Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nobody cares! (but we're still listening)

After listening to friends complain about types of facebook status updates, I noticed that social media etiquette seems to be a hot topic. Huffington Post recently ran a scathing article mocking facebook users who post about any of the following:
  • good things in their lives
  • bad things in their lives
  • love for a significant other
  • feelings/emotions without thoroughly explaining in minute detail the reason for said feelings/emotions
  • daily activities
  • benign messages to friends that others can see
  • expressions of gratitude
  • support for any opinion shared by others
  • any philosophical comment/quote
Apparently people who post these things are insufferable, narcissistic attention whores who should be ostracized like the social lepers they are.

Do you know who I find insufferable? People who maintain a facebook friendship or follow a blog only to make fun of the author for exhibiting the qualities of your average human being anywhere. I'm curious as to what remains that is acceptable to post on facebook according to the etiquette police, since it seems designed for precisely the topics listed above. Any substantial discussion is more easily addressed in a blog or personal conversation, which leaves the trivial to find a cozy home in facebook status updates.

I like the alleged "image crafters" that I've previously known as my friends. A friendship may have drifted apart emotionally or geographically, but I'm still interested in what that person is doing and enjoy the casual chats about their latest projects and plans. Then again, my facebook friends list is limited to people who I like and whose thoughts and activities do interest me. It's a bold concept that others might consider implementing in their own facebook lives.

I don't want to mess up the image I've been developing in my well thought-out facebook posts, so I'm working on getting the wording just right for my next status update:

Stop taking social media so seriously, precious. If you have a problem with everything everyone else posts, maybe the problem is you.

Now to sit back and wait for the applause! #lol!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A nice clean-cut hole

Mishaps find me wherever I go and it's rare that I get to write a funny post where I'm not the punch line. So when the opportunity comes, no way am I letting it slip past me. A few months ago Jay was in the garage helping me load up the kids for the morning day care drop-offs; we were running late and both frazzled as we tried to make sure everyone had their supplies for the day. A second of lip contact and I was speeding down the street without looking back.

If I had glanced in my rear-view mirror, I might have seen my husband running after me, waving wild arms in a futile attempt to catch my attention. On safety auto-pilot, I had locked the garage door into the house, not realizing Jay hadn't brought his keys outside with him. So there he was, standing in the garage in a ratty tank top and shorts, twisting the stubborn doorknob in the hopes it would magically unlock itself and let him in.

Now what would be a reasonable solution to such a dilemma? Our neighbor two doors down runs a home daycare, so one option would be to walk the 30 seconds to her house and call your wife to let you back in. Just a thought.


You could climb into the unlocked back of your truck, take out your drywall tools, cut a man-sized hole in the wall between the garage and the house, pull out the insulation, push aside the wiring and crawl through the wall into the house.

Later that day you could call your wife and casually mention the giant hole in the wall, as if this were no big deal and really the only logical way to deal with your unfortunate situation. When she tells you that just because you do drywall for a living you can't go around bashing holes in walls, you would be justified in taking offense and informing her that you did not "bash" a hole: it was a nice, clean-cut hole. What else could you have done? Go over to the neighbor's house in a grungy tank top and ripped shorts? Well, that's just crazy talk.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Where are the instructions for this thing?

 Some people have a knack for making friends. I am not one of them. The casual chats I've had with schoolmates, co-workers, gym acquaintances, etc. never seem to turn into the social invitations that come so easily to others. Any attempts on my end to make plans have met with busy signals and I've stopped trying. My inability to make friends has been a bruise that never heals, a steady ache that pulses underneath my busy life of work, fitness, husband and babies.

Yet somehow in the last two months I've stumbled into the alien territory of new friendship. It's exciting but scary, because I really like my new friends but have no idea how to keep them. If I text them and they don't reply right away, I immediately think I'm pestering them and I've confused politeness for friendship. But I've also been told I can seem cold and unfriendly, so I've been trying to reach out more even though I feel stupid doing it.

It's a good thing I'm happily married, because clearly if I had to date I would be alone forever.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A proud member of the snitch club

So I stupidly ventured onto Yahoo's general comment boards, forgetting the degree to which these types of online forums attract cretins and bigots. I was still shocked when a commenter posted the following about a 7 year old disabled child whose class picture was retaken to include him with the group:

"What a joke. What is next? The same kid fails a subject and they pass him anyways because "it may be wrong"? Get a clue world. This kid is now going to use his "situation" to get everything in life. My hope? Life stops for him and no more freebies."

Of course no name, because people who write things like this aren't usually known for courage in publicly standing by their words.

Usually I just roll my eyes at the stupider members of our societies, but musing about your hope that a little boy dies was far enough outside Yahoo's comment guidelines and normal human morality that I reported his comment to Yahoo's customer care centre. This was the response thread that followed:

"Ted Owens: I hope life stops for you Azara, just for the sake of saying it, report me as well

NordicOrchard: LOL just wonder what happens now to the guy she "reported"? Will life stop for him? Will he be prosecuted, sued, jailed, fined? What exactly? Oh BTW to what authority did she "report" him? To FBI? To Obama? My #$%$ God, some people are so full of S**t nowadays it's hilarious! LOL

Original poster: She tried to "report" me to the thought and freedom of speech police, I guess they were on lunch when she contacted them.

NordicOrchard: LOL are we that close to Orwell's 1984? Just wonder what is the official title of this thought police... Do they accomodate every snitch online or one needs to be a member of the "snitch club"? Anyways, I had a good laugh! keep me posted LOL

Me:  No problem, Ted. Done. If you can't converse in a civilized manner, keep your mouth shut."
And now that we're on my personal blog, not a public moderated forum: Kiss my ass, fuckers. You suggest a little boy should die on an online news comment board, I report you. You want freedom of speech, use a different forum (like say, a blog, dumbass). If an online space sets rules for its community's maturity level of discourse, you follow them or you get out. Period.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

As sexy as I wanna be

I probably shouldn't start my first post in awhile by ranting, but fuck it. The whole point of this post is my impatience with censorship and prudishness, so taming my thoughts in said post would be a bit ridiculous. I'm trying to understand why such a flush of rage swept over me when I received a notice that Pinterest had removed one of my pins for "nudity". The pin in question is of a partially shirtless man with his finger hooked in his belt loop to pull down one side of his jeans to show his nicely defined hip flexor and some hair. GASP! No breast. No penis. No vagina. No buttocks.

I asked Pinterest to clarify their policy and they sent me an incredibly self-righteous generic note about how people look at their site around their families and at work, so they don't allow nudity. I pointed out that they had not answered the fucking question (I left out the f-bomb) and where exactly was the nudity? No reply. I don't know why this makes me so angry or why I feel so judgmental about all the Miss Prisses out there, but I just want to moon and yell a big FUCK YOU to all those uptight preachy people I've run into over the years.

Actually, I do know why. I've belonged to a zumba studio for the last few years and will start teaching a class in two weeks. Zumba is sexy. That's part of why people like it: it gets us back in touch with our inner 20 year olds, before parenting and full-time careers and the never-ending banality of daily life left us tired, old and fat. We've built a wonderful community at our studio and call each other our "zumba family."

Last week, a woman came to the studio for her second class and insisted that we keep all the doors closed (it was 30 degrees Celsius) and shut the curtains, because her religion doesn't allow men to see her. So the whole zumba "family," including at least two pregnant ladies, sweltered through the workout because Miss Priss wants to gyrate and writhe around in public, but only if no men can see her. What.the.fuck. I should note the studio is co-ed. Does this mean if a guy comes in we'll have to kick him out? Why does one person get to come into an established group and insist everything be rearranged to suit her, no matter how uncomfortable and in the case of the pregnant ladies, downright unsafe, it makes everyone else?

Usually I'm a more the merrier person who tries hard to be respectful and inclusive of everyone. Apparently I have a limit and this is it. I'm not a fan of strip clubs, so I don't go to them. It never occurred to me to go in and tell everyone to put their clothes back on and stop hooting and hollering because it made me uncomfortable.

And a partially shirtless man is NOT "nude". UGH.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Still not dead

OMG! Allie from Hyperbole and a Half is back! I'm ridiculously excited - she is hands-down my favourite blogger ever.

Also, I'm not dead.* Just crazy busy and when it's 1:00AM and I have to be up in five hours, somehow I keep making the wild decision to sleep instead of doing blog stuff. After I write my fitness exam on May 24, things should lighten up a bit. Fingers crossed.

*I really should stop saying this, because I'm sure there's some poor blogger out there who has died and my jokes about it are in incredibly poor taste. Then again, I've said far more controversial things on this blog, so I suppose there's no point in worrying about this one.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Head in the sand

Somehow I haven't been kicked off the A-Z Challenge list yet, despite missing a rather large section of the alphabet so far. In keeping with my less-than-perfect performance to date, I'm deviating from my lost words theme again for the letter "N."

N is for News. Several years ago in my pre-kids life, a mom friend told me that she didn't read the newspaper or watch the news, because she didn't care what was happening in the rest of the world. I struggled to keep my surprised disdain from my face and wondered if this was a special type of parental stupidity, or if she had always been so clueless.

Then I had my own two kids, and although we get a daily newspaper and a weekly news magazine, I skip most of the "serious" news. It's not that I don't care. It's that I feel completely exhausted and bruised by the viciousness of our world. I want to gather up my little family and huddle under the blankets in the hope that the random demon of fate will pass us by. My babies are growing so fast and as difficult as I find the task of parenting small children, at least their universe is contained.

Sass goes to school next year. It terrifies me to think of her tiny legs entering a world where going to see a movie, eating an ice cream cone or sitting in a classroom can be fatal. I don't know how to cope with this fear other than preparing her and protecting her the best I can, and I don't need to gorge myself on real-life tragedies to do that. Sometimes it's impossible to look away, because the shock and grief is so deep, and the least we can do for the victims is hear their stories. But I try to avoid reading about every horrible event that happens across the globe. My head is full of enough sadness already.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's a wonderful life

I have to say that I'm not enjoying the A-Z Challenge as much as I expected. It's my own fault. I didn't write my posts in advance like I wanted to, and between my full-time job, two sick kids under the age of three and studying for my fitness instructor certification, blogging is the last priority on my list. I'm not reading as much as usual, which means no one is visiting, which means when I'm trying to motivate myself to write a blog post instead of going to bed for my four hours of sleep, I think of the one or two people who might read it and find I don't want to spend so much time for so little return. Ugh.

I'm supposed to be doing lost words for the Challenge, but I don't like the word choices for "L," so I'm going rogue and using a normal word instead.

L is for Love. I'm so in love with my life right now that I feel disoriented. Jay and I have a great routine going where I drop the kids off at daycare in the morning and he picks them up in the evening. This means I can go to zumba several times a week after work, which means I'm steadily losing the baby weight and seeing a hint of my old self in the mirror. Work is going well, mainly because I've stopped worrying about losing my job (my company is going through a series of major transitions) and just do the best I can each day and leave it at that. Que sera, sera and all that jazz.

I dropped a volunteer commitment that was taking up more and more time and feeling like a chore. I don't keep reading books or watching TV shows that don't thrill me. Sass is slowly growing out of the terrible twos, Little Man continues to be a happy, mellow little baby and Jay and I are in a smooth phase of married life. Outside of my job, I've distilled my life down to people and activities that fill my soul and deserve every precious moment of time they get. It feels fantastic.

Maybe this is why I'm less into blogging right now: my life is perfectly in balance, and blogging is such a time hog that it throws off that balance. Then the vicious circle of visiting less, so fewer people visit you, so you think "what's the point of writing when no one's reading," starts again. And then you quit. I hope it doesn't get to that point, because I do love reading blogs, writing my own posts and the resulting conversations and friendships. But I have other things to do too. All blogging and nothing else makes me a bad wife, mother, friend and employee. That's not OK.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tipping tyrants

INOBLIGALITY (noun): Quality of not being obligatory

Service staff, ready your pitchforks!

I don't understand why I have to tip you.

Oh, the fury! I can feel you screaming and frothing at the mouth from here. But I don't get it. Who decided a sub-set of jobs should be exempt from minimum wage legislation, forcing hapless customers to bribe people to do those jobs properly? If I sulked and did everything half-assed unless my co-workers slipped me a $20 along with their requests, I would get fired. What's the difference?

I guess it's a not-very-subtle consumption tax, but why? Perhaps it's to encourage us well-fed, well-groomed folks to start cooking our own food, cutting our own hair and sleeping in our own beds, instead of gallivanting about town dining and boozing it up before smushing our well-coiffed heads into fluffy hotel pillows. Why the government objects to the little people enjoying ourselves and stimulating the economy at the same time is a mystery to me.

The expectation that I tip on the after-tax amount is especially effective in making me think twice about doing anything I have to tip for. Ontario recently took another huge swipe out of our wallets by introducing the HST (neutral, my ASS! BWAHAHAHA!!). I love my hair stylist, but when my $150 haircut turned into a $203 haircut ($150*13% tax*20% tip), I started stretching those root touch-ups out as long as possible before abusing my credit card again.

What I find fascinating is how angry people who receive tips get when customers complain about tipping. All the anger is directed at the cheap, miserly customer instead of their low-paying employer or the government who lets the employer get away with it. But again, why is it the customer's responsibility to directly subsidize an employer's payroll costs? Yes, poor you that without my tip you don't make enough money to survive and would have to live in a box on the street. Isn't that your employer's fault? Shouldn't you be out lobbying your local politician to ensure you're paid a living wage? Why is it my problem?

There also seems to be no logic at all to who gets tips and who doesn't:
  • Taxi driver, but not bus driver
  • Bartender, but not fast food worker
  • Wedding planner,but not garbage man
  • Hotel maid, but not front desk staff
  • Hair stylist, but not registered massage therapist
  • Coat check person, but not drycleaner
  • Manicurist, but not gynecologist
What the hell?

You can untie me from the stake: I tip 18-20% where expected. I just don't understand why.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Life code

HECATOLOGUE (noun): Code consisting of 100 rules

My life code, in no particular order:
1)  My alphabet doesn't include the letter "G," because I fell asleep at 8:00 last night while I was supposed to be writing my "G" post for the Challenge.
2)  Workout pants are black. No one needs to see vagina sweat, as revealed by light-coloured bottoms.
3)   Signalling is mandatory. I will never be so lazy and obnoxious that I can't be bothered to flick my pinky.
4)   A day without ice cream is a sad day.
5)   An animal that greets you by burying its nose in your crotch is not your best friend.
6)   Having your health and a happy family are the most important things in life.
7)   People who think money is irrelevant are people who've always had enough.
8)   Going braless is painful for you if you're busty and painful for others if you're not. Just because they're small doesn't mean we want to see your nipples.
9)   There's a right and wrong way to eat Skittles.
10)  Being all bony is gross. I'd rather have some cushion for the pushin'.
11)  Taking my anti-depressant isn't optional.
12)  Merging must be done as soon as possible. In fact, all lines are respected, because my time is not more valuable than everyone else's. I learned this in kindergarten.
13)  I wash my hands after I use a public washroom. Again, a kindergarten lesson that not everyone has learned, to my great disgust.
14)  Life is too short to spend time with people who don't make me feel better when I'm with them.
15)  Answering the phone is to be avoided at all costs. It's usually a telemarketer anyway.
16)  Any diet that involves removing entire food groups or eliminating sugar completely is the wrong diet.
17)  When something is on sale, you should buy more of it so you end up spending the same amount you would have if it weren't on sale.
18)  Water is delicious. No need for other beverages (except an occasional strawberry daiquiri).
19)  Capital punishment should be in place everywhere. Pedophiles, rapists and murderers have forfeited their right to live on this earth with the rest of us.
20)  A good book sale is worth taking the day off work.
21)  The passing lane is for passing. Stay out of it if you're not going faster than the cars in the lanes to your right.
22)   Diet pills result in very shaky hands, and that's it.
23)   Tampons, not pads.
24)   Long hair doesn't look good on me. Stop trying it.
25)   Being in love with another single, consenting adult is always a beautiful thing.
26)   Paying a cleaning person is money well spent.
27)   Blogging is free therapy. Enjoy it. When you don't enjoy it, stop doing it until you do again.
28)   Getting up early when not required for work is crazy.
29)   Buy clothes in the size that fits you, not the size you wish you were.
30)   TV shows are better when you can watch the whole season at once.
31)   Cuddle your kids as much as possible, because they won't want to be cuddled forever.
32)   Heels make every outfit look nicer.
33)   You don't need to finish reading a book that feels like a homework assignment.
34)   An amazing Caesar salad and perfectly grilled steak are worth the calories.
35)   Do not make any important decisions or talk to anyone in the three days before your period starts. This is for their safety and yours.
36)    Reading a daily newspaper is part of being a global citizen.
37)    There will be no minivans. Ever. Under any circumstances.
38)    A Mazda6 is not big enough for two adults, a toddler, a baby and their diaper bags and strollers. An SUV is rearing its ugly mammoth head.
39)   Sunday morning is a great time to sleep in.
40)   Ceramic hair straighteners are the best thing ever.
41)   Having flat feet doesn't have to stop you from dancing.
42)   Don't congratulate a woman on her pregnancy unless you're afraid you may need to deliver the baby at any moment.
43)   Enjoy life now, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring. Retirement may never come.
44)   White pants do not belong on this booty.
45)   I don't carry cash. That's what credit and debit cards are for.
46)   When you wake up in the middle of the night, it's better to just get up and go pee rather than trying to go back to sleep while holding it. You won't sleep well.
47)   Zumba and cardio kickboxing are like happy pills. Doing them daily means I don't have to take as high a dose of my actual happy pills.
48)   Lotteries are a tax on stupid people. But you can't win if you don't play.
49)   Getting exactly what you wanted online without having to leave the house is totally worth the shipping charge.
50)   Spiders are the devil and must be killed in multiple ways (by someone else) to ensure they're really dead.
51)    Never wake a sleeping baby. But you can poke him to make sure he's still breathing.
52)    Don't waste a movie ticket and babysitting time on a movie that doesn't look best on a big screen. Save the comedies for DVD.
53)    Best quote ever: "I do not spew profanities. I enunciate them clearly, like a fucking lady."
54)    Do not ask a couple when they're planning to have their first/second/any baby. There is nothing ruder, more intrusive and possibly hurtful than prying into someone else's reproductive life and choices. Don't bring it up unless invited.
55)   A cooler room temperature with lots of sweaters and comfy blankets is better than a room that resembles a sauna.
56)   Always back in. There's no cross-traffic in the parking spot or your driveway.
57)   Your shorts-wearing days are over.
58)   The clock needs to be set 20 minutes ahead to ensure you're only a little late for everything.
59)   Don't drop in on us unannounced. We're naked.
60)   Sometimes a hecatologue only goes up to 60, and that's OK.
61)   Baths, not showers, and only at night.
62)   Mental health days are a perfectly valid use of sick days.
63)   Hover rather than sitting while wiping. I don't even understand how wiping while sitting is physically possible.
64)   Always leave a buffer seat, parking spot, washroom stall, etc. when possible. There's no need to get any closer to strangers than necessary.
65)   Until grocery stores start offering a discount for self-checkout, use the line with a packer.
66)   An eye mask is required for a restful sleep.
67)   The Lipsmacker supply must never be allowed to run out.
68)   Since there are other cars moving in the parking lot, do not drive wildly across it like it's your personal stunt driving course. There are rows with lines and everything, just like a real road. Use them.
69)   Don't take yourself too seriously.
70)   Find out about the special attractions/events at a holiday destination in advance so you make the most of your time there, and get to see what the place is famous for.
71)   Turn all the lights on. It's like a freakin' dungeon in here.
72)   Pets are too much work. We already have two wild animals, aka our toddler and baby.
73)   Don't form close friendships with your neighbours or co-workers, unless you're OK with moving or finding a new job when the drama inevitably starts.
74)   No more than one drink if driving. Period.
75)   Never let fear of offending someone interfere with your instincts regarding your child's safety.
76)   Don't ask your partner questions that have essentially harmless but hurtful answers, and serve no constructive purpose in your relationship ("do you ever think about anyone else when we're having sex?" "are you less attracted to me at nine months pregnant?" "does my period gross you out?")
77)   Let the grass grow as long as municipal by-laws will allow.
78)   You have nothing to prove. You don't have to go sky-diving, bungee jumping or ride roller coasters. That trapeze class was pretty awesome though!
79)   Tossing and turning all night on the lumpy ground before waking all cold and wet, covered in spider and insect bites and filthy from the lack of running water, is not fun. You don't need to pretend it is.
80)   People who talk about sports or obscure indie bands all the time should be avoided like the plague.
81)   Don't buy non-organic apples.
82)   Tans come from the sun in the summer and nowhere else.
83)   Toilet paper over the top of the roll. I'll turn it around if I have to.
84)   "Spots" in fitness classes are to be respected.
85)   Don't read or watch the graphic details of horrible crimes. You already know how evil the world can be.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flosculation free

FLOSCULATION (noun): an embellishment or ornament in speech

One of the problems with being a voracious reader from an early age is that your vocabulary expands precociously, well beyond what is socially acceptable. As a baby bookworm who had a penchant for theatrics but no exposure to TV, I had an unfortunate tendency as a child to speak in a formal way that was like catnip to bullies everywhere I went. Under the influence of L.M. Montgomery, I would moan at recess, "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes" (Anne of Green Gables), after discovering our class had lost the competition for a pizza lunch.

Winning a jump rope competition was met with this solemn quote: “That's the worst of growing up, and I'm beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don't seem half so wonderful to you when you get them” (Anne of Green Gables). My mother was used to such pronouncements, but my teachers raised a skeptical eyebrow upon hearing a nine-year-old wax nostalgic about her distant childhood past.

The icing on this ridiculous cake was that I had no idea how to say my flosculations, because no one else on the playground was in the habit of describing the old K-car in the school parking lot as "a hideous jalopy". Since I never heard anyone actually use my big words, my parents often heard such compliments as, "Daddy, you are so AM-ee-CAY-bull" in response to being given a dollar to buy candy. "Am I a cable what?" asked my bewildered father before my mother whispered in his ear, "She means amicable. Just humour her."

In my teens, we got a TV and in university I moved out and was introduced to the world of cable television. Fourteen years later and the boob tube has done its job: I'm officially, like, flosculation-free. OMG! It's, like, so ironic. I think. What does ironic mean again?

Friday, April 5, 2013

A long day

E is for Exhausted! Today I was in my Zumba Basics 1 instructor training from 8:30-5:30 (moving most of the time), before starting the 2.5 hour drive home. On the way home I stopped at an outlet mall, so I didn't walk in the door until shortly after 10:00 this evening. After eating supper, kissing the sleeping kids (who I haven't seen since yesterday morning) and catching up with Jay, it's now time for a serious bubble bath.

Back to my regularly scheduled Lost Words posts for the A-Z Challenge tomorrow!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Too much of a good thing

DODRANTAL (adj): Of nine inches in length

Well, come on. You can't put a word like that in front of me and expect me not to go there. It would be cruel and unusual. Don't worry; there are no visuals. I don't want to have to slap an adult content warning on this baby. However, if unillustrated penis ponderings will offend your sensibilities, now's the time to click away.
Growing up as a Christian teenager, it crossed my mind that waiting until you were married to have sex could result in a wedding night that was...surprising. While I'm not recommending going on a penis-sampling rampage, I'm not sure waiting until you've committed to a penis for its whole life before making its acquaintance is the best move. What if you don't get along? That's a long time to live with a roommate when you were expecting a lover.
For example, the poor couple where the woman asked when she would be able to fully meet her new friend, only to be told he was already in the door. Partners can learn each other's bodies, but it usually helps if they can feel the happy parts in the first place. Just sayin'.
On the other hand, I have very limited penis experience since I married my high school sweetheart and have no interest in meeting other penises. So this may be pure ignorance talking, but it seems to me there comes a point at which Mr. Big becomes Mr. Too Big (just like when my bra size went into double letters).
Several years ago I went with some girlfriends to the Everything About Sex trade show in the big city and saw a male stripper on the main stage. Thankfully he didn't take it all off, but he might as well have, since wrapping up his party equipment in a tube of fabric didn't leave much of a mystery: this thing was as long as my forearm and as wide as a pop can.
It was horrifying, like seeing an unedited vaginal birth for the first time (excellent birth control, by the way). Although my sister-in-law became hysterical with lust and rushed the stage, the rest of us pretended we didn't know her and ran away, shielding our eyes from the prodigious penis. 
Average Joes, take heart. As long as we can tell it's there and it doesn't cause an eclipse in the bedroom light, we're good to go. No dodrantal tools necessary.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A cibosity monstrosity

CIBOSITY (noun): Store of food; plenty of food supplies

I'm pretty sure if I had been born in the Middle Ages they would have killed me. Between the dreadful eyesight, the sans make-up resemblance to a ghoul, and my utter disinterest in cooking, cleaning or children, I suspect I would have met an early and fiery end. While I've mellowed on the children since having my own, I remain bemused by the domestic divas swarming the blogosphere and reality TV.

The TLC show Extreme Couponing was especially confusing because in Canada we don't have "store coupons," you can't use two kinds of promotions at once, and the grocery store flyers all say "We reserve the right to limit quantities" in the fine print at the bottom. The retail environment isn't structured to let you buy 1,000 tubes of toothpaste for a grand total of 25 cents.

Still, as I watched yet another determined housewife wheel her loot out of the store, flushed with triumph, I felt that tiresome twinge of gender guilt. Maybe I should be doing more to stretch our family's budget than buying clothes off-season and choosing the ice cream flavour that's on sale.

But as the camera panned over rows upon rows of gleaming soup cans filling a proud couponer's oversized garage, I realized I wasn't jealous of her dedication to thriftiness. I was angry. This family's cibosity was larger than they could possibly use in their lifetime, and while they were hoarding non-perishables in their comfortable middle-class home, struggling families in communities everywhere were going hungry. The local food bank could have put 100 jars of peanut butter to better use than decorating a garage wall.

Perhaps food banks should hire their own extreme couponers. Now that would be a money-saving spree to be proud of.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Taste the (OCD) rainbow

BUCCELLATION (noun): The act of dividing into small morsels.

My sister and I couldn’t look away, despite an increasing urge to vomit.  A pleasant lunch had veered into horror movie territory in our schoolgirl minds. Paralyzed with shock, we watched in silent disgust as our three-year old brother plunged his slice of apple pie into the bowl of chicken noodle soup, before grabbing at the soggy mess with chubby hands and smearing it across his face. A small amount of the abomination made it into his mouth, eliciting a chortle of delight. The noise snapped me into action. “MOM!” I yelled. “Tyler’s doing it again!”
This is the earliest memory I have of the wrongness that is Mixing Food Together, a dinner table scourge also known as the casserole. No. That’s not how you do it. Let’s all remain calm and eat our food in an orderly fashion, vegetables first.  This applies to snacks too. No one wants to see you throwing a handful of Skittles or M&M’s into your mouth all willy-nilly.
It’s OK; maybe you weren’t taught the right way to eat candy. I’ll show you:

1)  First, dump all the Skittles out of the bag (let’s not kid ourselves – you are going to eat the whole bag at once).
what a mess!

2)  Organize the Skittles into their colour groups.

3)  Put the colour groups in order. Be reasonable and try to follow an actual rainbow/the colour wheel. What’s red doing next to green? This isn’t Christmas, friends. Pull yourselves together.

At this point you do have the option to remove a colour group you aren’t comfortable with. For example, my friend Andrea has an aversion to blue candy, because “blue isn’t a real colour.” Apparently the sky and blueberries don’t count.

4)  Arrange the Skittles within their colour groups into two lines (bonus points if you turn them so they all have the "S" facing up). Eat the stray Skittles until you have an even number in each colour group.

5)  Starting with the largest colour group, eat the Skittles until you have the same amount as in another colour group. Then alternate until you reach the same amount as in the next group. Add that group in.

6)  Lick your lips. Isn’t buccellation fun?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Aging well

A good word rolls across your tongue, bursting with flavours sweet and sharp and strange. You want to taste it again and again, whisper it to yourself until you've sucked it dry of every nuance, its juices resting warmly in your belly.

Imagine stumbling across a graveyard of lost words, delicacies the world squirreled away and forgot to retrieve when spring came. The Phrontistery is such a place, offering delicious nuggets to savour each day on April's A-Z journey. Let's eat.

ACRASIAL (adj): Ill-regulated; ill-tempered

When I was younger, I used to look forward to being elderly. It seemed a time when I could indulge my anti-social whims with impunity, free from the tyranny of good manners and make-up. I had grand plans of driving 80 km/hr in the fast lane on the expressway, meandering through the grocery store express line with too many items, and railing against the good-for-nothing world to everyone around me.

The seniors of my limited acquaintance were relishing these perks of advanced years, so I was surprised to read a study that suggested they were an unusually acrasial bunch. According to researchers, people get happier with age. It's not a coincidence that silver hair is a rare sight in the prison yard.

Since it appears I'm unlikely to lose all sense of common courtesy and turn into a menace of society after all, that just leaves the make-up. One of the best parts of aging must be the freedom from measurement against an impossible standard of beauty. At 80, you can be considered a pin-up if you've put on matching clothes and a little lip gloss. You can enjoy a blue sky day at the beach in your bathing suit without worrying about anyone comparing you to a Victoria's Secret model.

Looking at the wreckage of my figure after two babies in the last three years, it strikes me how lucky I am that the only standard I've ever been shooting for is "reasonably attractive." After an unfortunate ugly duckling phase from age 8-17, I enjoyed a brief few years where guys actually whistled at me on the street.

But I always knew that I was no competition for the silky smooth haughty blondes stalking past me on campus and in the club. An escalating eating disorder was arrested in its tracks when I saw a girl so tiny that I knew I'd have to remove ribs to look like her. Since I don't like playing when there's no hope of winning, that was the end of my hunger headache days.

When I watch The Real Housewives of Anywhere, I feel sorry for the women trying so desperately and unsuccessfully to freeze time, with no end in sight. It must be awful to have your entire identity and self-esteem invested in an inevitably fading beauty. I'm glad I live in a world where I'm allowed to age with happiness and grace, wrinkles soft in the sun.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm not dead

Just conserving my energy for the A-Z challenge, which starts in (yikes!) five days. I can write 26 posts over Easter weekend, right? Because it's highly unlikely to happen on the actual days of the challenge, seeing as how I'm already running on about four hours sleep a night. I'm loving being back at work from mat leave, but I'm exhausted on a whole other level now that I can't rest with the kids during the day.

The other day Sass and Little Man took turns getting up all night, and I came thisclose to falling asleep in a meeting the next day. As in, I had to stab myself in the leg with a pen under the table so the pain would keep me awake. The bruising has gone down, but I'm still tired.

I'm starting to really miss blogging, so I'm excited for the challenge. I've already chosen my theme and planned each day's general topic. It's just the actual writing that I haven't done yet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The violent bookworm

Ahhhhh. That felt so good. The problem with being a passionate person is that I sometimes don't notice my love of a new hobby sickening into disgust until it's too late. I'm glad I realized I was beginning to hate blogging in time to take a break. Nothing personal to my online friends; sometimes I just get sick of hearing myself talk and I need to take a short vow of written silence. Can't keep this chatterbox quiet forever though!

A few weeks ago someone asked me if I was excited to be going back to work from maternity leave. I'd been having a bad day and said, "God, yes! I can't wait to go to work where I won't have to listen to whining all day and no one will crap on me." Yeah, walked right into that joke. Three days in and I'm still in the honeymoon phase, so it's been pretty awesome so far. Little Man is adjusting well to daycare, which doesn't surprise me since he's such a happy, mellow little guy.

Sass, on the other hand...not so much. My mini-me flew into a rage last week when a little boy tried to take the book she was reading. As a result, Jay walked into the preschool room and found the teacher leaning over the little boy on the floor, icing his bloody face, while Sass kicked at the wall from her perch in the time-out corner. Apparently Miss Cage Fighter 2013 (Toddler division) had slugged this boy before clawing him up. Who knew bookworms could be so violent?

After Jay scolded her, Sass gave the little boy a big hug and kiss, told him she was sorry for beating him up, and gently patted his head. This was encouraging, but now we need to teach her that abuse is not acceptable just because you apologized and were really nice afterward (at least until you got mad again).

Geez, I hope I don't end up visiting this child in juvie in ten years. I don't have to worry about Sass following along with the bad crowd: I'm more concerned she may end up leading it. She did get her temper and attitude from me though, and I grew up to be a suburban accountant married to my high school sweetheart, without so much as a speeding ticket to my name (they wipe them off your record after seven years, so I'm all good now). Maybe there's hope yet for a future that doesn't involve my baby girl slouching around in an orange jumpsuit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jumping for joy

I blame it on the Zumba convention. A 3-day extravaganza held annually in Orlando, Florida, it's like catnip to a Zumba addict such as yours truly.

Pitbull performing at the 2011 Zumba convention

Imagine my extreme disappointment when I discovered that simple obsession with Zumba was not enough to procure a ticket to the party. You have to be certified as a Zumba instructor to go to the convention.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know where this is going.

On April 5, I will be licensing as a Zumba instructor, which consists of an 8-hour workshop. Never one to do anything half-assed, I decided a 1-day workshop without a test was not sufficient to be qualified to teach a fitness class and I should get my Canadian Fitness Professionals (Can Fit Pro) Fitness Instructor Specialist (FIS) certification too.

photo credit: mugley via photopin cc

This is how I ended up spending every waking non-child-care minute of the last week reading about bioenergetics and the anatomy of the heart, in frantic preparation for my three-day FIS course starting this Friday. The written exam is on March 14 and I go back to my actual job as an accountant on March 4, so I don't have much serious study time left.

Once the written exam is done, I have to design a fitness class and teach it to a bunch of my friends for my practical exam. It occurred to me I will need an iPod for this, so a few days ago I bought a very pretty red iPod touch. Swoon. I then further abused my credit card by having an input jack installed in my car, since apparently Mazda didn't feel a 2007 mid-level sedan needed to be compatible with an MP3 player.
Ooh la la!

These shenanigans haven't left much time for blogging, so I'm glad to be joining up with Stasha at Monday Listicles for a list of 10 little things that bring me joy. This week's topic was chosen by Wendy at Stamping Rules.

Here they are:

1)  The fresh smell of my baby's soft, downy hair against my face.

2)  Putting the next season into the DVD player right away after a cliff-hanger season finale, because I waited to watch the show until several seasons in (ahem, Dexter).

3)  My toddler's shriek of excitement and wild dash across the room to jump on me when she sees me for the first time in a few hours.

4)  When the bass kicks in, purring down my spine.

5)  Slowly waking up with the late-morning sun in my eyes to complete, blissful silence.

6)  Putting on a non-nursing bra for the first time since the baby was born.

7)  Seeing the first Christmas carton of Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge Crackle ice cream sparkling at me through the grocery store freezer door.

8)  Being so enthralled by a book that sleep seems unnecessary (Gone Girl or The Thirteenth Tale, anyone?).

9)  Moving in perfect time to the music.

10)  Sex. By myself, with my husband, it's all good.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keep it inside

Last week we finally got some proper Canadian snow and a temperature below -5. I packed up Sass and Little Man for a trek over to my mom's house, since she had miraculously agreed to watch them for an hour so I could go to the gym. Both of them at the same time. For an entire hour! I couldn't believe it and knew I had to get over there quickly before she changed her mind.

The ice gleaming through the thick ruts of snow on the road had other plans. After slipping around a corner a little faster than I'd planned, I stopped looking at the clock and focused on keeping the car off the sidewalk. In the back seat, Sass scolded her Hello Kitty doll on points of etiquette: "No, Kitty! Unh unh! Be nice." Little Man peered around him in serene contemplation of the dirty cars sliding past his window.

As I turned the corner onto my parents' street, I noticed a mailman removing envelopes from a large green deposit box. He was decked out in full Canada Post winter gear: huge blue boots resembling fishing waders, snow pants and a navy hooded parka, complete with fuzzy ear flaps peeking out from the sides of his head. Sass started singing "Wheels on the Bus" while the mailman closed the box and shuffled through the snow toward the curb. Then time turned to sludge as, without looking and without hesitation, he stepped off the curb into my path.

Because I had been watching him, I had an instant to think, "He's not stopping. He's not actually going to walk right in front of me, is he?" before the car was careening across the road, steering wheel shuddering as I yanked it to the left and stomped the brakes to the floor. When no body thumped into the windshield, I slammed on the horn and yelled uselessly through the closed window at the guy, my heart pounding. Sass and Little Man were silent as I straightened out the car and crept down the street to my parents' house. In my rearview mirror, the mailman stood in the middle of the road and waved a glove at me, no doubt giving me the finger inside his cocoon.

It takes a long time to get an infant, toddler and their two diaper bags out of a car. I could see the mailman several houses away as I hurried the kids into my mom's warm kitchen. Hoping to leave before the mailman got any closer, I rushed through my drop-off instructions:
"Hejusthadabottlefreshdiapershe'shadtoastbebacksoonthanksbye!" I'd made it down the porch steps when I heard a gruff voice booming at me across the lawn. I ducked my head and pretended I hadn't heard it, jabbing at the car key fob in a staccato rhythm.

The voice thundered again, closer this time. "Sorry 'bout that!" Horrified, I looked to my right to find the jovial mailman grinning and nodding at me from the house next door. My cheeks heated around my weak smile as I nodded back and slid into the driver's seat, desperate to get away.

Driving down the street, anger swept over me again before cooling into confusion. I knew I'd done something wrong, but I wasn't sure what it was.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013



You'd think triggering would feel scary, out of control. It doesn't. It feels fantastic. Maybe because it's been so long and I can't remember the downsides? Right now all I can think of is the taut curve of skin and bracelets shimmering on a delicate wrist. All those dusty clothes sliding smoothly across my body again. That rush of power as I fall asleep, having fought off the snarl inside for another day. Taking control.

I'm going to be beautiful. So beautiful.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

She's a princess

I'm struggling with an overwhelming sense of failure in every aspect of my life. I feel the familiar curling in on myself that precedes a major depressive episode, a warning sign that I've overestimated my emotional and physical resilience, and the needle's in the red.

If I act fast, I should be able to ward this off, but it means treating myself like a petulant princess for a week or two. Ruthlessly slashing all non-critical obligations, getting enough sleep and moments of solitude, doing the minimum to get by until I get my emotional footing again. I hate that I'm this person who has to be babied just to cope with daily life, but ignoring this feeling leads to a bad place that my family doesn't deserve to have inflicted on them.

Over the last month, I'd already started cutting back on blogging activities that stressed me out and that felt so good that I thought I was ready for a daily posting challenge. Oops - four days in and I'm out. I need to spend some pressure-free time playing piano, reading (books, not blogs), writing for myself alone whether I post it or not, and exercising without my heart rate monitor smirking a score at me. I need to stop giving myself a report card filled with "Fs" at the end of every day.

I can't believe that after all this time, I still don't know how to do this.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Playing hooky

Jay took the kids downstairs this morning so I could sleep in. I went to a strength training class, picked up my copy of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (LOVE it already and I'm two pages in), came home and kissed my family, then went to a 3-hour zumbathon. It was so awesome! I burned at least 1500 calories and was so drenched in sweat when I got home that I could wring out my clothes. I was in the front row so I got to see some amazing instructors (including the people who teach the instructors) up close and personal. Wow!

This guy (Carlos Henriquez) was dancing 5 feet in front of me!

On the way home from the zumbathon, I used my last reserves of strength to grab groceries before collapsing into a nice hot bath. Next on the list was lounging on the couch with Jay, Sass and Little Man while enjoying some well-earned fajitas and ice cream, then laughing through America's Funniest Home Videos and You, Me and Dupree.

It was a perfect day and the next thing I knew, it was 9:30PM and I hadn't written the post I had planned for today's prompt at the We Work For Cheese February writing challenge. I'm not going to write it. I'm just going to sit here and keep smiling at my perfect day.

* * * *

Unless this counts? The prompt was "And the next thing I knew..."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A cold revenge

Yay!! I'm awake! I can read, I can play with my toys, I can have a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich, I can dance to Mommy's aerobics records in the living room. The possibilities are endless! I can't wait to get started.

Hold on. It's still dark outside. What did Mommy say again?

"Azara. You are NOT to get out of your bed before 7:00AM for any reason. Period. You may get up at 7:30AM if you play quietly in your room, but you may NOT get out of your bed before then."

But I want to get up. There's so much to do and I'm just lying here, missing it all! Maybe she won't notice if I just read in bed. How is that hurting anyone?
No. Last time I read in bed Mommy took my book away, right after the Pevensies found out Tumnus the Faun had been arrested, and I had to wait two days to get it back.

Grrr. I'm so BORED. Why doesn't Nicole wake up? At least then I could talk to her. I could kick my heels on the mattress until she wakes up, like last time.

Better not. I don't want to be banned from carob chips for the next week.

I'm bored. I'm bored. I'M SO BORED. What time is it?

7:07AM. ARGH!!!!

And I have to pee. I really have to pee.

Stupid Mommy. Why is she so mean? I'll show her...


That'll teach her to tell me what to do. It's not even that uncomfortable.

OK, now the pee's getting cold. Maybe this was a mistake. What time is it?



Ugh. I'm freezing cold, soaking wet and I smell like the recess washroom. Fourteen minutes to go.

Mommy's going to be SO mad.

* * * *

She was mad, alright. Whenever I talk about the antics of my 2.5 year old hooligan daughter, I can see my mom smirking beside me, no doubt remembering this moment among many others.

Karma's a bitch, y'all. A stubborn, pee-stained bitch.

* * * *

Day 2 of the We Work for Cheese writing challenge - the prompt for today was "hold on". Betcha thought I wasn't going to make it. Puh-leeze.

Friday, February 1, 2013

More than a couch potato

Once again, the stars have aligned so that I can be lazy and do one post instead of two. Woot woot! For the month of February, I'm participating in a daily posting challenge hosted by We Work For Cheese. The prompt for the first day is, of course, "cheesy".

photo credit: Aaron Landry via photopin cc

In a beautiful marriage of blog topics, one of my favourite linkys has chosen their prompt for this Friday as: "When it comes to reality TV shows, I..."

Finish the Sentence Friday

I need to get these prompts a hotel room right now, because baby, they were meant to be.

OK. I promise I'll stop. It's just so hard to resist a cheesy joke sometimes, like my favourite one ever:

"What do you call cheese that's not yours?"

"NACHO cheese!" (must be shouted with a head bob a la Honey Boo Boo)

When it comes to reality TV shows, I know everything there is to know. Except about Survivor, The Bachelor/ette or Toddlers and Tiaras. The adult cattle show bores me (plus they keep picking bachelors that are as hot as oatmeal), and I've boycotted Toddlers and Tiaras ever since I saw a picture of a poor pageant baby dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the hooker phase. Someone dressed up her three year old as a HOOKER!!! It's moments like these where I wish you had to be licensed to be a parent.
I know what I want everyone to think of when they see my little girl: a prostitute!
Out of curiosity, I decided to list all the reality TV shows I've watched over the years, not counting ones where I've seen only one or two episodes:

1) Real Housewives - all of them
2) The Lofters
3) Paradise Hotel
4) Storage Wars
5) Breaking Amish
6) Jersey Shore
7) America's Next Top Model
8) American Idol/Canadian Idol
9) My Strange Addiction
10) Hoarders
11) So You Think You Can Dance (US and Canada)
12) Temptation Island
13) Average Joe
14) The Swan
15) What Not to Wear
16) A Baby Story
17) Property Virgins
18) House Hunters
19) Property Shop
20) Flip This House
21) The Girls Next Door
22) Pawn Stars
23) Ink Master
24) Project Runway
25) Cake Boss
26) The Sisterhood
27) 16 and Pregnant
28) Teen Mom
29) Laguna Beach
30) The Hills
31) The City
32) Little People, Big World
33) The Little Couple
34) The Apprentice
35) Jon & Kate Plus 8
36) Sell This House
37) My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (UK and US)
38) Starter Wives Confidential
39) Billy the Exterminator
40) The Osbournes
41) Cops
42) The Simple Life
43) Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica
44) Wife Swap
45) Making the Band
46) Pop Stars
47) 8th & Ocean
48) Pioneer Quest
49) Cheer Perfection
50) The Crocodile Hunter
51) Blind Date
52) Meet My Folks
53) For Love or Money
54) Joe Millionaire
55) The Ex-Wives of Rock
56) Pimp My Ride
57) 30 Days
58) Rich Girls
59) My Super Sweet 16
60) House of Carters
61) The Search for the Next Doll
62) Extreme Cheapskates
63) Face Off
64) Millionaire Matchmaker
65) The Week the Women Went
66) Holmes on Homes
67) Python Hunters
68) Til Debt Do Us Part
69) Princess
70) Ballet Girls
71) The Baby Borrowers
72) Bethenny Ever After
73) Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
74) Denise Richards: It's Complicated
75) High Society
76) Shahs of Sunset
77) I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant This explains everything. No wonder my brain feels like moldy cheese. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I find it interesting to watch stories about lives that are different from mine. See, I'm not a vapid couch potato. I'm a cultural anthropologist.
photo credit: misterbisson via photopin cc

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I thought I would shave my head

Today I'm doing a fun blog hop (hosted by Stephen TrempElise FallsonMark Koopmans and C.M. Brown) where we're supposed to tell our readers something interesting about ourselves as a re-introduction. This happens to tie in nicely with my usual Monday Listicles topic for this week, so I'm doing them together in one post. Click the buttons to join in!

If the following list doesn't give you insight into my strange mind, nothing will. Here are 10 things I thought as a child I would do or be (prompt courtesy of Wendy at Twisted Domestic Goddess):

1) I thought I would shave my head.
Among nature's dubious gifts to me is a head of what is universally regarded as bad hair, as TV and countless schoolyard taunts have taught me. It's brown. It's frizzy. It's curly. Except in the places where it's randomly straight, lending the whole mess a thoroughly deranged, uneven appearance. Before I learned of the existence of flat irons, I was so ashamed of my wretched hair I could hardly hold my head up straight.

Then one day I read about a miracle that could transform me into a beautiful swan. Apparently if you shaved your head, the hair often grew in differently than before. It was too much to hope for it to grow in blonde, but it could certainly grow in straight! I was so excited. The thing was, there was that whole bald phase. Maybe the summer before junior high wasn't the right time for my transformation. I decided to wait until I was done high school and would no longer care what I looked like. Strangely when the time came, I put it off until I was done university. Then until I was 30. Barring any scary health crises, I think I'm stuck with this hair for life.

2) I thought I would become a professional editor.
The reason why I became a chartered accountant instead is here.

3) I thought I would eat unlimited amounts of candy.

photo credit: Swamibu via photopin cc

My mother was a health nut while I was growing up, obsessing about natural ingredients and the evils of sugar to the point that I became confused about where Christianity ended and buying rice cakes on sale began. At recess I would look mournfully at the other children, eating their Wagon Wheels while listening to Salt'n'Pepa on their Walkmans and dream of the day when I would have enough money to buy as much candy as I wanted.

It was a cruel, cruel day when I discovered that my concave stomach and lack of sugar were related, and that being able to afford unlimited amounts of candy did not lead to the blissful state of existence I had expected.

4) I thought I would be child-free.
I have never liked kids. In sixth grade, we were forced to partner with kindergarten students and read with them for an hour every Wednesday afternoon. It was the lowlight of my week. The books were painfully simple and my charge, Christine, was a sullen gnome who hated me on sight. Every interaction I had with younger kids was boring and/or irritating beyond belief, and by the time I was an adult, I knew having children was a life experience I would prefer to avoid.

However, my husband loved kids as much as I disliked them and I prayed with increasing desperation throughout my 20's for my missing maternal genes to kick in. My biological clock finally woke up around 30 and I love my two children fiercely. I still choose not to spend my free time at Chuck E. Cheese, and if I had met a man who didn't want kids, that wouldn't have been a deal-breaker. But I treasure the two little people I have been given to nurture and guide through life; getting to know and love them is one of my greatest joys.

5) I thought I would become a cat hoarder.

photo credit: GirlieMac via photopin cc

My parents held fast in their refusal to allow us to have any pets larger than a caged rabbit, and I had grand plans for the cat sanctuary I would build in my house when I was grown up. I did welcome a fur baby or two, but the feline fun was over once our actual babies came along. Sometimes parents do know what they're doing.

6) I thought I would find the magic.
I was a very imaginative child and had such vivid, lucid dreams that I actually believed they must be happening on some level. Fairies and supernatural beings always seemed to be at the edge of my vision, and I thought if I could just look quickly enough in the right place, I would catch a glimpse of them. I was sure the day would come when I would find the edge of the film of mundane reality, and peel it back to reveal the lush beauty of a magical land underneath. Losing my sense of mystery and magic in the world is the saddest thing that has happened to me.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

7) I thought I would wait until I was married to have sex.

8) I thought I would always be busy on Sunday mornings.
Growing up as a devout Christian, I never thought I would become an atheist who uses Sunday morning to sleep in (thank you, dear husband) or go to the gym rather than to church.

9) I thought I would move somewhere warm.
Trudging through the gritty grey snow as the -20 degree wind slashed at my cheeks, I daydreamed about living in a place where the temperature never dropped below 25 and the sky was always blue. As soon as I was old enough, I had every intention of blowing this icy popsicle stand. But then I met a guy (aka my husband), so I stayed in town for university and by the time I graduated I wasn't sure about moving anymore. The warmest place in Canada was on the other side of the country, where the real estate prices were so out of control we would have to live under a bridge or with roommates for the rest of our lives.

I briefly considered other countries, but I'm a true-blooded Canadian and the thought of living anywhere else made me feel disoriented and panicky. I don't know or care anything about football and believe basic health care is a human right, along with a maternity leave longer than a few weeks. I think guns belong to police officers and registered hunters with a thorough background check and waiting period longer than two hours. Nobody else. Clearly I wouldn't fit in in many areas of the U.S.

So I stayed rooted where I grew up in southern Ontario, Canada and have grown to love the variety of our four distinct seasons. Coincidentally this love developed after I got a car and no longer had to walk outside for 3+ hours every day.

photo credit: Lone Primate via photopin cc

10) I thought I would be everything at once.
Sometimes adulthood feels like a series of closing doors. I wouldn't change the path I've chosen, but I feel wistful thinking of the open horizons of youth, when mutually exclusive dreams shimmered in front of me with equal possibility.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Advice for the guys

Dear Men,

We notice when you pull on your balls and are not impressed. Even if, especially if you pull on them while wearing a suit and sitting across from us in a business meeting.

It freaks us out when you're skinnier than we are. It just does.

We want a hug, not a ten-point action plan.

Admitting another man is attractive does not mean you're gay. Although it will probably alarm your girlfriend or wife if you start wolf whistling hot guys on the street.

When we fall into the toilet in the middle of the night, we lose all interest in sex for a minimum of one week.

You get better with age.

Our conversations with our girlfriends are far more detailed and X-rated than your conversations with your buddies. Until we're married and zip that lip out of respect for you...on the topic of sex at least.

We love how you make us laugh, which is usually not when you're telling a joke.

No, you don't like women who are completely au natural. You like women who are good at blending in their make-up.

Your hair loss bothers you more than it bothers us.

Hiding dishes in the oven or clean laundry under the bed doesn't qualify as putting them away.

We need you badly. Just not for your money.

Asking us what we're thinking about and then starting to watch TV as soon as we open our mouths ensures a nasty answer.

There's nothing cooler than a man who doesn't care how cool he is.

We masturbate more than you think.

When we're at a party together and we have food stuck in our teeth, it is your duty to discreetly tell us. Immediately, not in the car on the way home.

It doesn't matter how long we've been together. Number two should never, ever happen with the door open.

It's OK if you think a celebrity is hot and she bears some resemblance to your girlfriend or wife. Expressing great admiration for a flat-chested bleached blonde when your partner is a busty brunette will shut things down in a hurry.

We're strong and we work hard. We expect the same from you. We want a partner, not another child.

Penises are awesome. That is all.


Mama’s Losin’ It
 Thanks Mama Kat for the great prompt: "Dear Men, (an open letter…offer a word of advice, an issue you’d like to address, or a solution to a problem for the opposite sex)."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blank walls

A few weeks ago I decided to clean up my Facebook friend list. The cousin-in-law who excluded us from her wedding guest list but invited everyone else in the family, then posted daily recaps of every minute detail of her wedding and reception for a month? Gone. The self-righteous mother who posts stuff like this every day?

Gone. Motherhood is hard enough without having to put up with someone who has mistaken it for a competition. The drama queen whose status flips between "engaged" to "single" to "my new boyfriend has the biggest cock ever!"? She stayed for her entertainment value.

I also went through and checked my privacy settings for everyone. Limited profile is a wonderful thing: you don't have the awkwardness of ignoring an inappropriate friend request from someone you don't want to offend, because you can just add them to your list of people who see nothing but your name and a blank wall should they actually look at your Facebook page.

Some people were on this list from the beginning, like my former boss turned back-stabbing co-worker. Others were casual work friends who now report directly to me, and I no longer feel comfortable with them seeing all the details of my personal life. It made me laugh when I went to a few people's pages to set them to "limited profile" and saw they had done the same. I happily deleted those people with no hard feelings; obviously our acquaintance had run its course.

With all this maintenance work and exposure to frenemies, why do I bother with Facebook at all? Despite the negatives, I like having the opportunity to keep up with friends I might otherwise lose touch with due to distance or just our busy lives. I work full-time (on maternity leave right now) and have two kids under the age of three, so there isn't much time for in-person socializing.

Facebook also helps me keep up with my family, who isn't very close. My sister is three years younger than me and my brother six years. I've often felt sad as I've gotten older to realize most families have a closer bond than ours. Growing up I didn't know that other kids heard "I love you" more often than once a year or that some mothers hugged their children every day. I just thought that all families were cold and distant.

When I first started blogging, I secretly hoped that my blog might open conversations with my family and help us get to know each other as adults. What I didn't realize is that they didn't want to know me. One day when I mentioned a post, my mother turned to me and said, "I'm never going to read your blog. That's not how I communicate. If you want to tell me something, you'll have to call me and tell me." I switched to an anonymous blog and moved on. At least there was still Facebook.

Having finished my Facebook clean-up that day, I decided to catch up with some family members, leaving a "happy birthday" on a cousin's wall, admiring my sister's new shoes and smiling at another cousin's new baby pictures. I wondered what my brother was up to and clicked over to his page.

His wall was blank.

I stared at the screen, hitting "refresh" a few times in case Internet Explorer had forgotten to load part of the page again. The wall remained blank, a silent slap across the face.

It's OK, I guess. We're not close anyway.

So why does it hurt so much?

Update: After a few people asked whether I was sure my brother didn't just post infrequently, I decided to go look at his page again. The blank wall came up as I remembered and I felt a twinge of sadness again. As I went to close the tab, my hand brushed the touchpad and the auto scroll came on, rolling the window down to show 2008-2012, all 28 posts. The stupid Facebook timeline makes it look like the wall is blank if there are no recent posts - it used to show the most current post at the top no matter how old it was.
I have been laughing at my dumbass self ever since. I'm so glad I didn't say anything to him and have him show me this. I would never live it down.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

10 things in my closet

I generally avoid going into my closet. No, I don't walk around naked...outside of the house anyway. But since I'm on maternity leave, I don't have to get dressed in real clothes most days, so I try to stay out of my closet. There is a tiny section of clothes that fit me, surrounded by pretty little tops and sexy jeans, glaring at me like accusing ghosts of my formerly attractive self.

In fact, I almost sat out this Monday Listicle because the prospect of going through my closet was so depressing. But in the end I decided to link up after all, because I never let an opportunity to emotionally abuse myself go by. Also, the resulting trauma stopped me from eating a second piece of cake. Hurray!

So here are 10 things in my closet. Click on the badge below if you want to join us.

1) Thongs
At one time I thought thongs were the best thing ever. That was 40 pounds ago and their appeal has lessened significantly since then. Plus there was that whole cat incident. Still, I kept a few to scare my daughter with in the future: "Look what Mommy used to wear!"

2)  Pin-up dress
I love this dress so much I refuse to accept that I may never fit into it again.

3) Shoes I can wear 
These are my favourite shoes that I can still wear. I've mentioned before that I would dress like a drag queen if it were socially acceptable, but unfortunately it is not, especially for an accountant. Boo. At least I can have a little fun with my shoes:

4) Shoes I can't wear
I've always liked shoes with a serious heel. When they became painful to wear in my third trimester with Sass, I put them away, thinking it was temporary. But my feet never really recovered and I can't walk in many of my favourite shoes now. I'm not sure why, because I've always had duck feet. Seriously, do you see anything resembling an arch here?

To my great disgust, these cuties were one of the casualties. I keep them around in memoriam, like the thongs.

At least I can live vicariously through Sass, who decided to survey her domain while I was in the washroom. You can see her brother in the background, clearly thinking even at five months, "WTF? How many shoes does she need??" These aren't even all of them (*red face*).

5) House clothes
Pretty clothes are very nice outside of the house, but when we're home alone, we laze about in what we kindly call "house clothes." Other people might call them stained, ripped, too-small, too-big shopping mistakes that should be turned into rags, but that's just mean. House clothes are the reason we don't answer the door when people drop by unannounced. That and because in the summer house clothes often turn into no clothes. You surprise us with a visit, we surprise you with more of us than you ever wanted to see. High-five!

6)  Matching dresses
Before I had kids, I came across a beautiful little dress that looked just like one I had, so I bought it just in case. When I found out I was having a girl, I could hardly wait until she was old enough to wear the dress and we could take pictures together. It never crossed my mind that my dress might not fit anymore when the time came.

7) Oktoberfest hat
Every year Jay and I go to a retro video dance party held in our city for Oktoberfest. It's the one time I get to go out and dance and I love it. You can't celebrate Oktoberfest without a proper hat!

8) Hoochie clothes
I've always believed in the motto "If you've got it, flaunt it." Within reason, of course. Let's not be mistaken for prostitutes here, ladies. However, a 19-year-old's version of "within reason" is quite a bit different from a 34-year-old's and my clubbing clothes at that age (Canada's legal drinking age is 19...poor Americans) were very airy. Most of them are gone, having been thrown out or simply disintegrating in a pool of PVC.

However, I've kept a few items for Sass to laugh at when she's older. I wanted to take a picture of them, but I couldn't find them right away. Not a surprise: the skirts are about the size of my knee cap and the shirts maybe half a nursing bra cup. They're probably hiding behind a thong somewhere.

9) Domestic fantasies
Ooh, what a pretty box! I could use it to store my buttons and sewing supplies!

For some reason I still have a bunch of clothes missing buttons. I don't understand why.

10) Always loved, never forgotten
This is the most important item in my closet. It may seem morbid or weird and may make you uncomfortable in an otherwise light-hearted post, but I can't talk about my closet without mentioning the memory box that sits on the top shelf.

After searching through the blood for my baby and holding the tiny pieces of his or her body in my hand, I just couldn't bear to put him or her outside in the cold. The first twin passed too early for any remains, but what's left of our second angel baby is in this box, including pictures that I don't want to share and you don't want to see. But I'm glad I have them. They're proof that this life existed, if only for a few months, hidden away from the world.