Category Archives: life

The Pros and Cons of Gym Membership

Turns out, I get a corporate discount on an executive gym membership. It’s a good deal and everything is included for myself plus up to four “family” members. So if you were in the market for a gym membership this would be good for you. Now here’s the thing, in theory I want to join the gym. It would be nice to actually attend classes with other adults, have access to a sauna and go swimming regularly. All those things resonate with me. Then there is the reality of the situation. I am exhausted most days and doubt I will actually have/make time to dedicate an hour or more at the gym. And then there are the added costs.

It seems like an easy decision, right. It’s not though. I am torn about what I want to do. So I made a list, which seems kind of ridiculous but seeing it all laid out makes the decision easier.

PROS:

  • There’s a pool. I have been wanting to start swimming again for a long time.
  • There are some cool classes I can attend; things like crossfit and body sculpt.
  • Up to four other family members can join and get the same discount as I do.
  • There are babysitting services.
  • There are things like whirlpools, suanas, and weight equipment I don’t have at home.
  • Summer is coming and I can build my summer body.

CONS:

  • It works out to more than $600 a year. That’s a lot of money that I could use towards something else.
  • If Millhouse joins, then that is over $1200 that can be used towards something else.
  • Summer is coming and we are so busy in the summer going on all sorts of adventures, I know I would not, realistically, give up time with the boys to go to the gym.
  • My days are so strapped for time; if I wanted to go before work, I would have to leave the house at 6am in order to make it to the gym and then to work on time but Millhouse doesn’t get home from work until 6:30am. So that schedule won’t work. If I wanted to go after work, I would have to leave work at exactly 4:30pm, get to the gym at 5pm, workout for an hour and then get home just as Millhouse is leaving for work. That means no dinner, homework, or bath time with the boys. So that schedule won’t work.

Le sigh. I can’t join the gym. Even though there are more pros than cons, the cons carry more weight than the pros.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

Exhausted Meli is Exhausted

Alternate title was Daylight Savings + March Break = I’m dying

Last week I was exhausted. Like, come home and collapse kind of exhausted but then when I went to sleep I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t pretty.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Nothing in my routine had really changed. I was still getting up at the same time, doing the same sort of tasks in the morning, and going to bed at the same time but by the time 3pm came around, I was done for.

I knew March Break couldn’t have knocked me on my butt that hard. I am a stickler for routine and March Break threw off my routine a bit but it wasn’t anything major. I mean I don’t have to get the boys ready for school but I still have to get them ready for camp so the morning hustle remains the same.

And then I realized what it was.

It was March Break plus daylight savings that had me all messed up. I can handle one or the other but when you combine the two of them, then things get out of hand. I was never happier to see a Friday night than I was last Friday. I even slept in until 7:30am on Saturday. A 7:30am sleep in is huge for me, especially given I am up at 5am most mornings. The extra two and a half hours felt amazing.

And now that things are back to the regular schedule, I am even happier. I don’t get to sleep in during the week but my body will adapt even more now and hopefully I am not so tired anymore.

The snowstorm that wasn’t

Earlier this week, we were supposed to get hit with the mother of all snowstorms. If it wasn’t March Break, school would have been cancelled and all that jazz. It was supposed to be a really big deal.

And then it wasn’t.

The temperatures got crazy, the winds picked up, and the snow and ice came down but it wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone expected it to be, not that I mind, mind you. There were places that got way more snow and had things way worse than we did so this is in no way me complaining about not getting as much snow as we were told were going to get.

For us, it wasn’t so bad. I mean snow in March isn’t a fun thing and I would have been happier if there was no snow at all but given how little snow we had this winter, having a bit extra towards the end of the season wasn’t as catastrophic as I expected it to be. It’s winter and there’s snow. It happens. I remember one year it happened in April. I mean, an Easter egg hunt in snow pants and winter coats isn’t fun but it’s not unheard of.

Hopefully this is the last of it. This last bit of snow has me impatiently awaiting the arrival of spring.

More than they will ever know

The boys and I were watching TV. I can’t remember exactly what we were watching so it was probably a ridiculous cartoon or maybe it was MacGyver or maybe it was some sort of cooking show, that’s not the important bit. The important bit was we were all watching and having little side conversations as we went along, you know.

So on comes a commercial and it has Ashley Graham* in it. I think she is just really pretty and tend to say things like that out loud and this is what happened.

Me: “She’s just so pretty”.

Maks: “Who?”

Me: “The lady on the commercial. Her name is Ashley and I think she is just so pretty.”

Maks: “You are so weird, mommy.”

Me: “Why? I can think people are pretty.”

Maks: “I know that! But you never always miss the point.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Maks: “You’re really pretty too but you never say you’re really pretty. You always say other people are pretty but you are just as pretty as that lady on TV.”

Mats: “Yeah mommy, you are pretty like that lady. You just never say so.”

And as quickly as it started, the conversation ended and they moved on to using paperclips to save the world or something equally as random but they totally changed my night.

I may not always believe I am pretty but I know for sure that I have the most awesome boys.

*if you don’t know who she is, google her.

The “Talk” or lack thereof

According to the radio this morning, around six years old is when you start having the “talk” with your child. Apparently six is the age when all the questions start and so for most parents they are forced to start talking to their child about their bodies and the changes they can expect.

This was all news to me. I have yet to have the talk with either of my boys and Maks is almost ten. Neither of them have approached me about the topic and because I am the biggest prude known to man; I haven’t brought it to their attention either. There are times when, in passing, they will talk about getting chest hair or something similar but there has been no real discussion about puberty, body changes or anything along those lines. I know the school curriculum has already started touching on some of the topics but I think as valuable as sex education is in school, I should be part of the discussion with them as well.

I am wondering if I should have the talk with the boys, just pick a day and time and have little conversations with them. To be perfectly honest, I am not terrified of having the talk. I am a scientist by nature and I can talk about the biological changes with no issues. I just haven’t really bothered with it because they don’t seem interested in it and I don’t want them to just ignore me because they really don’t want to talk about it.

The rational part of my brain knows that talking about it with them before they start talking to their friends is a good thing. I can make sure they have the information they need before the speculation from their friends starts filling their heads with nonsense but getting started is the hard part.

Game Plan for March

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter. Nothing is exempt from my decluttering plan. I intend to go room by room and get rid of all the things I have been holding onto that I don’t need or have a use for anymore.
  • Attend at least one work out class this month. I can’t go to classes during the week so I need to find a way to get some exercise in on the weekend. In a perfect world, I would be able to attend lane swims while Maks is at judo but I am not sure that would be possible even though in my head it’s a perfect plan.
  • Start eating better again. I was doing really well and then I went to Trinidad and fell off hard. So I need to get back on even though I have no real motivation to do so. You know, other than weight loss and feeling better about myself but sometimes that just doesn’t feel like enough.
  • Survive March Break. The boys will be in camp. I just need to find a camp. And register them. Before March Break.

Preparing for disappointment

I love to cook.  I love to bake.  I like trying new things.  Sometimes they work.  Sometimes they fail but I try.  As time has gone on, my dishes are getter bigger and harder and I am proud of myself for accomplishing trickier dishes.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to make wonderful things.  There are times when it can be overwhelming because I put so much pressure on myself but I put my head down and just try my level best.

From me all this cooking has emerged these traditions, I never foresaw.  People come by when there are big food events like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They ask me to make things and bring it over to them.  They come and they eat and for the most part they really like the food I have made.  Most times when I make something new I am afraid to try it because I am more critical on myself than anyone else so I wait until other people have tried it before I do.  Overall, most people seem to like what I make and that makes me happy.  Having my food appreciated gives me some sort of purpose, as ridiculous as it sounds.  I am quiet, I like solitude, and the kitchen gives me an escape.  When things bother me, I cook something and the more things bother me the more I make and then things just magically get better.  The kitchen is my happy place and me making things people like brings me joy.  It is a weird kind of happy.

There is an exception to all this though.  My mother.  My mother does not eat what I cook.  She will order food or make something else and eat that even if I have prepared a large Christmas or Thanksgiving meal, she will not eat any of it.  She will give a variety of reasons why she won’t eat it, but the bottom line is she just won’t eat it if I cook it.  It’s not as though this is a rule she applies to everyone, it not like she doesn’t eat from other people when she visits their home because she does.  In fact I remember this one time where she went over to my cousin’s house and her coming back talking about her good her lasagne was.  At that time I had been making lasagne for years and for years she refused to try it.  She said it was nothing she wanted to try but my cousin made it so she ate it and it was really good.  To this day, she still has not eaten my lasagne.

I find her refusing to even try the things I make mean and hurtful and after all these years I really should be used to it but I am not.  I can’t figure out why she won’t eat the things I make whether she doesn’t think I can cook well, whether she doesn’t want to encourage a useless pastime, or what.  Whatever the reason happens to be I can wager my first born my mother will not eat any of my spread at Christmas.  I am making a lot of food for Christmas.  I am looking forward to doing it.  I have it all planned out in my head and I am really excited.  I can’t wait for it all to come together.  All that being said, I know once all the food is laid out, my mother will not eat it.  She will say it is because she has already eaten, or she just wants salad or she isn’t feeling for anything I have made or she just doesn’t eat those types of things.  Whatever the reason, she will not be one of the people eating what I have made.  The kicker to all this is if someone comes out to her and says how much they like something I have made.  She will add to the praise even though she hasn’t ever tried any of it.  One time on Facebook someone said how yummy my food looked and she jumped all on over it, saying how good it looked too and it was making her mouth water.  The funny thing is if she was there, she wouldn’t have eaten it.  Her comments were just because someone else had said it first.

If you know me in real life you know my mother and I don’t have the best relationship.  Most times things are tense between us so getting praise from her is few and far between.  She will not go out of her way to say I am good at something unless someone says it first and then it depends on whether she respects the opinion of the person.  And even then there will be a criticism attached to the praise something like “it tastes good but it is too sweet” or “it tastes good but next time do something differently”.  And if there isn’t a criticism directly attached to it, she will just make the dish later in the week so I can see just how well she can make it.  I can’t win.  No matter what I make, it won’t be good enough for her to try.

Now that I have finally gotten all this off my chest, maybe this year will be different.  Maybe she will see how hard I work on the food and actually try some of the things I make.  You never know it could happen but I won’t be holding my breath.

My Bah Humbug List

It’s the holiday season.  For me it is Christmas time.  For others it might be Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or something else or nothing else but without getting too complicated, it is the time of year people try to get festive about something.  It could be the birth of a deity or it could be awesome sales at your favourite store.  Whatever the reason, there it a festive feeling being tossed around and cheesy traditions being carried out every day.

For the most part I am all about cheesy traditions.  Let’s do things and make some memories people!  But not everything I encounter makes me happy.  In fact there are some things about the holiday season that really bother me.  (I can’t remember if I made one of these lists in the years past but if I did, I am sure something had to have changed from then to now.  Right?)

  1. The movie Elf – so many people love this movie.  It is on repeat on just about every station leading up to Christmas.  You can’t turn on the TV without seeing Elf somewhere because so many people love it and find it wildly hilarious.  I don’t find it funny at all.  In fact, I find Elf really sad.  It reminds me of how hard it is to move from one country to the next.  Elf is a movie that reminds me of how awkward I felt as a new immigrant trying to understand other people’s customs, food, and beliefs.  And having people laugh at his confusion and awkwardness really hurts my heart.  I just can’t watch Elf because I don’t feel it is really a Christmas movie.  It is more about making fun of differences rather than celebrating them and I just can’t support a movie like that.
  2. Egg Nog – I don’t get it. Not sure I ever will.  Most likely you’ve heard this rant before but my thoughts on egg nog will probably never change.  Is it supposed to be a throwback to Rocky only you added in some cream and rum to be festive?  I can’t understand people, I just don’t.
  3. The self-induced inferiority complex – I see you pintrest for this one. Have you seen what the cookies on pintrest look like??  They make you think you can do replicate them no problem and then you try and you know what happens?  You end up with green frosting on your elbows and cookies that resemble Yoda more than they resemble a cookie.  You end up sitting in your kitchen what the hell happened because you were pretty sure you were in control of the whole situation the entire time.  Well guess what, you weren’t.  I mean, I give you points for trying and you should be laughing at the Yoda cookies but if you aren’t you shouldn’t feel bad about it.  Being imperfect is what makes your cookies great.  Your kids will eat them either way and licking icing off your elbows can be the new tradition.  Whatever floats your boat.
  4. Awkward gift exchanges – do you give your boss a gift? And if you do, what do you give him and how much do you spend?  What if you don’t give him a gift and he gives you a gift, what happens then?  Do you run out a get a stand by gift?  What about your assistant, the mailman or your next door neighbour?  Who do you buy for and what do you do if they get you something and you have nothing to give back?  The pressure to find gifts for these people is crazy.  It is some stressful stuff and I just don’t want to deal with it sometimes.  Knowing what to get and then trying to figure out how much to spend.  It is just too much. *cue running around screaming here*

Other than all of those, it’s a great time to be festive.

Life in bullet points

Sheesh things have been busy and not busy and hectic and not hectic.  I’ve been busy and lazy and then busy and lazy some more.  With all the stuff going on blogging just falls lower and lower on the list of things to do.  Blog stuff happens and I say I am going to blog about it and then real life happens and I have to push off the blog post to another day and when I actually have time to write it then it really doesn’t apply to my life anymore so I decide not to write it because it won’t convey the emotion I want it to convey.

So this is my attempt to catch up on a month’s worth of happenings in a short post.  Most of it is relevant to things going on right now but a couple may have passed by already but were a pretty big deal.

·         Mats lost his first tooth.  It was one of those teeth where it just popped out of his mouth while he was at school, no coaxing required.  There was no need to tie a piece of string around his tooth and slam a door or anything crazy.  There was no real drama associated with him losing his tooth which I am happy about.  The tooth fairy showed up like she was supposed to and he was happy and so was I.  Sometimes losing you first tooth can be traumatic and other times it is easy.  This was an easy one.

·         Maks participated in his first judo tournament.  He came in second in his weight division.  Now there were only two kids in his weight division so they were both guaranteed trophies but he still walked away with something and that was huge.  He was nervous at first but as the fights progressed he got more confident.  All in all this was a good learning experience for him.  He says he wants to do more tournaments because he thinks he will do better next time.  And that’s exactly what I am going to do for as long as he wants to.

·         Cold weather is upon us.  We have had our first polar vortex of the winter and about 25 cms of snow (spread over two different snow storms).  I remember now just how much I dislike shoveling snow and it’s only mid-December.  It’s not going to be an easy winter like last year.  Things are cold and they are probably going to stay that way for a long time which really sucks for me.

·         Keeping in the theme of cold weather; we have started our cold weather activities a lot sooner this year than in previous years.  We have already been sledding already and only experienced a few sledding related accidents; the sled broke while Maks was barrelling down the hill, and both boys were taken out (by the same kid) as they were hustling to get out of the way at the bottom of the hill and Millhouse fell down the hill trying to save the boys from getting wiped out (by the above mentioned kid) but other than all those things, we survived.  And only after just an hour and a half outdoors.  Heaven knows what will happen when we spend an entire day outdoors.  Next on our list of winter things to tackle is skating.  A friend of ours had some spare skates so I have skates now which means I will be going on the ice with the boys and Millhouse this year.  Pray for me.  Like seriously, say a prayer I don’t break something or fall and bruise my tailbone or anything.  I haven’t skated since I was 16 and at my best, I wasn’t particularly good at it and at my worst I was pitifully horrible.  So yikes, I am going to give it another go so I can at least say I have gone skating with the boys.

·         It’s almost Christmas and we are pretty much ready.  The tree is up and the house is mostly decorated.  Our nativity scene is MIA somewhere in the garage so this year we will just have to go without one.  For the most part we have presents for everyone and the majority of them are wrapped (woo to the freaking hoo!).  For us this level of prep is some kind of miracle.  Normally by now Millhouse and I are scrabbling trying to decorate or get things wrapped for people or remembering last minute gifts we need to pick up.  But I am pretty certain that is not happening this year (fingers and toes crossed).

And that brings you to now.

I am not promising to blog more but I will definitely try.  I am off for a week so maybe I can actually get some writing done.  Again, no promises.