Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaBloPoMo - Day 8

I have decided, for the sake of my sanity, that I'm going to channel surf between the hockey game and the election coverage.  I'm not sure that I can take the stress of slowly watching the results come in without any break.

It seems like the whole internet is stressed out!  You can feel it all over every social media site.  The funny thing is that I'm noticing that most posts aren't even arguing over who's better now; they're mostly just saying to go out and vote and finish this.

I think that we're all just exhausted and want it to be over regardless of where the chips may fall.

Probably, by the end of the night, this is what I'll be doing:

I can't look!

There may be some wine involved too.....

What am I thankful for today?  I'm thankful that my beloved Habs are going to beat the Boston Bruins tonight (fingers crossed!)


Monday, November 7, 2016

Back on the horse NaBloPoMo - Day 7

Oops, I missed Day 6 of the challenge!  My daughter was on the computer for most of the day yesterday working on a school project and, by the time she got off, it was supper time.  It was only as I was going to bed that I realized that I had ended up missing yesterday's post.

I guess that I'll just get back on the horse today.  I'm trying hard not to put a lot of pressure on myself here and just have fun so I'm not going to beat myself up too badly.

This weekend was really pretty relaxed.  With the exception of grocery shopping and some laundry, I took it easy after the super-busy workweek that I had just finished. 

I made my first apple sauce of the season yesterday (yeah, I'm a bit behind) which always makes me happy and supper was a shepherd's pie.  This is the time of year when I get into all of the wonderful comfort foods that are just too much effort in the hot weather.  Yes, I should have taken a picture of that wonderful dinner for this post but we were just too eager to dig in to think of it!  The empty pan just doesn't look as nice  ;)

My coworkers and I were talking about how stressed everyone is about the US election.  We're in Canada yet I'm pretty sure that most of us will be watching the coverage tomorrow night and I NEVER watch American election night coverage.  Heck, I have a hard enough time watching Canadian election results slowly roll in yet I know that I'll be glued to my screen tomorrow night.  I bet that a lot of non-Americans will be doing the same.

I do not envy my friends to the south this year.  It has been a rough one.........

What am I grateful for today?  I am proudly, gratefully, Canadian with a kick-ass Prime Minister.

Here's some Canadian humour for you :)


Saturday, November 5, 2016

It doesn't pay to brag.... NaBloPoMo - Day 5

Montreal is definitely a hockey town.  We are passionate about the game and there are many who take every win (and loss) like a personal triumph (or tragedy).  Walk into any office, school or bar and you are guaranteed to hear hockey talk.

I enjoy hockey and do tend to follow along with the news but I'm not so fanatical as to know every statistic or lose my mind over it. That said, the Montreal Canadiens (our beloved Habs) have been on a winning streak since the start of the season and I had planned a post today to do a bit of bragging but then......

..... last night happened.  We lost 10 - 0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets!  That wasn't just a loss, it was a humiliation.  They totally handed the boys their asses!  Our star goal tender, cutie Carey Price, was not in nets last night and the team just didn't have his replacement's (Al Montoya) back.  You could see poor Carey pacing off-ice like a caged tiger, just wanting to get in there and help.  I don't know what the coaches were thinking.

It was a massacre, I tell ya!

So much for my bragging blog post........

Like any true fan, though, one loss will not deter me; not even one as monumental as that one.  I still love "les boys" of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge (blue, white and red) and will be in front of my TV to cheer them on tonight.

This is what most fans were saying last night though:

Posted by the GoHabsGo Facebook page

What am I thankful for today?  A rainy day that gives me a good excuse to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Cut the drama lady! NaBloPoMo - Day 4

There is a lady whose blog I read on and off and who I follow on Facebook.  She blogs without using her real name or those of her family so is fairly free to talk as she pleases.  This week, she has been talking about the visit of a family member who she refers to as the "drama llama" for all of the drama and stress that she brings with her.  This woman, apparently, just winds everyone up.

I try really hard to not give advice to people who are facing issues in their life because, let's face it, my life isn't a stellar example of perfection.  That being said, I wish that I could take her aside and tell her to distance herself from toxic people - related or not.  This woman is a toxic influence in her life and she owes it to herself to not allow this.

I did this with my own mother.  In the last seven or eight years or so before she died last year, I distanced myself from her as much as possible.  I only laid eyes on her a few times a year and, even then, only for a couple of hours or so.

It was liberating!

There wasn't anybody putting down my feelings.  There wasn't anybody gossiping about me to anybody who would listen.  Best of all?  My kids, for the most part, didn't have her toxic effect in their lives.

Nobody looks at my kids when they express feelings that are different and tells them "don't be so silly".  Nobody has taught them that it's better to be quiet than to risk being shot down for their opinion.  Nobody has destroyed their self-esteem.

I don't claim to be a perfect parent but my greatest hope is that my kids won't grow up to call me a toxic influence on their lives.

I wondered if I would have regrets about the distance that I put between her and I once she was gone but I don't.  I did what was best for my own sanity and for my kids' well being.  No regrets there.

If I felt comfortable advising my bloggy friend, I would tell her that nobody has the right to make her life miserable; that she has the right to say "enough!".  Maybe she'll eventually reach that conclusion herself or perhaps she'll find a better way to deal with her drama llama.  Either way, I look forward to applauding when she finds her way.

What am I thankful for today?  The fact that I was able to leave work at a normal time today after yesterday's very long day.  C'est le weekend!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Throwback Thursday NaBloPoMo - Day 3

I had a VERY long day at work today; not leaving until 7:40.  It was an eleven hour workday for me.  Yes, I did order out food for supper and, yes, I do intend to hand the receipt for that meal to the boss tomorrow.  I definitely deserve it.

I don't have the energy or brainpower left for a really proper post so how about a Throwback Thursday pic?

This is one of my favourite pictures of me with my lovely late sister-in-law Kim.  It was a time before I had kids.  I was much younger than I am now and sitting on a terrasse in Old Montreal with my SIL drinking sangria was pretty much a perfect way of spending a summer afternoon.

She has been gone for almost fifteen years now and I still think of her often.  She had a knack for bringing plenty of drama to our lives but she also brought a lot of love and so many laughs and good times.

What am I thankful for today?  I'm a bit overloaded at work right now (hence the long day) but I am grateful to have that job.  There are so many who don't have one or don't have a good one.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

He's Out! NaBloPoMo Challenge - Day 2

Well, I mentioned the other day that my son, Z,  has moved out with his buddy.  I have my misgivings about it starting with WHO he moved out with right up to the fact that I really want to see him go back to school but I have decided that, while I have made my misgivings known, I really have to step back and let him learn his own lessons.  As a mother who wants him to do well, it's hard, but I have to do it.

He and M (his bud) took over M's brother's lease and moved in a few weeks ago.  Between differing work schedules and other things going on, I only got to go see the place for the first time a couple of days ago.  He was very proud to show it off and, believe me, I had to try hard to remember how proud I was of my first place.

It's a basement apartment so isn't the brightest but it is a good size and boy could it use maid service! It wasn't as bad as I had expected but those kitchen counters, among other things, needed a good wiping.  That's what you get when you have two 18 year olds living together.  Despite this, he is very proud of himself and I guess that I don't blame him.  He does know how to clean though so I'm sure that he'll get the hang of keeping a place decent without me telling him to soon enough.

There is one more, temporary, roomate, though.  M's brother has left his snake there for now while he gets settled in his new place.

Hey lady, whatchu lookin' at?

Thank goodness that thing was in an aquarium, behind glass...... ((shudder))

What am I thankful for today? My beautiful daughter who is sitting behind working on her project for school. I love how she has become so engaged in school!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Let's Get This Started! NaBloPoMo Challenge - Day 1

A few years ago, I took part in the NaBloPoMo challenge.  For those who haven't heard of it before, this takes place each November and, basically, it's a challenge to post on your blog every day for the entire month.  You can use their prompts or you can write about whatever you wish.  It was hard but I did it and felt great about it.

In my effort to get my blog going again, I have decided to take the challenge again.  I don't intend to link up my posts to their site like I did last time since it goes against my new goals for this blog but I'm still going to push myself.

Some posts will be shorter than others, and I fully intend to take advantage of a couple of Wordless Wednesdays, but I will be here.  Okay, I hope that I will be here.  No pressure Kathy!!

My hope is that this will exercise my writing muscles which have definitely shrunk a bit in the last year or so.  I predict that I will use this as a bit of a diary at the end of each day talking about my day and, perhaps, things that I've seen in the news though I will try to stay away from politics.  There is enough chatter about that online already!  I'm not even American and I am so totally over this nasty election campaign.

What am I thankful for today?  Given that it's the day after Halloween, let's keep it light and be thankful for the bowl of candy on my table that will keep me bouncing off the walls for a while ;)


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Feeling like an adult

I'm feeling very adult these days.  How did that happen?  Wasn't I a teenager just yesterday?

I had this very conversation with somebody recently.  I hadn't seen her since we were kids.  Her sister and I were in the same class together and were quite close when we were young.  Sadly, the occasion of this little reunion wasn't a happy one; it was her father's funeral.  Her mother was kind enough to come pay her respects when my mother died last year so I felt the need to repay that kindness when her husband passed away last month.

See?  There I go being an adult.  I hadn't seen this man in over thirty years although I do have very vivid memories of him from my childhood so my presence there certainly wouldn't have been expected.

D and I marvelled at how we are now the mothers of teenagers (turns out our daughters go to the same school, same grade and know each other!) but, on a lot of days we feel like kids ourselves.  We agreed that this adulting gig is a tough one sometimes.

Another reason for feeling adult?  My son turned 18 recently.  I used to call him The Boy on this blog but that doesn't really fit anymore so let's make him Z now (first letter of his name).  At the same time  as he turned 18, he also moved out with a friend.  Talk about a double whammy on his poor momma! I have reasons other than the fact that it makes me feel old to not like this move but I couldn't exactly stop him.  I considered chaining him to my balcony and throwing him the occasional bread crust but I was advised that this may be a wee bit illegal.  Damn......

I'll disown him if he introduces me to his new friend!

I guess that another part of being an adult, and parent, is letting your kids make their own mistakes and learn from them.  He knows that I will always be here for him and that my home is his home if he needs it.  He would, of course, pay rent if he comes back without going back to school.  I love him but I'm not stupid!

My daughter - let's call her E now instead of The Girl - is in her final year of high school (Grade 11 here) and it's all happening way too quickly for me.  She is so excited to graduate and go on to bigger and better things when I just want her to stay young for a little while longer.  She's talking about going into nursing and seems to know what she wants.  Even if she's making me feel a bit old, I am so damned proud of who she is becoming.

Look who got herself another ear piercing!
Time is flowing by far too quickly for my liking but I can't seem to stop it.  I had no problem hitting forty but I get the feeling that hitting fifty in a few years is going to be a tough one.  I could very well be a full-fledged empty nester by then.  Someone please hold me....... adulting is indeed hard.

What am I thankful for today?  The fact that I am still here to see these amazing kids become amazing adults.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

So Much Negativity

Have you noticed how negative the vibe on social media is these days?

I often walk away from Facebook and Twitter shaking my head or, in some cases, downright angry.

Whether the viscious presidential campaign in the US is to blame or is just a symptom of it, I'm not sure.  Chicken vs egg anyone?  People are sniping at each other; calling those who don't agree with their worldview morons, idiots or worse.  It's gotten to a point where, if I dare to express my opinion on anything, I can expect somebody to tell me how stupid I am.

It seems that freedom of speech only applies to those who agree with us.

I made a comment on a blog the other day that, while respectful, disagreed with the blogger's point and got slammed by other commenters for it.  I wasn't at all insulting or dismissive.  I even praised the fact that she was seeing progress in her situation.  Imagine if I had been insulting!

I thought that blogs were a place where discussions happened; where opinions could be shared.  If you are not a "yes-man/woman" and give gold stars to the speaker these days, you are the enemy who must be crushed.  It's almost come to a point where I'm afraid to express anything online.

How did we all get so touchy?  How did this toxic climate come into being?

Sometimes, I get the feeling that the anonymity of the internet deserves a big part of the blame.  We sit in front of our computer and type in words without ever seeing the effect those words have.  We'll say things online that we would probably never say to a person's face.  It gives us a boldness that a lot of us would not have in a "live" situation.  Sadly, there are many who use that boldness in the worst possible way.  They have knee-jerk reactions and spew those reactions for all to see before getting the facts or taking the time to ponder the situation.

One example of that is a post on Facebook today.  Somebody I know posted news of a proposed law that she was in favour of being voted down in the House of Commons.  She said that it's "very discouraging to see so many uneducated representatives".  That law was nixed by a vote of 198 votes to 84.  So 198 people who voted against what you wanted (vs 84 who agreed with you) are "uneducated" for not having done what you wanted?  Really?  Here's what I want to know.  Why did they vote against it?  Was there a certain part of it that was disagreeable so they decided to scrap it?  Was it a badly written law that left too many loopholes?  If she had told us why they voted against it and then provided reasoned arguments against their thinking, I would have respected that so much more.  Instead, she just called them "uneducated" and walked away.

Sadly, this has become all too common.  We're all entitled to our own opinions and I would never take that away from anybody but, unfortunately, too many people are expressing themselves in such negative, abusive ways these days that it's getting depressing.

I think that I'll go watch some cat videos on Youtube now.  Maybe that will make me feel better.

What am I thankful for today?  Cat videos, yes, definitely cat videos  ;)


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Writing Letters

I have been following Chantelle of the blog Fat Mum Slim for a little while now.  She posts the most amazing pictures and hosts the Photo a Day Challenge on Instagram. 

She also started something called the Oh So Happy Mail Project which matches people up with pen pals.  This was the most fantastic idea!

I had a friend, as a teenager, who lived on the other side of the country and we wrote back and forth for a number of years.  Since then, though, letter writing has not been a big part of my life.  Sure, there is the occasional email to friends and family but, in this day of instant communication via text, Facebook, etc, even emailed letters don't happen so much anymore.

There were five official rounds (they're taking a break for a while) and I joined in Round 3.  I've had mixed luck with these official rounds but I have also met new people on their web page.  It has been so much fun putting together small (postage-friendly) packages and getting to know new people.  We send letters, post cards, stickers, tea and whatever else tickles our fancy.

I have pen pals in Australia (where Chantelle is based), Scotland, England and the US.  It is so cool to  open my mailbox with anticipation!  Canada Post has actually been getting money from me for the first time in years since I rarely mailed anything before this.  They should send Chantelle a thank you letter  ;)

I ordered a book called Snail Mail by Michelle MacKintosh to get some ideas and found it to be a really interesting book.  It not only gives you letter writing ideas but also talks about the art of letter writing itself.

(bought on Amazon)

What am I thankful for today?  Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving so I have a three day weekend during which I will read, eat, sleep and generally relax.  It is time to treasure.


Friday, October 7, 2016

The Power of Words

I wrote this post late last year and, somehow, never ended up publishing it.  A couple of things it references are out-of-date now but the message is still relevant especially with an American presidential candidate unashamedly running around insulting women for their looks.


I read a story on Scary Mommy about a new thing happening in London.  There is a group of “overweight haters” handing people in the subway cards with fat shaming notes on them before scurrying off.  What the fuck?!!  I don’t use much profanity on my blog to keep it friendly for everyone but it’s totally justified in this case so, again…..

What the fuck?!  Where do I even start?

If you know someone well and are concerned for their health, I can understand sitting down with them and engaging in a caring, respectful dialogue, offering whatever support and assistance they may require in their journey towards health.  I’m not a fan of talking about my health with anyone but I could appreciate such good intentions.  Fat shaming a stranger who you know absolutely nothing about?  Never a good idea.  Mind your own damned business!

The way they are approaching their mission too is particularly heinous.  Instead of having the guts to walk up to someone and look them in the eye as they insult them, they are scurrying past these people and thrusting cards in their laps, not stopping to see the shock, anger and upset that they leave in their wake.  We’re not talking about ten year old schoolyard bullies here; we’re talking about grown-ass adults! 

This brings me to my next point.  As adults, those of us who are overweight know perfectly well that we are overweight.  We don’t need to be told.  Really, we don’t.  Every person who is overweight is that way for a reason.  Perhaps it’s a medical condition, perhaps it’s emotional problems, perhaps it’s bad genes, perhaps it’s bad habits learned over time and perhaps it’s a combination of these things.  There are those who are trying hard to change their situation and there are those who have given up trying.  Each and every one of us has a story and no stranger in the subway can possibly guess at what that story is.

Whether we are trying to change or not, we have every right to love ourselves at whatever stage we find ourselves at.  Each and every one of us – fat, thin or in between – has beauty inside and out.  Nobody…. I repeat…. NOBODY has the right to take that away from us.  I wonder how those assholes in the London subway would feel if someone treated them or their mothers, brothers or cousins with such disrespect. 

The other day, somebody on Facebook made a joke about wanting to tell a woman he knows that her face looks like Adele’s but was worried she might think he was accusing her of being fat.  I blasted him for it (perhaps a tad harshly, I admit) and he came back saying that he didn’t think of her as fat but there are women who do think it.  I replied to him that I recognized that he was trying to be amusing but that repeating such trash-talk only gave it a voice.  It is far better to drown it in silence.  By the next day, he had removed the post.  I don’t know if it’s because he thought this crazy troll bitch (me!) was going to keep on him or if he thought about what I said and agreed.  I kind of hope it’s the latter.  It would mean that one more person has put some thought into this subject.

Amy Schumer posted a (mostly) nude picture of herself this week using the words that so many of us say to ourselves on a regular basis - some negative, some positive - but every one of them powerful.  It rather sums up the struggle that each and every one of us has.
I rarely get up on a soapbox for a rant on this blog since that’s not usually the vibe that I’m going for but this subject is a worthy one.  While repeating trash gives it a voice, the same can be said for repeating a positive message.  

Repetition of a positive message of love and respect – both of self and each other – can only give it power.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Thoughts

Can you believe she just turned 16?!
It has been almost a year since I posted here.

How is that possible?  How can I have stayed away from something that I enjoy so much?

I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  My thoughts?  I seem to do well for a while but then, somehow, I get all blocked up.  Even taking part in workshops where there are prompts don't seem to help much.

In trying to figure out why that happens to me, I have come to the conclusion that I put way too much pressure on myself.  When I publish a post and announce it on my various media platforms, I feel  pressure to entertain, to inform and to please my readers.  Here I am inviting people to come read what I wrote so I better not disappoint them!  This pressure builds up and creates huge anxiety in me.  This continues to the point where I freeze up and the words stop flowing.

The thing is, I truly miss expressing myself this way.  I miss putting words on my screen and flinging them out there.  I miss expressing myself - for better or worse.

The solution?  I'm going to stop putting that pressure on myself.  I'm not going to advertise my posts all over the place and linking up to other sites.  I'm going to come here to express my thoughts and talk about my life as if nobody is watching.

Will this work for me?  Who the heck knows?

Is it worth trying?  Hell yes!

Of course, those who are still subscribed to my blog may just come by for a visit and a big part of me really hopes that they do because I miss that interaction.  The difference now is that, while I hope that they still find me interesting, I am not going to stress over it.  Those who are my tribe will stick around and say hi.  I'm sure that the others have plenty of other places that entertain them more and that's okay.

I also want to practice a bit of conscious gratefullness to keep myself in a positive place so I will start right now:

What am I thankful for today?  I am grateful to have the freedom and ability to express myself in the way that suits me best.  There are so many who don't have that.