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.

Two weeks in

The boys have survived the first two *full* weeks of school.  There were no long weekend or teacher prep days in there and they had to deal with getting back into the swing of things feet first.  Our prep for going back to school didn’t work out as planned and the boys went back in a rush rather than a slow peaceful transition.  And even though I could beat myself up over that, I choose not to.  Yes, I did admonish my timing a bit but “oh well”.  It happens and they survived.  Life goes on.

The first two weeks have been different for each child.  I now know how differently my children actually are from one another and I knew not to expect Mats’ experience to be anything like Maks’ experience was.  They are just that different.

Mats first couple weeks were nowhere as traumatic as Maks were when he started grade one.  Mats’ has been going to this school for two years now, he knows where things are and he knows the staff in the office.  Even though he is the more introverted of the two boys, he is very comfortable in his surroundings and that makes a big difference.  Mats’ also has (what I like to call) “hand me down” teachers.  Both his English and his French teacher have taught Maks before so when they saw Mats name they recognized him as the little brother.  Mats’ English teacher is the summer school teacher that helped Maks master reading.  From what I remember of her, she is very patient and willing to help.  Mats’ French teacher is Maks’ grade two French teacher.  She is quiet and reserved but spends a lot of time helping the children understand what they are doing rather than just having them complete tasks.  When you are just starting to learn a brand new language this is important.  So far Mats’ only complaint is that he has way more homework now than he did in kindergarten.  And if that is the only complaint, I am good with that.

Maks’ first couple of weeks has been similar to this brother.  He thought he was getting teachers that he had had before but it turns out there are two teachers with the same name teaching the same grade (talk about confusing!) and he ended up with the teacher he didn’t know.  He is in a split class so he is getting some insight into what the older kids are doing and what will be expected of him next year.  I think this is a good thing, him not so much.  He really likes his English teacher.  She is very modern and doesn’t believe in homework so they will not be getting daily homework this year.  They will get major projects but no tasks to complete at home on a regular basis.  She created a group text and she sends out updates to the parents via group messaging.  It is interesting.  I am not used to having this much information on his daily activities but I do like that she has the parents involved.

So far neither has had any major disasters and they seem to be adjusting to things with relative ease.  Hopefully the rest of the year stays just like this.

Implant in

So I have officially had my implant implanted.  It’s be doing its implant stuff in me for a week now.  The procedure to get the implant into me turned out to be a lot more complicated than I first understood it to be.  I thought they were just going to find the right spot and stick it in.  Turns out there was more to it than that.  I had to get my uterus scrapped out and then she did a biopsy on a part of my small cyst.  She didn’t touch the hemorrhaging cyst because she wasn’t sure how much it would bleed if she tried to take a portion of it.  And then she found the right spot and jammed in the implant as far as it would go.  All while I was awake and feeling every damn thing she was doing.  None of what she was doing was pleasant and I thought I could be brave and not request the pill to calm me down but I should have.  Even with the pain killers, I still felt everything and it hurt more than I thought it would.  She showed me the part of the cyst afterwards.  It was the size of a loonie all the way around.  It filled up the jar she transferred it to.  I know a loonie doesn’t sound that impressive but actually seeing it and seeing that it was big enough to hold.  I felt really woozy and had the worst headache after the procedure, which I didn’t expect.  There was some fantastic bleeding and cramping after as well but I did expect that so I had prepared myself to deal with it.  All of the physical side effects went away within the first couple of days.  Even the bleeding and cramping stopped.  I thought they would have lasted longer.  According to the doctor the bleeding and cramping could last as long as three months and given my track record of abnormal bleeding, I really thought that would apply to me but it turns out it didn’t.  Hopefully they stay away.

It is weird I feel like I am going through some sort of obstacle course, slowly defeating side effects as they raise up to oppose me.  Or it could be I have been watching too much American ninja warrior.  Whatever it is, I am feeling like I am going through the labyrinth waiting to face the minotaur.  I have made it through the physical side effects now it is time for me to battle* through the next set of side effects.

Right now it feels like I am going through all the emotional and hormonal side effects.  I can never be sure of these things though.  I make the assumptions based on what the doctor told me to expect and compartmentalize because that is what I do.  If these are the hormonal side effects, these ones are harder than the physical side effects.  With the physical side effects I can take pain killers if the cramps are too bad or I can take Advil if my head hurts too much.  There is nothing I can take if the radio commercial makes me cry.  There is no magic pill you can take to stave off hormonal eating binges.  It feels like the week before my period where I am not quite myself and I need to ride through curled in a ball crying at P & G commercials while eating Costco sized bags of all dressed chips.  I am not sure how long it will last but if it lasts more than a week that won’t be good.  My family has been conditioned to deal with my crazy for only a week or so at a time.  Anything longer may drive us all up the wall.**

The whole purpose of the implant was to introduce a new kind of concoction into my system so my body thinks I am going through menopause but that means I will feel like I am going through menopause complete with mood swings and cravings.  It could take up to six weeks for my body to get used to be in menopause and until it gets used to it the emotional and hormonal side effects will be sticking around.

My cycle is supposed to restart in a couple of weeks, if it follows the pattern it has always followed, all this emotional stuff will be over in the next couple of days.  If it doesn’t then it will be interesting to see what happens next.  It’s not all negative though, I only have to go through this once.  Once everything settles down, I should be set for the next five years, no more worrying about fibroids, cysts or a warped uterus.  I might finally go back to normal.

And that will be nice.

*slightly dramatic on my part, I know, but in my head it seems like that is the right word.

** again, slightly overdramatic but an accurate description of what we are capable of dealing with and what may potentially happen if we exceed what we are capable of bearing.

How I’m Feeling

Given how much my health dictated my life over the last year, I figure I should give you an update on what is going on with me.  There was so much going on that I have to break things out into body parts because there is just that much.

My thyroid.

My thyroid is dead.  It won’t be coming back but I am learning how to deal with having to take synthetic hormones to make my body work.  For almost a year I have been learning to adapt to having to take pills every day.  I don’t like pills so having to take them daily has taken some getting used to.  But I am used to it now and so is my body.  There are some bad days but they don’t come around as often as they used to.  To be completely forthcoming, I still get scared when I get sore throats.  My first reflect is to feel my neck and make sure that my thyroid is not swollen.  I know it is in my head but I still check every single time, just in case.

My stomach.

The treatment worked.  YAY!!  This was probably the scariest part of the past year.  It was the most serious and it was the one thing that the doctors wanted to treat most aggressively.  But the aggressive treatments worked.  It was weeks of feeling absolutely horrible but it was worth it because I am better and it won’t be coming back.  I can’t lose my mind and start eating all crazy though.  I still have to watch what I eat.  I won’t be able to eat beef whatsoever and very limited amounts of spicy or fried foods for the rest of my life but I will take bland food over being ill.

My lady bits.

And lastly, my lady bits.  So after loads and loads of internal ultrasounds it turns out that I have a lopsided warped uterus, six large fibroids, a bunch of little fibroids and hemorrhaging cysts in both ovaries.  The initial plan was a hysterectomy but I wasn’t feeling that option.  So after meeting with another specialist, there is a treatment plan on the horizon.  I am going to get a brand new kind of implant that is supposed to make the fibroids shrink.  So rather than removing everything, this treatment should shrink the large fibroids, make the small fibroids disappear and “expel” the cysts.  In a couple of weeks I have to take an allergy test to make sure I won’t react to the medicine in the implant.  If I don’t react to the medicine then I will have it implanted right into the front part of my uterus.  This will stay implanted until menopause to make sure that the fibroids don’t come back after the implant is removed.  The doctor has warned me that the implant will make me bleed and I will be uncomfortable for a bit as my body gets used to having a foreign object imbedded into it but then things will be better than they have been in a long time.

So that’s it.  You are now all up to date on what’s going on with my health.