Monday, May 25, 2009

Thanks is the Biggest Word in my Vocabulary.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. - Eric Hoffer

I'm generally a pretty positive person, however I do have my moments of utter despair.. as most do. Last week I had a bit of a meltdown and a friend was there for me. Not to be my shoulder to cry on, because quite frankly, I've done enough crying over the last many months... but to be the person who (despite how much I hated it at the time) told me to quit being a baby, put on my big girl panties and look for solutions instead of excuses. I am summarizing of course, but that's about the gist of it.

I, of course am not good at being told what to do and had to go sulk about it a bit before admitting that he was right and that I wasn't getting anywhere sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Most of the time I'm a pretty upbeat, positive person. I'm usually the one that others come to for encouragement, hugs, the "there, there it will be okay" speech. However, it has been tough with everything that's gone on in the last few months. Tough to maintain any sort of positive thinking despite my repeated readings of Tony Robbins' literature and "I think I can, I think I can" mantras. But, I'm trying. Most days.

My children and I don't live together at the moment and that's tough. I saw them yesterday and once again marvelled at the miracles that are my children. They are kind, funny, thoughtful, good looking (if I do say so myself) individuals. I haven't been the most conventional mother in the world, so when I see how seemingly well-adjusted my children are, it makes me feel pretty good about my parenting skills.

I reconnected with my best friend from college.. Avril.. last week. It's crazy how we practically picked up where we left off. I'm not sure either of us are where we thought we'd be 20+ years ago.. but it's pretty terrific to have someone with whom you immediately have that easiness of friendship. And she is just one of many wonderful people in my life.. she's just the most recent re-addition.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

So despite all the negatives in my life, there are a lot of positives. Some interesting opportunities on the horizon... the love of my children and family and friends. Things are not super freakin' fantastic at the moment, but they will be again. And I try to maintain these thoughts, but it's tough. It's very easy to get down on yourself and only focus on the negative.

But, every once in a while, something happens that puts things into perspective. This morning on Twitter, a few people re-tweeted about a woman who discovered last week that her son has leukemia. They found out the same week as his second birthday. You can read her story here.

I don't know this family. I don't even know the woman's name (I couldn't find it on the blog..) but my heart goes out to her and her family.. particularly her little boy. He faces 3 years of chemotherapy. His prognosis is good, apparently.... but still.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart

I've often been heard to utter "Things could always be worse". And they could. My children are healthy. I have great friends and family who love me despite all my irritating habits, constant mocking, sporadic drama and frequent ineptitude. I still need a job, but hey.. I'm not living in my car .. well, not just yet, anyway.

So today I am thankful. For many things. But mostly for all the little blessings. And all the good people that keep me (relatively) sane.

Life: I think it's getting better.
Love: I love you all!
Pants: Still in pajama pants. Next question?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shrimp with Garlic & Mango

One of my favourite things to do is cook. I especially like cooking for other people.. and enjoying their company while having a great meal. This is one of my "specialties".. I like to serve this with Saffron Rice... but you can serve it over a salad or toss with pasta...

Shrimp with Garlic & Mango

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled (or equivalent - I use smaller shrimp if they're on sale)
1 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 mandarin oranges (for garnish.. I hardly ever do this)

In a large sauté pan or skillet hear the olive oil and sesame oil; sauté the garlic and sweet red pepper fo 1 minute. Add the shrimp and sauté another 2 minutes. Stir in mango, green onions, parsley, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook another minute. Serve on salad.. toss with pasta or serve with Saffron Rice... Serves 4

Saffron Rice

2 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (I actually use basmati cause I like it)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot bring wate, chicken stock, saffron and turmeric to a boil. Add rice, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The famous Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire

Inside the Actors Studio is a series on the Bravo cable television channel, hosted by James Lipton. While most of the show is a one-on-one interview conducted by Lipton, this is followed by the host submitting a questionnaire to the guest. The questionnaire concept was originated by French television personality Bernard Pivot, after the Proust Questionnaire.
I got this from my lovely friend Kelly via FB but felt like doing it on the blog... You know the drill, fill it in, post it, tag your friends...someday they could be famous and actually on BRAVO taking the quiz inside the Actor's Studio. Or not....

1) What turns you on?
Smart and Funny. I'd pick average looking dude with wicked smarts and sense of humour over washboard stomach boy any day of the week. However, if washboard stomach boy is also super funny and smart... well...

2) What turns you off?
Extreme arrogance. Cruelty. Rudeness. Violence.

3) What is your favorite word?
Laugh. I collect signs that say laugh.. so does my BFF Jodi. We are getting tattoos of the word on our wrists as a constant reminder. Sometimes it's all you can do in order to not go crazy.

4) What is your least favorite word?
Stupid. My children were not allowed to say it growing up. Idiot. Anything that makes others feel bad.
as an aside... I have two friends who hate the word "panties". And another friend who will retch if you say the word "caterpillar". Not kidding. I haven't any such strong feelings about any words.

5) What sound or noise do you love?
Sound of my own voice, obviously.... kidding. My children's voices. The bass in a song. Laughter.

6) What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of screeching brakes and shattering glass. I've been in too many accidents.

7) What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Games show host. Writer. Millionaire.

8) What profession other than yours would you not want to attempt?
Politician . Accountant. Anything that involves sweating or cleaning up bodily fluids.

9) What is your favorite swear word?
F _ _ K . Specifically.. "F_ _KIN' F_ _KERS".

10) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter the Pearly Gates?
Well, it was touch and go there for a while.. but.. you pulled it off.. best part is, Satan now owes me $50....

Life: No news
Love: The only boys who seem to like me live far away. LOL. I need to move or something..
Pants: Lost 4 pounds this week. However, that was after gaining a couple.. so doing OK.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ya Gotta Have Friends...

"Friend - a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty." - Collins English Dictionary

I had the opportunity to get together with a friend this week... I had not seen her in months as we no longer live close.. she lives out of the country during the winter months...

Karen and I have been friends for about 12 years.. and we've been through a lot together.. tough times, moving, fiances, weddings, divorces, falling in love, falling out of love, laughter, tears and many, many bottles of wine. We spent the evening catching up on everything that had been happening in the last several months.. and once again there was laughter, a few tears.. and of course, the ever present wine.

I've had many friends over the years.. check my "friends list" on Facebook.. there are 834 at the present count. These are "friends" from grade school, high school, various jobs, the music industry, and various and sundry misadventures associated with all of them. I would consider everyone on my friend list a friend of some regard.. but when FB installed the friend categories.. I was a little stumped at how to "group" people (so I have not.. ) but this combined with my Karen visit got me thinking about the various friendships I have had over the years.

My first best friend was Julie. One day I just walked into her back yard while she was having a tea party with her mom and uncle. We became fast friends at the age of three.. had our first sleepovers together... played "wedding" (I was always the groom as I had short hair and she was the girly girl..)... first day of school together. We were BFFs until grade 3.. she went to that grade.. I went directly to grade four. The social hierarchy changed.. and I was now running with a different crowd.. interestingly, Julie became BFFs with my sister.. and they are still friends.

I have always had a lot of male friends.. not as many "girl" friends. The first friends I hung out with regularly were the neighbourhood boys.. Stevie, Brian, Mario and Marky. We would play "Flintstones" and climb trees and ride bikes and do cool stuff where you got dirty. I was more of a tomboy and preferred that to playing the groom in various wedding or house scenarios. But then again.. I skipped a grade and.. got new friends.

Through grades 4-8 and into high school I pretty much hung out with the same group of girls.. Bambi, Crystal, Trish and Starr (yes, real names..) But I always had different "groups" of friends.. there were always the male friends... the groups of girls.. the kids in band and math club.. different friends for different social situations... Grades 7/8 and into high school, Lynn was one of my best buddies.. Judy and I were friends all through grade school and beyond...

In high school there was a group of 11 girls... Bambi named us "The Natural Highs".. each one of us had a flavour name.. Vanilla, Chocolate, Butterscotch.. etc.. I was Cinnamon. We hung out, partied... had fun. But I always felt not quite comfortable with "girl" friends.. just a certain element of competition I guess.

I preferred hanging out with the boys.. Craig, Tony, Mike and Joe. Sitting in Mike's basement listening to CFNY and "punk".. Elton Motello, the Pistols, Jane County and the Electric Chairs.. all the interesting music Mike's older brother turned our way.. we had a lot of fun together. Plus, Craig was my boyfriend.. so the making out factor certainly weighed into the equation.

And of course, I must mention my spare period BFF and Hallway patrol partner Steve. We'd randomly stop younger kids asking to see their hall passes (we didn't have them at our school).. just because we were silly. Stephen and I are still friends.. which makes me very happy.

In college I was inseparable from Avril.. we did everything together. Talked, partied, school work.. you name it.. we liked to spend time with Wayne, John and Paul.. roommates who lived in her building. And of course we hung out with people in our class.. Al, Tony, John... George .. (please notice I remember all the guys and not so much the girls...) Oddly, still keep in touch with a few people from college, but most weren't in my class. Funny that. And through the magic of Facebook have had the pleasure of catching up and reconnecting with a few.

I've made friends wherever I've gone.. some good friends, some great friends.. some for the time being and some for what seems like forever. I have people still in my life that I've known for 25, 30 years or more.. there has to be a reason why I think. Some connection that just never goes away. I met my friend Mark when we were dating members of the same family.. those relationships broke up.. he and I wound up working together.. and through years and distance and everything else we somehow end up still staying in touch after more than 25 years. Crazy.

I just find it interesting thinking about what makes people friends.. and what KEEPS them friends. One of my best friends ever is named Ami. She and I became friends by happenstance.. she phoned my house one night for a business reason and I answered the phone by yelling into it "TURN ON CHANNEL THREE!! RANDY BACHMAN IS ON THE SIMPSONS!!" I can't recall if I was just excited that I knew someone on the Simpsons or if I thought she was someone else.. We quickly became fast friends.. and I was even the maid of honour at her wedding. But, with moves.. and career changes and everything that happens in life.. we've drifted apart. Completely my fault I believe. One of my personal goals for the not too distant future will be to reconnect with Ami. I miss her a lot. (Please note that instead of procrastinating about this, I actually found her phone number and called her .. like.. just now. I got her machine and I left her a goofy message involving me singing a song about her, eating some ribs and other nonsense. I am not right in the head. You already knew that.)

I think sometimes many friendships are based on convenience.. whether or not you see those people regularly. I know that since I moved north, there are BFFs that I don't hear from as often. And of course since my employment situation changed there are another whole bunch that I have not been as close to. It happens. But the people I consider my true friends are the ones who make the effort to keep in touch.. to touch base.. to see how you are. Mind you, I've had friendships that have "gone by the wayside" because of location, distance.. what have you.. One of my best friends in my 20's .. Mona/Lisa (depending on how you know her..) and I have always attempted to keep in touch and often go years without seeing each other.. but we somehow pick up where we left off.

"Misfortune shows those who are not really friends." - Aristotle

It's only in my adult life that I've had good "girlfriends".. women with whom I can commisserate about men, love, children, female crap... the whole kit and caboodle..

Kelly was my first "grown up" girl friend I think.. interestingly, she was the ex girlfriend of the man I married.. she was in my wedding party.. I love her to death. She lives in Singapore now and we've done the "drifting apart".. another person who I'd like to see back in my life.

Jennifer and I met many years ago .. and ended up working together years later.. and quickly became best friends. She's a combination of friend and surrogate daughter for me.. hence my title "the new mommy". We've been through ridiculous amounts of fun and pain together .. and there are more adventures on the way I'm sure.. what with me moving.. and her having a baby and all.. even though we're in different cities at the moment we still manage to stay connected.

Carmen and I met and became instant friends.. we talk often and somehow just have that "click" .. I guess you'd call it.. just immediate camraderie. We started calling each other BFF's immediately .. and we really are.

Cathy and I met many years ago and our paths have crossed enough times that we figured out that we are likely meant to be friends for life. We've been there for each other enough times to know.

Interestingly, one of my best friends is also an "ex".. Fernando and I were together for a few years and shared a lot.. split last year and it was tough. But now we are in a place where we really are best friends. Which makes me happy that we didn't have to cut each other out of our lives.

The person I call my "heterosexual life partner".. is my friend Jodi.. We met through work several years ago.. and coincidentally lived in the same neighbourhood.. and again, just one of those "clicks". We will often joke that we wish one of us was a man, or we were both gay.. because then I'm certain we'd be spending our lives together .. and hence the "heterosexual life partner".. we spend all major holidays together and this past Christmas renamed our unusual family unit "The Warrcrookens" - a combination of both our last names.. Jodi and I have had more than our share of misadventures. I believe this weekends' involves liquor and tattoos. No, not kidding.

And I also have a huge group of what I call "virtual friends".. people with whom I speak with literally every day but don't see in person.. people who probably know more about me than people who see me in person regularly.. Evan.. Irvine..Kelly.... Michelle.. my new friend Kyle.. and a few others ... people who I consider to also be great friends despite distance or lack of physical contact.

I guess the common thread with any friendship is stuff in common.. I know that with all of the friendships I cherish, its likely the easy ability to laugh..and of course love.. Laughter is my favourite thing in the world.. if you can make me laugh.. we'll get along fine..

I have a plaque on my hallway wall that reads "A friend is a gift you give yourself". It was a gift from Ami years ago. It fell at one point and broke but I glued it together again and put it back up. and I guess I kind of think of laughter and love as the glue that will hopefully put back together some of those neglected and broken friendships.. fingers crossed.

Life: Is in flux. Glad to have so many good friends to lean on during the tough times.
Love: I believe love is friendship on fire. I read that on a travel mug or bumper sticker somewhere. Yeah, its very uh.. mushy. LOL
Pants: Pretty much all of my friends where pants. Just an FYI.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A few of My Favourite Things...

I was doing a little exercise (no, not the sweaty kind.. ) and was randomly writing down things that I like/love/enjoy..... they are not in any particular order...
  • my kids..
  • hanging out with my kids. watching movies with my kids
  • the colour red
  • white wine
  • shrimp
  • Avocado
  • driving
  • my dog Mocha
  • cleaning ...or more correctly.. having a clean house
  • having a clean car...
  • pasta
  • chocolate
  • fooling around on the computer..
  • laughing..
  • writing stuff..
  • the comedy of Mitch Hedberg
  • pretty much all comedy or anything that makes me laugh
  • cute boys (I call all men boys.. )
  • making out with cute boys...
  • concerts or any type of live music.. anything from metal to a symphony..
  • sleeping in my own comfy bed
  • barbequing
  • Entertaining.. I love cooking for people..
  • Dexter. American Idol. CSI. Law & Order. Two and a Half Men. Big Bang Theory. Friends. Family Guy. Pretty much most comedies (see a theme here...?)
  • Games.. specifically trivia games.. You Don't Know Jack ...Trivial Pursuit..
  • Will Ferrell. Ben Stiller. Mike Myers... Steve Martin
  • Cereal. Coffee.
  • beer
  • Lilies. Ones that smell pretty.
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Ikea, Home Depot, Canadian Tire
  • the colour Black
  • Fresh laundry that's been out on the line
  • things that smell good (I am obsessed with how things smell...)
  • hanging out on the party-o with friends
  • my super cool friends
  • talking with my friends
  • meeting new friends
  • AC/DC. the Beatles. Velvet Revolver. Brooks & Dunn... Keith Urban.. a billion others
  • Food. More food.
  • driving in the car and singing harmonies with my kids.
  • Velvet Revolver with KT
  • Wonderland with Josh.
  • Playing Rock Band with the kids
  • Barbequed meat
  • reading
  • talking with people
  • not worrying.
  • spending time with people I love
  • did I mention laughing?
Life: I love to laugh.
Love: I love the above things
Pants: Not on the list. But I do like them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pants: the good, the bad and the stretchy.

I have struggled with my weight most of my life.

I mean, struggle may not be the correct word.. I'm not Oprah weight challenged or anything.. I'm not HUGE.. I just have never been a skinny girl. I've always felt like I could stand to lose about 20lbs...minimum. Now, don't get me wrong.. I HAVE been overweight.. I stopped weighing myself at 208lbs when I was pregnant with the second kid (yes, I weight blah blah.. hey, he did NOT weigh 75lbs....) Regardless, I will never be underweight... that's for sure.

And I appreciate that. I know I'll never be one of those skinny stick figure girls. Which I am not really upset about. When I was younger I wanted to be super thin like a bunch of my friends.. but now that I'm older, I'm thankful that most men tell me that they don't really care for the super skinny ones (they look too much like boys...)... but like someone with curves. At least that's what they are SAYING.. mind you, this is usually followed by the request to touch said aforementioned curves.

Regardless, I could still stand to lose 20. Or at least tone up some more. I was on a good roll there for a while.. .I joined the Y right before Christmas and was going fairly regularly... but then a little while ago.. you know how it is.. things get busy.. and ... you stop going. "Tomorrow!" I say to myself. And yet, tomorrow never comes.... lately anyway...

I come from a very active family. My dad has always been a runner. My sister runs marathons. My other sister and mother also work out on a regular basis. I, on the other hand... am highly irregular. I have less willpower than Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, Homer Simpson with beer... Joan Rivers with plastic surgery... you get my point. I have been a "workout chick" at one point.. after my second child was born... I literally worked my butt off at the Y.. but as a result I was "too" skinny.. (see picture) at least that's what people tell me.. I look too... "pointy".. plus, I had no boobs...

I was on the track team when I was younger.. but I pretty much hate running. Yes, I know...feel better/look better. I've owned expensive pieces of workout equipment that later became pithy clothes hangers.. I've MANAGED fitness clubs.. I've done the aerobics, weight training, walking... YMCA, Curves, GoodLife... ladies gyms, co-ed gyms.. you name it. But for some reason I just will pretty much think of any excuse to NOT go. The most exercise I seem to be getting these days is surfing the web... so... needless to say this is not reflecting well on my ever expanding ass.

Plus, as I may have mentioned, I lack the willpower. I would seriously consider being hypnotized to gain such a power as to say NO to the little voice in my head that tells me that making potato pancakes at 11pm is a good idea....but... I love the food. *sigh* But there comes a time.. usually around bathing suit season... when a girl tries on her capri pants and comes to the realization that she would much prefer wearing the cute little outfits over the stretchy "eatin' pants"...

So, today... will be "tomorrow". I will get back on the proverbial horse and work out today. I will walk the dog, go to the Y, mow my lawn, walk around the block... whatever it takes. I've done it before, I can do it again.. and maybe this time I can "stick" with it..

And I'll get right on that.. right after I finish breakfast... ;)

Life: Still trying to sell my house. Wanna buy it?
Love: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.
Pants: See above. I've been a slacker. Getting back at it. (I KNOW I keep saying this... but I MEAN IT THIS TIME. LOL)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Mom.

I love my mom. Yes, I know, most do, but I happen to know many who don't.. so I have to acknowledge the fact that I think my mom is pretty awesome.

My mom is a lovely little woman. She's very cute. She's Irish and Scottish and very Catholic. She used to be a nurse before I was born.. then stayed home to raise three girls. She was not the type of mom to raise a hand to her children (that was still okay then... remember, I'm old..) but she broke plenty of wooden spoons on the kitchen counter illustrating her point.

My mother is nice. Like, really really nice. Rarely says a bad word about anyone .. and if she does, you know they really deserve it. I am really not too sure where I get my obvious mean streak from. She's "Switzerland".. if any of the sisters get into a fight, she stays out of it.. as much as she can. Mom also had this habit of never ever criticizing a boyfriend.. not to say we brought home a stellar bunch.. on the contrary. If she DIDN'T like the guy, she'd FOR SURE keep her mouth shut. She always figured she'd either drive us closer or if we had a fight with the guy and she called buddy names.. what if we got back together.. then we'd be mad at her, not him. Smart lady.

My mother is also super funny.. she laughs easily and is quick to kid. My sister and I tend to mock our mother a lot. In high school, we had our friends convinced that our mother worked at the strip club under the name "Fat Fanny Farkle". Our friends also somehow thought our mother was an Italian woman dressed all in black with a tray of sandwiches. We are a misleading bunch.

The funniest thing my mother ever said was when my daughter was about 3 and had taken her diaper off and was running around.. my father said "nice girls don't run around with their pants off... " and my little Catholic mother said "that's not what he told me..." That STILL makes me laugh!

One of the things I love most about my mom is that I think she taught me how to be a good mom.. at least I think I'm a pretty decent kids ARE still speaking to me although I've yet to see my breakfast in bed. (Note: I hate breakfast in bed. Coffee - OK.. toast and stuff. messy. I can live without it.)

When I was about 4 I remember thinking I wanted to do something nice for my mom so I decided to bake her a cake. I quietly went into the kitchen at 6am and combined OXO bouillion cubes, water, Nestle's Quik and other magical ingredients to somehow miraculously congeal into a delcious chocolate cake. Apparently I was not as stealth as I thought, as my mother came in and was "very cross" (that's my mom's expression) with me for waking people up and making a mess. I had to go sit in my room. I was horribly unimpressed with my mother, for whom I was merely trying to do something special.

Flash forward about 25 years later and my beautiful daughter is toddling about. I was talking on the phone with someone.. until I noticed a great quantity of Comet cleanser running all the way up the stairs.. and into the bathroom. Where I found my precious looking ever so proud of herself for "helping". An entire jumbo can of cleanser.. wasted. However, I didn't get mad... because I "got" it. I knew she thought she had done something good.

Mind you, flash forward another 5 years and my lovely young son is about 4.... and has been warned to not eat on the couch. The brand new beautiful couch which I've had for about a month. So of course I'm off doing something and return to find my son "cleaning" the couch with Fantastik Bleach Cleaner... he had spilled milk. The couch was ruined. And I lost it. I was soooo upset. I still feel badly for my initial reaction.. I finally had to go upstairs and leave the room until I calmed down. Sure, I had a right to be upset... but... it was just a couch. I'm still embarassed for getting as upset as I did. It was .. and still is.. just a couch. It now just sports a decorative throw ...

On many occasions, as a mother, I've asked myself what my mother would do. Sure, you ask yourself.. she can't be THAT great, after all, what happened to you? Well, I will reassure you that she not only tried her best, but my sisters are upstanding pillars of society and terrific moms as well. I'm just the black sheep. But I'm sure you guessed that.

My mom and I didn't get along for a while when I was about 19. I came home from the bar (on the bus) and we had a fight.. one of those "my house my rules" kind of things. I was 19 and thought I knew everything. My mom came home after shopping the next day and I was gone. Moved out. And didn't tell her where I was for a week. But the time I lived away from home I learned to appreciate my mom.. and she learned to appreciate me too. By the time I moved back.. we got along great.

When I got my first full time job, that Christmas I bought my mom a birthstone ring. I just wanted to get her something really nice for everything I'd put her through (there is far too much to go into here, but let's just leave it at rowdy teenage behaviour including boyfriend crap, drinking, getting suspended and causing my poor mother undue heartache. There was no jail time. Enough said.)

My mom and I used to spend a day a week together.. hanging out.. lunching. But, then I moved away.. got married, had kids. And we never seem to see each other enough, but we have some great phone conversations. She is ALWAYS there for me.. through moving, job loss, marriage, childbirth, divorce, moving, job loss.. more moving.. never ends. I know my little Irish Catholic mother prays for me .. and all her family every night.. and if anyone's prayers are going to be heard, they will be my mom's.

My daughter is now 19.. and thankfully.. we get along. It hasn't always been that way.. we certainly have our moments. My son will be 14 soon. And we've pretty much always gotten along. My kids are very smart, talented and good looking (if I do say so myself). They are respectful to others, kind, helpful, lovely kids. I'm proud of them. They make it easy to love being a mom. And I think that at least part of the reason they are, is that I learned to be a pretty good mother from my mother.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you. xoxoxox

p.s. Yes, me and my children also turned out so great because of my father and my childrens' father. Father's Day isn't till June. They'll have to wait for the glory. Sheesh.

Life: Shoot. Just thought of something.. now I have to let my mom read the blog today. Uhoh.
Love: I love my mom. She is pretty cool.
Pants: I did not get my mother pants for Mother's Day. Shhhh!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Clothes Make the, Woman.

I wore my gym pants to the mall today. Several sales ladies gave me the once over (and I'm pretty sure one alerted security)...

As I was looking for Mother's Day gift for my mom I was in "nicer" stores than I usually shop.. and I was in my sweaty gym clothes.. one of my AC/DC tee shirts...wet hair (it was raining).. and overall looking pretty .. not good.

I was in Winners and looked in the mirror.. I actually looked pretty bad... no wonder clerks are looking at me suspiciously.. they think I'm homeless.... or worse yet, that I buy all my clothes at discount outlets...

Here's the conundrum. First off.... I hate shopping for clothes. I am SOOOO not a girl that way. I would like things to "jump out" at me. Ideally, I would like someone to just bring clothes to me that fit perfectly and look great on me. Consequently, my wardrobe is not ...... high fashion, shall we say. In fact, I think Stacey and Clinton from "What Not to Wear" will be on my doorstep at any moment throwing out most of my wardrobe and forcing me to buy COLOURS. Or worse yet, corduroy. Or something with puffy sleeves and ruffles. Yikes.

The vast majority of my wardrobe is black. Even in the summer months I am the girl in the black capri pants and KISS tee shirt. I pretty much stick with 3 colours. Black, red and white. Once in a while a little dark purple might get thrown in. NEVER green -- St Paddy's day is the exception. I own ONE blue shirt. (I haven't worn blue since grade 7 when my sister told me I looked awful in blue. She was just trying to ensure I didn't wear her blue dress.) And as far as anything pastel goes.. not likely. Ok, a couple of tee shirts, but that's it.

I was told the other day that I don't dress like a forty freakin' five year old.. and I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not... I tend to wear a lot of tee shirt/jean combos when I'm not forced to dress to others' expectations (i.e. work environment, court hearing or what have you..) and things that I am comfortable in.

Mind you, I do have my moments when I dress a little better.. wearing a skirt or kilt or something pretty.. and generally low cut.. But thats not a daily occurence.

So when I have my choice, I like to just be.. comfy.. and honestly, I think it takes some guts to go to the mall in my sweats, no make up and bad hair. Mind you, I'm pretty sure this is affecting my ability to attract hot guys.. but as long as I'm comfy.. and happy...

Hmmm...maybe I should look into a makeover.. or quite possibly, an intervention..

Life: More on that later.

Love: I think I need to stop wearing the workout wear .. out.

Pants: Again. Just say no to the workout pants in public.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sometimes the Wrong Number is the Right Number.

I dialed a wrong number today.

I misdialed.. and through checking the number, etc.. ended up chatting with a lovely gentleman on the phone. I think he was a little bit lonely and took the opportunity to have some human contact.

He started off by telling me that he often received misdialed calls as if you flip the last 2 numbers of a business number, you get him instead.. so people like me with little chubby carny hands (as mine have been called on occasion) sometimes hit the wrong buttons and call him instead.

I really hate when you dial a wrong number and someone is out and out rude about it. Seriously, you did not deliberately try to wreck their day or poison their puppy. You MADE AN ERROR. Jeepers. Some people. So since this man was being so pleasant, I was compelled to chat with him for a bit.

Through our conversation he told me that he had a bevy of health issues. He'd had 3 heart attacks due to a hereditary condition.. had had a quadruple bypass as a result... and he was only in his 50's. He hadn't worked in 17 years ever since he had been hit head on by a truck and was severely injured. He was hoping to move sometime soon because he lived in a really bad area of town.. there had been a lot of violence in his neighbourhood and at one point he had been mugged at gunpoint right outside his building.

His wife left him for a biker after he had his heart attacks as she just couldn't deal with it. After she left, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and he was currently undergoing chemo for it.. but things had taken a turn for the worse and it didn't look good.

The odd thing about this conversation was that he wasn't asking me to feel sorry for him.. He was merely telling me about himself. He went on to tell me that as long as he can still get around and he was "still kickin'" .. he'd keep doing what he does.. he's been volunteering with seniors since he stopped working.. among other volunteer positions. And generally just trying to be a productive part of society.

He wrapped up his story by telling me that he would keep going .. and that he wasn't checking out until he "was done punching his hole in the world". Then he told me that his name was Dan, and that he had had a good time chatting with me. I told him that I had had a good time talking with him. And I meant it.

I marvelled at his good spirits despite all the adversity that had been thrown his way. At one point in our conversation I had to stop speaking as I teared up during his story. What makes someone with so much perceived "bad" in his life still end up being so positive? And why does it always seem like some people who have so much perceived "good" in their lives never seem to be happy?

Well.. not sure about that I guess. I suppose it's all whether you look at the glass half full or half empty. But I do know one thing.. I have had challenges in my life, and I have let them get me down and sometimes nearly defeat me. But I've survived thus far.. and so has Dan. And he has had many more obstacles to face than I have. So I will try to follow Dan's example.. and keep punching my hole in the world.

Dan.. It was great to "meet" you.. that was the rightest wrong number I've ever dialed.

Life: Gotta get busy living.. or get busy dying.
Love: Nothing to report at this time. Although I have had a lot of interesting calls lately...
Pants: I could not locate my pants today. I had to wear another pair.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Expiration Date...

I was asked out on a date. Yikes.

"Finally!" you say... "she's actually going to address the LOVE part of this damned blog!" Oh, I'm sure it's been weighing heavily on your mind.. (that, my friends, is sarcasm...)

Yes, a date. A boy asked me out. Hmmmm...

I really haven't "dated" much in my lifetime.. it's kind of strange. But then again I was married for a long time..then in a relationship for several years.

My first date was when I was 11 or 12. Chris-the-boy-next-door asked me to go see "TOMMY" with him. I agreed. It would be fun, plus, I would get to see the movie.. (this was during my huge crush on Elton John before I clued in that he was gay.) I was excited.. and suddenly extremely nervous. So I invited my sister and my 2 visiting cousins to come along. Then I made them sit between Chris and I. He was not impressed. Not an auspicious start to my dating career.

In high school no one had any money so "dates" weren't commonplace.. they mostly involved just hanging out in someone's rec room. My first "date" with my high school boyfriend was a Goddo concert .. at the Delta Theatre on Friday April 13th (Good Friday). After that we went out all through high school..and mostly just "hung out".

I really didn't go on a "real date" till college. And unfortunately, it was just as... successful.. as my very first date.

This fellow named James had a huge crush on me.. and he was nice enough, but I just did not feel the same way about him. But he was persistent and felt he could win me over. He literally BEGGED me to go out with him for his birthday. So I did.

James took me to a very nice restaurant and ordered a bottle of wine (Black Tower, as I recall.. this could have started my dislike of German wines..) which he did not drink because he was driving.. so it was all mine. And I accepted, graciously.

James meant well, but in reality, we had nothing to talk about. He was somewhat older than me having come back to college.. and I did not find him the least bit attractive. I'm not one to judge based solely on looks.. I'm a brain/personality girl.. but .. James was not up to the lowest of my standards. He was nice.. he brought me flowers, took me to a fancy restaurant.. etc. But he was about as entertaining as watching Dennis Rodman act. Or Paris Hilton sing. Yup, bad.

Therefore in order to entertain myself I played a little game of "let's finish all this wine". I think James got it in the hopes that the booze would lessen my inhibitions. The only thing it really accomplished was increasing my desire and ability to rule the conversation. It did not, however, increase my desire when it came time to say good night. James made a poorly executed attempt at trying to kiss me (this involved him attempting to use his full body weight of approximately 300 lbs to pin me to the front seat of his Dodge) to which I adamantly refused. Needless to say, there was no second date.

Some of the other spectacular one-offs from the dating highlight reel include

  • a guy who took me to see E.T. and cried his eyes out.. and I did not.. never heard from him again.
  • A fellow named Brian who somehow thought that uttering the phrase "all my friends are dead" was somehow a turn on. Then he proceeded to tell me how each of them had died. Creeeeeeeeeeepy...
  • Diego - who thought that buying a girl an ice cream cone was sufficient reason for putting his hand up my skirt.
  • A guy named Paul who thought it was impressive to show me how many shooters he could do. I wasn't impressed by the quantity and was even less impressed when he regurgitated them onto my shoes.
  • Ronald McDonald - yes, his real name.. but he called himself "Kenny".. who thought himself a superstar and had to sing in my ear all night.

And the list goes on... nothing too traumatic or awful. Guys who expected me to pay. Guys who were just jerks. One guy who told me I was "bite-able" But mostly just a "not clicking" kind of thing. But I've had good dates too - the ex and I went to the movies and mini golfing on our first date.. Fernando and I went out for dinner. The "good" parts of both were the conversation.. that's what made it fun.

As I said, I'm a brain girl.. I like smart and funny.

After Fernando and I split, I wasn't ready to date for a while.. and yes, signed up for the online dating thing.. Only went out with 3 guys. Guy #1 was very very nice and we had a lovely time, but really had nothing in common. No spark. Not even close. Guy #2 and I met for some wings and beer... nice enough looking fellow.. was somewhat interesting to talk to but.... nothing. Never talked again. Guy #3 and I agreed that there wasn't a connection, but have remained friends.

So it's with all these "not so great" dating experiences under my belt that I'm not.. "looking for love". I don't go out of my way to meet guys. I think I have a few other more pressing things to worry about at the moment. I came to realize specifically with the online thing that most guys my age are looking for girls HALF my age.. so it's a wee bit disheartening. Therefore it was surprising to be asked out this week. Flattering.. kind of fun. He's a friend of a friend.. and we've been chatting online for a bit. And he apparently likes me. He reads my blog and thinks I'm funny and thinks I should stop flirting "with cute boy on the internet" and have a REAL date. So that's ....interesting...and I considered... but...

Long story short.. I said no. I just don't think of him in "that way". I don't really have a "type" .. but I just don't think he's even close. But here is the kicker. He says to me "well, you're not getting any younger you know..." Yup, cause I'm like a carton of 2% and might go bad at any time.

Needless to say... I think I'm still a ways off from my expiration date.... at least I hope so!

Life: I will know this week when I will be moving. To where.. ? That remains to be seen.
Love: See above.
Pants: Let's skip this one for now. They are all too big still.. but .. need to "get back on the horse". Maybe some yoga.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Windows Down, Volume Up....

I had to drive a lot this past weekend. One thing I discovered was that you can drive from Wasaga Beach to Barrie and only play two Meatloaf songs. "Bat Out of Hell" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light".. He's longwinded.. I drive fast.

I noticed that my car is approaching the 12,000km mark and started thinking about where I had driven it since I got it in December... and realized it's mostly been from Barrie to Toronto to Kitchener to Hamilton to St. Catharine's. Mostly Barrie to KW. It all adds up. I've always put a lot of miles on my cars.

I love driving .. it gives me time to think and listen to music....LOUD. Strangely, I only got my licence when I was 21, even though I already knew how to drive. Growing up, Chris-the-boy-next-door, was 3 years older and got his licence promptly at 16. He'd take his parents Dodge Dart out in the evening with the excuse that he was going to his friend's across town. In reality, he was meeting me a street over and letting me drive the Dart in the hopes that I would make out with him. I was a tease.

At 16 I didn't bother getting my licence right away... we only had one car and I'd rarely get the chance to drive it, so I just didn't bother. Actually, we did have a second car - an old green Ford station wagon.. which stayed parked in the driveway. That vehicle I used.. often.. but not for driving purposes. On a couple of occasions my father caught me and my boyfriend Craig in the backseat .. in the driveway. Craig didn't drive either.. it was as close as we got to going "parking". My parents started locking the car and hiding the keys. Craig and I started making out somewhere other than my driveway.

Ironically, my first full time job out of college was as a traffic reporter at 820 CHAM in Hamilton. Each day I'd get up at the crack of stupid and take the bus to work.. do the morning reports.. sometimes take the bus home for a bit.. then bus it back downtown for afternoon traffic. I was kind of embarassed by the fact that I was reporting on traffic, yet didn't even drive. Then I was asked to start doing the all night show on air.. which meant I needed wheels. So at 21 I had to go get my driver's licence....and buy a car.

I took some driving lessons so that I could use the instructor's car.. I really didn't want to parallel park with my Dad's Chev Caprice Classic ... aka the boat. My driving test went well, and I got my licence on the first try... nothing exciting to report. However, my lovely friend Mark thought that this was somewhat amusing and apparently feared for his personal safety. Imagine my surprise when I heard my driving instructor being interviewed on the air... calmly reassuring the fine people of Hamilton that I was a good and safe driver and that they shouldn't flee the streets in terror, as per Mark's suggestion. (Please note that I have yet to extract revenge for this but could do so at any moment. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mark...)

My first vehicle was the 1985 Plymouth Horizon. I loved it. It was freedom to me.. The first day I had it my mother made me promise to stay off the highway.. and I promptly headed toward the QEW and the Skyway Bridge. I loved that car.. I would finish work at 6am and sometimes I'd just drive around for the hell of it.. just because I enjoyed it. I had plenty of adventures in my little car.. drove to Niagara Falls NY with my little sister and her friends ...stayed in a hotel and went partying.. (we told our mothers we went on rides and to the wax museum...) I drove to Sault Ste. Marie by myself.. and Sarnia in a snowstorm.. and Kemptville .. all for a boy. Then I married the boy and it was our "family car".. the one that we brought our first baby home in.

Then someone smashed it and I had to get a new one... A beautiful red Dodge Shadow. Which... someone stole after a few years... then I got it back only to be t-boned by a guy and cut out of it. Broke my hip and couldn't drive for a while. After that had a couple of vans... then drove company vehicles for 5 years.. until the company let me go.

So I had to get my own vehicle. And I chose the 2009 Hyundai Elantra. Red, of course. It reminds me a bit of the Shadow .. which I loved.. but hopefully I won't get cut out of this one...
But it also reminds me of the freedom that I feel when I drive.. Sure, I complain about it on occasion but for the most part.. I love driving with the windows down and the stereo cranked obscenely loud... everything from the Beatles to the Brides of Destruction...... I can go anywhere or do anything .. as long as I have wheels.

And I guess it's a good thing I like my little car.. as I may be living in it soon..LOL... at least it has A/C and a stereo.

Life: Just waiting to finalize the house deal.. keep ya posted.
Love: I love driving.
Pants: This area of my life is currently being neglected. Need to get back at it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hungry... Like the Wolf.

I think about food constantly.

If I'm not eating, I'm planning what I'll eat next. If I am eating, most of the time I'm savouring the flavours of what I am chewing and enjoying every minute of it. I sometimes think I enjoy food more than pretty much anything.. sex included. Which at this point in my life (i.e. relationship-less) it's a wonder I'm not tipping the scales at 300 lbs.

I spent 2 days last week eating nothing but cereal - Rice Krispies to be specific. I was feeling lazy since I had no one to cook for but myself... and went with convenience. Of course, whilst eating the cereal I was thinking of all the delicious things I COULD have made, but didn't. Yeah, I'm weird.

I think most peoples' love affair with food begins at an early age. I know mine did. My best food memories are those of my grandmother's cooking (sorry Mom)... Every year on my birthday, my grandmother would make me perogies and doughnuts. My grandmother made the most delicious doughnuts known to all humankind. Tim Horton's are giant blocks of wood or rock comparatively speaking. Krispy Kreme are flavourless hunks of deep fried crap compared to Grandma's. They were warm and light and delicious and covered in cinnamon and sugar. Honestly, I have a hard time eating doughnuts now. I've never been a fan since I have eaten the finest doughnuts ever made. Little pieces of heaven. She also made fabulous bread. Oh my. She and my grandfather had a bakery before my father was born and I guess she perfected her craft there.

Now, when most people think perogies, they think of those potato ones you get deep fried in bars and crap. Well.. those are not the Lithuanian perogies of my childhood. My grandmother would spend hours crafting (yes, I said CRAFTING) the finest perogies ever.. one batch potato with onion and cheese, the other batch ham. She would use a manual meat grinder to grind up the ham and make the delectable filling.. (stops typing to wipe drool). The perogies would then be boiled and served with melted butter. Delectable. I think this is my favourite food ever.

My cute little Irish-Scottish mother learned from her Lithuanian mother in law how to make the perogies and now it's a request for every birthday.. however the family has grown so large that it's tough to make as many perogies as is required .. it's an all day job. I know for fact as I, too, have learned how to make them from scratch (I haven't for a very long time though..). One of the first times I cooked perogies, I made them for my ex-husband's family at his parents house.. and it was a learning experience. My ex had extolled the virtues of the Lithuanian perogies and therefore there was much anticipation surrounding my dinner. Which was a huge and total flop.
I hadn't mastered the art of rolling the dough to the practically paper thin weight required.. and my delicious fillings were surrounded with tough, thick boiled dough that resembled cooked playdoh but lacking the flavour. *sigh* I have since learned the secrets and my perogies are pretty good.. not as good as Grandma's or Mom's.. but I don't have the years of practice... or the patience required for that matter.

I learned to cook at a very young age.. mostly by watching my mother and then experimenting myself. I remember showing a friend how to fry eggs and ham.. I was about 9.. and he marvelled at the fact that I could do that. At one point .. I was about maybe 12.. my aunts came to visit. I felt the need to make a lavish meal for them and insisted I cook. I vividly remember looking up all the fancy dishes that I had heard on tv and then made.. from scratch.. cheese souffle, asparagus with homemade hollandaise sauce, veal parmagiana and pasta. From what I recall, it was terrific. You thought there was going to be some hilarious story here, didn't you?

My sister and I went through a phase where we liked to bake and cook a lot.. specifically candy. We became expert brownie makers.. and learned how to cook things to the "soft ball" and "hard ball" stages. I think we spent an entire summer making fudge and penuche (a brown sugar fudge)... which probably explains why I don't often care for it now.. I ingested about 500 lbs of sugar that summer I'm sure. It's amazing we didn't become diabetic.

I don't think I actually have any foods I HATE.. when asked, I'll say cooked carrots, but I'll eat them.. growing up, I was not a huge fan of red meat as we seemed to eat roast every Sunday and I grew tired of it.. but it's all right now. I love brussell sprouts, broccoli, and all other green vegetables including spinach. I'll try anything.. not much I don't like as a result.

As a result of my love of food, I have become a pretty decent cook. Probably my best dishes are ones that I just have thrown together. I make a wicked Shrimp with Mango and Garlic.. I can make gnocchi from scratch... anything Italian I totally rock (apparently I was Italian in a past life).. and I make great bread. In fact, my father says I have inherited my grandmother's talent. And this I consider to be the best compliment ever..

I think I better go make something to eat.

Life: Things are in flux. I'll keep ya posted.
Love: I love food. It makes me happier than most other things.. LOL
Pants: I must not revert back to my candy making days otherwise they won't fit. Other then that.. going well.

Friday, May 1, 2009

If You THINK ... You Can Do It!

When I was in Saskatchewan, I met a really interesting man named Blake Emmons.

Blake's had a very adventurous life. He left home at 11. He's been in the military.. he's been a professional singer/songwriter, a game show host (aka my dream job) he hosted Chain Reaction.. and a television show host (Funny Farm.. the Canadian Hee Haw, so to speak) .. He has helped many people along the way .. using his celebrity status to help others through The Variety Club. Blake was awarded the Order of Canada not that long ago for those efforts. He really should write a book about his life.. but so many remarkable things have happened to him.. he's not sure people will believe him.

Prior to flying out to Saskatchewan, I was told that Blake was hosting the President's Dinner and that the SCMA would like Blake to do the seminar with me. To tell the truth, I didn't know who Blake was really.. I had heard OF him, but really didn't know that much. So I did what I do.. I Googled him. I got some information about him.. he has a Wikipedia entry... but didn't get too incredibly much about him. It was a little sparse.

So it was good to finally meet him on the Friday evening .. the organizers thought it would be cool if he and I got together to discuss the seminar. We ended up meeting.... talking for about 2 hours.

Blake told me just a fraction of his life story.. he's done a lot. He describes his life as "one incredible adventure after another". And he means it. From the little I know, his life has been filled with many hardships.. as have many others...but somehow, he's managed to turn that around and use those experiences to make something GOOD happen, help others and make his life richer in many ways.

When Blake and I talked, he discussed how he felt his life is guided by a higher power and he knew he was supposed to be in Saskatchewan this particular weekend. He hadn't found his "why" yet, but he would.

He also told me about the book he's written... "If you THINK.. You Can Do It!" It's his philosophy.. or one of them anyway.

If you think you can do it then do it you will.
And when you do do it you'll know when it's done,
That just in the doing is most of the fun.

What is the “it” that you wanted to do?
That you just didn't try, and you can't explain why?
Sit and think for a second, a minute, an hour.
When you do the things you do who gives you the power?

The book was written as a childrens' book.. aimed at encouraging children to TRY and to use the power of positive thinking.. however.. he told me that he'd heard from people who had given this to adults who said it was the push they needed. He promised to give me a copy the next day. And he did.

I've read books by various motivational speakers, positive thinkers and the like. Usually I get hyped up for a few days .. likely just a few hours.. but it doesn't have any long lasting effect. I eventually revert back to where I was. But reading Blake's book .. makes it sound so simple. And I think it truly is. If you truly believe in something.. in yourself.. you can do it. But if you don't even try, you'll never know.

Sometimes you may stumble. You may even fall.
But you'll get to the top in spite of it all.
Life will be all that you think it can be.
And all that you think will be all that you see.

Blake found out why he was supposed to be in Saskatchewan last weekend. And I think I did too. And I think I just saved about $3,000 in Tony Robbins seminars.....

Here is where you can buy Blake's book: If You THINK.. You Can Do It

I only put in a couple of verses from the book.. but regardless.. it's from "If You THINK... You Can Do It" by Blake Emmons, Pacific Institute Publishing. Seattle WA..all rights reserved and all that jazz.

Life: Interesting. Taking a lesson from Blake.. Just waiting for the next adventure
Love: We'll see. But I know it's out there!
Pants: Back at it this week. I think I can do it!