Sunday, December 23, 2007

And the Mother of the Year Award Goes to....

Many of the bloggers that I read have children around age 2 or 2-1/2. Many of these bloggers have also posted about how these two-year-olds are busting their balls with what is believed to be typical two-year-old behaviour. I have read a couple of posts where the child has pushed his or her parent so far that the parent has given the child a smack. Not a belt to the head or anything violent, but a smack that would have been deemed perfectly fine about twenty years ago. I'm not judging anyone here. As a parent with a child in the same age range, I completely understand how this happens. It did occur to me to swat my daughter in the head as I watched her take a swig of juice, and then open her mouth to deliberately spill all the juice on the couch. When I see her torment the dogs, it does occur to me to give her a taste of her own medicine. So far I have managed to not act on any impulses, but I don't think that I deserve a medal after yesterday morning.

Pumpkin woke up 1-1/2 hours earlier than usual, screaming and crying. Naturally I jumped right out of bed since this is not her typical awakening. She was fine. She said something about her teddy bear, but I couldn't really figure out what she was saying due to her voice being so high-pitched and whiny. I know that the sound of one's own kid whining is one of the most annoying sounds for any parent, but somehow this was worse than usual. It didn't help that I had to jump out of bed like that instead of my usual, slow arising, which allows me to get the whole morning-sickness thing under control before I start my day. She wasn't going to go back to bed, so I had to start the morning ritual at a pretty early hour for us. I took her downstairs, gave her some milk, fed the dogs, flipped on the TV, and assumed a horizontal position on the couch to try and get my stomach under control before I took on any further activity. I started to dose off to the sounds of Dora, or Max and Ruby, or whatever show they had on, when WHACK! Shaking my head to try and figure out what the hell just happened, I realized that Pumpkin had swatted me in the face with a metal dog food bowl, with enough force to really hurt. Did I smack her back? No. Did I act on impulse? Yes. As soon as I gained some sort of consciousness, I shouted at her in my most hostile voice, "WILL YOU JUST FUCK RIGHT OFF!!!" She just carried on with what she was doing, but I know she filed those words away. They're in there, and I know they'll be making an appearance one of these days. Up until now, I have managed to refrain from foul language anywhere near her. I don't even tell the dogs to shut up - I shush them instead. I've been really careful. So now I've dropped the F-bomb directly at my daughter, and there isn't a thing I can do to change that. It's only a matter of time before I get black-listed on the play-date circuit because my daughter has become a bad influence. Apologies in advance.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blah Blah Blah (again)

I don't really want to do a post about morning sickness. No one wants to read about that, I'm sure. I'm sure no one wants to hear about my evening sickness either, so I will do my best to refrain. Let's see....what else is there......(crickets chirping). Ok, here is an anecdote: Since I have been feeling really ill, I have been avoiding some parenting duties in favour of letting Pumpkin watch a Wiggles video pretty much every day after her nap. We have done this for enough weeks now that I think I will forever associate Wiggles music with feelings of nausea. The music itself is starting to cause the nausea. I think I kinda just posted about morning /evening sickness, didn't I? Sorry.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Do Realize that this isn't a Real Problem but Still...

We need new furniture for the basement. Actually, we need furniture for the basement period. The couch down there right now is just being stored with us by my brother-in-law, who is temporarily living in England, but we think he plans to take it back soon. We also hate his couch, but that's another story. So yesterday we set out to find a sectional sofa that would work for home theatre, as well as work with our lifestyle. The last time we shopped for a sofa, we were just the two of us, living in a condo, with nothing to spend our money on but ourselves. Back then, we shopped in "nice " furniture stores. Stores that only sold furniture, and not TVs and appliances too. We didn't worry about whether or not it would get dirty, or ruined, because there was no reason for such concerns. Heading out to find something yesterday, we realized that we are no longer in that market. Not only do we have toddler messes to contend with, but newborn spit-up is coming our way, and don't forget those two big dogs of ours. Leather is great for cleaning up the kid's messes, but not so good for dog claws. "Why don't we just not let the dogs on the couch?", you might ask. Good question! I won the battle of not having dogs on the bed, but hubby isn't going to give up his poochy cuddle time on the couch. No one told him that you are supposed to demote your dogs when human children come along. So it looks like we have to go with fabric, which means that it will be covered with dog hair, playdough, and whatever else comes our way. Slightly higher maintenance than I would like. Knowing full well that this new couch will be ruined eventually, we have to accept that there is no point in buying anything nice, since nice comes with a price-tag that can't be justified. You see this beautiful, Scandinavian, sectional with reclining seats:

We can't have that.


With comfort being the main feature that we are going for now, we eliminated the cheapest stuff which has no support, and found that ultimately the typical Lazyboy-style reclining sofas are going to work best for us. So are we this market now?:

'fraid so.

I was s'phisticated once.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can You Get Pregnant from Blogging?

It's a reasonable question. I'm always reading about bloggers getting pregnant, being pregnant, or giving birth. That is why I have to wonder if blogging has anything to do with the morning sickness that I've been dealing with for the past six weeks or so. Yup, it's official. I'm at the 11-week mark. I saw my doctor for the first time yesterday, and he confirmed that there was in fact a good reason for my pukeyness. I did do a home test over a month ago, but I still worried that the ultrasound would reveal that the test was wrong. Nope. There really is a fetus in there, and only one, which satisfied another concern of mine. I broke this news to a group of bloggers when I crashed the MBT pub night last night, so I figured I'd out myself to the rest of the blogosphere today. Think about this - I had to go through the whole NaBloPoMo episode without mentioning my news, which was really quite a challenge on those days when I had nothing of any consequence to post about. So this should give me some fodder for the next little while. I'll try to keep the puke stories down to a minimum, but hopefully I'm almost past that part of the pregnancy. I haven't been ill since last Friday when I considered trying to make some potato latkes. Maybe I'll hold off on that until next year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy, uhm...Merry, er...

Ya know, without the pressure to post everyday such as I did in November, I haven't managed to come up with a heck of a lot to say. In November, anything was bloggable. Now, not so much. I think I need to hang on to a bit of that motivation or else this space is just going to fill up with dust-bunnies. Anyhow, since it is still Hanukkah, I'll stick with that theme for today.

Last week when I was reading kgirl's post about picking and choosing her holidays, I became a little jealous. You see, while I was growing up, my family celebrated all of the desirable Christian and Jewish holidays too. Although my mom converted to Judaism when she married my dad, she still hung on to Christmas and Easter. Not the religious part of it, but the toys/food/candy part of it. At Christmas, we had a mini tree, there were presents under it, and it was exciting. The Jewish celebrations tended to happen in the homes of my aunts and uncles, which were also fun and exciting. When my parents split and my mom moved us from Montreal to Toronto, we pretty much lost our Jewish-ness as we had no family in Toronto to keep the traditions alive, and none of us really had a lot of interest in learning what we were supposed to do. So around this time of year, we were mainly excited about Christmas, and we would look forward to all the many celebrations with friends, family, step-family, etc. Then I got involved with J, the man I would eventually marry. He had what one would call a "typical" Jewish upbringing. Christmas was just something that he viewed as a hectic time for those poor saps who have to spend crazy amounts of time and money at the mall every year. He wasn't altogether wrong, as it is easy to get caught up in that aspect of it, but regardless, it wasn't his holiday. Now that I am officially a Jewish wife and mother, I've pretty much abandoned Christmas, as it is not something that hubby is comfortable with. We still do something with my mom every year, including gifts, and a turkey dinner, but it is much more low-key than it used to be. A Christmas tree is kind-of inappropriate, and it wouldn't really go over too well with the in-laws. I feel that I have to hide any sort of Christmas reference from them as they have been worried about my lack of Jewish-ness from the very beginning. Yes, there is a whole other issue lurking behind the scenes, but I'm not going there. Suffice to say, the excitement is gone. It would be nice if I could pick up Hanukkah and make it as fun as Christmas used to be, but I can't. It doesn't really feel like my holiday, not having grown up celebrating it. We've been lighting the candles, and Pumpkin has received a few gifts, but I'm just not feeling the love. I realize that Hanukkah is not a replacement for Christmas, they just happen to fall close to one another, but I still wish I had something spirited l to celebrate around this time of year. I believe that as Pumpkin gets older, her excitement will feed mine, and we will find our way. For now though, I'm all "Bah, Humbug" with a touch of "Oy Vey". Merry whatever.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Maybe I'll Get It Right by Day 8

It's a good thing that there are eight days of Hanukkah, because I've blown the first two, and I need to redeem myself on the remaining six. Last night was the first night, but hubby came home late, and Pumpkin was already ready for bed, so essentially we forgot. Bad. So tonight, Hubby is out at a basket ball game, so just Pumpkin and I were here to light the candles. In the midst of getting us fed, I completely missed the appropriate candle-lighting time, and did it too late. Next was the issue of the blessings that go with the candle lighting, which I don't actually know. I pulled out my copy of Judaism for Dummies (no joke), looked up the blessings, and attempted to sing the Hebrew version, since the musical aspect of it is more likely to attract Pumpkin's attention than an English prayer. The blessing was spelled out phonetically, but I still couldn't quite match it up to the tune, and wasn't confident that I knew the tune. Meanwhile, Pumpkin was looking at the candles and started singing, "Happy Birthday to you...", and then attempted to blow them out. To top it off, I had to blow them out before I was really supposed to because Pumpkin was being really bad, and I couldn't keep her away from the flames. Sigh, It was so much easier when there was only myself to disappoint.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Watch the National on CBC Tonight!!!!

The National will be airing a story tonight that takes a look at how people are dealing with their holiday toy shopping in the wake of recent toy recalls. As you are probably aware, the recalled toys were pulled off the shelves due to lead content, loose magnets, and in the case of one toy, hallucinogenics! It is important for us to stay current on this issue as many of us are concerned parents who need to be aware of safety issues that affect our children. It is also a good idea to catch this particular news clip because, provided the editors are kind, you will catch an interview with me! That's right! Me! As it turns out, leaving a comment on someone else's blog is a new way of being discovered. Kas Roussy from CBC found me over at Postcards from the Mothership, and contacted me to see if I was doing anything about the recalls. When she found out that I participated in the Blog Blast that was orchestrated by the Parent Bloggers Network and the Consumer's Union, she set up the interview! I am very excited to know that there is still a push to get the message out there, and that the issue is not being swept under any rugs. The more awareness that can be raised, the safer our children will be. (It's also pretty cool that I'll be pimping my blog on national television, but that's a minor detail.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Over!!!!!!!!

Do you know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow? Me neither, but I sure as hell won't be writing any blog posts! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I no longer have to spend my days examining every moment of it to determine if there is anything, I mean ANYTHING bloggable happening. I will, of course, continue to blog, but from now on, it will only be when I actually have something to say, theoretically. Hopefully any readers that I still have will continue to come by, knowing that their eyes won't necessarily glaze over from my recounting the nothingness of a nothing day. Don't expect anything for a few days though. I'm taking a blog-cation. Kudos to all my fellow bloggers who managed to complete the challenge, and also to those who hung in as long as they could. It isn't easy blathering away on the computer for days on end. That being said, it's time to stop my own blathering. Have a great week-end, and see you in December!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Am I on Vacation?

I think that I was on vacation today. In fact, I must have been on vacation. How else is it possible that I read an entire book in one day if I wasn't on vacation? I ONLY do that on vacation! My mom showed up after lunch today, and handed me a copy of The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. She was adamant that I read it because she really wants me to read the author's follow-up novel, but said that it was necessary to read the Kite Runner first. Sure, why not? I'm easy. I'm trying not to nap during Pumpkin's naps these days because napping is screwing me up at night, so reading seemed like a good alternative. So I started reading...and reading...and reading. My mom tended to Pumpkin after her nap, and I kept reading. My mom got Pumpkin's dinner ready, and I kept reading. My mom gave Pumpkin a bath, and I kept reading. Hubby read Pumpkin her good-night story, and I kept reading. Grey's Anatomy was a re-run, so I kept reading. I'm done now. It was obviously a fabulous book. This might have been the best day I've had in months. Once again, thanks mom.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Raising Kids with Pets

A week or so ago, I was reading a magazine that gave me ammunition to act all smug and self-righteous for a little while. It was an article that discussed how socially advanced children are when they grow up with pets, specifically dogs, compared to kids who don't grow up with pets. The key social issue that is learned is apparently empathy, although there were other benefits mentioned as well. I'm sure I discussed this further with some other dog-people I know, and together we praised ourselves for this fabulous thing we are doing for our kids. There is just one problem. My daughter is an absolute terror towards my dogs. Empathy? Certainly not yet. She steps on them. She jumps on them. She shrieks at them. She pulls toys out of their mouths. She teases them with food. She practically decapitates them with doors. I can't believe they tolerate all this. It's constant too. Yelling at her won't stop it. She just laughs at me. Holding her down only works for as long as she is held down. I have no idea how to stop her except by distraction. It is now my all-day battle, as it is too dangerous to not keep on top of her for this. The dogs have been good so far, but I'm sure they have their breaking points. Maybe the empathy comes later. For now, having dogs and a toddler at the same time is starting to wear me down. I don't think I get to be smug for a good, long time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

8000 Calories Anyone?

I've been dealing with some "digestive issues" lately, which have drastically limited my meal options. This, of course, has me thinking about food more than usual, and more specifically, foods that are really really bad for me. I'm talking about the foods that only look good at 2am, after a night of partying. Street vendor hot dogs are always a good after-bar snack, but if you can find a place that's open, like Fran's, a hearty serving of mac & cheese tends to go down well. There was one apres-party meal that has stood out in my mind over the years, and although I don't think I would EVER order it again, I find myself thinking about it a little too often. It was New Year's Eve in grade 11, and my friends and I were in Quebec City. The drinking portion of the evening was more or less over for the night, and we found ourselves in a chain restaurant called, Mikes. If you are at all familiar with Quebec's contribution to cuisine, then you will know what poutine is. Fries covered in curd cheese and gravy actually does sound appealing to me in the right frame of mind, but that night I took it a step further with POUTINE ALFREDO!!!! I'm ashamed to even say its name! Instead of smothering the fries in cheese and gravy, they were smothered in cheese and Alfredo sauce. Doesn't that sound amazing and disgusting at the same time? So what are your guilty, mega-high-calorie pleasures?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dog Sledding (Thanks B)

I received a pep-talk from a friend of mine, who doesn't believe that it is possible that I have writer's block, given all the stories I have told him over the years, and given all the activities that I am busying myself with now. Well, although I am busy now, it isn't always all that interesting. A trip to the farm is worth a post, (soy and cows, btw), but countless, rainy days at an indoor playground don't always make for an interesting read. Nonetheless, he did remind me of a cool, dog-sledding trip that I once took, so that will be today's post.

A friend of mine is a teacher, and a few years back, she mentioned to me that she was taking a group of students on dog-sledding trip. Immediately I asked, "Can I come??? Can I come???", because when does one really ever get presented with such an opportunity. The school didn't seem to mind my joining in, which is scary, because I could have been a crazed maniac who would rip someone's heart out and eat it just for pleasure, but I suppose my friend's vouching for me was enough to satisfy any concerns.

We drove out to Sundridge, Ontario after school let out, received our dog-sledding orientation, and then retreated to a most luxurious accommodation for the night.The next morning we all had an early breakfast at the motel's ultra-classy restaurant,and then we headed off to harness the doggies. I couldn't believe the set-up when we arrived. It was like a never-ending sea of dogs, and an insane amount of barking.We had to harness our own team, which was pretty intimidating for the non-dog people in the group, (no problem for me, of course), and then we were off! Much of my day looked like this:It was one of the coolest days I've ever had. It wasn't too cold, I loved being in the woods, and I got my work-out. We were instructed to run up hills rather than be towed up by the dogs, otherwise the dogs would run out of steam early in the trip, so by the end of the day, I felt spent, but in a good way, like after a solid day of cross-country skiing. I think the dogs felt pretty spent tooThe only thing left to do at that point was to drive back to Toronto in a van full of teenagers who thought it a good idea to cover themselves with Axe body spray to camouflage the smell of dog. Not such a good idea before a two hour drive, but at least I now know who the market is for that stuff. Nauseating fumes aside, it was an amazing way to spend the day. I know that when Pumpkin is old enough, my family will be doing annual trips like this. It was way too much fun not to.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wake Me Up When November Ends

I am officially no longer enjoying NaBloPoMo. I do realize that this is the home stretch, but I'm running on empty, so there may as well be another 30 days ahead of me - these posts aren't going to be getting any better.

All I've got for you is my recap of Saturday night. Once again, my mom, the babysitter showed up, but we had nowhere to go. Dinner was once again, too tiring of an idea, and there were still no movies that hubby wanted to see. To solve this problem, I went out with my mom and left hubby home to close off the night with Pumpkin. He agreed to this so willingly, I almost became concerned. Then I caught a glimpse of the TV guide, and noticed that there was a two-hour Battlestar Glactica movie on last night. There was no competing with that. Mom and I caught an early showing of Lions for Lambs, which was excellent, although people usually don't like what I recommend to them, so don't call me for your money back if you see it and hate it. So I came home to find hubby playing Guitar Hero, waiting for the PVR to record enough of his movie that he could bypass all the commercials. Woohoo! Saturday nights just don't get any better than this.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Biking from Vancouver to Calgary - Part 2

As promised, I have no ideas today except to post part two of my story of my bike ride. Feel free to read part one here if you want to. And so it continues:

On the morning of day five, the crying stopped. Something was different. It probably helped that the night before I had slept in an actual bed for the first time on the trip, but it was more than that. It was as if my body had finally figured out what I was doing to it, and it seemed as though it was willing to cooperate. Sure, my knees, butt, and now hands were all on fire, but it didn’t matter. I actually wanted to get on my bike! Heading out that morning in what appeared to be the Canadian desert, I felt reborn. I cycled on, periodically singing the theme song to the Road Runner Show.

This was both our longest and hottest day. Despite these challenges, I was elated. On the previous days, the last 10 miles felt like 100. On this particular day, I didn’t even know I was in the home stretch until I had arrived at our rest point for the night. Each mile introduced better and better scenery as the desert turned to lakes upon lakes, all surrounded by lush, green mountains. The campsite was a gem with its lakefront property, and I was actually disappointed that I was going to miss out on sleeping there, as it was one of our cherished motel nights. Sleeping in a real bed was still the right decision after reading over the itinerary for the next day. Looking down to the bottom of the page, I read the words “start 70 km /44 mile climb to Rogers Pass. At the time, I felt some dread, but it turned out that this climb would .take me higher than I imagined.

Reaching the summit of the pass was not the highlight of the climb. All I found there was a Best Western hotel. It was a great place for viewing the glaciers, but those glaciers and I had been staring each other down for the full duration of my ascent, so we were already acquainted. Flying down the other side of the pass was not the highlight either, although it was exciting to be passing cars, dodging rocks, and almost running over a bear! There were many amazing moments along this route, but the absolute best part of this whole trip occurred halfway up the pass where we camped for the night, at Canyon Hot Springs.

Canyon Hot Springs had, you guessed it, hot springs! That evening, soaking in a natural mineral bath, the cool September wind on my face, totally surrounded by glacier-capped mountains, I thought to myself, I EARNED THIS! I don’t think I have ever felt more personally satisfied. To add to my pleasure, the night sky then treated me to a sight that I will never forget. It’s not like I haven’t seen stars before, as I have camped out in several remote locations where star viewing was supposedly optimal, but THIS was in a category of its own. There were more stars than sky! I knew it would be futile to point my camera upwards to try to capture this awesome spectacle, but I did it anyways. I didn’t want this memory to fade. It hasn’t.

The days that followed provided us with more challenges, great biking, and more beautiful scenery. I found myself watching the trains as they carved their way through the cedars along the mountainside. I imagined that they were cheering me on, before taking off like well seasoned athletes, while I chugged along like the Little Engine that Could. As I rode into Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, I started to miss those trains. I missed all of it, and knew that I would be back. A trip to Club Med could never compare.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Biking from Vancouver to Calgary - Part 1

Ok folks, I've got nothing. As mentioned in a previous post, if I run out of ideas, I would post my essay on my bike trip. I'm breaking it up into two parts as I am most certain that I will have no ideas tomorrow either:

I have always been a relatively good cyclist. J bought a bike when he met me, and together we have covered great distances. We have never been the kind of cyclists that travel in packs, nor do we practice “drafting”, or wear too much spandex, but we can hold our own. We had given up road biking in favour of mountain biking, but there was an organized road trip that caught my eye. It was in a brochure that I picked up in a bike shop. It read, Vancouver to Calgary in 10 days/11 nights, 1120 km/700 miles – For intermediate to advanced cyclists. If I were to pick up that ad today, I’d put it right back down, but this was about 8 years ago. We were obviously younger, but we also had a certain spirit, probably vestiges from childhood, when we believed we were invincible. Neither of us had seen the Canadian Rockies, and what better way to enjoy experience than by cycling through them! It’s a good thing that we were so naive, because we never would have signed up for this if we could have foreseen the pain that was to come.

The first four days of this trip were full of regret. I regretted that we didn’t spend more time training on-road. I regretted the choice of bike seat that I brought from home. I regretted that we didn’t pay extra for our trip so that we did not have to shower at camp sites and sleep in tents half the time. I could go on, but these were the big three.

When we first registered for the trip, we set aside one day where we cycled 75 miles to ensure that we could do it within eight hours. When we established that we could, we thought, “Great! Now let’s get back to mountain-biking until we go on our trip at the end of August.” Maybe it would have been better to have a few long days on-road to prepare us for, and possibly prevent the way our knees felt after several consecutive days of abuse. Upon waking up on day three of the trip, my knees were so stiff that it was difficult to walk to the washroom, let alone cycle to the next town. When I got on my bike, it felt like I was spending a day’s worth of energy trying to crank the pedals just once. The stiffness eased up as I warmed up, but every morning started out just a little bit worse than the one before it. As if the knees weren’t bad enough, I was having much worse problems elsewhere.

The bike saddle that I brought from home was a $120 piece of crap! In all honesty, it did not appear that anyone was having a great time with his or her saddle, but I’m sure that I would have been better off with one that my butt was already familiar with. By day three, getting on to that seat was like getting into a scorching, hot bath. I would touch down ever so slightly, only to launch right off again from the pain. I had to repeat this process over and over again until I was accustomed to the pain well enough to actually sit. There were many other problems precipitated by the seat, the padded shorts, the sweat, and the friction, but now is not the time for detailed descriptions. Let’s just say drug stores between Vancouver and Calgary made a fortune off of us all. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if only I had the opportunity to soak in a hot bath at the end of each day.

After a day of rigorous activity, there is nothing like a hot bath, and a warm, comfortable bed. At least that was what I imagined on our second night as I climbed into my tent and lay down on my stinky, two-inch thick inflatable, rubber air mattress. Lying side by side in our less-than-luxurious accommodation, J turned to me and said “You know, we could have gone to Club Med for almost the same amount money.” I started to cry.


Continued here

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Little Crazy

I'm such a goody-goody. I never cut class in school. It was too stressful for me to even contemplate. Pumpkin had a class today, and it appeared that the weather was going to keep us from going. I had trouble with this. I didn't want to miss it. I didn't want her to miss it. I never let weather keep me out of school, or work, or whatever. I just always show up. I hesitated long enought that even if we went, we would have been late. I'm never late for anything. The idea of being late bugged me so much that I had no choice but to not go to the class. I found salvation in pretending that it was an official snow day, so we went out to play in the snow. She loved it. I need therapy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Unfortunate Plight of Nannies

I was at an indoor playground today, and noticed that about two thirds of the caregivers were nannies. This made me think about how lucky I am to be able to participate in my daughter's play-time like this on a daily basis. Then I remembered reading this article that discussed the lives of the actual nannies, and how many of them come to Canada to try and make better lives for their children, leaving these children in the Philippines with relatives while they get things set up. Some of them don't see their children for years. My inlaws have a caregiver who hasn't seen her eight-year-old son in three years. Whenever I visit my inlaws with my daughter in tow, I always feel a pang of guilt when we all dote on Pumpkin, while this caregiver longingly wishes that she could be having time like this with her son. I cannot begin to comprehend her anguish. Then I think back to the nannies in the indoor playground, and have to wonder how the world came to be set up this way. North American families tend to need two working parents to afford their lives, so they go to work, leaving their children with nannies who have painfully given up being with their own children. By caring for the North American kids, they are hoping to gain the opportunity to reunite with their own kids in Canada. In the meantime, the kids who were left in the Philippines don't get the chance to bond with their mothers, and the reunion isn't always the touching event that the mothers have been working toward for years and years. A change in the law could shorten the time that these women are separated from their families, but leaving children behind must be incredibly difficult, no matter what the duration. I don't know what the best solution is. I just know that it's an awful situation to be in, and am thankful not to be in it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crazy Eights Meme (finally)

I was tagged by Don Mills Diva with the Crazy Eights Meme. I don't want to do it as it requires too much thought. Coming up with something better would require more thought, so it's either the meme, or a play-by-play of a particularly long day with a toddler. You should be thanking me:

8 Things I am Passionate About
my family
my doggies
my friends
Indian food
mountain biking
skiing
Lost
sleeping

8 Things I Say Often
Shiza (a little swearing in another language never hurt anyone, right?)
Just peachy.
Don't step on the dog!
Don't feed the dog!
Me!
Mine!
G'way
I don't wanna!

8 Books I've recently read
Exile, by Richard North Patterson
The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
Knocked Up, by Rebecca Eckler
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Goodnight Nobody, by Jennifer Weiner
Ten Thousand Lovers, by Edeet Ravel
Sundowners, by Lesley Lokko
Naked, by David Sedaris

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die
Renovate my family room
Find a career
Visit Anywhere
See my child (children) grow up
Whatever - I'm not big on making plans

8 Songs I Can Listen To Over and Over (I never said I was cool, or current)
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
When the Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash
Just My Imagination - The Cranberries
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Beautiful Day - U2
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wheat Kings - Tragically Hip

8 Things I look for in friends
sense of humour
honesty
kindness
This category is ridiculous. Am I really going to say that I want my friends to be assholes who kick puppy dogs? Feel free to fill in the rest with warm, fuzzy adjectives.

8 things I've learned in the past year
my office job was a waste of time
I can write my blog without resorting to making fun of people
My writing can be somewhat entertaining
I have the power to make myself happy
I shouldn't store fabric softener in the same cupboard as Zip Lock bags.
I'm a pretty good mom
It is not boring to spend my day with a toddler
I cannot get to bed at a reasonable hour

I'm sure as hell not tagging eight more people. I don't think I know eight people. Consider yourself tagged if you feel like doing this meme, and be sure to tell me if you do it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cross Border Junk Food

I jumped on the bandwagon today and headed south of the border to try and find some great deals in Buffalo. There were good deals all right, but I can't say that I was in the mood. I find that if I don't have a specific thing to buy, I cannot get motivated. I shouldn't say that I wasn't entirely motivated. I did hear of a great deal on fireplace screens at Target, which I took advantage of, and I did buy some clothes for Pumpkin, although I wouldn't say I got the best deals. I just didn't want to waste the trip and buy nothing. She already has a lot of clothes, so didn't feel the need to go crazy in the clearance sections like I probably should have. The purchase that excited me most was that of my beloved Cookie Crisp cereal, which I cannot buy in Canada. I presume that our government has declared it to be "not food", or something like that, because why else don't we sell such a a delicious cereal on our side of the border? Did I mention that it was originally made by Ralston Purina? Regardless, why wouldn't you want to start your day with a pile of cookies with milk? Another culinary delight of my day was my late-afternoon snack at Taco Bell. For some reason, they discontinued Pintos 'n Cheese in Canada, so I'm always sure to grab a helping when I'm in the U.S. Yup, I'm a sad story of a shopper. I couldn't get excited about two Liz Claiborne purses for $40, but talk to me about the junk food...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Six and Counting!

I'd like to start of by thanking everyone who offered to hang out with us last night, regardless of whether or not it was just out of sympathy. To clarify though, we really do have friends. Really! They were just, uh, busy, yeah, that's it. Busy.

Today is our 6th wedding anniversary! I'd love to do a touching, and romantic post such as the ones I've read from others in the past, but there are a couple of problems. I don't do "romantic" very well, and it's not like I could get my husband to read my blog anyways. To top it off, family and health issues have put the celebration on hold. Nonetheless, it is a special occasion, whether we do something about it or not, so I feel that I should at least share it with you all, because no doubt you will make me feel warm and fuzzy by filling my comment field up with your love.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

All Dressed Up...

So here we are, Saturday evening, and my mom, the babysitter, has arrived. There is one problem. We have nowhere to go. Various on-goings in our lives have left us too exhausted to attempt a nice dinner out, and there are no movies that we want to see. We seem to have no friends who want to see us tonight, so we aren't going anywhere. My mom is taking pity on us and ordering in Swiss Chalet, and then taking care of Pumpkin for the evening. I am grateful for this. Thanks mom.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nothing Much

I bought a new coat today. I'd been thinking about it for a few weeks, and today I noticed that it was 30% off the regular price. So I grabbed what I believed to be a medium, tried it on, and decided that it looked good on me. I get it home, and realize that it was a size large. Large. I am 5'1" and 115 lbs. I guess I'd be wearing an extra large if I weighed all of, what, 125?

In other news, I came home from having dinner with the in-laws, only to find that one of my dogs grabbed a 1L tetra pack of juice, and splattered it all over the house. It is after 9 pm and I have to mop and shampoo the floors now. Ugh.

Not much else happened over here today. I am pretty much drawing a bloggy blank, and should really be dragging up the carpet shampoo-er from the basement, so I'm keeping it short today. See y'all tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Memememememe!

I've been meme'd up the wazoo! Both Don Mills Diva and Motherbumper tagged me today, so I'll start with Motherbumper's as it involves less thinking. I'll tackle the Diva's within the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned!

Rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


Things you just couldn't live without knowing:

1. I feel empathy for inanimate objects. Like if I'm eating a bunch of grapes and one falls on the ground and has to be tossed out, I feel bad that it never had the full experience of being a grape. Don't you think it spent it's whole life waiting to be eaten? I am only talking about the grape here!

2. Hubby and I once rode our bicycles from Vancouver to Calgary on an 11-day trip. It was one of the best things I've ever done, and I would never do it again. I've actually written an essay about this, so if I run out of steam before the end of November, you may get to read it.

3. I always cry whenever I hear this verse from, "Puff the Magic Dragon".

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, jackie paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

4. I am actually now choked up after cutting and pasting that

5. I am a little bit attracted to Catherine Zeta-Jones, but only in the movie, Chicago

6. I am hearing impaired. My hearing hasn't changed over the years according to the tests, but I cannot cope without my hearing aids, even though I managed quite well without any assistance until I was 16.
7. I regret that I never tried 'shrooms, and now it's too late. I'm an adult now....
There ya have it, 7 random things. This meme has been around the block a few times now, so I'm probably tagging people who have already done it, but nonetheless, I tag: Whopping Cornbread, and Mimilou. No, I'm not tagging seven. We are now half-way through November and I'm becoming jaded.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amicable Break-Ups

I was just thinking about how lucky I am that my family members and their ex-spouses did such a great job at orchastrating their break-ups. I always hear stories about the animosity that builds up after a couple split, and how the people around them are forced to take sides. Not my family. Sure, there may have been "messy" moments, but so far, the mess has been contained.

My parents are divorced, yet they still have a decent relationship. They call each other to discuss their kids, or the stock market, or whatever. It is never a problem to have them around each other. In fact, when my brother and I were younger, my dad and his second wife would visit from Montreal, and actually stay at my mom's house while they visited. That sounds a little strange to me now, but it did make for a nicer visit with my dad, as opposed to hanging around a hotel room or something.

My dad's second marriage wasn't the ultimate success either. That being said, there was no real fighting at the end, and I don't have to feel any discomfort when I visit with my now ex-step-mother, ex-step-sister, and ex-step nieces/nephew. My dad may not be all that close with his ex-wife, but they have both moved on, and don't harbour any negative feelings towards each other. This has really helped me in my efforts to maintain my relationships with all of them, especially my ex-step-sister, who I became close with over the course of our parent's 18-year marriage.

Then just yesterday, my brother's ex came to town for a visit. She specifically set aside time to make sure she could see us. Both my mother and I love her, and it means a lot that she wants to continue to have some sort of relationship with us. It is also important to me that she has been able to spend time with my daughter. This would not be possible if her break-up with my brother had been a messy one. It was great to see you, J. Thanks for the cookies too!

So I guess this post is an expression of gratitude to my family and their ex-spouses, who may not be great at choosing life-mates, but are at least role models for ideal break-ups. You all rock!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Personal Shopper for Hire

I am not particularly well dressed. I don't mean that I'm dressed badly, but I am not the epitome of fashion. I usually wear jeans, sneakers, and a top that hides macaroni stains fairly well. I am aware of the fashion rules à la What Not To Wear, but I don't always manage to practice what is preached. Nonetheless, this past month, not one, but two of my friends recruited me to ensure that they find something to wear to the upcoming holiday parties. They wanted ME to help. The difficult thing with this sort of task is that I actually have to tell a good friend that the dress she is trying on makes her ass look fat, or her chest look flat, or her tummy bulge out. I had a chance to work on diplomacy skills. The first friend kept trying on tight dresses that really clung to her. She didn't look bad, but she didn't look great. I really wanted to get her into something more A-line such that the emphasis was not on her butt and hips. I advised her that the tight stuff she had been trying on was sexier, but the A-line stuff was more figure flattering. I don't know if she totally agreed, but since I was brought along for this exact purpose, she went along with me. We found a great A-line dress for her, and although she claimed it crunched her ribs a little bit, I wouldn't let her walk away from it. It was THE dress. The material has since given a little so that she can breath, and she thanked me, for she said she never would have chosen it without me. The second friend knew to go for the A-line dresses, but the neck-lines were the problem. She is not exactly petite, so I had to steer her away from spaghetti straps, and towards dresses with thicker straps that de-emphasize her arms and shoulders. By the end of the night, she was leaning towards two dresses, one that really worked, and one that did little for her. When she approached the cash with the intention of buying both and later returning one, I put my foot down and told her my services were useless if she wouldn't take the dress that I chose. She agreed, and also thanked me for helping her make the opposite choice that she would have made otherwise.

I can't believe that these friends actually listened to me! ME! I'm a far cry from Stacey or Clinton, but apparently I do good work. Does anyone need a personal shopper?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Look At What Else I Can Do!

When I was on maternity leave, I had a lot of opportunity to improve myself. With a fairly sleepy baby on my hands, I could have started up a blog much earlier. I could have taken the time to become a better cook. The house could have been cleaner or more organized. I could have worked out more. I did none of those things. I did, however, make a comic strip out of baby pictures:


Yeah, it's cheesy, but I thought it would be be a shame to never reveal this talent of mine to the world. Happy day 12 of Nablopomo!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vestiges of a Childhood Fear

I am back, and on high-speed internet again, so regular bloggy activities will resume immediately. I missed reading y'all this week-end, but it was good to get away and occupy a spot on my friends couch for 48 hours or so. The drive was a bit of a snooze, but it's worth it to socialize Pumpkin and myself with some good friends. Thanks again, L.

I'm pretty tired from all that driving, so an insightful post is not likely, but I will leave you with a tidbit of information about me: I am frightened of the Zamboni. When I was three or so, my parents occasionally took me to the skating rink, where I did not reveal any special talents. At the end of the skate session, the buzzer would loudly go off, and I knew that if I didn't get off the rink ASAP, the big bad Zamboni would run me over and turn me into minced meat. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could actually skate, but all I could do was attempt to run, and fall, countless times, until I could finally scamper off the ice. I blame my brother. I don't know why, but somehow I think he had a hand in this fear. Minced meat? I couldn't have come up with that on my own.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Howdy! I am currently posting (via dial-up!!!) from a farm in Sarnia, Ontario. A real farm. I've even got manure on my shoes to prove it! Pumpkin and I are visiting a friend who probably wants us to leave. When we arrived here, my friend was exhausted from getting up every hour the night before with her 5-month-old. Our behaviour last night didn't help the situation. We tried to put Pumpkin and my friend's 3-year-old daughter to sleep in the same room, which was kind of stupid, but it sounded like a good idea at the time. When it was bed-time for the mommies, Pumpkin was still awake, and making enough noise to wake up my friend's daughter. I took Pumpkin into my room, along with a playpen for her to sleep in. She freaked when I put her in the playpen, so I tried putting her in my bed with me. We've never tried that before. There is a good reason for that. She was jumping all over the place, and not to interested in sleeping. I tried the playpen again, but she freaked and actually climbed out. I put her back in my bed, which she was almost ok with since she had cried herself tired, but she wouldn't let me turn out the light. Keep in mind that I was really trying (unsuccessfully) to keep the noise down to avoid waking up everyone else in the house. By about midnight, Pumpkin fell asleep, but I had to wait another thirty minutes to safely turn out the light. The good news is that Pumpkin didn't wake the other children. As for my friend, I guess I owe her a few hours of sleep. Sorry, L.

I'll be back posting and commenting from Toronto by tomorrow evening. I'll catch up with y'all then.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Back to Playing with Wooden Spoons?

I feel I am at a loss with respect to the number of hazardous children's toys that have been recalled in the past few months. On the surface, it seems as if a boycott of cheap toys made in China will do the trick, but I think I might be fooling myself with that notion. Is it just China? Should I boycott any toymaker who has been a part of the recent recalls? I don't really know, but it is the only starting point that I feel I have. As a concerned parent, I will do what I can to find toys that are free of lead and hallucinogenics, but should it really be entirely up to me? Every toy on the shelf should meet that criteria. We obviously do not have a system in place that protects our children from these potentially deadly health risks. The Parent Bloggers Network has teamed up with the the Consumer's Union to help raise more public awareness of these issues, and let let store owners know how serious this issue is. Until something is done about this problem, it is up to us. This holiday season, do your best to avoid mass produced crap from China, and make an effort to support the local economy, and buy toys you feel you can trust. Your child's life may depend on it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

When I Grow Up, I'm Gonna be a...

Pumpkin has a DVD that has a segment with a little girl, no older than three, who does a ballet routine. Pumpkin loves that part, and always gets up from the couch to do the dance along with the video. She gracefully raises and lowers her arms to the music. It's sweet, and makes me want to enroll her in a dance class. I'll probably do just that, but only to give her a chance to see if she likes it, not as a chance for me to push her into a dance career. Given her genetics, it wasn't gonna be much of a career anyways. Thinking about imposing a career choice on a child reminded me of a conversation my mom once had about me. She was at a meeting with a group of people whom she wasn't all that well acquainted with. They all just met once a month to discuss co-op finances. I guess they had wrapped up the business part of the meeting and ended up talking about their kids, and what the kids were going to be when they grew up. We are talking about fairly young kids here, so I imagine that the parents were just engaging in wishful thinking. One parent talked about how his kid was going to be a doctor, and used the child's good grades in school as proof. Another parent went on to say that her son was probably going to be a baseball player, sighting his success in little league as reason for believing this. "MY daughter is going to be a ballerina!", bragged another parent. By this time, my mother was rolling her eyes at the stupidity of this discussion, and said matter-of-factly, "When my daughter grows up, she's going to be a prostitute. I know this because she never comes home at night." The meeting was adjourned.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blog-Philandering Husband!

My husband has always refrained from reading my blog, as he believes that his readership is going to cause me to limit the things that I can post about. When I originally started blogging, I didn’t want anyone I knew reading it because I wanted full reign over all topics. I discovered that this was a dangerous game, thus the blog was re-born with more humour, more happiness, and fewer rants. I will not post anything that I want to hide. That being said, I have actually been asking him if he would read my blog, since this is a part of me that I am just now exploring, and I want him to maybe get a deeper insight into my soul. Not likely, but it could happen. He continually declines. That kind of bugs me. You know what bugs me more though? When I walk in to a room where he is sitting at the computer, having a good chuckle, and then says to me, “That Redneck Mommy is hilarious! That bit about Halloween and the one about the reno – too funny!” Oh, I see. So he’ll read HER blog but not mine! Yeah, everyone knows that she’s hilarious. That’s why he keeps stumbling into her after I’ve been using the computer. I’m funny too ya know!!! Maybe not quite AS funny, but I think I can hold my own. What about that bit about the banana clip! Ok, maybe not funny at all, but still! I don’t blame you, Redneck. It’s not your fault that you’re a blog-goddess, but could you maybe give my man a kick in the arse the next time he comes a-lurkin’?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Yes, We Have No Banana Clips

I am about to reveal my un-coolness. I would like to know why the banana clip has become such a hated and mocked hair accessory. Although I haven’t worn one since the ‘80s, I hafta say, it worked out quite well for me. I have curly hair, and I never knew how to handle it in high school. I didn't know how to style the curls so they didn't look frizzy. There also wasn't the plethora of curly hair products that fill the drug store shelved nowadays. All the “preppie” girls had long, straight hair, which was what I ended up trying to achieve, even though my hair was always damaged and smelled burnt. If the banana clip could have stayed in fashion, I would have had a much easier time. It gave me a mane of curly locks running down the back of my head, instead of a frizzy, not-really-straight, wannabe appeal. Was it really such a bad look? Why is it lumped in with mullets and trailer parks? I can handle my hair now, so I promise not to attempt to bring back the banana, but I just wanna know what happened. Anyone?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Eeeeek!

I had my first official boyfriend when I was thirteen. Wanna know something creepy? The guy was nineteen. Before you get all freaked about that fact, I'll have you know that we never did anything heavier than kissing. He was what one would consider to be a "good Christian". I even met him in a church group if that makes it sound more innocent. I happen to be Jewish, but apparently I discovered at an early age that church groups were a good place to pick up guys. I also happened to have a friend who was all keen on her church's youth group, so I was invited to all their events. When I reflect back on that "relationship", I wonder how the heck it ever happened. Yeah, I had some of the physical attributes that identified me as a woman, but I'm sure that I had none of the emotional ones. I like to think I was somewhat mature for my age, but mature enough to carry on a romance with a nineteen year old who wasn't interested in sex before marriage??? What was in it for him? He was in university. I was in grade eight. What the hell did we talk about??? I was kind of grounded for the rest of my life during those days, so we were pretty much restricted to sneaking phone calls when my mom was at work, or when I managed to hit a pay phone, but we would chat for hours when we did get the chance. He even had me over to meet his family!!! Can you imagine what his parents were thinking??? I know it made sense to me at the time. I really liked him and we seemed to be a good match. I thought that my mom was being unfair, and that no one had a right to judge the situation without seeing how well this guy and I interacted. More than twenty years have since past, and now I judge the situation the same way everyone else did, and just don't understand any of it. There is no moral to this story. I don't want to relate it to the fact that I will have my own teenage girl to raise, or wonder if the whole thing could have been handled differently, but it is day five of Nablopomo, and I am digging for material. What will I be sharing by day twenty?

If any of you are scraping for material, and want to run with a post about your first or weirdest relationship, please feel free. Just let me know if you do it so I can come by and laugh/cringe/cry.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lock Away Your Personal Belongings!

A couple of months ago, I read about bizarre incident in an advice column. The person who wrote in was troubled by the damage he had caused to one of his friendships, and he was wondering what he could do to fix things. Apparently, he was visiting his friends, a married couple, and excused himself to use the washroom. While he was in the washroom, he thought it would be a good idea to rummage through the medicine cabinet in search of something that he could tease his friends about, such as Rogaine or something "hilarious" like that. On the top shelf of the medicine cabinet, he found a pregnancy test. It had already been used, and it was displaying a positive result. This person then returned to the dinner party, and informed the other guests that the host couple were pregnant. Within a few days, the couple were being congratulated by all their friends on a pregnancy that no one was supposed to know about. No one was supposed to know about the pregnancy because the couple were no longer pregnant. They had miscarried. The couple know that it was the nosey, blabbermouth guest who passed around the information, but they do not know how he knew that they were pregnant in the first place. This guest then wrote to the advice columnist to figure out how to fix the friendship.

I think it is obvious that there are sooooo many things wrong with what the "friend" did here, but it was the words of the columnist that kind of surprised me. He talked about human nature, and how it is normal to want to snoop around someone else's personal belongings. The columnist also described a similar incident where he overheard a guest going through his medicine cabinet, and even heard this guest pull back the shower curtain as if expecting to see a dead body in the bathtub or something. The columnist also added that since it is human nature to snoop, he couldn't help but wonder if the couple with the pregnancy test wanted the test to be found, since they left it lying around when guests were expected. Lying around??? It was in the medicine cabinet!!! Should people really be expecting that their guests will really go snooping in there? It has never occurred to me to do this to someone, or that someone would do it to me. Nice job on blaming the victim here, don't you think? Do any of you have any experience with something like this? The columnist was implying that it is an everyday occurrence. Is it?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Poor Doggie

My mom has a little Scottie dog. He isn't much of a dog in that he doesn't do a heck of a lot. He has never been very active, and now that he is old, he is even less so. He spends his days either sleeping or staring at random things. It's kind of funny because my mom is always commenting on how good her little dog is. I always joke, yes, I suppose we can say he is good, if good means non-behaviour. It's possible that he has evil intentions, but since he never acts on them, we will consider him to be good. He isn't much of a walker either. His legs aren't great, and he doesn't seem all that interested. All this inactivity changes whenever my neighbours dog comes out to play. The Scottie springs to life, runs up and down the yard, barking with the dog next door, along with my two big dogs. It is truly the most excitement he has, at least it was until yesterday. It started out business as usual. All the dogs were out barking at each other, Scottie-boy included, when my two dogs plowed over him. This isn't all that unusual seeing as he is a small dog in a big dog's land, but my dogs must have stepped on his head or something because he was knocked out cold. Completely unconscious. My mom was the one to witness it, and unfortunately she had a full minute of thinking he was dead. When he woke up, he cried and shook, so she then had a few minutes of thinking that he was going to die. Then he got up and ate his dinner, and resumed his normal inactivity. There were no further symptoms or anything. Today is another normal day for him. I have never heard of a dog being knocked out. Thankfully all is well and my dogs aren't being charged with dog-slaughter. Pretty dramatic though.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Just a Quickie

I virtually have no time to post today but there is no way I am going to flunk out of the Nablopomo challenge this early in the game. So here is just a plain old re-cap of my past 14 hours or so:

I don't know why, but after reading blogs last night until around midnight, I then went on to do some ironing. Weird, but I had the urge, so I figured I'd strike while the iron was hot. Get it? Get it? Yeah, I know. So by about one in the morning, I went to bed for what I figured would be a solid six and a half hours of sleep, which is normally a reasonable assumption. However, at 4:30, Pumpkin woke up screaming, although she couldn't tell me why. Bad dreams? Who knows? It took me a good half hour to get her calmed down enough to go back to sleep, which included me fumbling around in the dark to change the batteries in her musical-birdy-crib-thingy so that she could have the full light and musical effect while she dozed off.

This morning, Grandma, Pumpkin and I headed out to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. I hadn't been since I was in grade seven, so it was a fairly fresh experience for me. Pumpkin enjoyed the petting zoo, which was set up complete with disinfectant stands, and an actual place to wash with soap and water, so I didn't have any germ-o-phoebe breakdowns after feeding the goats. The highlight for us was the Super Dog show, which was kind of venturing into the unknown territory with a two-year-old, but she clapped, cheered, probably bugged the kid sitting in front of her a whole lot, and managed to make it through the full 40 minute show. There was also an antique area, and probably other interesting booths, but we really couldn't look around thoroughly with Pumpkin in tow. It was still something different, and she seemed to appreciate the experience, so I'll give it a seven out of ten.

Now I have to get ready to head back downtown for a house warming / girls night, so I'm off to wash the smell of goat off my hands, and pick up some sort of house warming gift. The person who's house it is might be the only person I know who doesn't have an Internet connection, which is why I'm whipping this post off now instead of at around 10:30 pm when I'll probably have had a couple of glasses of wine, and believe myself to be exceptionally witty. Just as well. See y'all tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Spirit has been Restored

I love Halloween! I was unaware of that fact until yesterday, but boy did I have fun! I am, of course, referring to going trick-or-treating with my daughter last night. I'm a big fan of candy, so naturally as a kid/teenager, I went trick-or-treating until I started getting "looks" from people who really didn't want to give me any candy due to my age and the lack of effort put into my costume. I think my last trick-or-treating costume was a flasher. I just wore a long trench coat. It worked. Sort of. Creativity was never my thing. Since then, I have had no use for Halloween, except as an excuse to hang out with my mom while eating pizza and dipping into the candy bowl, praying that there would be leftovers at the end of the night. Last night was different. I still had take-out with my mom, but then Hubby and I took Pumpkin, who was dressed up as the cutest kangaroo ya ever did see, out to beg for candy. At the first house, she was stunned. So was I. As it turns out, if you are only three feet tall and happen to be the cutest kangaroo ever, people will give you four or five chocolate bars at a time! So we spent about a half hour, leading her from house to house, collecting way more chocolate than I ever did in 2 hours as a flasher. After about three houses, Pumpkin got into a groove. We asked her to jump like a kangaroo for the nice people, she would, and the candy just poured in. Then she would spin around, head towards the next house, saying, "Get More! Get More!" That's my girl! A lot of people had their houses all decked out for the occasion with "scary" decorations, and Pumpkin really started to get into it. She started saying, "Oooooh, Scaaaaary", whenever we approached one of these houses. She was still talking about the scary houses at her class today. So after trick-or-treating, we came back to the house, let her enjoy some of the fruits of her labour, and called it a night. This was one of those great parenting events for us. It was new, and adorable, and I know that Pumpkin had a great time. I also believe that she has forgotten about all her candy, which is working out quite well for me too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just Don't Discuss It!

One of the issues that plagued me when I first started blogging, besides my spelling, was that I never had anything to write about. Looking at my last couple of posts, it is possible that I might still be grasping for some ideas. Regardless, now that I am somewhat "seasoned" at writing about nothing, I have noticed that I am taking a closer look at everything around me, if for no other reason, to give myself blog fodder. In a way, this is a good thing, because life isn't just passing me by without notice, but on the other hand, I'm hanging on to things that I would have otherwise forgotten about, and then gone on about my merry business. It sounds kind of simple, but I just don't tend to dwell on things, especially things that invoke negative emotions. So now that I'm a blogger, I find myself analyzing any instance where I experience even a minute amount of emotional rise. I had such a moment yesterday, and although it was really just a blip in my day, I'm now stuck thinking about a discussion I had with a relative about having more children.

A while back, I read a post (that I can't locate right now or else I'd link to it) about the inappropriateness of asking someone about his or her plans to have a child or a second child. It is an inappropriate question for a multitude of reasons, but from my perspective, it is inappropriate because there is a lack of consideration for those who have fertility issues. This is not a light topic. It can be a very painful topic for those who have been trying and who have been unsuccessful. Before conceiving Pumpkin, I always had a fear that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant due to some complications that I had when I was younger. To cope with this fear, my husband and I typically told people that we were either going to have one, two, or none. People didn't like that, especially the one or none options. I know people generally mean well when they give me a nudge and inquire about giving Pumpkin a sibling. I know that some people just don't know what to say, yet the need to speak overrides having nothing to say, so they go with whatever comes to mind. I know that people who say to me, "You CAN'T have just ONE!", also mean well, although they do in fact need a kick in the head. Irrespective of people's intentions, it is still not acceptable to ask about such personal matters. I still have residual fear, and even though I have managed to create one beautiful child, I don't feel confident that I can simply have another just because I want one. This brings me to the discussion I had with my relative yesterday.

The conversation was about Pumpkin, and how big she is getting, which of course led to this relative announcing to me that it was time to have another one. I tensed up, took a deep breath, and said what I could to make her feel uncomfortable for having suggested it. "Well, it would be nice to have another, but it isn't entirely up to just Hubby and me. Medical factors are at play, if you recall.", I said in a somewhat patronizing tone.

"Oh yeah, that's right.", was the reply. "You know, you do have a beautiful daughter already, and I guess if she is the only child you ever have, she will be more than enough."

This was the only time I have ever had anyone condone the possibility of my having one child. I also agree that if Pumpkin ends up being the only child I ever have, I am still blessed. That aside I was still pissed off at this relative for saying so. She doesn't know where I stand on my need for a second child. What if I have been consumed with the thought of a second child since the first one was born? I haven't been, but this relative doesn't know that. It was then that I discovered that as inappropriate as it is to ask me if I plan on having more children, it is also inappropriate to suggest that I should be content with just one (or more as it may be for some). This is an emotional issue, so even if intellectually I am aware that I already have an amazing child, it does not change the emotional anguish I would experience if I wanted more yet could not have them. Bottom line: Steer clear of this topic with me. It's just too personal. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pick-Me-Up

I just spent an hour doing actual work for my former work-place, only to manage to delete it all at the end of the hour. I'm such a winner. It takes me so long to get motivated to even tackle such work, and now it's gone. A whole hour that I will never be able to claim. Sigh. Instead of wallowing in self pity, and instead of actually re-doing the work, I will make a list some good things that happened this past week:
  • Hubby and I did dinner and a movie last night
  • I found and bought two pairs of awesome jeans with my birthday money (no, I am not too old for birthday money!)
  • I discovered that the yoga pants that I got for my birthday don't attract dog hair
  • I got to sleep in today, AND had a nap in the afternoon
  • I was able to show my daughter her first rainbow
  • A house on our street went up for sale, and I was able to go to the pictures on the on-line listing to steal some decorating ideas (same builder, same challenges)
  • Hubby is feeling motivated to renovate our washrooms now
  • We got free tickets to see We Will Rock You - enjoyed the show
  • My car is now (temporarily) Cheerio-free
  • This picture:

Ok, I feel better now. I don't get to bill for twenty-odd dollars, but I feel better.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lousy Surrogate

One of the kids who visited at Thanksgiving must have left this here:



It's one of those virtual pets that was all the rage maybe ten years ago. The poor thing was already dead when I found it in my washroom the other day. If I had only known that it was here, I would have saved it. I actually feel bad about that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Love Thy Pests?

Just to update you on some stuff you likely don't care about, I am no longer going by the name, Alley Cat. When I was planning on starting this blog, I kept delaying because I couldn't think of a blog name, or a name to call myself. I am quite pleased with the blog name itself, which was inspired by Something Baby Blue, and her mac and cheese recipe that she posted around the same time that this blog was born. As for Alley Cat, I just pulled that out nowhere. I never liked the name, and I am actually a dog person, so Alley Cat is outta here. Just call me Mac and Cheese for now.
(We now resume our regularly scheduled assault on the English language)

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I don’t like to kill bugs. I feel bad if I do kill one, so if I am faced with a bug in my house that wasn’t invited, I am likely to trap it under a cup, then slide something underneath the cup, allowing me to transport it outside. Even if I found a bug like the one on Motherbumper’s page this week, I would still trap it, maybe under a shoebox, throw on some Kevlar protection, and try to remove it. I’d have nightmares afterwards, but I would still remove it. Actually, I think I’d pay someone else to remove it. I can guarantee you that hubby would run away screaming, so yes, I would pay someone. Sometimes bug removal is an ongoing task. I have ladybugs going crazy in my dining room right now, so I’m working away, trying to relocate them all to the backyard, only to let them be killed by some act of nature that I won’t have to witness. I’m ok with that. Pumpkin has never had to contemplate bug-killing. The first time she saw an ant on the floor, she bent down and said, “Helloooooo” to it, so how could I squash it? She thinks all animals are great. There are toads living in our window well that she visits daily. There was a mouse in there that she was excited to see too. I pointed out a snake in the woods, without letting her know that snakes are creepy, and she just said, “Hello snake!”. At the zoo, she looked in a lizard aquarium and called the scaly thing, “beautiful”. Perhaps lizards are beautiful. I’m not going to tell her otherwise. I love that she loves all animals. I am, however, wondering if maybe I’m depriving her of necessary life-skills on the bug-front.

The other day, we were at the in-law's for dinner, when something caught my eye. It was a large centipede making its way across the kitchen floor. I followed it into the dining room, with the idea of showing Pumpkin the "great, big bug". Well, the woman who cares for my in-laws was there, and when she saw it, she let out a shriek and stomped on it. I had to look away, and I made Pumpkin look away. I was actually kind of annoyed that this woman hadn’t thought twice about committing such an act of violence in front of my daughter. Yes, I do realize that I am the one with the problem here. Bugs don’t belong in the house, and we really should get rid of them, I guess. Not everyone is in the bug-relocation business. Anyhow, I left the splattered, bug mess and returned to the dinner table. Pumpkin was wandering around the kitchen, no longer playing with her toys, and speaking very softly. She approached us at the table, looking disturbed, twiddling her fingers, still talking quietly, and not saying anything that sounded like English. She kind of reminded me of Beaker from the Muppet Show, only with eyebrows. Finally at the end of her string of gibberish, she uttered the words, “Step. On. It.”, still looking disturbed. I KNEW IT! SHE WAS TRAUMATIZED! Or not. She seemed to get over it and resumed regular play activities after a short while. I guess what I was upset about was that it was her first glimpse of how humans can destroy nature. I like keeping her innocent. This is the only time in life that she can acceptably be oblivious to the world's problems, and simply pursue her own happiness. To Pumpkin, the greatest injustice in the world is that she can’t have crackers for breakfast. I don’t want her having bad dreams about bug-squashings. That being said, I also wouldn’t want to see her living in a bug-infested apartment one day, thinking that she is one with nature.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

I am 35 today! This would normally be a good time for reflection of my past 35 years, looking at where I have been, where I am now, and where I am going. The problem is, I'm not that deep. I just hope that people give me good stuff. So far I've received a cool pair of sunglasses, and the promise of a dinner tomorrow night with a small group of close friends and family. We're going out for my favourite, Indian food, so I'm gonna have to starve myself all day in preparation. Tonight is just low key, as I watch Grey's Anatomy while eating cupcakes. Not so bad!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

LEAVE ELLEN ALONE!

I just heard news about Ellen DeGeneres, and a dog adoption gone wrong. It seems that Ellen adopted a puppy from a shelter, but found that the puppy was not a good fit for her household that she shares with her partner and their two cats. She ended up giving the puppy to her hairdresser, against the rules set out by the shelter. The puppy was later apprehended by the shelter that does not consent to its animals being re-gifted. Apparently, the small print indicates that animals are supposed to be returned to the shelter if things do not work out. The hairdresser’s family wants the dog back, Ellen wants them to have the dog back, and she ended up in tears on her show on Tuesday. There are a few issues that the media are attacking here, such as respecting rules, and using celebrity status to break them, but that’s not what I want to get into. What I really want to do is just empathize with Ellen, for I am very familiar with the trials and tribulations of adopting dogs, and have shed more than my share of tears in my experiences, although thankfully not on national TV.

The first time hubby and I rescued a dog, we were not even in the market to do so. I was working with a woman who was discussing her neighbour’s marital problems, which involved the wife being hospitalized, and the husband having a restraining order against him. My colleague was complaining that she had to care for the neighbour’s animals since no one else was at the house to do so. Yes, I realize that there are bigger problems going on in this story, but the both police and Children’s Aid were already involved, so I shifted my focus to the animals. I figured that the animals in question were fish, or birds, maybe even a cat, but when she mentioned that there was a German Shepherd, I freaked out. Even with my colleague going over to let it out and feed it, it wasn’t enough. Dog’s are social animals and need companionship, exercise, and stimulation. The next day I went over to the “house of abandoned animals”, and came home with the dog. It took about two hours for us to fall in love with her. Based on what we knew, we figured that her owners were not going to get their shit together well enough to reclaim their dog, as a divorce seemed inevitable, and money was going to be an issue. I wasn’t wishing for the family to fall apart, but it seemed to be the only likely outcome, and I was really hoping to keep the dog. It turned out that I was wrong in my assumption about the family. Despite all that had gone on with them, the husband and wife decided to give it another try. After six weeks of my caring for their dog, they took her back from me. I was devastated. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t keep the dog, but also that the dog was going back to a potentially dangerous situation, where she wasn’t necessarily going to be cared for properly. I couldn’t keep it together at work the next day, and cried upon returning home from work, only to not be greeted by the dog. A year later, we got a call from the dog's owners, saying that the marriage had fallen apart, and that they could not keep the dog. They wanted us to take her. The problem was that upon losing the dog in the first place, we went on to adopt two other dogs, and could no longer take in the original dog. Once again, there were many tears, and an inability to keep it together at work the next day, which is why I don’t blame Ellen for not keeping it together on her show.

Ellen probably loves the puppy, so giving it up must have been extremely painful for her. Add that to the fact that the family she gave it to is not allowed to keep it, and that the dog is going back to the shelter, and I see cause for a bit of a break-down. I'd like to see anyone else attempt comedy under those circumstances. I hope I don’t sound like that fan who defended Britney on YouTube recently, but I do want to send Ellen a shoulder to cry on, ‘cause I do understand.

Edited to add: Just to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, you should know that a good friend of mine took in the German Shepherd, and both owner and doggie are thrilled with the arrangement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not as Planned

Tonight was gonna be good. I was going to put Pumpkin to bed, then watch House, Reaper, and Pushing Daisies. I was also going to have a feast. I made cupcakes, for no special reason other than to eat them, which would have been the first course. Then I would have made a bucket of popcorn to get me through the three hours of programming awaiting me on the PVR. I don't do this sort of thing every night. Really, I don't. So I manage to get Pumpkin off to bed, and figured I'd check the voicemail before I began my evening of sloth and gluttony. The voicemail was from my doctor, reminding me of my physical scheduled for tomorrow, and reminding me not to eat anything after 8pm. I feel like these cupcakes are taunting me now, and I can't get rid of my popcorn craving. CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Crap. To top it off, House is a re-run!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nostalgic Crushes

Motherbumper has tagged me with a “crush” meme, asking me to share with you the list of Hollywood “hunks” whose pictures found their way into the art gallery that was my bedroom wall when I was in my pre-teen years. Naturally, I have such a list, and I blush and laugh to think about it. I’m sure that I spent the better part of my allowance money on magazines that provided me with glossy pics that I used to tape to my wall and kiss before going to sleep each night. Lately I have been noticing the modern-day versions of the teen magazines that I used to buy, and wonder if I was silly enough to get excited by headlines such as, “Zack Wants to Get to Know You Better” or “Could You Be Charlie’s Girl?” Something tells me that I was exactly the target market for this sort of thing. I really believed that if I could just meet one of these guys, we’d get married for sure. Hey, at least I had self-confidence! That being said, here is my list of guys who missed their chance:

Christopher Reeve: Yeah, that’s kind of sad to reflect on now, but it was what it was. Back in the days of Superman II, I was so crazy about him that I actually cried about the geographical distance between us. I was about eight years old and enamoured with the close-up shots of his beautiful blue eyes during some of the romantic scenes with Lois Lane. He wasn’t easy to find pictures of, so I was pretty much stuck with Superman posters that would have been more appropriate for comic book fans. Sadly or fortunately, I was too young to appreciate how the blue tights enabled me to see how well he was stacking up.

Scott Baio: I have mentioned him previously in my blog, as I tried to recruit people to watch his reality show, Scott Baio is 45 and Single. Scott became the object of my desire when I was ten. I distinctly remember an art project in grade four where I made a picture of a TV screen that said, “Tania Loves Chachi”. I was a huge Happy Days fan, but I think the crush started after seeing the not-so-critically acclaimed film, Zapped. I can’t really remember much about the movie except that Scott Baio’s character acquired telekinetic powers, which he used to undress his girlfriend during the sex scene. WHERE WERE OUR PARENTS WHILE WE WERE WATCHING THIS???

Ricky Schroeder: Here we are…face to face…a couple of silver spoons… That was music to my ears in grade five. Now here was a guy that I really had a chance with! He was close to my own age! I sent him pictures of my 11-year-old self in a bathing suit, feeling most certain that he would hop on a plane to meet me as soon as he had a chance. Still waiting. I think I should have sent a different picture. My 11-year-old self did not realize that a pot belly and only one recently sprouted bud of a breast was not a good look - especially in a bathing suit.

Michael Jackson: Oh don’t pretend that you didn’t like him too! Those were the Thriller days, and he was all everyone in grade five and six could talk about. I bought all the albums and I wore about ten MJ buttons on my shirt every day. I desperately wanted the red jacket with all the zippers but could never have afforded one. I did NOT wear one white glove – even I thought that was lame. He wasn’t typically featured in the teen magazines, so I had to resort to the National Inquirer, and other crappy tabloids to find pictures to get excited about. I did manage to acquire a larger-than-life-size poster:

I think I'm just gonna let you make your own joke here.

Beyond my MJ days, I think it just became a little uncool to do the poster thing. Looking at the pics that I posted here, I'm glad it ended. Is it me or did my tastes get progressively worse as time went on? Who would have been next? Boy George?

That was truly an enjoyable exercise. I think I'd like to spread some joy by tagging Kgirl, and Gabriella.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just Bragging

My daughter has impressed me a lot over the past few days. Truthfully, as a biased parent, she impresses me with everything she does on a daily basis, but there were three things that stood out recently. Over the week-end, I had a visit from my ex-step-sister (long story), along with four of her EIGHT children (even longer story). Pumpkin was thrilled to have so many kids around, and basically adapted to their games and activities, even though they were all older than she is. She followed them around, ate what they ate, played where they played. At one point I found her and the four-year-old chillin' in the basement, crashed on the couch, watching Star Wars. This was of course after I realized I hadn't seen her in over an hour, being the attentive parent that I am. She is a lot more independent than I usually allow her to be.

Then today, she gave me both a laugh and a shock when I realized just how much information gets into her head. I was trying to do her hair, but she was squirmy, so I tried to subdue her by singing. This would make the average person run the other way, but Pumpkin doesn't know just how bad I am yet, and remained still enough for me to create a lopsided ponytail. I woke up with Hey there Delilah running through my head, so that's the song I sang. I gave it a verse, then quit, because honestly, I am so sick of that overplayed song. All summer long, I heard it every time I got in the car, even if I was only driving for five minutes. As it turns out, Pumpkin was also affected by the constant repetition of that song. When I stopped singing, she blinked at me in the mirror, possibly wanting me to continue, then took matters into her own hands and sang, "Ohhh, wha do do mee, ohhh wha do do meeee". At age 2-and-a-bit, I am still getting used to the fact that she can say anything, let alone sing a top 40 hit.

To add to my perception that she is absolutely brilliant, Pumpkin even managed to outsmart me today. She is absolutely addicted to YouTube, thanks to my hubby and his propensity to entertain her by granting her a video of any subject she shouts out at him. Lately, she is all about a Hippo video that I am not going to link to 'cause I don't know how. You don't want to see it anyways, trust me. She wanted to watch it on my upstairs, desktop computer this morning, but I wanted to keep her downstairs so I could eat some breakfast. Fifteen minutes passed, then she said, "Pee pee! Go potty!" Well, that got me excited since she isn't at all toilette-trained, so I rushed her upstairs to the potty, only to see her run past the washroom, into my office, over the computer, shouting, "Hippo!" Apparently she is aware of my eagerness to get her toilette trained, and has no problem abusing this information for her benefit. I'm kinda proud!