Wednesday, November 14, 2012

is this good-bye?

Would you still come play in my sandbox if I moved over here?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm turning 40 next month

and look at me all of a sudden I'm all technologically challenged.  I decided to mess around with my blog tonight, make it all cool and hip, and like a mother-effer, because I'm turning forty I'm all like "Duhhhhh, where's the on button?  Where's the off button?  Why are there so many windows open?  Stop clicking so fast!  What's a favicom?  Whaaaaaa this is hard!"  

Bear (wait is it bare like a bare bum or bear like a growly animal?  Why has this not come up in my life until now?) with me, site is under construction.  

I am hoping that I did manage to stop the spammy robots from commenting on my blog, because I'm sure the spammy robots were shooting lasers at YOU preventing YOU from leaving real, legit comments....right?  

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Pretty things keep floating through my head but I can’t seem to pin one thing down to talk about.  Distracting and not always helpful,  I’m grateful for those pretty, whispy thoughts that come and go.  One minute I can be thinking about a dipping a pussy willow in turquoise paint to see what it would look like, and the next minute picturing myself playing bass guitar on stage, in front of thousands.  I wish my brain had a slide show function to capture all of these things.


Last week there was a  dark blip, a day of knots in the stomach and a lost appetite.  I accept this day every year, try and nurture myself through it and am grateful that this darkness only visits for a day a year now. 


The month of November was when my post-partum really kicked into high gear 10 years ago.  I dreaded waking up and equally dreaded night time because of anxiety induced insomnia.  Nights were horribly lonely, with nothing to distract me from thinking the unthinkable.  The days were painfully long, it took everything in me to get through the day.  Eating was near impossible and small chores were like mountains in my path.  I would try and hide from my bright, curious, energetic daughter what agony I was in, so often on the verge of tears, fearing my state was ruining her.    I was so caught up in the mess of post-partum, refusing offers of help, suffering alone.  The bright point of my day was seeing Jo’s car lights beaming through the dining room window when he came home from work – never early enough for me. 


What used to be my worst time of day, late afternoon and early evening, is now my best time of day.  Surrounded by energetic chatter, lively fighting, moans over whatever meal I am planning on torturing them with, games of Blokus, cards, homework tears and then homework triumph.  There is a perpetual cold-getting-colder tea on the counter  every afternoon that I just never get around to drinking because I am bustling baby.  When Jo gets home from work, it is not a sense of relief I feel, just a sense of completion.  Everyone is home.


I am so grateful that those dark days are in the past and that I have what I have. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If I Can Make it There....(or, My New York City Trip in Point Form)*

(apologies for formatting, not sure what is going on here)

I went to New York this past weekend with Jo, and this is what we did (sing to the song These are the Dave's I Know by Kids in the Hall)

-Up at 4:45 a.m to drive to Buffalo to catch 8:30 flight to JFK (do you have any idea how much cheaper it is to fly out of The U.S, compared to flying out of The Canada? Well, enough of a difference for this girl to wake up at 4:45 a.m.)
-Ahhh Jet Blue, I love you, with your salty snacks and t.v. screens too.
-Arrive at JFK at 9:30 a.m. We have the whole day to have FUN!
-Thank goodness Jo is subway map literate. All I see are my A-B-C's and pretty colours.
-Get off subway at Brooklyn Bridge, walk it, take pictures of it, already, the people watching is amazing.
-Hunnnggggryyyy. No shortage of restos - we pick a quirky one towards Greenwich Village and I have maybe the best panini ever, and the patrons of the restaurant are all like no big deal - we eat like this everyday. Huh.
-Walk walk walk, picture take picture take picture - are we in fashion-ey area? Lots of skinny, uber pretty people everwhere. Oh wait, all of NYC is like that.
-First official destination - Greenwich Village food/walking tour. We did the Soho tour last time we were in NY, and it is amazing. These tours are led by locals, or people who really know their shit about the area, and as they guide you through the area, you pop into 8-10 restaurants and shops and sample their wares. You are stuffed when your are done (which is great when you are surrounded by model-type people). The super fun part are the little surprises they add to the tour, like surprise! You are standing on Leo DiCaprio's front stoop! The bad part is Surprise! You are not aloud to lick/dry hump said front stoop (sad face).
-After the tour Jo needed a nap so we checked into our AWESOME hotel so he could have a little rest. Why was it awesome? It was only $200 a night (this is really good for Midtown) and while it is a hostel/hotel, it has a really boutique-y feel (beautiful people giving you your room key, cool vibey tunes piping through the lobby). Now the room was ridonkulously small, but you are not in NY to hang out in your room, are you.
-Can't nap. Too excited! Leave our funky little part of town, and, we make this mistake everytime we go to NY, we head to Times Square. Why why why do we always do this? Instant regret as soon as we hop off the subway and meet the throngs of people on the street. We escape, and find a great little restaurant off the beaten path where we sit beside the most miserable looking threesome I have ever come across. I love watching really rich miserable people, you're right mom, sometimes money CAN'T buy you happiness!
-Knock back our vodka redbulls (yeah, we're badass) , let get this party started! Oh, what party you ask? Only Social Distortion playing at the Roseland Ballroom. I won't bore you with the details but seeing your absolute favourite band playing in NYC is akin to Mitt Romey realizing his son is gay and that his daughter had an abortion last night. Are you smiling? I smiled like that alllllll night.
-We were utterly exhausted at this point, but found a bar to have a cleansing ale in before calling it a night.

-WAKE UP! There is a bagel shop across the street that I have been thinking about since we checked in. I will never eat a bagel again after eating a bagel here. How do New Yorkers stay so skinny?  Omg it was so good, and soooo much cream cheese, these people are soooo lucky that they can eat here any time they want. Life is so unfair.
-Next up on the agenda The Highline. My pal Lexie (what up Lexicon) kept talking about his place and I didn't really GET it. I checked it out online and still didn't get it. We then walked it from begning to end I think I finally got it. It is amazing. The marriage of art+nature+urban setting+people is just amazing. We were in awe of this place and I would have loved to seen it at night.
-We then ventured to Chelsea, hit the famous Chelsea Market, made a mental note of craft ideas I could steal off of the vendors and daydreamed a little about my Etsy store. Because it is Halloween, the decorations were amazing. It also made me a little sad that places like the ByWard Market in Ottawa could not be a little bit more....flexible in how how they do things. Chelsea Market is done so well.
-What's the big deal about Pastis? Whenever I read my gossips (hardly ever okay all the time), Jennifer Aniston is always all like "when in NY I have to eat at Pastis" and other celebs are all la-dee-da about it too. I looked at the menu and it was kind of meh to me so we moved on down to a pub called The Gaslight. Most depressed wait staff ever, but a great patio for watching, you got it, rich skinny people (I think they kept looking at us and judging us for eating).
-Okay, what's a trip without a little detour on 5th. I love a store called Uniqlo so we hit that up, and I excused Jonas from the H&M experience (so busy, so loud!) We then toured the stores we cannot afford to shope in  (who ARE these people? What would it take for the Prada man to air kiss me? Oh, maybe taking off my backpack)  and hit FAO for the kids gifts.
-Grabbed the subway to head to the Bronx to visit my cousin, Lisa. She told us to take the train, but we decided to take the Subway (were are totally NY now) and man oh man did we got off at a dirty part of town. She and her husband were pleasantly surprised that we made it to their house alive after the 10 blocks we had to walk to get there (the other side of the tracks took on a whole new meaning here).
-Lisa and her husband are Irish. So naturally they took us to where the Irish hang out, it was a costume party at their pub that night, sigh, New Yorkers even have cool Halloween costumes. Did you know the Irish could party? Best kept secret ever I bet. An amazing cover band rocked all night long, I almost got into a fight with an Irish lass in the ladies bathroom, but later we bonded over socialized healthcare.
-So exhausted at his point I don't really remember going back to Lisa's (wait, maybe I was drunk? Shoot, we'll never know).
Sunday morning, caught one of the last flights out of JFK due to Hurricane Sandy. Can't believe we dodged that bullet.
What a weekend.
*Dedicated to Shawn B.  I have outed you, now you have leave a comment Shawn.
P.S. Free not-yet created craft from my not-yet created Etsy store to the first person who can tell me who this guy is - he was on our food tour and I swear he is somebody famous-therefore-important.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I have been going just a little bananas lately with stencilling.  The problem with this is there is only so much stencil art one can have in their house without it looking a little cliched.  But goddammit, I love to stencil!  I have been strictly a letters girl to date (with the exception of some skulls, obviously.  I think skulls came before letters for me even in the womb.  Do you know me?  Sorry, if you don't, I have a thing for skulls, it's not a morbid thing, I just think that they are really cool looking.  I even have a tattoo of a skeleton on my foot - it makes me feel punk rock so when I am driving my mini-van and being forced to listen to One Direction I can look down at my flip-flopped foot and see my little skeleton on my foot. It reminds me that there is still about 1/83rd of my body that has something cool about it).  Sweet Baby Dalton that was a digression!  What I am trying to say is I am about to venture beyond letters and move into images and have even bought some pretty kick ass stencilling supplies (they know me at Michaels now, I'm kind of a big deal there).

Because I have been drivin' rig (does that sound cool?  Can I say that even though it is just a mini-van?  It is an extended version if it makes a difference.  Fuck it.  I'm going to call it drivin' rig).  So because I've been drivin' rig so much, getting cargo (you got it, kids) from one place to another, I don't have much to write about.   I present to you without hesitation (quick before another tangent comes on!)  

Meanie's Meanieterest Gallery:

This one hangs right my our kitchen table, a gentle reminder to the kiddies to enjoy their meal without complaint:

This one is for my partner in crime - I'm Louise, she's Thelma.  We get into trouble together:

Another one that hangs in the kitchen.  When my left eyeball is twitching and there are no words, I simply point to this sign to remind the kids that contrary to popular belief, they are not feral and there is no need to act as such:

This one is displayed in the living room, begging my guests to not abandon me to me my children, but rather stay for just one more drink:

This is not a stencil project, but a project born out of necessity.  I messed up big time and took a chunk of paint off the wall and had to hide it from Jo.  Cork boards this size are super expensive, so I went to Home Depot, bought a large sheet of styrofoam ($10), a can of discarded paint ($1) and curated (fancy, non?) a gallery wall of the kids' work:

Jo knows about the paint I took off the wall because I needed his help to hang it.  But he likes looking at the kids art work as much as I do so it's all good.  This is 20"x40" - you can't tell how big it is in the picutre.

Fun, right?  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Is that a Snickers bar in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I have had an amazing summer.  An amazing summer because I am still not working, so I stayed home.  Amazing because I am that annoying person who smiles perkily in kajillion degree weather and says things like Hot enough for ya?  I am also blessedly blessed to have a pool, so when things get a little heated with kids going bonkers in the house (haha, see what I did there?  Heated!  That was a total accident!) I can toss them into the water for a little distraction/diversion/exhaustion. 

What else comes with summer?  Hydration darlings.  Hydration and sun protection.  Yes, I am also that person who slathers on sunscreen, puts on the most dramatic sunhat I could find in the end of season clearance bin last summer, and I drink.  I stuck with H20 for the  most part during the day, but once hubby came home or a guest popped by, beer, wine, g&t's, coolers were a few of the libations issued to celebrate yet another beautiful sunny day, tralalala.  A normally cautious eater, little bits of this an that began making their way into my mouth.  People would bring chips to snack on by the pool, bbq's of hamburgers, sausages and steaks became the ordre du jour and well, what decent guest doesn't bring a dessert over? 

Needless to say the pounds crept on and I was very comfortable with my new lifestyle.  Oh, and when kids don't go to school during the day, it is very difficult to go for your daily run.  I never thought of my run as a big deal - usually 6-8K on one of our beautiful trails here in paradise.  However,  when you stop running and start carb loading, the old g-string becomes a bit of a stretched out t-string instead. 

So, this new lifestyle happened so gradually, and happily, that I didn't really realize what was happening to me until this weekend.  Jo and I are fortunate enough to have great friends in Chicago who we visit every year with another super fun couple.  And every year we go to a Bears game (that's a Football Team for my more, ummmm, fashion-ey friends).  The pre-game ritual is a good old-fashioned tailgating party where our hosts feed us Caesars and griddle food.  This year I enjoyed not one but two pancakes wrapped around sausage AND bacon, then doused with good old fashioned maple syrup.   It would be rude to eat only one really.  There was also a bowl of Snickers' mini-chocolate bars, which I treated as foreplay and afterplay to my multiple pancake indiscretions.  Tummies full and happy, we marched off to the line up to be frisked to get into the game.  Go Bears!  Well, when it was my turn to be frisked, a massive man asked me what was in my jean jacket pocket.  I truthfully told him a couple of lipsticks (MAC Vivaglam if you must know, Pam Anderson edition, yes I need two, shut up).  He asked me to open my jacket pocket and show him.  He gasped.  Then he said really loudly: "Oh no that is NOT a Snickers bar in yo pocket - that is NOT a Snickers bar IN YO POCKET!"  He then burst out laughing and sent me on my way.

Oh the shame.  Before summer started I was drinking a green smoothie daily (thanks Maven) and preaching the ills of sugar to all who would listen (well, mostly to my kids, and they mostly don't listen).  And there I was, stashing candy absently in my coat pocket, for when I needed my next fix.  At the airport yesterday I sucked back my last chocolate bar and bag of Combos (you can't get them in Canada, leave me alone) and started a new day today.  A day that began with a serene mug of warm lemon water, a day where lunch was a bowl of cottage cheese with cantelope, a day where my mid afternoon snack was a handful of almonds and Greek yogurt.. 

So yes I was a fucking bitch by late afternoon, but I'm on way to getting back on track and turning that T back into a G.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

It's About Your Bum.....

I've thought long and hard about writing about this, for a couple of reasons: 1) I don't want it to be perceived as an attention getting piece (I generally do not like to draw attention to myself) and 2) It is, but shouldn't be, kind of embarrassing.

When my first child was born, I was the first one of all of my friends to have a baby, and I had no idea what to expect and what was "normal". I suffered in silence with post-partum depression, crying, agonizing, feeling guilty for not being a calm, loving, serene mother oft seen in the parenting magazines I began to read with religious fervour. What was wrong with me? After 8 months of just barely keeping it together, I made an appointment with my GP and was swiftly diagnosed with post-partum depression. I was informed that my doctor saw several women like me several times a week and that it is very common for women to feel the same way I was feeling. Huh.  I guess it was also very common for women to appear to be high functioning, baby-loving momma's on the outside, and suffer in silence on the inside. After that one appointment with my GP, I vowed to talk about post-partum to everyone and anyone who would listen. As a result, over the years, I like to think that I have helped several teary new mommies in guiding them to their doctor, or just being an ear to cry to without guilt and shame.

That's a very long winded introduction to what I am writing about today. I feel so good about helping people with post partum depression by talking about it, raising awareness, and I hope I may be able to do the same thing with what I am  putting out there today.

Since the birth of my second child, seven years ago, I have been suffering with what I thought, because my doctor told me it was the case, hemorrhoids (see why I might be embarrassed? But c'mon, these are as common as post partum depression). For seven years I have been suffering, with symptoms getting worse and worse, and impacting my life horribly (I won't go into details, google it if you must). Trips to my doctor, emergency rooms all resulted in a sympathetic smile and ain't childbirth a bitch kind of attitude. Not necessarily wanting to be poked and prodded, because it's embarrassing, I would accept this as my fate and carry on.   My kids did have massive melons when they were born - small price to pay for craniums full of good smart brains.

I moved cities several months ago and found a lovely new GP. I told her my history, just so she would have it on file, but her reaction was one of sympathy.  She said that I shouldn't have to live like this, let's get me to a specialist. When I saw the specialist, he was also so very sympathetic, and a little concerned about the history of colon cancer in my family. Oh, did I mention that yet? I certainly did to my doctors in Ottawa, but they all said I was way too young to be concerned about something so dramatic. Maybe in 10 years time they would start screening, but no need yet.

My specialist scheduled me for a full colonoscopy pronto (I love you my sweet little anaesthetist!) to take a look around and if nothing else, get rid of those nasty hemorrhoids.

When I came to at the hospital, my specialist waited for me to be fully coherent to give me the news. I didn't have hemorrhoids. No sign of them at all. Instead, he removed a massive (his words) polyp from my colon and he would be sending it in for a biopsy. Huh. What do you do with that information? He scheduled an appointment for three weeks later to go over the results. Huh. So there could be more to this? Chapter not closed?

I had my appointment on Monday. Turns out the polyp was like a mushroom, with a stem, the stem attached to my colon. The biopsy revealed abnormal (cancer) cells in the "cap" of the mushroom, and luckily hadn't reached the stem part of the mushroom, because that's when things get more difficult to remove. (This is a very layman's way of describing things, and I apologize for that. If you have a medical background you are probably cringing and cursing at me in latin). 

What happens now is I go for a follow-up colonoscopy in 6 months time to make sure he removed everything and there is no more abnormal activity, and I will now have routine colonoscopies every 1-2 years. The scary thing is he said that we would be having a very different conversation if I was sitting in his office a year or two from now. I think you know what I mean.  He also told me that he called his colleague in during the procedure, because of my age (sooooo young, thank you, thank you) and because of little old me they are going to change the way they approach patients who approach them with unlikely concerns. 

So girls and boys, see what I mean by kind of embarrassing and personal? But it shouldn't be embarrassing, it's all body parts, that's all. Like my specialist said, that looking at my bum is like looking at my nose to him, it's what he looks at everyday - why be embarrassed?

So, with post partum, I talk to anyone pregnant or anyone with a baby about it, just in case they are suffering in silence. Now, I can't very well talk to everyone with a posterior about their bum without getting locked up, but my appeal to you is to not be shy, and push your doctors if you feel in your gut that something isn't right. You have that right. I wasn't pushy, and it took a new doctor, with a different attitude to be proactive on my part. I shudder to think about the outcome if I hadn't moved cities, had remained with my GP, too passive and embarrassed to insist on further probing (ha! couldn't resist).