Dec 15

My November all wrapped up and ready to toss. Now bring on December.

Last month, I decided to stop re-learning everything all the time and decided to do monthly wrap up posts so that I could find all of my life lessons in one spot. Kind of like wisdom one-stop shopping for the chronically disorganized yet eternally optimistic (me).

Today, being the first day of December it would seem like a good time to say goodbye to November. See me go, all not procrastinating and stuff.

So, this past month, I learned a few lessons, some more painful than others (because painfully is how I roll. Apparently).

Lessons learned in November 2015

1. Smiling on the inside is meaningless if you forget to smile on the outside.  And sometimes just smiling is enough to turn things around when the blahs are beating down the door. (But this does NOT mean that it’s okay to go around telling people to smile. Don’t do that. Someone will (rightfully) punch you in the throat – you don’t know anyone else’s story, you only know yours and no two life stories are the same).

See, Lucy Liu knows which end is up, she just needs to start showing it on the outside. Right now, in this moment, sleeping in this toy box, she is smiling HUGE on the inside.

See, Lucy Liu knows which end is up, she just needs to start showing it on the outside. Right now, in this moment, sleeping in this toy box, she is smiling HUGE on the inside.

2. Guilty pleasures are only guilty if you feel shame. Without shame, they are just pleasures. But shame is something I am an expert at (unlike chess. I can’t play that to save my life). But I know all about shame because everything I like or fancy makes me feel ashamed for one reason or another. For example, if I want to watch a program on television (rare), I feel ashamed because it’s a waste of time, mindless, superficial or immature (think Sister Wives or Teen Mom), so I’ll rarely, if ever, say I’d like to watch something or if the opportunity arises nor will I actually watch. And I think that it is because I feel as though it reduces my worth as a person in the eyes of others. And for some unknown reason, I’m still insecure enough to care what others think of me. Or, if I want to eat something delicious and dirty (think chocolate, Dad’s chocolate chip cookies, desserts, pizza or Pizzaville baked panzo), I feel ashamed for being such a slug, for not practicing myself what I do for my children, and for adding more girth to this already girthy body. You get the picture. I’m a sack of shame.

Exactly. I knew that I was not truly alone.

Exactly. I knew that I was not truly alone.

3. Weight only matters if none of your clothing fits you properly anymore and you’re on the verge of having to spend money to procure yet another wardrobe in yet another size. I have too much clothing. I wear 5% (maybe) of those clothes. But I like everything in my closet except that over-worn 5%. So why do I own that 5% never mind wear it? Because it fits. And it’s here. And it’s not costing a thing to wear it (other than self-esteem). When I figure out that it’s not my weight that matters but my health, I may be in a better position to deal with my clothing. I can be “overweight” and still be healthy and feel well, but I need to figure out where that threshold lies because too much extra icing* and I feel immovable and too little icing and I feel despondent and sad. *Yes, I have decided to start calling all of the extra ‘me’ icing. Because icing is lovely and yummy and delicious and fat is not. I’m calling it a self-love strategy.

4. That changing your mind when something just isn’t working is not the same as giving up or failing. Feeling like a failure is a Very Big Deal. I don’t know about how it goes for anyone else, but for me, when I feel like I failed at something, I internalize that failure and make it my whole being. I become that failure so instead of being a person who tried something that did not work, I become a worthless, stupid asshole who tried something and fucked it up to such astronomical limits that all is lost and nothing good can ever happen again. Sounds dramatic, I know. But that’s how it feels. In my pit of my stomach, to the core of my being, that’s what failure feels like to me. So, now I’m trying to re-train myself to realize that starting something and then deciding that it’s not working the way you envisioned or planned means that it is okay to change your mind, change directions or start over. Letting go of failure and shame are big lessons for me. And ones that are a work in progress, but make the list this month.

I feel like I am always beginning again. I think that what's been missing is the 'wisely' part.

I feel like I am always beginning again. I think that what’s been missing is the ‘wisely’ part.

5. I don’t have to eat meat or dairy to feel full, satisfied or nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my burgers, pizza, chicken, egg and tuna salads, and tonnes of cheese. I’m being honest, I’m not completely full of shit. But, I can honestly say that I dislike the idea of eating animal products. Not because I want to hug a cow or adopt a flock of chickens but more because I no longer feel like my consumption is a benefit to my health or well-being. I am less and less okay with the way big corporations produce meat and animal products (and yes, I say produce, not farm or grow because on the big corporate scale, it’s all about the production quotas and financial bottom lines). The more I read and learn, the less and less I want anything to do with animal and soy products and am now trying hard to keep soy out of my children’s diets as well. My other response to all of this ‘new’ awareness? I just stopped doing it. In the second half of this past month, I quit eating ‘big business’ food. I started eating a mostly raw, all real, food diet. And you know what? I feel pretty good. I’m less bloated, I’ve lost a few pounds (nice side effect if it helps me get back into some of the clothes that I own and want to wear!), I feel lighter inside and kind of, well, cleaner. Which sounds a bit stupid, I know. I have had french fries a couple of times and they were divine, not going to lie, but I don’t feel like they were worth the bloat they brought back.

Breakfast of champions. Well, no, not really. It's my breakfast on most days now and it's completely filling and satisfying. Not going to lie, it would be better joined with a chocolate fountain, but that is contrary to my new 'adult' approach to eating. So, I'm holding off on that, For now.

Breakfast of champions. Well, no, not really. It’s just my breakfast on most days now and it’s completely filling and satisfying. Not going to lie, it would be better co-mingled with a chocolate fountain, but that awesomeness is contrary to my new ‘adult’ approach to eating. So, I’m holding off on that, for now.


Nov 15

The song has left the bird

It must be confession week around here. Meh, I do know of certain religions (none of which are banging down my door to join them, go figure?) who believe that confession is good for the soul. Who am I to argue? Onward.

Music lessons. So many lessons. Singing. Choir. Piano. Guitar. Recorder. Violin. Ukulele. Tenor Recorder. Practicing. School concerts. Daydreams of bigger (or even real) venues. These words and moments hold a significant market share of my childhood memories. I loved music. I felt as though music, all music, was the fibre that bound my being together and held me together. I felt that music lived deep inside me and gave me the beauty that I otherwise felt lacking when I looked in the mirror. Loved is stating it mildly. Beyond even the penny candy selection at Tony’s variety store (which, as ‘the fat girl,’ evidence suggested that I loved that selection a very whole much a lot), I loved singing. I sang all the time. I was the first one to hit the carpet when it was music time in class. I sang on my walk (dawdle, really) to school and home again after school. I sang myself to sleep most night. I sang everywhere and always.

And then, my high school years ended, and with them my organized, formal opportunities to sing were over. Oh, I still sang in the car, sang my baby boy to sleep, while bathing him or pushing him on the swing, sang while moving around the house, always sang, but it was never the same. And it was never something that I thought that I would not always be able to do. But, I was wrong.

Use it or lose it. Heartbreaking to admit but the saying is true. I never believed it. Call it naivety or arrogance or oblivion, it matters not as in the end, it happened to me. I can no longer reach the end of the upper register. My voice gives out when pushed to hit those higher notes. It has lost its smoothness and strength. And although no one knows or cares, it sucks beyond words to admit these losses.

I had talent. I didn’t have the confidence or drive to go further. I wasted the talent I had, I took it for granted, I did not nurture it or appreciate it and it left me. Interesting life lesson here, no?

And now? I still sing for my kids, I still make up songs with their names or to make them laugh, but underneath the laughter, the song has left the bird.

IMG_2458 - Copy

Nov 15

I was in the middle of another post – confession

Mildred the asskicking peacockI was in the middle of writing a different, somewhat happy post when I had to run across the street to pick up kids after school. Putting on my running shoes, my heel was met with something hard, as it has been for the last few weeks now. Only this time, it was particularly uncomfortable. So I made a mental note to really LOOK at my shoes when I returned.

Now, I should disclose that while they are running shoes, I seldom, if ever, actually run in them. But I do wear them daily (except during flip flop season).  And yes, I’ll give you that they are not terribly chic or fancy (which is completely unlike me *smirk*) but they have been comfortable from the first time I slipped them on so I have remained faithful and true to them in return.

But times, they are a changing, and now, I am forced to conduct an intervention on myself because it’s time. I have to let these shoes go. I was hoping to make it until Spring, because who wants to go into winter wearing shiny new shoes (which I already own thanks to a sale at Costco a year or two ago and they reside in my closet, waiting for me to notice them – ha!)? And I am weak. If I don’t publicly ‘out’ myself on this one, I will keep wearing them because 1) they are already by the door, ready and waiting for me 2) they are familiar and broken in, and 3) we have history, and in this day of throw-away-everything, I’m fighting for that to mean something. I also know myself well enough to know that only the possibility of being on the receiving end of ‘those’ looks while I’m out running errands is the motivation I need to make the change. Yes, I do realize that the fact that the skin is being rubbed off my foot SHOULD be plenty motivation to pitch them, but it’s just not. My loyalty is stronger than physical pain (apparently).

Conclusion: I am left with no choice but to break up with you, shoes. And no, we will never, ever, ever get back together. It's been swell. Thanks for the memories.

Conclusion: I am left with no choice but to break up with you, shoes. And no, we will never, ever, ever get back together. It has been swell, but now you’re making my appendages bruised and swollen, so thanks for the memories. Adios, old friends.

Between Mildred’s no-nonsense stare and this public confession of weakness and avoidance, I feel confident that I’ll be able to retire (read: throw out) these shoes. Finally. But first I have to remove my friendship pin because I haven’t become completely callous in this process, just weepy and blue (and just a little bit excited to wear new shoes *grin*)

Now, back to your regularly programmed Thursday afternoon.

Nov 15

Seven frugal things I’ve done so far this month

Note: I am not cheap. I am not broke. I am not rich. I am none of these extremes. Nor am I too lazy to change out of my pajamas to go and shop. No, I am frugal. With everything except the love that I feel and share, minion kisses and cuddles, smart ass remarks and writing. For those four things, restraint does not exist.

My dental superstar!

My dental superstar!

But I am frugal. I stockpile when I find deals on food and other consumables we use regularly. I wear clothes until they are fraying and screaming to be put out of their misery and I’m beginning to look more homeless than even I’m comfortable with (also, by then, often my husband is ready for a change in my fashionista scenery, so it works out well for all). I try hard to budget for major expenditures, prepare and cook meals at home, borrow movies from the library and make sure everyone sees the dentist twice a year for cleanings and check ups (preventative spending, proactive frugality, if you will).

In keeping with my frugal mission this month I have:

Fresh Ontario Empire apples. So good!

Fresh Ontario Empire apples. So good!

1. Made many dozens of cups of applesauce using apples that cost about $0.61/lb and froze it. Yes, I could buy unsweetened applesauce, but why? It is fast and easy to make and fresher than the jarred variety I could buy at the store because the apples were locally sourced and used immediately. No lengthy processing and no travel needed.

2. I am doing all of the laundry (and there is A LOT of it) after 7 p.m. during the week and all day on the weekends. I was speaking with a few other mothers this afternoon and I have come to the conclusion that I can forgo the hours of folding and just toss each small’s clothing in a basket and have them fold it and put it away. So simple. So obvious. So clever. So completely the last thing that I would ever think to do without that conversation. Mums really do know everything and it’s awesome when we share what we know! By changing this one thing, I’ll be freeing up at least two, probably more, hours every single week that I have always spent on folding laundry. That’s an extra 14 hours a week or 62 hours a month. Which equals TWO AND A HALF DAYS! I just found two and a half extra days. I’m SO excited! And also thankful that I define frugality as more than just saving or not spending money – and rather as making choices to better use ALL types of life resources, including time 😉

3. I am using up my discount lemons by adding them to every drink that I have. I love the extra flavour and while I have them, I’m choosing to buy into their health properties. I’m also about to give up my beloved Diet Pepsi, so I’m enjoying my last ones with a lovely big squeeze of lemon. I’m not looking forward to this breakup. It’s going to be ugly.

4. I am limiting our grocery purchases this month to perishables and crazy long shelf life sale items (like cereal) and preparing meals based on what we have on hand and what we have in the freezer.

Flyers, flyers and more flyers. Time to get my price match on!

Flyers, flyers and more flyers. Time to get my price match on!

5. I am making sure to use my store flyer apps to ensure that I am getting the best price for everything. And I’m also remembering to bring my phone shopping with me. Because paying $2.99 for a head of iceberg lettuce (for Greek salads) when a quick flip through the app reveals a price of $1.99 at another store saves me $4.00 right away with almost zero effort on my part. Passive saving works for me, I’ll take it!

6. I have been purging old magazines, toys, clothes and household items that we no longer use. I’m classifying this as frugal because the more things that I can shift out of the house, the fewer things I need to dust, clean or care for. The few things I need to find places for and the lighter and our home will be. Decluttering now frees up time and space for the long term, so I find that it’s absolutely worth the investment now.

No ticket for this tomato!

No ticket for this tomato!

7. As I recently shared on the Instagram page, I renewed my licence plate sticker two months early and went with the two-year option, thereby avoiding a fine when I invariably get pulled over for having an expired sticker in February and also avoiding the inevitable price hike next year. As it is, it will be $108.00 as of January 2016 for ONE YEAR which is an increase from the 2015 prices. So I’ll pay the year in advance. Even if by some miracle rates don’t increase (pipe dream), I won’t have to worry about buying another one until January 2018 and I have two years to save for that price hike *happy tap dance with a side of sarcastic salsa*

So that’s my list for this month. I realized while writing this that I practice frugality by default now and have stopped even realizing how many ways I’m saving time, money or resources on a daily basis. I think I need to tune in more to what I’m doing and bet doing so will pay off by quickly figuring out new and better ways to increase my frugality muscle mass. 😉


Nov 15

Mid-way through November and still she rambles

I’ve been blogging up a storm. I just haven’t been finishing or publishing the posts. I’ve been getting lost in my own head perhaps. So today, it’s just a mini-post, mostly pictures with just a pinch of commentary. Nothing heavy. The sun is shining and it’s 8C. In November. In Canada. There’s no way that I’m going to be wearing my complainy-ranting bitch hat today. No sir. Not me. Imma gonna be happy today. I’ll have more than enough time to be miserable once winter shows up. 😉

A couple of snapshots from around here right now:

Borrowed from my most favourite place in town. Because I'm always looking to increase my happiness factor and decrease life-sucking bullshit quota.

Borrowed from my most favourite place in town. Because I’m always looking to increase my happiness factor and decrease my life-sucking bullshit quota.

My first lavender plant is still going strong. Every day I tell myself to clip some to dry or use and then I just marvel at how much bigger it is instead. But today may be the day I snip some. Any suggests how to make the best use of it? It smells divine. I may have too much. If you want some, bring your scissors :)

All of the YES to this one. Walmart finally got something right. And I got me some Juice Newton and Heart to keep me happy and calm while my kids do battle in the back of the van. Bliss is mine - and it only cost 5 bucks!

All of the YES to this one. Walmart finally got something right. And I got me some Juice Newton and Heart to keep me happy and calm while my kids do battle in the back of the van. Bliss is mine – and it only cost 5 bucks!

Do you even see this cat? She's totally trying to psych me out - pretending to be asleep, all the while cutting her eyes at me, just daring me to trip over her on the stairs. Honestly, Lucy Liu, the stairs are a terrible place to have a pretend nap.

Do you even see this cat? She’s totally trying to psych me out – pretending to be asleep, all the while cutting her eyes at me, just daring me to trip over her on the stairs. Honestly, Lucy Liu, the stairs are a terrible place to have a pretend nap.

My Cape Cod crow. He's usually inside by now, but I went to bring him in and noticed that he's enjoying a nice autumn snack of leaves. Apparently, my crow is vegan. Who have thunk it? Must be why he's so robust. Either way though, he'll be coming in soon, I don't want to press my luck keeping him alive under two and three foot snow drifts. His type is more beach bum than ski bunny, methinks.

This is my Cape Cod crow. He’s usually inside by now, but I went to bring him in and noticed that he’s enjoying a nice autumn snack of leaves. Apparently, my crow is vegan. Who have thunk it? Must be why he’s so robust. Either way though, he’ll be coming in soon, I don’t want to press my luck keeping him alive under two and three-foot snow drifts. His type is more beach bum than ski bunny, methinks.

And that’s my beautiful November day thus far. If we could just get about three more months of this type of winter, that would be aces.

Nov 15

I’ll show you mine if you show me – nah, nevermind. I’ll just show you mine

Many people love to talk about gross or embarrassing things that happen to others around them. Some people enjoy telling mortifying things about themselves. I am usually the first one to trade a kidney or a child in exchange for a witness’ eternal silence about whatever embarrassing thing they are privy to me doing. But sadly, and predictably so, I have run out of kidneys and the children keep being returned to my care, so onward to Plan B. Plan B is the one where I just start coming clean with all of the embarrassing, mortifying or stupid things that I say, do or happen upon thereby freeing myself from the constant agony, shame, humiliation and guilt that inevitably plague me whenever I try to keep secrets greater than say, who shot J.R. (Spoiler alert! It was all a dream sequence. Ugh. See, I told you, I’m an asshole at keeping secrets.

I may have mentioned once or a dozen times that I work with kids every day throughout Keswick and Georgina. And I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but kids breed disease and germs. They are as expert at spreading those germs around as a seasoned ecstasy dealer at a high school prom. And no amount of hand washing will fend them off once they’ve got you in their clutches.

So, about two weeks ago, a third, fourth, tenth notice came home that said, “Your child may have been exposed to head lice. Burn down your house.” (Or something along those lines, I a little bit blacked out after seeing the word ‘lice’). Since I work at both my kids’ schools, I was able to figure out fairly quickly who had ‘exposed’ my child to this infestation and also that my children remained unaffected. I, on the other hand, could not stop scratching my head. In fact, just writing about this now, my head is itchy and I have to keep stopping typing to either scratch my head or talk myself out of throwing myself out the window.

I examined my hair and scalp in multiple mirrors. Nothing. I bought tea tree oil shampoo, conditioner and oil. And used it. Twice, as directed. My nausea and dread were only getting worse. I couldn’t ask anyone I knew to check my head because, well, EWWWW! I considered going to a walk-in clinic and asking the doctor to check. But that seemed excessive and wasteful of our healthcare dollars. So, I sat, scratched and suffered in silence. I changed pillowcases, washed everything that had been near my head in the past week and used the dryer for good measure.

Then, I snapped. In Wal-mart of all places, I screwed up my last ounce of courage, checked my pride and dignity at the door and walked into the hair cutting place in the front of the store. This was my graceful delivery:

“Um, hi. Yeah. So, I’m not sure what to say, but I work in a few schools. And um, yeah. I really don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m sorry. My head is itchy. And we keep getting these notices home about, you know, and I don’t know what to do anymore.” (Eye contact would have been a nice touch here, but I was busy concentrating all of my energy on trying to bore a hole through the floor beneath my feet so that I could disappear, never to be seen again. Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen).

The hairdresser on duty overlooked my stumbling, inarticulate and awkward speech and said, “I can check your head if you’d like?” I have never been so tempted to kiss a stranger before in my whole life. If I had one left to give, I’d have totally handed over a kidney. I sat down in the chair and she started looking through my hair. AND SHE DIDN’T FIND ANY BEASTIES!

Turns out, my hair and scalp were perfectly healthy and free from creepy-crawlers. It turned out that my brain really is the biggest defect of my headular (not a word, but should be, so I’m inventing it now) area. Confirming that I am a certifiable, delusional half-wit, for some reason, is so much easier than dealing with the idea of head lice taking up residence in my hair.

And that truth probably just further reinforces the self-diagnosis of mental instability with a side of obsessive compulsive delusions and a dollop of Pediculophobia. So, if you see a woman darting into a hair salon and bounding out moments later (without any visible difference in her hair style), there is a good chance that you’ll have just witnessed my self-prescribed mental health check in action. And for the first time, I’m thankful that we have a lot of hair salons in the ‘wick. 😉 Mental health is just a lice check away for me these days.

And that, my friends, is the first of many ‘confessions’ I will likely make going forward. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a barber chair out there just waiting for me and my crazy-ass self to settle in for a nice, relaxing head-check.

Me. And sadly and most probably just about the only thing that I have in common with Mme. De Beauvoir.

Me. And sadly and most probably just about the only thing that I have in common with Mme. De Beauvoir.

Oct 15

What I learned in October – Life lessons monthly wrap up

I learn a lot life lessons, it seems, all of the time. The problem is, I too quickly forget what I’ve learned and then re-learn it again later and then forget again and then re-learn again. And so on. To combat this useless cycle of learning, unlearning and re-learning, I’ve decided to try to do monthly wrap up posts. That way, I can just do a quick scan and remember what I’ve learned before I go and think I need to learn it all over again. This makes no sense. I know. I think I’m coming down with a cold. Or I’m having a stroke. Either way, this is today’s post.

Lessons from October 2015.

1. You’re never going to look and feel like a million bucks if you only spend $15.00 on a haircut. You’re going to look like maybe ten bucks and feel like a buck twenty-five. Please don’t ask how I learned this particular lesson. The pain is still real. Just trust me on this one, ‘k?

2. I don’t mean to brag, but I really am richer than I think. Just check out this out:

These dots connect themselves, but just in case my fever has taken liberties with my senses, I'll explain: Library book = free (as long as I don't fuck it up and forget to return it on time, in which case all bets are off because I'll be poorer again); Topic of said book = Spending less money which means that I will have more money (getting richer now, right?); Randomly selected bookmark = cold hard cash. Yup, that's right. I'm so flush that I use money as a bookmark. My dream has been realized. I'm a high roller now, baby.

These dots connect themselves, but just in case my fever has taken liberties with my senses, I’ll explain:
Library book = free (as long as I don’t fuck it up and forget to return it on time, in which case all bets are off because I’ll be poorer again);
Topic of said book = Spending less money which means that I will have more money (getting richer now?);
Randomly selected bookmark = cold hard cash. Yup, that’s right. I’m so flush that I use money as a bookmark. My dream has been realized. I’m a high roller now, baby.

3. I am not one of those people who get better looking with age. I’m not a complete saggy, baggy troll yet, but this month I’ve learned that my best looking years are now behind me and at this point it is my job is to attempt to slow down the process of morphing into a troll from a sprint to a leisurely, friendly jog.

4. That I can grow peanuts. From other peanuts. But I can’t grow a lot of them and it takes a really long time, so if you’re planning on coming by to score some, don’t show up hungry, you’ll be disappointed. Or, if you do show up hungry, don’t expect to eat my nuts. I waited for months for these to happen and I need to just sit and stare at them a while longer. And there really aren’t enough for everyone so someone is going to get stuck noshing on an apple or king-sized Toblerone bar. Actually, come to think of it, I’ll trade my nuts for a king-size Toblerone bar. I guess I’m not as attached to them as I thought I was. Huh. Go figure.

I want to say that I have nuts for days, but really, I have fourteen and most of them are tiny. So I maybe have nuts for moments.

I want to say that I have nuts for days, but really, I have fourteen and most of them are kind of tiny. So maybe it’s only fair to say that I have nuts for moments.

5. That some kids are assholes (or AK for short). But also you can be fairly certain that wherever you find an AK, there is more likely than not an adult-sized version of him/her at home. Be aware though that their assholism is probably more polished so not as easily detected to outsiders and non-assholes. So, be kind to the kid, don’t expect anything good, helpful or supportive from the resident adult and try to model the behaviour you want to see instead of reacting to the assholish-behaviour you’re getting from the AK. Ugh- this is probably not making much sense. I think I’ve lost feeling in the left side of my brain. What are the odds that some Tylenol will fix this shit?

Perhaps I have a few too many days feeling like this. Something to work on, I suppose. I'll get to it. Later. #ProcrastinatorsUnite

Perhaps I have a few too many days feeling like this. Something to work on, I suppose.
I’ll get to it. Later. #ProcrastinatorsUnite

6. That when we take the time and make the effort to tune into those around us, the glimpses into what is on their minds and in their hearts can change your day in less time than it takes to stick a straw in a wine bottle. For instance, just when I was positive that I was completely failing at this parenting thing and about to either put myself up for adoption or hide under my bed because they’d all be better off without me, finding this message from Miranda, made my heart so happy. This was her gift to me this month, without realizing she was giving me anything at all.

It doesn't even bother me much that I got bottom of the order. The fact that I was mentioned at all means I win. ;)

It doesn’t even bother me (much) that I’m at the bottom of the order. The fact that I was mentioned at all means I win. ;)

Oct 15

I over-write far too often. Or I use too many words. Or something like that. Shit.

I just caught myself doing it again. I’m not sure if it’s insecurity, anxiety or just stupidity, but I will write, for example, a blog post, and I will be so worried that people may read something into my words other than what I am trying to convey that I’ll write three times as much just to make sure that any questions or arguments that may be raised against me are addressed in the original post. And see this? I’m about to do it again. But I saw it in time. So I stopped. Because that’s how changing one’s behaviour is done. And it’s also called a life lesson in stopping shit that just stresses you out even more than when you make the trek (10 minutes by car) up to Sutton only to find that the ice cream shop is all out of your favourite flavour (every. single. time. Get it together Kawartha Dairy – that Chunky Turtle or Caramel Snappers or whatever the hell ya’ll have named it could be a life-changer for me – if I could ever get my hands on it, that is. Think of the children, Kawartha Dairy. Do it for the children).

But, as usual, I digress. I know – there’s no fun in always trying to make sure nobody steals your cat or keys your minivan because of some random rant on a blog, but that’s how my mind works and it’s the curse of being someone who despite her best efforts, still wants people to think that she’s not an astronomical shit bag of a human being.So, instead of explaining why I’m ranting about something and trying to make sure that I’ve given enough information to take the sting is out of whatever offensive thing I say next, I think I just need to let ya’ll decide if 1) I’m being an asshole 2) I’m trying to offend you and 3) you need further explanation on something I’ve said.

I can’t promise that I will never write another wordy post. But I’ll try to make more of the extra words really satisfying curse words or Wiccan spells or recipes for most delicious baked goods and fewer of them covering-my-ass explanations. My ass is already WAY covered by my comfy-cozy jammie pants thankyouverymuch.

I shall end this post here. But not before sharing with you this award that I won today. I’m super stoked because I never win anything no matter how hard I cheat. Feel free to give yourself one of these kick ass medals as well, hell, wear it to work tomorrow and share your glorious victory with your work mates (but only if it applies to you because this is now a cheat-free zone). No worries though, if you had a slip-up today, come back when you’re back on track. I’m rooting for you 😉



You’re welcome.

Oct 15

The results of my 30-day spending freeze

Are not so much good. But I did learn some things over the past 30 days that have been helpful and I can use to re-evaluate my budget and spending.

I realized that the only way our family functions without accumulating debt is largely due to:

1) Mr. KB’s amazing talent of being able to fix anything and everything for a fraction of the price of hiring the job out or buying a new beebob;

2) My constant awareness and ability to plan for and predict future needs for our family and, for the most part, have provisions in place to cover these needs;

3) Stockpiling food and other consumables through price-matching, couponing and attention to detail (even though this means that I make the actual shopping trip(s) less about fun and more about function);

4) Ensuring that I maintain separate budget lines and accounts to cover most expenditures – both expected and unexpected, large and small. My one oversight, I have learned was not having a new-to-us car fund started to buy a replacement daily driver. Getting on this now so maybe when the need arises (as we expect it to in the near future), there will be some money available to help fund the purchase.

5) Our combined efforts to make purchasing decisions based on function and price/cost rather than impulse and glitter.

We are so fortunate that we can largely be a one-income household (because can you believe that no one is paying me to write? No, really. I can’t believe it either. Gaw.) Our combined contributions and talents make this possible and while we don’t pack up the family for a week in the Caribbean or Disneyland every winter, we do have family vacations, go to movies, go out for dinner, the kids participate in school pizza days, we hit at least one town fair a year, have swimming and dance lessons, take in a couple of big Rogers Centre events a year, and summers include cruise nights and beach days. And we do it all without racking up expensive, soul-crushing, consumer debt. We use credit cards for the points, gas discounts or other freebies and never carry a balance. If Murphy has been a particularly big bastard, I cut back in other areas to make up the difference without tapping into credit.

These past thirty days have not been the big money-saving adventure that I envisioned it would be. But, staying aware of our family spending and making sure that I’m creating balance, between saving and shopping has been useful. Did I follow all of my original parameters? No. I didn’t. When I find flip-flops for the kids at 75% off, spending 25% of the money now, rather than 100% of the money next summer just makes sense for the way our family and budget works.

Luckily though in terms of reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ I did quite well this past month. We tossed and donated a lot of clothing, household goods and toys. We still have more to go through, but we made a great start at it. Was I sad to say good-bye to some of the clothing that I’ve been hanging on to for ‘one day’? Yes, but the lightness I felt seeing my newly tidied closet and easily closing drawers more than made up for those sad feelings.

The next 30 days, I’m going to work on continuing to reduce our ‘stuff’ Broken or outgrown toys need to go, VHS tapes that no longer play need to go, outgrown clothing needs to go. With this many people in a house, hanging on to every single thing is not reasonable or plausible. I’m all for fame and fortune but the last place that I need to find that fame is on an episode of “Hoarding: Buried Alive” :(

Oct 15

My heart was broken last week + a rant

Some of you, maybe all of you, may know that I supervise lunch hour and afternoon recess at a couple of our local schools. At one school, I police kindergarten lunch hour and mediate sandpit disputes and check boo boos and administer band-aids and ‘side hugs’ as needed. Then the bell rings and I say a quick ‘have a good afternoon!’ to “my” kindies and rush off to my next school where I supervise afternoon recess in the yard. This is my second year doing this, so many of the students remember me from last year (and I remember them!) and that awkwardness is mostly gone when they approach me. For the most part, they all pretty much know what answer that they are going to get from me in most situations. And they know that I will march beside them and help them to figure out their disputes. And they know that if they’ve crossed the line or run out of chances, that I will send them to visit the office for further discussion.

But last week was different. There were no disputes to settle. There were no lines crossed. There was just a little boy, close to, if not actually, the same age as one of my boys. He has bright eyes, a wide smile and always looks just a little bit more mischievous than your average bear.  On this day he was sitting in the grass, on the edge of the sandpit playing with a few other boys and they found a chunk of asphalt in the grass and ran it over to me, excited to show me their discovery.

“Coal! We found coal! Lookit! Lookit! Missus!”
“Ah, guys” I said smiling at them “that’s not coal, it’s a lump of asphalt. Like the stuff the basketball courts are made of. A piece must have broken off some…” Most of the boys wandered off at this point.
“Court?!? My mom’s going to court today!” Exclaimed my cherub-faced friend
“Oh, is she a lawyer?” I half-asked and half-hoped.
“Nah. My dad’s in trouble,” he said, still sitting, legs splayed, on the grass and looking down and picking at his pant leg. He shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh. Parking ticket?” I replied, with concentrated effort to keep my voice light and smiley.
“Nah. He’s in trouble for breaking a window and running away from the police and then at the hospital…” He looked up at me and added “they done a divorce.”

*Cue shattering the of my heart.* I felt it in my chest, broken. I felt the tightening above my ribcage and understood why this little dude had so many ‘line crossing days’ last year. And I felt so angry for this little boy, who has been told too much and witnessed far too much and who, despite his assertions to the contrary, it’s not “okay.” And I could see in his face that he has no way of really making sense of what the hell the adults in his life are doing to him and to each other.

Lord, I’m old and I don’t understand what the hell the adults in his world are doing to him. Or why. Or how. Or if they even understand the pain they are inflicting on this perfect little human THEY chose to bring into THEIR family. And then chose to blow his world all to shit and expect him to deal.

He did not need to know that his dad broke a window. He did not need to know that his father was arrested. He did not need to know that his parents are in court again. But he knew. And somehow, he was still able to find his smile for me that day. And try to reassure me that it was “okay” and “no big deal” and that it was okay that he couldn’t see his dad right now because he could maybe probably be able to see him soon because of “the yellow house.” Which I can only assume is an access/visitation center.

And you know what? I GET it. You meet someone. You fall in love, like, lust or whatever and you have a baby, by design or circumstance. And then things just don’t work out. Maybe there are substance abuse issues, maybe there are maturity issues, maybe the romantic relationship was just never really meant to be. For whatever reason, “forever” didn’t last. But as soon as you have a baby, you are a family. FOREVER. And like it or not, you both have to figure out a way to make sure that your baby still gets to have his FAMILY. So, you put your shit aside (I don’t care if she cheated on you or he’s an asshole) and you make nice. You celebrate family events together because you are a family for as long as you have that child in common, you’re a family and you OWE it to your child to be an adult.

We should be teaching our children to be brave, not forcing them into it by making them deal with adult situations and emotions long before they're ready.

We should be teaching our children to be brave, but not by forcing them into it by making them deal with adult situations and emotions long before they’re ready.

And believe me, I am not casting stones. I am speaking from a place of hindsight being 20/20. My eldest son grew up without his father around for most of his life and for no other reason than his parental units were too young and immature to see the bigger picture and both thought that we each knew what was best for him. Neither of us realized or acknowledged our duty to act like and to BE a family, that even when angry with one another, that duty existed because we decided to bring another human being onto the planet.

Single parenting is hard. Co-parenting is hard. Parenting in any capacity is hard, and that is why I’m constantly striving to do parenting better and to NOT repeat past mistakes. Oh, and I am happy to report that my son now has a relationship with his father and his father and I are finally mature enough to be friends again but even if circumstances were different, and friendship was not realistic, I do believe that with maturity and this magical hindsight, that we would still now be able to be cordial with one another, if for no other reason than to align for the amazing human person in whom we share a common interest.

I guess after this post is written and all is said and done, my real message is simply:

Please let us stop breaking our children’s hearts. One ounce of kindness at a time.

*End rant*

Absolute truth. Do your best, always do that.

Absolute truth. Do your best, always do that.