10 Facts about Me

  1. Age:  This one is tricky. Is it my actual age? Or how old I feel today? Or how old I look?  If it’s calendar age I am around 36 or so. I don’t feel 36 though. Most mornings I feel 75, midday I feel like I am 23 again and late night I feel around 89.
  2. Hometown:  Toronto
  3. Children:  Yes, the two most amazing little boys in the world; Maks and Mats.
  4. Occupation:  I play around on excel spreadsheets all day long. Occasionally I will throw in Visio and PowerPoint but for the most part, I am about that spreadsheet life.
  5. Goal:  Again, tricky one. Does this mean my fitness goal? Or is it referring to my life goal? Or it is my emotional or spiritual goals?  My fitness goal is to lose some weight. I haven’t decided exactly how much I want to lose yet. I do know that I want to lose enough that I can feel good about myself again. My life goal is to eventually leave the spreadsheet life and start doing something I truly love. My emotional goal is to let go of hurt because it is preventing me from finding happiness.
  6. Weird Fact:  Given how weird I am in general this one is hard to pin down but if I had to pick just one, I would go with my fixation on charcoal mask videos. There is something oddly satisfying about watching the videos where the mask is peeled off and all the scabby bits are revealed on the mask. It sounds really gross when you think about it but there is just something I find almost hypnotic about those videos.
  7. Fave Meal:  I love food so picking just one is hard and I am not going to. My favourite Trinidadian meal is stew chicken and pelau. My favourite salad is the 16 ingredient slaw from Bent. My favourite dessert is sticky toffee pudding. All in all, if it has seafood in it, it is a guaranteed hit with me.
  8. Tattoos:  I have three currently but am planning on getting at least two more. I still have no idea when they will happen, but it will happen eventually.
  9. Pets:  Nope.
  10. Downfall:  Expecting to be treated the way I treat people. I am nice to people in general but people are generally not nice.  I see it but have a hard time walking away even though I should.

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.

Why I can’t have nice things

An alternative title to this was the mother trucking squirrel keeps stealing my ish.

So there’s this squirrel that hangs out by my front door.  He used to be an occasional visitor but now he is a regular fixture because my neighbours have decided to start feeding him roti.  Now every so often I find roti on my window sills, by my front door, in the flower pots and other random places.  For the most part, it didn’t bother me.  If they want to feed the squirrel roti, then they can feed the squirrel roti, it doesn’t really concern me.

Until now.

The squirrel has started getting involved in my ish thinking he can.  Case in point, the little trucker stole my goddamn mini pumpkin and mutilated my baby pumpkin.  Every year we have a collection of pumpkins that we put out; we have a mini pumpkin, a baby pumpkin, a medium pumpkin and big pumpkins.  This year the stupid squirrel stole the mini pumpkin!  It was there one night and the next morning it was gone.  I checked around the porch in case it fell off or rolled away and it is nowhere to be found.  I am not sure if he thought it was a big nut or what but he ran off with that ish like it was some sort of precious gem.  But what he did to the baby pumpkin was even worse.  It looks like he tried to pick it up and couldn’t so he decided to break off chunks of it and take it to wherever it is he goes.  There are these teeth marks and gorges all over the blasted pumpkin.  I am not sure if he tried anything with the big pumpkins but so far, I haven’t found any damage on them.

I was considering getting bales of hay for the front porch as well but I decided against it because I am pretty sure I would come home and either find them destroyed or find the squirrel nesting in it.  Either way hay is not happening.

But if that sucker gets into my Christmas lights there will be hell to pay!!

Best Friend Heartbreaks

Maks is going through something right now that would be hard for a lot of people but he is handling it like a champ.  It is something his teacher even called me about because she has seen how other kids react in his situation and she wanted to make sure he was OK.

Here is the back story.

Maks and his friend R have been best buddies since grade one.  They clicked right away and were inseparable for the past three years.  R made sure to show up to everything Maks was involved in and Maks does the same.  Going into this grade they were both fairly certain they were going to be split up.  They had been expecting it to happen every year prior but this was the year the classes split because there were just not enough teachers for the kids.*  If the teachers know you are really good friends with another kid they spilt you up so you are less distracted.  Maks was sure this would happen.  So he fretted all summer long, like big time, fret.  (He gets that from me)

On the first day of school, Maks was ready super early and wanted to head out the door right away because he needed to meet up with R and find out who is teacher would be as soon as possible.**  He waited by the gate and as soon as he saw R, he ran over to find out who is teacher would be.  He was so excited to see him, he ended up hanging with R and his family for about 10 minutes before he remembered we were there and came back to hang out with us.  R told him they were in the same class and all was right in the world again.  They could sit together again, they could be partners for their science projects again and they were both happy.  And pretty much that is what happened.

Fast forward to this week.

Tuesday was the reorganization day for the school.  The teachers and admin staff go over all the numbers and they figure out if the classes are too big and if any kids need to be moved.  It is based on class size and teacher availability.  The kids get told on the morning of the reorganization that they will be moving classes and they just gather up their things and leave for their new rooms.  It’s done really quickly to avoid long goodbyes and kids having a fit about changing classes.

R was one of the kids who ended up getting moved.

I think after all the anxiety of the summer, R getting moved during the reorg, totally blindsided Maks.  He had his mind made up they were going to end up being in the same class this year, no matter what.  And then the reorg happened and he fell apart.  And to make things even harder; since Maks is in a split class, his recess and lunch breaks are not with his grade.  They are with the grade above his and since R is going into a non-split class that means the boys won’t even see each other over their breaks.  This is a  complete separation for the rest of the year.

His teacher saw how upset Maks was and she gave him the option of going with R to his new room but Maks decided against it.  R’s new teacher is the same teacher they had in grade one and grade three.  The teacher who has consistently told Maks that French immersion is not for him.  And the teacher he consistently shows that he is more than capable of handling the curriculum.  He likes his teacher this year and he thinks he will learn more from her than he will from the teacher he has already had, so he said goodbye to his friend and stayed.  The decision to stay was probably the hardest part of the day for him and he felt guilty about it.  He felt like he was abandoning his friend by choosing to stay and getting over that feeling is a work in progress.

His new teacher knew how close the two of them were and she reached out to me to make sure Maks was OK after the reorg went down.  She knew how hard some kids take change and she wanted to make sure Maks was handling it OK.

And he has.  He’s not happy about the situation but he is trying his best to make it work.

*French immersion is a small component of their school curriculum and the higher the grade, the less teachers there are to teach the French immersion kids.  So they start sharing teachers with the grade above.

**this year the school called the day before school started and let you know who your child’s teacher would be.

I left the room for, like, 5 seconds

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I saw this post on Scary Mommy’s Instagram feed and it made me chuckle.  Back in the day, I would have all sorts of stories about how I left the room for like 2 seconds and then things would go awry; cupboards would get broken into, cups would spill, sticky things would get stuck to things they should never have touched.  It hasn’t happened in a long time and that’s why seeing that post me smile.  I am past this part of motherhood.  The boys are older now and they still get into things but it is not like it used to be.  I am getting better at predicting their behaviours.  So when they are about to do something wicked, I am ready.  I know what to do and most time I can cut them off at the pass.

Most of the time.

Last night, Mats totally threw me for a loop.  When it comes to my kids, Maks is the one that generally gets in trouble.  He has the stronger personality and when he decides he is going to do something, he goes off and does it.  He deals with the consequences later.  Mats isn’t like that.  He is the quieter of the two.  He may come up with ideas but he won’t act on it until he has thought about it for a long time and weighed the consequences.  He usually won’t act until he knows what exactly is going to happen and whether or not he wants to deal with the aftermath.

I am still not sure that what happened yesterday was a well thought out act.  I am pretty sure he just acted on impulse and I am not used to that from him.

Last night the boys and I were sitting on my bed.  It was couple of minutes until bedtime and I was finishing up clipping their nails as they watched Batman.  (The glamour just doesn’t stop I tell you.)  Everyone was getting along.  They were enthralled with their show and I was tidying up and getting ready for bed.  I swear I left the room for like five seconds and it happened.  Mats reached over and grabbed his bottle of water to take a drink.  He took a drink of water and this is where things get fuzzy.  I am not exactly sure what he is was thinking or what he was hoping to accomplish but he took his bottle of water and emptied the contents on Maks’ head as he sat watching Batman totally oblivious to what Mats was doing.  Maks’ screamed and jumped out of the bed as fast as he could.  He was soaked but the majority of the bed was alright.

Now this was one of those things where it would have been funny if it wasn’t my kid that did it.  Part of me wanted to laugh when I saw Maks head and he told me what happened because it was just so unexpected and to be completely honest, it was funny.  But I couldn’t cause these kids belong to me and I can’t have my 6 year old dousing this brother with water whenever his heart desires.  So in my best mommy voice I had to lay down the law.  For the act of water dousing Mats was sentenced to ten lines of “I will not pour water on Maks’ head” required immediately.  I wanted them neat, correctly spelt and completed in twenty minutes.  This would give Maks time to dry off and get into some new clothes for bed and it would give me some time to laugh in private.

So much for knowing my kids.