Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Girl Child Is Trying To Kill Me

You know what this is?

This is one of those stupid situations that you have in your life that you feel like is NEVER going to end, and then one day it's all over, and suddenly it's YEARS later, and maybe you can sit down and laugh, and say to someone:

"Ha ha!  Remember when my daughter was young and she would NOT stop waking up at FIVE even though it drove me crazy?  And remember how no matter how many times I asked her to just be quiet and not wake anyone up, she'd wake up her brother every day and then HE'D be an unlivable GROUCH for the rest of the day?  Ha! And then I'D be SUPER TIRED ALL DAY, so basically the whole family would be fighting by dinner time?


Remember that?

Remember how I'd feel all in despair because no matter WHAT THE HELL I tried to do, she'd STILL WAKE UP AT THAT STUPID UNGODLY STILL BLACK A$$ CRACK HOUR OF THE DAY?  And Then SHE'D be so tired by noon that she was unbearable, and when I came to get her after school it would be TANTRUM CITY???


That was funny eh?  I thought it would NEVER END!"


Yeah.

So, my daughter is an early riser.  She wakes up at a stupid time.  I can call it stupid because a) we're not FARMERS and b) we're not GO-GETTERS.  Therefore, any hour with the number 5 in front of it is RIDICULOUS.

I know what you're going to say, some of you, and seriously?  It will bring me NO comfort.  You're going to say; "karen, I'm one of those people that will drive you crazy because I actually LIKE getting up at FIVE.  Tee hee!  Yes, but karen, I get up at FIVE so I can have some peace and quiet before all the kids get up."

And that's fine.  I can dig that.  I respect it.  Why?  Because YOU are probably not up singing Justin Bieber tunes as loud as you can, and reorganizing the VALLEY OF THE DOLLS in your bedroom.  You know--you need to get up and set up Barbie's apartment by DROPPING most of the furniture on the hardwood floor?

No.  You probably put on slippers so your feet would make barely any noise, stealthily made yourself a hot beverage, and sat in front of the computer quietly reading some news.

OR,

maybe you got up, slipped on your SPORT GEAR closed the door with a quiet "shnick" and headed off for a jog.

OR,

you slipped out of bed to do some ZEN YOGA, but nobody even realised you were up.

I think I'm actually ready to give up.

Yes, I, karen Somethingorother, am ready to give up.  And I never give up.  NEVER!  NEVER SURRENDER UNTIL YOU'RE UNDER THE DIRT PEOPLE!!!

I have googled what to do when your little person is an early bird.  I have put a digital clock in her room and had the nice little conversation:

Rational me:  "see this Ella?  What number is this?  It's a 4, right?  If you see a 4, 5, or a 6, then you say 'oops! It's still NIGHT TIME!  I'm going to go back to sleep!' and then you stay in bed until the clock says 7, okay honey?"

That worked a couple of times.  Then it stopped working.  So I changed it to her being allowed to come downstairs at 6:30.  Then it was 6:00.  Then it got changed to "just be QUIET until 7:00."  Then it was "DON'T WAKE YOUR BROTHER UP.  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO SNUGGLE WITH YOUR BROTHER UNTIL IT'S 7:00."

I tried keeping her awake till after 8 PM.

I tried adjusting the times the airconditioner/furnace would come on, so it wouldn't start the waking up process.

I tried a night light in her room, hoping that she wouldn't wake up at 4 any more to put her bedside lamp on, thus starting the waking process.

I begged.

I bribed.

I appealed to that psychotic need of a pre-schooler/kindergartener to WIN, WIN, WIN AT EVERYTHING.  Yeah, I told her that if I heard her get up too early, I would win, and if she got up at 7, SHE would win.

That worked once.

Then I pulled out my biggest weapon:

SANTA.  Yes, that's right.  I'm not at all above invoking the power of SANTA as a means of controlling my kids when they're maniacs.

Picture, for example, an epic Saturday SMACK FEST.  There will be some punching, some pinching, and some good old fashioned hair pulling.  Both will be screaming and crying, but neither of them will stay away from each other.

So,

I casually say this:  "Sigh.  Looks like I'm going to have to CALL SANTA."

Kids:  "NO MOM!  NO MOM!  NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!

me:  "but I think he DESERVES to know what's going on."

Kids:  "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

and then, miraculously:

"WE'LL BE GOOD!  WE'LL STOP FIGHTING!"

See?  Genius.

But, I think I've been using that one too much.  And I'm worried that in Ella's eyes Santa will go from this:


Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas little ones!  And thanks for the cookies!  They were AWESOME!


to THIS:


WHO'S THE LITTLE SH*T WHO'S CAUSING ALL THE TROUBLE?!?  IS IT YOU?  IT'S YOU ISN'T IT!  ISN'T IT!!!!!!!!
ANSWER MEEEEEEEE!!!!


So, I have to stop doing that. Besides, it's not working anyway.  What I need to do is go back to my old stand-by:

"The Parents' HOTLINE."

Oh come on.  You've never pretend-phoned THE PARENTS' HOTLINE???  I've mock-phoned THE HOTLINE all the time.  If you don't have kids, you may find it hard to imagine that there are times when you just can not. make. them. stop. fighting.  You get like a minute's respite, and then they're back at it, with the wailing and the freaking and the tattling.

ingenious me:  "That's it.  I'm calling."

kids:  "WHO ARE YOU CALLING, MOM?!?"

me:  "THE HOTLINE."

Then you flip your cell phone open, and you either move your lips around to make it look like you're talking, if your kids are far enough away, or you actually do talk, like this:

me: "yeah, hi, is this THE HOTLINE?  Yeah, well, I just don't know what to do anymore.  They won't stop fighting.  Uh-huh......yeah....mm-hmm....*sigh*  Okay.  I'll try that and see if it works.  Thanks."

And all the while, your kids will be going bananas.

Kids:  "WHAT DID THEY SAY?  ARE THEY COMING OVER?!?"

me (saddened):  "No, they're not coming over.  They just said to call again when I feel really sad."

Do you know I once called the hotline, in the lake, at the beach?  Yeah, I actually did the fake phone hand thing, by sticking out my thumb and pointy finger and putting my hand up to my face and pretending to talk.




And it worked.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Today Ella got up at 5:50.  I don't know what time she actually WOKE UP, but there the kids were, with EVERY LIGHT BLAZING AWAY downstairs, and me flipping out of bed all homicidal.  I made Jack go back to bed to try to get a little more sleep.  That poor kid doesn't fall asleep easily at night, and he's super tired if he gets up too early.

But I give up.  I'm thinking that the next plan will be that if she wakes up that early, she has to come straight downstairs and put that idiotic TV on.  I don't know what else to do.

And Santa's sick of me calling him anyway.

Suggestions???

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Super Clogged Nose Is Killing My Thought Thingy

Sssshnumph...


SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHQUEET!


Nothing.

What you've just heard is the sound of me TRYING to unplug my nostril.  It's making me MENTAL.  I am SO STUFFED UP I'm going to go up and beat the sh*t out of something just to take my mind off my UNBELIEVABLY CLOGGED HEAD.

No, ha ha, violence is NEVER the answer.

It's annoying.

See, nobody is home.  The MAN is not home. The kids are both at school. I should have been happily clacking away on my computer here, coming up with something that makes even ME snort beverages out my nose.  But I can't.  I can't even think because every time I try to breathe in without using my coffee hole, it's

SSSSHHHNIMMMMM...

I have had two colds now, nearly on top of one another.  It's a COLD ORGY.  The new germs met the old germs, said; WHAT UP, Y'ALL? and fired up the bong.

I should be cropping my head!  This should be a whole post centered around my love of cropping my own head.  You know, like this:



Useless citizen:  Wonder karen: we NEED your help!  The Bank on Fifth Street has JUST been robbed!
Wonder karen:  "OH MY GOD!"
Useless citizen:  "Yes! It's TERRIBLE!"
Wonder karen:  "LOOK AT ME!"
Useless citizen:  "Um, I beg your pardon?"
Wonder karen:  "MY TITS LOOK FABULOUS IN THIS THING!  NO SERIOUSLY--LOOK AT THEM.  GOOD GRAVY I EVEN CAN'T STOP LOOKING AT THEM!"

See, there should have been a whole post with that kind of whimsy in it, because that's what's IMPORTANT on a Friday.

But I can't even think straight.

I do want to share a small, useless anecdote with you though, my friends.  The other night I was in H&M.  I used to LURV H&M when they first came out.  Then I popped GIANT BABY ELLA out of my body, and somehow I stayed pretty much as fat.  But I didn't think I was, so I'd try to buy something from H&M every now and again, and nothing would fit and I'd come out and say:

"H&M sucks now!  Their clothes have gotten MUCH smaller.  They're stupid.  I hate them now."




Heh heh heh..

Anyhoo, I want everyone to know that thanks to my overwhelming realization that I am going to be FORTY soon, I embarked on my FIT TO FORTY regime.  And since I've essentially cut out most of the fun in my life, and replaced peanut butter toast with lifting weights and 6 day a week power walks and stuff, I am excited to say that I am THIS CLOSE to fitting back into those damn clothes at H&M again.  SUCK ON THAT, H&M!

Okay, that's not the point of the story though, is it.  The point is that while I was in there, I spotted the most succulent, scrumptious, delectable little handbag.  It is hot pink satin with a giant GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES bow on the front.  And seriously?  It made my AREA tingle.  Also, it made me go into girls-lurv-pink convulsions for a few minutes as I debated whether or not I should fork out the twenty bucks on it.  After all, what I really needed were long sleeved shirts.

OMG, people.  Set up an appointment with me to come over and pet my new handbag.

So, I decided I couldn't live without it, naturally, and when I brought it up to the counter to pay, I said to the girl working there:

"this bag is RIGHT ON!!!"

Then she leaned over and said;

"I'm sorry?"

And I said; "uh, this bag is right on?"

She looked perplexed for a moment and then she translated my outdated expression, apparently, and the light of understanding finally flashed behind her 20-something-year-old eyes:

"Oh yes, it's a great colour, isn't it."

Holy f*ck.  Seriously, am I THAT uncool now?  Am I THAT old?  Do the gorgeous 20 somethings of today who have fabulous cowlick-free hair, and a tatttoo above their wrists, and a really fantastic outfit not know what 'RIGHT ON' means?

If I'd walked up to the counter and said; "HEY BUH-BABY!"  would that also have flown right over her head?

So I'm not hip.  I'm not down.  Whatevs.

I totally don't know what I was talking about in the first place.  OH yes!  My nose!  It's going to be a long, long winter, people.  Just take comfort knowing this:

SCORCHING HOT PINK is the new red!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ONE HUNDRED

You ALL rock.  Yes, that means you, you, you and you, and even you over there being all shy.  


100!

No, ha ha, that's not how old I FEEL today.  I'd say more like 89--tops.

Blech.  Stupid back-to-back colds.  What--am I in KINDERGARTEN again???

No, this is about there being 100 of you nice people who decided to follow me no matter how much I whined, or abused the ALL CAPS button.

Thank you for reading.

I hope at some point I've made you laugh, or provided something worth thinking about.  I've only ticked a few people off along the way, so kudos to me.

If you're new around these here parts, you may not know that I have a nice little family, and I'm thankful for that.  My son is on the Autism spectrum, and is a CRAZY artist.  Seriously--check out the links to his art sometime.  Just scroll on down and they're right there in the left side pane of the blog.  My daughter once stood on my armpit (she also says a ton of crazy things), stepped on her brother's nose, and hurts herself approximately five times each and every day.  My husband doesn't even want me to talk about him at all (heh heh--poor THE MAN--there's no escape).

I also have two cats.  They make me mental.  Loki is my black cat, and she literally stalks me from the time I get up until the time I go to bed, (even when I'm on the can, there she is outside the bathroom door, all "MEOW?  MEOW?  MEOW?) so at some point during the day I will freak, and shout:  AREN'T CATS SUPPOSED TO SLEEP MOST OF THEIR LIVES????  She's completely neurotic.  She even gets little anxiety zits on her face from time to time.  Suggestions, anyone?  I think she could use a good dose of Prozac.  Do they give that out to cats?  If she would just calm the eff down we could be much better friends.  My other cat's real name is Tiger, but I call her Fatty, because she's NOT insane, and LURVS to sit down and eat.  She's really cute but clunkers get stuck to her ass.

I'm living in my grandmother's house.  It was built in 1928.  Blah, blah, blah, isn't that nice, it has ants.  Once, at the zenith of the great ant infestation of 2010, flying ants poured up from the cold air return vent in my bedroom.  It's been covered with the heaviest books we have ever since.  I especially liked this past summer when there were hornet-sized flying ants milling around the outside of the pantry window.  Only one got in the house.  Jack killed that thing with a PEN.  That's HARDCORE, YO.

So, whenever I look at really beautiful old houses, I always wonder what kind of insect/pest problems the occupants have.

Oh, and I have an avocado tree.  I grew him from a pit I carefully saved after making guacamole for CINCO DE MAYO this past year.  He is just over a foot tall and his name is Pepito.  Pepito and I have coffee every day.  Speaking of coffee, I am a coffee snob.  You will learn this, if you don't already know it.

I talk about all of these things and none of these things.

I also talk about PMS and my LADY TSUNAMI.  A lot.  And my dissatisfaction with personal hygiene products.  Throw in some poop, barf and hooters and you've got yourself a party.

No wait--there wouldn't be any party without YOU, because you guys make the comments section so fun, it's almost the whole reason I write.  The rest of the reason is to stay sane.  I am a stay-at-home mom after all.

Anything else?

Just ask me.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Inspiration











source
This is my grandmother.  In the second last picture, you can't quite see it, but she has a letter "P" pinned to her dress.  She had to wear this during the war.  It indicated that she is Polish.

She was taken from her family to work as forced labour on a German farm during the war.

She came to Canada with her two young children and had my mother in a Northern Ontario town, where my Grandfather worked in the gold mines.

She lived to be 85 years old, had four children and nine grandchildren, and was still alive to hold four great grandchildren.

I was thinking of my grandma as I went for my walk early this morning. It's good to be here.

Life is hard.  We have to pull ourselves up out of bed every day and keep going, even though our days are at times tedious, a struggle, painful, and filled with sadness.  We do this in hopes that one day we will be the person who others look back upon with fondness and love, and remember our wisdom, our wonderful secret recipes, our quirks and foibles, and the indomitable spirit that makes us just who we're meant to be--different from anyone else.

It's good to be here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Adult Hot Tubs And Beer Needed

Isn't this great?  Yeah, it's really great.  There's not a single maniac child in here.
However, we could use some drinks.  Why doesn't a beer cart ever come around???


I've returned my friends!

I've survived a day and a half of WORK at the local SUPER DUPER WATER PARK INN.

Because, let's face it--it's work.  You can call it a vacation.  You can call it a break.  You can even trick yourself into thinking it's a nice little diversion.  But, you will be swimming ALL DAY.  You will be swimming until your fingers are wrinkly and all the moisture has leeched out of your body.  You will be swimming until you are so completely STARVING, a crappy, reheated, frozen, over-priced, ripoff meat patty they pass off as a burger will taste DELICIOUS.  You will be swimming until you are nearly SOBBING.  You will be walking around in that ugly MOM BATHING SUIT until you can no longer stand it.

When we checked in, the children decided they no longer had ANY patience.  Zero, ie; NONE.  In the time it took to simply put on our bathing suits, they actually lost their minds.

OH!  And here's something fun!  There was a FLY in our room!  See, it's NOVEMBER, and it's REALLY COLD OUTSIDE, but that's okay.  Somehow a fly got in OUR room. So what?  you ask.  Well let me tell you a little something:  Jack has a fear of flies so deep, so irrational, so completely over the top, that a little house fly might as well have looked like this:



Somehow I don't think "PANIC" is a word that quite cuts it, but if you multiply that by, oh, say, 5000, you might start to get the picture.  But I killed that thing.  OH yes.  Make no mistake--if the choices are:  living with the fly and non-stop sheer fingernails-on-chalkboard panic, or taking the time to whack that f*cker with your kid's sandal, you're going to make it happen.

So, the waterpark.  My sister loves waterparks.  My brother-in-law loves waterparks.  The kids love waterparks.  I think The Man loves waterparks.  I do NOT love waterparks.  Surprised?

After many hours of little weiners splashing me, knocking into me, nearly tripping me up like human/cat hybrids, I nearly lost it.  I was in the wave pool and these little jerks were having a splash fight game.  The whole time we were in there.  I know--it makes no sense to be annoyed by splashing at a water park.  But, when that water is constantly spritzing in my eyeballs, I tend to forget this.  As I was trying to exit the pool, and the little idiots (with no parents apparently, or maybe their parents were enjoying the beer hut.  Lucky a$$holes) splashed me that last time, I yelled QUIT IT!! at them, and came THIS close to saying:

QUIT IT YOU LITTLE BASTARDS

The words were RIGHT THERE.  Right there on my tongue.  Somehow I managed to reign myself in, because I think I would have crossed some lines of propriety.

Here's another fun thing!  As you walk around the park, water is splashing everywhere, and you're nearly deafened by the sound of churning water, there are spots up above you, where little bastards can have a fine time of waiting till that unsuspecting person walks under, and then use that moment to pull the cord and let that bucked FULL of water tip over onto the surprised person below.

This happened to me a few times.  Live and learn?  Apparently not.  However, the last time was special, because the force and volume of water falling on me was great enough to completely wash one side of my bathing suit clean off my left hoot.  I didn't look down to comfirm how much bare booby action was happening--because I was mortified--but I think I made some little jerk's day.  Mental wringing of necks.

That first evening, back in our room, I started to fantasize about and yearn for MY KIND OF VACATION.  Maybe it was the stuffy hotness of the room.  Maybe it was the deafening fan that WHOMPED on every five minutes all night, making it impossible to have an unbroken night's sleep (and no, you couldn't turn the room heater off, alas).  Maybe it was the $8 plastic cup of Coors Lite The Man had bought for me after I begged him to track down some alcohol in the joint.

Whatever it was, I started thinking of a magical place.  It's a place where two grownups go to share a room.  They spend the day on a long NATURE WALK in the crisp outdoors, in the woods.  Then they return to their room and just read a freaking book by the fire place.  Then they go out for a really nice dinner that doesn't come with FRIES ON THE SIDE, but instead comes with a glass of CABERNET SAUVIGNON.  Then after that really freaking great dinner, they go see a play or something, and then return to the hot tub in their room with cocktails within reach.

Sniff.

The important thing (I suppose) is that the kids had a really good time, even if I do hate water slides and being ripped off at every turn.  The best part of the little trip for me?  The outdoor hot tub!  BOO YAH THAT WAS FREAKING AWESOME.  Sitting outside in the frosty air in the steamy warm water....aaaah....

I still don't know why they didn't have a beer cart though.

Oh well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Out of the Vomitous Pit

Oh man, what a week.

Okay, here's how it goes in my world:  today is the day we have a mini vacation planned.  As soon as the kids finish school we're off to a local hotel/waterpark/cavalcade of whimsy.  We've had it booked for a while now.  The kids are ridiculously excited.

Then Tuesday:  3:30 AM, a mere TWO DAYS before the much anticipated getaway:  Jack starts hurling.

You've been there, right?  First comes the WAIL and then the hurking sounds.  I was 3/4 of the way up the stairs before I was even fully awake.  I'm pretty sure that that is one of the best ways to have a heart attack.

Then I turned into the Terminator, and even as I was helping Jack, I was noting ALL THE SPOTS OF INFESTATION:  barf on the bathroom floor, barf in the tub, smudge of hurl on the pink towel.  Check, check, and check.

Then I got the boy back to bed and his room was still dim so he said; "MOM, DON'T STEP IN THE BARF!"



OHDEARGODTHEHORROR


Do you ever find that a circle of barf on the floor is so unbelievable, so surreal, so incomprehensibly horrifying that you actually have to STARE at it for a bit?  It's so shocking, so unbelievably ugly.  Like, it's the worst thing you could imagine but still your brain couldn't even conjure up something so disgusting.  And there you are actually SCRUTINIZING it and you don't want to, but then later you can call someone up and say;

"yeah, and it was funny because Jack's barf looked like one of those fake novelty barfs.  You know--all kind of shaped like a circle and brown/puce, but really chintzy with the fake chunks?  Well that's how his was!  There were a few cubes of cheddar cheese in it and oh man--a LOT of raisins!"

I've lived this before.  In grade 1, or was it 2...someone hurked on the carpet during story time and I couldn't stop looking at it.  I KNEW that that kid had eaten Campbell's alphabet soup.  There were the letters, and there were the cubes of carrots and potatoes.

OH, what?  You're MAD at me now?  TOO MUCH INFORMATION?  Okay, yeah.  Like you didn't feel compelled to stare at a pile of yark yourself.

Another reason you can't stop staring at it?  Because it's putting off the worst part:  CLEANING IT.

And I'm done talking about that.  But maybe you can feel sorry for me, all hunched over, jammy shirt pulled up bandito-style over my nose and mouth, and secured at the back with a butterfly clip.

So then at about 5 in the morning, Ella comes marching downstairs.

Ella:  "POOR TUMMY-WUMMY!"

And then she's in it to win it too.

Oh!  Wait! I forgot to mention that The Man was away on a business trip!  Hats off to you, single parents.  HATS OFF TO YOU.

Because why?  Because I'm SPOILED, that's why.  Who cleans up barf and cat hair balls and cat yark ropes on the floor?  THE MAN.  Sniff!  Now I lurv him even more.

So yeah, you've lived that day. You've stumbled around from horking child to horking child in your own sweaty jammies, with your grimy hair pulled back messily into an elastic band.  You haven't even washed your FACE for crap's sake.  At best you just loaded on more deodorant because you were ON CALL ALL DAY.

We have to talk about something now.  I hate the stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, or Norovirus or Rotavirus, or whatever the F*CK you want to call it.  No, don't say; DUH, WHO LIKES IT?  Yes, everyone hates it.  I believe I hate it just a little bit more.  In fact, I fear it.  I'm so afraid of puking that I have turned into the most anal freak possible.

Do you know who my best friend is now?  BLEACH.  Yeah, I love bleach. The house has smelled like an indoor swimming pool for two solid days and that, my friends, is because I am a WINNER.  Yeah, that's right.  You name it, I bleached it:

doorknobs
tables
counters
cupboards
fridge door
freezer door
tv remotes
stereo remotes
chairs
doorways
stair rails
Jack's drawing pens
Jack's crayon nubs
coasters
tv
computer monitor
computer mouse
keyboard
beds
various bedroom furnishings

I'm sure there's more but I can't think of it.

I kept a bucket with a rag, a rubber glove and some bleach water in the bathroom and it's still there.  Every time the kids use the sink or tub or toilet, I BLEACH.

Yesterday I said cheerily (they were feeling better):  "WHAT'S THE THEME FOR THE DAY, CHILDREN?"

Children (totally sick of me and bored):  "wash your hands."

Me:  "THAT'S RIGHT!"

Because F*CK THAT SHIZZ.  I'm not getting sick.  I'm beating the odds.  I even ran my bleach rag over the couch as soon as the kids went to bed after that day of throwing up.  My sister asked "but what if that ruined the fabric of the couch???"

Me: "So be it."

Because I'm a winner people.  And anybody who says there's no way to avoid the stomach flu?  Well, they're not running around washing EVERYTHING the kids have worn, slept on, or lounged under, and they're using some bullsh*t LYSOL product and NOT bleach.

So what's it gonna be people?  The next time your kid starts spewing, are you going to be a loser, or are you going to be a WINNER?

BLEACH IS FOR WINNERS

Monday, November 14, 2011

MOVEMBER EXTRAVAGANZA!

My loves,

Why have I put on a shit-ton of makeup, wrapped a ridiculous feather boa around my neck, and glammed myself up to the point of LUDICROUS?  Well, there are two reasons!  

The first is because I wanted to talk about something very dear to my heart:  


MEN.


The second is because the next photos you see of me will be intensely hideous.  Hilarious, perhaps, but hideous just the same.

                                                                      Lurv,



                                                                               karen
                                                                                   xxxooo


What the HELL is "MOVEMBER" you say?  Well, in case you hadn't heard of it, November is the month men are growing moustaches to raise awareness for MEN'S HEALTH, and specifically PROSTATE CANCER.

See, if suddenly your man, or that guy in the office looks like this:



and the first thing out of your mouth is; "what the HELL are you doing?!?"  He will tell you that he's sporting a MO for November.  See, he's not trying to piss you off, he's trying to raise AWARENESS.

This is a good thing, because let's face it:  unless your man is a metrosexual, or unless he actually pays attention to his appearance, most men get up, hop in the shower, run a washcloth over their buzzed head, shave, brush the teeth and go.

They're not like us--girls and cancer phobes-- noses pressed up to the mirror, inspecting EVERY FREAKING INCH AND EVERY PORE ON OUR BODIES, IMMEDIATELY NOTICING EVERY NEW OR OLD LUMP, BUMP, ROLLY OR UGLY BIT.

Also, how many of you know a man who is a card holding member of the "It's FINE" club.  Yeah, you know what I'm talking about:

"Shouldn't we be bringing a gift to this party?"

Man:  "It's FINE."

"I think you're swinging him too high!  Oh my god!  He's going to fall off the SWING!"

Man:  "He's FINE."

"Is that the only jacket you're going to bring for her?  It's cold outside!"

Man:  "She's FINE."

"I really think you should shut off the power before you put that new light fixture up!!!"

Man:  "I'm FINE."

See?  They're always FINE.  Everything around them is always FINE.  YOU, are running around saying;  "MY STOMACH FEELS WEIRD.  I HAVE STOMACH CANCER!!!"  And HE says; "You're FINE."  
So this means, that for the most part, anything less than FINE is NOT on his radar.  He doesn't see that weird little spot or mole on his body that could be shrieking "SKIN CANCER," and he's been ignoring the fact that it's been a little hard for him to take a leak lately.  Plus, how often does he get that yearly physical???

So, let's be super serious for just a moment and talk about prostate cancer (or super lazy, and cut and paste the info directly from www.prostatecancer.ca ):

"Prostate cancer is:
  • The most common cancer among Canadian men - it will afflict 1 in 7 men and is a greater threat for those with a family history of the disease
  • Turning up in men in their 40s
  • Going to be diagnosed in about 25,500 men this year, not including cases that go undiagnosed due to men's unwillingness to go for annual check-ups
  • Develops as a result of dietary, environmental and heredity factors (more research is needed to identify its causes and prevent the disease)
  • New, preliminary research suggests pharmaceuticals may help prevent prostate cancer in men at high risk of the disease
  • Often without symptoms in its earliest, most curable stage – making annual testing ever more important
  • Treated by surgery, radiation and hormone therapy (among other treatments)
  • Thought to be a potentially preventable cancer in many cases, but more research is needed
*Symptoms may include slow or painful urination, blood or pus in the urine, painful ejaculation and pain in the lower back or abdomen, pelvis or upper thighs. If experiencing any of these symptoms, please consult a doctor immediately."


EEEEEK!

Okay, we didn't like reading that.

Let's work on prevention!  Improve your diet.  More vitamins and minerals, less baloney on white bread sandwiches, capiche?  More salad, less GIGANTIC STEAK.  



There is a ton of good information on prevention, and PSA testing, HERE.

We love you guys, and we want you to take care of yourselves.  Why not grow a big, bushy MO for Movember to continue spreading awareness?


 I'd like to recommend my personal favourite:




OH YES, NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT.


Hey, remember how in Dances With Wolves For Four Hours Kev C. was freaking hot with his giant handlebar MO, and then later in the movie he shaved it off and that was when the film just became LONG and you kinda wanted to go home after that?


Yeah.....


Okay, enough blabbing.  Recently, because I'm me, I decided "what the hell, it's Movember," so I stuck an adhesive child novelty moustache on, and I walked half-way to the school with that MO-FO on my face.  Yeah, I was going with it.


According to my sister, I was getting some VERY strange, long looks from people driving by.  But, I don't care if they didn't know if I was a weird woman or a very, very ugly man.  I did it for the boyz.  It was fun, my sister nearly peed her pants, we took some great action shots, she got to wear the MO for a bit, and finally my kids freaked and yelled at me to TAKE IT OFF MOM!!!!!!


That's right b*tches.  This is how I ROLL up to the school yard.
People were reeeeeallly staring....


my niece liked it.  She felt the power of the MO
(lookit how huge her tiny cute young head makes my giant old MO head look)


tell the truth, it's turning you on, no?



it's actually starting to gross me out looking at these pics now...



shootin some HOOPS, YO












my sister thought she looked especially hideous.  


GOOD TIMES!  So remember:  take care of your MENS!



*Now go scroll back up and look at my sparkle pic again to cleanse your pallet...


For more information on MOVEMBER, click HERE


For more information on Prostate Cancer, click HERE

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget








on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Birthdays, CAKE, and Birthday Parties

There are a few birthdays in late Autumn that we celebrate around these here parts, and I always feel like they're the last stop before the Christmas season really starts to sneak up on me.

It was my brother's birthday recently!  Happy Birthday Brother of mine!  First of all, check out this photo editing:

I blogged about my brother, the King Of All Pests, HERE 


Hooray!  Here's my brother and little me.  How old am I in this picture....4 maybe?


And now, thanks to the magic of computers, check this out:





Seriously--is it not amazing what a little online photo touch-up program can do?  Thanks Picnik.  No, they're not paying me or anything to say that, but I was feeling all smoochy toward their program after I worked some magic over an old, yellowed 1970's photie.

So, because it was my brother's birthday, I made his favourite cake, which is a sour cream "coffee" cake.  It is an oldish recipe that we have that my Mom always used to make.  It's a moist, yellow cake with a layer of brown sugar cinnamon candied nut heaven in the middle.


a good recipe is always splattered with something

This is my bro's favourite cake.  It's not overly sweet, and not covered in icing, but dusted lightly with powdered sugar.  So, now that my Mom is gone, I have made this cake for the past two birthdays.

I have to tell you, I love making the cake for my brother, but I don't love making the cake.  I feel like I'm not supposed to be the one making this cake, and damned if the thing is just different enough to not be like my Mom's.  This reminds me of a small story a woman I know told me about how her mother used to make the most wonderful Christmas puddings and cakes and things, when she was alive, and try as she might to recreate them, they just never came out the same.

So,

Somewhere along the road to just-about-asleep one night, I had this sleepy, dreamy thought that maybe the secret ingredient is not the flour the person used, or how precisely or imprecisely they measured, or even the difference in their cake pans--maybe the secret ingredient is the person themselves.  Does this make sense?  It made so much sense in bed that night after a day of just being sad.

My sister's favourite cake is a black forest cake.  Is that supposed to be Capitalized...hrm...  Anyhow, whatever the Black Forest Cake is supposed to really be like, traditionally, this is how we always ate it:  layer of chocolate cake, layer of  cherries in the middle, another layer of chocolate cake, thick, fudgey chocolate icing on the outside and whipped cream on the top.  Maybe there was a third layer of cake and another layer of cherries as well....

image

How can I not remember?  My Polish Grandma made this cake ALL THE TIME.  It was my Grandfather's favourite.  Dear Grandma, please forgive me when I say it was never MY favourite cake because of you.  Grandma's slice of black forest weighed approximately 100 pounds, and she'd cut the biggest slice possible and hand that over to me with a giant glass of whole milk.  That was nearly impossible for a little kid to finish, and believe me, if I didn't finish it, this surely meant the cake was no good, and clearly I didn't like it.  And so, struggle I did.


My Dad's favourite cake used to be a white-as-snow white Duncan Hines beauty with vanilla icing.  Actually, I used to LOVE a "box cake".  I thought there was nothing wrong with a mix until I started mastering the homemade cake, and now I think there's nothing better than a good cake from scratch.


My Mom used to love a hazelnut, Amaretto-soaked cake from a local bakery.  But then I started baking her cakes when I was old enough, and she kinda got whatever concoction I came up with that year.  Ah well, at least Mom was nice enough to never complain.
Criveller Cakes

So what about me?  I haven't been like my brother and sister; holding on to their most beloved cake for dear life for YEARS AND YEARS.

When I was a kid, I used to always ask for a "white cake with chocolate icing."  Then I loved the box "cherry chip" cake.  Then one year my Mom made the Ina Garten coconut cake, and that was it.  That was my favourite.  Mom added a thin layer of raspberry jam in between cake and coconut icing layers to cut down the "richness" of the cake.

Damn.  That's one freaking good cake.  Seriously, you may have a heart attack immediately after finishing your slice, but OMG PEOPLE.

 I have decided as I get older that I don't love birthday parties as much anymore.  Oh, don't get me wrong--a few cocktails and I'll always belt out the Thelma Houston, but now I just kinda think that birthday parties were much more fun when I was a kid.

So, I leave you with a memory of my very first real birthday party.  It was my kindergarten party, and my entire class was invited, because Mom thought it was most fair to invite EVERYONE.  It was MAYHEM.  Picture kids running around, a free-for-all with my new toys in the GOOD LIVING ROOM on the red, gold and green shag carpet.  One kid was taking my slinky dog for a walk.  Slinky dog promptly got snagged in the shag, his coils were bent and he was pretty much garbage after that.  One kid was so shy he just sat in the tv room and watched cartoons, too freaked to join his manic classmates.  My friend Matt was running around the entire house, up the stairs, down the stairs, upstairs, around the bedrooms, and then he slipped and knocked his head on the bedpost of my brother's bed.  He was calm after that.

I thought it was great.

I think my Mom was burnt.

I didn't have another birthday party with classmates for a loooooooong time after that.  That party might have been in grade 8 and involved some really pathetic games of Truth Or Dare, and some kissing.  I seem to have forgotten ;)

So...Do YOU have a favourite birthday cake?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Long Road To Acceptance

There are people in my life who have never accepted that my son is a special needs child.  Four years.  We're talking about four years.

Recently I had a conversation with these people, and I mentioned that Jack was getting extra help with math.  Person Number 1 jumped right on this and didn't understand why Jack needed extra help in math.  No big deal in my mind, as he clearly never really got a good hold on the basic grade 1 concepts.  The basic opinion from Person Number 1 was that this is a pointless waste of time and resources because grade 2 math is just a review of grade 1 math anyway (it is not) and Jack doesn't need extra help.

Then I was asked if Jack has an I.E.P.  All my Spectrum Homegirls and Homeboys know that this means "Individual Education Plan."  In other words, a child with special needs can either have their curriculum modified to meet their needs, or accomodated.  In Jack's case, he mostly has his school program accomodated:   he gets a little extra time to complete tasks, he is given prompts to return his attention to the task at hand, and one of the smallest yet biggest things is that he has tasks reiterated.  He's a smart kid, but I learned a long time ago that if you want him to do something or figure something out, it simply has to be worded in a different way.

This year is the first time Jack has had a modification to his school program, and that is because he has a great teacher who saw that he was really struggling with basic math concepts.  Duh, I knew this.  It took ages last year to get him to understand 2+1, 3+1, 4+1, etc.  It was completely meaningless and abstract to him.  And really, really boring and tedious.  And probably highly irrelevant.  So, he's been getting extra help with math to grasp some of the most basic concepts that he never got in grade 1, so that his grade 2 math won't be such a mystery.  Well guess what, the kid understands what 2+2 equals now, among other things, and I was able to get him to understand that counting by 25's is just a pattern, so I think this is all great.

None of this is a big deal to me.  He's a healthy, charismatic  kid who is very intelligent, but his brain just finds a different path than mine.

However, when I told Person Number 1, that Jack does indeed have an I.E.P. in place. Person Number 1 was surprised and highly defensive.

"WHY does he have an IEP?"

"WHAT is his diagnosis?"

Me:  "Autism Spectrum Disorder."

"Is THIS the SCHOOL'S diagnosis???"

Me:  "No, a pediatrician's."

Person Number 2 seemed upset by this as well.

The basic gist of the conversation was that Person Number 1 had seen "real" kids with special needs, and Jack isn't one of THEM.  The underlying message is that Jack just needs a little more focus and discipline.

Do you know how tired of ignorance and arrogance I am?

These are people who neither live with, nor see him every day.  They see a boy who is mostly well behaved because he's out of the house.  They do not see his frustration at nearly everything, how badly he behaves every weekend since he was 2 1/2, how if he's really wound up and doesn't get his way, he digs his chin into our arms, punches, hits or tries to bite us, not to mention the verbal abuse.  They don't see that when he's watching his Wiggles dvd's, his sister is NEVER allowed to sing along or he will flip out.  If she won't stop trying to sing along, he will actually cry.

They don't see the BATTLE we have to get him to do a small homework assignment once a week; the panic, the tears, the screaming, the wailing, the pleading, the name-calling, the rage.  They don't see the little physical tics he gets when he's super nervous about something, like how he's flipped out lately about having to go for extra math help all the time, so yesterday he was flipping his head back slightly every few minutes.  Every day he asks me; "why do I always have to leave the room to do Math?" and everyday I explain to him, but he will ask me again later, guaranteed.

This is the child who during the first few weeks of school last year, was so nervous about the practice fire drills they do at the beginning of every school year that he nearly threw up one morning as we were waiting for the school bell to ring.   Or the time he threw up before the nursery school Halloween party, because it was different from the normal routine.  Or him lying in bed with dark circles under his eyes fretting about something.  Or me having conversations again and again that it's just not appropriate to copy what his friends say, and if he could only just learn to copy in his head nobody would get angry at him anymore.  Or how in nursery school I had to teach him that he could hug his family, but not hug his school friends, because that was NOT DONE in the preschool kid world.

Or this is the baby who I could never ever put down when he was awake, and he was furious at me until he finally learned to crawl and then he was happy for a while because he was on the road to complete independence.  The baby who SCREAMED when I breastfed him because maybe the milk wasn't letting down IMMEDIATELY, and he'd get himself in such a state that we had to put on this latin music cd I had and it would calm him down, and I'd be sitting there feeding him and shaking because he shattered my nerves.  Long days of not knowing what to do with a baby/toddler who never learned how to play with toys and was bored with EVERYTHING except Baby Einstein, and thank god for that, because it meant I could put a dvd on and he'd watch it twice in a row so I'd get nearly an hour's break.

It goes on:  the boy who never pointed at anything.  Fixated on his schedule and LOST IT if the schedule changed.  Was obsessed with the word OtoƱo (Spanish for "Autumn") and made us write pages and pages with this word in all different fonts and colours.  Became obsessed with the 20th Century Fox Intro to movies and made us all draw the logo with spotlights over and over and over again until we had stacks and stacks and stacks of 20th Century Fox art.  Never actually played with toys, but only made long lines with them, and if his baby sister crawled over and messed it up at all, it would be rage and devastation.  Hyper-sensitivity to smells and sounds.  Needs to go out in the hall while teachers pop a movie into the VCR or a dvd in, just in case the TV makes that static SPSHHHHHH sound that he has named 'the answer.'  He's terrified of  'the answer'.

So, is he a lunatic?  Absolutely not.  Is he intelligent?  Yes.  Do I joke around with him all the time?  Yes, he has an excellent sense of humour.  Does he look like all the other kids.  Yes, except I think he's handsomer ;)  Does anyone know he has a problem at first glance?  No, it usually takes a while to see that he is "different," and as he gets older and more reasonable, this becomes less and less apparent.  Does he still have social problems fitting in easily with other kids?  Absolutely.  Luckily it doesn't seem to bother him at this point.  Does he freak out all the time?  No.  We have lots of nice moments.  Do I have to quell his anxieties and fears A LOT, and intervene often in his tyrannical ways?  HELL YES.

So, I don't have a lot of patience, when people poo-poo the notion that Jack is a kid who needs extra help, or that whatever he has, it's not AUTISM, because he's not like those kids with AUTISM (ie; non-verbal, never making eye contact).  And yet, don't we know that the Spectrum is a puzzle in itself because it is so BROAD and kids on it are so varied in degrees of developmental/cognitive severity?  At any rate, this disrespects all that I have gone through.  I have done a lot of reading. I have figured a lot of things out on my own, because we have been on nothing but waiting lists from the start.  So I said f*ck it--I'll do it myself.

It doesn't just disrespect me, it disrespects JACK.  The idea that all he needs is a bit more discipline, and that he needs to smarten up a little is insulting to him and a slap in the face to all that he feels, and his struggles to reconcile a world filled with frustration and anxiety; a world in which he simply can't understand why everyone doesn't just know what's in his brain. Suck it up Jack, and be a man about things.

I felt compelled to write this because I know there are others out there who run into brick walls when in their daily struggles to gain acceptance and understanding.  A label is not the end of the world, or even the end of the road.  It does not mean a child is damaged and less.  It opens different doors if you let it.  Yes, it is hard to accept that your child is not like "everyone else's child," but that is a fallacy in itself.  Everyone has problems.  If we wanted, we could probably apply a label to every one of us.  Maybe I have some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder since my Mother died.  How about you?  Anxiety.  OCD.  Depression.  Anger.  What about all of us???

That frustration and anxiety I mentioned:  who would want to live that way, given a choice.  Isn't it our job to help a child who needs that strong hand to hold? In the end, people can say what they want.  I just keep on keepin' on.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yeah, You Wanna Hear About My Dream

I know, I know--it's boring and meaningless to hear about someone else's dream, but too bad!  I have to share it...

I had this GREAT DREAM this morning!  In the dream I was an olympic athlete competing in my event and I was WAY ahead of everyone in points.  Near the end I had 423 points, and the next person with the closest amount of points only had 181!

As I was going through my little obstacle course, the announcer said;

"It's pretty safe to say at this point that KAREN HAS WON!"

What did I have to do?  Well, I was in a school cafeteria, and I had to run along a cafeteria table, leap as close to the stage as I could, boost myself up onto the stage, then turn around and keep doing it for as many times as I could in the time limit.  Oh, and one of the people I was competing against was Katy Perry.

So there I was, boosting myself up onto the stage thinking; "I'm not tired at all!  I'm so STRONG now!"

Finally, when I had won, the Announcer Guy was saying what an amazing job I'd done, and Katy Perry said; "YEAH!  She SMOKED IT!!!"

I was all set to go up on the MEDALS PODIUM, but then Ella woke me up (because she's a freak and she likes to get up at SIX AM, IF I'M LUCKY, even though it's still BLACK outside and also cold.  And she's all noisy up there in her room, singing, sometimes cranking out Mini Pops cd's, or crashing toys around to set up Barbie-ville.  I am actually at my wit's end but that's for another day).

DON'T YOU SEE, PEOPLE??  It's a MESSAGE!  In the dream I knew it was because of my newish LESS FLAB TO FORTY regimen.

I SMOKED IT.

GAME ON.
















HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

JUNK FOOD HANGOVER

Wha--

Where am I?

WHO am I???

What are all those small wrappers all over the floor?  OH dear god...did I do that!?!  I DID THAT!!!


Blech to candy and blech to small bags of  crunchits cheeto thingos.

I don't know what happened to me yesterday. Normally, I am a woman of MUCH discipline.  So much discipline in fact that I am actually a totaly a$$hole about sugar.  Total.

I'm an anti sugar drill sergeant.  I would even dare to say that I'm a sugar nazi, but I don't want to use that word too much, lest it attract that wrong crowd of internet surfers, or make me look insensitive about a certain INFAMOUS period of history.  So, I'll leave it to you guys to come up with a word that says that I am MILITANTLY ANTI SUGAR AND JUNK.

That's right.  In the past when the kids have received bags of candy from the relatives, I've smiled and said; "oh, isn't that nice!" and then I went home and threw that crap out.  I am not a fan of candy.  I do not think empty sugar foods are "treats."  I almost never buy the FUN cookies, and I skip right the hell past that bakery section of the grocery store.

By the time Halloween or Easter come, I'm nearly fit to be tied.  Why?  Because I'm SO FREAKING ANAL about the kids wolfing down so many sugar treats.  I admit it!  I should relax, but I can NOT relax.

And here's the irony:  when I was a kid, our cupboards were stocked with crap.  There were always bags of chips, various bags of cookies, breakfast cereals with marshmallows in them, boxes of Jos. Louis in the fridge, jam-filled turnovers for dessert, pop tarts for whenever, stashes of chocolate in the pantry....  Oh, and we had dessert nearly every night, and if my Mom didn't bake it herself, she bought it at the grocery store.

Seriously!

We had so much shit that we could even complain about what shit we had.  For example:  "Spanish Bar cake?  Yuck!  I HATE Spanish Bar cake!"  This was a dark brown cake with raisins, and creamy white frosting from the grocery store.  I actually took a pen to the label on the cake once and changed it to "Spanish BarF Cake."

I'd also waa-waa about the odd time a Sara Lee Cake would pop up for dessert--ESPECIALLY the coconut one.   That's how spoiled with junk food we were:  we could actually complain about the "treats" we had.

Now, I'm not trying to slag my Mom.  I don't think it was abuse or anything that we had a house full of junk, but I do think it's kinda like a junkie living in a house full of CRACK COCAINE (is this still hip?  Should I have said CRYSTAL METH?).

ie; NO WILLPOWER.

My Mom had TONS of willpower.  Seriously--she was one of those people who was content with a couple of squares of chocolate when she had a craving.  So, the cupboards of crap became the ultimate FORBIDDEN FRUIT.  Whenever my parents would go out, or go on vacation, or Mom would go to work, my brother used to actually say; THE CUPBOARDS ARE OURS!  And we'd go to town.

One of the lowest moments of my youth was when my parents went away on vacation, and after having a f*cking good time working our way through the cupboards there I was one night having a box of Crunch N Munch for dinner, and I was washing it down with gingerale.  I think that's when I reached the bottom.

SO,

I hardly ever have anything fun to eat in the house anymore.  This is not to say that I don't ORDER THE MAN TO GET CUPCAKES from the ohmyfreakinggod cupcake store that just opened right around the corner every couple of weeks.

Sigh.

I'm only a woman.  A weak, fantastic, witty, charismatic woman...alas...

But yesterday?  Oh snap.

We ate our way through 3 dozen pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with orange icing, because come on--only an a$$hole doesn't put icing on sugar cookies.  We also chowed through several mini pumpkin muffins (healthy!  HEALTHY!  Because only an anal freak sends a healthy baked good for the class party, right?!?).  I had a small orgy that evening with mini chocolate bars and crunchy cheesy things.

Sugar and Junk, I'd like you to meet PMS.  She'll LURV you guys.  OH, and she's super easy, heh heh.  Get in there, boys!

Oh, even better--The Man and I were standing on the front porch during trick or treat time sucking down a couple of "Crusty Wives" (what--you didn't notice the cocktail I myself created right there on the side panel of this blog????  For shame, good reader, for shame).  My sister popped over for a minute and said "it stinks like booze on this porch."

RIGHT ON.

Then I remembered that it is MY JOB to inspect the kids' candy to look for bullsh*t razorblade type things.

I actually let them keep MOST of it.  I did, however, say no to the following:

1. giant gumballs.  Sorry, but those are just stupid, and they suck after approximately five seconds anyway.

2. 3 mini candy canes.  Um, hello?  Am I an idiot?  I KNOW these are not for sale in the stores yet.  So no.  No thanks.

3. the little baggy of animal crackers.  Seriously?  Are you retarded?  You figured you'd get a couple of boxes of animal crackers and grab a handful with your potentially fecal coliform hands and put them in a bag with a few other small candies?  Seriously, if you didn't have enough money to buy halloween crap to hand out, it's OKAY if you joined the other million OCTOGENARIANS on my street and just turned the lights off and pretended you weren't home.

4. These things:




I hate these things.  They SUCK.  They're impossible to chew, and they taste gross, you can NEVER get all the paper off, and the only person who has  EVER liked them is everyone's  DAD.  GIVE THEM TO DAD, HE ACTUALLY LIKES THEM.

Things started to get bad though, because I could feel those old feelings coming over me.  There was a tranced out moment with me on the floor next to Ella getting down to business with her discarded Lick-M-Aid.  What's not to like?  It's a candy STICK that you DIP IN to FAIRYLAND sugar!




WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And because the day was already shot to hell, I concluded with the last third of a bag of Doritos, because hell, why not?


So you see, people?  Do you SEE why sugar is BAD, BAD, BAAAAAAD!?!?  Nevermind cavities and how FREAKING TERRIFYING THE DENTIST IS, it's terribly, horribly addictive and it totally, totally f*cks up your body when you're mere months away from the

BIG  4-0

Must find carrot sticks....

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