Saturday, November 21, 2009

Accentuate the Positive!

There is something that I've been noticing lately. We all seem to almost revel in pointing out the negative things about other people. At work, we talk about other coworkers' weaknesses; mistakes, absenteeism, attitude, etc. With family and friends, don't we all engage in gossip? You know, how person A slighted person B; this person is jealous of that one; lack of housekeeping skills; those horrible cookies she made last week; oh, and don't get me started on HER haircut! As parents, we have the horrible habit of comparing others' parenting skills to our own (unfavourably, of course!).

Why do we do this? Do we really feel better when we put other people down? I believe the idea is to build ourselves up by pointing out the weaknesses of others. Why then, do I always feel a bit crappy after engaging in this behaviour? When you build yourself up by tearing others down, that tower that you put yourself on is really pretty darned rickety. After all, look at the foundation that you've built it on. Maybe that crappiness that I feel is seasickness from the swaying of my tower. Mmmmm....

This behaviour is so common that we have a hard time taking a compliment. When someone says something nice about me or my kids, I blush and get totally speechless; fumbling through (hopefully) graceful thank yous. Why are we so shy about complimenting each other? How hard is it to tell someone that they are doing a good job, have great style, are a good mom...

This evening I said something nice (and true!) to one of my Twitter friends who was feeling the blahs. She responded with a "thanks" and let me know that she hadn't been fishing for compliments. Since when is turning to friends when you are feeling down fishing for a compliment? When you are down, your friends (even just Twitter friends) are supposed to be there for you pointing out the things that lift you up. That's what we are there for.

Maybe if we make the effort to find something positive to say to someone, friend or stranger, each day our own personal towers will have stronger foundations. Now, that would be something to feel good about.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a week!

Wow, has it really been three weeks since I last did a blog entry?! I've been so busy lately that my online presence has been spotty at best. I've been spending some down-time this weekend letting my Facebook and Twitter friends know that I really am still alive. I am totally behind on my blog reading too although I just had a really good laugh at @WhyIsDaddyCryin's blog about pink duck's day out ( That man is just too funny and boy did I ever need that laugh after this week!

My little Drama Girl was down with a nasty little bug last week and, of course, generously passed it on to me. It's amazing how, when they get sick, they look pitiful for a few days, then are bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to face the world again. They pass that same bug on to their poor parents and those poor adults are down for a week (or more). Anyway, after lying around all last weekend, I decided that I would drag my poor, sorry butt to work on Monday (talk about a work ethic) and went to check my bank balance online because I wanted to hit the drugstore on the way.

Imagine my surprise when, instead of being greeted by a healthy balance waiting for my rent cheque to pass, I found that $500 had been withdrawn from my account. This wouldn't be so bad if it had been ME who made that withdrawal! A phone call to my bank's security division revealed that they were already on it (they are definitely good) and I would get my money back in seven to ten days but, until then, I was on my own with a couple of cheques floating around out there just waiting to pass through my account. Eeek! Luckily, I have a pretty decent ex-husband who, when he heard of my dilemma, offered to loan me the money. Thanks to Stinky, both of those cheques passed through my account without a hitch. I owe him a BIG favour! (again, eek!)

My work-week wasn't much better. I just couldn't do anything right and spent most of the week trying to keep under my boss' radar; something that I mostly succeeded at, thank goodness! I don't think that I could have taken a lecture in my frame of mind. My stress levels had me kinda high strung and I even had an eye-twitch to prove it. I pretty much stuck to my corner, coughing and feeling pretty darned miserable. Of course, after a start like that, could I really have expected this week to be a good one? When 5:00 came on Friday, I couldn't get out that door fast enough.

I may not be able to redo last week but, hopefully, this coming one will get off to a better start. I think that I'll go bake some cookies; you know, nudge things in the right direction


p.s. the bug that my daughter passed on to me was just a good old fashioned cold so, please, don't lecture me about spreading the swine flu around....oink, oink (oops!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting the Shakes Here!

I woke up this morning thinking that this would be a typical Sunday morning. I made a cup of tea, checked my emails then typed in expecting my home page to come up and show me what my Twitter friends are up to this fine day. Instead, I get this Google screen that says "Oops! This link appears to be broken". Huh?!

Okay, Kat, don't'll be fine. I try to link up to Twitter from a couple different angles with the exact same results. Now I'm starting to sweat. No Twitter? I'm not sure that I can handle it; after all, it's my biggest addiction. I don't even have any chocolate in the cupboard to soothe myself! The shakes are starting.....

An hour later, I still can't get onto the site. This is getting serious! I've had such a busy week that I haven't been able to spend much time online so I really need a hit!

It's amazing how powerful these connections become in our lives. I don't think we realize how powerful until they aren't there. If I miss my online friends this much when they aren't there, imagine if those that I know and love around me were to disappear. I think that we all need to be reminded of this now and then. We are all so busy with our everday lives that we don't always remember to appreciate those that make our everday lives bearable.

Maybe I'll use this Twitter downtime to make a couple of calls; you know, connect with a few people.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thank You Stinky

Last night we had a big joint birthday party for our kids. Their birthdays are about two weeks apart and two parties so close together are exhausting so we decided to try a new route this year. It worked out really well; no drowning, no bloodshed and plenty of smiling faces on departure. Phew! The other thing that happened last night is that I was reminded of what a great dad my ex-husband is. Watching him doing cannonballs off the diving board, looking like a drunk walrus and thoroughly entertaining the kids, I realized that I have a lot to be thankful for.

Now, don't get me wrong, he is my EX-husband for good reasons which I'll save for another post; perhaps when he pisses me off (muah-ha-ha-haaa). Since our split he has, however, truly stepped up to bat as a father. At first, I put my hurt and anger aside for the kids' sake in order to be able to parent them with him but, working in this new form of partnership, we actually managed to rediscover our friendship. This has an awful lot to do with his behaviour.

I hear about so many dads who don't exercise their visitation right, who don't make their child support payments or who move on to their "new" families without looking back and find myself so grateful. Stinky and I have shared custody, each of us having the kids every other week and he has never failed to take them when he is supposed to. He also takes his financial responsibilies very seriously; never missing any payment and even giving a little extra help when I've been a bit short.

He also has the most amazing girlfriend. He and SM have been together for three years now and I couldn't ask for a better step-mom for my kids. She is loving, attentive and has a family that has accepted my kids as two of their own. She has become a great third partner in this parenting team. I know, the ex-wife isn't supposed to get along with her ex's current lady so well but SM and I do really well. We respect each other and rarely "step on each other's toes". When that does happen, we all get along well enough to be able to say it and deal with it. The three of us can be seen at all sporting events, music concerts and celebrations.

I know that this blog entry hasn't been humourous and I hope that I haven't bored anyone to death but I guess that I just needed to express what is on my mind this morning. I see so many blogs and hear so many stories about dads that fall down on the job that, for once, I thought it might be nice to put something out there that is positive.

Thank you Stinky, for being who you are.


Friday, September 18, 2009

New Things On The Horizon

Today, I bought my son a cel phone. Many people have said that so you wouldn't think that it's a big deal but, in this case it is. It is the beginning of a new era in this family. You see, he is turning 11 in a week-and-a-half and is in Grade 6. This means that he will be starting high school next year and his father and I have decided that it's time that we started giving him more responsibilities and freedom.

Next year, he'll be taking public transit to go to school, travelling on his own; not being driven to school to hang out in daycare like he has for the last six years. This will be a huge change so we've decided to get him used to this by letting him walk home from school (with his sister) rather that stay at daycare until I get home from work. This will mean two hours on their own during which I expect them to do their homework. We'll only be doing this on the kids' weeks with me since their father lives further away from the school, making the idea unfeasible for his weeks. Call it the big experiment in freedom.

Now, Scout Boy is totally thrilled at the prospect of this and can't wait for Monday to come. His mother, on the other hand, is suffering acid reflux at the idea. Don't get me wrong, both of my kids are very responsible and are totally not the type to play with matches or throw wild parties (not yet anyway...) but I'm a mother and it's my job to worry. Hence the purchase of a cel phone to be able to call me. You see, I dumped my land-line almost two years ago because I was tired of paying for a cel phone AND a land line when I barely talk on the phone enough to justify one phone line. I figured that I would revisit the whole phone idea "once the kids are older". How did that time come so quickly?!

It seems that, just yesterday, he was a toddler vying with his new baby sister for my attention. Now he's almost as tall as I am (his dad's 6'2" and he's heading there too, I think) who does so much without me now. I'm so proud that he is mature and responsible enough for me to be able to even consider this. It means that Stinky and I have done a pretty darned good job as parents. There is, though, an undeniable ache in my heart that makes loosening those apron strings so very tough. Well, maybe I won't have to loosen them too much. After all, I've got his number on my speed dial.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Drama Girl

This is a day of conflicting emotions for me. This is the day when everyone who is old enough to remember September 11, 2001 stops and remembers. We remember where we were, what we were doing, how we felt and the endless news footage and newspaper stories that kept the horror alive long after the actual events of that day. It is to my generation what JFK's assassination was to my parent's generation; a day of grief, shock and horror that shook not only a nation but the world to it's foundations.

The reason for my conflict is that it was also my daughter's first birthday. A momentous occasion in any child's life but more so for Drama Girl. You see, we had a health scare with her when she was five months old that left us briefly (thank goodness) afraid of actually losing her. So you see, her first birthday should have been a day of joy and thankfullness for our beautiful little girl and her (thankfully) healthy big brother. I'm afraid that, on that day, the poor birthday girl had competition for our attention that she, frankly, couldn't compete with.

Since that year, though, I have always made sure that she is front and centre on her big day. I feel that if I spend her every birthday wrapped up in 9/11 memorials and asking "Where were you that day?", then the terrorists that sought to break our spirits will have scored a few more points. Therefore, I have taken back that day for my little Drama Girl who turned 9 years old today. We stayed up and made Rice Krispie treats for her class last night and we went out for supper tonight. Her thrilled smile when she opened the presents that I gave her was a blessing for this tired mom's heart.

I have no intention of ever forgetting the events of eight years ago that shook the world but I will not let them eclipse all that I have to live for today.


Sunday, September 6, 2009


When I started this blog last month, I set myself the lofty goal of writing approximately twice a week. Hah! I always have wonderful intentions but then life gets in the way. Last week, I was Soccer Mom/Scout Mother chauffeuring my ever-grateful children (yeah sure!) everywhere they needed to go on top of my busy workdays. This week, my work schedule was so packed that I was actually kind of grateful that the kids were at their dad's place. I came home each night and pretty much flaked out. As you can imagine, my place looks like a bomb hit it since no actual housework has been done in a while. I guess that I'll be starting that after I finish typing this.

You may be wondering "Kat, where is your Me-time?" and you'd be quite right to wonder that. I wonder sometimes myself. I did manage to slip in a nap yesterday afternoon after running errands. Of course, I was so pooped from my week that I couldn't keep my eyes open so it was probably a good thing that I let myself collapse for a bit. The problem is that I don't really consider a nap to be Me time. A period of unconsciousness may be good for the body but it does nothing for the soul.

Did you notice that I use a capital "M"? This is a measure of how important I think it is. We all need some time in our lives, whether fifteen minutes or two hours, that we devote entirely to ourselves on a regular basis. Time in which we only think of our own pleasure and nobody else's. The way we put this time to use varies as much as we vary from each other: reading a good book, soaking in a bubble bath, chatting with a friend on the phone, going shopping/out for coffee/out for drinks/jogging, catching up with friends on Twitter/Facebook/MySpace with a glass of wine (or two or three), blogging, etc.

When I don't eke out enough Me-time from my schedule, I get cranky and out-of-sorts and can't be the mother/friend/coworker that I want to be. I've spoken to mothers who feel guilty about dumping the kiddos on a sitter or their spouse and escaping to do something as "selfish" as enjoy some time on their own. That's bullshit! You're not doing those around you any favours if you don't find time to take care of your own mental and emotional well-being. Of course, since I'm so nice, I find a nicer way to say it than that ;)

I've just spent a while catching up with Twitter, my own little addiction, and writing this blog so Me-time is over for now but I feel so much better for it. It's time to go tackle that mountain of laundry and make the floors shine. Who knows I may eventually attain that lofty goal of two blogs a week but, for now, maybe I'll just strive to stop when I can, pour a glass of wine and start typing without stressing about how many days it's been since the last time.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to work

I returned to work yesterday after two weeks vacation and, believe it or not, I feel like I never left. After only two days back, that familiar twinge just over my right shoulder is back. My friend, Billie, and I call it our stress muscle. When things aren't going well, you'll see us reaching back and massaging the spot. It's not quite bad enough to bring out the eye-twitch but close (my mother can bring out my eye-twitch within an hour but let's save that story for another day).

Within an hour of arriving yesterday, my coworker, Wild-One (yes, it's apt) walked out the door in tears. Huh?! I don't know what the problem was but I'm told that we probably won't see her for the rest of the week (maybe longer). Unfortunately, this isn't new. She's got a lot of issues at home that she has no problem bringing to work with her. She even took three months of stress leave last year (are we heading back down that road now? ugh!). Don't get me wrong, she's a friend and I do have sympathy for her but even that is getting harder and harder. I mean, so many of her issues are solvable but she just can't seem to bring herself to the point of doing it. How long am I, and our coworkers, supposed to be sympathetic toward her and when are we allowed to get angry at her for the stress she's giving us?

Our coworker, Mrs. Byw, greeted me yesterday with stories of how Wild-One pretty much just put all the work on her plate while I was gone, totally stressing her out. I must ask, exactly was Wild-One doing at her desk that whole time?! Mrs. Byw was so glad to see me! I swear, the only thing keeping me from running away for another vacation immediately is the thought of her puppy dog eyes watching me go. I'd never be able to live down the guilt!

At times like this, I really envy those who can work from home. I know, it would mean the loss of that lovely(?) regular paycheque and benefits (what few there are) but at least the only person affecting my work would be ME! I don't know if I would have the discipline to stick to an efficient schudule if left entirely to my own devices but I still find myself dreaming about it sometimes. Office politics have never been my friend and, if given free reign to deal with some of the stupid s**t I see around me, it wouldn't be pretty. It's probably a good thing that I'm not the boss! I may not always agree with him but I surely don't envy his position.

My next vacation is when?!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Thank goodness that today is a better day than yesterday. The high heat and humidity have broken and there is even a cool little breeze blowing in the open windows (phew!). What a vast difference twenty-four hours can make. Yesterday at this time, the air was so thick with humidity that it was hard to breathe, every movement guaranteed trickles of sweat down my back (eeew!) and tempers were flaring. It was one of those days, as a mother, when you can't wait to escape your children and belt down a drink or two or three, you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children and would lay down my life for them but last night's escape from them for dinner was exactly what the doctor ordered. We've been on vacation together for a week and a half now, much of it with the above mentioned weather and the fighting between Scout Boy and Drama Girl hit a peak yesterday that had my eye twitching and brought out the Psycho Mom in me. Psycho Mom escapes from her cage once in a while when my little "darlings" manage to drive Normal Mom into hiding. Yesterday was just such a day.

Growing up an only child truly did not prepare me for being the mother of siblings. The competition over everything can be so intense (bring out the magnifying glass to count those sprinkles NOW) and the bickering can start at ANY time. Yesterday, it looked like they spent all their energy on finding things to fight about. Yet there are times when they play together like the best of friends. Sometimes the trip from friends to bitter fighting happens so fast that their poor mother is left with whiplash.

I like to hope that, as they mature, the friendship side of their relationship will prevail and that what we are experiencing now is nothing more that the normal growing pains of their slow trip to self-discovery and independence.

For now, though, I'll just be sure to keep Psycho Mom on a short leash and always keep an escape route to a good vodka-cranberry open.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beating the Heat!

Most of this summer has been kind of crappy, weather-wise; rainy, cloudy, BLAH! The only thing that I wasn't complaining about was the temperatures. With all that rain, most of this summer hasn't been nearly as hot and humid as it usually gets here. Did you notice that I say that I "wasn't complaining"? Just when I decide to take some vacation time with the kiddos, guess what........the clouds part, the sun comes out and the temps skyrocket! It's been so hot and humid that you break out in an ugly sweat just contemplating it. Ugh!

This means that I am left to find ways to beat the heat. I do have a small air conditioner so we have spent a fair bit of time just chilling out at home. Not really a bad way to spend vacation time but cabin fever does tend to set in. This usually manifests itself in the "delightful" sounds of fighting between my darling children. They haven't actually come to blows yet but my fear of that eventuality has driven me from my beloved a/c a few times.

One day was spent shopping; much to the chagrin of my poor bank account (& I do mean poor!). Back to school shopping for two kids who seem to have grown out of everything that they own is an expensive and torturous ordeal; especially when you need to have them with you to try things on since you don't know what darned size they've grown into now. Add to that groceries and car parts and my debit card was smokin! On the bright side, I did manage to buy a couple of paperbacks. Woo hoo!

We also spent some time at my (ex)sister-in-law's pool with her and her daughter, String Bean (you've never seen a nine yr old girl as long and lean as this kid). While the kids splashed around, calling out several "Watch me, Mom"'s, I sat back with DJ Chick and had a good old fashioned girl talk (ie bitch-fest). The only thing that would have improved it would have been a great bottle (or two) of wine. We'll save that for another time when young ears aren't around to hear (record) us!

I still have this week to go for vacation and am hearing rumours of thunderstorms to come which may just drop those temps a bit. Oh please, give me some rain for my vacation, I'm begging!!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introduction - Part 2

Well, after posting my first blog entry, the sky did not fall and I wasn't sacrificed in the arena of public opinion for my amateur efforts so my first-time jitters have subsided. Phew! My mind has been filled with ideas for subject matter and creation of nick-names for my unfortunate (I mean lucky!) family, friends and coworkers who will be mentioned.

A lot of blogs that I see seem to have a particular theme: parenting, education, career, particular hobbies, etc. I see mine as being a mix of just about everything, just like my life. I'm a mother, office worker-bee (blech!), single woman looking for love, voracious reader, lover of good food (yes, I know, a bit too much) and so much more. Writing strictly about any one subject would give a very lopsided view of my life and make understanding my point of view on anything rather difficult. The easier I make it to understand how my poor, complicated brain works, the happier we'll all be!

In my first entry, I introduced my kids. I suppose that I should explain the names that I have chosen for them.

My son, who turns eleven next month, has just graduated from Cubs to Scouts and he absolutely loves it. He's not really into sports, although he does play soccer in the summer, so I'm glad that he's found a group activity that he really enjoys; hence the name Scout Boy. He just came back from his first week-long camp with a huge smile, a story of a dissected seagull (for ecology time), a bag of stinky clothes and his (destroyed) shoes duct-taped to his feet. If that's not what being a boy is all about, I don't know what is!

My daughter, who turns nine next month, absolutely shines when she manages to take center stage. Everything that happens in her day is something that she must relate to you with breathless enthusiasm; hence the name Drama Girl. Last week, at daycamp, she choked on her morning snack badly enough that one of the monitors had to help her. They called to inform us of this since it kind of shook her up a bit and it's a darned good thing they did. At least her poor father had some prior warning when he picked her up that night. When she got into the car with him and his girlfriend she very solemnly announced that "I almost died today" and "When we get home, we need to get out the calendar and mark it down so that we don't forget". Oh boy!

Speaking of their father, my ex-husband, you'll probably hear plenty about him. We are very much equal partners in raising our kids and are still a big part of each other's lives because of that. Besides, the big goof is always a good source for amusing stories which I'm sure that I'll pull out when I need a good laugh. He'll be known by his nickname, Stinky. Yes, it is a well-earned name (eew!); one that his softball team bestowed on him long before I even dreamed of starting a blog!

I think that I've managed to introduce myself pretty well in these first two entries and hope to entertain and inspire knowing nods from those who stumble across my blog as I learn more about this wonderful medium. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and engaging in a dialogue with those of you who do stop by.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My very first entry

Where do I start? I guess that I'll start with telling a little bit about myself. I am a single mother living in the Montreal area with two children: Scout Boy (almost 11) and Drama Girl (almost 9). No, these are not the names on their birth certificates (eek)! I have a full time job (more on that later) that leaves me with a decent paycheque but is not really all that fulfilling. You know, the whole work to live, not live to work thing. I am divorced and get get along with my ex and his girlfriend pretty well. The kids alternate weeks between the two of us.

As for the boyfriend situation, it's not exactly where I want it to be. I go on the occasional date and have met a few nice men but it seems that nobody is looking for an actual relationship. Have you ever gone on those singles websites? Most of the men are looking for a discreet relationship (in other words they're married!!!) or for casual dating. The one man that I have met who is different is from around here but is currently living in New York. I absolutely adore C and he is totally hot and sexy but the entire relationship is conducted by email. Not exactly ideal; I mean, I have NEEDS!!!

You see, I've been examining my life an awful lot lately and finding it to be lacking. I guess the fact that I'm closing in on forty is the main reason for this. Don't get me wrong, my life isn't bad. I mean, really, it could be a whole lot worse but I feel like I need to add a new dimension to it.

Since joining Twitter, I have been discovering many great blogs that I have started tracking and have been bitten by the bug. I am a voracious (sp ?) reader and have always dreamed of writing. Unfortunately, I have the imagination of a toad. I'm a whiz with numbers, hence my job in payroll, but not very artistic. This makes fictional story writing a bit tough. Blogs are different though. They are an expression of what is happening around us and within our own hearts; our experiences, opinions and our desire to share all of the above in hopes of enriching not only our own lives with the feedback from readers but perhaps the lives of others going through the same things that we are.

Since I am so new at this and have yet to tell my family/friends/coworkers about my new venture I, obviously, have not obtained permission from the above mentioned to use their names here. Therefore, I will use nicknames or initials for those that I talk about to protect their privacy as well as to keep from embarassing them with my amateur fumbling here. As I become more practiced and have polished my talent a bit, I may actually tell someone I know about this. We'll see......