Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers Part 2

Earlier this year I had a post called The Kindness of Strangers. If you haven't read that far back, please feel free to pop on over there and them come back.

I have these little bouts of highs and lows when it come to my tote bag fundraising campaign. My highs being that I've raised $160 and some of those sales have been to people outside of my social circle (which I realize doesn't sound like a big deal but to me it is...I know I can count on family and friends but I feel like in order for it to make a difference I need to reach other people)

My lows would be that I feel like I'm not reaching enough people. I'm heading back to work in two days and while I know I'll have time to sew at night after the kids have gone to bed I know I'm not going to have time to sew as much as I'd like. This combined with getting discouraged when I got for a couple of days without selling a bag or getting a hit on the Papa's Pride blog. (yes, check my hits daily)

So I've got about 8 or 9 bags done and ready to be sold. I thought I'd sew a couple of more over the long weekend and then pack in the sewing supplies for a few weeks, get myself acclimated to working out of the house again and then slowly pick up the sewing again.

A few weeks ago I put an ad on Kijiji as well as on the freecycle networks looking for suitable fabrics for bags. I was looking for donations on freecycle (it's against the rules to sell items there and I was very honest about the reason for my request because it's also against the rules to sell items you receive from there) but on kijiji I said, I'd be willing to pay but was hoping for donations since it was for charity.

I got two responses from freecycle and was 'gifted' with a pretty good lot of fabrics. On Kijiji I had contacted someone about some fabric they were selling. This same person responded to my ad looking for material donations. Despite the fact that she was trying to sell her fabrics she very generously donated a large lot of material to me. I was incredibly grateful.

Fast forward to today. I received an email from this same woman. She said she'd found some more material that she wanted to donate. But wait, there's more. She also said she'd stopped into the Salvation Army store looking for some more material, her intention was to buy it and donate that to me as well. She found some and I guess got into a discussion with the manager of the store. She explained why she was buying the material. The manager of the store didn't charge the woman for the material, rather she gave it to her for free for her to donate. She was also willing to pass along info about the bags through her church.
AND...to top all this off, the woman who was going to buy the material wanted to buy one of the bags too.

Now I'll tell ya, by the time I got to the end of the email I was in tears. I don't know this woman from Adam and she me but obviously she sees the merits of the cause and wanted to do her part to help. And it's things just like that that not only renew my faith in the inherent good of people but it also makes me see that even if I don't raise a ton of money with sales from the bags I'm making a difference somehow. I've lit a fire in myself and in other to strive to make a difference in any small way we can.

So I went over to her house to collect the materials. I brought all the bags that were ready to be sold and had her pick which one she wanted (she chose the 'Jenny' - excellent choice!)
I told Sean when we went over that I was going to offer her the bag for free. Her extreme kindness should not go unrewarded, and thank you is just not enough to express my gratitude. And yet, she would have no part of it. She insisted I take the money for the bag. And when I was leaving she told me I was doing my Papa proud (which of course brought me to tears and I had to beat a hasty retreat so she wouldn't see me blubbering like a fool)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's funny how something as terrible as cancer can bring out the best in people. It creates bonds that otherwise may never have been. It creates unity, and charity and compassion. The worst can bring out the best.

So, to my very generous angel..... if by some small chance you've stumbled through the maze of links from the Papa's Pride blog to this one, I want to thank you again. I am a believer in karma and I truly believe that your kindness will come back to you two fold.

the Unknown.

Only two days left before I return to work outside the home for the first time in 4 years.

I went into the school yesterday with my fellow ECE to speak with the principal and get a feel for what was happening Thursday morning and then next week. Oddly enough I came out of there feeling less confident and more nervous. You see, the teacher I was going to be working with decided to retire over the summer. Yeah, great. So the principal was meeting with some teachers yesterday to sort it out. So, now I won't meet the teacher I'm working with until Thursday. Great. I was looking forward to working with the other teacher. What if the new one is not 'on board' with the ELP? I would think she (he?) would be if she's chosen to interview for a job teaching it but it could also be that there just aren't any other good teaching jobs out there and she's desperate to work. Argh!

I'm proud of how far out of my comfort zone I've stepped. I'm going to meetings (voluntarily) and talking with people (when it's not necessary) just because I think it's for the best. 5 years ago there is no way I could have taken this job. The thought of going into something this unknown would have been too much for me.

Sean commented the other day that he wondered how long it would be before I said I wanted to quit. I wasn't thrilled with that lack of confidence. He says he's really proud of me but then throws a comment around like that. He also claims to have been joking but as the old saying goes, "the truest things are said in jest" Well he and his jokes can bite me.

Wish me luck on Thursday. I'm scared shitless.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Worst. Products. Ever.

If you've spent any length of time watching television after midnight or early Sunday morning you've seen your fair share of infomercials. And there's a sucker born every minute.

But there are some mainstream products that are just as craptastic and they sell by the millions. Why? Because there's a sucker born every minute...weren't you paying attention?!

So here's my list of the top 5 useless products on the market today. I could have had a much longer list but time and bandwidth don't always work on my side.

The No Touch Hand Soap System.
For any of my FB friends you know I just don't get this one.
Yes, germs get from your hands to your hand pump and then yes those germs subsequently get on your hands again when you use the pump again but the idea of using the pump is to put soap on your hands so that you can wash them. Wouldn't you then be washing said germs off?
Now a friend mentioned she has one in the kitchen for when she's got raw meat goo on her hands and granted, I can see the benefits there....but at the end of the day I still can't wrap my mind around the $15 hand soap pump that you have to by specialty refills for so that my soap pump doesn't get germy.



The Snuggie.
Alright this one is from an infomercial but now you can buy it anywhere so it counts as a real product.
It's a blanket with sleeves. I have one of those only I call it a robe. And when I sit on the couch my robe doesn't come undone because I bought a size that actually fits me.
My mom has these robes that are like nightgowns, they go over her head. That works too.

Seems to me though that if you need to have something like this that the issue isn't that you need a blanket with sleeves it's that you house is too cold and you either need to turn the heat up, turn the a/c down and put on some damn clothes.

And they sell snuggies for dogs now too.



Which brings me to my third product.
The Doggie Stroller.
This ranks up there with doggie clothes (like the afore mentioned snuggie) and doggie snugglies...
I was watching a Tori and Dean rerun the other day (yes, it's my guilty pleasure, I like Tori Spelling...sue me) and she was at the beach with her dog...and her dog was in one of these. Now I said it, I like Tori Spelling....but come on girlie....a stroller for the dog? And this was after she'd had kids so she'd grown past that furbaby vs real human baby stage...and yet the damn dog was still in a stroller.

Now I could see it if your dog met with an unfortunate accident and only had two legs (though I've seen two legged dogs walking just fine....life adapts.) or of your dog was old and arthritic and couldn't walk the length of itself without severe pain....(though at that point I question quality of life and wonder why the owner isn't showing mercy and putting the poor creature down)

Don't let me ramblings about this be confused with my previous 'dog hating' post because while I don't like them as pets I also don't think any self respecting canine wants to be seen around town in one of these. It's not a pimped out ride. The other dogs ARE pointing and laughing at him.

Oh, and guess what. These babies cost just as much as strollers for real, live, non walking, human babies. Wow.



Toothbrushes.
No I have not gone off my rocker. I'm not saying toothbrushes are useless products. They are 100% necessary. But have you ever gone into the toothbrush aisle? There are 500 different types of them. Why? Don't they all do the same thing? They scrub the crap off your teeth. And some of the automatic ones can run you $100. There is a new one that has a thumb hole in the handle so that you know how to hold your toothbrush. Really? Was there some confusion before?
I'm no dentist but I would think that any small brush with bristles would get the goo off your teeth. Hell, try using a clean mascara brush with toothpaste, I'll bet it would work just as well (and would fit into those smaller crevices.)




Wipes Warmers.
I can honestly say I don't know a single solitary person who used one. Even the people who had one...they didn't use it. There have been recalls for burnings and spontaneous fires.
The theory is good, keep the wipies warm so that it's not a shock to the little tushy when you wipe. I wouldn't want to be wiped with something cold either but there are other ways around this. Personally, I just waded up the wipes and warmed them in my hand for a split second.
It just seems like a waste of money to me. But then, I'm also the mom who didn't invest in a change table. That's what couches, beds and floors are for. I'm sure I'll get flack for having this one on the list - someone out there uses it...otherwise they wouldn't keep making it.
In fact, if you are a wipes warmer Momma...feel free to comment and explain the merits of it. I'm open to discussion.



Now in good practice of fairness I am going to let you in on a little secret. If you are one of the afore mentioned 'suckers' you are not alone. I too am a a sucker and have bought an infomercial product. It boasted great things and really thought I couldn't live without it. And what's more.....I didn't fall for this tripe once....no, I fell for it twice! My mom bought me some and I used them and they SUCKED. They were not nearly strong enough and quickly broke. But then years later they came out a with a *new and improved* version that promised more strength and durability. So, like a yutz I called that 1-800 number right away and ordered me a whole bunch.

The Wonder Hanger


The problem here arises with that fact that you need to have the hanger rod in your closet up 7 feet in the air otherwise when the wonder hanger is collapsed your clothes are all dragging on the floor and wrinkling. And if it isn't collapsed the hangers are too damn high for a regular sized person (read: shorty) like me to actually reach the hanger to get clothes on or off.

Epic Fail on that product. And a waste of my $19.99 plus s&h.

Next time I'll save the money to put toward building a bigger closet.



















































Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm in it now

And by it I mean a big pile of *it*

I've got my wardrobe all ready. The only thing I was missing (for now at least) was a good coat. You see, working from home all these years did not require me to have any clothes that actually looked nice, they just had to function. So rather than spending money on clothes, I just used Sean's hand me downs.
My fall coat consisted of a hoody under Sean's old spring jacket. It worked, it was very warm. But - it's not exactly conducive to a professional look. So I've been looking for a jacket for the fall.

I went to Old Navy and found one I really liked. It was $50 - right in my price range. And then, the heavens smiled upon me and I got a 30% off coupon in an email. But -it was only good from this Thursday to Sunday.

Have I mentioned that we are broke? When I say broke, I mean penniless. We are living not just paycheck to paycheck we're living on Visa. Gail Vaz Oxlade would kick my ass! You see, Sean's income covers the mortgage and bills. But then there is the small problem of eating. And that is where Visa comes in.

It's not forever...just until I get my first paycheck. Unfortunately that won't be until September 24th. And even more unfortunate - this is Canada and I will need a fall coat before September 24th.

So, off to Old Navy I go. I've got my 30% off coupon and my last $40. I'm going to buy my coat. But guess what. They don't have any left. They do have another one similar but it's also $10 more. What's $10 when you're already in the hole you say? Well, you're right, but I just wasn't feelin' the love for this coat. I did find another one I liked but it was $80. Not happening.

So off we went. Discouraged but I'm a trooper.

So then we went to Zellers. I'm not a giant fan of Zellers but I thought, it can't hurt to look, I won't find anything and we can go home.

And then there it was. It was beautiful. It was stylish. It was ON SALE!

It's a dark grey Jules and James coat. It's like short trench with 3/4 sleeves, wide sleeves. And then from below the sleeve its got a knit sleeve that comes out so it's actually a full sleeve. I really must take a picture because I suck at describing things.

The point is, it's gorgeous.

So here's the rub. I tried on a large. It fit but was a little tight across the back. Now I could be one of those optimists who says "well, when I start work I'm going to lose a bit of weight" BUT - if I don't I've got a coat that's too tight and when I tried it on I was only wearing a t shirt, not anything with substance, ie a sweater.
But alas, there were no XL's. So, taking one last longing look in the mirror I went to take it off and hang it back up.

But then...something caught my eye. Could it be? YES! IT IS! It's the same coat in an XL hanging on the hanger on the wrong stand right in front of me.

I told Emily it was a sign. I hummed and hawed about spending so much money since we have none but when I saw My Coat right there in front of me, not on it's proper stand, placed just so I would see it, calling to me "Buy me...you will look fabulous!" When God is talking, you should listen. (okay, so I realize my finding this coat was not an act of Divine Intervention but for the sake of an interesting read...)

So I bought the coat. It cost a lot more than I had planned to spend. I'm sure Sean is going to shit a purple twinkie when he comes home and sees it but you know what....this is Canada....I'm going to need a fall coat before I get my first paycheck and let's face it, a hoodie and his old spring coat just won't cut it.

Now I just need to find a winter coat......... And boots...... And a new hat and gloves......

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dogs, cats and Cancer

Disclaimer. For all you 'dog people' you may want to opt for not reading the first part pf today's post. But if you do...remember above all else.....I am a nice person.

I was driving behind a guy the other day who was going so painfully slow I wanted to cry. I wasn't in a hurry or anything, I just don't like going 20 km below the speed limit. When I finally got a chance to pass him I saw why he was going so slow.
10 km was accounted for because he was about 172 years old. The other 10 km was caused, in large part, by the small, rat like dog hopping around on his lap. I know that sounds harsh but it was a small dog (like hold in your hands small) and yet it was doing enough running and jumping on this guys lap that I was able to see it. And he was driving. We have laws about talking on your cell, texting, programming your GPS and buckling in your kids but anyone can have an animal hopping around their lap while they drive....no....that's not a hazard!

I'll admit it. I don't like dogs. I'm afraid of big ones. I have no use for people who say "Oh, my dog would NEVER bite anyone....he's so gentle." Um, it's an animal. It doesn't have the ability to reason or be rational so um, yeah, it could very conceivably bite you at any time. It's just chosen not to yet. Small dogs are no better...they are yappy and hyper.

Don't get me wrong, I've thought of having a dog. If I did I would probably get something like a Lab, though I'm very partial to hounds too. I always said I'd get a Beagle (but no, it would not be named Snoopy)

And then I talk to my brother - he has a Newfoundland/Labrador mix (which is funny to Canadians because Newfoundland & Labrador is our 1oth province.) It's a big ass dog. It's an ironic choice too as Newfoundlanders were bred to rescue fishermen who went overboard. The actually have webbed paws. So my brother bought a dog whose purpose is to save drowning people....and he has a pool. If he's outside when someone is swimming he barks like mad and runs around the pool. But I digress. The place I was going to with this was that my brother's dog had an ear problem and it cost them over 7 bills to fix it. Are ya shittin' me?
My other brother has a Jack Russell. We won't even discuss my dislike for this rat...I mean dog. It's jumpy, hyper, yappy....and sorry, it's ugly too. Not cute dog at all.

You gotta walk them and scoop their crap! You gotta 'socialize' them. You gotta train them. They cost a small fortune for everything!

But cats....oh, sweet lovely cats....now there is a pet. No grooming costs. If your cat is a good mouser, like mine, food costs are kept to a minimum. No kidding, she doesn't eat a whole lot of cat food because she fills her belly with rodents and birds outside. She keeps to herself, doesn't beg for food at the table and the hardest thing to do is wrangle her in for her monthly flea treatment. She's an outdoor cat so while we do have a litter box she hasn't actually used it in 2 years. The only thing she expects is for you to pet her a bit once a month when she decides to sit in your lap for a bit. It's really a sweet deal for both of us.

Yep, I'd be crazy cat lady....I'd have 20 of them.

And now that I've offended all of my dog loving readers (sorry Sarah....though I will admit your little guys are cute)

Moving on.

I have a neighbour. Well, I have more than one but this one in particular. He's a nice guy, older (I'm guessing late 50's early 60's) He lives alone, is very quiet but also very friendly.
About 2 months ago or so I noticed he looked like he'd dropped 40 pounded and aged 20 years overnight. I thought the worst (don't we always) but since I don't know him well enough I couldn't exactly go over and say "Hey man, you look like shit, you okay?" I also noticed that his landlord was mowing his lawn, not him.

Yesterday Sean was talking with another of our neighbours. He was mowing the other neighbours lawn. He and Sean got to talking and sure enough, the guy has lung cancer. And to top that off, the neighbour who was doing the mowing...his wife has battled cancer for years and now has a suspicious spot on her lung.

Is it contagious? Seriously?

I feel so horrible for this neighbour. He lives alone. He has a daughter but she lives several hours away. I imagine this poor guy going for radiation treatments and then being home all alone and feeling like shit. I wish there was something I could do but then I worry that I'd be invading this guys privacy...overstepping my bounds.

It just reaffirms things for me. Cancer sucks. We all know that. And now, having witnessed it myself, it sucks even more and I feel so truly horrible for anyone battling it.

I sold two more bags yesterday. I've raised $120 so far for the Relay for Life. I know it's but a drop in the bucket but it makes me feel like I'm doing something....even if it's in an indirect way.
I wish there was more I could do.

And just to end off with a shameless plug. For those who haven't already...please visit the Papa's Pride blog and also please visit my Papa's Pride Etsy store and order a bag. ALL the money raised go directly to our Relay for Life team

Monday, August 23, 2010

A few pictures

I've discovered that with blogger if I want my pictures to show up a little bigger I need to create a page for them. I'm just to lazy at the moment.

Our zoo is one of the best in the world. It's the third largest in North America. It's also the first to be arranged bio geographically. So we don't have a monkey house and a cat house, we have the African Savannah, African Rainforest, Eurasia, Americas....and the animals in those areas are the animals that are found in that part of the world.

I love the zoo. We have a family membership and it more than pays for itself because we spend a lot of time there. It also has an awesome splash pad and through the summer we'll often go to the zoo and not actually see any animals.

I've taken a million and one pictures at the zoo. Some I enter in the zoo's photo contest but the contest has closed for the year.

I was there this weekend and I got this shot of the polar bear. I love it and now I'm bummed the contest is closed...it's a good shot.



I've also taken a million and one pictures of the flowers in my backyard but since yellow is my favorite colour I thought I'd post it.




Several years ago I took some pictures if the girls together. I printed them in black and white and since then they've been hanging in my living room. I've been trying to get some good ones with all the kids together and finally I did. This is one of them. I got 4 with their faces all tight together and now it hangs in my living room opposite the picture of the girls.




I was thinking of adding to my Etsy shop. Last Christmas I made blank note cards for my mom and some friends with photos I'd taken (most of them were fall pictures I'd taken at the zoo - it's a fabulous place to take nature pictures because it's in the heart of the Rouge Valley)

Anyhow, I've been touring around Etsy and thinking perhaps I could add some of my blank note cards....perhaps mix it up a bit and throw in some seasonal cards. We'll see.

On a high note, my bags are really starting to sell. I've made $100 for the Relay already. I'm quite proud of myself.

If you haven't already, please check out my Etsy shop. Better yet, buy a bag.....you won't be sorry!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random Ramblings

2 more weeks. I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone. I have to go get my hair done. My roots are in dire need of some loving. If I can afford it I'll get a cut too but for now I'm going for the colour.

Mary needs her hair cut in a big bad way too. It's long. It's down to her bum long. I'm hoping to get it cut right to her shoulders but that might be pushing it. But - I might bribe her with cash. If I recall, I had to bribe Em with cash too. $1 per inch cut off. I think Mary has enough there to donate so we'll see what I can convince her to do. She didn't get any allowance this month since she'd already spent it so she might welcome the extra cash.

Connor has learned to pee "like Daddy". Apparently the other day when my mom took the kids to Burger King he had to pee and there was no way she was sitting him on the seat so she stood him up and he peed like that. So he's been doing it at home now. Here's the thing though, I didn't know he was peeing like that. So the other day he goes pee and then yells out to me "I pee like Daddy!!" I went in and checked and sure enough, he had the seat up and had peed standing - and he good aim. I couldn't find any pee on the floor, seat or stool.

This morning he woke me up at 6 am to pee. I kept the bathroom light off in hopes that he would stay sleepy and go back to bed. This, unfortunately hampered the aiming process and now I have a mat full of pee to wash.

Can't win 'em all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My list

Anyone who knows me knows I am a giant fan of the show Friends. Not like crazy, psycho, own the DVD collection, stalker kind of fan but I'll openly admit that I've seen every single episode of the show several times and can kick anyone's ass in the Friends trivia game.

Anyhow, last night I was watching the episode where Ross and Rachel have their list of 5 people they are allowed to sleep with without reprisal should the opportunity present itself and Ross tries to get a date with Isabella Rossellini.

So I started thinking about who would be on my list of 5. It's an unlikely cast of characters - not your typical Brad Pitt/George Clooney kind of guys....

So here's my list and except for number one - they are in no particular order.

Number 1. Jason Bateman

Really? Number one you say? Yeah, all kinds. I don't know if it's a throw back from my crushin' on him on Hogan's Family days or what but I was pretty happy to see his career taking off again since I just love love love looking at him. He's all kinds of good looking in a pretty ordinary way. I think that's the appeal. He's NOT George Clooney good looking, he's regular guy good looking. I really dig it.



Number 2 - Robert Downey Jr.

I was all about Robert Downey Jr back before he was a junkie and then when he was a junkie....and even now. I think he's a brilliant actor and oh so nice to look at.



Number 3 - Ralph Fiennes.

I'm a sucker for any man with an accent and those eyes....they go right through you. Now maybe no so much in his no nose Voldamort role in Harry Potter but the other roles...even in his Red Dragon role you can't help but drool a bit when watching him



Number 4. Clive Owen

Another accent....oh yeah. And even better - a British man who can pull off an American accent. I think the first two or three movies I saw him he was 'American' and it wasn't until I saw him in a interview in all his accented glory that I realized he was English. And another one with the eyes...



Number 5. Don Cheadle

Sean calls him Chester Cheeto. I think with him it's his voice. He's got the kind of voice you just want to lay down with. Plus, check him out with his shirt off. Yum.


So there you have it. My 5.

You know, the Toronto International Film Festival is starting in a couple of weeks. Perhaps I'll get lucky, bump into one of them and get lucky (so to speak) And Sean won't be able to object about my breaking my vows because they are, after all, on my list.

Yeah, as if. A girl can dream right?

Friday, August 20, 2010

My cake

One of the perks of making your own birthday cake.

One Day Older

I'm not really another year older today. It's not like yesterday was August 20, 2009. I'm only 1 day older.

Sean gave me the gift of shopping for my birthday. He gave me $250 to renovate my wardrobe for work.

There are a few things you should know about me. A: I don't spend money on myself. And I know for any other Mom's who are reading this, you get it. If you have extra money you spend it on your kids. So the only time I buy myself new clothes is when I gain weight and HAVE to. (The shirt I'm wearing right now...I bought 3 years ago) B: I am not a good shopper. I second guess everything. I'm afraid to take fashion chances. C: I have never had a job I had to 'dress' for so finding the right mix of professional yet I can still sit on the floor with 5 yr olds (since that is in my job description) is tough. No more Levi's for me.

So I called in my bff - who has more fashion sense in her pinkie than I've got in my whole body, who, like me, does not carry a Barbie doll figure but can dress to look fabulous and who knows how to shop the sales rack.

We went out last night and in an hour managed to spend almost all of my money AND get me an entirely new wardrobe. And I look HOT. And I look professional. And I look fashionable. And now that I have clothes in my closet and will not be stressing about what to wear to work I am feeling 1000 times more confident. It's amazing what the right clothes will do for you.

And my mom gave me money to go get my hair done....my roots need some lovin'. So next week I'm going to go and get my hair taken care of and by God I'm going to be ready to go on Sept 2nd.

We had our union vote yesterday. We haven't had the official word come in yet but unofficially we're with the teachers union. I'm glad. It's a different song than I was singing even 2 weeks ago but I think we've made the right choice. Onward and upward.

Today will be a bittersweet day though. Today is the last day that M will be coming to my house for daycare. It's not like we won't see her still all the time. The kids still go to school together and she'll still probably come for sleepovers once a month or so but it's been 6 years. Most of her life. Most of Mary's. I'll miss that.

I'm going to enjoy my day. I'm going to enjoy a nice dinner out with my hubby (I'm glad I didn't take the salmon out of the freezer!) and I'm going to enjoy birthday cake with my kiddies.

Hope you have a great day too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boxes

I took the kids swimming at my youngest brothers house yesterday. My oldest brother lives there now too. My relationship with my oldest brother has been, to say the least, very strained for the last several years. I honestly can't remember the last conversation I had with him that didn't leave me feeling like I wanted to haul off and punch him in the teeth. Not out of anger, just out of sheer longing to have the brother back that I once had.

Yesterday my brother and I finally had a conversation that didn't leave me feeling like shit. I felt like I was really talking to him. The brother I remember from so very long ago.

He told me his analogy on life. Life is like boxes in your head. You have one box for your kids, one for your job, one for your spouse, one for your hobbies, hopes, fears, bills, etc etc....
If you open all of those boxes at once you have a pile of shit rattling around in your head, getting all mixed up and intermingled and soon your brain looks suspiciously like one of those homes you see on Hoarders.

The way to get through life in one piece and with a semblance of sanity at the end is to deal with those boxes one at a time. No multitasking.

To some extent that made sense to me. I think it's a little more fluid though, that the name on the side of the boxes changes as issues arise. For instance, my husband box would have been in the forefront in October 2006. But now it's under a stack of other boxes. My trying to conceive box was on the top of the heap for 3 years...along with the when you do get pregnant...how do you stay pregnant box....and beside that was the mourning the lost babies box....

So I think about my boxes now.
Work. We have our union vote tomorrow. I can already see the problems arising because some of the emails going back and forth are already bitter. It's too bad because we really need to be on the same page. But like Sean said, union politics are the nastiest.
I'm feeling pretty fortunate though, I like the other ECE I'll be working with, she seems like a solid person and she's easy to talk to (especially good for a shy girl like me!) I've also met and built a good rapport with several of the other ECE's.
And despite all this union crap, I'm excited for my new job.

Bags. Yep, those tote bags are dominating my life right now. I spend 3-4 hours a day sewing and when I'm not sewing I'm thinking about sewing. I'm thinking of ways to get the word out about the bags...I'm emailing, spamming and generally being a pest.

And I've had sales! Not a huge amount but sales none the less and one sale leads to more and more....I hope. But more importantly, I'm loving it. I love creating something. I love that I feel like I'm doing something to help. Something to say my Dad didn't lose his battle in vain. $61 is not a bad start.

The kids. Always a top box. I worry about how Connor will take to full time daycare. I worry about how the kids will adjust to my working outside the home again. I worry about the strain/inconvenience on my mother to have to pick them up from school 3 days a week.

Sean. I worry about what my working and Sean's shift change will do to our relationship. I think we're pretty strong now - stronger than ever - and we can overcome anything...but part of me still worries.

Well my friends. I'm off to sew. I sold my favourite bag to one of the daycare mom's yesterday. I was going to buy it for myself but now I'll need to make another one.

I guess when I run out of material that box will be empty and I'll need to find something else to occupy me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Today is going to be a great day!

Mary has a CD of songs from the TV show Phineas and Ferb. The full version of the title song is on it and the chorus goes...

"This could possibly be the best day ever
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be a million and six times better
So make every minute count, jump up, jump in and seize the day
And lets make sure that in every single possible way
Today's gonna be a great day"

I love this part of the song. Really fitting for the title of this blog, no? Life is what you make it.

I've seen such a transformation in myself in the last few years. From my rock bottom in '06 to now. I'm so much more enthusiastic, excited, happy.... And even though I've had a lot of shit thrown at me since the year from hell (namely my Dad's cancer and death) I've managed to stay above the surface, keep breathing and keep moving forward. Story To Be Continued.....

I was searching through kijiji last night (for my US friends it's like Craigslist for Canucks) and looking for people selling fabrics. I'm finally finding my legs in the bag making and have developed my own pattern to my bags will all be pretty uniform. So now I need to really be particular about the materials I'm using. Mary's curtains were a good starting point but I need the heavier materials and after making the 'Jenny' bag ("I'm going to start naming the bags for the people who order them - designer bags all have names...so will mine! lol) and the checkered one (which I LOVE and may buy for myself) I've discovered what works.

So I was searching for material for sale and found an ad for some for sale and replied to it asking about the material type. I then posted my own ad for heavy cotton or broadcloth. In my ad I said I was willing to pay but was hoping for donations since it was for fundraising purposes and the idea is to keep the overhead as low as possible so that the return is high therefore giving me more money to directly raise.
This morning I got two emails, one from the person I replied to and one from my own ad. It was the same person. She does have material I can use and despite the fact that she was planning to sell it (as per her ad) she's offered to donate the material I can use for our cause.

This is just another example of the inherent goodness in people. I'm coming up with big plans. I'm going to open my Etsy store by the end of the week (I'd like to have about 6 or so bags to list with in the beginning.) I'm also going to start looking in to local craft shows and fairs to get into. And of course, at the Relay next June I'm going to request a vendor site and I'll sell the bags there during the Relay.

My birthday countdown is officially on. Only 4 more days. I think Sean is giving me the gift of shopping (ssshhhh, don't tell him I know) and I've already got a list made of what I'm going to need for when I start work. Only 3 weeks left. Holy crap! This summer flew by.

Friday is the last day for little "M" to be coming for 'unofficial' daycare. We made her a DVD video montage of pictures I'd taken over the past 6 years. We gave it to her early last week and we kept a copy for ourselves. Connor and Mary both love watching it. I do too but I'll tell ya, I'm a GIANT wiener and I cry every. single. time. It's going to be strange not having her here. And even though we'll still see her a lot I'm sure....it's still weird. Whoever she goes to for daycare better be good to her....I don't want to have to kick some ass.

Well, that's it for now. It's a sunshiney day. The storm last night wiped out the humidity so we're going to get out and seize the day!

Have a good one!

Friday, August 13, 2010

So much to say.....

and so little time.

I usually do my blogging in the morning while Connor eats his breakfast but this morning I was greeted with not one, but two super exciting emails. Two bag orders!

Now why this is so exciting is because up until now my bag orders have been from people I know.

But this time....one was from a friend of my cousin who so kindly spammed me out on FB and her blog. And the other was from one of my dear Pumpkin Patch friends.

I'll admit, orders made me nervous. I truly, deep down, did not expect to sell a single solitary thing. I've been in a funk for the last few weeks and missing my Dad in the worst way. I've also complained non stop about being bored so I thought I'd try a new hobby...and since the sewing machine and the motherly 'expert seamstress advice' were close at hand, sewing it was.

But I'm also the type who can't pick up a new hobby that doesn't have a purpose. For instance, I will never (NEVER) be able to sew my own clothes. Patterns make no sense to me (and I'm sure my mom could teach me to understand them, much like reading sheet music or blueprints) but frankly, I'm not a huge fan of homemade clothes and probably wouldn't wear them. I'd make some for the kids but the girls are too fussy and Connor...well, I couldn't make him anything worth my effort...he's a boy.

But with bags....I could find a purpose. I thought of doing an Etsy store (which I'm still working on but I want to make a bunch of really nice bags first) And if I used donated materials and kept my costs to a minimum I could put the profits toward our relay team. And that not only gave me purpose but also gave me drive to do it well.

I've gotten good (if I may toot my own horn) I've learned to make button holes and put in zippers. (in fact, Jenny, you'll be my first official zipper...the rest were practice ones) I can see a dramatic improvement from the first bags I made out of Mary's old curtains to the one I sold to my cousins friend and the one I'm making for my friend. They're good. They're nice. I'm going to make myself one for when I go back to work. I'm proud of them. I think if I find I'm getting more sales I may order some custom labels to sew inside of them. I want to do my dad proud.

This brings me to the next thing.

One of the last conversations I had with my dad was about when he'd given me the money to pay for my second year of college. I'd forgotten about it and my Dad, brother and I were on the back porch one evening while my mom was out. This was about 4-5 days before he died. My brother and I had been talking about college and I'd said something about having paid for my college tuition with bingo winnings (true story, I won the jackpot the week before my tuition...which I didn't have....was due) My dad started talking about some money he'd invested and how he'd given me the money he'd gotten from the investment. The thing is, this was when he was often not making sense, talking slow, bouncing around subjects and I thought, at the time, that was what was going on there. It wasn't until he got further into the story that I remembered the whole story....that he had, in fact, given me all the return from his investment to pay for college. My Dad, who never had two nickles to rub together, who finally had a bit of money to play with....gave it to me for school.

18 years later, it is that very education that he paid for that got me the job I am starting in 3 weeks. And for that I am grateful. And I hope he's proud of what I've become.

So, there's been no union talk for a while. I'll fill you in. Our vote is being delayed because the EFTO managed to get enough cards signed to be added into our vote. This means that on Thursday or Friday we'll have a choice between CUPE, ETFO or no union.

Now if you go back and read you'll see I was a staunch CUPE supporter. Perhaps though, I put the cart before the horse...I think I'm swayed the other way. It just looks good. So, I guess even the stubborn ones like me can be swayed. Who'd have thunk it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Wanna Be A Billionaire.....

so frickin' bad........

Emily has finally grown out of the 'pop star' music and is moving on to real music. Now I'm not sure if it's good or bad but most of what she's listening too is stuff that has two versions...the one you buy on the CD and the one they play on the radio....like Eminem. Sean and I don't shelter the kids from too much - extreme things like sex, graphic violence (for that matter - Family Guy...even their cartoon violence is too much for our kids) Swearing doesn't worry me too much. I've been known to drop a few but more importantly, we figure they hear the words anyway, our job is to teach them to find alternate words.

Anyhow, the other day we heard this song by Travie McCoy and I liked it. So I got to thinking...what would I do if I were a billionaire. Here's my list.

The standard things (quit my job, buy new cars, have my dream house built)

Then of course there are family member. I have my mom and 3 brothers. Sean has his mom and 9 brothers and sisters. Of course, they'd all get a nice chunk of change.

I have a few friends who'd be taken care of; some anonymously ('cause I know otherwise they wouldn't take it - though if I had oodles of money I suppose they'd know where it came from)

I would let the kids have 1 shopping spree. Yep, only one. With a modest budget. Just because we're filthy stinkin' rich doesn't mean the kids don't need to learn the value of hard work and an honest living and yes, they will still be getting jobs when they are teenagers to buy their lululemon hoodies and iPhones.

I would start a scholarship fund for high school students going to university who wish to get into the field of education and maybe don't have the financial means to get there. They would have to be recommended by their teachers and it would be based on not just academic achievements but in their demonstration of their drive to be a great teacher.

I would buy that Disney Cruise trip for all of my Pumpkin Patch friends - we'd have a blast.

I'd travel -(but just a bit - the kids still need to go to school)

And just for shiggles.....I'd build my own private indoor water park. Because I LOVE water parks and there are no good indoor ones nearby.

Lotto Max is $50 million this Friday with 38 additional $1 million prizes. I got my tickets. If I'm lucky my next blog post won't be dreaming of what I'll do when I'm rich...it will be telling you all what I'm going to do with my riches.

And now I leave you with this video. It's a parody of the Travie McCoy song that I found on youtube and thought it was pretty cute.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keep 'em coming!

You guys are the best.

So far there have been 53 visitors to the new blog AND two sales!!! Yay!!!!

I'm also getting so much better with my sewing, I did, what I consider the 'perfect' tote today!

So again please feel free to spam me out to all your family and friends. One honourable mention in a facebook status update will get a lot of traffic my way and help us raise lots and lots of money!!

So, let's talk.

Connor has been doing so amazing at daycare. He whimpers a bit when I drop him off and he doesn't sleep for more than 30 minutes at naptime but he's happy and having fun.

I realized today that a week Friday is my official end to unofficial daycare. It's bittersweet because while I'm so excited about the next chapter I'm also sad to say goodbye to *M*. I made her a DVD montage of photos I've taken of her over the years and let me tell you I had to wade through literally thousands of daycare photos and pick and choose the best of the best. I ended up with a 15 minute dvd of her last 6 years here. It's a long time. I'll admit, I got weepy when I watched it.

I got an email from the ECE who's been 'organizing' us with regards to union business. She thought against letting everyone know that if they don't vote CUPE we are without a union for fear that no one would show up to the meeting with the other union tomorrow night. I agreed with her, but only to a point. I said that she should let everyone know on Thursday so that they are making an informed decision when they vote on Monday. I haven't heard back from her but suffice it to say, if I don't hear back a confirmation that she will let everyone know by Friday I'll let them know myself. Not because I want CUPE in but because people have a right to make an informed decision. If they still want to vote no for CUPE that's their choice but at least then they know what the ramifications are. We'll see. I don't want to have a pissing match with this girl but I'm also not going to end up unionless by mistake. If I'm unionless it was because the majority voted to be unionless.
I hate unions. This it too much drama and bullshit for me and I haven't even started working yet!

I've added more tote bags as well as diaper cakes to the Papa's Pride blog so please, I am shamelessly begging you - go visit and buy something or spam me to all your loved ones.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BIG NEWS and a request.

I promise this is not about unions. And no, I'm not pregnant.

Remember the cancer awareness golf balls the girls and I made for the garage sale? And the cancer awareness ribbons pins I made for the same garage sale?

Well, the golf balls sold as did a few ribbons. So yay, we've already raised $25 for the Relay for Life.

Switching gears a bit for a second, I have been so beyond painfully bored this summer. The big kids don't need me. Connor is in daycare two days a week now and even when he's home he's more interested in playing with Mary than me. I'm trying to tear myself away from the computer a little bit and looking for a hobby.

My Mom is an excellent seamstress. So excellent, in fact, that she made my wedding dress (and it was gorgeous!) She also made one of my flower girl's dress and a few of the bridesmaids dresses. She also used to have a sewing business.
She doesn't sew much now, the patience and interest just isn't what it used to be.

So I thought I would try sewing. I've picked up a thing or two over the years watching her and trying things out. So I took Mary's old curtains (they are a really cute orange checkers and daisy pattern and made her a tote bag. Then I made Emily a bag. Then I made Mary's bff a bag. Then I made myself a bag.

Then I thought "Hey, what a second. What if you made bags and sold them and put that money toward the Relay" You see, I can have a hell of a lot of drive....but there has to be something driving me. I could make bags all day long but if I have no reason to make them, I'm not going to. BUT - if I have a reason, say making money for our Relay team, then there is my drive.

Here's the catch. I didn't have any material. And because my mom has all but given up on any major sewing projects she gave away bins upon bins of material.

But alas, never fear, there is always freecycle. (you see, in my penniless but logical state I thought 'if I spend a small fortune in material making bags and the don't sell, not only am I suck with a million bags but I'm out all that money too...wouldn't it be smarter just to pledge that money to my team myself?') So I turned to freecycle. If I could get some material there I could make bags that wouldn't cost a think (except my time and some thread) and therefore any sales would be pure profit and could go directly to our team.

So I've spent the last several days sewing.

I'll be honest. I'm not as good as my mom. BUT - I'm learning and even my worst bag is still pretty damn good. And each bag I make is better than the last. My mom is helping (she's going to teach me how to do button holes with her machine as well as how to sew in zippers) so that I can have a wider variety of bags.

And I'll tell you something else. I never thought I'd love sewing as much as I do. I'm proud of my bags and think I'm doing pretty darn good with it!

So I've created a new blog to advertise my wares. (I'm not ready to try selling on Etsy. It costs money and frankly, the idea is to raise money, not spend it)

Now this is where the request comes in. I'm asking all my faithful readers (and even my not so faithful ones to spam me.....and spam me large.) Spam me on Facebook. Spam me in Twitter. Spam me in your own blogs. Spam me in your message boards (the ones your allowed to...don't spam me in FF - Stormy will have your ass!)

Click the link to visit the new blog and from there you can click the share buttons at the bottom of the page (for facebook, twitter, etc) Add a link to the Papa's Pride blog on your on own blog. You can even snag the button on the top right of this page and post it to your own blog.

Of course, you are welcome to make a purchase too but failing that, word of mouth and getting people to see the site would be a great help.

Thanks a million friends!

Well what do ya know! x 2

It would seem there is a learning curve for everyone.

I found out yesterday that if you vote no to certifying a particular union that you are not allowed to be certified by any union for a full year.

So this means one of three things.

1. We have to vote yes by a majority at the vote on the 16th. (this is my choice!)

2. We vote no by a majority and then we start work without representation for a year

3. We can either ask the union to hold our application or cancel our cards (but there would need to be at least 10 cards cancelled) but that has to be done first thing Monday morning in order to stop the application from being filed.

Part of me thinks this is friggin' hysterical. I mean, I'm not bothered by it because the card I signed was the union I wanted. However, I'm sure there are others out there (namely the girl who told me about the year thing) who are pissed that we're either 'stuck' with this union or scrambling to stop the application.

The thing is, I don't see any scrambling. When she emailed to tell me about this year thing and how pissed she was that we weren't told that by the union I told her the two ways in which we could halt the vote (cancelling cards or asking the union to hold off on filing) I also made it clear that I was in favour of the union in question so while I was happy to tell her how to get us out of it, it was up to her to spam everyone else to let them know. I haven't seen any mass emails so I'm guessing she opted not to.

Honestly, I think this is one of those situation where people are just over thinking. Too many cooks spoil the soup. Too many choices add confusion, indecision and stress.

I guess we shall see what comes of this.

Last night I made French Onion Soup for supper. I've eaten it only once or twice before. Back when Sean and I were first married I made some with onion soup mix and onions. It was terrible! So I stuck to restaurants. But a little while ago my cousins husband emailed me a bunch of crockpot recipes so I thought I'd give it a try.

I don't like onions. I don't get them on my steak, I don't put them on my hamburger and when I know there are onions in a dish at a restaurant I will ask for it with no onions. So why make French Onion Soup? Two words. Cheese and Bread.

It smelled great! It tasted pretty good too (though I couldn't make a meal of it. I had sausage and salad too) But what was surprising was Connor. I made the sausage and salad simply because I knew the kids wouldn't eat onion soup. HA! I was wrong. Connor had a giant bowl of it. He couldn't get enough. He loved it. Who'd have thunk it.

We had to brush his teeth really well last night though. There's something gross about a 2 year old with onion breath.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Just when I thought we were making progress.

I've got an email inviting me to meet with a union. Another one. One that frankly, I've got no interest in being represented by. And one that, if the others were thinking clearly they would see is not the right choice for us. But you see, a lot of them are caught up in the 'job title'. They want to be in a teachers union, not in a support staff union. Um, hello....we're not teachers. (okay fellow ECE's don't kick my ass....I know we're teachers....but we're not teachers....you know what I mean.) We don't have the same job description. We don't have the same responsibilities. We're not them....they are not us.... so why lump us together?? And oh my God, can you imagine the conflict of interest if we were part of a teachers union and we wanted something the teachers didn't like? WOW.

Anyway, I wasn't planning to go to this meeting I was going to let my vote speak for itself. Plus the meeting is way the frig downtown on a Wednesday night and I don't want to A: drive downtown and have to pay for parking or B: take the subway because despite what Sean thinks, some weird ass creepy people ride the subway at night. But then I get a follow up email from a co worker -it's forwarded from the teacher union rep....saying that if we've already signed a union card it's okay, we can cancel it. Are ya shittin' me??!!! Yeah, that's going to make us look really great. Like indecisive, easily influenced idiots. So now I have to go just to add my two sense (no, that isn't a misspelling - I meant it that way)

I guess in the end all I can do is make my opinions known with solid, well thought out, articulate arguments. As much as I'd like to grab them all by the collars and give them a shake and scream in their faces "WAKE UP!!! ARE YOU F*ING STUPID??!!" I won't. I'll channel my Dad again. I'll be calm, quiet and thoughtful and hopefully be able to influence them with reason.

And if not, then I'll grab them by the collars and give them a shake.

Friday, August 6, 2010

WTF?!?!

I've taken 3 of 6 classes for the Early Childhood Education Administration certificate. This is a post diploma course, not necessary for anything, more for general knowledge. I took the courses because, up until McSquinty made his announcement about Full Day Learning my plan was to open a daycare centre. Now there is a shift and I'm not fool, I'm riding the tide so as not to get left behind.

However, I also don't want to be a person who starts something but doesn't finish it. So I was torn. Do I take the other three classes in this program or do I cut my losses, be glad for what I learned in the first three and go forward with my new career or do I take this last three classes despite them being of little use to my new career or future plans and therefore probably a waste of money?

So I decided, I would take one more of the three, a communications course. It never hurts to bone up on communication skills right? But the other two; marketing and computers, I decided not to take. They are of no use to me now.

In my class there was a guy who looked remarkably like Mr. Kotter. I mean a lot. I mean every single time I saw him I couldn't help myself with the greeting a la Washington "Hey Mr. Kotter!"

Anyhow, he's been in the field a little longer than me. He's pushing 50. He's opinionated, loud, somewhat pigheaded but a nice guy all the same. We had a friendly banter going on.

Yesterday I got an email from him. Here's what it said

I think this may be my last letter to you. It was great to finally get a chance
to work with you. I KNOW you did just fine in Karl's class. I want to wish
you luck in your new career, I just want to give you some advice (from someone
that can really screw up with his words) be careful at your new job, I would
feel sorry for you if you had to swallow your words (and your pride) by coming
back to school to take what you describe as a "useless class". Take care of
yourself and be well.
Really? Really really? So, you think that for some reason I'm going to fail at my new job and have to go crawling back to the world of daycare? And crawling back to a course that I probably wouldn't take even if I did for some reason fail at my new job (Marketing? Come on, I marketed the shit out of myself for the past 7 years and there are few people with children who don't know the name Little Chickadee Home Daycare throughout Durham Region. Computers? Um, yeah, I might not be Bill Gates but I can get around a computer and what I don't know I google and figure out. The course teaches MS Word and Excel. Both I can do. Thanks.) And the joke of this is that this guy spent the last year telling me that these courses were meaningless, that all you need to supervise a daycare is an ECE and two years in the field. He didn't care about his grades, he would routinely say, "Ah, who the fuck cares?" But I'm going to be swallowing my words and my pride?

Oh my, that email fired me up. I didn't respond to it because I likely would have said something really nasty. My mom always taught me if I can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Now let's talk about last night. I went to a meeting with about half of the other ECE's for our school board. See, we are without a union, not a good place to be. So we met with the representatives with one of the larger unions in Canada. It's also the one that represents many of the ECE's in other school boards as well as the support staff in my school board. I'll be honest, in my research I'd already decided this was the union I wanted. I'm not interested in hearing what the other ones have to say. So, in order to get this job done we needed 26 people to sign their union cards so that they could bring about a vote with the labour board. There were about 35 people there. So the reps made their pitch. A lot of people asked questions they couldn't answer because we are not in their union yet and then everyone hummed and hawed about what to do. We've been invited to meet with another union next week (one that I don't want any part of)

I listened quietly to everyone and it became apparent that if something wasn't done they were not going to be able to wade through the pile of information to see what was plainly in front of them. So as one of the girls (the one who was organizing this fiasco) was talking to everyone about taking their union cards home and waiting until next weeks meeting to sign them I thought - NO - we can't do that. If we do that we'll lose the chance to make this right.

Now this is where I seemed to be channeling my Dad. My Dad was always the kind of person who would sit quietly, not say anything, just listen. And then he's speak up, say one of two things and everyone would change their minds.

So I stood up and pointed out to people that by signing their union cards, they weren't voting in this union, they were just saying they'd like to have the chance to vote in (or not) this union. And that they could sign their cards right then and there and still have a chance to meet with the other union before making a final decision because the other meeting is on Wednesday and our vote wouldn't be until Friday. So if it turned out that the other union was a better choice they could vote NO in our Friday vote and sign new cards for the new union for another vote.

Apparently it worked because all 35 people signed their cards. We'll vote next week. And I'm holding out hope that *if* this other meeting even happens that the bulk of the people will see that they are not the way to go. And come September we can start work with our asses covered.

I love the power of persuasion.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Memories of Birthdays past....

I was reminded a few minutes ago of my 15th birthday and thought I would share a tale with you. (Yep, get ready Sarah - here come the skeletons! lol)

The year I turned 15 my cousin came up from New Brunswick for the month of August to visit. I suppose it was payback from her mom to mine as I had spent a month visiting them in New Brunswick when I was 12. The highlight of that trip was truly the night we raided her Dad's liquor cabinet and got drunk (yes, we were 12 and 13) and had to go to church the next morning hungover and sick as dogs. When I was a kid I thought it was so cool when we got to drink the wine at church - not so much that morning though. (though I still have so many great memories of that summer)

Anywho, the summer I turned 15 my mom landed us a job at the Canadian National Exhibition. We were going to be working with a theatre group in Kids World painting faces and being clowns. Now I'll be honest, this job sucked. Big time. We sat in a tent in sweltering heat with melting face paint. We were working with a bunch of people we didn't know and frankly, they weren't very nice to us (there is a back story to that too - for another time) Being a clown was worse because the costume was hot, the face paint itched and you were on your feet for 8 hours. Not cool when you're 15. We were also situated right next to an "Australia" demonstration and not only can I now tell you the logistics in properly throwing a boomerang but I also know all the words to "Waltzing Matilda." I'm sure those will both come in handy one day. In the end we both managed to get ourselves fired. Yep, fired. The Ex is only open for 2 weeks a year and we managed to get fired.

Anyhow, the weekend of our birthdays (I say ours because my cousins birthday is only a few days after mine) we decided to hook up with some guys that we worked with and go to the movies after work. So we came home, two guys in tow, to get ready to go to the movies and lo and behold, my mom had planned a surprise party for us in the backyard.

Here's what I remember of this party. The guys we were going to go to the movies with vanished. My mom made two cakes chocolate and vanilla with cherries on it (I called it the virgin cake) I also remember that my friend had invited some of her friends, guys I hadn't met before and I feel in love with one (he was 18 at the time) because he had long, flowing blond hair. He and his friends had hidden some beer in the trees and my brother proceeded to rat them out. They left and not long after so did the rest of the party. Thanks Bro!

I'm sure it was a lovely party and I know my mom put a lot of planning and work into it. I'm sure it would have also gone a lot better had my brother kept his mouth shut. I find it funny that two of my most solid memories of time with my cousin involve alcohol in some form or another and even funnier that we haven't seen each other at all since we've become legal drinking age. Bad seeds? Nah, we both turned out good I think.

As for the guy with the long, flowing, blond hair. I dated him about a year later for4 months. I broke up with him though because I didn't like his hands. (yeah, no joke, I thought they were icky looking and couldn't get past that) So I broke up with him and starting dating another guy with long. flowing hair. Only this time it was black.

First Day!


There he is. All ready for his first day of school (daycare).
He did great. He cried a bit but not half as much as I thought he would. (Although, in fairness, we in the field tend to under exaggerate the extent of crying for Mom's and Dad's....it helps with the guilt issues.)
He only went for half a day. Today is the real test because it's a full day.
And while I worry about how he'll do there is the other part of me that thinks "Wow...I'm going to have 6 solid hours with no one under 7 years old." I could take advantage of this time in so many ways. The girls and I could do the things that are no fun for Connor. Or, we could relax at home. Or we could shop (with the money that grows on the money tree in the backyard).
I'm not sure how I'm going to spend my first Connor free day. I'll probably miss him like crazy by 11 am.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

That was short, wasn't it?

Did ya miss me? Of course not, I didn't go anywhere. I planned to but then changed my mind. Let me explain.

My birthday is coming. (16 days!) I like my birthday. I don't stress about getting older and love having a day that is all about me.

So this year I decided I would have a BBQ for my birthday. I joked with my mom that I was going to throw myself a birthday party on behalf of Sean. I invited all my family, all of Sean's, my bff and some new friends.

I've never had a large social circle. I've always had a lot of acquaintances but my real 'friends' have been limited to only a couple. My bff has been that since we were in high school. Usually I'm okay with that, I am shy, I don't do well in crowds and tend to push people away, but every now and then it bothers me.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I was getting RSVP's to my BBQ. My brother and SIL are coming. My bff and her partner are coming. My brother in law is coming. But everyone else....not coming.

Now in all honesty, I'm not surprised. Some of them I truly didn't expect to come. But I invited them because I am making a concerted effort to build new friendships with some people. It's hard for me to do. Really hard. Others I didn't expect to come because, frankly, it's the MO. They rarely come to events or they say they'll come and then back out last minute. The only one who's not coming who I thought would is my brother and SIL but they have a genuine reason. It's not just a dodge.

And I guess that's the thing. I remember when my mom thought of throwing me a baby shower when I was pg with Connor. (regardless of individual opinion on showers for 2nd and 3rd children, it's the norm here to have a shower for every pregnancy) My mom asked who I would have her invite. I didn't want a shower, not because I didn't think it was right to have a shower for the third child but because I have no friends. Seriously.

My social circle is my family. My SIL's are my girl talk. And since we don't really do anything together (we all have children and jobs) outside of family functions. I talk more with one of my brothers than with even my bff. I do have my bff but our lives are on very different paths. She's single(ish). She's got no kids. She's got a large social circle. We still email regularly and we make an effort to get together once a month which, don't get me wrong, I love, but I just wish it was more. I had another friend once, a few years ago but she moved several hours away and we've just lost touch. I miss her.

So yesterday my mom said to me "So who do you want invited to your birthday party?" I laughed and said, "Well, I've already invited anyone who's going to come. I mean after all, it's only family. I have no friends" She said "Yes you do!" I said "Really? Who? I mean besides (bff) what friends do I have? I don't work. Most people are friends with either people they went to school with (I didn't make friends in college and my bff was my bff in high school) or people they work with (I've worked from home for the past 7 years) You need to have something in common with people to build friendships. I'm working on building a friendship with some people who have kids Connor's age but that's not going as well as I'd hoped. The other women I know who have kids Connor's age are from FF. Great but since they all live....well, everywhere but here....that limits friendship to online.

So I had a bad day yesterday. I felt sorry for myself. I decided that maybe if I put my focus on what's going on around me I'd make more friends. But here's the rub. This is my life. It's always been my life. I have a small social circle and I always have. And it's no good for me to whine and complain about how small it is because chances are, it's not going to get bigger. So rather than feeling sorry for myself I can continue on, be happy for the friends (the true friends) that I have and the rest....well they can bite me. Much like one purges their FB friends list I'm purging my 'real life' friends list. Not hard really, since there is only one and I've got no plans to purge myself of her. I'm sure I'm still going to be envious of others who have wider circles of friends, who can go on girls weekends or have big parties....but in the end, even if I had that I suspect I wouldn't be happy. Because I don't do well in crowds and I tend to keep people at arms length. I want to be sociable but I'm afraid to be.

Yesterday I started to worry. Maybe I'm becoming one of those weirdo's who has a million billion friends....but they are all online and no real, live, in the flesh friends. But I do. I have my family...who I know will always have my back. I have my bff, who's stuck with me through thick and thin for 23 years no (okay A: shocking that I'm old enough to have had a friend for 23 years and B: even more shocking when I say that she and I actually met 28 years ago) Sure, I'd love to have a couple of more friends, preferably with kids the same age as mine but sometimes that's not how life works. You play the hand you're dealt and this is mine.

And yes, I have a million billion friends and yes, they are online. And don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have them because sometimes you just need someone to talk to, even if they are not in the flesh. And I know that for a few of them, if we lived closer together we'd probably be great 'in the flesh' friends.

So, we'll go on with the status quo. I'm done feeling sorry for myself. As with most things in life it's not about the quantity, it's the quality. I may not have a lot of friends but the ones who really, truly are my friends are the greatest and worth their weight in gold. And that is really all that matters. So on couple of weeks I'll have my birthday bbq and it will be small and quiet and that's okay with me because the people who really matter will be here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pause for thought

I'm taking a little break. I'm taking a blogging, Facebook, Pumpkin Patch, general internet break. I need a break. I need to pull my nose offline for a bit and put it into the real world for a while.

I will be back....back with an explanation.....in while.

See you soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hi Romania!

Hellooooooooo



I've noticed I have a new follower. I'm kind of excited to be honest. At the moment all my followers (at least the public ones) are people I know (or know of ) But now I have a new follower.

So in an effort to see what it is that would attract a random stranger to want to follow my ramblings I thought I should check out his blog. Unfortunately it's in Romanian so I'm up the creek without a paddle. However, the header in his blog has a quote from John Dewey "Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself"

Now I'll be honest, I first mistook John Dewey for the 'Dewey Decimal System' Dewey (that was actually Melvil Dewey) but thanks to Wikipedia I'm up to speed on John Dewey now and I think I'll have to learn more about him and his philosophy of education. His thoughts on hands on learning and experiential education ring true to me.

And now I'm really wishing that I could read my new followers blog because I suspect that if I could understand it I might find that we share some common thoughts on educating our children.

In the meantime, I've googled some pictures of Romania....beautiful....and I seem to see a lot of pictures of 'mud volcanoes'. Intriguing. I guess I've found another perk to blogging. I'm learning new things.

Have a nice day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why I won't be eating corn from the farmers market ever again

Every Friday from May to October there is a farmers market in the parking lot of the mall across the street. We don't usually go there simply because it's still a hell of a lot cheaper to buy the same produce (from the same farmers) at the WalMart - it's just a few days older. No biggie.

However, we've had an early and hot summer so there has been bumper crops of some typically later veggies like corn. So Sean and I decided to go to the farmers market to get some. And for what it's worth, it was twice as expensive as WalMart - $5/doz - so not really worth the walk.

That night Sean decided to grill the corn. (If you haven't ever had grilled corn, you're missing out!) So he soaked the corn (in the husks) in the sink. When he pulled them out of the soak to grill we noticed several caterpillars floating in the water. Not completely unexpected when you consider it was probably only harvested the day before. He grilled the corn and everyone enjoyed it (except me, though that wasn't because of the caterpillars - I've eaten meal worm cookies and chocolate covered crickets so it's not that big a stretch.)

Last night I made turkey meatball subs and corn on the cob. I shucked the corn first and no caterpillars. Good. I put the corn in the pot to boil it, I'm still not the best with BBQ cooking.

When it came time to dish out supper this is what I found.



Yep, that's Mr. Caterpillar coming out of the corn. And he's nice and boiled now. For all those people who call corn a filler and of no nutritional value - I give you corn with added protein.
{BARF}
And yes, I ate meal worm cookies but they were ground up and not visible. And yes I ate a chocolate covered cricket but it was covered in chocolate. I'd eat YOU if you were covered in chocolate.

And yes, I know in a previous post I said taking pictures of food was weird but come on....could I really pass this one up?

So who wants to come over for dinner?