"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's the Little Things

Everyone knows it's the little things in life that can make a difference. Here are a few of the ones that my friends, family and complete strangers have taught me.

  • My sister-in-law taught me to warm the milk for my coffee first so that it doesn't get cold as quickly even after you have left it to change a diaper, pour a bowl of Cheerios or let the dog in for the seventh time.

  • My father taught me to always be nice to the receptionist or secretary. They are the ones who hold the real power to get you in to see someone.

  • My grandfather, who co-wrote the Canada food guide, taught me that cake for breakfast is never wrong.

  • All my roommates over six years of boarding school and three of university taught me that you should never go to bed angry. You never know what you might wake up to.

  • My mother taught me to ask myself during an argument, "Is it going to change the world?"

  • My high school French teacher taught me to go with the first answer you think of if you really aren't sure, usually it is the right one.

  • Every flight attendant who told me to put on my oxygen mask before the putting them on my kids taught me to make sure I have taken care of myself so that I am able to be there for them.

  • My grandmother taught me that every teenager needs one person (doesn't matter who) other than a parent that they can to talk to about anything.

  • My husband taught me that Nice Guys can finish first.

  • My children teach me everyday that no matter how much your siblings drive you crazy you could never live without them.

What are the little things that you have learned that make a difference in your life?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Painting Myself into a Corner

I have to get ready for eight 7 year olds coming over for Number Three Son's birthday party tonight. It was supposed to be an outdoor movie night with the screen hanging from the play set and the boys bringing their sleeping bags and staying up until after dark. We were going to BBQ, swim and hang in the backyard but the weather has turned and although it has stopped raining it is only supposed to be 12C (whatever that is in Fahrenheit, it is too cold to sit around on the ground) So Plan B is take them to the theatre to see UP, not my favourite kind of party but I don't think we have a choice.

Not in a great place right now as a mother or even as a human being. I have lost my way now that all three boys are in school full time. Number Three Son made the transition from Kindergarten to Grade One with ease, as did all the boys when we moved out of the city to our new small town home almost two years ago. My Other Half made the transition from jet-setting marketing executive to small business-owner, working from home with no apparent problem (or at least not too many)

Me? Well let's just say, I am a work in progress like so many. I can't say I am a teacher anymore because I have been out of the classroom since Number One was born 11 years ago. I help out with the business but that is his dream not mine and I can't say I am a writer because all I am writing are grocery lists and this blog and in my mind it doesn't count until someone pays me to write and it is printed on paper. Of course blogging has been a great way to get the creative juices flowing again but it is too isolating for me, I need people to talk to not just people on line (no offense, I love reading everyone's posts and the comments). I keep waiting for lightning to strike me with some brilliant idea of what I should do but I have a feeling it could be a long wait. In the meantime I have to figure it out or my family is going to suffer. A happy mother makes for a happy family and right now I am not happy as a mother or in general.

The life of a SAMH or WAHM is betwixt and between. You feel guilty that you are not contributing to society as a paid member of the workforce and you feel guilty for feeling like you aren't doing enough for your family because you are supposed to have all this time. People wonder what I do all day and I can't even come up with a reasonable answer. What do I do all day? Everything I do - from voluntering at the school, to the laundry to planting a vegetable garden and composting is in the hopes of raising well-educated, clean-cut, green-aware, responsible members of society. But what if they end as computer-obsessed, socially-challenged boy/men still living at home. Or worse - high-powered, money-grubbing corporate-types who never call their mother?

I'm sorry this post is all over the place, much like me right now, but I know that so many of you out there have felt the same way. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Please Card Me

Since it is pouring rain this morning I didn't get out to take the promised photos of all the gorgeous lilacs. So no Wordless Wednesday. Instead I was inspired by Harried Mom of Four's hilarious story about being stopped for drinking and walking in her small town. Apparently the group of three couple in their mid-thirties were mistaken by a "baby-faced" police officer for teenage hooligans when they were stopped and asked if they had been drinking. Of course they had been drinking, they are the parents of young children out on a Friday night without the aforementioned children. Harried, for a moment, panicked because she didn't have any ID in her purse. (Un)fortunately the police officer did not ask for their ID's once he had called for back up and took a closer look.

So I suggest that to make every woman over a certain age feel young again we start a "Please Card Me" Campaign. Up here in our liquor & beer stores they have signs posted like this one.

I propose, in the interests of making the world a much happier place by making women over 30 much happier, the policy should be "If you look over 30, we'll pretend you don't and card you."

Think of how good you would feel if after stocking up on your Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay some young whippersnapper behind the counter asked you to pull out that awful driver's license photo to prove you were born before (gasp) 1988 (for those of you south of the border) or 1990 (for those of us north, except you lucky things in Quebec where you would only have to be born in 1991 to be legal) Then upon showing of the appropriate ID the YWS (young whipper snapper) would then say, "OMG, you can't be that old. You're way too hip and cool."
Economic meltdown, global warming, phone call from the principal? Who cares, I just got carded!

Warning - just make sure that when you start to go through your purse to get the ID out that you don't start piling the counter up with bottles of Oil of Olay anti-aging cream, french fry-encrusted Happy Meal toys or coupons for half off sensible shoes. That would ruin the entire effect.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Like, totally random

Day five of meditating morning and afternoon and I think that the morning time especially is making a difference. I'm not ready to declare myself a "Morning Person" or anything crazy like that but it is making getting up a little easier.

I admit it, I watched the season premiere of "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" last night. After seeing all the magazine covers in the store yesterday, how could I not? Those poor kids. Now, even if they wanted to go back to being normal, their normal will always be being sextuplets, until they are old enough to go out individually they can't help but be noticed, that and their mother dresses them in matching outfits. I don't know whose fault all the publicity is but it is a good reason to put an end to "reality" shows.

The lilacs are out, I will try to take a photo of one section along the road where there are literally hundreds of bushes. They were planted over 100 years ago by the train station master's wife in her effort to bring a little beauty into what must have been a very hard and lonely existence way up here. What a wonderful legacy she gave us.

Soccer is on again - four nights a week for us. I just wish it would warm up a little more so I didn't have to wear a coat to watch the games.

34 days until the boys head off to camp, time to get ironing on those name tags. Wonder where I put away the iron last year?

The other day in the car Number Two Son tattled on Number Three for using the "B" word. When I asked for some clarification he replied,

"You know the word for girls' privates."

"What word?" I asked, somewhat perplexed.

"You know, that word."

I turned to my 16 year old niece to see if she knew what the word was. We were both confused.

The "B" word for girls' privates?

Oh right, that would be "bigina"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maybe I should Meditate on It

Braja over at Lost and Found in India has an inspiring (of course) post about sleep and mornings. I am not a morning person, never have been, although I love the whole concept. I married a very early morning person and gave birth to two of three of them. Number Two Son is the only one like me, he craves sleep as much as he does candy. Me, I crave it as much as I do, well, more sleep.

I know that right now while things are challenging around our house with work and parenting, sleep is my refuge. Not that I am able to sleep in past 7am but even after a solid 8 hours I am still groggy and headachey in the morning. It should be easier now, it is light outside and summer has finally arrived. We sleep with all our windows open so I am woken by a symphony of birdsongs, as well as a few honks from the geese on the millpond.

But something is definately out of whack, I am dead tired by 4pm and all I can think about, other than a glass of wine, is crawling back into bed again. I think I need to start to meditate again. I learned to meditate about 12 years ago when my Mum and I took a Transcendental Meditation course. I followed the schedule religiously for about a year, meditating 20 minutes as soon as I woke up and 20 minutes in the afternoon after school. But then babies and life got in the way and I fell out of the routine. I would still do it every once in a while but mostly in response to some sort of crisis or problem. It wasn't a part of my every day life which is what it is supposed to be to really make a difference.

A friend of mine who has meditated her whole life learned to do it as a child after her parents started, they continued TM their whole lives, even her father who was a very sucessful businessman and university professor would close his office door every day at 4 o'clock so no one would bother him while he meditated. My Number Two son was introduced to a form of meditation by his grade two teacher who would have the whole class sit cross-legged in the classic pose with their arms on their knees and thumbs and fingers together. It seemed to work for her, the whole class would calm down and she believed they became more focused after even five minutes. It is used by schools and corporations to relieve stress and some believe it even increases productivity, instead of offering a nap time to employees they are allowed to close their doors and meditate for 20 minutes in the afternoon.

So I think I have answered my own question. There was a question in all of this rambling wasn't there? How do I get my life back in balance, back under control? First I have to take care of myself and to do that I am going to start with meditating in the mornings. I can wake up 20 minutes earlier to sit quietly, clear my mind and let myself prepare for the day. I have to because the way I do it now is not working. The rush to get up, make lunches, check agendas, make breakfast, referee the fights and get everyone out the door dressed somewhat appropriately is crazy every morning and there are still 5 more weeks until they go to camp.

And if I can find another twenty minutes before the kids fall over one another through the door yelling,

"Mum, Mum, I'm hungry."

"Can I go to Jack's house? Can Jack come over here?"

"Can we go swimming?"

"I'm hungry. What's there to eat?"

"I need to do a project on the Mayans for tomorrow."

"Can you sponsor me for the Jump-a-thon?"

"Can I go on the computer?"

"I'm hungry. There's nothing good in the fridge."

And so on and so on and so on ...

So if you need me around 2:40pm EDT today, I'll be in a comfy chair with my eyes closed, clearing my mind of the din of family life, of work details and deadlines. Just for 20 minutes and then I promise to figure out what's for dinner, why the Mayans are extinct, where the bank statement is and why your brother just hit you when you didn't do anything to him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Take it Outside

As some of you may know, it was a long weekend up here in the Great White North and although there wasn't any snow as the weatherman threatened, it was pretty damn cold and windy. But the sun shone and we went for a hike on part of the Bruce Trail that we had never been to before.

This is Devil's Monument, one of the sea stacks found along Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Because of the temperatures there weren't many people out and it was gorgeous. It never ceases to amaze me how much the coast of the Bay can seem so much like being on the ocean.

The water is the colour of the Mediterranean (just not the temperature)

Building an Inukshuk

Waking up the salamanders from their long winter's sleep

Number Two Son and his mother

Little devils at bottom of of their Monument

Too Tired to Write

I need a holiday to recover from the long weekend.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Keyboard Nees New Battries

Will post asson as I find soe in the junk drawer:(

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This is my most favourite place in the world, even if there isn't a pot of gold.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If it's Tuesday, it must be random ...

  • Yesterday I did four loads of laundry which included counting boxers as a result of reading Sane Without Drugs post suggesting that all mothers should do an undie count to aid in their son's personal hygiene. Her count came in at one, count 'em, one pair for the week. Mine was 14 which even if divided by three boys over 4 days is high.
  • We have bats getting into our chimney which then squeeze through the closed flue, pop open the glass doors and come upstairs into our bedroom where they wake us up with the echo location squeaks at around 4:30am.
  • I need to go up to the barn to get manure for the garden and as much as I love my horse I am not looking forward to loading his poop into the back of my Suburban.

  • I have something in common with British food babe, Nigella Lawson. She is quoted as saying, "My own children won't eat my food. If it's not plastic or out of a box, then they are not interested."

  • Apparently "Eau de Dead Seagull" is a canine aphrodisiac. Last night our dog went crazy chasing a lovely yellow lab around in circles after she rolled in one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Well Balanced Diet Makes for a Happy Mother

Ah yes, Number Three Son knows me all too well.
Exhibit A: Page 3 of his Mother's Day booklet all about me.
I can't think of a more well balanced meal than "wine and salad and fish," can you?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yeah Me!

In the immortal words of London Tilton (you'll get it if your kids watch The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)

I finally did it - jumped to the next level of blogging and figured out how to imbed My Playlist. I love it, now there's music to go with my ramblings. It is just like making mixed tapes for friends back in high school ('cause blogging is nothing, if not high school, right?) I used to spent hours making the perfect "Mellow Mix" or "Road Trip Mix" or "Make Out Mix." Wait, that last one was my boyfriend's idea. Might have to dig around and find it and see if it still works.

When my mother sold our family home I rescued all my old cassettes and I kept telling myself that I would go through them, replace the music that was lost in translation from record to tape, tape to CD, CD to MP3.

Et voila! Enjoy this little mix that is nothing if not totally random.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This is what we call accessorizing in our house.

Can't quite make it out?

Here's a close up.

Still can't see Anakin?

He's third from the left.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Talking about the Blog in Real Life

Cindy over at Figs, Lavender & Cheese (one of my favourite blog names) wrote a post about getting together with some fellow bloggers in San Francisco and heading out to wine country for a little nature, food, wine and blog talk. The photos of their meals will make you salivate but the fun they had getting to know one another in Real Life just made me jealous. The comments people made about the post were telling and many echoed exactly how I feel about telling people in my RL about my blog.
One astute commenter said "It is often awkward to start a conversation- "this woman on this blog I read--" so I have started saying "this woman I know", hoping I don't hear "from where?" because the answer "online" sounds a little creepy."

That is so true. I read so many interesting blogs and very opinionated comments that it is hard not to repeat them in RL conversations. The first couple of times I made mention of my blog I mostly got, "Really, I don't even have the time to go on facebook." (That's a slam from another mother if I ever heard one.) Then I would get "Really, what is it about?" My explanation usually goes something along the lines of, "Well, it is my way of getting back into writing after an 11 year hiatus," or " It's a way to have contact with the outside world while sitting at my desk all day doing mundane things for our family business." You can just picture the glazed over look this provokes.

Why is it so hard to explain to the non-blogging world what it is like to wake up itching to see what late night rants Dr. Monkey Muck has written or what toils and tribulations One Glass at a Time has been through over the weekend or even what gorgeous photos of Paris Simply Photo has posted. Every day I add another to my Must Read list. I am disappointed when there isn't anything new to read. What's the deal? Did you have to go and make dinner or get to work on time or something?

I have to admit that I also rush in from running errands to see if I have any new comments on my most recent, and what I considered, most brilliant post. I make notes to myself all the time - while I wait to pick up the boys, while I am in the car (I pull over, usually) at night while I am reading or watching TV. My family has noticed all this but so far everyone seems to ignore it unless they see a photo of themselves on the screen and then you'd think they were famous, they get so excited. Don't want to break it to them that they are known only to 13 followers, one of whom is their great aunt.

I hesitated using the term "Real Life" in the title of this post since I consider what I write about to be very real and I am sure what I read is all too real for many bloggers. Just because it is online doesn't make it any less so. We're not having sex or gambling away our kids' university fund or drinking ourselves under the table. No, we just talk/write alot about doing those things. Why do we still consider things done online creepy? The bastion of middle-aged men who live in their parent's basements and play war games in their Stormtrooper Helmets.

This blogging thing is very hard to explain - the connections, the friendships. I did have one friend who was very interested and I told her all about the women who flew from across the continent to attend the funeral of another blogger's daughter. None of them, as far as I know, had ever met in RL. Or the outpouring of support, emotional and financial for Braja in India who was in a terrible car accident. The friendships are real, as are the connections and in this somewhat fragmented world where we may or may not live close to family that counts for alot. So I, for one, will continue to read about your children and spouses. I will feel better knowing that I am not the only one who loses it with either of the above and I will live vicariously through the bright young things who blog about fashion and style. I will continue to make notes on the fantastic recipes and drool over the food photos and be inspired by the elegant rooms in the many design blogs. It's a strange and wonderful world out there and even if I can't explain it very well it is a real part of my life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Date with five 9 year olds

Amy over at Bitchin' Wives Club did the best vblog about her Saturday night date with her nine year old son. Now, not that I am competitive and I know I am not quite up to doing a vlog but I can top her dinner and a movie with Captain Chaos. I did movie and dinner and sleepover with Number Two Son and four friends - on my own - at my father's house.

First off, I decided that holding the sleepover at my Dad's place was a good idea since a) he is still down south and b) Sons Number One and Three would stay at home with my Other Half.

So Number Two Son was thrilled with the plan, a sleepover at the Resort, as well call Dad's place complete with swimming pool, hot tub, basketball net, pool table and two big screen TV's (I commandeered one for myself to watch Before Sunrise) The gang met at our house and piled into the truck and I just drove and listened to the conversations between the five boys. Mostly they went like this:

"Have you got your iPod?"

"Yeah, iPods are sick."

"Put on I'm on a Boat."

"Yeah, that's sweet."

"Yeah, but my Mum hates the bleeps, so I downloaded the one without the bleeps and then she said it wasn't the bleeps she hated."

Me: "Right, I don't like the word the bleeps are covering, ergo I don't like hearing the bleeps."

"Put it on!"

"What movie are we going to?"

"Not Wolverine, my Mum said no."

"Wolverine's sick, I love it."

"It only came out today."

"Yeah, I know, it's sick."

That was pretty much the entire evening's conversation, kind of like being stuck on a hamster wheel with a bunch of boys trying to out do each other in cool factor. Of course, we didn't see Wolverine, we saw 17 Again and yes, I did have a cougar moment when Zac Efron took off his shirt, even though he is too skinny and pretty boy for my taste. And poor Matthew Perry, well let's just hope that the bags under his eyes were prosthetics.

After 4 large bags of uneaten popcorn, five large Cokes, "We can have Coke - with caffeine, my Mum said so!" Numerous trips to the washrooms. The worst thing about being a Mother of Boys as they get older - having to hover outside of the men's room glaring at every guy/potential pedophile who walks in.

We headed back to the Resort and the boys went straight into the hot tub and even the swimming pool which is not heated. I broke out the Pizza Pops, Cheetos, Doritos and Root Beer.

Outside the conversation continued along these lines:

"I'm the first one in!"

"I've got shrinkage!"

"That's sick."

"Me too."

"No you don't."

"Yes, I do."

First off, do they even know what shrinkage is? Second, only 9 year olds can turn it into a competition, as in who's got the most shrinkage.

After they dried off and barely touched the junk food fest I had so lovingly prepared for them, they cranked up the iPod and had a dance party (who knew 9 year olds boys loved to dance?) After shakin' their booty and doing "the Michael Jackson" which consists of dancing while grabbing their crotches (perhaps due to shrinkage), they took their Sleepover Survival Kits, ie. more junk and headed up to play pool and watch The Hulk. I took my kit, ie. a bottle of Pinot Grigio and my movie and headed to the opposite end of the house.

The Hulk didn't keep them enthralled for long so they switched to Yes Man. And while I had checked out Wolverine on Common Sense Media, I did not look up Yes Man. Here, from the review, is what I missed:

Sex: Kissing (some chaste, some fairly passionate); a man shows off his backside while wearing a hospital gown. An elderly woman propositions a much younger man and pleasures him orally; she takes off her dentures, and then the man's face is shown on camera morphing from overwhelmed to shocked to ecstatic

You can imagine the conversation after that.

And so the evening continued. At 12:30am I turned off the TV, put away the pool cues and told them they could talk quietly.

at 1am I went back in to put away the billiard balls.

at 1:30am I separated their sleeping bags, they looked like a litter of puppies and kept farting in each others' faces (which apparently isn't sick.)

at 2am I threatened to put them in separate rooms

at 2:30am I threatened to make my son sleep with me

at 3am I threatened to drive them all home

at 3:30am I yelled loudly from my bed

at 6:30am, I heard the click of the billiard balls

at 7am I got up to put the Eggos in the toaster

at 7:30am I collected all the wet towels on the way to the hot tub

at 8:30am I asked the boys to pick up their stuff

at 9am I picked up their stuff

at 9:30 am I drove them home

at 8:30pm I went to bed

Number Three Son's birthday is in 26 days.
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