Thursday, December 31, 2009

Smiling When Your Friends Are Watching

I'm still here.  I'm barely hanging on by the skin of my fingernails but I'm still here.  Life is handing me lemons, and I'm not interested in making lemonade.  I'm more interested in cutting the lemons in half and then squeezing them into the eyes of one who needs a fucking wake up call.

The tension in this house is freaking unreal.  (Sorry, dear sister, that you received some of the lemon-squeezy. I do love you enormously.)  My guts are completely twisted up.  In my mind, I am alternately curled up in a ball and bent over barfing because I can't stomach the stress.  Since Hot Stuff reads my blog sometimes, I am not going to get into detail, although again, like it was here, it is rocky between us.  Only worse.  And this? Was me. Still is. Only worse. To those who left a comment; thank you, my heart was touched.

Last year at this time I could not wait until 2008 was over. In 2008, my mother died. My relationship with my brother fell apart.  My Little Dude was born.  It was all too much and I kept telling myself, don't worry, 2008 is almost over.  2009 will be better.  It wasn't.  This year I am not telling myself that 2010 will be better.  This year I am telling myself that I will make 2010 better.  I will not leave it to someone else.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The meaning of Christmas

A conversation yesterday morning between Hot Stuff and I as we (finally) put up the tree:

HS: So.. what do you want for Christmas?

Me: Um.. I don't know.. whatever.

HS: Well, don't say whatever, or I'll end up coming home with a frying pan or a house coat or something. And how many house coats do you have, like three upstairs that you don't wear?

Me: Yeah. Well, why don't you get me an apron? I need an apron.

HS: Are you serious? You want an apron?

Me: Well, kind of.

HS: uncertain smile

Me: Lookit, I'll tell you what. You think about me, and about what I would like. If you put some thought into it, I'm sure you can figure it out.

HS: Are you fucking serious?

Me: Well, yeah. You need to put some thought into it. Seriously, it won't be that hard. Just consider me and what my tastes are, what I like and don't like, and I'm sure you'll come home with the perfect gift.

(I am such a shit.)

Hot stuff leaves to go pick up a gift for me and then grab my sister from the bus station. On the way into town, he calls me from his cell.

HS: Hey, were you serious about all of that earlier?

Me: Yeah. Hon, you have to put some thought into it, okay? I'm sure you'll do great.

HS: Fuck.

Is it wrong to take such delight in playing cat and mouse with someone's sanity? Is it fair to lay down this pressure five days before Christmas?  The answer is a most enthusiastic Yes! I have learned that the true meaning of Christmas is being able to put the screws to your partner in life for your own personal enjoyment.

Thank you, honey, this was the best gift ever.

I am not without mercy.  After Doreen and I laughed about it, I gave her the okay to call Hot Stuff and tell him that an iPod would also be a good gift. (Although, I am fully aware that I will be opening another frying pan and/or housecoat Christmas morning if he reads this.)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letters of Intent, Dec 18/09

Letters of Intent


Brought to you by Julie @ Foursons.

Dear Little Dude,

I'm tired, okay? I'm sorry that you are teething, but there is nothing I can do about it.  I give you Motrin, we cuddle, we laugh, you have a bottle, I put you to bed, you commence with the wailing.  I get you out of bed; you don't want a teether, you're not hungry, you don't want the facecloth, you don't want me rubbing your gums, and as soon as I put you to back to bed you start this crying business again.  It needs to stop.  Seriously.  I am all done, baby. Alllll done. I am also WAY ALL DONE being woken up two or three times in the middle of the night.  I am taking care of all your little baby needs before bed so I don't have to be coming down in the night to settle you back to sleep.  One of these times I am going to break my damn neck on the stairs because my brain, which is supposed to be at the helm, is still actually asleep.  If you could just tell me what you want, I would try to do accommodate you.  If all you want is to yank my chain, which is what I think is really going on, sorry.  I'm not that kind of Mama. You'll have to get over your adorable little self and cry yourself to sleep.  I'm not going to play the game tonight.  It's been a stressful week and I have nothing in the tank except nausea.  Just a few more days until your Aunty Meg comes to visit; she is a much less tired second-mother and has much more stamina.  Tough it out, kid.

Love, Mom

Dear Hurricane,

Thank you so much for making me laugh today.  Yes, that guy was weeeeiiirrrrrddd looking.  Maybe next time you could tell me in a quieter voice.  Also, you don't know this but after you went to bed, I came downstairs and laughed because you asked me why I was freaking out.  Who taught you those words? Oh yeah, me.

Love, Mom

Dear Princess,

Please, please stop taking your pull ups off during naptime.  I am tired of scrubbing poop out of your carpet.  It's very labour-intensive.  Yes, I know we are going to replace the carpet soon, but come ON.  Cut me a bit of slack, okay?  I can't be changing your sheets every day or washing your toys all the time because you got poop on them, either. 

Love, Mom

Friday, December 11, 2009

Letters of Intent, Dec 11/09

Letters of Intent


Brought to you by Julie at Foursons. Click over and read some other great letters. After you finish laughing at me, of course.

Dear People Who Are Having A Shitty Day (and/or Anyone Else Who Needs A Laugh),

In the world of Stone Fox, days are seldom without some laughter/drama/tears (kids)/tears (mine)/carpet scrubbing (and that's not a sexual innuendo, unfortunately).  Today was no exception, although I did wake up and wonder to myself, Self, what are you going to post about today? Nobody has spewed any bodily fluids on any carpeting and/or upholstery for 24 hours straight.

Before I knew it, the morning was over and I picked up the Hurricane from school and headed into town.  A quick stop at Greyhound and then on to Wendy's, as I am not made of actual stone and the whines and pleas of the childrens does wear me down.  Know what I discovered when I pulled up to Wendy's Order Here microphone?  The Order Here microphone in the lane where there is no way to get out of the lane because it has a high curb and you can't drive out because there is a minivan in front of you and you can't back out because there are two guys in a pick up truck right behind you?

I discovered that my driver's side window was frozen shut.  Frozen. Shut. Tighter than a duck's arse.  So while I am wondering what the EFF is wrong with my window, I open my truck door, get out of the truck, and proceed to place my order into the microphone.  All the while, I am jabbing the open/close button for my window, trying (unsuccessfully) to get the son of a bitch unstuck.  I could hear the lady at the drive through window laughing her ass off when she repeated my order back to me.  I am pretty sure I heard the two guys in the pick-up truck killing themselves as well, but I was too embarrassed to even look in their direction.  I get back in, drive up to the Pay Here window.  Get out of the truck.  Give the lady, who is still laughing, my bank card as I lamely attempt to explain my truck window is stuck.  While I am waiting for the transaction to go through, I grab my window scraper and make a huge deal out of scraping the bottom edge of my window.  Then grab my bank card and get back into the truck.  Hammer again, still unsuccessfully, on the open/close button for my window.  Drive up to the Pick Up Order Here window.  Get out of truck.  Pick up order.  Hear several people inside the drive thru windows laughing.  Don't even bother giving lame "window is stuck" excuse.  Hang head in shame and haul ass back to truck.  Lay down rubber speeding out of drive thru lane.

I drove four blocks before I pulled over and gave the kids their meals.

We're probably going to start eating at A&W's now.

Having a great day,
Stone

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 Reasons I don't babysit for a living

I am a sucker for a hard-luck story, so when one of the other preschool moms asked me to watch her kids on a short term temporary please-please-my-last-sitter-crapped-out-and-you're-probably-not-a-psycho-I-mean-you-seem-like-a-nice-person-and-I-am-so-desperate-please basis, I caved and said yes, even though I have sworn never to look after anyone else's kids at least twice before. 

The Mix: in addition to my three, I also had a 4 year old girl and a 15 month old boy.

So here's why I keep swearing off babysitting:

1.  This shit always happens at the worst time; like when my Little Dude is cutting 2 molars at the same time and does nothing but sit in one spot and cry all day unless I carry him around or wear him on my back like a Gee-Damn pack animal.

2.  I have my own little psychos to trash my house, I don't need anyone else's little psychos to help.

3.  The fact that I referred to other people's children as "little psychos."

4. I really needed to go to the liquor store today but couldn't because it doesn't look good when you leave the truck running with 5 small children in it to go grab alcohol.

5. I didn't have time to work-out this morning before I picked up the little fartknockers.  I had my short-shorts and runners on, rolling with my black socks (how's that for a visual?) before I realized that shit, I was getting paid to watch someone else's kids and maybe I should be at least on the same floor of the house as them.

6. Loading 5 kids each with their own backpacks/diaper bags/booster seats/carseats into a vehicle, by yourself, is a fucking bitch to do.

7. The noise level.  It's like a Nine Inch Nails concert what with the discordant screeching and incoherent shouting all freaking day.

8.  HAPPY HOUR.  There is not enough sarcasm in the world to infuse into those two words when they are used to describe the hours between 4pm and 6pm, when children the world over go into full-on Nuclear Meltdown.

9. Today is not Free Day but I ate a lot of cookies.  From the stress. Yes, the stress from the little psychos.

10. I am way too tired to think of a #10.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Technically, I only "misplaced" the baby & Why sleepovers are awesome*

This morning as I was working out, I was planning my day.  Since the Hurricane was at a sleepover and I wasn't due to pick him up until 2 (2pm! Can you believe it? Usually it's noon pick up), I had all morning to Get Stuff Done.  The schedule: caulk some weatherstripping around the Princess and Little Dudes' windows.  Run into town, go to Michaels.  Grab stuff for prettifying cafe noir chocolate truffles.  Go to grocery store. Grab groceries.  Pick up Hurricane.  Come home, prettify truffles.  Try not to eat them all.  Make some Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies.  Try not to eat them all. Congratulate self on Getting Stuff Done.  Have relaxing evening.

Well.  The first hitch came when I was putting on the weatherstripping.  I was in Little Dude's bedroom and I thought I heard him in the Princess' bedroom.  When I went in her room to do her window, he wasn't there.  He wasn't in his own room, and he wasn't in the living room.  I checked the bathroom and the dining room: no baby.  Kitchen: no baby.  Entryway: no baby.  Man the Panic Stations.  Check every room again.  No baby. Flip open the cover of the Panic Button.  Check every room again and even open front door to see if by some stretch of physics he opened the door and decided to go for a walk (in -28C weather).  Can't hear baby noises anywhere.  Try to make brain stop thinking of horrific and terrible accidents that can occur when children are out of direct eyesight for 60 seconds. Insert and turn key of Panic Button to Enable.  Tell self to calm the fuck down and order heart to stop having heart attacks.  Hand is hovering over Panic Button.  Get brilliant idea to check staircase.  Run to stairs, see baby sitting on bottom stair in the corner, smiling and playing with the Princess's magic wand.  Have complete and total nuclear meltdown on the inside from the sheer relief.

Then we went to town.  Town was good.  Town was a success.  I got Doreen's older daughters to watch my two babies.  (It is not lost on me that a 13-year-old and an 11-year-old did not misplace the baby.)  I got the stuff I needed from Michaels and the grocery store, and Doreen and I got to hang out for a couple hours while I did my running around.

When I went to pick up the Hurricane, his little friend's mom told me that the kids had a great time, my son was well-mannered (yay! threatening their little lives does work!), they were up until 11, and Hurricane was up at 7 because he had gotten sick and puked all over the bed and himself.  It was at that moment that I remembered the Princess had some nasty poops the day before, so I figured it was a virus that the kids had passed to each other.  He said his tummy felt much better after he threw up.  As I was profusely and sincerely thanking her for taking such good care of my kid, I was also thinking in my head, Score! At least he didn't barf in his bed at home.**

**This completely blew up in my face.

*I thought of the title right before this happened:

On the way home; as in, we are less than 3 minutes away from our house, my Hurricane says to me, "Mommy, I don't feel goo-BBBAAARRRRFFF!  GLLURRRRRP!  REEEETTTTCCCCHH!"

He varminted. All over himself.  His booster seat.  My truck seat.  The floor of my truck.  Various and assorted toys laying on the floor.  Poor, poor little guy.  He was so upset.  I sped home and got him into the shower while I brought in groceries and babies and baby paraphernalia and wondered how the hell I was going to get varmint out of my upholstery.  After throwing the toys and his booster seat into the snow, I ended up using laundry soap and a scrubber to scrub out the barf.  At -28C (-18F) I don't have the intestinal fortitude to do a good job, or even a half-assed job.  I maybe did a quarter-assed job, but I sprayed lots of Febreze.  That must count for something.

And that is why this post is being done at 8:30 on Sunday night.  It is currently -27C (hey, it warmed up!) and the last thing I want to do is go outside in the cold and the dark and scrape varmint off a booster seat and throw on a wash of barfy clothes and toys.  Instead, I sit in a nice, cozy house and write about it instead.

And how was your weekend?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Letters of Intent, Dec 4/09

Letters of Intent


Brought to you by the letters F-O-U-R-S-O-N-S.

Dear Tiger Woods,

I, for one, am not surprised that your wife took a golf club to your SUV.  What did you think would happen when you inevitably got busted for cheating? Haven't you ever heard of Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood? Woman are not just going to sit back and take this crappy treatment anymore.  You should be feeling damn lucky that it was only the SUV that got the business end of your club.  You know what amuses me the most? That you told a friend your wife went "all ghetto" on you.  Excuse me?  The woman who takes care of you and your kids and puts up with your enormous ego and then finds you cheating went "all ghetto" on you? QUEL. SURPRISE.  I would be getting "all axe-murderer" on you, myself.  It's funny how you accuse her of being ghetto when you're the one slinking around like some horny ghetto dog sniffing at all the females.

Oh yes.  You may be worth a billion dollars, but you are still a dog. I hope she takes your worthless ass for everything.  Oh, and nice role-modeling, by the way, I'm sure all the little boys who idolize you are taking notes. Cochon.

Disgusted,

Stone Fox

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Dr. Google: I have this weird rash..

Winter skin, oh winter skin, how ugly are thee.

After 10 years, my outer layer still thinks we live in a moderate coastal climate, and not this vast and frozen prairie.  As soon as the temperature drops below about -15 C the backs of my hands start to crack and bleed from the dry air.  I lotion, and I lotion ("It puts the lotion on it's skin. It PUTS the LOTION on IT'S SKIN.") and it's an okay solution at best.  I have tried every type of lotion out there, to little avail; inevitably, I start to dry out and wrinkle up and I look like this:


"I'll just have a spring water, no ice, please."


That's normal.

Not normal? Breaking out in a rash.  The backs and insides of my arms.  My legs.  My forearms.  I know it's not just regular eczema or psoriasis, as I have both of those all year round.  (Those lotion commercials that show the babes with the smooth arms and legs.. so relatable for me!) It's not scabies, because I had that when I was in my early twenties (don't judge, it's highly communicable).  It's not allergies, because I'm not eating anything different.  I don't think it's fungal, because it's not showing up in dark, sweaty crevices. And, I'm showering these days. Like, every day.  Yeah, I'm impressed, too.

I have narrowed it down to two possibilities: stress, which is entirely possible, although if that is the case, I would expect to be a solid mass of itchy redness; or dryer sheets.  Oh I love me some fresh smelling Fleecy.  Cheaper than Bounce, works just as good. I fear, though, that I may have to give up the nice sniffy stuff and go with the environmentally-friendly, fair-trade, sustainable-responsible-growth-organic-hemp-woven-by-certified-hippies-no-perfumes-not-tested-on-cute-fuzzy-bunnies dryer sheets, or no dryer sheets. No dryer sheets?! HA! Yeah, right. Frizzy..er hair and socks static-clinged to the ass of my pants? Not to mention all the dog hair I'd have stuck to me? Think: Teen-Wolf.

As if I need any more help to look like a spaz. 

Speaking of my spazziness, Temerity-Jane interviewed me for the Great Interview Experiment, and she did an excellent job.  Click here if you want to read about me talking about myself. Go forth and laugh heartily.

Picture credit: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23381234-moment-600-years-ago-that-terror-came-to-mummies-of-the-amazon.do

Monday, November 30, 2009

Milestones

The Hurricane got a "cell phone" with his kid's meal from Wendy's.  Wouldn't you know it, he was getting hang up calls almost right away.  So inconvenient when your imaginary conversations with your imaginary friends are being interrupted by imaginary calls and when you answer these intrusive imaginary calls, nobody is there.  How rude.

The Princess has added a ton of new words to her vocabulary; shockingly, none of them are curse words.  Her favorite stuffed cat is now known as "Puppy."  She is saying, "Hap, mama" when she needs help. With the help of the Hurricane, pee, poop, and butt are becoming more common.  NO!, MINE!, and I DO! are also still in heavy rotation.  She used to be shy on the phone, now she is more than happy to hold an extended conversation completely in Baby Gibberish.  No, don't worry, you don't have to do any of the talking.  As a matter of fact, if you are on the phone with her, don't count on getting any words in. 

Little Dude has discovered a Super Awesome Really Fun way to give mommy a HEART ATTACK.  Stand up in your high chair and turn around.  Then lean waaaay over the back of the high chair so you can touch stuff.  When you get tired, just sit down on your high chair tray.  Eat some snack.  Repeat. Wait for your mom to turn around and DROP DEAD FROM FEAR. If you don't want to scare mom by letting her find you standing up, then you can slide your legs down and get your fat butt stuck under the tray with both legs wedged in on the same side of the divider.  Then squeal like a.. well, like a stuck piglet.

Little Dude is also using the dining room chairs to walk; he got himself stuck underneath the table today. It's probably not very nice to laugh at a baby, but I did.  I have discovered that the word "Snack" will distract him from whatever is making him cry; the downside is that I really do have to give him a snack.  The way this kid is eating, it's going to be expensive.  I may have to pimp him out Toddlers & Tiaras* style so I can afford to feed him.

*Seriously, 4 year olds with spray tans? This is what your children will look like:


"Next time I won't point all the jets at my face."

Friday, November 27, 2009

I found even more stuff wrong with me.

So I'm at the doctor's office the other day, waiting patiently ("patient"ly, get it?) in the exam room, and I notice a sheet entitled Therapeutic Management of Hormone Excess and Deficiency with Marvelon or something similar.  Basically, it's a graph sheet showing estrogen, progesterone, and androgen levels at different times of the cycle, along with other signs and symptoms that the birth control pill, Marvelon, (aka Alesse) can help alleviate.

Curious, I started reading it.  I was surprised to discover that I am Estrogen Deficient:

Forgetfulness
Difficulty falling asleep
Poor concentration - It's why I never play those stupid Facebook apps.
Forgetfulness (I shit you not, it's on the sheet twice)
Decreased verbal skills
Irregular bleeding
Lower libido
Emotional instability - Did you just call me a flake?

Strangely enough, I am also Estrogen Dominant:

PMS - Pass My Shotgun
Irregular bleeding
Low libido
Heavy menstruation
Bloating
Weight gain - Because all the other shit on this list isn't enough?
Mood swings - Do you have a problem with my moods?
Sleep disturbances - They're called KIDS.
Sugar cravings

And yes, Progesterone Deficient:

Fluid Retention
Stressed Easily
Weight gain - HELLO? We get it.
Irritability - YEAH. I KNOW ALREADY.
Break-though-bleeding
PMS - Pardon My Sweatpants
Heavy Periods
Cramps
Irregular cycle/spotting between cycles
Over Reacting - Excuse me? Excuse *Me*? What, exactly, are you trying to say? No, no, really. Let's hear it.
Stressed
Mood swings - I'm sorry I snapped at you.
Irritability - Is there a POINT to this constant repetition?

Oh My Lanta, Androgen Dominant, too?

Acne/oily skin - Especially my forehead. It's reflective, almost.
Facial hair - If I ever run out of turtle wax, I will be sure to use some of my Forehead Grease to keep my mustache and also my chiskers nice and shiny.
Agitated
Angry - Well, duh, look at what I'm dealing with, here!
Irritable - Stop bringing it up! You're just pissing me off!

Of course I'm Androgen Deficient as well, why wouldn't I be?

Loss of libido
Loss of muscle tone
Wrinkled skin
Lack of drive - Meh..
Demotivation - I'll finish this later..

So what it all comes down to, is that I am a big fat shiny whale with a hair-trigger temper, a mustache, and a bad attitude and I tend to overreact and go Nuclear at the slightest provocation. After said outburst, I'm likely to flop down and have myself a good cry. Who knew I was so much fun?

Awesome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Resentment

Doreen and I were hanging out yesterday, and we got to talking about how our kids came about.  Not the sex talk, you dirty birds, just the timing of our kids.  (Just for the sake of background, Doreen is in her mid-thirties and has a 13 year old, an 11 year old, and twins who are 20 months old.  All of them are girls.)

Little Dude was totally unexpected.  He was unplanned.  He was not unwanted.  I had my boy and my girl - who was, at the time, still a tiny baby.  I was done having kids. Another baby was so Not In The Plan.  As soon as I got over the initial shock of being pregnant, I was in love with my baby.  Doreen felt the same way with her twins.  At the time she found out she was pregnant, her daughters were both school age and about to head into the tween/pre-teen stages of life.  A baby, let alone two babies, was definitely Not In The Plans.

Is there some kind of taboo that prevents mothers from expressing negative feelings towards the way children come to us in life?  As soon as a woman says, "You know, this is not exactly what I had planned," when it is in reference to children, immediately she qualifies it with, "I wouldn't change a thing, I love my babies."  Just so no one ever doubts her love for her kids.

To be clear, I am not talking about resenting your children for being born.  I'm talking about the resentment towards Life In General.  It was so hard for me for the first 10 months of Little Dude's life.  It was really difficult for Doreen for the first 15 months of her twins' lives.  Why can't we talk about this?  Why can't we say, to the world at large, to Life, having these babies so close together made me feel like a failure lots of times, overwhelmed lots of times, and mad and frustrated with myself for being a failure and overwhelmed? And frankly, I'm still a little pissy about it.

Why can't we say having twins at 34 when I thought I was way done having kids was shitty timing, Life? Or, gee  thanks, Life, I loved being in the hospital for 6 weeks on bedrest and suffering from severe PPD? You know, I'm mostly over it, but not completely. (Ok, so Doreen's life starting getting "difficult" before the twins arrived.)

Just re-reading what I've written, I noticed that I did it myself.  I qualified "Little Dude was unplanned," with "He was not unwanted."  Are we not supposed to say these things out loud or write them where other people can read them, without making sure everyone knows we 'wouldn't change a thing'?  Truthfully, if I could do it over again (with the guarantee that I would still have the same kids), I might choose to have 18 months between my little ones.  Or maybe 2 years.  I'd be willing to bet that Doreen would seriously think about having her twins at 28 instead of 34.

I really think there is a fear about being judged for this.  It's almost as though no matter how many times you say, "I wouldn't change a thing, I love my kids," it never seems to be quite enough to make up for, "I feel a tiny bit resentful towards Life In General for making this child-rearing business so fucking tough."

Me.. I don't really care about being judged.  I want to put it out there for any other mother (or father) who is or ever has been pissy with Life In General because of the wrenches that get thrown in the gears.  You know you love your kids and wouldn't trade them for the world. I know you love your kids and wouldn't trade them for the world. You don't need to qualify it anymore.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let them eat cake. Dinosaur cake and Rainbow cake.

So here are some shots of the cakes I made for the joint birthday party for the Little Dude and The Princess last weekend, which we held at Boston Pizza.  BTW, holding a party at a restaurant is a great idea: zero clean up, and they don't charge you for a "room."  If you're lucky like us, they will seat other patrons in a different section until the dinner rush starts.

Little Dude's Dinosaur:

 

And the Princess' rainbow cake:


 
 

(That's my arm moving reallysuperfast! in the picture and blurring it up.  Hey, I was in a hurry to get my piece, people. It's yummy rainbow cake. Don't judge; you would be blurry too.  This is the best picture I have right now of the inside of the cake.)

Neither of these cakes are my own ideas.  The dinosaur cake is from the Betty Crocker website.  The rainbow cake is from MckMama's website.

I had a blast making them, because although they look difficult, they are quite easy.  By that I mean you don't need specialized skills or pans or whatnot; just the patience and the time to make a zillion pounds of icing and piss around with cake batter to make sure your colors are bright and your batter is split equally.  I am fairly certain that our house is experiencing frost heave right now, because the back of my cake pans was significantly higher than the front of my cake pans.  (Think tsunami wave. In rainbow colors!)  Despite this, they turned out fairly well.  The rainbow cake looks more lopsided in the picture than it did in real life, mostly because the scrolling around the top edge was bright pink and distracted the eye.

Everyone thought the dinosaur cake was really cute.  Then I cut into the rainbow cake.  The chorus of Oooohhhs and Aaaahhhs when people saw the inside is the real reason I go nuts with birthday cakes.  The compliments from our birthday guests and some of the waitstaff at the restaurant made me feel so good. Not to mention our waitress taking pictures of it on her cell phone because she wanted to show her friends; how awesome is that? Totally awesome.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Everyone Is Somebody

Neil over at Citizen of the Month is again running the Great Interview Experiment.  All you have to do is post a comment on the GIE post.  You interview the person who commented just before you, and the person after you will interview you.  The goal is to help us all suck fresh blood into our blog vortices meet new people who are - hopefully - vastly different from ourselves; think International Singles Mixer plus online speed-dating minus the time limit and illicit bathroom stall sex.  At least, I didn't get any.  But there's always Temerity Jane, who will be interviewing me. No pressure, TJ, we'll go slow.. it's my first time, too.

So my assignment? Monica Peters, from AkwesasneWomensFire.com Monica created this website to share information on the events that occur in the Akwesasne Territory.  The Akwesasne (pronounced Ah-kweh-sauce-nee) Territory is a Mohawk Nation: it's western border runs down the St. Lawrence river and around the southern edge of Cornwall Island, ON and includes a chunk of New York and a slice of Quebec.  Monica is also a writer, YouTube wiz, and web app developer.  She is of Onkwehonwe descent and lives on Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island).

How about a little bit of Personal Information?  Married? Kids? Job – as in, which of the many  hats you wear is the one that comes with a paycheck? Hobbies?

I married in 2005, to a strong Onkwehonwe man from Akwesasne.  He is the love of my life.

I pay my bills, by working as a web applications developer since 1996.  I also author books, technology documents, and an upcoming tabloid about life in Akwesasne.  I am a published author (Army of Web Bots by Monica Lamb). I also host Website Launch parties for clients, that I develop websites for.

Some days I develop innovative software and websites.  Other days, I teach my clients how to manage their own Internet business adventures or how to use various Internet technologies.  I am an entrepreneur with 'Oldest Child Syndrome'.  I enjoy serious challenges and tend to 'go after ant hills with an elephant gun', according to my mother.

I'm the 2007 NAAF recipient for technology, because I developed the world's first Endangered Language translators, back in 1997.  More info:  http://www.Onkwehonwe.com

What prompted you to build AkwesasneWomensFire.com?

A group of women in Akwesasne discussed that we all wanted to have a safe place to share what we are experiencing in Akwesasne. Historically, various governments have taken advantage of their position, by publishing false and damaging stories about Onkwehonwe. We all agreed that we wanted to speak up and share our stories, pictures, and videos with the world, without asking for permission from any government agency.

I invested my own money and resources into starting up the website. Within a few weeks, some of the women, did not like the stories I posted and they wanted me to ask them for permission before I posted
any of my views.  I reminded them that I am a free Onkwehonwe and I do not ask permission to think or speak freely.  So, we parted our ways and they started a new group and a new website for themselves.

I continue to post stories, videos, and pictures that I capture during my normal daily routine, living in Akwesasne.  I am fortunate that women and men from our original group are still helping to discover and share information, so that I can publish stories on our website. We are a small group and we all work very well together (especially during times of crisis).  Some days, we have a handful of videographers working simultaneously to get all angles during crisis situations.

During crisis situations, we are threatened with violence from various border agents, police officers, military groups, and local government agents,  if we try to document the situation, leave or return to our homes or travel freely around our community of Akwesasne. We are currently receiving the most threats, from various governments that want to force every 'Indian' to become fully assimilated citizens of the USA or Canada governments.

Sometimes, police threaten to take our cameras and equipment.  Other days, border agents threaten to arrest Onkwehonwe if they question the agent, when the agent demands that they answer weird questions - or to
step out of their vehicles.

It can be very scary living in Akwesasne.  It seems like a 'police state' out of a science fiction movie on some days.  The past few weeks have been fairly quiet though.  Except for the coast guard boat that runs so close to our shore (in our backyard) that I think it might hit our trees or rocks, while they peer in our house windows and wave their Canadian flag.  Very strange here sometimes.

Before this year, I enjoyed a relatively quiet happy life here in Akwesasne and traveling the world for my career.  I am still relatively happy for the most part, because we have beautiful and brilliant people in Akwesasne that are always happy to support the sharing of knowledge and resources.

Have you always been involved in social activism, or was there one specific incident that affected you deeply enough that you jumped in?

No, in fact, I can't stand politics at all.  I was able to avoid it all my life, right up until this year.  I have been forced into speaking out, because I have literally been under attack and threatened in my own community this year.

I have no criminal record, I don't smoke, I don't drink, and I do my best to follow the Great Law.  I am not armed nor dangerous, because I respect The Great Law and that is a very peaceful way of life.

You are very clear about your dissatisfaction with the way the Onkwehonwe people are treated by the Canadian and US governments.  In a perfect world, what kind of relationship  would you like to see between Akwesasne and the two countries?

Two Row Wampum*.  I don't try to control others, trick others to become my slave, tell others how to believe, behave, and exist.  I demand the same respect in return.  Respect (as I understand it) is the ability
to co-exist with no fear of intimidation, harassment, or harm of any form (mental, physical, spiritual).

*a wampum belt containing two parallel rows of purple beads on a white bead background was used by the Haudenosaunee to record their 1613 treaty with the Dutch.  The purple rows signify two vessels traveling in the same river side by side but separate.  One boat never tries to steer the other. (Source: Wikipedia)

I get the impression that you regard the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) as just another Canadian federal agency; it says on your website, and I’m paraphrasing, that the MCA recognize the Government of Canada as their employer and thus are bound to do whatever the Canadian Government  tells them to, even if it is detrimental to Akwesasne.  What, specifically, is the MCA doing or not  doing to give you this viewpoint?

MCA has many good Onkwehonwe working in their system too.  The problem is not the Onkwehonwe.  The problem is the system - it is created and owned by a British corporation that has proved it's intentions for
hundreds of years now.  They intend to fully assimilate every last 'Indian' into becoming citizens of their corporations (by force and trickery).

Onkwehonwe that have knowledge of our origins, our lands, our waterways, will never agree to become citizens of USA nor Canada.  They treat their citizens like slaves and it's very disappointing to witness. Today we witness the governments mistreating their own citizens, in every way imaginable.

With regards to the bridge that runs from Cornwall, Ontario to Cornwall Island, and then to the Massena Border Post, NY, why is there such  conflict between the Canadian Border Services Agency and the people who live on  Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Is.)?

C.B.S.A. has abused Onkwehonwe and travelers to the point of causing death, harm, and much distress on our small island (Kawehno:ke) since they were forced onto us in the 1950s. They continue to abuse their position and they continue to harass, threaten, bully, and even outright lie about their abusive interactions with Onkwehonwe and travelers they encounter.

They have stated in public media, that they view 'Mohawks' as armed, dangerous, and so scary that they (C.B.S.A.) had to leave their building, because they became so emotionally distressed.  Yet, all the
photographers that were present, show the 'scary mohawks' as Children, Elderly, Men, and Women that are most certainly not armed or dangerous.  In the next statement, C.B.S.A. said that they must carry guns.  What kind of person would ever allow an emotionally distressed agent to carry guns?

The public is just learning that C.B.S.A. actually have been planning and orchestrating a massive media campaign to criminalize all 'Indians'.  Many other government agencies are involved.

A common lament among older First Nations people is that the younger generation is not carrying on the old traditions.  Do you see that happening in Akwesasne?  Are you losing your young people to mainstream Canada or the States?

We are actually alot healthier that some of our sisters and brothers communities.  Of course we have our issues, similar to every community on the planet. Onkwehonwe do not stop existing, just because they are not acting or living, in the way that books, movies, or laws claim they should be acting or living as.

If you could change one stereotype that Whites have about Natives, what would it be? Conversely, if you could change one stereotype that Natives have about Whites, what would it be?

I don't refer to myself as 'Native, Indian, Mohawk, First Nation, Aboriginal, Indigenous' or any English language term.

Every single one of us, is part of this Creation. The Great Law, is for all and it's really not about 'white' vs 'black' vs 'red' vs 'yellow'.

When we acknowledge and understand The Great Law or Natural Law, we can understand that everything is temporary and truly start to just appreciate everything and everyone we encounter. We can proudly look in the mirror, even while our hair, eyes, or skin are not what the man-made laws, dictate they should be.

Best advice I can share with anyone, is to find out what 'Natural Law' is, especially compared to man-made laws.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life? Why?

Creator, because I sincerely do appreciate every experience here. What an incredible experience!

What is the one thing that you would love to do but are absolutely terrified to try?

Hmmm, this is really tough to answer,  because I consistently do things that scare me.  Even things that I'm not too keen about. For example, I keep my cameras rolling during scary incidents around Akwesasne.  Sometimes it's scary, because they are often rude and one even asked their followers to shut down my cameras during public gatherings.

Ok, I know what I'm terrified to try, but I would love to be good at. I would love to be a motivational public speaker.  I would love to share my own story of how I am a survivor of child abuse and learned to sincerely forgive all those that abused me as a child.  That is a terrifying thought, because it's hard to talk about a subject that causes listeners to want to become abusers and go harm the adults that harm children. I would like to help others learn to move into and beyond the knee-jerk reactions to painful events.  I am so honored to have learned how to be truly appreciative and peaceful, even in such chaotic and scary times.

A big thank you to Monica for giving thoughtful answers and not calling me out for the clumsy amateur I really am.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Letters of Intent, Nov 20/09

Letters of Intent


Letters of Intent, brought to you by Julie @ Foursons. Don't forget to click over there when you're done here.

I'm sure anyone with a husband will relate this week..

Dear Husband with a Death Wish,

Yesterday you played hooky from the job you will be leaving soon to do some online training stuff for the company you are about to start with.  I am fairly certain the online training took about three or four hours, but you sat at the computer all day.  You watched me clean the house, wrangle the kids, make bread, and do laundry.  Then I cooked supper.  I did not ask you to watch the kids, or intervene when they were taking turns trying to kill and maim each other.  I specifically told the kids to leave you alone so you could get your computer stuff done.  When I took the Hurricane to tae kwon do at 5, I assumed that you would clean the kitchen, because it has been our deal since the beginning of time that if we are both home, the person who does not cook has to clean.

Much to my dismay, when we got back home at 6, the kitchen was half-assed done.  I appreciate that you cleared the table and ran the dishwasher (that mostly I loaded), but the job is not done until the pots and pans are washed and counters are wiped.  I did not appreciate the shitty way you left it all for me to clean and flat out told me that you weren't going to do any of it.  Then you sat your ass right back down at the computer.

We both know that I am a Woman On The Edge these days, what with the hormone stuff I'm going through.  My doctor's appointment isn't until next Wednesday, so you'd be wise to watch your back, Jack.  This kind of disrespect will take you places you really don't want to go.  Do you really want to share your side of the bed with those unwashed pots and pans?  Or maybe you would prefer that I stuff your pillowcase with every stinky piece of dirty laundry you own? Which, if you keep giving me Shitty Disrespectful Attitude, is going to pile up as I will go on laundry strike.

It is not wise to mess with me, Husband.  I have ways of making your life extremely unpleasant.

Your Loving Wife,
Stone

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Feeling Old Today

Last night, I had to run down to the gas station to grab some milk.  While I was in line, I overheard a conversation between the young cashier and a male friend of hers.  They were discussing whether or not they should get a place in the city together and whether or not the cashier's boyfriend would move into the city, too, so they could all share an apartment.  The cashier tried to explain to her friend that (like.. honestly?) her boyfriend would (totally)  not move into the city.  The male friend looked part mystified and part taken aback and said, "Why would he stay in this small town?"

Well, friends, that instantly made me feel about 80 years old.  Only because at the age of 19 I couldn't wait to leave my own small town and spread my wings in a Big City.  I could never imagine living in a small town ever again, because why would I stay in that small town?  Now, I am the 32-year-old Mom driving the Mom-mobile, wearing sweatpants and very-unstylish-yet-waterproof boots to grab milk at 10:45 at night, only to return to my husband and 3 small babes sleeping in beds in the house on the small acreage in the country, not even on the edge of that small town.

Gone are the days of being young and having endless possibilities for your life.  Gone are the days of having boundless energy; energy to stay up all night, study for a test on the way to school, and pass the test with a B.  Gone are the days of being responsible only to myself and having much more time to donate to Deep Thinking. Gone are the days of wandering around my Big City smelling the smells and hearing the sounds and visiting my most favorite places.

Here, though, are the days of being wiser.  Here are the days of having a bunch of drunken Mini-me's running around like total maniacs and making me laugh.  Here are the days of getting into bed at night and it's already warmed up.  Here are the days of seeing the world through the eyes of a child again.  Here are the days of watching those children make the connections (I swear, sometimes if you're watching their eyes, you can actually see the synapses firing) when they figure out something new.

Here are the days of struggle; of knowing that as much as a struggle as it is, one day you will look back with wistfulness at these days, too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Me, circa 1990

As a teenager, I truly was awkward.  In pretty much every sense of the word; I was awkward looking, awkward in school, awkward around other people.. well, you get the picture.  In case you don't, this should help you out:

What was I thinking? Perhaps that the hideous shirt would take the emphasis off my face?


We didn't have much money when I was growing up; most of the time we made do with very little.  While my siblings and I did not go to school dressed in tatters, the clothes we wore were rarely name brand.  It was Saan's, Field's, or Woolworth's clothes.  Once in a while, if there was a bit of spare change in the budget, Mom would let us order something from the Sears catalogue.

As soon as I was old enough to babysit and start making my own money, you can bet your sweet ass I took every babysitting gig I was offered. Four kids? Under 7? All day and overnight? For a pittance? SURE!  My mom was very supportive of my babysitting; not only did it (eventually) ease some of the financial pressure of having a 'tween daughter who desperately needs name brand everything or she will die on the spot!! but committing to people and setting up a babysitting schedule helped Teach Me Some Responsibility.  As long as it didn't affect my school, I could babysit a few hours on weeknights, too. I didn't earn very much at first, and I spent what little I made on candy and Tiger Beat.

Vividly, I remember being at the peak of my Ugly Duckling stage in the 8th and 9th grades.  I was tremendously shy, geeky, smart, and most definitely an outsider. There was a group of girls that I used to hang on the fringe of during first break.  I didn't consider them my friends, they were just girls that I followed behind and sat in the same end of the hallway for 10 minutes before it was time to go back to class.  I spent most of the time hoping no one would notice me.  One day, one of the girls got it in her head to pick on me a bit, just a bitchy remark or two, and I sniped right back at her.  So she said to me, "I don't mean to be rude, but," which we all know really means I'm about be really fucking rude, "didn't you wear those jeans yesterday? And the day before? Is that like, your only pair of jeans?"  Truthfully, it was my only pair of jeans.  I was so embarrassed.  All I could do was stand up and walk away, my face burning with humiliation. Never once, until that moment, had being poor really bothered me.

After that, I started hustling up jobs and saving, saving, saving.  Once I got up enough scratch to buy some new threads, I took myself to the boutique-y Jeans North store and spent a wad of cash.  I did mention I was awkward, yes?  Did I also happen to mention I was hopelessly inept at all things fashion-related? See picture day shirt above. I cringe as I remember myself trying on pair after pair of Guess and Levi's jeans and finally walking out of the store the proud (PROUD!) owner of four pairs of jeans: one teal, one green, one red, and one bright blue. 

Can someone please explain this to me?  This fashion trend of looking like a fucking reject from the Reading Rainbow? ("Take a look, it's in our book.. Reading Rainbow.. Reeaaaddding Raaaaaaiiinnnbooooww" sing it with me, Lavar Burton!) AS IF I needed anything else to make my already painful life harder.  I would love to travel back in time, pull my 13 year old self aside and say, "You look fucking ridiculous.  Just buy regular blue jeans."

Alas, I wore the heck out of those jeans.  For $50 a pair, what choice did I have?  I had spent all my money.  Besides, I thought I looked good. The jeans all kind of had the Mom-jean high waist fit - you remember high waisters. Low rise jeans were still pretty far in the future in 1990.  I think we were just heading into the Return of the Bellbottoms and Other Hippy Shit and the Look Like a Hobo Grunge trends.  My God, the clothes we wore.  It's just all so embarrassing.  See picture day shirt above.

At 13 I was sure I was going to be chubby and have pimples forever.

Hmm.

I just realized, at this moment, that not only do I have 20 lbs to lose, I also have a few heaters percolating on my face.  Meh, whatever. 

Important Life Lesson: What you thought was life ending at 13 is not so much at 32.  Which probably means that what you think is life ending at 32 is not so much at 52.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Letters of Intent, Nov 13/09

Letters of Intent


Letters of Intent, brought to you by Julie @ Foursons

Dear Circles of Hell Save On Foods,

I truly enjoyed our visit through your bolgia aisles tonight.  I know, maybe it's not the best idea ever to drag your three children through the Inferno grocery store at 7pm after a long day and when everyone is tired.  Oops, my bad.

Well, it didn't start off terribly.  I didn't realize the magnitude of my catastrophic mistake until we were just about ready to leave Circle One: Limbo the frozen food section.  That's about when the Little Dude got stuck in the foot-well of the two-child steering wheel "fun" cart, and let out a very unearthly screech when the Princess tried to sit on his head.  And then another screech when I got him unstuck.  Did anyone else's ears start bleeding? Sorry about that.  I had just listened to him cry for the whole ride into town, so I barely heard anything.  Just felt the blood trickle down my face.

Wouldn't you know it, as soon as Little Dude was settled down with a bottle and a jerry-rigged seatbelt so he couldn't slide down anymore, we hit the Third Circle: Gluttony lunch snacks section, and some serious, major whining of, "I'm hungry," and dangerous cart-driving by the Hurricane forced me to enter the Fifth Circle of the Wrathful and the Seventh Circle of the Violent and grab him by the damn jacket and threaten his life firmly yet gently reprimand him.  I hope that guy that the Hurricane plowed into doesn't sue you.  Hey, I apologized.  As a former Single Person myself, I know that Single People much prefer to do their grocery shopping in the evening so they don't have to listen to a bunch of loud, obnoxious kids.

After I got One and Three taken care of, Two figured it was her turn and began leaning precariously over the steering wheel kid-containment area of the shopping cart into the grocery area of the shopping cart.  Her aim? To  open and/or squish and/or smash and/or dump as many boxes and bags as possible like the wraith of the Fourth Circle of Wasters that she is.  I bet your stock-boy thought it was cute; I'm sure he loved chasing after us giving us stuff that was being tossed out of the cart.  The baby's bottle, granola bars, stuff out of my purse..

Eventually, we did make it to the till with all present and accounted for.  I was reminded that there is nothing like a crying baby to make a checkout girl haul ass and get those groceries through the till.  I could tell she was real happy to see me pull out my coupon wallet, too cause I'm still queen of the Fourth Circle Spendthrifts, bitches.

So thanks for showing us a good time, Circles of Hell Save-On Foods.  Let's do it again soon!

Sincerely,
Stone

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Remembrance..




A Poppy

To remember and honour the men and women who fought and died to protect the people and freedoms of our great country.

To pay respects to the soldiers who fought and came home, forever changed.

To support the members of our armed forces currently serving in peacekeeping missions and in conflicts across the world.

Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thank you guys so much..

for kicking my ass.

After reading your words of encouragement and feeling the love, I decided I needed to get back on the wagon.  I also decided that I needed two things to accomplish it: Rewards and Accountability.  So I have set up a reward system that gets me awesome stuff whenever I drop 5 lbs. I have also set up another blog, for accountability.  If you feel like poking your head in the door, click here: The Skinny Bitch Inside Me (Tasted Great With Ketchup!).  I just set it up.  Like, Five Minutes Ago just set it up.  So it still has that 'new blog' smell.  And because I am a generous soul, I'm willing to share my title of Grand Poobah Muckety-Muck and the accompanying Posting Permissions on that blog with anyone who is interested.

To answer your unasked question, I have been eating nothing but healthy food and I actually worked out yesterday and today.  So yes, I am sore as all hell. Hey, my first reward is a massage, so the pain is completely worth it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Conversations with a 4 Year Old

Sitting in Wendy's on Friday at lunchtime, my Hurricane was staring behind me; not saying anything, just staring...

Me: What are you staring at?

Hurricane: Is that wady a zombie? *points behind me*

Me: What? *looks behind, sees little old lady at a table by herself, eating a burger bigger than her head*

H: Is she a zombie?

Me: *desperately trying to hold in the fits of laughter* No honey, she's not a zombie, and quit staring.  Don't point, either. It's bad manners.

H: Why is her face painted like a zombie?

Me: *again, trying not to choke on french fries and laughter* Her face isn't painted like a zombie, honey, she's just pale.  That's just the color of her skin.

~~~~~~~~~~~

In the truck on the way home from the grocery store, where the Hurricane was a total shit and I was still seriously pissed about his bad behaviour:

H: Are you mad?

Me: Very.

H: Am I going to my room when I get home?

Me: Yup.

H: No I'm not. When we get home, I'm going to hide behind the shed.  silence for a minute.. You won't see me right?

Me: When we get home, you'd better run your little butt up to your room.  I will not put up with bad behaviour in the grocery store.

H: No, I'm going to run behind the garage. I'll sit down under the window and you won't see me.

This kid? Going places.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Letters of Intent, Nov 6/09

Letters of Intent


Letters of Intent, brought to you by Julie @ Foursons. Click on over for some more chicken-scratching and pencil-licking. (pencil-licking *snicker*)

Dear Lungs,

As of yesterday, we are now Officially 3 Months Smoke Free.  How do you feel?  Like a couple of shiny pennies, no doubt.  Or a pair of shiny lungs, even. I am going to continue to try my hardest to not fill you up with cigarette smoke.  Also, thanks for not getting infested with some gnarly bacteria, or worse; The Virus, The Name Of Which Will Remain Unsaid So As Not To Jinx Us.

Keep up the good work!
Stone

Dear Cardiovascular System,

In case the Lungs haven't told you, we are 3 months smoke free.  Yes, it is Fan-freaking-tastic!  Have I told you lately you're doing a great job? Because you so are.  And hey, I really appreciate that since we quit smoking, I'm not getting those scary dizzy spells, which always occurred while I was driving, anymore. Was that actually smoking-related? Or just a psychosomatic mechanism to scare the ever-loving shit out of me?  Whatever it was, it worked!

Great job!
Stone

Dear Psyche and/or Relevant Parts of My Brain,

Okay, so obviously you know we are past the 3 month mark.  Now, it's going to be a bit tricky for the next couple of weeks, because in the past, this is where you tend to drop the ball.  Don't try to convince the rest of us that, "we can have just one; after all, we've proven we can quit!" We'll all be smoking again in no time if that's how you're going to play it. 

Since I have your attention, I'd like to address something else.  It's time to shut off the Negative Eating Patterns.  Honestly.  I get the whole concept of replacing one addiction with another, but could we please pick something other than food? Something that will keep my hands busy but not cause me to bust out of every pair of pants I own? There is only so much Lycra in these jeans, Brain.

So how do you feel about knitting? Can I get a hell yeah for knitting?

Thanks very much,
Stone

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'll even let you kick my ass.

As a teenager and young adult, I could never envision a future self who was not filled with an abundance of energy and lust for life.  I would always be decisive; life for me would always be black or white.  I could not see a future time when I would not have the coordinates for the exact direction my life would go.  I had always been able to chart my path and follow it, so why would my adulthood be any different?

Looking back, I have this irresistible urge to give my young self a pat on the head as I laugh in a knowing, condescending way.

I feel as though I have been in a fog for a long time.  I can't say exactly when it started, only that it has been building up for a while.  At the same time, I feel as though I am coming out of the New Baby stage with my Little Dude, and that is like a weight slowly lifting from my shoulders.  Tiny babies are so much work and they take everything.  So, on one hand, my physical workload is getting smaller, but it feels as though my mental workload is getting bigger.  So many things to keep track of, all the time.  Kids, and kid stuff, and money stress and marriage stress, so many balls in the air for one juggler.

The root of the solution begins with me.  I know that.  Finding the root of the problem is unimportant right now, as I need to get out from underneath everything first.  I am missing two things to accomplish this: clarity, and motivation. 

All this fog has left me wishy-washy and seemingly unable to make a decision on anything one way or another.  I spent a good 15 minutes on the phone with Hot Stuff yesterday humming and hawing about whether I should get winter tires or winter-rated all seasons.  He found a great deal on top-of-the-line winter-rated all seasons, and I should have immediately jumped all over it.  I didn't.  I insisted we go through all the pros and cons, because I couldn't decide.  Because I'm some kind of tire expert?  Because I can't just take his word on it?  I had to yell at myself, Take the damn tires, already, before he divorces your soul-sucking ass! before I agreed to get winter-rated all seasons.

What is killing me most is my lack of motivation.  I have really let myself go.  Not just packing on pounds, but not doing anything for myself.  I haven't worked out in a couple of weeks, and I have not been eating well at all for a couple of months.  My diet consists of breakfast, supper, and large amounts of junk food.  Literally.  Not an exaggeration.  I can't actually remember the last time I ate a healthy, decent lunch.  I only shower about twice a week, and forget about keeping my nethers tidy or shaving my legs.  Again, I am not sleeping well.  I am tired all the time.  My period is here and gone, here and gone.  In the past, I have had the most success by starting with diet and exercise, and most of the other stuff resolves itself.  I am really struggling this time to get on track, or even just to tone it down some.

When the Hurricane was born, I lost about 30 pounds of baby weight through breast feeding and just being a new mom, with all that entails.  When he turned one, I got on the scale and weighed in at 172 lbs.  (Just so you don't have to do the math, I was 219 lbs right before I went into the hospital to have him.  He was somewhere between 7 - 8 lbs when he was born. Obviously, I am fucking awesome at eating for 2.)  I was dismayed, to say the least, to realize that I still had 25 lbs to lose to be at my healthy weight.  I did it, though.  The healthy way, with diet and exercise; it only took me 12 weeks, too.  Man, did I feel awesome.  Anyways, this is relevant because: Little Dude turns one in a week; my weight, as of this morning, is 170.5 lbs.  I had seriously hoped to not be in this position again.

I need an ass-kicking to kick-start me back into exercise.  I really, really miss the sweat and pain, as sick as that sounds.  I always feel so much better about myself when I know that I am strong and my clothes feel good.  Heathy body, healthy mind, yo.  I just can't seem to make myself.  My get-up-and-go done got-up-and-left.

Since I can't decide which method I should use to get myself fired up (rewards? threats? psychology? reverse-psychology?), I would love to hear your ways of getting inspired, and/or any fire-in-the-belly speeches you can lay on me.  Feel free to virtually and verbally kick my ass in the spirit of encouragement.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This soapbox has my name on it

The Olympic Flame landed in Victoria, BC, Canada this past Friday morning, amid much controversy.  The Flame had many supporters turn out to see it's arrival; the protesters showed up later.

Protesters?

Yes. Protesters.

People who have a problem with our provincial governments spending $6 billion dollars on the Olympic Games; I think I might just agree with them.  It's not just the taxpayers of British Columbia who are footing this bill; according to this article in the Vancouver Sun, many of the provinces chipped in financially so Vancouver could hold these Olympics.

Just think about this amount of money for a minute.  Six billion dollars. $6,000,000,000. Do you know what that could buy?

One MRI machine costs $1 million.

Supportive housing costs about $22,000 - $28,000 per person per year.

The BC Government gave $43 million to victims of crime and domestic violence support in the last budget.

NASA spends $450 million per mission to launch a space shuttle.

In 2008, some mad scientists flipped the switch of a $6 billion dollar machine designed to find the origin of mass by recreating the Big Bang.

A degree costs $50,000 - $75,000 for four years at a Canadian university.

I just grabbed a random sampling of Stuff That Looks Expensive for the sake of comparison.  Really, I doubt many of us want our governments to blow $6 bill on Recreating the Big Bang (it would be really awesome to find out what makes stuff stuff, except that the machine has been on the fritz for the last year, and I feel rather let down by that).

I, however, would like our governments to be more responsible and instead of wasting our money on the pomp and circumstance* that surrounds the Olympics, would like to see that money put to much better use. 

*Please note that I did not say the Olympics are a waste of money.  I said all of the "stuff" that goes with the Olympics.  For example: building and/or completely gutting and renovating the hundreds of buildings and pavilions that will be required for holding the games (what's wrong with the arenas that are already there?), housing the athletes; the conference centers; the planning and celebration costs as well as the advertising and displays set up in other countries across the world, etc.  On the surface, it looks good; it will provide jobs and stimulate the economy in the short term, but what happens when the Olympics are all done?

I do think the Olympics are a good morale booster for our country, and God knows, we could all use a little morale boost.  I just can't get past the idea that as much as the Olympics are "good" for Canada, it would be really, really "great" for Canada to spend the money on building more schools and hospitals, or getting abused and/or drug addicted kids off the streets. 

One more thing: while the City of Vancouver, Government of BC, and the Vancouver Olympic Committee are all talking about how they want the world to see Vancouver as the fresh, livable, wonderful Utopia it really is, the police have recently been given the power to force homeless people into shelters.  Sure, Vancouver is fresh, livable, and wonderful, as long as you stay far far away from the Downtown Eastside; the most drug-infested, poorest neighborhood in Canada. 

Why not just design a giant broom to sweep all the ucky homeless and addicted right out of the city?  Hey, I bet it wouldn't cost $6 billion dollars.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Letters of Intent, Oct 30/09

Letters of Intent


Letters of Intent is brought to you by Julie @ Foursons. I can think of nothing witty to say. You can have  either witty or sensible.  I am incapable of both at the same time right now.  Happy Reading!

Dear Old Man Winter,

I'm not sure what kind of monkey business you are trying to pull here.  The first snow we got today was supposed to be here two weeks ago, and it was only supposed to be a light dusting.  Not the big, puffy snowflakes that arrived today; you know, the ones that are not going away like they are supposed to?  They are turning the highways into Snow Fields of Death (not 'death' literally; nobody died today that I am aware of).

You know I don't have winter tires, right? Were you not aware that my all-seasons are on their last legs as it is? I don't want to drive them in any amount of snow, let alone this dumping you sent, because I have a slight aversion to flipping my vehicle upside down and landing in the ditch and killing us all in a fiery wreck. Yeah, I'm a real party pooper. ("pooper" *snicker*)

Fair warning: The other folks who drive on our secondary highway will be seriously cursing you for this weather when they are forced to drive 50km/hr (what is that, like 35 mph?) behind me because I have zero traction on my bald tires at any kind of reasonable highway speed.  Hairless cats greased in Crisco trying to climb a waterslide have more traction than my tires. Just sayin'.

The worst part of this ridiculous snow is having to bundle three kids up for the 15 ft trek from the front door to my vehicle in these blizzard-like conditions.  This is not just a silly quirk of mine, it is a limb-saving requirement. Neither myself nor my kids have any grace or balance to speak of, so it is a given that every  single time we go out, someone will bite it on the walkway - which I haven't had a chance to shovel yet. It's just better for everyone if we are layered in padding from head to foot.

And that's another thing, OMW, are you punking me?  I mean, when I finally do get around to shoveling, why is it that you always make it snow again right when I'm just finishing up? I bet you think you're a real comedian, don't you?

So, Old Man, enough with this bull.  Get rid of the snow before Saturday night, because I really don't want to watch my children fall down repeatedly as they trick or treat and get me some candy.  After a few falls, the kids will be sick and tired of being cold and wet and covered in snow and they'll start whining to go home and then how will I get my candy.  All this snow will really ruin the excitement of Halloween for the wee ones and that's just not fair neither is me going home without scoring the big candy.

Sincerely,

"Crisco Kitty" Fox

Don't fuck with my candy, old timer, it's not wise for your health.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conversations with a 4 Year Old

Hurricane: Mommy, do you have a new stomach?

Me: What? No, I still have the same tummy.

Hurricane: If you ex-dercise, you will have a new stomach?

Me: Not exactly. Exercise and not eating too much junk food will make your tummy not have any fat on it, so it kind of looks as good as new.

Hurricane: No. That's not what the wady on TV said. The wady on TV said that if you do her ex-dercise, you will have a new stomach.

Where do I even go from here? Do I argue with the wady on TV, who was actually Jillian Michaels, shamelessly hawking her new colon cleanse or some shit?

Me: How about you do her exercises and tell me if you get a new stomach.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Hurricane, getting out of the shower:

H: Mommy, I washed all my parts.

Me: Good job, buddy! (this is kind of a big deal because usually he just stands in the shower and fools around)

H: I washed my boobs, and my tummy, and my arms, and my back legs, and my front legs, and these parts (points to top of feet) and my peeeenis and my bu-um.

Me: Awesome, Clean Boy!

H: Mom, is my watch waterproof?

Me: No.

H: Oh. Well, it will still work right?

Me (in my mind): Oh SURE it'll still work, heck I musta paid $10 for that cheap-ass Cars watch that is probably made of BPA and painted with lead paint. 

Me (out loud): We'll see tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm George Hamilton, and I know toasted!

Important Life Lesson #1: Put cream on kid's face before you paint it up like Spider Man's mask.
Important Life Lesson #2: Don't believe the hype.  Red make up is never totally washable!

4 Dozen and 1 Reasons You Should Be My Friend

Got a little motto
Always sees me through -
When you're good to Mama
Mama's good to you..



  
(Mmmm.. sugar cookies, just waiting to be frosted..)

There's a lot of favors
I'm prepared to do -
You do one for Mama
She'll do one for you..



(Decadent Chocolate bundt cake with orange Buttercream icing; frosted sugar cookies for stem.  Don't ask about leaves. Too tired to do leaves; it's 1230am.)

I'm still working on my presentation abilities, but I tasted all of this stuff. Oh. My. God. So good, I need to hire someone to help me enjoy it

Now accepting applications:

Must love food, especially chocolate. Must supply own stretchy elastic-waistband sweat pants.  Napkins and tasting spoons will be provided.  Good opportunity for the right individual to be promoted to Beater Licker or Bowl Scraper.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baking with Stone

I truly love to bake. I also love to eat what I bake, so.. there's that. It's why I can't seem to get my weight to stay under 160 lbs (145 is my healthy weight). Lately, my ego has taken a bit of a hammering, what with the "mishaps" in the kitchen.

I was making Chocolate M&M Cookies with the Hurricane and the Princess the other day (you know, just re-reading that made me realize why things go so very, very wrong). Here's how they should be made:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1/2c butter or marg
3/4c packed brown sugar
1/2c white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1/2c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2c M&M's
1/2c chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, mix well. Add M&M's and chocolate chips, mix well. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet, bake for 10 - 12mins.

(This recipe is actually the one on the back of the Chip-its bag, except you bump each of the sugars by 1/4c and add 1/2c cocoa. I don't use a whole cup of M&Ms because that's just a little too sweet for me, so I go half and half with chocolate chips.)

Where Things Went Awry:

I added the extra 1/4c of brown and white sugars, but somewhere in the process of coralling my two wonderful children into staying on task, I forgot to add the cocoa to balance it out. I think I lost track of what I was doing when my FLOUR CANISTER HIT THE FLOOR. AGAIN. AND BROKE. (RIP my friend.. we made some good cookies together..) That is what happens when mama doesn't pay attention to her two small children who are standing on the same chair and one asks the other, "Can you pass me Teddy Bear, Princess? He's behind the flour fing."

I realized that I had forgotten the cocoa when the first batch was already in the oven.. right about the time the whole kitchen started stinking like cookies-on-fire. This was also right around the time I remembered that my oven runs hot and I really don't need to crank the heat right to 375; usually 360 does just fine. I tried to correct the next batch by turning down the oven and adding a handful of flour (why didn't I just add cocoa at this point? I don't know. I think my underwear were on too tight that day) before I scooped out the next sheet.

The second sheet seemed okay, but I still hadn't added enough flour. So they weren't the greatest cookies ever, but they were certainly better than the smoking, gooey piles of sugar the first sheet turned out to be. The kids ate the second batch with no problem. Actually, the Princess loved hers so much that she took it to the bathroom with her when she went pee. Something I never thought I'd say: "Honey, you can't wash cookies with soap." At least I am 100% sure the brown smears on the sink are chocolate this time.

After another half-handful of flour, the third sheet turned out reasonably well, albeit a bit brown; likely due to the fact that I was busy scrubbing "Cajuned" (we don't use the word burnt around here) cookies off of cookie sheet #1 when the timer dinged.

Really, a whole lot of work for 12 measly cookies.

Important Life Lesson: Wrecking two batches of M&M cookies for one good batch while wasting about an hour of time actually is worth the effort.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Attics aren't the only things that need venting

Frankly, I'm feeling pissy. The thing that is between me and Hot Stuff is not yet resolved. I'm not going to go into specifics, suffice to say that it is pretty big and has resulted in me sleeping on the couch. For the last 5 days. I just wish that stubborn man would talk about this. Sometime in the last few days that I have been on the couch, the Princess has figured out how to open doors (and she's just turned two! baby genius!) and has been waking up in the middle of the night and coming into the living room. If I don't let her sleep with me on the couch, she freaks out and cries to wake the dead. If I try to put her back to bed, she carries on even louder; then just comes right back into the living room.

Last night was pretty brutal. I have no idea what time Princess came out of her room, only that it was the dead of night and instead of sleeping with me, she was getting into stuff. Trying to convince her to lay down on the couch with me was minimally successful at best. Nevertheless, I kept trying. All. Freaking. Night. I felt yucky this morning, with a sore throat and a headache. Hot Stuff got up at 8am and threw kibble out for the children while I went back to sleep on the couch. He woke me up at 830 to say he was going out to grab a coffee; he was gone for an hour and a half. He said he was out doing an errand, but really? An hour and a half? That shit makes me really mad. If you know you're going to be out for a while, why not just say that? Why lead me to believe that you'll be gone 10 minutes? The second he got home, I dragged my ass to bed this time to try and get a nap without the children yelling in my ear or climbing all over me. I slept from around 10am till 1pm.

I felt a bit better when I woke up, but I still have a bit of a sore throat and a headache. I don't have any other flu-like symptoms (knock wood), but even a sinus cold or strep throat would really suck.

I am not looking forward to another night on the couch. I just can't go back to bed until things get worked out. During the day, Hot Stuff and I are friendly with each other, and it's genuine. After the kids go to bed, I keep hoping we can talk, but no dice. Every time I bring it up, I am told that there is nothing to discuss. I hate the feeling of being dismissed. Just because he doesn't want to hear it doesn't mean I don't want and need to say it.

I guess I'll keep doing what I'm doing until I think of something better to be doing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Letters of Intent, Oct 22/09

Letters of Intent


Letters of Intent, by Julie @ Foursons. Who chewed all the pencils? Not me. Ok me.

Dear Life,

At this very moment, I am feeling quite overwhelmed by you. I need you to stop throwing so much at me because as much as I like to "keep busy" this is getting ridiculous.

The baking. You know how much I love to bake. Seriously, though? Two items each for the library Bake Sale and the pre-school Halloween party, and something for the daycare Halloween party? I do not have unlimited amounts of time to stand in the kitchen.

The sewing. (Yeah, I am domesticated like that.) I'll take part of the heat for this one, because I did open my big yap and offer to make a sling for my friend Kim, seeing as how she just had a baby girl. I only offered because my other friend Amber also just had a baby girl and since I can't afford to buy expensive baby gifts.. well.. fleece was on sale, and you get two slings from one piece of fabric. Okay, so that one is on me. But did the zipper in my only winter coat really have to crap out? I had to buy (and will have to sew) not one, but two zippers in order to fix my inner liner/outer shell-style of coat. Why, oh why, does the Hurricane's taekwondo** uniform require hemming of sleeves and leg cuffs? Why couldn't it just magically fit?

The cleaning. I can't stand all the crap that accumulates on the floor; the idea of my Little Dude crawling around in dog hair and slobbery cheerios and other icky detritus is just too much. Daily, I battle the mud and sand that is carried in by the boots of small children. Small daughter, specifically, who does not remove her boots at the door, instead wearing them all the way into the living room where she can jump on the couch. In her boots. So I feel compelled to vacuum every day, because I am disgusted by the state of the floors and carpets in this hovel. I am not even going to get started on the hell-hole that is called the living room, the wreck that is known as the Potty Training In Process bathroom, or the disaster that resembles the kitchen.

The money. We're struggling these days. I hate that we are forced to scrimp and pinch every penny in order for our kids to have some fun stuff. Taekwondo cost $155 today, for: uniform, sparring helmet, training manual, belt, and monthly payment of $40. I wrote another check for $36 for school pictures for the Hurricane. It was the 2nd cheapest option. I paid $20 for pictures at Sears for the Princess and the Little Dude. $20 isn't much, except when you don't really have it to blow on pictures. (I thought I could pay when I picked up the pictures, not at time of ordering. I really wish the woman had explained that to me when she said, "We can have your pictures for you today, but it's an extra $4 charge," and I specifically said, "I have no money today, so I won't be getting them today." Unfortunately, I was running late to pick up the Hurricane and it was just faster to pay the $20 instead of wasting ten minutes I didn't have while she changed my order.) Some days, I really hate being poor.

Myself. I am feeling very left behind, as all my girlfriends have jobs. What a silly thing to whine about, isn't it? We can't afford to pay daycare for me to go back to work. I should feel lucky and grateful to be able to be home with my kids. Well, I don't. I feel pouty. I wish I could work a couple of days a week. Allllll my friends get to wooooorrrrkk!!! I'm feeling kind of melancholy. I feel like I have lost my groove with life, and at the same time, I'm stuck in a rut. I am trying to get so much done in so little time, and it's killing me to do it. I also must give myself some Me time; usually it is reading blogs and writing. All of this adds up to staying up later and not getting enough sleep. Also, I think my hormones are out of whack. I have been keeping a period calendar for the last few months, and my cycle is all over the damn place. I just finished two weeks ago, and again I'm spotting. I have to get to the doctor and have my hormones checked. (Yet another thing to add to the list.)

The marriage. (I am kind of breaking a rule here. It is not a rule that has been discussed between Hot Stuff and myself, but I think on his end, it has been implied that I do not talk about our marriage, unless it's good happy stuff.) You know how they (the All-Knowing They from the Fake Institute) say that marriage is for better/for worse? It's not all for better. We're going through a for worse part right now. It's tough, and crappy, and we're hardly talking. I can't get him to talk to me about the things we need to talk about. He says he "doesn't want to get all upset right now," but seems indifferent to the fact that I have been "all upset" for the last three days.

So, as you can see, Life, there are many irons in the fire right now. I surely could use a bit of a breather. The tank is just about empty. (See? I have almost run out of cliches to express how run down over I feel.) What I could really use is a day off. A day where I don't feel the pressure to get as much done as possible before more shit comes rolling downhill towards me. That? Would be lovely. Please consider it.

Thanks a mill,

Stone

**I smelled Mr. T and he smells great! Still no picture as of yet.

Too much free time

This is hi-larious. Little Dude is going to be a star, for sure.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Late Slip

Please excuse Stone from posting today as she was at the clinic in town all day with her daughter, who discovered that Ass Over Teakettle is not the best way to travel down the stairs at daycare.

Stone will be handing in her post tomorrow instead.

Thank you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Princess

Little Princess,

Today you are 2 years old and I can't believe the time has gone that fast. I still remember you being so tiny and quiet, with your dainty little self. Now, of course, you are big and loud, and so very, very funny. You, more than any other little kid I have ever met, make me laugh. The way you get your point across with your limited vocabulary and your limitless facial expressions is nothing short of marvelous. I love your smile. I love your soft baby skin. I love the feel of you curling into my lap for a snuggle; the smell of your hair, the sound of your sweet pixie voice, all of you. I am awed by all of you. Your brothers and your daddy are madly in love with you, too, and boy don't you know it! I see how you work those sweet baby blues on daddy; too bad for you I have those same blue eyes and therefore, am immune to yours.

At this exciting age of 2, you have definitely found your voice. Physically, you are at the top end of tall and somewhere in the middle range for weight. Certainly, you are big enough to push Little Dude over when you walk by. (Every time.) Your receptive understanding is astonishing! Is there anything you don't understand?! Your expressive vocabulary is a bit smaller than other kids your age, but getting bigger every day. Some of your more well-used words: MINE! (top volume), NO! (also top volume), puppy, kitty, daddy, mama, pee-pee, poopy, Dora. You are also getting really good at saying both of your brothers' names. My favorite of your nonsense words is balub-balub-balub. Just tonight, you learned how to say Hallowe'en. How do we go from puppy to Hallowe'en? I'm not really sure. That's just how you roll.

You are turning into quite a little athlete. Only 6 months ago you could not make it across the living room without tripping on three or four imaginary things, and once or twice your feet. Now, you can run quite fast for a little kid, dribble a soccer ball while running, jump on two feet, dance (I love your dance, I have named it "The Lurch" because you like to lean from foot to foot while keeping your legs straight), overhand and underhand throw, kick and punch like the Hurricane at Taekwondo, and many other assorted sport-like things.

You are extremely attached to your little white and pink stuffed cat, named Mr. Meow-gi The Karate Kitty, by your daddy and me. Hey, what can I say? Children of the 80's. Don't worry, this is only the beginning of many embarrassing and lame things we will do to you.

You have been potty training for the last few weeks, and while we still have accidents every few days, I am so proud of the progress you've made. Yesterday was not so much a good day, what with the take off your pull-up at nap time and finger paint your body with poo and grind it into the carpet all over your bedroom incident, but I don't think you'll be doing that again. You seemed kind of distraught by being covered in poop. Just in case you forget you ever did that, I will be sure to remind you when you are 16 and you make the mistake of bringing home a boy.

You are my little helper girl, too. You like to help me unload the dishwasher, fold laundry, clear the table, dust the furniture. You love to act like mommy and clean up around the house. Other things you love: singing to your dolls, pushing Mr. Meow-gi in the swingset, reading books, telling Little Dude stories, jumping on the couch, eating, playing with your big brother, running around nakee bum, splashing in the bathtub, eating baby wipes, and playing in the sandbox, just to name a few.

You are so loved, my little girl. These past two years have been incredible, watching you grow and change and stretch your wings. In a little corner of my heart, you will always be two years old, no matter how big you get.

Love you,
Mama