idea how much dust one cat could create. I have come to the conclusion that the basis of all my home cleanliness problems boils down to this furry little creature and the two rugrats. Cat hair everywhere, it took me 30 minutes to clean CJ's room. The rest of the house looks significantly better, but I really do wish I'd been as smart as my buddy and given up after the kitchen.

I think either I need to give my laundry loving gorilla something more to do, or I need to hire a cleaning lady. Either way works for me.

Anyone want to come keep my house clean for me so I can sit on my ass be productive in other ways?

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Warning: Use of the five letter "B" word ahead

Oh my lovely readers, if you could be where I am today. Or rather, where I was today. Although many of my fellow countrymen are still buried under inches of snow, and freezing their nads off in the cold, the weather here on the Island tends to be, well, a little temperamental. And yet, even on the wettest days, it is still nice.

Today, the weather forecast promised me sun. Did I get it? No. Of course not. That would just be far too lovely. Instead, it rained. More to the point it drizzled. Nothing really worth getting the umbrella out for, but enough to make the grass too wet to sit on, the playgrounds too wet to play in and the swings to wet to swing in. Unless of course you have no objections to a wet ass.

What is not too wet though, on a day like this, is the beach. Yes, that's right, you heard me. Beach, beach, beach. I said it. And I'll say it again - beach beach beach.

A friend and I took our clan of kidlets down to the beach this morning to explore the rocks and the waves and the gross seaweed. The beach is phenomenal place in the wet weather. Little tiny crabs scurrying all over the beach, purple seaweed washed up everywhere, and beautifully exquisite driftwood arrangements. As the kids played in the waves and combed the beach for seashells, my friend and I busied ourselves snapping pictures. When you have four children between the ages of 3 and 6, it can be incredibly difficult to get a good picture at times but when they are busy with that new shell or piece of beach glass, you get some amazing shots.

Sadly, the endless drizzle wears on the patience of the adults and kids alike and after 40 minutes of wetness, and having seemingly acquired every glass and shell that the tide had washed up, we were all ready to leave. We decided to brave the fast fading fuses (oooh alliteration) of the kidlets and go in search of ice cream. Clearly not the best plan we've ever had. Nor was the plan to go to McPuke's to obtain said cold treat. I have recently discovered that when the young Barbie dolls at the golden arches do not feel like making anything that requires being within 2 feet of their ice cream machine, it rapidly becomes "broken". (That's right people, I'm onto you!) Today was one of those days, and we were informed it would be at least 25 minutes before we could have ice cream.

Oh crap. Brace yourself. We have 4 kids who all want ice cream and these idiots minimum wage flunkies people can't be bothered making it. Alright, there's a Timmies across the way, let's go get a donut! My kids, thankfully, were all over that idea. Sadly not so much for the my friends children who were busily demanding french fries. I left her to the battle and sidled over to Timmies. It was at this point that my children were possessed. I'm serious - absolutely possessed by some evil, screaming, powerful force. As they bounced around the restaurant to the sound of my muted threats, I clenched my fists, gritted my teeth and promised myself that by the time we hit the front of the line everything would be peaceful.

I'm not entirely sure when I turned into this naive boob, but I do know that I refuse to be intimidated by anyone under four feet tall. Somehow I found myself dragging two screaming children out of Timmies and out to the car. The possession continued. They screamed non stop for the next 20 minutes. I have never in my life been so tempted to sell my children on eBay.

I'll start the bidding at $200...any takers??

This evening, after much needed naps on the part of both children (yes, they still nap occasionally even at their ages), we dropped Ash at a friends house for a sleepover. I am still firmly ensconced in denial thank you very much. It just simply isn't possible that my daughter is now old enough to be sleeping over at other people's houses. She packed her own bag, got in the car and off we went. After hanging around like the anxious parent I'm not for about 20 minutes, she looked me straight in the eye and said "Can you go now?". WHAT?!? No I can't go. I can't leave my baby at someone's house and go home.

But I did. Hotty Hubby, CJ and I heading to yet another beach (beach beach) and sat around a bonfire with a bunch of wonderful friends who I haven't seen in a while. My dear friend Jen was turning 35 and this was how she wanted to celebrate. CJ decided this was the opportune moment to wade into the water up to his knees and then promptly sat in the sand. That'll make for some fun laundry.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening at the beach, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, eating a scrumptious chocolate cake and carrying on mostly enjoyable conversation. We ended up with a lot of wet sandy kids, and had one small child fall into the fire (but Matt to the rescue!!) with no burns, and by the time we all went home we were fairly confident all the kids were tired enough that there would be no more evil possessions.

Happy Birthday Jen!!

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Friday, May 2, 2008

I'd like a broom and a blender please

As I sat here this afternoon and tried desperately to continue working on my book, I found myself distracted by just about everything else around me. After losing interest in staring out the window, I turned to those little fliers that come with the local free paper twice a week.

I don't actually read the articles in the paper most of the time, if I'm interested in the news, I'll read it online. But the fliers hold a special place in my heart. I am not a shopper. I can happily walk through a mall and only venture into one or two stores. If there is something that I am looking for, I'd like to be in and out as fast as possible. Of course, this philosophy goes right out the window if you take me into a shop that sells yarn, but that is beside the point.

So I'm sitting around shuffling through this pile of fliers (have you ever noticed how much junk we get with our papers now?) and I notice they're all labeled with something along the lines of "Perfect for Mom!". I'd like to know just who determines what is perfect for me. Perhaps I could spend some time with this person. Sure, there's the fliers that are full of jewelery, but the majority of it runs in the thousands of dollars and frankly Hotty Hubby is not the jewelery buying type. The rest of it though, is housewares.

I'd like to meet the woman who would happily smile and appreciate the new broom and dustpan set that her husband took the kids out to buy. Oh! A new apron. You shouldn't have. Really.

I'm a firm believer that unless a woman specifically asks for a household cleaning item for their birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas, that you should not take it upon yourself to purchase it. And even if it has been requested, there should be verification sought at least twice a week until the time comes to purchase. For instance, I once requested an upright vacuum cleaner for Christmas. You'd think the bottom had fallen out of Hotty Hubby's world. Was he brave enough to follow through? At the time, my mother was visiting and he was able to seek reassurance from her that I did indeed want this. Even then, I think he was petrified to present me with the gift on Christmas morning. It was almost as if he'd sooner be giving a bull an enema - as if that might be the safer option.

It occurred to me today that there are likely many other men sitting at home flicking through these little brochures that claim to be a glimpse into the female mind, wondering just what circle of hell they would have had to enter to get something like this past their wife without a specific request. Also, how many women are thinking the same thoughts as me, and polishing their frying pans? I pity the poor man that brings a beautifully wrapped, yet unsolicited vacuum cleaner home to surprise his wife.

I imagine the reason that these companies think they can get away with such advertising is because on Mother's Day, these men can use their spawn as shields. "But really, it was Little Johnny that wanted to get you the new apron and spatula. He just loves your cookies." Yet they persist throughout the year.

Just once, I'd like to see a hot shirtless guy posing with a duster and a can of Pledge. I might be persuaded to buy more useless products if I was able to harbour any delusions that they came with said man. Instead, the images we see more resemble this:

Well, really. Who could argue with that? I'll take a broom for Mother's Day and a blender for my birthday.

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