22
Mar 15

March Break Instalment of Things My Kids Say

 MONDAY

We were driving home from Newmarket, after a semi-satisfying lunch at Costco, (for the kids, I behaved and stuck to sipping my Diet Pepsi and pretended not to be hungry) and as usual, we listened to the radio during the drive. “An Angel in Blue Jeans” by Train came on. The kids were listening to the music, talking to each other, singing along, picking their noses, covertly poking each other in the eye – you know, all the usual stuff kids do when you’re powerless to stop them because you’re stuck driving the car. Anyway, all of a sudden, Mason bursts out:

“Miranda! Miranda! Did you hear that? Did you hear what the song said?”

“Nooooo. What’d it say?”

“It said ‘Life is but a dream, I was shot down by Olaf, my angel in blue jeans.’ ”

“Whaaaaat?!?” Miranda says in horror.

*I die laughing, but somehow don’t ditch the van in the process*

“No, guys, it’s ‘I was shot down by your love‘ not ‘shot down by Olaf!” I had to tell them. Because letting Miranda believe that Olaf was a) shooting people and b) an angel in blue jeans just seemed wrong beyond reason. Mas is still skeptical that I am right about the lyrics, but out of his love for his sister and her love for Olaf, he isn’t pushing it. Thanks God. (Also, I should add, that Miranda pronounces ‘Olaf” as ‘O-Love’ which makes me smile every time she utters his name).

TUESDAY

“I know what your favourite thing is Mummy.”

“What’s that, hon?”

“US! Your favourite thing is us.”

*Heart fills with happiness and explodes. Heart too happy.*

WEDNESDAY

As the kids were heading outside to play, two JW’s came walking up our porch.

“MUMMY! People are here!”

“Who?”

“I dunno. People!” (I know, this makes us sound like a remote mountain family, but I promise you, my kids are used to seeing people, almost everyday, in fact).

I open the door, still clad in my classy polar fleece jammie pants and over-sized beat-up house sweater, as two J.W.’s are approaching, literature in hand.

Smiling sweetly (I think) “Oh! Hello.” Then, noticing the literature in the first woman’s hand, I quickly add “Oh, no thank you!”

Looking confused while their eyes take in my homeless housewife-chic attire, one of them says “It’s only an invitation.” (‘because clearly you are in desperate need of help and saving, if not for you, then think of these poor misguided children!’ – This bit remained unspoken and was conveyed in the look of disbelief in their eyes)

“Oh, we’ve had those before. We don’t go. But thank you so much again!” Closing the door slowly as they started to turn and leave.

Mason: “Oh, sure Mom, like you really meant that!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Mason turns on the falsetto and big smile ” ‘Oh, thank you so much! No thank you!’ Yeah, you didn’t mean that at all, did you?”

Busted again. Oh well. I’m sure the J.W.’s will return and I’ll have another chance to try to decline indoctrination and being saved with more sincerity next time.

THURSDAY

Deacon: “Pineapple, coconut, BIG BANANA!” At the breakfast table while doing a dance indicating which body part is which. I’ll leave that with your and your imagination to sort out. Me? I just tried to pretend that I did not just hear and see my eight-year-old gyrating and gesturing thusly. Focus on his beautiful smile, I told myself. That didn’t really work, no. I’m still traumatized.

SATURDAY

Paxton informed me that he was “practicing kindness” today and that he hoped that he didn’t forget to be good while we were out and about this afternoon. He didn’t forget to be good. He did a great job listening and cooperating. Driving home though, he grabbed a book out of his sister’s hand. She objected. LOUDLY. She was not letting him get away with it. I thought I would help, honestly more to stop the yelling than anything else, but whatever my motivation, I was trying to help.

“Pax, remember you told me that you were practicing kindness today?”

“Oh yeah. I forgot.”

“Well, was it kind to grab that book out of your sister’s hand?”

“No.”

“It sounds like she’s pretty upset.”

“Yeah.”

“So, do you think that maybe you should give it back to her and apologize? Would that be the kind thing to do?”

“I guess so. Here you go, Miranda. So-rry.”

“That’s okay, Paxton. Hey, when we get home, you wanna play spies?”

So, just moments before, Ms. M was screaming and yelling at hearing-damage-gonna-happen volumes because her brother took a book (well, really a free pamphlet about outdoor accessories from Lowes) out of her hand without asking. And so I intervened and did the calm and guiding parent thing and lead Pax to do the right thing, and she’s already over it before he finished saying ‘sorry’? It is times like that when I wonder if I should just let them figure it out on their own. But then I remember the very real feeling of wanting to rip my own ears off to stop the pain of being trapped in a vehicle listening to them bicker, yell, whine and cry, over essentially, nothing, and decide no. Left to their own devices, they will keep that fight alive ALL DAY LONG. It is only when they drag Mom into it that the fight loses all of its shiny new-car appeal. So, by jumping into the middle of these seemingly meaningless arguments I am assuring my own sanity and survival. It’s just like wrestling a crocodile, only different.

For all the arguing, crying, fighting, there's also so much hugging, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, I often wonder, but they always let me know in little ways that they really do love each other.

For all the arguing, crying, and fighting that goes on around here on any given day, there’s also so much hugging, playing, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, well I often wonder, but they always find ways to reassure me and each other that they really do love one another.


15
Mar 15

School-safe Protein-packed Granola Bar Recipe

A while back, I published a post about becoming an Epicure Selections consultant. Since then, I have been busy trying as many Epicure products as possible (and no, I don’t love everything they put out there, but I do love many of their products :) ). Including their silicone bakeware, and I have to admit, I am now completely sold on the Perfect Petites Silicone pan (only $23 Cdn. Lol!).

So far, I’ve made both regular and Summer Berry versions of banana bread and these School-safe Granola Bars (a few times each) and it’s been a breeze each time. Clean up hasn’t been tedious and the end product has been a hit with my smalls.

A few tips when using the Perfect Petites pan:

1. Always use it on top of a metal baking/cookie sheet for stability
2. NEVER use cooking spray on this or any other silicone cookware
3. Lightly oil the pan with Canola or other oil, but, see point number 2 and remember NO cooking spray
4. If something is a little difficult to remove (I haven’t run into this issue yet), pop the pan in the freezer for about 20 or so minutes. Whatever you’ve baked should pop right out after that.
5. You can pretty much take any quick bread, muffin, cake, cookie recipe and use the Petites pan, just reduce your baking time – if a recipe calls for 30 minutes at 325°C, I start checking after 15 minutes.

General Notes about the recipe – I wanted a quick snack that would provide my children with a hit of protein, not merely fibre/carbs/sugar but that was also school-safe (e.g. completely nut-free) and this fits the bill perfectly. As a bonus, it is also an incredibly adaptable recipe. Use gluten-free flour and voila! GF School safe granola bars. Kids don’t like raisins? Don’t use them! They love Craisins? Use ‘em! Dried anything (naturally or chopped up small) will work :) Be adventurous, see what ya’ll like and what you don’t. I’m trying them out using coconut oil next, I’m sure it will work just fine though. ;)

Now, for the promised recipe

SCHOOL-SAFE AND PROTEIN-PACKED GRANOLA BARS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rolled oats (quick are fine, but not instant)             1/2 cup honey
1 cup whole wheat flour                                                      1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)                                            1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar                                                            2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt (optional
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixture of shredded unsweetened coconut, raw & shelled sunflower seeds, raw & shelled pumpkin seeds (I keep this mixture in equal parts in a Mason jar in my pantry for snacking and baking).

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325° C. Lightly oil your Perfect Petites pan or your 9×13″ pan. Alternatively, lay down parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and sides of your pan (9×13 only, not the P.P. pan!)

2. Mix together the first eight ingredients (left-hand column). Make a well in the centre and add four last ingredients (right-hand column). This is easy to mix by hand (so even I don’t bother firing up the KitchenAid mixer ;) ).

3. If using the Perfect Petites pan, fill and smooth each cell with your granola mix. It will be a wet and sticky batter. For chewier bars, fill each cell more, for crunchier bars, fill each cell with less batter. Maximum capacity for the pan is 2 tablespoons per cell. If using a 9×13 pan, pour the batter in and smooth out.

4. Bake and start checking or doneness after approximately 15 minutes for the Perfect Petites pan or 30 minutes for a 9×13. The bars are done when the edges start to brown lightly.

5. Remove from oven, let cool in the pan on the rack for around 20 minutes. Less time is needed if you’re using the P.P. pan, those you can pop right out of the pan as soon as they are cool enough to touch. If using a 9×13 pan, let them cool, but remove from the pan and cut into bars before completely cold. This will make cutting them easier.

6. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!

I am in love with this pan - makes more that my regular mini-muffin tin (30 vs. 24) and they are the perfect size for all of us to enjoy a REASONABLE portion of a treat - LOL!

I am in love with this pan – makes more that my regular mini-muffin tin (30 vs. 24) and they are the perfect size for all of us to enjoy a REASONABLE portion of a treat – LOL!


27
Feb 15

My week of food – a pictorial post

Every night this week I have Epicurized our dinners and the results have been very well received. But instead of reading my blah, blah, blahs, I’ll just post the pictures that I’ve been sharing on Instagram and Facebook, and a few that I didn’t share anywhere else at all. ;)

Monday

imageUsing Epicure’s Chicken Bouillon and the Three Onion Dip Mix to jazz it up.

Tuesday

IMG_2878.JPGThe picture says it all. I wish I had a picture of my kids inhaling dinner that night though!

Wednesday

imageI hear you, I do. You’re all like “What the holy Hell is that?” Well, I’ll tell you what it is. It is cabbage roll casserole (without the complicated cabbage rolling part but with tonnes of deliciousness). If anyone wants the recipe, I’ll be posting it later this week maybe? For now I’ll just say that it is a gluten-free friendly meal that appeals to gluten-free and gluten-full people alike ;) Epicure’s contribution to this meal? The fabulous Italian Salad Dressing mix – used it dry, saved a ton of fat and calories by not using salad dressing (needed to save those calories for the cheese – shhhh!)

Thursday

imageNot Epicure’d but rather to prove a point about how we’re feeding our children and making up bullshit self-serving excuses why. I posted this picture on Instagram with the following blurb:
This is our after school snack around here. Total cost? $1.57 and a little bit of prep time. Number of kids happily munching away on REAL food? Six. No chemicals, no added sugar, no hormones, just fresh fruits and veggies. Now, if it were a party, I’d probably be mixing up a batch of Greek yogurt Epicure Summer Berry Dip Mix for an extra special treat, but honestly? The kids are thrilled with their snack just the way it is. #DontTellMeYouCantAffordHealthyFood #CheaperThanOneSmallBagOfChips #thekeswickblog #Epicure #RealFoodGrowsHealthyKids #FrugalEating #CheapEats”

Thursday Dinner

IMG_2892.JPG

Friday – Pizza Game Strong

imageSo, that’s been my week in food. It’s been a pretty stupendous week, from a food perspective anyway. :)

And now, here are all the other places to find me (when I’m not hiding under my bed or behind my kids) come and hang out with me at:
Facebook 1  Facebook 2  Instagram  Twitter  Pinterest

Epicure Consultant Site

Have a wonderful weekend, remember to wear clean socks and underwear, and never leave home without an emergency toothbrush, toothpaste, mascara and lip gloss in your purse. No matter what happens, with those few things in hand, you’ll have the world by the ‘nads. You know, like MacGyver but prettier and with whiter teeth. ;)

 

 

 


20
Feb 15

Child conversations that age me instantly

     Miss Moon is four years old. Her friend, Miss L. is five years old. They were planning a dance party afterschool in the kids’ living room. This conversation transpired:

Miss L. : We’re SUPERSTARS!

Miss Moon: No we’re not! How ’bout we’re TEENAGERS!

Miss L. : Yeah! Yeah! We’re TEENAGERS!

They break into giggles, run into the powder room, attach all kinds of clips and barrettes to their hair and then truly dance like no one was watching. But I was watching, and between the conversation, the primping and the dance party, I am now 106 years old, ya’ll. *thud*

Four going on seventeen. I'm dying here!

Four going on seventeen. I’m dying here!

     I posted this on the blog’s Instagram page this week, but just in case you’re not following the blog on Instagram (um, why aren’t you?!?), I’m posting it here, just because it was cute:

image

“Look Mummy, I drew a king and a princess. And THIS is their limbo!”
“Where are they going in their limbo?”
“The buffet. See I gave the King a perfect moustache?”
#OnlyMyPaxton #StoryOfMyLife #InLimboAndAtaBuffet #mysmalls#thekeswickblog

     Last week, Miss M came down with hives for some unknown reason. After a few days, she came downstairs in the morning looking sleepy, tousled and dejected. “Mummy? I still got the bee-hives.”

 

This is Miss M's case of "the beehives" No known cause, likely related to her cold symptoms, but they were itchy and uncomfortable days for her. I hope she doesn't get the beehives again anytime soon.

This is Miss M’s case of “the beehives” No known cause, likely related to her cold symptoms, but they were itchy and uncomfortable days for her. I hope she doesn’t get the beehives again anytime soon.

     And then there are things that just make my head hurt:

“Mummy, you know that game, the one you can play? The spinny around one? Mummy? Mummy? You know it? It’s like with all the numbers on it? You know it? Mummy?”

“What? No, I don’t know it, you’re going to have to tell me what you’re talking about.”

“You know, it’s that spinny around game that has a ball on it? And what if baby played it and won like a billion dollars? Would all the lights go crazy and bells ring? Would the baby get to keep the money? Wouldn’t that be funny? Huh? Wouldn’t it?”

“Sweetie, my head hurts, but I’m pretty sure you’re talking about roulette and I’m pretty sure you’re thinking about casinos and gambling, and babies aren’t allowed to gamble.”

“They’re not?!? “What about kids? Can kids gamble? ‘Cause that’s not fair to the babies that they don’t get to keep the money if they win it.”

“No hon, kids aren’t allowed to gamble either. Only grown ups.”

“How about teenagers? Can teenagers gamble?”

“Only with their futures, kiddo.”

“Huh?”

“No. No gambling for teenagers either. Just for grownups.”

“Well, that’s no fair, because I need money, and now I can’t win it.”

“You and me both, Babe.  You and me both. Now, where’s the Tylenol at?”

It's like looking in a mirror after one of these conversations. Man, I hope my smalls never change! <3

It’s like looking in a mirror after one of these conversations. Man, I hope my smalls never change!

     And this one wasn’t something a child said, but rather a grown woman, a grandmother of six when I complimented her on her hair.

*While flipping the ends of her hair up and down* “Oh, thank you! I never dye my hair you know. I only get my roots done. Eighteen years and I’ve NEVER dyed my hair, I just get my roots done and it matches PERFECTLY! Nope, have never dyed my hair, honestly!”

I’ll just let that one sit and steep a while, shall I?

Now, where is that Tylenol at?


14
Feb 15

It’s not that I’m a bad mother

It is just that I am not as good of one as I want to be, unintentionally pretend to be, wish I were and want others to believe that I am. And it is dead easy to set the stage – social media makes it very possible to put your best (fake) self out there for the world to see and admire (or not), compliment, judge, praise or slam. And somehow, I find myself caught up some of this unimportant bullshit posturing all too often.

Because I want people to think that I am a good mom (why do I care? I don’t know, but I do). I want my children to think that I am a good mom and to love me. I want my babies to always remember how hard I worked for them (whether in the home or outside of the home), how good the food I prepared for them tasted, how I was with them every possible moment, how much I loved them. I want them to remember me happy and smiling. I want them to remember the tickles and giggles, the cuddles and kisses. But sometimes I fear that they will remember how grumpy I was, how tired, short-tempered, rushed, sad and defeated I was. And that breaks my heart in ways I have never known my heart to break.

I want to raise happy, well-adjusted, healthy, intelligent, informed, socially and morally responsible, interesting, vibrant people. I want to send my children out into the world feeling confident in his or her ability to handle anything that life throws at him and not accept less than her dream (whatever that may be). I want him to be free to explore our world fearlessly knowing that no matter what, Mum is always in her corner, cheering him on, soothing her wounds and sending him back out to conquer the next round of life.***

I want my beautiful minions to know that as nice as Keswick is and as familiar and safe as it feels for them, it is but one tiny speck on this planet and that their futures and destinies, may not be here, but rather may be best discovered and put to greater use in one of the other specks on the globe. There is so much more to life than Keswick (or any small town), and while I enjoy living here, I have seen more of the world (and one day hope to see even more of it), and I made a conscious choice to live here and raise a family here. I did not land here by birth or accident, but rather by design. And that is what I want for each of them – to craft their lives and not just accept where they are, because it is where they have always been here but rather to make that informed, conscious decision about how and where they want to spend the duration of their lives.

I am finally realizing what other people have always known. That it does not matter clean that I keep this house. It does not matter how much laundry I wash, hang and fold, how many toys I pick up, how much that I jump up and down about uncleaned messes. None of that matters. What matters is RAISING my kids. Turning off the noise of the day and tuning into them, individually and collectively. By CHOOSING to NOT clean up the kitchen after dinner in favour of reading with them, or doing a puzzle together or trying to learn piano together. THOSE are the kind of things that really matter to me, THOSE are the memories that I want them to have when they are grown and gone. Not one of them will look back fondly on all of those hours spent on one electronic device or another, playing this game or that, or seeing me at the kitchen table engrossed in something on my laptop or spending endless hours watching mindless television programming (that quite honestly, I cannot believe passes as children’s/family programming – hello content and language, I’m talking to you! – Different rant for a different post for a different day)

So, it really is not that I am a bad mother, rather it is that I know that I can and want to be a much better mother. Because all five of my babies deserve better than mediocre parenting or examples to follow. I am finally (?maybe?) learning that in life and relationships sometimes LOVE is just not enough, despite our best intentions and desires. That I love is a given. The fact of my love is never in question but while love is a necessary and wonderful first ingredient, there are so many other components that are required to create something eternally strong, memorable and great.

This.

This.

For Them.

For Them.

And that is what I want for my life. It is what I want for my children, always.

***Yes, I know that I used the male and female pronouns 
interchangeably. Since I have children of both genders and 
constantly saying 'him or her' or 'his or her' is ugly and 
awkward in a sentence, I decided to alternate the use of 
each pronoun.

heart


13
Feb 15

I’ve taken on another adventure – Epicure in the ‘wick

I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a while now, unable to do much of anything other than basic ‘life’ and have, in all honesty barely been doing an adequate job at that, but amidst all of my mediocre efforts/results at ‘life’, I recently decided to become an Independent Epicure Consultant.

I have never done anything like this before. I’ve purchased from other women selling various products – Thirty-One, Grace Adele, Scentsy (currently investigating, never purchased yet), so I can appreciate the actual process of catalogue purchasing, but I’ve never decided to try to SELL anything like this before.

Most of the companies are started by women, for women and Epicure is no different. But one difference is that it was started by CANADIAN women Canadian women. And I kind of dig that. Also, I have a terrible time finding products that I feel that I can trust, are limited or devoid of chemicals, additives (like MSG, tonnes of sodium, tartrazine, etc.) that I can afford to purchase ON A BUDGET. Enter, Epicure with amazing food products, cook and bakeware, recipes, and teas. If you enjoy cooking, or just really good tasting food, it’s worth a second look.

If you’d like to check out the current catalogue, or even place an order or host your own party (online is fine – not everyone has time to have 10 people over to their house for a tasting party), here is the link to my consultant site (Canadian shipping addresses only). Everything from Epicure is gluten-free, so no worries on that front, and many items are now Non-GMO verified (and more are going through the process all the time), which, for me, when it comes to what I am feeding my family, is increasingly important.

February Specials - The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here!

February Specials – The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here! Is it smart for a self-diagnosed Food Junkie to be working a business in the food industry? I don’t know, but I’m going to have a ton of fun finding out!

So, while I want to do so many things everyday/week/month (oh, I also, joined the gym, am trying to re-teach myself piano, trying to write consistently, photograph my rapidly growing babies regularly, keep the house reasonable, the meals prepared, the clothes washed (if not folded and put away), work and earn at four part-time jobs and now Epicure too!), I continue with to struggle of trying to be everything to everyone, do everything I want, need and must do, and falling short at every turn. But slowing down or downsizing what I take on doesn’t appear to be part of my DNA.

But, at the end of the day, I just need to do better, work harder, try more and I’ll achieve my goals. Right? Isn’t that the way we’re told life works? I sure hope that wasn’t just a great big lie that I’ve fallen for.

My character challenge for the second half of February.

My character challenge for the second half of February.


02
Feb 15

What I am reading now

IMG_2810.JPG

I feel sad, heartsick, and like I want to crawl inside of a bag of salt and vinegar chips with a package of chocolate chips beside me, and just, well, hide. Everything that I am reading in this book is screaming at me “this is YOU, stupid!”

And then I push those thoughts aside and turn to the next page, ever hopeful that there I will find even a morsel of information that challenges everything else that I have read thus far. But no. And the cycle starts again.

Why am I so scared to even start to admit and realize what it would mean about me and to my life if I were to embrace the truth of being a total, life long and very active food addict? And if I decide to deal with it, what will I replace it with? Obviously I’m not that far into the book yet. Just far enough in to want to forget that I ever started it, but I won’t, I’ll push though and finish it and then I’ll figure out what to do about it.


26
Jan 15

Who deviated my septum? One theory

A few years ago, I found out that a majority of my breathing issues (or snoring if we want to be blunt) was possibly due, in part, to having a deviated septum. I wrote a little bit about that here. And it has bothered me ever since, because while I talked in my sleep when I was younger (okay, yes, I admit it, I talked all of the time), I did not snore. Snoring is for old men and obese people and should I fall into either of those two categories then it is for people who are not me. And so I’ve gone over my life with a fine tooth comb to try to figure out the HOW of this truth that plagues my adult life and I think that I finally have an answer.

I grew up in a great area in Toronto in the 70’s and 80’s. Widely referred to as The Beaches, it was and still is, in all actuality, The Beach. At the time it was a true community, it was safe, we were free to roam the streets (‘be back when the street lights come on!’) and aside from the occasionally keyed car or ripped off car stereo, there was very little violent crime to worry about in our little corner of Hogtown.

But that is not to say that we weren’t forced to contend with some bad seeds. It wasn’t Utopia after all and not everyone was friends, even if we all knew or knew of one another, we certainly didn’t all play nicely together.

Both my parents worked, so I went to Kew Beach P.S. rather than the much closer Williamson Road P.S. because Kew offered before and after-school daycare on site. And it was while attending Kew, that I am fairly certain that my flawlessly functional, straight and perfect septum was mangled. Here’s what happened.

1983. In the fourth grade, there was a boy in my class who was not like the rest. He was kind of, well, bad. He had strawberry blond hair, a face full of freckles and a glint in his eye that told us that a) he’d rather set fire to his desk than clean it out, b) he was just putting in time until he was old enough to go to prison and c) he was always just about to ruin someone’s day. I’ll call him Malcolm, but only because that was his name.

One afternoon during recess I was running around playing with my usual group of girl friends and Malcolm and some other boys decided that it would be fun to chase us. They chased and we ran away. We ran all around the giant climbing apparatus (that no doubt has now been deemed far to dangerous for kids to play on and replaced with something padded or made of feathers) when Malcolm grabbed my best friend, Jeannette, by the arm and swung her around. She screamed, and you have to understand that Jeannette was little. She didn’t have a spare ounce on her frame. She was no match for him. So I charged over there determined to protect her and free her from his dirty, grubby, mean nail-bitten hands. I grabbed his wrist, yelled ‘Let her GO!” and then, before I knew what was happening, WHACK!

Malcolm threw a punch at me, aimed with a precision that only comes with experience, and his grime-smeared fist connected with my nose straight on. I fell with a THUD on my ass and the shock of what had just happened brought all the surrounding playground activity to a dead stop. Then he took off. He just ran. As though I or anyone else was going to chase him. Um, no, I was fairly certain that I was about to die. From either the complete humiliation or blunt force trauma.

I’m still not sure what happened to Malcolm for his savage assault on my nose that day. I do not remember many consequences ever following his demented behaviour, other than a teacher screaming at him and sending him out into the hallway (seen by him as permission to rifle through his classmates coats, I can only guess), but I assume that someone bought him a puppy or ice cream or something. As for me? The principal (Mrs. Boucher), called my mom who was understandably and appropriately pissed off, but much to  my horror, I had to stay at school anyway. For the rest of the afternoon, I kept touching my face with tentative finger tips, waiting for it to ‘look’ different to my touch. Instead it just felt tender and bruised, but to my touch, I still looked the same, just my sparkle was somewhat diminished.

And then I noticed that my mouth did not want to work right anymore. I could no longer bite down with any pressure. Just great. And with my jaw locked from the impact, I was unable to eat my dinner that night.

So, while ass-wart Malcolm was eating ice cream and playing with his new puppy, or killing the neighbour’s cat or whatever, I sat at the dinner table in my semi-detached Beach home woefully not eating my dinner and crashing into a crater of self pity that only a ten-year-old girl could dig. To hit a girl was a mortal sin and we all knew it (even though we were not Catholic something about concept of SIN was just irresistible and we labelled transgressions ‘sins’ with a quiet respect that we could not explain) but to take away the fat kid’s ability to eat dinner was just wrong. That is what he did that day, he hit a girl and deprived the fat kid of dinner. Guilty as charged on both counts. Oh, and I think that he deviated the fuck out of my septum.

I am no longer upset about missing that meal, to be honest I don’t remember what Mum served that night, but I am still grieving the loss of my straight-as-an-arrow-air-just-flies-through-like-a-hot-knife-through-butter septum and dealing with the jaw-popping, headache inducing TMD that I’m pretty sure is also courtesy of Malcolm’s right hook. Oh, and that bff who I was defending? She was more like a bff until junior high. More accurately termed, she was a bffn (best friend for now). After we graduated from the sixth grade and started at Glen Ames Sr. P.S., we barely muttered ‘hi’ to each other in the halls and now, for the past almost twenty years, we’ve had no contact at all. Totally not worth taking a shot in the face for, I’d say.

Moral of the story? Defend and stand up for those who need your help, but if you’re going to take a life-altering shot in the face for them, get some kind of pinkie swear that they really will be your friend forever or else let them take their own damned lumps.

Malcolm is not in the middle, but he is in this class picture. As am I. Except that my septum is blissfully unaware that it's straight days are numbered and soon it will be bent as fuck.

Malcolm is not in the middle, but he is in this class picture. As am I. Except that my septum is blissfully unaware that its straight days are numbered and soon it will be bent as fuck.


24
Jan 15

Some people are just born with it but I’m not one of them

My mother has always had it. I’m pretty sure that she was born with it. My husband and my eldest son also have it. I know for certain that Declan was not born with it, and while I suspect that my husband was, I cannot make that claim with any degree of certainty. As for me? Well, no. I wasn’t born with it and still don’t have it.

What am I talking about? Well, around here, we call it “Old Man Strength.” (herein known as OMS) And I don’t have it (gender discussions, aside). I’ve also heard it referred to as ‘real life strength’ but since I’m not living in the Matrix or some other sci-fi movie, I consider all strength to be ‘real life strength.’ That said, OMS is different than regular strength. It cannot be gained at a fancy-schmancy gym, or ordered online, and even the all mighty Bowflex will not produce this Herculean-like strength in otherwise average people.

Because, you see, OMS is not about how fit you are, how old you are, how much you weigh, how much you  can bench press or lift. It’s not about how many chin ups, push ups or sit ups that you can do. It is a rare and very desirable combination of grit, determination, mental strength, perseverance, intelligence, a bit of rage and the complete and utter ‘knowing’ that it is possible. And many of us have some of those traits, hell, many of us have ALL of those traits. But when all of those traits don’t kick in at the same time. The planets do not align and people like me are left with regular strength (um, none to speak of, really) and people who work out are just super fit gym worshipping average strong.

But when push comes to shove, I put my money on the one with OMS. Every time. Hands down. Because whatever the challenge is – getting some open, lifted, moved, lowered, shifted, two people with OMS are worth six people with ‘sculpted’ strength. There is something ingrained in the DNA of those people with OMS that just makes them different.

As for me? As long as I can wrestle open my Diet Pepsi, successfully open a chocolate bar and finagle access to the chips in the bag, pick up my kids when they are hurt, and carry my own body weight (albeit via my legs and feet) I figure I’m probably strong enough to carry on. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m surrounded by OMS when it matters. ;)

Because apparently, even though we've been using the term for years now, we weren't smart enough to patent and protect that shit and now there are tee shirts. Going H.A.A.M. Fml. Argh.

Because apparently, even though we’ve been using the term for years now, we weren’t smart enough to patent and protect that shit and now there are tee shirts probably making some Crossfit enthusiast a fortune. And I’m sure they are going H.A.A.M. Fml. Argh. 


14
Jan 15

Reclaiming the me I lost or updating my OS?

Earlier today I read an article entitled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It was excellent. It was thought-provoking, well written and unfortunately has sent me into a bit of a tailspin. Why? Because I don’t want to end up being that old lady fighting with a cashier over a .30 coupon because I have nothing else in my life worth giving a fuck about.

thesearemine

The article (you really should go and read it if you have not already) takes the time to differentiate between not giving a fuck and being indifferent. Which for me, was a useful use of time. Because I often find when I’m busy trying to not give a fuck about things that I force or feign indifference and that is counter-productive and soul crushing – to me and those around me. I’m not indifferent about things, but I have also not been brave or strong enough to give a fuck where it matters, opting instead to give a fuck about thousands of things that don’t count for shit.

Needless to say, in this, my life of one breakdown and breakthrough after another, I again feel like it’s time to take stock and make changes. Because as I’m coming to find out, it’s not about my diet, my weight, my wrinkles, my hair, my dry skin or if my floors are vacuumed and laundry folded. *I* am more than that. *I* am not here to make sure that I look right, act right, do the right things *for everyone else’s benefit at the expense of my life*

I’m not ok anymore with putting in time, trying to do everything right and follow all the rules and taking only the safest of chances. I am not ok with trying so hard to be accepted only to realize that I don’t actually have any control whatsoever over others’ acceptance of me and that people will accept or reject me in spite of my best intentions or efforts to ensure the outcome of my choosing. And I can’t own all this shit anymore.

So do I need to eat to hide, hide to eat, dress up or down, have ‘the right’ stuff? Or can I just let it all go (no Elsa jokes, please – My Ms. Moon is obsessed with Frozen, like 90% of little girls and sings ‘Let it Go’ morning, noon, and night, but I really was using the phrase long before we all fell in love with Olaf and Sven) and stopping waiting for ‘the right time or place’ to happen before actually changing my future.

last fuck given Elsa

Can I just let all of that go, after carrying it with me for all of these years? Can I release the shame, the guilt, the uncertainty and self-hatred. Can I decide to stop giving a fuck about absolutely *everything* and just give a fuck about things that actually matter? Like myself, my family, my friends and my cat? Can I stop being worried all the time about failing or not being good enough (for who?!?) and can I start to just DO things that I WANT to do because they matter TO ME? Can I go to the gym just because I want to and not because I feel like I should, or because I’m too goddamned fat or because it’s what I would have done when I was younger? And can I eat a one-pound peanut butter cup without feeling like a fat, gluttonous pig and instead just not give a fuck and enjoy it and really, honestly just not care of someone, anyone, chooses to judge me for having eaten it?

It would seem, that for me, not giving a fuck (or giving too many fucks) and fear are conjoined and that what I need to do is 1) figure out how to stop being scared of everything (what if they don’t like me, what if I don’t get the job, what if my kid hates me, what if this person doesn’t love me, like me, need me or want me, what if I get fatter, what if the person I’m speaking with thinks that I’m stupid or irrelevant, what if no one cares about what I have to say, what if I embarrass myself, what if they give me that look, what if I’m WRONG?) and 2) how to button down those previously given fucks just start giving a fuck about only those things that matter the most to me and letting the other shit take care (or not) of itself.

Writing this post is actually painful. Because I’m admitting inner-sanctum shit that I never admit to – either to myself or others – but what is the point of writing bullshit? And since it’s just you and me here, I figure that this is as good a place as any to stop lying to myself and to stop being complacent in my self-built house of fear and self-deception.

Truth: I love my life. I love my family, both the one I came from and the one that I have created. I love writing, music, reading, photography, eating, sleeping, and being quiet. And sometimes I love being dorky and ridiculous and talk non-stop, about shit that matters and shit that doesn’t matter, and beyond that, I’ve suppressed myself for so long, out of fear, habit, or the beliefs of others, that I no longer really feel like know how to dream, big or small, let alone make my dreams become my reality. I have let myself down. I’m like a fatter, older, duller, diluted version of myself and I’m waking up now realizing that I really don’t want to live a half-lived life. I don’t want to waste time of things that don’t matter or won’t make a difference. I don’t want to exhaust myself, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. No. I want to exhaust myself doing things that I love to do. And yes, I know what some of them are, but I know that there are so many other things that I have yet to discover. And I want to discover them – even if they fall outside of the ‘comfort zone’ that I have so carefully constructed around myself. 

Fucks – consider yourself on notice. Far fewer of you will be released by me into the universe. So the ones of you who are tossed out there, be ready to go hard because you’ll be working for all of those left behind.

And she gave no fucks


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