It’s not about bashing men, so just stop it.

This is NOT a post bashing men by any stretch of the definition. I just finished reading an article, by Mark Manson, a fellow I started reading not so very long ago. His most recent article is an attempt to understand what has gone wrong for men and why, and it is a worthwhile, informative and entertaining read. Mark uses the right mix of humour and fact to get his point across to the reader. And the subject matter (the reality and meaning of being male in our society) is important for all of us to understand. It is as important to understand what has gone wrong for men as it is to understand the reality faced by women, children, the elderly, black, asian, Muslim, disabled/other-abled, LGBTQ communities, indigenous people, and every other ‘group.’

Read Mark Manson’s: What’s the problem with men? 
 
When I first became a mother, I was young and single and female. I did not know the first thing about the male psyche or experience that hadn’t been touted to me as ‘fact’ through the mainstream media. Since I was decidedly going to remain female, first hand knowledge was impossible, so instead I set about learning everything that I could about ‘boys’ so that I would be able to do my very best to raise my son to be more than just a ‘stereotypical guy’ who was only out for power and dominance at the expense of women and other less powerful segments of society.
 
My parenting goals now are different and focused less on gender similarities and differences and more geared toward encouraging all of my children, male or female, to be better people, kinder, more empathetic, inclusive, generous and thoughtful everyday. I want them to express their emotions, even the unpleasant ones in healthy ways, and to share their thoughts and ideas without the fear of being shut down. I want them to have the strength and confidence to encourage others to do the same, and, to always look within for validation and purpose rather than looking toward someone else, who is likely just lost, to lead their path through life.
So, that’s it for me today. I just wanted to share with ya’ll what has been occupying my mind while I procrastinate doing my homework. I hope that you give the article a read and share your thoughts – either here in the comments section or on the Twitter or Facebook pages. The older I get, the more I appreciate hearing all different points of view and ideas. The older I get, the more excited I am to learn new things about subjects that I was not that impressed with in my youth. It would seem that spending my childhood in school was likely wasted on me, although it did keep me off the streets. But honestly,  I am far more open to learning now than I ever was then. On the sunny side  though, I did learn how to read and write and do long division, so it’s not like it was a complete waste of time. 😂
~A.

Suck a what? And how long have I been trapped in a minivan?

So, on Friday, Mr. K.B. took a day off work to get some things done that he has been needing to get done, and also to hang out with me (because who wouldn’t want to hang out with me, right?). Now, remember, we’re married and have four kids living in our house. This means that opportunities for us to hang out together by ourselves (that may be an oxymoron?) come around about as often as that Super Moon deal that we missed last year.

Anyway, so we were out and about town in his car and I was telling him how I didn’t really know how to use his Sirius radio set up, so when I was driving his car earlier that day, I just pushed the one button and left it at that. He started to show me how easy it was to use both the preset channels and to just scan for a station. Then, to demonstrate, he spun the knob and landed on a random station. When the signal caught up to the channel, this is what we heard:

“suck a dick, suck a dick, suck a, suck a, suck a dick…”

and then I was like, what conversation was this fella having that preceded these lyrics? Because if it was anything other than this:

dude is definitely NOT going to get his dick sucked.

I’m no prude or anything, but may I ask just exactly HOW LONG I been being held hostage in a minivan full of kids? When did music change this much? I mean, just yesterday, the kids and I were happily listening to the 2017 Grammy Nominee CD that we borrowed from the library and I was feeling all “up-to-date” and “current” and then today, I find out I have NO IDEA what the hell is going on out there. Here I was, upset that my kids are already being exposed to gangster rap in elementary school, while I should have just been thankful that they’re not walking around the house singing “suck a dick.”

Fuck.

So, two things come from this impromptu music lesson. 1) I’m keeping my head, heart and ears firmly planted in music pre-2000, and 2) It will be another decade or longer before I am morally able to join the ranks of satellite radio subscribers.

They represent me perfectly. The princess and the basket case. C’est moi.

Note: I was going to Google it and try to post a link, but then I thought – with all of the ad targeting bullshit do I really want paid ads showing up for me on Amazon, Facebook, or anywhere else that are encouraging me to suck a dick? Probably not. I’m still annoyed that everywhere I go online I see ads for hemorrhoid cream (you ask Google ONE question about something you heard about models using Preparation H as an under-eye cream and you’re marked for life. Take my word for it, just accept the wrinkles).

Nope. Just don’t do it.

And that’s how my life went from PG to XXX in one turn of a radio dial.

~A.

This is the year

So, in keeping with my modus operandi, this post was slated to be published on the last day of 2016 and it is now January 1, 2017. To state the obvious, it goes without saying that I failed to achieve my final writing goal of 2016. Procrastination rules supreme, you can take the girl out of lazy but you can’t take lazy out of the girl, and all that. Moving right along (because enough about me being a slug), I am placing a fair amount of pressure on myself to achieve certain goals in 2017. I’m not sure that I would or could call them resolutions, but they are very definitely (hashtag-less) goals. Despite my joking and propensity for self-deprecating humour, I actually did accomplish a fair amount in 2016. As always though, I am left feeling as though I let myself (and everyone else) down.

And no, not because I’m still on intimate terms with the extra 40 (or 50) pounds I’ve been in a complicated relationship with for the past five years. Not because I have STILL not written a novella, novel or even a really great blog post. Not because I remain a low-wage earner. Not even because my house is still in a state of renovation and disarray, with no end in sight. No. I am left, here at the end of 2016, feeling as though I have let myself down because I know better and yet consistently do not do better.

I know that I should exercise (walk, lift, yoga, whatever), and yet I do not. I know that I should give up chocolate, french fries, Diet Pepsi, chips, meat, refined white flour, sugar and sweeteners and yet I do not. I know that I should be going to bed earlier, getting more sleep, rising earlier and getting more done in a day, and yet, I do not. I know that I should be writing every single day  and pursuing other creative and artistic endeavours and yet, I do not. I know that I should be ever patient, calm and serene with my children, and yet, I am not. I know that I should get those paint cans shaken (again) and get to painting rooms where it makes sense to do so, and yet, I do not.

You see? I know better and yet I do mediocre. I make excuses for myself. I’ll tell myself that I have a  lot to do, I have a lot on my plate with running the house, raising the kids, being a wife and mother, with working more and more hours outside of the home. And of course it’s acceptable that I don’t make time for myself or time to pursue what makes my spirit sing, you can’t make what you don’t have. Of course it’s acceptable that I burn the candle at both ends so that nobody, myself included, has a chance of getting the best that I have to offer. Of course it’s acceptable to take on more and more and more and to not acknowledge how overwhelmed or unfulfilled or unhappy I may be as a result. Of course it is.

Not.

So this  year, this year of 2017, will be a kinder, gentler year for me. A more accepting and relaxed year. No, I’m not quitting my family, marriage or work (going from low to no-wage earner is not an option), but I am going to work on actually (rather than just thinking about) making myself more of a priority and giving myself the time, care and attention that I NEED in order to be happy, fulfilled, healthy, and truly able to do better in all areas and give more to all the people in my life. Because the more I deny myself, the more that I am denying the people around me, which is counter-intuitive to my ‘healer and helper’ nature (stop snickering! I am very nurturing when I’m not being pulled in twenty directions at once).

So, instead of a list of resolutions (a.k.a. promises that I have no real intention to keep), this year I’m going to say ‘yes’ more and ‘no’ less. To myself.

How about you? What are your plans for 2017? We all have the same 365 days, what we choose to do with them is what will make the difference between having a year that we enjoy and celebrate and having a year that we merely survive.

~A.

Miscellany with a side of stabbiness

Everyday, I update the little Christmas countdown board. When I forget, my 10 year-old is very good at making sure that a) I know it and b) I fix it. So, that’s covered.

The shopping is coming along. There’s already WAY TOO MUCH stuff in this house and Christmas isn’t going to lighten the load any. I quest to declutter is a losing battle right now. I’m feeling quite defeated, I must admit. But, on the upside, I have enough Lego now to build myself a new minivan when mine gives up the ghost.

My weight and my stress level are creeping back up, so I know that it’s time to do something about both those things. Likely tending to one will resolve the other, so really, I just knocked that list down by half. Go me!

Airmiles announced this week that Airmiles will no longer expire. Well, that’s just fucking great. Now that I redeemed almost all of them because I’d rather have shit I didn’t want or need that lose TEN YEARS of collecting effort. Not impressed. Less than a month before they are all set to expire, Airmiles ‘changes its’ mind.’ Um. fuck you very much, Airmiles, you asshole.

And, in more amusing news, last week, I was accused of English being my second language, by someone who, by my estimation, (based on her online writing) is functionally illiterate in English. Are you eff’ing kidding me? To be fair, her exact comment was: “Thanks for the long comment but you may not fluent in English? Read my post again.” Her badly written original question was looking for ways that she could improve her son’s French (“Can anyone give advice if I want my 11 year old son improves his French ?”). I gave her a few suggestions and at the end threw it out there that immersion isn’t for everyone, so not to stress too much if English is a better program for him. Vowed not to help stupid people again. Well, I will, because I can’t say no, but only the polite ones from now on.

Also, if Spellcheck tries, just one more time, to auto-correct “stabby” to “shabby” I am going to get all kinds of cranky. I am NOT shabby. Nor am I “stubby.” But I most definitely AM stabby.

if-the-next-words-out-of

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

~A.

Confirmed. We are going to Hell in a hand basket for this one.

I’m a bit pensive today. Feeling a bit older than my years, and much older than my usual 17 year-old maturity level. And for the first time, it occurs to me that somehow, over the years, bit by bit, we’ve taken Christmas from this:

The Nativity Scene at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, NY

The Nativity Scene at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, NY

and this:

A Charlie Brown Christmas scene.

A Charlie Brown Christmas scene.

and turned it into this:

and even worse (if that’s possible), this:

And the result is THIS. WE have turned Christmas into THIS for our children.

And then we wonder why society is shot to shit, why we are faced with one crisis after another, why people are so rude, angry and aggressive now, why Britain is leaving the EU, why Donald Trump is the POTUS-elect, why a man can receive three months for brutally raping an unconscious woman, why more and more places are legalizing marijuana use and why the middle class and women represent a higher percentage of heroin use and related-deaths than ever before.

Are we using twerking Santa’s and Frosty’s as a salve for our scared and wounded souls and bruised psyches? Or have we just given up trying to regain any semblance of innocence, joy and citizenship, even during the season of peace, joy, love and giving?

31 days and counting until Christmas. Is there still time to undo ANY of this damage?

Reflectively yours,
~A.

Are you in on the craze of the season? Just stop. Please.

69edaf97a73f4335e00cd8749dd356ab

Are you in on this Hatchimal craze?

I’m not. My kids are not. And if they were, I’m afraid that they would be sorely disappointed. Because Christmas is NOT about getting the latest fad or the most expensive doodad. It’s about sharing time with your family, giving gifts that hold true value to the recipient, not just over-advertised, over-hyped and over-priced poorly made and likely soon-to-be recalled pieces of garbage.

Sound harsh? Yup. I probably am. But I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle to raise good humans, people who care more about other people and the world we live in than they do STUFF.

A lot of people pay lip service to raising kids with manners, a lot of people complain about the quality of education their children are receiving, a lot of people are so worried about keeping their children HAPPY, that they are not actually doing anything to prepare their children for reality.

The reality that people are not ALWAYS happy. That not everybody is going to give you what you want. That sometimes people say NO and you need to accept that and move forward, not throw a fit or fall apart. The reality is that you really can’t always get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you’ll get what you need.

And yes, I realize that I am quoting The Rolling Stones to try to get my point across, but hey, they had it right. So why fight it?

Can I take a 50% completion rate as a win? Pretty please?

I have a list. On that list there are 36 things that I MUST do this week. Please note, that today is THURSDAY. This means that I have, essentially, one day left to finish my list (and probably save the world, as yes, my list is that important).

As of this precise moment in time, I have completed 18 items on my list. Using my superior fourth grade math skills, that means that I have completed roughly 50% of my list. Or, in layman terms, for those of you not as math-savvy as I clearly am, by completing 18 items on my list of 36 means that I’m well and truly fecked and destined fail to reach my goal of completion.

ad36fa3ba2ba37be25a14ecb7bcd75cf

So, on that happy note, I’ll sign off for now, dry the tears that now stain my list, and see what I can pull off in the next 30’ish hours (I must admit though that cleaning the kitty litter will likely not make the cut, but meh, it’s not like I use it). Honestly, this week has been a bit of a write-off. Between Trump being elected and all that means for both sides of the border, and my own habitual failures at life, things are looking pretty bloody bleak at the moment.

There’s still time for me to save the world with my super hero-esque like list completion, but please don’t bet the farm it. I think I feel a migraine coming on.

~A.

There is curiosity and then there is this.

Every now and then, for giggles, I check out what search terms bring people to The Keswick Blog. It’s usually fairly entertaining mixed with a dash of terrifying. This time around is no different.

If you’re reading this, and you got here using any of the following search terms, I’m sorry. This ain’t that blog.

The ‘It Ain’t That Blog’ List

  1. women to f**k in keswick on – No. Go away.
  2. naked child – NO. Go far away.
  3. keswick jerk off – Nope.
  4. keswick cocaine – Negative.
  5. keswick slut – Don’t know any, anywhere.
  6. keswick naked girl selfie – NO. Are you still here?
  7. keswick slut video – NO. Please leave.
  8. sti infection on hand and nail – Um, what? You can get an STI on your hand and nails? Oh barf. Thank God for monogamous marriage.

BUT, if you’re reading this post and you got here using any of the following terms, welcome! Please stay, click around, leave some comments, share with  your friends and come back often. Because YES! It is that blog.

The “Yup! This is the Blog’ List

  1. chickens never wear shoes – Winner, winner, chicken dinner! You have arrived!
  2. bullshit messages – Um, yup. You want ’em, We serve ’em up.
  3. keswick splash pads – K-Rock has a ton of them. But Beaverton has a great one too.
  4. cutest baby monkey ever – Not sure, but now I need to Google that because I wanna see the cutest baby monkey ever, too!
  5. keswick mom blog – Accurate. I’m a mom. I’m in Keswick. I’m living the blogging life.
  6. banana with red core – This is an epidemic. Still haven’t purchased at Costco since that discovery.
  7. keswick blog – Accurate! Stick around and send me blog ideas (or snacks) (or books) (or cash) (or pictures of cute monkeys, whatever).
  8. failure as a mother – Well, this one is a bit judgy and mean sounding, and I’m not entirely sure that I’m okay that you landed here, but, I’ll own it. Welcome!

I love blogging. I get to hear the most interesting stories, talk to people I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk to and share the ridiculous minutia of my life with other people you just get it. Except for those fuckers from List One. They don’t get it at all.

Happy. Happy.

Fussy eater making you crazy? Try these and watch the magic happen.

Generally speaking, I won the kid lottery when it comes to eating. For the most part, my kids eat what I make and don’t complain too much. Notice the ‘too’ in that sentence. I mean, sure, Deacon may gag and dry heave at those chunks of tomato in the gorgeous sauce I serve with spaghetti and meatloaf may have the power to turn his sunny mood positively foul and Paxton may burst into tears if his food is so much as kissed by ketchup, but overall, they’re all good and will power through whatever I’m serving.

But, I am also well aware that not all parents are so lucky. So many, no, too many parents have a daily battle on their hand with a picky eater and by the sounds of it, kids today are taking being picky to Olympian heights.

And I’m a helper. And a bit of a foodie. But also kind of an asshole. So I took it upon myself to seek out alternatives that make WHATEVER you are serving suddenly become the best thing ever.

Without further ado, may I suggest:

1. Forget Roadkill cuisine. Try this instead.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

2. He can count by twos and tie his shoes…

Not feeling the possum? Looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on over and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

Not feeling for possum tonight? Or maybe looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on up and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

3. Pasta with an identity crisis with a side of Oh God.

No? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle. Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni?

No again? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle? Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni and liverwurst? The kids will devour it, everybody loves it and hell, it saves work, worry, time and money. It’s a miracle in a box, really.

4. Chiquita’s outfit isn’t the only thing that’s slammin’ here.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. You've got your fruits, protein, and dairy groups all present and accounted for. That they look like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. Ham Banana Rolls. They give the ham top billing, but really, we all know that the bananas are the star of this show. You’ll be serving your little humans a full serving of fruit, protein, and dairy all in one convenient roll. For good measure, the Chiquita Banana sweetens the deal by adding some prepared mustard to the meal. That the end result looks like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial. I mean, kids love bananas and anything to do with bums and burps. Really, this is a meal primed for hours of dining hilarity.

5. Only if I can follow it up with kidney pie and haggis, please.

I don't know about your house. But around here, we can't get enough of that organ soup. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good. Now, the Libby's isn't quite as good as the Campbell's, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this back like you've just passed them an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. Except, you wouldn't do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. We also know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with his brother's mouth.

I don’t know what is a popular go-to meal at your house. But around here, we can’t get enough of animal organ soup. Mmmm, mmmm, sumptuous. Now, the Libby’s isn’t quite as good as the Campbell’s, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this one back like  an icy beer on a hot summer day. Except, we wouldn’t let them do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. And while we’re busy be honest, we also all know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with her brother’s mouth and her sister’s stomach.

6. Bodacious breasts and a meal? Oh yes, please!

Now, this one wouldn't normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: "Or Food."

Now, this one wouldn’t normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: “Or Food.” So, I suppose that this is really just an all-around superfood. See, Mom rubs this cream on her chest to irritate the fuck out of her boobs, causing them to swell. This makes Dad happy (which once her boobs hurt, Mom could care less about and actually makes her feel quite stabby, thus leading her to suggest that Dad feck off and go rub some on himself – whether he accepts the challenge will vary from family to family). But the children? Well, the children, sweet and innocent that they are, still must eat. Having used the cream once and suffered the painful, swollen side effects, Mom decides to take Sears up on their claim and feeds it to the family for dinner, possibly spread on Ritz. Because after all, it is “Bust Cream or Food.” Nothing like a plate of trauma pie for dinner.

7. Potatoes? Yes. Fudge? Hell, Yes. This? Oh no.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don't worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big 'ol spoonful all over it.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don’t worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big ‘ol “swirl” all over it. Is it good for them? Who knows. Kraft brought out both chocolate or butterscotch flavours, and in true Kraft fashion, even provide you with a few recipes to choose from. Fudge Nugglets anyone?

8. Enough people enjoyed this enough that it needed to be canned and marketed?

Still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is yucky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch the tears fade away. They won't be able to gobble this up fast enough!

Are they still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is icky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch their tears fade away. They won’t be able to gobble this up fast enough!

9. Ugh. Oh, and for the record, fish don’t have fingers.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

10. Time to lube up those arteries and veins, kids! Have at it!

You know what? Just forget it. Picky eaters are just more determined, have longer stamina and know our weak points. Just throw it all aside and let 'em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because 'butter is slippery' just like these little con artists crying into their broccoli are slippery. They have no idea how good they have it with the meals you're offering up.

Yes. This. Finally. This should solve just about everything. Quit pushing all of those fruits, veggies and whole grains and just let ’em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because ‘butter is slippery.’ Much like these little con artists who crying into their broccoli that they are ‘full and can’t eat anymore’ only to turn around five minutes later and ask for a cookie because they’re “sooooo hungry!”

So, go ahead. Offer up a few of these bad boys and watch your kids beg for your ‘noodle surprise casserole’ or extra cauliflower. Because once they understand that possum and liver soup are on deck, it makes what’s in front of them so much better!

#ParentingWins

A mish mash of our summer so far

This summer, like every summer before it, is flying by far too quickly for my liking. On the upside, we’ve been so busy enjoying it that I haven’t had time to breathe, let alone blog. But, this morning, I have carved out a bit of quiet time (thank you, Scooby-Doo DVD and card games!) so I’m hopping on here to share a quick peak into the first half of our summer through pictures with just a pinch of words on the side.

We hung around at home, jumping, swimming, going to the park
HomeJuly2016
We headed up to the cottage

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual 'F' words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

Fire, fishing, and flowers. Not my usual ‘F’ words, but they get the job done in this case. ????????????

The smalls went to Latvian Cultural Camp for a week
Tervete2016

Mr. K.B. and I checked out Vermont and Mont Tremblant (recommend both!)

The world's tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

The world’s tallest filing cabinet? Yes, please! There were some other cool things about Vermont, but really, how do you top that one?

We hit the drive-in and a couple other movies
DriveInJuly2016

We said good-bye to toddler beds and hello to ‘big kid’ beds (don’t recommend)

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

Good bye race car bed ???? This is the first time in almost ten years that we are without a crib, toddler bed or any other baby-related paraphernalia ????

We checked out Fenelon Falls car show and flea market
Fenelon2016We helped a fella win a bet with his girlfriend

We don't know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win. But I'd say we were the real winners, wouldn't you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

We don’t know what the bet was, but Mr. K.B. helped the fella win by taking the set of four home with him. We don’t know what the fella won, but I’d say we were the real winners, wouldn’t you? ???? When life hands you plastic flamingo wine glasses, you have choices to make, people. Choose wisely.

So, that covers July. I’m ready for the second half of our summer (and a nap!!) now, I just wish we could have a third and fourth half too. ????