At the beginning of each year, I tip the scales at 175. That's normal for me since I love summer so much that over the winter I get depressed. I hate winter sports and loathe having to dress in layers even just to get the mail. I usually start with the comfort foods right after Thanksgiving dinner in October and the sloth/feeding frenzy doesn't end until Victoria Day. For me, winter is all about my Snuggie and my Nacho Cheese Doritos.
Then comes the thaw and I start thinking about dragonboating again. I look for all the shorts and tanks that I wore the season before and they never fit. I cry and cry, forgetting that I lose that weight every year. Sure enough every July, I fit in those summer clothes again but that can't be healthy either mentally or physically especially at my advanced age.
So this year I've vowed to try to stay fit over the winter. I have all these lofty ideas to keep exercising before work, even in the dreaded, hated winter. I'm a fair weather runner so that's out, and I won't ski (all those clothes and sticks attached to my feet? Not bloody likely) but I can just walk fast for an hour, layers and all, right? I mean marching around in shin high snow has got to get your heart going. Then all I have to do is get my eating under control. That'll be a hard one. I just started this new thing where I eat a little every 2 hours. I never thought I'd feel this way but yesterday I actually thought to myself: "Ugh. 2pm? I have to eat again? But I'm not even hungry." and choked down 2 pieces of la vache qui rit. This one may work. I feel like I never stop eating. I actually have to set an alarm to remind me.
So I'm blogging this to keep me honest. I want to stay at this svelte (for me) 160. I like it, I feel healthy and my "skinny" clothes fit. There's nothing sadder than getting my size 14 "winter jeans" out of storage just in time for Christmas. So wish me luck, folks.
kxx (the first photo was taken in March, the second was taken about 15 minutes ago)
I've been keeping an online blog for 4 years and judging from most of my posts, you'd think that nothing shitty has happened to me in that all time. Truth is, of course it has but I choose not to burden you all with it. Does it mean that my blog is a lie? No. Yes. Well, kinda. It's a lie by omission.
Do you really need to know about the discussion Scott and I had about the fact that our family budget doesn't allow for $1000 shoes? Why do you need to know about the time I completely freaked out on the kids and called them "fuckheads" loud enough for the neighbours to hear? I'm all right if you think my life is perfect. Like one hilarious episode after another of Cosby Show with a little Married With Children sprinkled in. But keep in mind what you read isn't completely true. Allow for my creative license in some situations so while the names haven't quite been changed, a lot of the situations have been to bring the funny. And the actual moments are safely kept in my memory where they can't get me into trouble. But consider yourselves lucky. You guys get all the knee slapping-ness, you lucky dogs.
If a 43 year old woman calling her father "Daddy" is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
My daddy turns over 70 today... I never remember the exact year but I think it's something like 1934 or '38. He's a great guy with a wicked sense of humour. At the same time he sometimes doesn't recognize sarcasm so we also spend a lot of time laughing at with him.
He came to Canada after proposing to my mother via Canada Post. When he arrived in Montreal in 1967 on a visitor's visa a few weeks later, he was given 6 weeks by the government to get married or get out of the country. They got hitched with just a few days to spare. I wondered for years why on earth they got married in November in Canada. They told me they literally didn't have a choice.
He still has a very thick West Indian accent and outdated West Indian ideas even after being here over 40 years. It makes for some great blog fodder. A couple of cases in point:
For the longest while he was the only one I knew named Errol besides my brother and Errol Flynn the actor. I've since met two others. Nice guys. Looking back, I kind of wish I'd named Elliott "Errol" but what's done is done.
He beat cancer too, you know. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year ago. They found it early and after 6 weeks of treatment, he's as right as rain and back to his crochety old self, driving everyone crazy. Just the way we like it.
So here's to my daddy. He's opinionated and not too worldly for his age but he makes up for it by being a sweetheart and knowing how to make the most potent rum punch you've ever tasted. Its secret? No juice except for the liquid in a jar of maraschino cherries. The stuff he makes will make you go blind. We spend a lot of New Years' Eves stumbling around in the dark. Some call it dancing, Dominicans call it "wining". We all call it a party. Happy Birthday Daddy!
1. What is your favourite Mexican dish? I'm okay with Chimichangas but I'm not crazy about Mexican food in general. I'm never a fan of restaurant food that tastes like I could make it at home. But do margaritas count as a dish? 'Cuz, I'm all over that...
2. When you were a kid, did you get started on your homework right away after school, or did you procrastinate? I was a procrastinator par excellence. I'd been known to do my homework on the bus on the way to school. Of course I try to teach my children to get it out of the way. Do as I say, not as I do (or did). 3. What is your favourite store for home furnishings? God help me I've never fallen out of love with Ikea.
4. When you were young, did you like school lunches? We never had school lunches until CEGEP and the food there was sublime. I still wish I could eat there again. In elementary school my mum would assault me with mock chicken sandwiches and Del Monte fruit cups. I still have nightmares of bread imprinted with metal can rings. UGH.
5. Is religion a crutch? It's not a crutch if it genuinely helps you through difficult times in your life. I'm often jealous of people who have that kind of faith. I ask too many dumb questions for religion to comfort me properly. But I do consider myself to be spiritual. 6. In your region, what is the "big" (most popular in the community) high school sport? Is there any other sport in Canada but Hockey? See how I capitalized it there? 7. Do you consider yourself rich? LOL! Are you high? But I'll tow the party line here and say I'm rich in family and love *puke* 8. Which of these would you have the best chance for success in administering: A) CPR B) Heimlich Maneuver C) Changing a flat tire
CPR but please God, don't test me on that... 9. Which dance would you prefer to learn & why: A) Salsa B) Hip Hop C) Waltz D) Swing Being Black I feel like I should know how to dance HipHop and it's practical since my partner wouldn't have to heave my carcass up over his shoulder at any point in the dance. 10. What's the worst news you've ever delivered to someone? One Friday last year, Scott gleefully told me he finally took that leave of absence from his job we'd been talking about for years. He wanted to enjoy a few months of doing whatever he wanted. Unfortunately, that day was the same I got laid off from my job. The hardest thing ever was telling him and seeing his face crumple as he realized he'd have to go back to work on Monday. I'll never forgive myself for that.
11. Name something you learned in college that had nothing to do with classes or academics. I learned how a newspaper gets put out and how a radio station works. I also learnt how to shotgun a beer. Very valuable information. 12. New variation on an old question: If there's a song in your head that just won't get out, what is your favourite (or most repeated) line in that song? I hear this song once and the whole thing is stuck in my head for hours. For that reason alone, I hate it with a fire that burns.
But if being musical only means being able to sing or play an instrument, then I am not musical. At all. Don't get me wrong, I can carry a tune and by that I mean if I hum or sing a couple of bars of something you can recognise the song. But that doesn't mean I'm going to obliviously and tone deafly sign up for the merciless mocking that is Canadian Idol.
I can play a bit of piano, though. And by that I mean I use a bit of my hand (as in one finger) to play both Twinkle Twinkle AND Mary Had a Little Lamb. I know, right?
If I could really play piano, I'd love to be able to play this. So gorgeous. To my untrained ear it sounds easy enough for me to play with my misshapen hoofs but deep down I know it's probably extremely difficult. It's a smidge more challenging than Chopsticks.
But my favourite instrument by far, is the cello. I love how it sounds like it needs a hug. I'd love to learn how to play it and I know exactly when my love for this instrument started. Lori Singer (Julie) from Fame. I know this little dream is completely impossible. You'd need years of training and super nimble fingers. At this point in my life arthritis doesn't seem too far off so playing the cello is totally out of the question. Nevertheless, I can still listen and from time to time give my mp3 a big fat squeeze.
I hate when people use my bath towel to dry their hands.
If I find even the tiniest damp spot when I go to use it, I'll take a new one.
I hate finding the cover of the toothbrush open.
We have one of those Oral-B electric toothbrushes with the shared heads. Scott sometimes doesn't close the top and it skeeves me out thinking that when you flush the toilet, piss-mist flies up and coats the brushes. YUCK.
I hate getting stuff stuck to my bare feet. Or sock feet. Or shoes.
Looks like I generally hate getting stuff stuck to my feet in general. This even goes for beach sand.
I hate waiting at the checkout.
I will walk miles all over a department store trying to find the shortest line. I will leave a line the second they pick up the phone for a price check. I've been known to buy milk, bread and clothes at the jewellry counter.
I hate forgetting people's names.
But that doesn't stop me from doing it. Well and often.
I hate when my email box is so full that the inbox is on more than one page.
It's just another thing that bugs me. Plus it formats weird on my iPod.
I hate when the Oreo filling is too hard or soft so the cookie doesn't come apart easily.
I will actually put the rest of the cookies I planned to eat back. You know what it's like when you look forward to something and it doesn't work out the way you planned.
I hate when the kids eat "my" stuff.
Yes, I hide food from them. They tend to unhinge their jaws and just drop food in without it even hitting the sides. Most foods are bought on Saturday and gone by Tuesday. So why on earth would they be allowed to "eat" my delicious, expensive treats?
My grumps will be over in a couple more days, promise. It's just that "female issue" rearing it's head. Again.
Here's an old blog telling you 10 things you didn't know about me. Back when it was originally published, I'd only been blogging a year so it was all new. You must know all this stuff by now since we've been together for years. Head's up, there's going to be a test...
Folks, I love running. Okay, it's more of a hauling of carcass but I'm loving it anyway. If you'd have told me that I'd feel this way even a month ago, I'd have pushed you down and called you a big fat liar.
I've run every weekday this month. Believe it or not I started because I read in an old diary entry that I used to do it before work. Funny thing is, I don't remember but if it's in my diary, it must be true. Also, I found a really cool app on my rapidly becoming indispensable iPod that helps you run to your music. There are different levels that you can follow and right now I've graduated to "Intermediate 1 - 43 minutes". You run for 8 minutes and walk for 3 for 43 minutes. It's made running easy and fun because who doesn't want to run when the song "Runnin'" by Doman and Gooding comes on?
I want to tell you about my route. One day I'll run off to the right (east) through the big park. The other day I'll go west to the sailing club. Both routes take me along the river and are stunning at sunrise. I see more people at the park but more animals at the sailing club.
Today was amazing. I went through the park and saw a lot of the people I see everyday:
the elderly couple that walks fast (so fast in fact that they stayed about 200m ahead of me the whole time I was running in their direction... told you I run slow)
the elderly couple that runs but the man runs ahead and shouts at encourages his wife to keep up
the man doing old school callisthenics
the bald man swimming in the river
the Indian man with the red baseball cap
the Arab woman with the pretty hijabs
the man with the lassie dog that runs with me for a bit (the dog, not the man)
the biker smoking a cigarette (?!)
the construction workers
Something interesting happened today, though. I realized that the callisthenics guy and the bald headed swimmer are the same guy and what's more (and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, here) he was wearing a skin tight, flesh coloured bathing suit with a dark seam up the back. Yup.
Animals were cool today. I saw:
countless squirrels and chipmunks
too many geese and shithawks seagulls
tons of chickadees and sparrows
3 (the most ever) blue herons
a great egret
brown and white shorebirds (I think they're plovers but I couldn't get close enough)
I got a rare gift today, too. When I was done running and was stretching on a bench. I saw a heron about 6 metres away. I walked slowly so I wouldn't scare it and sat on a rock to look at it. It stayed perfectly still and I had time so we hung out together. Suddenly it took 2 giant steps toward me and stretched out it's wings. Holy shit! How undignified to be pecked to death by a giant bird. And I'm not even wearing makeup. Then it stabbed its head into the water and pulled out a big juicy frog. So cool! I was proud that I got to witness that because it was like they were performing that little show just for me. Nothing like a little justifiable amphibianicide before breakfast. My breakfast, that is.
Wow, this post got long. See what happens when I have nearly 45 minutes to compose a blog in my head?
This place has everything. A gorgeous huge park with a lake and a river, a sailing club, and a smaller park with swings all within a 5 minute walk. Tons of bike paths and cross-country ski trails for the outdoorsy types. For the city folk, you can walk to the shopping mall and movie theatre. There's easy access to the highway and for families, there's a school so close I can hear the bell ring from my living room. Perfect.
The problem is that it's a moderately old neighbourhood (1960s/70s) with a very elderly population. In fact, most of the people that live on my street had their houses built for them and still live there. I've since found out this makes house flippers tent their fingers and laugh maniacally. I know this first hand because 3 times this year I've gotten my heart broken.
See, since we moved in 12 years ago, I've wanted some "cool kids" to move in. An energetic young couple with kids my own kids' ages. Maybe even a dog. The mother would stay home and we'd get together for tea in the mornings and vodka shots in the afternoons. Scott and the dad would talk about motorcycles and fix things. The kids would throw sticks with the dog and play road hockey together. We'd all be each others' bessie mates. This is my fantasy.
The reality is that when the elderly neighbours move on to greener pastures, the house is for sale for all of a day and swooped up by a cool couple. I always bring over a cake and get all excited about my potential new friends. Then the bulldozer rolls up. These houses are prime targets because the previous residents didn't renovate at any point so they have the original kitchens and baths. My new "friends" will stay for a few months putting in jacuzzi tubs and granite countertops then move out with $50,000 profit and my still beating heart. It's getting so that I didn't even introduce myself to the last couple that moved in. They were gone in 3 months anyway. Good riddance. And you know who moved it to take their place? An older but not quite elderly couple whose kids were adults who moved out. Poop. My shot glass is getting dusty.
So now there's a new couple on the block. Very young with an infant. That's how I know they're not going to flip. Who would do that with a baby in the house? I see the dad pushing the stroller and/or walking the dog every day. His name is Mike and his Boston terrier is named Sloane. I haven't met his wife yet but I'm still a bit gunshy. I'll wait on the cake and vodka for another couple of months.
I just put the daycare baby down for a nap and I'm going to do the same. I'm feeling super drowsy today even after going for a 45 minute run this morning. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I have to wake up at 6am to do it after going to bed at 11:30 or later. Every weekday this month. Yawn. Sometimes in order to be a productive person, you have to take care of yourself, right? I promise to have a readable blog tomorrow...
I couldn't not share this with you. Henry (10) made me my birthday card this year. It could be because he ran out of time to buy one but I won, anyway. I know it seems hokey but what "they" say is true. There's nothing like a homemade card from your child to make you smile. A Hallmark card you keep for a few weeks then recycle but this is going in a book or file somewhere so I can keep it forever.
So here's the front. He's drawn an almost perfect representation of our living room with the pass-through and dining room behind. Notice I'm wearing the Louboutins that I got on my big day.
The next page is a poem and a statement about how fab I am. Woot! I get an award!
According to Henry, besides the loving cup, I receive some kind of Oscar. I had to read it twice to realize that I'm getting the "GUY holding the planet award" and not the "GAY planet holding the award". And how much does my child know me? To accept my award, I'm living my dream by walking a red carpet. Notice I'm posing and yes, wearing my Louboutins.
And finally, the back of the card. What a cool kid. And not only because he has great taste in mothers.
Once upon a time, a long long time ago in a faraway land, there was a West Indian family who thought KFC was a healthy nutritional option. And who also thought that makeout point would be a lovely place for a family meal. Read in amazement about this very special family:
5. What technical skill would you like to learn to improve your blog?
I would love to somehow lure hundreds and hundreds of readers to my blog and have fame and fortune just from writing about myself and my stuff. I obviously need to go to one of these blogger conference things to learn how to do that.
6. Do you prefer the sound of silence or does action abound while you blog?
I'm useless when it's quiet. While I write this I'm watching Maury Povich and the kids are playing Nintendo DS with the sound on.
7. Do you include the names of your family in your blog?
I do. I wish I didn't but when I started I really thought this would be something between me and the lamppost. Who knew it would blow up to 66 whopping readers? Also, remembering the names I'd made up smacks of work.
8. Do you post pictures or videos of your children?
Yup. I know, I shouldn't but why stop now?
9. What’s the grossest thing you’ve spilled on your keyboard?
I rarely eat or drink at the computer so I haven't spilled but I have eaten English muffins with Cheez Whiz nearby.
10. Ever posted something you wrote while intoxicated?
I wish. What great fodder! I'm hilarious when I drink, trust me. But I blog in the morning, remember, and what kind of mother would I be if I cracked open the whiskey before they went to bed for the night? As much as I need it some days.
11. Do you go back and edit old posts just because you can?
I do if I find a glaring typo or grammar issue. But I don't search them out, it's only when I happen across them.
12. Have you ever suspected somebody took something you wrote and pawned it off as their own?
I hope not but I think part of me would take it as a compliment. I'd try to get them to credit me, though. Also the nature of my blog is pretty personal to me and my self-centredness so it'd be hard to get away with.
13. Does your spouse read your blog? What do they say about it?
My husband doesn't read my blog at all. He says he lives with me so he gets the funny firsthand. He often says things like: "this would make a good blog" or "you better not blog this", but never checks whether I do or not. I could test him by admitting that I have over $15,000 in a secret bank account for my own personal use and he'd never know. But 66 strangers will.
14. What’s something cool/positive/unexpected for you, that has resulted directly from blogging?
The coolest thing ever is having 66 readers. Over half of them don't know me in real life and I find that incredible. I often wonder why on earth anyone would be interested in the self-involved meanderings of a Black, suburban housewife and mother. I guess I'm more interesting that I think.
15. Link to a post (or three) which demonstrate your writing style:
I just want to thank everyone for their kind wishes on my special day. I think I broke Facebook. Every gift I got was really special from the Fabulous Fred of my youth (thanks Lisa and the gang!) to the iTunes gift card (I'm still trying to decide but I'm thinking The Arcade Fire's new one... thanks Chris!) to my shoes. My glorious, amazing shoes. I'm beside myself with joy.
Scott and I really broke the bank when it came to gifts for each other this year between this on Saturday:
And these yesterday:
The furnace better not blow up. We barely have enough money left for the gumball machine at the grocery store. But you only live once, right? Life is too short to be scrimping and saving. For what? I'll tell you for what: a Triumph Street Triple and Christian Louboutin shoes, that's what. Excuse me? The kids school savings? Well, there's something to be said about the local community college...
I'm 43 today and I'm sad about it because being the geek that I am, I love that yesterday my age was the meaning of life. Today my age is just a weird, odd number. So I've done some research on the number 43 that I thought I'd share with you in an effort to make 43 more palatable.
When you hold down the shift key, it kinda looks like a swear: $#
My sister and brother-in-law's apple orchard is near Highway 43 here in town
This guide to hiring women from 1943 makes me laugh
Technetium, the chemical element with the number 43 is shiny. That's how far I got reading the Wikipedia page *yawn*
It takes 43 muscles to frown
Edmonton beat Montreal in the 43rd Grey Cup *boooo!*
In 1969 the 43rd modern Stanley Cup was played with Montreal beating St. Louis *yay!*
In Roman Numerals it's XLIII
According to IMDb, Vertigo is the 43rd best movie out of 250
2. What's the last concert you've been to? The English Beat. Amazing! 3 What was your favorite 80's sitcom? Family Ties? No! The Cosby Show. 4. Were you named after anyone? I wish. But my dad told me that if I had been a boy, I'd have been named Errol after him. That dubious honour went to my brother. 5. When you buy new clothes, do you wash before wearing? Are you kidding? The clothes I buy are so cheap they get destroyed after one washing so I wear them as much as I can before I clean them. I know, yuck, right? 6. If you didn't blog, what would you do with your spare time? I would most likely clean something or put something away. You should see my house. Thanks, blog! 7. What is your favorite department store? Favourite to drool in? Holt Renfrew. Favourite I can actually afford to shop at? Zellers. See my answer about washing above. 8. If you were to get Laser Hair Removal..where would you get it? Armpits. No question.
Here is another ride in the time machine that is my blog posts of yesteryear. This one is about how I've managed to get the kids to sit through the credits of movies without getting bored. I like to see every second of a movie because if I don't, I could miss out on something juicy like at the very end of Despicable Me. And didn't you pay for the show? Check it out:
For the past 3 days I've been going for a 30 minute jog before work in the morning. It makes me feel a whole lot less grouchy when the baby gets here. Frankly, for the past few months I don't know how Lisa was walking away from the baby with him in my grumpy arms with me grunting some excuse about not having my morning tea. Since Tuesday I've been made up, actually smiling and even preparing the house for the day. Yay me!
The days have been gorgeous. Even yesterday which saw most of the day in torrents of rain, the morning was humid and 28C. Just the way I like it. My route changes daily since there are so many beautiful runs around here. Yesterday I actually cried because the view from the lighthouse and the day were so pretty and I felt so strong. I must have looked like a total doofus. And have I mentioned that I hate running? Okay, maybe I don't. I think what I hate is trying to fit it into my life and running when it's cold/snowy/wet/windy/nighttime... whatever. The past 3 days have been absolutely perfect but I wish I'd started doing this earlier in the year. As it stands now I'll have one more month before one of the above excuses kicks in and I start eating and slobbing as if I was in training to win gold at the sloth Olympics.
Is it too much to ask for 4 more months of summer weather? Just until Christmas? What do you say mother Nature? Be a pal.
The lighthouse is at the point. I live about a 10 minute run down that road near the top of the photo.
This is Andrew Haydon park with trails all through. I can hardly believe all this gorgeousness is less than a 5 minute walk from my couch.
You see what I mean? Pretty, right? See you tomorrow morning.
Yes, they have the internet and cordless tv remote controls but we had Schoolhouse Rock. How else were you supposed to remember your grammar or times tables? In fact, my kids are terrible at math and I blame the fact that Schoolhouse Rock only exists on YouTube and dvd. That and the fact that they roll around on the floor pissing themselves with laughter asking "how did you ever watch this stupid stuff?" Morons.
When you were forced to watch these between cartoons on the only channel that even showed cartoons on Saturday morning (and then only from 8am till noon), you learned something, by gum. In fact, whenever I hear the end music after Bugs Bunny, I still sing this.
So, in keeping with my love of Schoolhouse Rock and the fact that I couldn't sleep last night until I sung this in its entirety, I give you my favourite Multiplication Rocks song:
And the close second:
kxx ("Hey, noun is a person place or thiiiiing!")
***If you are reading this on Facebook and it's formatted weird or the links don't show up, click "view original post" and read it on blogger***
I know the title of this post comes as quite a surprise to those of you who have been following my blog for a few years, but in the past I've failed to see the up-side. Camping rocks.
I'm referring, of course, to other members of my family sleeping on the groundgetting bug bitten shivering in a tent enjoying the great outdoors and leaving the house to me. For days at a time. Heaven! My kitchen and bathroom stay clean and I can eat whatever I want for dinner. I know, right? A few weeks ago while Elliott was at summer camp, Scott took the kids camping. Yesterday Scott, feeling that Elliott missed out, took him camping to make up for it. I am now reaping the immense benefits. The only downside is that they take the car but I have an awesome neighbour who actually gets angry if she finds out that I am carless and didn't ask to borrow hers.
This time Audrey stayed behind so we'll be doing lots of girly things together. Yesterday we went to see Ramona and Beezus and had a nice restaurant dinner. Tonight I have dragonboat practice and I'm hoping she'll join me. Tomorrow we shop, Thursday is dragonboat again then we expect the boys to come home. Did I mention that camping is the best activity ever?
It's a holiday here, creatively called "Civic Holiday", only out-creatived by the UK's "Bank Holiday". Anyway, Civic Holiday is the last long weekend before Labour Day aka the final nail in summer's coffin. Here in Ottawa we try to call it Colonel By Day but it doesn't stick. It's like trying to make up your own cool nickname. How many times have I tried to get people to call me "Kazzer"?
So here's my opportunity to teach you a little something. John By was an engineer who supervised the building of the Rideau Canal. He's the shiz in these parts and his name is everywhere: The Byward Market, Colonel By Drive, a school and even a beer. If it wasn't for him, Ottawa wouldn't even be a city. So thanks, John, we appreciate the effort. And the day off helps...