Take Anything You Want, But Leave Me My Books!

I have always been a reader. I read books over watching TV (mainly because our rural internet is trash). I listen to audio books. When I scroll through Instagram, I am looking at other people’s books and dreaming of little bookstores all over the world. It’s what I love. Books and reading. I work in a school library right now, so I read to kids everyday. I love it. Most of the time.

The other day, a grade eight student came running up to me at recess to tell me about a book she’s reading. She was so excited, and later, when we were back inside the school, she pulled it from her desk to show me. She was TOTALLY into it and just couldn’t stop until I agreed that I’d read it too. Her excitement over a book she is reading for novel study TOTALLY made my day. Mostly, because I rarely get this reaction out of the students her age.

I am constantly trying to “sell” books to kids, especially the older ones who have a phone glued to their hands every moment of their lives. Now that I lug books to each classroom (Thanks Covid!) my job has become a sort of freak show in which I dance around trying to get kids to want to read the book I’m holding. If I relied on catalogue holds, I would have zero circulation, because they do not read for fun and will admit this to me with a smile. *shrieks of horror* With weeks of doing this under my belt now, I am pretty good at selecting books for each kid based on their interests. I take a lot of notes, and remember a lot of things so I can be prepared for 16 classes a week. I do have favourite classes of course, so if I focus on them, I can say that I LOVE what I do. Example: One of my classes is hardcore into non fiction books. I have such a great time preparing their bin every week because I can always find books hidden away that they haven’t seen before. Each week I highlight one of the sections in the dewey decimal and show them cool books from the Call Number of the Week. They also love being read to and ask for that every single week. They are BOMB!

Here comes the ranty part. The whole lets focus on technology and make sure the kids are always entertained by flashing lights and images part of my job. Books are boring. Reading isn’t fun unless it’s interactive. With my older classes I don’t get to read picture books or classic stories like Bunicula (I dare you to say you don’t love that book!). I often play trivia games, listen to podcasts and work on coding games. I’m not going to lie, I almost fell down when I was told last year I should do coding activities. I was like wait, what? 1. Not a teacher. 2. What does coding have to do with reading books? I’m lost. But, I adapt well so, fine. Whatever I’m supposed to do, I’ll do well. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, what ever happened to reading? I mean, really… I am actually shocked by how few books these kids read. They don’t know half of the books I suggest to them. No idea. Sometimes they’ll blurt out things like, “Isn’t that a movie!!” Ha! Except, it’s kinda not that funny. It’s a little bit sad. Isn’t it?

I get that technology is the way of the future, blah blah blah. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t learn how to code (What the hell does that even mean anyway? I still haven’t figured it out), that they shouldn’t be proficient in computers and smart phones and all that jazz. They totally should. Life skills, I get it. But here’s a skill I think they need. The ability to sit with pages of words and use their imagination to bring stories to life. That is an important life skill. I don’t remember a lot of my school teachers’ names, or the name of the boy who always sat beside me and picked his nose for the entire story time. But I DO remember the absolute mind explosion of imagining that little mouse riding around on a motorcycle. I remember pretending I was a pioneer for a solid year after devouring the Little House on the Prairie series. I remember the magic of those stories.

Entering codes into a computer to make characters move… That’s cool. Turning words on a page into a vision in your mind – WAY COOLER!

I can’t wait to see that student this week. I read the book that she suggested, and I loved it just as much as she said I would. But what I think I loved most, was her excitement over that old and ratty book out of a dusty novel kit. It might not have moving parts or flashing screens, but it got her. I hope as she grows up, she finds more and more stories that give her that same feeling of excitement, happiness… MAGIC!

Fly tape for a good hustle…

A package arrived in the mail today! I totally forgot about it. It was a purchase I made from a friend’s “party” that she was hosting for one of her friends. You know these parties. The classic pyramid scheme. Whatever they are selling, you don’t want it, but they tell you that you do, and then you feel like OK, at least I’m being nice and helping someone else. Anyway, I sent a picture of my purchase to another friend to show her what I bought, and then went on my rant about how much I loathe these “parties” that use guilt to sell women shit they don’t need. That’s totally what it is. Women getting guilted into selling shit to their friends and then the friends buying because they’d feel horrible if they didn’t “support” their friend. I cannot handle anymore of these online parties trying to pimp their overpriced and completely targeted products. It’s total mean girl territory. Sorry, but you haven’t talked to me in years. One day you add me to Facebook and the next you’re inviting me to support you in your lifelong passion to sell overpriced junk jewelry to the masses? Wait, what? No. Just no.

I LOVE the friend who invited me to her party, and I know her reasons. I totally get it. I got roped into this years ago. I know all about it. I’m not judging. I’ve been there, done that, have a whole whack of junk that I bought to be “nice.” ANYWAY… I bought a couple of things that I definitely do not need or really want and then I went on to rant about how men aren’t building pyramids, they are building empires! END THESE SCHEMES that target women and their ridiculously high levels of guilt! I am not sure why I can’t just express things in a normal moderate manner. Most people state their feelings and move on, but not this cowgirl. I have to wave my hands in the air, jump up and down and make a complete scene over every emotion I have. There is no cure for this. I’ve looked.

But, I digress. This package led to me explaining how I’m a prime target for these dirty sales tactics. I started thinking of all the dumb ass things I’ve done because I wanted to be nice. My favourite is the time that I bought 200 dollars worth of car wax from a man standing outside a gas station. I am not even lying. I AM that woman. This dude started waxing my car while I was pumping gas and I was like OK, this is weird, but I guess so. Then he went on about how great it was and how my husband would love it (my eyes hurt from rolling right now). It was awkward and I just wanted to get the hell out of there, so I agreed. OK. Fine. I’ll buy one bottle. But then it turned into a case (clearly a better deal. ha!) which THEN turned into 2 cases because the second case would be half price. At this point, I was just like OMG…. GET ME OUT OF HERE. Anyway, I got home and gave these CASES of car wax to my husband who just looked at me like WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL ARE YOU DOING? This is me though. Constantly doing shit that makes no sense to logical humans. I tried to explain that it was hot and he looked sad and who the hell else would buy his stupid car wax? I was just trying to be nice. Anyway, when I was telling my friend about this story today, she told me I should write a collection of essays about the things I tell her. I guess the title would be…

Shit I Do That Makes NO Sense: A Collection of Fuck-Up Stories.

 

I feel like I have a lot of these stories to tell. The amount of times I’ve done really dumb things because I just wanted to be nice? I’ve lost count. I was once at a swim-up bar in Mexico giving money to a young bartender because he told me about how he had dreams of opening his own bar and how he already had a plan in place. I was giving him a pep talk about following his dreams while handing him all of my money. I AM THAT DUMB! Or what about the time I almost got us shanked in NYC when I got wrapped up in donating money to aspiring musicians? Remember that time when a lady in Florence showed me a picture of her dying child, asking for money? Of course I gave her all I had. She was crying and she even picked up on my name. Clearly I had to help. I saw her the next day strolling down the street with a designer handbag. She didn’t look like the poor woman I saw the day before. Hmmm….
One would think that by now, I would know that for the most part, people are trying to take advantage of me. But, for some reason, I just haven’t learned this lesson yet. I just have this inability to believe that people are bad. I never see it until it’s way too late and I’m walking 25 blocks because I just gave all of my cab fare to the homeless man on the corner. I try to think positively about it though. My stupidity must have an upside. I am kind. I give all I have. People can take advantage of me, but that’s on them, and not on me. But then, I’m like COME ON!! Stop being such a bleeding heart. People are dicks. Believe it, sister.

It never sticks though. So, if you need me to support you in your new and exciting business of selling designer guinea pig clothing…. well…. add me to Facebook!

 

 

Rant a little…

This morning I had a breakdown in a grocery store. I never would’ve imagined I’d be able to say that, but it’s true. I could get into the particulars of this, but I’ll only say that it ended with me walking out of the store line crying and being chased by an employee saying, “come back… don’t make me feel bad.” I replied, “Don’t feel bad. It’s personal.” And well, it is. It’s extremely personal. I have no idea why this was the morning, and that was the place, but it happened. I cried so hard I should’ve pulled over because I couldn’t see. All around my  mouth went tingly, as it usually does when one starts to hyperventilate. I got home and went right to my bed. So, why all of the sudden am I this hysterical woman, crying in my bed over grocery shopping? I guess it was just the final straw. I hit my max stress level and I cracked.

I make so many jokes about how I’m good at isolation because I don’t like people anyway. How I prefer to be at home. How amazing it is that I haven’t worn a bra in God knows how long. But it’s been getting to me. Not just the isolation. It’s not that, so much as not being able to do simple things that I used to enjoy. Eating in restaurants, shopping for books, buying groceries without having to be masked and queued in a line outside. I was driving by the road where my Mom lives today and I thought, I can’t even go there. I can’t go and knock on her door. I’m all alone. In and out of a grocery store and back to my house. That’s it. That’s what I’ve got now. It made me so sad and SO FUCKING MAD!!

I miss work, but not the work that I’m doing now. I never ever would’ve applied to a job where I had to do video meetings everyday (3 this week) that give me so much anxiety I feel like I’m going to throw up on my laptop. The job that requires that now I have to teach myself  a whole new technology based way of doing things. I get it, times are different. We all have to adapt, and I will. But it’s a lot. ESPECIALLY when you throw that on top of now having to teach my kids as well. I open my email every morning with a panicky feeling in my throat. I know that it will be loaded with things I need to help my kids with, ideas of how I should be doing things for my own job, and sometimes it feels like a mountain I have no idea how to climb.

The homeschooling thing is too much. I’m just going to put that out there. It’s too much. I hear that it’s supposed to take 1 hour a day. To that, I call bullshit. 3 Google Classrooms filled with work and not only work, but links to learning sites and games and online reading materials. It’s not just teachers who are sending the work. Now we have the school library techs sending stuff and EAs and everyone who works in the damn building sending ideas. It’s in the newspapers. A never-ending barrage of work. I don’t find it helpful. I find it stressful as fuck. With all of these ideas and information comes a whole lot of pressure. Every single day since this started, I’ve felt overwhelmed. Every. Single. Day. I’m not a stupid woman. I’m not lazy in the least. But this is too much. Our internet wasn’t working one day this week and I filled with hulk like rage because it means I have extra work the next day. I am up at night crying about my kids’ schooling. Failing my kids is an actual fear I have in my heart. I start to think that when the kids go back to school, (if that ever fucking happens) they’ll be behind and It will be because of me. Trying to get the kids to sit and do these things or organizing things like experiments with rocks we find outside… ALL OF THAT TAKES TIME! I must also find time to do my own work, and take care of everyone’s needs as well. Oh and I’m also supposed to use this time to create memories while I’m at it. Don’t forget about the memory-making/bonding time. Add that to the list of shit to get done everyday. I don’t know how everyone else is pulling this off. How are you working and teaching your kids and keeping your house clean and waiting in line for milk and bread? It feels like everyone on social media has their shit together… Everyone can’t possibly be lying about this. The only conclusion that I can come to is that everyone is just way better at this than me.

This is a stressful time, and until today, I didn’t realize how much of a crisis I’m really in. I’ve been working out constantly just to keep myself from crawling out of my own skin. I get so overwhelmed all I can think about is running away. Literally. I can barely sit in the same room as my husband because he’s so stressed out over his business that listening to him makes me shake with anxiety. While the reality of it does freak me out and worry me to no end, that’s not what I struggle with. I struggle with the raised voices and stress that radiates off of him. The stress of feeling so helpless. To top it all off, I’m home every single day with 3 kids who are going stir-crazy. I have to keep them sane when clearly I’m going insane myself.

This all sounds so pouty, doesn’t it? So woe is me. But fuck it. We’re all struggling, and if me having a breakdown in a grocery store makes me weak, then so be it.

Today I am weak. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

 

 

 

 

Blah Birthdays & Mom Jeans

When I woke up this morning I had two thoughts: 1. I really hope I’m not out of dry shampoo because I’m never going to have time to shower. 2. It’s my birthday week! This means I get to do all of the things I want to do, slack off as much as I want and eat and drink myself into oblivion. It’s about. to. go. DOWN.

I really wanted to have a clever list to post this week, in honor of me inching another year closer to dementia, but I just can’t think of anything witty to say about turning 37. It’s just meh or blah… A big fat whatever birthday, if you will. 37 just feels whatever. It feels the same as last year, except this year I have more grey hair to pluck (honestly dark hair is a curse), and I’m spending more money on anti aging skin care routines that don’t work. I look the same, except my skin is bright red and feels like it’s on fire from overpriced peels and serums. Hooray for 37!

Since I’ve been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping online, I’ve also been sneaking purchases in for myself. You know…because it’s my birthday month and all.  A week or so ago, I was online buying my daughter the jeans she wants for Christmas. She’s showed me a million times…We go to the mall, I let her show me how trendy she thinks she is, and then I make a bunch of really obnoxious old mom jokes about how it seems ridiculous to buy a pair of jeans from the Edward Scissorhands collection. I mean honestly, what’s with the tattered, holey and shredded jean look? Is this in style? But that’s not the point. The point is, that I ordered her the perfect pair as a Christmas surprise. Then I was looking at all of the other jeans, thinking… hmm…maybe I need new jeans. Every single pair on this website just blew me away. The ugliest jeans I’ve ever seen in my life. I was mesmerized by their hideousness. I just couldn’t stop looking… Acid wash… shredded zombie-like jeans… MOM JEANS! So, obviously I bought a pair of the highest waisted mom jeans I could find. Because screw it, I’m turning 37 and I feel old and this will make me look young and hip. My daughter told me so.

Holy cannoli, I was dead wrong. When they were finally pulled ALL THE WAY UP and on, that is when I knew…without a doubt…mom jeans were the best birthday gift I’ve ever given myself. Tears STREAMED from my face as I looked at the longest zipper ever. Just the crotch of these jeans… It was front bum city. I couldn’t help but proclaim, “LOOK AT THAT FUPA!” Let’s not even mention what they did to my ass. Hint: flat as a dinner plate and as long as a Canadian winter. It was a total disaster. The pant equivalent of granny panties. I have never in my life laughed that hard at myself. One look in the mirror and I was dancing around like Rod Stewart singing…. If you want my body…and you think I’m sexy… I would’ve worn them longer, but the squishing and bruising to my internal organs was crippling. I took them off, put them into my drawer (because you don’t ever return something that entertains you that much), and pulled on a nice old lady nightgown. Because THAT is how I roll.

Also this… My favourite meme right now. I cannot explain why and I’m aware that it is completely irrelevant to this post. I love it though. It makes me laugh almost as much as the jeans.

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Keep on Truckin’ 2020 LOOK OUT!

25 days left in this decade. Thank you social media, for reminding me over and over and over that it’s the end of a decade, and that’s kind of a big deal. The past 10 years have been filled with ups and downs. I’m sure everyone can say that. I don’t know many people who spend 10 years doing absolutely nothing new or different, scary or exciting. But alas, here is my post reflecting on what 2010-2020 did to me. Ha! I think the only reason I’m really writing about it is because it was 10 years of raising kids, and that sounds both dreadful and heroic at the same time. 10 years of raising kids may seem boring, and let me tell you, a lot of the time it really was. I don’t care what anyone says, there is nothing mentally stimulating about cleaning up bodily functions. It’s exhausting and mind-numbing and yet, completely necessary in parenthood. Regardless, I feel like the past 10 years are an accomplishment for me. I made it. I’m still standing, mind and body intact. All of my kids can now do most basic things for themselves. But I’m rambling, which is something I’m prone to. The point of this is to reflect on how far I’ve come in 10 years.

It’s been a long tour…

TEN YEARS AGO:

This is the first picture I posted in 2010. It was taken on February 11, 2010. The morning after I gave birth to my son, Jack.

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Things I’d like to note about this: 1. I was barely into social media 10 years ago. My posts were sporadic and I am SO GRATEFUL as those years were horribly difficult. 2. I clearly didn’t care about my greasy hair or what I looked like in an over-sized Sears housecoat. Pictured here is a 27 year old woman, her 20 month old daughter and the baby boy she just pushed out of her vagina hours before, at home, in her bedroom. She is basically a superhero.

And from here things go way downhill…

Here is a picture of me looking like I love my life, and yet I was in the depths of depression/eating disorder hell. This was the summer of 2010. TEN years ago!! NOT a glamorous time in my life.  IMG_3614

10 years later…

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Just kidding. That’s not me. I feel this though… Right in my soul.

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This is me. Approaching my 37th birthday with my son, the sweet babe you saw in the first picture. In the past ten years I’ve felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve accomplished great feats (ahem a marathon) and crashed and burned through some pretty monumental failures (the list is long). But I’m still here, an ever-changing, ever-evolving human on a mission. I’m still working towards some pretty lofty goals, and making mistakes as I go. The past 10 years has taught me that I’m far from perfect, and I don’t ever want to be. That sometimes I’m a little too much for some people, and that’s OK, because they’re not my people anyway. Ten years ago I cared far too much about things that didn’t matter. I cared what people thought of me. I wasted a lot of time and effort on people who didn’t deserve it. I also made many many mistakes. But that’s life, right? You live, you learn. I’m pretty stoked to start 2020, mainly because it feels like a clean slate, and I DO enjoy clean.

So here’s to the next decade. May it be filled with all good things, for all good humans.

Let’s do this!

 

 

Ugly Selfies, Memes & F-Bombs

I don’t know how to start this.
What I DO know is that I am so happy, perhaps happiest, when my friends send me selfies. Not the normal kind. Not the ones with the fake eyelash filter or the fake makeup. I want the opposite. I want the NO filter, look at how ugly I am right now pictures. I scroll through photo-shopped pictures nonstop. Isn’t that what Instagram actually is? A collection of filtered, beautiful people and scenery? Pretty sure that’s a yes. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something different. Something not so….boring!  I want to see the people I love, keeping it real… and do they ever! My friends aim to please!
I was sitting at my desk this morning, explaining to my friend via messaging that I felt dusty (classic dry-shampoo overuse) and looked ashy (very Miss Havisham), and she sent me a series of her freshly waking up selfies, complete with exaggerated “ugh” looks on her face. I started laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face. It’s something I’m noticing as we are getting older. We are not the girls who post a million selfies of ourselves looking sun-kissed and beautiful. Instead, we send each other “I’M A MONSTER, LOOK AT THIS TRAIN WRECK!” pictures.
I send the most hideous pictures to my friends ALL THE TIME! In return, my friends send me pictures of them waking up…pictures with baby barf on their shirts… pictures of the random food stains on their pants that go unnoticed until they arrive in their offices. Why, just a few minutes ago I was sent a picture of perfect “martian hair” complete with foils and a funny facial expression. If you’re not sending selfies to your friends while you’re having your hair coloured you aren’t living. Guaranteed you aren’t laughing enough either. It doesn’t stop with pictures. It’s our conversations too. They are real and honest and I actually can’t imagine my life without this form of truth. This form of friendship. This form of connection.
There are so many negative things you can say about our use of technology these days. People are actually attached to their phones and it can be a little too much. But it’s also amazing. I can’t imagine how lonely life would be without my different group chats. In my spare moments I want to connect with my friends and let me tell you, a moment is really all we have. We plan our girls weekend MONTHS in advance. Our schedules are busy (this is a whole other ranty post that I could write). It’s hard to find the time to balance work, our families and our social lives. What we do have time for is ugly selfies, memes to make each other laugh and a place to write out a quick rant, knowing that if there are multiple women in the group chat, at least someone will have time to hear you out. Sometimes it’s 4:30 a.m. and your phone dings with a message from your friend who is in breakdown mode over her lawn furniture blowing away in a windstorm. So, you do what comes naturally to you. You drop some f-bombs with her and make her laugh with a stupid meme. That’s what friends are for.

So, if we are in a group chat together, if we text, or write each other long emails about nothing… THANK YOU! Thank you for being part of the train wreck that is my life. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me, ME!

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Lists, lists, lists & other things that make me go hmmmm…

These days I am all about writing lists. I have journals filled with them. I have to-do lists, grocery lists and lists about other random things. Things that are REALLY random.

Example: A list of things I’d rather be doing. 

1. Sitting in a shady bar, drinking a warm and flat beer with a bunch of dirty construction workers with alcohol dependencies.

OR…

2. Snorkeling in the middle of the ocean where I could possibly be attacked by a shark.

As you can see, my day is going well….

Another on-going list I have is:

Things I wish I could say to you. 

1. To the man who slowly walks his dog around the neighborhood: I used to think you were super weird for your slow snail-speed walking, and your creepy backpack. I used to imagine it filled with explosives or other creepy-creeperton things like doll heads and roadkill. Then one day I saw you take a bottle of water and a dish out of your creepy-pack and give your dog, (who looked rather senior when I looked closely) a drink. After that, I didn’t see you as a potential creep-a-zoid. I saw you as a loving and caring dog dad. I’m sorry for thinking you were a homicidal maniac and also… thank you for loving your dog so much. He/she is so lucky to have you.

2. To the man who asked me to help him find rapini in No Frills: What part of NO FRILLS do you not understand?

Anyway… Here is my most recent list.

Things I know for sure:
1. Neon orange food always tastes good. Cheetos, Cheez Whiz, Kraft Dinner, creamsicles, the orange drink McDonald’s used to serve when you were a kid. It may not be healthy, but if it’s neon orange, it probably tastes like heaven.
2. There is a proper way to assemble a burger. If you don’t do it properly, it doesn’t matter what kind of meat/cheese/toppings you use. It won’t be as good as it could be.
3. A public toilet must always be flushed using your foot. Everyone knows this.
4. Almost everything can be fixed with a hot bath. Foot hurts? Have a bath. Feel murderous rage towards the man who took the last bag of Cheetos at the grocery store? Have a bath. Add a glass of wine for complete pain relief.
5. Vodka is a really good cleaner. It dissolves soap scum and cleans glass. However, it is better to have soap scum and streaky glass than to be without vodka. Caesars.
6. That reminds me. Caesars. You can add a million and one things to your Caesar, but it will never beat a traditional one. Skip all the frill and just put a little pickle juice in it. Nobody wants to drink horseradish or BBQ sauce so STOP IT already! Also, the celery is overrated. Skip the shrubbery. See below.
7. Skip the lime or lemon on the side of the glass when you are out in a restaurant. The bacteria on those things. Hello e coli! This goes for all the garnishes you might find on the side of your glass. Just skip it. No one likes shit lemons.
8. If you spend a lot of time on your hair, you know it will be windy AF outside and all of your hard work will be for nothing. Doesn’t matter how far you have to walk. Two steps is two too many. Your hair will be ruined and you will look like Kurt Cobain. Plan ahead. Bring a hair elastic. Alternately, wear one of those plastic hood hats that old ladies wear. I really wish they were a thing. I’d brush my hair EVERYDAY if I could wear one of those.
9. Always carry headphones with you so that random strangers think you’re busy and won’t talk to you about the impending apocalypse or their ongoing problems with law enforcement. It’s good practice to put headphones in your ears upon waking. Wear them everywhere. If you work with the public, you are screwed. After work, see #4.
10. Always talk to the craziest friend you have when you’re feeling down. They will most likely have a weirder or more insane thing happening to them in their life. The distraction will be good for you. Also, recognize when YOU are the craziest friend. Then you are shit out of luck and you should probably skip the headphones, and find a crazy person to talk to. Public transportation or a public library is always a good bet.
Just imagine the things I’d accomplish if I spent half as much time doing productive things instead of writing random blog posts about nothing.
Next list: Productive things I should be doing to keep my life on track and NOT lose my job.

Jimmy-Jammed Up

I heard someone use the phrase “jimmy-jammed up” last week, and since then I’ve been obsessed with finding a way to use that in a sentence. On my walk this evening, I found it.

Here it is: Sometimes, I get jimmy-jammed up.

Jimmy-jammed up is the perfect way to describe how I feel a lot of the time.  I feel like I just don’t know. I don’t know ANYTHING. I am absolutely paralyzed with fear over the idea of making a decision or choice, no matter the size or severity. I can’t tell you what I feel like eating at any given time, because well…I just don’t trust myself. I don’t trust that I know what I want or what is good for me. I have a history of making wrong decisions, or misreading everything and making bad choices. This is me right now.  I’m TOTALLY “Jimmy-Jammed up.” When I’m asked for my opinion now, it’s basically a solid, “Not sure.” Commitment to any plan? No thank you. I just can’t right now, and it feels so foreign to me. I am, and have been for most of my life, an extremely opinionated person. I’ve been black or white. No grey areas. I’ve been right or wrong. No negotiations. Now, I’m just like….meh, or blah or I don’t know. Don’t ask me. It’s gotten so bad that now I’m relying on strangers to tell me what I should do. Honestly, I asked a Starbucks barista what she thought I should order. I’m completely disturbed by this.

I usually get relief from my “jimmy jammers” on long runs in the morning, and long walks with my dog in the evening. I get to escape the anxiety that life choices, big and small bring, by taking video of a woodpecker pecking a tree (Guys, I swear this is basically #1 indicator that you are getting older. Bird watching/videoing.) Tonight’s walk/meditation/ritual nature therapy was short. I stopped to talk to a stranger, and ended up hearing about the loss of her husband, her struggle with living on her own and her love of trees. It’s been like that lately though. The dog and I, out on walks, meeting people who tell us the stories of their lives. I can’t help but think of why. Why is it that I’m continually stopping (much to my chagrine), to listen to complete strangers tell me random stories? Yesterday, I met another woman on the trail, who shared her stories with me and really, all I could think was why? Why are there so many people out there, wandering around in basically the middle of nowhere? Why are they talking to me? Why is there so much talking and yet, no one is giving me any answers to the questions I have? Seriously? How DO I like my coffee? What kind of boots should I be buying and for god sakes… What IS my interior design style? Someone please, tell me what I want!

How do I get rid of these jimmy-jammers? I mean, really? Because I just can’t be so wishy-washy anymore. It feels so foreign. I need to be de-jimmy-jammered. Where’s the manual on that?

Please try to use the phrase “jimmy jammed” in a sentence this week. You won’t be disappointed. Until then, here’s a picture of my girl Josie on one of our walks. I take video of her walking, because honestly, her ears bouncing and her tail wiggling as she walks is basically proof that happiness exists. No one is as happy as she is. No one. I just adore her. She came into my life at EXACTLY the right time. If only she could talk. I know she’d give me all of the answers.

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My Feral Summer

Guys, is summer over yet? Really… I don’t think I can take anymore of it. The kids have me boiling over with rage daily now. I can’t even anymore. They make huge messes, they fight CONSTANTLY, they are ALWAYS with me. Right now, my son is sitting beside me slurping cereal in my ear. The clang of his spoon on the bowl, followed by the long obnoxious SLURP! NO MORE!! Why must he sit right beside me? I feel like I cannot escape. Also, is it normal for a kid to eat a WHOLE box of cereal everyday? I mean really, the only thing he eats is cereal. The milk consumption is out of control!!

I’ve literally had 1 day off without kids this summer. I should’ve spent the day cleaning the mountains of dirty clothes and/or packing them for their friend’s house/camp etc etc. But no. HELL NO.  I spent it with a friend, without kids, doing whatever the hell I wanted to do. Eating and buying books. I actually shouldn’t even be sitting here right now. I should be cleaning and packing again… but I’m so tired of it. I did plan on running this morning, but slept in because I was up for 3 hours in the middle of the night debating whether or not I like sandwiches or tacos better. Answer: Sandwiches. So, when my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. it wasn’t happening. When I finally rolled myself out of bed, I got dressed in my work out clothing thinking that after I dropped Natalie off at her friends’ that I’d come home and run on the treadmill (can’t leave the other 2 kids alone without Natalie). Well, here I am. Not working out. I look like I might though. My outfit is great. Running shoes on. The thing is, I went downstairs and got on the treadmill and lasted…wait for it….46 seconds. 46 seconds before I said, nah…I’m not into this. Then I thought maybe I’d play around on the Bowflex. Ha ha! Instead, I sat on the seat thingy and scrolled through Instagram. Not today Satan. But honestly, this is basically what summer has been like for me. Completely worn out from constantly driving the kids places, living out of laundry baskets, cleaning, eating complete garbage food. I’m so tired. I need structure and a schedule. I need school so bad. I can’t handle another day of cleaning slime out of the carpets and being the referee in debates on whether or not a cottage needs to be on a lake or not to be considered a cottage. HONESTLY!! This is what my kids are fighting about now. It’s just enough already.

My friend gave me these socks just yesterday at lunch. I almost died laughing. She said that when she saw them, it was literally RIGHT after I said the exact same thing to her. She knew I had to have them.

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The socks say it all.

I’m ready guys. It’s time. The countdown is on.

 

You Should Go & Love Yourself

 

A few months ago, I tucked my 11 year old daughter into bed for the night. She was crying and when I asked her why, she said, “I don’t like the way I look.” It caught me off guard I guess, because I could feel myself tearing up. Being the ever so brave mom that I am (not so much), I told her that she was being silly and that actually quite stupid since she looks exactly like me, and well….like duh! I was kidding of course. I make jokes when I don’t know what else to say. It’s my way of buying time I guess. Anyway, I reassured her that she was beautiful and smart and amazing and that she shouldn’t doubt that, even if somedays it feels really hard not to. I went to my own bed and cried myself to sleep. I felt like the worst parent on earth. I’ve spent so much of my time telling her she’s so smart and beautiful and praising her every step of the way. Why didn’t she just believe me? As it turns out, it has nothing to do with what I’m telling her she is or isn’t. It has everything to do with what she’s seeing me think and say about myself. I realized that all the negative self-talk I had about yammering on about myself may be leaking into her brain and making her think that kind of insanity was normal.  She was watching me dieting and working out non-stop. Talking about calories and how much more weight I had to lose. I spent the entire winter behaving that way, and to be honest, that’s not the first time I’ve been an idiot like that. Of course behaving like an exercise addicted, food restricted asshole did have it’s pay offs. I had abs for all of 7 days… Until I went on vacation and had a beer and enjoyed my life like a normal person. It TOTALLY wasn’t worth it either, because in the end, I’ll always be me, and I kinda like me just the way I am. Flabby, holding a beer, big smile and horrendously loud laugh, as I plow my way through a big plate of fish tacos. Whatever, I’m over it. I understand a lot more than my daughter. I know reality and I’m comfortable with knowing that yes, I can have a beach body, but only if I want to spend my life caring about it. It turns out, I don’t care. I don’t care in the least. Nice abs don’t make you interesting or fun to be around. They sure as hell don’t make you any friends worth spending time with. So, I want her to know that. But I also want her to know that she should exercise and try to eat properly (unless you get invited out for tacos and beer. Then you must skip the gym and hit the fiesta. Life lessons girl, life lessons).

For months now, I’ve watched her be conscious of her body and of what other people are thinking about her. I see her looking down at herself when she’s in a bathing suit, grabbing things to cover herself. I don’t know what to say when I see it. Everything I say to her these days is wrong or hurtful. It’s actually heartbreaking when you feel like you can’t get through to a person you love so much. So, instead of over-explaining or lecturing her about body image, I’m just trying to be positive about my own body. When she pulls her arm across her stomach to cover herself while we’re lounging on the boat, I take my shirt off and sit there in my bikini top without flinching. We all have rolls when we sit down, Natalie!!! Let me show you. This isn’t at all easy for me to do, but I’ll do it for her. I don’t want her to spend her life hating her body the way I did. She’s got more important things to spend her time on….like making herself happy.

Right now I want to tell her that she’s just at that awkward pre-pubescent stage right before her growth spurt, and that she will soon blossom into a beautiful swan (gag), but that’s not right either. I don’t know what to say to her anymore. I don’t think it will be words that help her, but my actions and the actions of the women she sees in her life. I will continue running everyday, unless I’m tired. I will do sit-ups and weights when I feel like it (which is never because I’d rather be outside). I’ll eat properly, until someone says poutine. I will wear the clothes I want to wear regardless of trend (graphic tees on a grown woman are cool, right?), and I will hang out with women who love and accept themselves for who they are. Most of all though, I will be genuinely happy with the person I am, flaws and all.  Here’s hoping that rubs off on my girl.

 

I took this picture of her the other night. I’d caption it: When did she turn into a pre-teen? Man, I’m old.

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