18
Aug 15

10 things that I think are pretty bitchin’ about being 40-something

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that I usually lean towards complain-y lists that focus on all of the things that are wrong with me and my world. I tend to write about my “struggle” (over-used word alert!) to keep my head above water and to stay on task while trying to improve, enhance and enrich my life and the lives of those who surround me and for whom I am responsible.

With that truth in mind, I have consciously decided to think about things that I usually make conscious decisions to NOT think about, like my age or my weight, or my hair, future aspirations and goals and to commit to think about them with an open mind and not with knee-jerk negative or self-defeating ideas. And it’s been an uncomfortable experience to say the least. And although I was sure that Oprah was full of shit when she aired her 40th birthday show and had her 40-something friends on to talk about how great 40 was, I’m beginning to see some of the beauty of our 40’s. So, sorry for doubting you Oprah. I should have known better.

Here are a few things about being in my 40’s that I am discovering are totally righteous:

1. I’m not in my teens anymore. My hormones are raging, my skin is being a vindictive prick, my boobs aren’t behaving and all I want to eat is junk food and chocolate. Ugh. Shit. Maybe I am in my teens again. Now, where my hairspray, scrunchies and leg warmers at?

2. I can appreciate time so much more now. I spent so much of my life before 40 waiting on or wishing for some  future day when this or that or the other would happen. I think I missed out on really savouring some experiences that I should slowed down for rather than being so busy rushing forward. I have gained some much needed perspective and can now slow down and really see and take in the wonder of NOW.

3. I have great car insurance coverage and rates. I’ve totally become Kathy Bates (minus the red sun visor) in 1991’s ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ so look out younger, cuter, faster, perkier girls, ’cause I could go all Towanda on you in a Walmart parking lot and my insurance wouldn’t even breath hard. (If you don’t get the reference, here’s the clip, but the whole movie is worth your time to watch).

4. I’m still young enough to believe that I have another 50 good years left to accomplish all that I want to accomplish, so I’m not in a panic to get it all done RIGHT NOW. I have lots of time to raise my babies, learn new things, spend time with the people I love and stay up too late reading, writing, or goofing off. BUT, on the flip side, being in my 40’s also grants me the wisdom of how quickly those 50 years can fly by, so I’ll not be wasteful and take them for granted.

5. I may not look as good as I did in my twenties (by some people’s standards), my waist may be is thicker and my skin may be is looser, but since I never appreciated just how smokin’ hot I was back then anyway, I have to say that I prefer the version of ‘me’ that I am now. I’m comfortable in my skin (if not my jeans – yay yoga pants!), and I’m ok with my imperfections, the changes in my skin, body and looks. I don’t need to create an allusion of artificial youth to feel good about myself as a person or a woman. I have a 21-year-old son and four other children. Do I really need to look like I’m still 30? Nope.

Me. So cute. I know it now. But back then, I was 20 years old. About to become someone's mama and so insecure about the size of my dress that I forgot to worry about the size of my heart. I know better now (and I'm still so frickin' cute, but you'll just have to trust me on that because my selfie stick is in the shop *smirk*).

Me. In the early ’90’s being so cute. I know it now. But back then, I was 20 years old. About to become someone’s mama and so insecure about the size of my dress that I forgot to worry about the size of my heart. I know better now (except I’m still so frickin’ cute, but you’ll just have to trust me on that because my selfie stick is in the shop *smirk*).

6. I can be honest with myself and others about my mistakes. In my teens and twenties and into my thirties, I had to be perfect – real or imagined. I kept myself under intense pressure to a) not make mistakes b) not appear to make mistakes and c) not admit to making mistakes. And it was depressing, exhausting and inauthentic as fuck. I’m so much more comfortable and happier now that I allow myself mistakes, allow myself to own and admit my mistakes, apologize for my mistakes, learn from my mistakes and move on from my mistakes. When I didn’t or couldn’t own my mistakes, they held me hostage. Now in my forties, I’m mostly free from that brand of self-inflicted psychological warfare.

7. The realization that so many things just don’t matter has been beyond liberating. As a child, teenager and young adult, I was a social butterfly. I had many friends and was always embroiled in someone’s drama. Usually in the role of advisor or voice-of-reason and not an integral player in the drama, it nevertheless wore me down and made my soul tired and jaded. So many of the situations that we afforded countless hours of our lives to, just did not matter. They should have been cleared up, solved or walked away from within minutes and not revisited. But they were not. I gave the situations much too much attention and life energy, far more than they deserved. And now, I don’t. I let far more things go and I ‘own’ far fewer of other people’s issues. If asked, I will give my opinion or advice, but age (ha!) and experience have taught me that once I share my thoughts that it is then time for me to let it go and move on. This is a very liberating space to be in and one which I’m so glad that I figured out.

8. I’m really enjoying that it’s okay, and even maybe BETTER to be NICE, as Pollyanna as that sounds. Figuring out that I don’t have to be cutting or sarcastic in order to be funny or smart. I can be encouraging, positive and still be witty, clever and make others laugh. Self-deprecating humour is still one of my go-to schticks, but let’s face it. It’s funny, so why would I stop? But I have stopped taking the piss out of others quite so often and quite so brutally. I may poke a bit, here and there, but I no longer take it so far. I’ve learned when to stop before I hurt anyone’s feelings. And I’ve finally realized that it’s okay to just say nothing sometimes. Not for the sake of comedy (although a well-placed look can sometimes be funnier than any words) but rather because it’s better to be quiet than to be insincere, dishonest or hurtful. Not every thought in my head needs to be released into the universe and not every opinion that I have needs to be shared with another person to be valid. And perhaps I’m learning, now in my forties, that just because I may feel frustrated, tired, angry or put out about something, I do not the right nor have I been given free rein to flood my surroundings with negativity and darkness. There is great peace in keeping one’s own counsel at times. Sometimes, silence serves the greater good far better than the temporary and minor relief that follows releasing those vibes into the universe.

9. Just knowing that my life does not end when someone I meet doesn’t like me is a HUGE improvement in the quality of my life over that of my younger years. And the freedom I feel knowing that my life also does not end when my jeans refuse to fit. Nor does it end any those times that I cannot find my chapstick (or keys, purse, or flip flops). It just does not. I keep living, and more often than not, just as happily as before. This is in stark contrast to my life as a teenager when each of those things on their own were deal breakers, and had the power collectively to bring about a complete shutdown. Life was over; cue inconsolable angst. But now, in my forties, those frequent and common moments are barely a blip on my life radar and no longer hold a place on the ‘life is not worth living’ list. Whew!

Exactly this.

Exactly this.

10. I have always had a fair-to-good appreciation for my parental units, I usually liked them and I always loved and admired them. They have, in my estimation, been good parents to me. But as is true in so many other areas of my life, my appreciation has changed now that I am older. Today I can recognize all they did for me and how good my childhood was, largely due to their unending efforts. And no, it was not all sunshine and lollipops in our family. I got in trouble. I talked back, broke curfew, got grounded, lost privileges and was generally an asshole to them during much my adolescence, but they did what parents are supposed to do and they loved me anyway. They supported, encouraged and believed in me, even when I was a jerk, an emotional basket case, or an ill-tempered pain in the ass. Often times I was all three of these beauties at once.

When I think of my parents, I still think of them as being in their 30’s (which I admit is weird since I’m not even in my 30’s anymore). In my mind’s eye they are frozen in time and remain young, healthy, strong superheroes who can rescue my stupid ass from whatever trouble I get it into. Every now and then, something happens to remind me that I may not get to have them forever and I try to be brave and philosophical when those thoughts enter my consciousness. I mean, I am a parent as well, so I like to think that I can relate to parental issues from both sides, but as desperate as I was twenty years ago to NOT be treated like a child and to assert my independence as an adult, I now realize just how much I need and value knowing that to my parents, I will always be a child and they will always have those fierce parental instincts to love, encourage and protect me.

Family trip to California, long before I turned into an asshole but either way, my parents never shied away from travelling with me and showing me that there was so much more to the world than our own backyard. Just one of the very many parenting 'wins' before 'winning' was a thing.

A family trip to California, long before I turned into an asshole but either way, my parents never shied away from travelling with me and showing me that there was so much more to the world than our own backyard. Just one of the very many parenting ‘wins’ before ‘winning’ was a thing.

When I was in my twenties, forty was OLD. Like one-foot-in-the-grave, just waiting to die, old. Now that I’m in my forties, I’m almost embarrassed by how stupid I was in my twenties. Luckily, I’m getting all this shit figured out while I’m still so young and able to benefit from these lessons and live the next 50-odd years a little bit smarter, kinder, and gentler. Although, I imagine that I will still remain mostly unbalanced and prone to moments of assholio outbursts.

You’re welcome.

P.S.  If you’ve not yet ‘Liked’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Followed’ along on Twitter or Instagram or even checked out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on the more frequent micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry – a.k.a. almost daily :)  Come and join me!
 

 


12
Aug 15

I am living with a serial killer and I have the proof

Totally not a joke. For a while I thought it was just a phase. A passing, twisted, gross phase. I’m not a cat person and I’m not a cat. I don’t pretend to know what is normal for cat-beings, and try really hard not to be overly critical but as the bodies start piling up and the violence escalates, I realize that we have a problem here.

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Lucy is a serial killer. Believe me, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Making excuses for her, steadfastly refusing to accept that the crunching sound coming from her general direction was her gnawing on the bones of some innocent soul who dared cross her path. But no more.

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And, while I honestly do appreciate her keeping our home safe from mice and other small-ish yet terrifying creatures (because I’m not a rodent-y person either), being basically a pacifist at heart means that I cannot accept or stomach violence of any kind. This includes mouse-a-cide, bird-a-cide, bat-a-cide and vole-a-cide.

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But now that she’s had the taste of blood, as far as I can tell, she-lion is HUNGRY for more. Our cat food bill drops to almost zero in the summer and it’s not because she’s fasting to fit into her bikini. She’s eating up a storm. She’s just hunting for her breakfast, lunch and dinner. Honestly, at this point, I’m expecting her to drag a deer up the driveway one day soon. She accepts no guidance, acknowledges no limits and refuses all reason.

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Paxton tried to talk her out of her murderous ways when he was three. She had taken down a huge butterfly or moth and Pax happened to be there when it happened:
“Looooocy! Why you hurt dat butterfly? You not a-pposed to hurt  da butterflies! Don’t eat da butterflies! You don’t do dat again. ‘K, Looocy? Pax was very cross with Lucy, sitting in front of her, nose-to-nose, eye-to-eye, giving her hell. What he didn’t realize was that this was not Lucy’s first rodeo and it was unlikely to be her last, and that really we should just count our lucky stars that she didn’t have a hankering for toddler boy that day.

Last summer was her ‘best’ hunting summer. This summer, either she’s slowing down or taking her murder spree underground. Either way, not having to step over and around mouse organs when I’m half-asleep in the morning and just want to get the bins to the roadside, is a nice change, but I still watch my step and always have something on my feet when I step out the door. ‘Cause I would just DIE, I tell you.

Well I thought that she had slowed down until I found this:

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07
Aug 15

Bucket List update – Six weeks in and the results are not so much pretty.

Yikes! I had better step up my game and quickly! I only have four weeks left to get four months worth of challenges done. Oh yeah. I got this.

The many moods and personalities here this summer.

The many moods and personalities here this summer.

Or, maybe I don’t. Here’s the rundown so far:

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
This has fallen by the wayside. While we were away, we were doing a lot of hiking daily, but since we’ve been back, walking to pick up the mail and over to the park is about as much walking as I’ve managed (aside from ‘normal’ walking!)

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
I’ve tidied it up, but it’s still basically the same, in terms of being an abyss of fabric.

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
The kids are on their bikes almost daily. My bike remains hiding in the back of the shed, hoping I won’t remember it. Need to dig it out.

4. Go to the library weekly.
We are killing this one. Aside from the week we were away, we’ve been there every single week borrowing more books and movies. Miranda is addicted to the ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ series. What’s old is new again.

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
No progress on this one yet. Need to get tickets and a date sorted if we’re going to do this.

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
I was thinking to start emptying out the cabinets this weekend, but need to talk to Mr. K.B. about it because I’ll need some help from him to take the cabinets down and figure out the baseboard etc.

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
We’ve been a few times, but they it’s been chilly every day we think of it and other days it’s not fitting into our schedule. But hosing them off in the backyard has worked out well!

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
Still slogging my way through the list. I’ve deleted a few more, since they were time-sensitive and don’t make sense anymore. And a few that were little more than a sentence or two and I no longer remember where I was going with them. And I’ve finished and published a few. Of course, I’ve also added a few new ‘Drafts’ to the list, but I think I’m still coming out ahead on this one so far.

9. Do a big field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
This is happening this month. And Nana is going with us, so we’ll omit the train ride but add TTC buses and subways to the roster. First time for my minions, about the jagillion billionth for Nana and I, but it’s been long enough since I’ve ridden it, that I’m sure it will  be fun. 😉

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
We’re doing well with this one too. Again, aside from the time we were away this summer, we’ve made it into the city to see Nana every week. Is there ever an age when we don’t need our mama’s? I really don’t think that there is.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
I admit that I had forgotten about this goal. I’ll work on it while they are at day camp. Should be able to get all four done tickety-tock.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
Has not happened weekly. May need to adjust this one a bit.

13. Blog twice a week.
I’ve been blogging more consistently, updating the blog’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages with micro-blog posts almost daily. So, I’m calling this one a win.

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
Not done. But it needs to happen this month, so it’s time to pull out the calendar and start scheduling these bigger-type jobs so that I create time to get them done, instead of trying to fit them into ‘leftover’ time.

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Done! I haven’t gotten around to blogging about it yet, but our time there included lots of sunshine, thunderstorms, swimming, fishing, roofing, plumbing, repairs, and destruction. There were books read, puzzles built and wild raspberries consumed on a daily basis. There were bites, stings, and a quiet afternoon spent in the ER (everyone is fine!). All in all, we packed a\lot into our cottage time and can’t wait to do it again (perhaps this time skipping the destruction, stings, and ER 😉 )

Cottage kitchen table. Sums up things well - book, puzzle, bananas, pump manual, water bottles, notebook and pen.

The common view of the cottage kitchen table. Sums up things well – a great book, a difficult puzzle, ripe bananas, a pump installation manual, fresh water bottles, a dead moth, a notebook and a pen. What else could we possibly need?

16. Read one book a week (for myself, no pictures, no large font 😉 ).
I have read TWO complete books – cover to cover. Doesn’t sound like a lot, I know, especially since I was once a book-a-day reader, but two books in five weeks beats the hell out of my last year record of one book for the year…

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
Since we’ve been back, we haven’t ventured too far into the forest, but we’ll likely rectify that this weekend.

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
Nope. Haven’t done it once yet. I think the kids and I will tackle washing the van the week after next, since Mr. K.B. just did a top to bottom wash of it last night. It looks so good now!

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
I have not gotten to this task yet. I did tackle the storage under the stairs, but there is still the kids area, the dance room, the winter gear and kitchen overflow to manage, sort and organize. So far, I’ve pretty much just avoided interacting with the basement.

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minions.
Really need to get on this. Not sure what my issue is, but I just need to pick up the hook or loom and GO. Starting this on Sunday evening.

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This sums things up nicely.

I’m apprehensive to really do an objective analysis of my progress so far, so I’m slipping on my rose-coloured glasses and deciding that I’m going to be happy with what I’ve done so far but also still strive to do more, do better, and have fun with the summertime we have left this year.

P.S. Don’t forget that we’re still updating the Facebook, Instagram and the Twitter pages fairly regularly, so feel free to stop on by and leave a Like, Follow, comment or suggestion or just come by and see what other Keswickian randomness is brewing up in here.


17
Jul 15

Just a rainy day, chocolate-free, word-light post.

I’m a blogger of few words today. It’s rainy, I have a ton to get done, and I am completely out of chocolate. The main issue really is the latter point only, if I’m to be honest.

So, I’m signing off this week of blogging with a few pictures and even fewer words.

I love our library.

I have always been a huge fan of the library. So many books! So many choices!

These are two of the books I’m currently working on. The Food Babe book because I like to read non-scientific hysteria-driven books about food (I’m always looking for ways to motivate myself to eat healthier and am not above scaring the shit out of myself to meet that goal) and Star Island because Skink is BACK! Dirty shower cap, braids, roadkill dinners and all. Lord, I’ve missed him.

My life-long bag addiction remains an active vice.

My life-long bag addiction remains an active vice.

I have carried a ‘purse’ more aptly called a duffle bag for almost ten years. It’s doubled as a diaper bag, emergency supplies bag, snack bag, camera bag, work bag and shopping bag. This is my attempt to get back to a reasonably sized purse. With no zipper, the snap does not stay closed but I have no idea what to stop carrying. It’s all so essential. You’ll notice there are no diapers, so I’ve already eliminated a once essential item. *thud*

This happened this morning. My potato plants have been wilting and dying for the past week or so. And usually, this would mean that there are potatoes ready for harvesting, but it's only JULY and I've always harvested in September/October. So I had pretty much decided that the potatoes had failed, a victim of the crazy amount of rain we've had since I planted them. R.I.P. potatoes, right? WRONG! Here is my mid-July harvest with more plants still alive and more seed potatoes planted, it looks like it's going to be a good year for potatoes after all!

So, this happened this morning. My potato plants have been wilting and dying for the past week or so. And usually, this would mean that there are potatoes ready for harvesting, but it’s only mid-JULY and I’ve always harvested in September/October. So I had pretty much decided that the potatoes had failed, defenceless victims of the crazy volume of rain that has befallen their delicate selves since I planted them in May. R.I.P. potatoes, right? WRONG! Here is my mid-July harvest – 17 beautiful, blemish-free, robust yukon golds with more plants still alive and growing and now more seed potatoes planted, it looks like it’s going to be a good year for potatoes after all! *I’ll spare you the video, but insert my happy dance here*

Sooooooo. Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll likely be offline next week, but I’ll make sure to take notes on the absurdities I encounter while unplugged and report back, with pictures if at all possible.

 


14
Jul 15

Almost three weeks in, time for a 2015 Summer Bucket List Check-In

I thought today may be a good time check in with my Summer 2015 Bucket List and take stock of how I’m doing, where I’m winning and where I’m tanking.

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
I’m calling is a partial – 50/50 win/tank. Room for improvement, so a good walk is on tap for later today. Get ready for it feet!

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
Not yet. Although I did get the suitcase put away in there again, but organized and decluttered the closet is not.

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
The kids have ridden their bikes almost daily. My bike is still hiding in the shed. Probably terrified at the thought of having to cart me around the block a time or two. But I did buy a helmet, so I’m on the right track on this one.

4. Go to the library weekly.
We are rocking this one! The smalls are loving the summer reading club and have been reading like mad. Once or twice a week to the library is our norm so far. Yay, us!

Miranda's rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now - LOL!

Miranda’s rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now – LOL!

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
Not yet. Am thinking this will be an August event.

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
Not even close. I still need to empty the cabinets, take everything off the walls and as Mr. K.B. to sort out the baseboard situation behind the washer and dryer before any real painting can start. So, am thinking this will end up being an August project as well.

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
We went to the Whipper Watson splash pad. But it was one of the colder days of summer, so it wasn’t quite the fun we were anticipating. Running through the sprinkler the following week was a much bigger hit though!

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
I’ve been hammering on this one left and right. I think that I have either finished writing, trashed or published eight posts, previously known as ‘Drafts’ since deciding to make doing so a priority.

9. Do a big family field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
Another August event, methinks.

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
We’ve done well with this one. And we’ll see her later this week as well. So far, so good.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
Need to get on this one. Chores are one of those slow, agonizing things around here unless there’s a great deal of crying and whining involved and I really want to bring the volume down around here. And regain some of my dignity. My children are beginning to think that I’m just a big baby with all of my whining.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
We’ve done well picnicking on the weekends, but so far, all of our weekday lunches have been at home. I’ll need to start setting up picnics in the backyard for them.

13. Blog twice a week.
This has been happening. At least twice a week. Plus I’ve been miles better about posting regularly to the  blog’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. :)

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
Have not yet set up the bed but some furniture has been re-arranged and we have done a preliminary clean out and purge of some high-risk areas (desks and closets).

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Hoping to get some cottage time later this month, but we shall see.

16. Read one book a week (for myself, sans pictures and large font).
I’m working my way through a book at a snail’s pace, but I’m reading, so I’m claiming this one as a quasi-win. It’s hard to take/make time to read for myself, but I do so enjoy it.

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
We have yet to get into our forest, it’s been buggy as heck lately, but we’re exploring nature on our regular daily and weekend outings.
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18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe a fun Friday activity. We shall see.

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
Have gotten some clearing done in the dance room and bar area, but I’m still miles from being able to call this accomplished.

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minions.
This one I haven’t touched yet, but really need to get on or else I am running the risk of not having them all completed in time (I crochet s-l-o-w-l-y).

Next Bucket List check in will be the first week in August. I’ll try to have some impressive results by then. I’m a slow starter, I suppose. Also, I need to remember to bring out my camera more often – I’ve just realized that I’m super light on July pictures this year. 😉

 


13
Jul 15

If you say ‘Excuse me’ it won’t stink and other sound bytes from my minion army

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I love my kids. I may have even given them their own hashtag (or pound sign, as I still insist on thinking of it) – #LoveMySmalls. They say the most profound, funny, thought-provoking and twisted things. I wish that I thought and spoke more like they do – I’d be a sensation, I just know it. I’ve been trying to jot down little exchanges as they occur and these are a few them:

*child farts*
*other child looking disgusted and really pissed off at farter* “UGH! Say excuse me! If you say ‘excuse me’ it won’t STINK!”
I never thought of that. But it makes perfect sense why he would believe that ‘excuse me’ is a natural air freshener. A little bit weird, a little bit genius (although please note, it did not actually work. It still stunk).

*in the car, pondering the weather and the dark clouds looming overhead*
Mas “I think it’s going to rain. A tornado of rain!”
Me: “Um, I don’t think it will. I’m sure the radio report would have mentioned if there was a tornado watch in effect. I think it’s just going to rain soon.”
“Well, they wouldn’t know. THEY aren’t even here, they’re in Toronto or something, so they can’t know what is happening here!”
*Deacon interjects* “Yeah, but Mas, I think that they have satellites in the sky that tell them the weather and stuff.”
*Mas snorts and quips* “Oh, yeah. Yeah. I knew that.”
*Deacon just shakes his head*

Pax – When you grow up, you have to take care of and help the people who helped you when you were little. That’s just the way it is. Right, Mummy?

Pax – Miranda, when you grow up and have a baby, do you hope that it’s a boy?
Miranda – No, why?
Pax – Because boys run faster and are stronger [editted to mention that we will be discussing this one later!], except that they pee straight up in the air when they’re babies
Miranda – Do girls pee when they’re babies?
Pax – I think so. But you have to be happy with whatever baby you get. If it’s a boy or a girl, you just have to be happy with it. Right, Mummy?

One night as I’m serving dinner:
Paxton: Is that chicken from a farm?
Me: Yes.
Paxton: I don’t want to eat chicken that lives on a farm!  I just want to eat regular chicken!

At Superstore in the seafood section and we see lobster tails:
Paxton:  What?!?!? They cut off their tails?  That isn’t nice! *tears welling up*

As we pull up to the US border customs window in Fort Erie:
Miranda:  (loud whisper) Paxie! We’re getting donuts! (clearly thinking it was one of our rare trips through a drive-thru)
Paxton: (louder whisper and a little disgusted at her faux pas) Ugh! No, we’re not Mur-an-da.

*Driving in the car recently*
Deacon: Well, when we have another baby, we’ll…
Me: Um, I don’t think we’re having another baby, honey. Why would you want another baby? We have lots of people already, don’t we?
Deacon: Yeah, but I want a baby. Because then I would have another little brother or sister. And I want another sibling. And I like babies better. That’s why I always want to sit with Miranda. I don’t really get along so good with Paxton.
Mason: I get along with Paxton but not really with Deacon. And ya, babies are so cute and they don’t hurt you, they’re just so soft and cute and stuff.
Miranda: I get along with everyone! And I LOVE BABIES! If we had a baby she would sleep in my room and I would take care of her with Mummy. Right, Mummy?
Me: Guys, I don’t think we’ll be having another baby. But you’re all right, babies are amazing. And all of you guys were amazing babies and now you’re amazing bigger kids, right?
Deacon: Well, yeeeeeahhhh. But I still want another baby. *pouting*

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

#LoveMySmalls.

P.S.  If you’ have not ‘Liked’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Followed’ along on TwitterInstagram or checked out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry :)  Come on over and jump on my crazy train!
 

 


10
Jul 15

I no longer so much object to being fat, but I do object to these three fat’ish issues

Having been overweight (real or imagined) just about all of my life, I’ve pretty much come to terms with being the ‘funny’ one or the ‘smart’ one and not the ‘so-adorably-tiny-let-me-keep-you-in-my-pocket’ one or the ‘so-thin-and-fit-that-the-perfection-is-almost-painful’ one.

And you know what?  I’m good with it.  It has taken a few (will not admit how many) decades, but I’m finally in a place where I accept myself as I am and figure that I’m not so bad.  I accept my cellulite, my jiggly bits, my non-supermodel hair and skin, my freckles (all eleventy billion of them), my deviated septum (accepted but still getting that shit straightened out – accepting it is all fine and dandy but not being able to breathe, well, that pushes the limits of my tolerance).  I’ve finally accepted that my body in whatever shape it is in, at any given moment in time, is just fine. Now, I’m not a fat activist and I don’t pretend to be one. I’m merely one woman, who is a daughter, wife, and mother that has struggled and dealt with weight issues all my life. I’ve seen the fat cloud from both sides now.

And all that said, it turns out that being “fat”, in and of itself does not bother me.  But these three things irritate the holy ever-loving double chocolate cheesecake out of me.

1.  That I have never been able to find a pair of knee-high boots to fit my legs. I see other women, both my size and larger (by a lot!) wearing this style of boot ALL THE TIME. I see chicas tipping the scales at 300 pounds wearing sexy or jaunty knee-high leather boots. And it pisses me right off.  I think that I use anger to avoid dealing with my deep-seated feeling of jealousy. I do not believe that being fat is the problem (after all, they are fat as well).  Rather, I’ve convinced myself that I have an innate leg disadvantage that no amount of dieting or exercise will overcome. The rest of the first world population has skinny, boot-zipper-overable calves, and I just do not. But I’m not horribly disfigured either. They look perfectly normal, not tree-trunkish or stump-like at all. It is patently unfair. And before you tell me that if I lost weight, I would be a knee-high boot wearing diva in no time, I assure you, that I would not. Those boots would not zip up when I was 110 pounds, which was me being at least 15 pounds UNDER weight.  It just doesn’t matter where my weight sits, my legs may look normal, but they harbor a sick vendetta against me. But, the upside is that they do support and carry me around, everywhere I want to go, no matter what scales tells me every morning.

2.  That the clothing industry is a well-oiled, corrupt, vacuous pit of darkness designed to extract money and inject sadness into women really gets my XL tunic in a twist. If they are able to extract enough money,  they inject a false sense of happiness into said previously mentioned women. Not enough money to extract? Well, you get to feel like shit about yourself and wear ill-fitting and unflattering clothes until you either come up with the money or lose weight. Ha! Gotcha. There needs to be standardized sizing across the board. At my current height and weight, there is no way that I should even glance at a size 10, but if I’m willing to spend enough money, there are designers out there who would have me believe that I am a size 10, rather than the 12,14,16, whatever size I actually am. And, please tell me – how can any woman be a size ZERO? Zero equals NOTHING. How can a living, breathing, walking around, shopping woman have a body the size of, well, nothing? I can wrap my head around a size one or two, but a zero? No, that’s just absurd and such blatant manipulation that it is beyond insulting to suggest that intelligent, grown, healthy women want to be or aspire to become a zero. Does men’s clothing come similarly sized? No. Of course, it does not. Why? Because the industry would not get away with suggesting that a man was a zero anything. Men would NOT tolerate being condescended to in such a manner, while, for whatever multitude of reasons, women are taught to not only tolerate it, but to seek it out. Fuckers.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It's insulting, degrading and condescending.  Found on Pinterest.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It’s insulting, degrading and condescending. I find it enraging, to be honest. Found on Pinterest.

3. That I reduce myself entirely and base the sum total of my worth as a woman, a person, a partner and a mother, in part, on the preceding two points. And even worse than that, I live in fear that I will somehow inadvertently burden my daughter with these ridiculous and senseless insecurities and self-esteem issues. Or that she will be so inundated by bullshit media images and messages that her self-confidence and self-esteem will diminish until her innate sparkle is lost. My daughter is not overweight (she’s five) but maybe one day she will be and should that happen, will I find her any less clever, smart, sweet or beautiful? Not a chance. But may others see her and treat her differently? Absolutely, they will. Because no matter how much jumping up and down people do about ‘fat shaming’ and ‘you do you’ and ‘ love your body’ the truth remains that our society still idealizes tiny waists, slim legs, big boobs and flawless skin. None of these attributes are synonymous with being fat, overweight or larger than a size six and there are no current buzzwords or hashtags that actually do anything to change the way people think, the way media portrays what is a desirable or worthwhile woman, or the way we’re raising our sons and daughters who internalize these messages and perpetuate exactly that which needs to change.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest - I certainly don't want credit for it.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest – I certainly don’t want credit for it.

Finally, just a few quick points to round this all out and make the final point of how broken the whole issue is. Over 1/3 of American adults are classified as obese. Some or many of the other 2/3 may be overweight or believe themselves to be. As a result of this obsession with weight and the fatness of people, last year in the US, consumers spent between 50 and 60 BILLION dollars on weight loss products and programs. In addition to this, they also spent more than 12 BILLION dollars on cosmetic procedures. The number one cosmetic procedure? Wait for it. LIPOSUCTION was the number one procedure for both women and men last year. And Liposuction procedures have increased 94% since 1997. In the US, 9.6 million women and 1 million men had at least one cosmetic procedure in 2014.

And people are still fat and getting fatter, despite spending between 62 and 72 BILLION dollars to get thin and fit. Factor in the fashion and beauty industries and it’s not hard to see that it is really NOT in the best interest of big business for consumers to actually ever attain these highly touted ideals of thinness and fitness, good health, or less fatness. Fat and insecure = revenue. BIG revenue. These industries are making it rain and they have all of the fat people to thank.

And, at the end of the day, I still can’t find boots that will fit over my calves, or reliably know my dress or pant size so that I can shop with any kind of confidence of an article of clothing fitting properly. And I still try to cover up as much of myself as possible, not only to hide from the sun but to hide what I’ve been conditioned to think of something shameful. My soft, fluffy center and jiggly bits. Hmmmm. That sounds a whole lot cuter when I use words like soft and fluffy, instead of squishy and fat, doesn’t it? As long as I’m healthy and able to keep up with my kids, I, for one, will contribute one more dollar to those many billions of dollars going into the diet industry’s pockets. No ma’am, they’re not getting anymore of my family’s money.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves 'good' open to interpretation. Better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves ‘good’ open to interpretation. Just better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Imma spend my money this weekend to buy myself a delicious baked panzerotti from Pizzaville (Sutton location, if you please), eat fresh home-made and locally grown food the rest of the time, and I’ll be just fine. Fluff and all.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

P.S. Another ‘draft’ post dealt with. Yay, me! I may reform my procrastinating ways yet.


08
Jul 15

I’ve been

The complexity and perplexity of living a full life, as I see it.

I’ve been in trouble
I’ve been in a pickle
I’ve been in a funk
I’ve been in hot water

I’ve been on thin ice
I’ve been on cloud nine
I’ve been on the way up
I’ve been on the hook

I’ve been off the deep end
I’ve been off my head
I’ve been off to the races
I’ve been off the wall

I’ve been proud
I’ve been ashamed
I’ve been thoughtful
I’ve been selfish

I’ve been out on a limb
I’ve been out of my mind
I’ve been out of work
I’ve been out of time

I’ve been in lust
I’ve been in love
I’ve been in pain
I’ve been in luck

I’ve been desperate
I’ve been alone
I’ve been powerful
I’ve been surrounded

I’ve been up
I’ve been down
I’ve been in
I’ve been out

I’ve been drunk
I’ve been sober
I’ve been devasted
I’ve been elated

I’ve been lost
I’ve been found
I’ve been here
I’ve been gone

I’ve been sweet
I’ve been sour
I’ve been fierce
I’ve been tame

I’ve been exhausted
I’ve been exhilarated
I’ve been strong
I’ve been weak

I’ve been fat
I’ve been thin
I’ve been loud
I’ve been silent

I’ve been hurt
I’ve been hurtful
I’ve been loved
I’ve been blessed.
IMG_0528

 


08
Jul 15

I still have it – there’s more life in this mama yet

Please note: I wrote this about ten months ago now. It’s been sitting in my ‘Drafts’ folder ever since. I’ve done a few touch ups tonight, but it is basically as it sat languishing for these past months. As part of my initiative to stop procrastinating, I made a vow to deal with my draft posts, so, here I am, dealing with one.

I had my first baby the month after I turned 21. I was in my thirties when I had my next ones. And each was easier than the last in terms of sleeping (or not sleeping), nursing, crying, and my general mental health and exhaustion. But it’s been over five years now since I’ve had a newborn baby or infant to care for and I have become accustomed to (mostly) sleeping through the night once again.

But it’s 3:45 am right now and I am up and awake. No, I’m not drunk, thankyouverymuch. One of my sonshines had a low-grade fever all day and it spiked throughout the night. He cried out and because I was up, I heard his faint cry and was able to tend to him quickly and without stumbling around. Had I been fast asleep, he would have come to find me and I still would have taken care of him, but you just know that I would have stubbed my baby toe on the bed post and walked straight into a door (likely leaving some type of bruising on my person.

And while I may be dog tired tomorrow, this is just one night out not enough nights that I will get to cuddle and soothe this sonshine and so it is worth every second of lost sleep. And that’s how I feel about what amounts to years of lost sleep over past twenty years tending to my babies. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of those middle-of-the-night feedings and cuddles and cries. To have missed out on even one night of having my baby sleep on my chest or snuggle into me when feeling sad and feverish would be just about the biggest regret that I could have.

People often get to a point where they feel they are too old to have another baby – they don’t want to start from square one again, don’t want to deal with diapers, nursing, strollers and sleepless nights. And I admit, there are days when I feel that way too, days when I feel too tired or old to handle even the idea of another baby, but then I have a night like tonight and I realize that there’s a whole lot of ‘mothering’ left in this mama and that I would welcome another round of sleepless nights in exchange for the wonderment and absolute joy of holding another one of my magical little being in my arms, for just one more go-around. Call me crazy, but I really would do it all again.

My last baby, just hours after she was born and she and I were alone in our hospital room. Armed only with my iPod Nano, this is me adoring her and her sleepily ignoring me. Also, this is me still not believing that we had a daughter. With four sonshines at home, we were all but positive that we would be adding a fifth son to our family. We couldn’t have been wronger or happier to be wrong. 


06
Jul 15

Everyone uses vodka bottles as decor accents. Right?

So, this is not a secret, but it’s not generally something that I talk about. I don’t drink. And before this gets weird, it’s not that I can’t drink. I’m not in recovery or denial or a convent or a correctional facility, I just choose not to drink. I like the idea of it a whole lot though. And that may be one reason why I abstain. Because I really love the idea of chocolate as well and just look where that’s landed me ( as I undo the top button on my jeans because they are cutting into my delicate fluffy center while I sit here trying to write).

So anyway, I don’t drink. I think I may have mentioned that. But not being a drinker does not preclude me from hoarding the bottles that contain that which I do not consume, does it? Oh, good, because I have long loved airplane sized bottles (when I was a kid, they were actually real GLASS – so much cooler).

A while ago when I visited my mum, I realized that I had left my airplane bottle collection at her house when I moved out. So I quickly remedied that situation by tossing about ten little bottles of liquor in my purse. Luckily, I made it home without police interference, so I didn’t have to walk the line, recite the alphabet backwards or try to explain exactly why I had a mini-LCBO stowed away inside my purse. When I got back to the ‘wick, I set up my precious little bottles in our curio cabinet and promptly forgot about them again. Because I don’t drink (or I’m in the early stages of non-alcohol induced senility).

IMG_6090

And then Christmas rolled around, predictably so, and my annual trip to the big person LCBO was upon me. And after picking up the bottles of gift wine for various people, I scanned the shelves by the cash and saw this:

IMG_6099And how was I expected to just leave it there on the shelf? So I bought it, vodka and all and gave it a place of honour in my office, overlooking where I sit. So that when I’m in there working (right now I’m typing away at the kitchen table because it makes me far more accessible to my smalls), I am being watched over and guided by the coolest vodka bottle I’ve ever owned. And I’ve owned some bottles, let me tell you.

Even better, this vodka is made by a company owned by Dan Aykroyd. Who just happens to be Canadian. And the vodka (Crystal Head) is additive-free and distilled in Newfoundland after it is quadruple-distilled and filtered seven times, with the final 3 filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals. The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by artist John Alexander and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass. So, even better than a bottle hoarder, I’m a patriot, a champion of natural ingredients and healthy choices, a supporter of fellow Canadian artists and companies with a sparkling and international flair, not to mention damn fine taste in interior design.

Betty Boop, Olaf and a glass skull full of fine Canadian vodka. What more could I possibly ask for?

Betty Boop, Olaf and a glass skull full of fine Canadian vodka. What more could I possibly need or ask for?

I’m not entirely sure what ‘on fleek’ means, but I’m pretty sure this qualifies. That is all. Now, go forth and conquer your Monday rites and rituals but come and see me again later this week. I’ll likely still be sober and of not the soundest of minds.

P.S. We’re still rocking the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts fairly regularly, so feel free to stop on by and leave a Like, Follow, comment or suggestion or just come by and see what other Keswick randomness is brewing up in here.


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