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.

Prayer for March Break Camp

March Break is officially upon us. This year the boys are in camp for the week. The boys don’t always go to camp for March Break. In fact, this is Mats first year at a March Break camp. Maks has gone to camp a couple of times but I normally would have opted out of March Break camp. At my old job, I had so many holidays I would normally just take March Break off and forego the camp experience but with this new job I can’t do that just yet.

So it was off to camp they went. They were both super excited and nervous. Camp is a big deal and a bit overwhelming, especially for Mats. I wanted things to go well so I uttered a little prayer to universe as they left for camp. Now let the record show I am not overly religious. For the most part, I am bad at adhering to my religion. I believe the universe will give us what we put out but sometimes asking for some help isn’t a bad thing.

This morning I asked the fates and faeries to let them have fun, to let nervousness subside quickly, and to have the others kids see how awesome they are while they recognize how awesome the others kids are.

I know most likely all those things will happen anyway but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

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.

Over-enthusiastic parents

Holy camoley! Some parents just flabbergast me.

Like for real, FLABBERGAST!

The boy’s school was having a fundraiser for new gym equipment. It is an annual thing but this year the prizes were way better than they had been in previous years. This year the 10 kids who raised the most money would be getting brand new scooters.

This is a huge deal.

Last year the prizes were basketballs. Basketballs don’t get the same kind of response.

Both boys were buzzing about the possibility one or both of them would raise enough money to win a new scooter*. I swear they turned into bees and just went on and on about the scooters.

So the kids were given a week and the campaigning started.

For the first time ever, the boys decided to employ a strategy when it came to their campaigning. They decided to combine their efforts rather than splitting the money they collected. They decided (amongst themselves, for real, there was no nudging from me) to pool all the money they collected and put it towards Mat’s mission for a new scooter. In a week, they managed to get $60 and that is what Mat’s submitted to his teacher.

I think $60 is a fair amount given they only had a week to campaign and the pool of people we could hit up for donations was limited. I mean if each kid collected $60, the school could get a whole lot of new equipment.

But I guess I am an anomaly because $60 turned out to be on the low end of things. After the fundraiser winners were announced, the boys came home and were telling us about kids who brought in hundreds of dollars. Multiple hundreds of dollars in donations after a week of campaigning.

I was blown away. Either the other kids hit up some very generous people for donations or their parents helped them out. It turns out it was the parents. They topped up their kids donations so they would have multiple hundreds of dollars in donations and win a scooter.

That’s crazy.

You can get multiple scooters for that kind of money. Just go out and buy your kid a scooter if you are going to bust out your credit card for this kind of fundraiser. I get the big donations if you are passionate about new gym equipment but these parents just wanted their kids to win.

That I don’t get.

*Now it should be noted somewhere that both boys already have scooters and Maks really didn’t want a new scooter. He just wanted to win. Whereas, Mats does have a scooter but he has outgrown it and a having a new one would mean he could finally graduate from his baby scooter onto a big kid scooter. First world problems at their finest.

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.