Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trouble Comes in Small Packages

If you have been reading my rants here for a bit, you know about my love hate relationship with coffee (I have, on more than on occasion, snuck it into a movie theatre). I did a post about it sometime but I have no patience to scroll through old posts, does anyone actually click on them and read them, anyway? That's what I thought.

Anyway, the love hate relationship causes me to go from drinking it daily to swearing of it forever. I usually last about a week if I am really serious. The problem is that the caffeine and even decaf makes the symptoms of menopause much, much worse. And if you have been reading here for a bit you will also recall that despite the fact that I am not quite 36, I am indeed suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep disruption. It is as awesome as it sounds.

So at 5am this morning when I woke up sweating like a hog, I swore I would not drink a drop of the stuff EVER again.

Then later today when I got a call telling me I had won a raffle, I thought maybe it was a sign.

A basket of trouble

That maybe, giving it up FOREVER, was a bit harsh.


Afterall, this coffee has Ganoderma extract in it. Of course, this makes it extremly healthy such that the extract counter acts all the negative aspects of caffiene - or so they claim.

It's like giving crack to an addict or a beacon from heaven. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jessica, my first baby

This is going to be a hard post for me to write and a hard post for my parents to read. Bear with me.

This sweet girl is my first baby. When I was 15, my parents finally let me get my very own kitten. We had a cat, named Kitty Kat (my brother was a toddler when he named her) but she was aloof and not much fun. When she finally passed away at the ripe old age of 16, my parents finally relented after years of pestering from me.

Mom and I went to a pet store that had two kittens, sisters. One was a bright, beautiful calico and one was a blond tabby. Why I don't know but my mom left the decision of which to pick up to me. I almost picked the tabby. But the calico did a crazy sideways run with her little butt in the air and I had to pick her (I think there is a picture of her doing it while attacking a plastic shopping bag but it's somewhere at my parent's). The girl had spunk!

My Jessica Baby

I named her Jessie. It had nothing to do with Full House and John Stamos, I swear. Okay, okay so that is where I got the name but it was more that I just loved the name than anything. Honest. There were no posters of him in my room, those were of INXS.

She was my baby. She slept on the pillow beside mine up until I left home to go to University. She sat on my desk and tried to eat my pencil when I did my homework. She would come running when I ate anything sweet. Her sweet tooth rivaled mine and I don't know if it was nature or nurture. She would even eat fruit roll ups. I know, I know, pet abuse! Frankly what in the world was I doing eating them. Yuck.

After I moved out, I did try to bring her to live with us a couple of times but she was never very happy. Nor was I. I am, quite frankly, highly allergic to cats. Somehow, while I lived in the same house as two cats, I was okay. Not perfect mind you, my nose always ran like crazy first thing in the morning. But once I left there was no going back. Coupled with the fact that she just didn't seem herself and there were no pets allowed where we were living, her permanent home remained with my parents.

My parents, who have now had to make the heart wrenching decision to put down four animals. First there was Max, our huge lovable goof ball. The first dog our family ever had. He was put down a mere month before my Jack came along. That was really hard for me. I wanted my kids to know my big doofus. They do, but only from pictures. His personality, in a nutshell was that he couldn't hurt a fly. He did once accidentally kill a mouse though. He stepped on it without realizing it. That was him. Lovable. Huge. Goofy. Handsome.

Max and my young family

Then Zoe, our other cat, had to be put down - I have no picture for some reason. This was sometime around Kamden's second birthday in 2006. Poor guy had suffered from diabetes for years already and his time had finally come. Or rather, my parents had to make the decision that enough was enough.

Then a mere two years later, Kricket, our other dog, had to go for health reasons as well.

Then this weekend, the last in our foursome had to go. Mom and Dad came home to find Jessie barely able to walk. They knew it was time. She had, up until a year or so ago, been as healthy as you please. Then, as is expected in a cat that was about 20 years old, her kidneys began to fail.

Four pets. Four times a terribly heart wrenching decision.

Mom and Dad, thank you for everything. You took care of all of them and all we did was love them. You have done the hardest parts and for that we are so grateful.

And baby girl, someday you will purr on my lap again while I rub your chin like you loved so much. I really wished I would have rubbed you just one more time last month. Had I only known it would it be the last time.

Rest in peace Princess and say Hi to Max, Zoe and Kricket too, will ya? Boss them around like you always did, they have likely missed it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Means Wheels

Today is what I thought was my annual spring post, however, a quick scan through my archives tells me it's been two years since I did this. What?

Lots has changed since two years ago. This little man was 3 and riding a trike. He has now graduated to his big brother's two wheeler.

Kamden is speed

He has pretty much mastered two wheeling, though he does have a somewhat uncoventional dismount. As in, he dismounts while the bike is still moving. If you know Kamden, this will not surprise you. It's just kind of part of his personality.

If he wants to stop, nine times out of ten, he stops pedalling, jumps off to the side and lets the bike fall where it is. He hardly ever gets hurt.

I have provided my instructions on how to, you know, use the brakes but he just looks at me like I am from Mars. Wait, it's actually Venus, isn't it?

Jack is speed too

Jack has loved riding his bike every since that day back in 2006 or so when he finally mastered the fine art of pedaling. The faster the better is his motto. I used to be able to speed walk while he rode, then I could jog, now if I don't want to eat dust (or cough up a lung or two) I have to pull out my old two wheeler (my butt complains for days after though, is there no such thing as a bike seat that doesn't hurt like hell?) if I want to keep up.

Biker dudes

As with just about everything else, they love to do this together too. I kind of love to watch them. Today I ditched the laptop and the neverending work to snap some shots. After all the first (shh, this is actually the second) ride of the year only happens once. A year.

Objects in lense are farther than they appear

This was my idea. I told him to ride straight towards me. Yes, I had to change my shorts after I quickly snapped this and jumped out of the way. I mean, look at his face, he's gonna mow his own mommy over. Actually, he was a lot farther away than it looks, I had my zoom lense (55-250mm) on.

However, being the amateur that I am, I did not realize this until I jumped three feet to the left and looked. What's life without a bit of excitment?


We were also loitering in the local church parking lot. Hopefully we'll be forgiven. And me too for my crazy "I have no idea what I am doing but this kind of looks cool" method to photo editing.

Spring seems to have sprung and while it will likely snow and get cold again, we are sure out to enjoy it while we can.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010



I remember it all very clearly. I was 27 years old and had just had my very first child. A son. He was beautiful. But I felt strange. Not me. Motherhood changed me, I thought. I am no longer the calm, worry free person I once was.

I had glimpses of that person but this new neurotic mother kept shoving her to the side (assertive bitch). For months.

Honestly, I didn't think much of it. Motherhood is supposed to change you. It's normal. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't have visions of horrid things. I was just different from before.

It didn't help that nothing went how it was supposed to. Breastfeeding was a nightmare (newsflash, that is actually how it usually goes, go figure). I took ages to heal from my C-section (not sleeping for 4 full days in the hospital probably didn't help but I am going out on a limb there). And to top everything off, Jack was not gaining weight as he was supposed to (he didn't read the "book". Isn't there, like a law or something).

Add all of that to whatever was going on with me and I was a diabolical mess. I probably had really high expectations. I had never really struggled with anything (you know besides social skills) therefore I would fall into motherhood with grace and ease (clearly I was delusional).

But I perserved, with copious amounts of love and support from Jay and family.

And somewhere in the three years between boys, I came back to me. The neurotic worrier had fled for higher ground (she hated the rotten eggs I kept throwing at her).

However, I fully expected to go wonky* again when our second son came along. I had the first time, why not the second time?

But I didn't. I birthed him the way nature intended and the nurse placed all 8 lbs 3 oz of him on my chest and I was me. Still me.

I didn't find myself swinging between the person I am and the one motherhood temporarily made me.

And that is where Jay gets down on his knees and praises the higher power with all that he is.

* I don't claim to have had Post Partum Depression, because if I did, it was the mildest form of it possible. I feel like a claim like that does a disservice to those who do have the unfortunate luck of experiencing it. My point is that I thought I was fine. Anyone who asked me how I was would have been told I was fine. Good actually. It really wasn't until Kamden was born and I looked back that I realized I wasn't fine. I have a theory that a scheduled C-section didn't allow my body and mind to prepare for the life changing experience of becoming a mother, however, it is, only a theory.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anonymous Comments of the Dumbest Kind

Lately, I have been back and forth between allowing anonymous comments or not. I like to allow them because I have friends and family that comment via this method.

Here is one of the reasons why I had to shut them off:

"good morning fellas. I'm honestly into shoes and I have been searching for that exact model. The prices as regards the sneakers are approximately 210 pounds on every site. But completely I set this location selling them as a remedy for half price. I absolutely love these (url removed). I will definetly buy these. what can you tell me about these?"

NO. I cannot tell you about some stupid shoes that you have already decided to buy. And for the love of Pete, I am a girl, not a fella. Trust me. And I don't want to be mean but English is not your first language. Sorry it was the composition of pretty much the entire comment that gave it away.

And just to keep me fuming, here is a good one:

"Do You interesting of Viagra 100mg dosage? You can find below...(url removed)"

We may be the house of khlopchyk (boys) but none of them have any need for this crap for at least another 30 years, if ever. And also, guessing English is not your first language. Yup, it was the composition again, kind of gives you away.

Or this one, it's a repeat offender:

"Nice post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you seeking your information."

Boy do I feel good, I mean here I am contributing to post secondary education and all. I should be getting paid for this. A post about how I printed off my blog into books must be integral to many college the University of Ridiculous anyway. And by the way alot is not a word. It's two, a and lot. That's $25 more, this advice is invaluable.

I have received many of these in the last couple of months. And here's the dumbest part, even dumber than than the bad English, they are all on old posts. Um, if you want someone to see your ridiculous link to some probably illegal store selling Viagra, putting it on an old post of mine is not your best line of defence. I might have a big ego but even I know that I don't have a huge audience on current posts, never mind posts from three months ago.

Who does this crap? I am assuming it's some techno geek in Malaysia or someplace who created some computer program that posts these comments and he thinks he's the cat's ass, only better because he doesn't need spell check. But why on God's green earth? I kind of get why they post comments with links...they are trying to drive traffic to their site. I am going to go out on a limb and say my site hasn't be a big contributor. But some of them don't even have a link. And some are addressed to Alice. I have been called a lot of things but Alice? C'mon people, play nice.

Just think what these people could accomplish if they channel their abilities to more useful projects. I have many suggestions, like world peace, and reducing human impact on the environment, just to name a couple. Maybe when their spam program comes by in a couple of months and attempts to post a dumb comment, it will read this and pass on the message.

What can I say, I am an eternal optimist.

Until these yahoos give it up with their hokey spam programs, I am leaving anonymous comments off, sorry y'all.

Monday, March 15, 2010



Each friend we have in life touches us in a different way. In so many different ways, really. Friends can:

support us
teach us
push us
make us think
frustrate us
hurt us unintentionally
make us question ourselves
say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time
love us
make us laugh until we cry happy tears

And so on and so forth.

I believe that each friendship teaches us something not only about ourselves but how we interact with others. Whether the friendships stands the test of time or is but a blip in time, we take something from each and every one.

As I think back over my life, I analyze the friendships that have come and gone. Why did they end? Do I miss them?

Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes it is yes. Sometimes I don't even know.

It's irrelevant really. This life is a journey and each friend is a stop point along the way.

Sometimes though, there is a darker more sinister side. Actually that's a bit dramatic. What I mean is, not all friendships are healthy. Sometimes, in fact, they are quite the opposite.

I am easily influenced by what my friends are doing. If so and so is suddenly into macrame, well by golly gee, I suddenly seem to have developed a need to macrame myself (that sounds dirty but I am pretty sure it's not). That's just a random hypothetical example, trust me I couldn't macrame a bookmark if my life depended on it.

I have noticed this though, and sometimes it is best to distance myself from people because I am being influenced and changing into someone I don't recognize. This is not their fault, it is mine entirely.

I'll give you a better example.

Once I was talking to an acquaintance and she mentioned that she had a friend who was obsessed about what was in every single thing her and her family were eating. I asked the acquaintance if that influenced her to start worrying about that too and she said yes, very much so. To the point that she had to distance herself from this friend because she hardly knew herself anymore.

I found that validating because I too, have done the same. Sometimes, no matter how hard you want a friendship to work or remain, it just isn't the best thing. Sometimes, influence isn't necessarily a good thing because as humans, we all possess, to some extent, the need to keep up the Jone's.

I have this dilemma sometimes. How do I stay true to myself and keep from getting caught up in what my friends' are doing? Have they suddenly taken up macrame? Do I need to take it up too?

Surely I am not the only one who finds themselves being swept up in what others are doing?

Jay is a good sounding board with this kind of thing and for the most part, he keeps me in check.

I am interested though, do you sit back and evaluate things like this? Maybe I need to find a hobby and stop over analyzing?

I want to know what you think. Comments have been down over here of late. You all are coming by but not saying hi (ha, I am a poet and I didn't know it). Maybe this will be the post that gets you to pipe in?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Negative Nellie Be Gone

Flowers make everything better

Grrr. That's me these days. Negative Nellie. Or Negative Nancy, whatever floats your boat. And I really have nothing to complain about. We are all healthy. Spring is in the air and the snow is melting. On the whole, life is good.

But my mood is on the foul side. If you are a Facebook friend you will have noticed the tart flavour of my recent status updates.

On Monday my status read as follows:

"Sometimes I want to comment on a student's assignment, "Did you read my revision comment, at all, before you made your changes? I thought not."

For a living (ha!) I do contract work for the education system that trains Chartered Accountants (CA) in Western Canada. My weekends are spent providing feedback on weekly assignments. Students then use these comments to revise their assignments. It never ceases to amaze me that someone with a university education (a requirement to become a CA) can't read. And there is at least one in every group of students I work with. Likely they are just having a bad day but after a few like that, it really increases my use of profanity, you know?

Negative Nellie good bye

Then Tuesday I kicked it up a notch (or three):

To Whom it May Concern,

Yes, while breastfeeding is beautiful, natural and wonderful (blah, blah, blah) I do not, I repeat, I do not want to see pictures of you or others you have photographed breastfeeding. It's private, personal and should be kept that way.

Much love,


Huh. Single handedly trashed both my students and breastfeeding in two days. The talent abounds. Actually it isn't breastfeeding that I have issue with . I bf'd both my boys for part of their first year. And I did it in public. Discreetly. What I don't want to see are photos of people feeding their babies. Because these are not usually overly discreet and also, why? I get, on some level, the desire to have such photographs taken. What I don't get is the need to share them with others.

There a lot of beautiful things in life that do not require photographic evidence. In fact, as friends commented on my status it occurred to me that a classic example of this is taking a really good bowel movement (welcome to my mind, it's frightening).

It's a beautiful thing.

C'mon, you know what I am talking about. Don't pretend to be grossed out, we all poop.


Did the picture of flowers help? No? Bear with me. My point is that some things are not meant to be shared.

But is it the pictures in specific that have my panties in a knot?

No. But the fact that Superstore appears to no longer sell my favourite tea, President's Choice Green Chai, does. In fact, I think the black cloud appeared above my head precisely at 10:12 AM this morning when I discovered this. What they do have is black tea with Chai spice. H-E-llo, menopausal 35 year old can't have black caffeine, unless waking up in night sweats is what you call a good time. I have it on good authority that this 35 year old does not.

And speaking of groceries. Has a pack of 400 lb gorillas moved into the basement? I am forever getting groceries to the tune of $250 plus. A week. There are only four of us. I haven't yet found the gorilla's hiding spot but when I do, they are all out on their ears.

And these gorillas don't make meal requests. And you are going to think I am crazy (hell, you already know I am crazy) but I wish they did. I love to cook. No really, I actually do. What I hate is the daily question, "What should I make for supper?"

Correction. It's not the question I loathe, it's the fact that I seem to always be the one who has to answer it. My family is just really laid back. Every now and then someone will throw out a request but for the most part, I get the generic, "I don't know" or my all time favourite, "That's the million dollar question, now isn't it Mommy?"

Is it wrong to say, "No shit Sherlock" to your kids? Right. I knew that.

Daisy Daisy Mae

Also contributing to my gloom and doom is my seeming inability to keep things organized around here. Opening a closet requires lightening quick reflexes that rival the Karate Kid. Get in and out before the crap, er, I mean, stuff swallows you whole. In fact, we are not sure, but we may have once lost a child in that catch all closet we like to forget about. No worries, we toss some granola bars in there every once in a while, he'll be fine.

But when I have time to organize and clean this stuff, do I? Oh no. There are 1,000 other things I'll find to do before organizing a closet.

Then again, do I want to be defined by my immaculately clean and organized home? I am thinking no, but I'll get back to you, just as soon as I am finish complaining.

Don't hold your breath.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Embracing (sort of) Winter

Stark Winter

It is no secret that I get angry at Old Man winter. Really angry. I mean, look at winter, it's cold, it's stark, it's monochrome when the sun doesn't shine.


It's also really frosty a good portion of the time but I won't complain about that because that is actually really pretty when viewed from the warmth of the house anyway.

Blue Skies

But the sun does shine here and when it does, the sky is the bluest of blues. This year we have had much less of that ridiculous kind of cold and more of the foggy, grey sky kind of weather. I won't complain because when it isn't -853 with the windchill you have to just shut it.

A Saskatchewan Moment

We have been doing a lot of skating lately. The boys really love it. I brought my camera along and took advantage of the sun.

Goofy Skater Dude

We also played tag. Newsflash: it's really hard to play tag in boots when the other three members are on skates. I am smart like that.

Sunny Tracings

I love ice tracings. I love the ramdomness that somehow creates a beautiful pattern in the snow. It also makes me think back to my figure skating days when we still did figures (figure 8's - set circular patterns traced on the ice free hand or foot as the case may be). I loved the precision with with you could do three sets of the same pattern and lay down the 3 tracings within centimeters of each other. It's a lost art and it makes me sad. I spend many an hour practicing in my teen years.


I also love how picking up my camera somehow makes me see things that I wouldn't normally pay attention to.

I won't toast winter (I haven't lost my mind...yet) but I do concede that it has its own special beauty. Mostly when it's over.