Friday, April 29, 2016

It's been awhile. Actually it's been more than 3 years which is a good indicator of how quick the passage of time is. It doesn't feel like 3 years, but then again I've been kind of distracted. I've grown two humans in that time, both boys and as I write this at 4 am (because that's always the best time to plug out a blog post, right?) the younger one is affixed to my breast while the older one is beside me taking up far too much real estate in our queen size. This is my life now; messy, cramped, filled with love. Having given birth to my second 10 weeks ago I'm adjusting to the whole 'life with boys' feeling. I mean, it's like I'm truly committed to the vroom vrooms, choo choo trains and peeing outdoors thing. There is no escape. And yes, I'm not one to promote gender stereotypes but as far as I can tell little boys REALLY seem to like those things. I like having two boys because it's cohesive and streamline, there haven't been many surprises and I've bought virtually nothing for W. I mean, not that if he had been a girl I would have had any problem dressing her in the 500 powder blue sleepers I already have. People ask me what I want and need for him, and I tell them money for his educational fund. I used to be shy about it but as the bedrooms and closets overflow with toys and overalls and blankets and bottles I'm no longer ashamed to tell people what we actually want. I think the biggest bonus for me in having two boys is seeing a sibling relationship with two of the same sex, which is something I never got to experience. As of now, C and W don't have a super intense sibling bond. C likes kissing him and holding his hand and occasionally being a jerk to him. Sometimes he bounces him pretty vigorously in his bouncy chair and I get mad at C while W just laughs at me. So they're already in on it together. Good to know. They both like holding my hair and yesterday C actually pulled the hair W was holding out of his hand so C could hold it. Because their couldn't have possibly been another lock of hair for him to hold onto. I go through a lot of emotions every day. Sadness, frustration, anger, joy but most of all, I'm just filled with this feeling that I'm ready to explode love every second. And not just that I feel love, but that I feel loved in a way I never did before my boys. It's a powerful thing to know, "these humans would lose their shit if you weren't around". C makes a Greek tragedy esc performance if I go to the store to buy cream. It's unconditional and overwhelming and real words do it justice. But if you're a parent, you will understand. Sometimes I'm lonely, no, a lot of times I'm lonely. Because although I'm filled with love, I'm not privy to adult conversations and time to enjoy people who don't use a lock of my hair for comfort. As a mom, you give of yourself until there is nothing left. There is nothing for you, for your partner, for your friends or extended family. And then, when you're dangling from the end of a very thin rope, you give even more to your children. What a beautiful, exhausting life lesson. What a lesson in gratitude. Because at the end of every puke filled day, I am lucky. I am the luckiest.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

never dream nothing

on friday kate and i decided to go take photos barefoot in wintertime, which isn't really that strange for us. it was freezing, we were surrounded by chickens, a horse and a cow (all who were unfortunately very camera shy). after we were done it took a good 10 minutes to clean the mud off our feet and about an entire night to warm up. but it was totally worth it, because taking photos with kate is in my top ten most favourite things to do, easily. thanks for being a great model and photographer, sis.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

just add lace

It's Valentines day today and the first day that it's registered in my brain that we are already in February. I have completely gapped out this last month and a half, like didn't we just ring in the new year? i am not even sure what my resolutions are yet. oh well, i accomplished enough last year, I think I will just coast for 2013.

Dan and I don't do much (anything) to celebrate this ridiculous holiday. usually i will try to find a red sweater to wear or a piece of heart shaped jewellery to show that i kinda, sorta (not really) care. most years i like to read Margaret Atwood's 'variations on the word love' and then scoff at everyone else with their valentines lace hearts, overpriced floral arrangements and feeble attempts at romance. and after reading this poem, i spend a lot of time thinking about those slugs under damp pieces of cardboard. are they not good enough for cupid? we pretend we know everything about love. But what about the little animals? they live up to the words 'loyalty' and 'unconditional love' far more often then us 'advanced' humans ever do.

so maybe this valentines day, you should treat your pets really nice. like you should every day, except even nicer. make them a fancy dinner, give them a good brushing. because guess what? well you go out and have lives and do fun things, all those creatures have is you. you are their one true valentine 365 days of the year. so maybe you should reciprocate.

this post got off track, but i think that's ok. my (very late) new years resolution can be to become more focused. or it could be to go surfing more, or i could take up crochet...or...or...ok, maybe i should focus on becoming more focused.
happy hearts day. be nice to each other, people and creatures of the world. that's the true meaning of this stupid day. xo

Monday, February 04, 2013

give it up.

hey guys, sorry i haven't been around lately. it's mostly because i've been 'Van Helsinging'. this is the term i like to use for night shifts because it makes working the graveyard seem magical and purposeful. like how Van Helsing dutifully watched over Lucy Westenra as she slowly devolved and how he did what needed to be done like a vampire killing champion. Unfortunately, i couldn't hack it like count dracula's archenemy and i had to give it up.

now i am back to normal day time hours and doing normal daytime things like being awake and feeling the occasional sunlight on my face. i've been cooking more, and dan and i can eat meals together now that i am not having breakfast at 3pm. cooking is an expression of love for me and i am happiest when i am making food for lots and lots of people that i care about. i could chop up vegetables and fry and stir and taste test things for hours.

there is also no movie that brings me more happiness then ratatouille. i love those little rats flying around that kitchen, and how they get all fluffy when they go in the dishwasher. the first time i watched that movie was when dan and i flew home from our trip to mexico. he was vomiting and fevering beside me while i giggled like a 6 year old at the coolest movie i had ever seen. i'm sorry dan. but seriously, are we in agreement here? any person who dislikes that movie has to be a horrible human being. yep, i said it.

anyways, i was going to write more. but i need to go to bed now...because it's night time and that's what non-nocturnal people do. goodnight!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

horror stories

When I was a kid, horror movies terrified me. Every once in awhile I would go to a sleepover and hide under blankets with pillows pressed over my ears while my friends watched movies like children of the corn, stir of echoes and pet semetary. these movies would haunt me for days afterwards, deprive me of sleep and give me awful nightmares when i did finally get some rest. it was no secret that when it came to scary movies, i was a complete and utter wuss.

Then one day in my teens, when I was stuck at home with the flu, I pulled a movie off our shelf that I had always avoided watching. But on this particular day, with my stomach already turning, I thought to myself, what do I have to lose? Other then the cherry jello sitting in my guts, that I was likely going to throw up anyways. So i took a chance and watched it, and the film 'Misery' changed the way I thought about an entire genre.

Through this film, I learned that 'scary' movies were not always just about knife wielding, deranged killers who torture and disembowel innocent people. That blood sprayed shower curtains and demonic children and unrelentless monsters surging from the depths of a dark lake were not all that these films had to offer.

I realized that a horror movie could be a slow burn, a careful unfurling of terrifying events, a horrific mystery you are afraid to solve or a story of sacrifice, redemption or bravery. 

It has been many years since that fateful encounter with 'Misery'. In that time I have watched countless horror films, ranging from fantastic to awful. And after some contemplation over my own obsession with movies that make me check my closet before i go to bed, I have realized that the best horror films speak volumes about the human condition.

They tell us that people can be cruel, saddistic and awful, especially when terrible things happen to us. That life events change us and can turn us into horrible monsters as a result. But on the same note we can look at these awful life events as ultimate tests. Can we rise to the occasion? Are we strong or weak? And will the quality of our human souls mean survival or an untimely defeat?

I think that many of us watch horror movies as a way to reveal our own inner truths. We place ourselves in hypothetical situations and try to imagine what decisions we would make in the given scenario. We all like to pretend that we would be the bravest, the smartest and the most ideal leader. But while watching these films we may also empathize with the serial killers, demons and evil forces. Because the truth is, whether we want to believe it or not, we are all Clarice and Hannibal. A bit of deranged Norman Bates and his hopeless victim, Marion Crane. We are Julia in 'Hellraiser', making sacrifices for the person we love above all else or Sarah in 'the Descent' fighting grief with distractions. We are Jason Voorhees in 'Friday the 13th', angry at childhood wrongs, and Jack Torrance in 'The Shining' emotionally empty from an existence that has become all too familiar.

These characters connect to us, terrify us, move and inspire us. And whether we wish to admit it, it is because these characters are us, neither good nor evil but merely hoping to come out alive at the end.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How I lost (almost) 60 pounds

December 2011
September 2012

I have had more than a few people ask me how I managed to lose weight. Because it requires such a long explanation I have decided to write it on here, once and for all. I started my weight loss in Mid-February and have stuck to it pretty well. I am not any different then anyone else trying to lose weight, i just managed to figure out what works for me and stick to it. So here are my tricks for losing almost 60 pounds, I hope someone can take something away from this.

1. Make the decision to be miserable. It always starts off difficult, there were nights that I wanted to eat the buttons off my sweater, or my own tongue. Not because I was hungry, but because I was breaking myself of the habit of eating for eating's sake. It had to stop. So acknowledge to yourself, your partner, your family, friends and coworkers that you are probably going to be a bit unhappy for awhile (for me it was brief, maybe a week or two). this is a great way to figure out who your true friends are. I found that once I actually lost weight I lost a friend, someone who only liked me when I was 'fatter' then she was. she told other people how i was going to gain it all back and how i had changed since i lost a lot of weight. the change was that i was happier, had confidence and no longer suited her need to have friends who she could 'outshine'. what a despicable excuse for a human being. But I am sure we all have at least one in our lives, so now's your chance to lose weight and the burden of that awful frenemy all in one go!

2. Go for walks. I walked constantly in the beginning. If you don't already have an ipod, go out and buy one. load it with songs that motivate and inspire you . If you have the right playlist you will want to walk forever. Skrillex makes me crazy fast and I can't imagine what passing cars must think. eventually, if you walk long and briskly enough you will start to run. I was never able to run before, not even in high school when I was 100 pounds soaking wet. my teacher would scream at me and I would huff for about 50 metres and then gulp air for 5 minutes. I was completely out of shape even then. now I set goals for myself (to make it to the telephone pole at the end of the street) and instead of wheezing and collapsing 20 feet before i get there, i easily run right past them now. it is an amazing feeling to easily exceed your own goals. If it is raining out and you want to stay inside, get on the wii fit. Running on the spot for 30 minutes at a time isn't as productive as going for an actual run, but it is something. At the beginning of my weight loss I was running on the wii for a good hour to hour and a half every single day. I also carried 5 pound weights while doing it. It makes you nice and sweaty and gives you quite a sense of accomplishment when your mii makes it to the finish line and you can collapse onto the couch.

3. Cut out salt and sugar. I've known people who have said that they look at the calories and nothing else, ignoring high salt content in soups or other foods. This is absolutely ridiculous. Your body needs salt, but not as much as most people eat on a daily basis. Cut it out, you will feel much better. I used to live off pickles because they have low calories. I don't anymore and whenever I do eat something high in sodium I can feel what it does to my body. Sugar is also bad news. If you need to have something sweet, try flavouring cold tea with blue agave syrup. It is the same thing they use in a lot of the low calorie drinks at starbucks.

4. Eat protein. Chicken is just about the best thing you can have. I eat it pretty much every single day. buy a box of it, keep it in your freezer. Look for recipes online (god knows Pinterest has 50,000 different chicken recipes) it doesn't have to be boring. I make chicken taco salad all the time. It was my favourite thing to make and is fairly low calorie. (just make sure you buy low sodium taco seasoning and use ground chicken, draining all the fat from it while cooking it)

5. Make vegetables the main part of the meal. Pretty common sense, right? but its amazing how little you see people actually do it. Eat different vegetables every day, I am obsessed with avocadoes, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes and different squashes (it's the perfect time of year for squash). get creative or else you will burn yourself out really quickly.

6. Count your calories. Yes, it is necessary. You will not lose weight if you are not aware of what you are eating in a day. You don't have to be exact, just have a general idea of what you've consumed.

7. Cut out dairy. Almond milk is your new best friend. If you are used to drinking skim milk it is not a difficult transition. Every once in a while I have light sour cream or some icecream, but that's about it. It's not much of a sacrifice for me, since I am mildly lactose intolerant and I find that dairy makes my skin itchy.

8. Do not eat dinner. This is the most 'controversial' aspect of my diet. People have questioned me about this but it does work. I eat a normal breakfast, a large lunch and a snack in the early evening. This is a permanent lifestyle change for me, not something I have done temporarily to aid my dieting. I do not eat dinner now unless I am going out with friends or going to a family event. I sleep better, I function more efficiently and my mind is more clear. We bog ourselves down with all this food throughout the day. Having a large meal in the evening makes me feel sluggish and kind of miserable. However, this does not mean you should ever go hungry. that is not dieting, that is starvation. Snack when you are truly hungry and drink lots of water. 

9. Drink herbal tea. I was drinking green tea but found that it gives me acid reflux and makes me feel kind of awful when i've had more then one cup. If you find this too, switch to white tea. Tetley makes a raspberry white tea that tastes much better then green tea and tazo does a cranberry blueberry white tea. These are the best for curbing your 'boredom' appetite.

10. Weigh yourself every day. Sometimes I do it twice a day, if you are trying to lose weight (and a lot of weight like I did) you need to become obsessed with it. Always weigh yourself at the same time every day so you can get an accurate idea of whether or not you've lost weight. Acknowledge that at times, you will fluctuate. especially if you are a woman. just know that if you are on the right track, the weight WILL come off eventually.

11. Keep yourself busy. The busier you are the less you are thinking about what you would like to be eating. I am the type of person who can't be doing just one thing, like watching a movie. So I knit constantly, this keeps my hands and my mind busy so I am not thinking of all the unnecessary things I could be eating. Take up hobbies, I am pretty creative so I paint quite a bit. Van gogh, I am not! but busy and stimulated I just about always am. So go to the dollar store and find something you can get into. If you feel like taking up knitting, it's the perfect time of year, with christmas in a few months. Find a tutorial on youtube on knitting (that's how I learned) and get to work on a scarf for your mother!

12. Don't give up. Once you see results, it becomes impossible to stop anyways. Losing weight is like a high. The more you lose, the better you feel and the easier it becomes.

There is nothing that complex or ground-breaking here. Just my tips on how it worked for me and trust me, it worked. at 5"5 I have gone from 182 pounds to 123 pounds. I just think the first thing people need to realize is that it is not easy. that weight loss is hard work and sacrifice. You will be grouchy and sweaty and pissed off at your partner because he gets to eat a hamburger. But then you will fit into your high school prom dress again and the whole world falls back into place.

good luck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

that flies in the night

last night i woke up at 3 am to the sound of rain smashing against our bedroom window and the wind whistling through the curtains. and like i do on any stormy night i can't help but silently recite 'the sick rose' by william blake. i am beyond superstitious and maybe this is my own made up way of warding off bad feelings. this poem, despite it's foreboding nature has always felt like a quiet reassurance. and maybe it's not the content of the poem, but the mere act of knowing every word, that makes me feel better.

my ever wise teacher told me in grade 8 that it was always smart to have at least one poem you know by heart, that it would help during in class english essays and for making yourself look smart (and super nerdy) in front of your friends. she said that 'the sick rose' was the poem she memorized when she was young and so i did the same. the poem is simple, beautiful, sad, brief and stays with you always. since then i have memorized a few slightly longer poems but this one will always stay imprinted in my brain, impossible to forget. especially on those dark, windy nights.

don't blow away out there, ok?

let them eat cupcakes

I have formed a fairly healthy addiction to pinterest in the last few months. i call it a 'healthy' addiction because i think it fuels creativity and there is nothing wrong with spending a few minutes (or sometimes hours) on it. i have found more things to do with my endless supply of mason jars then i ever could of imagined, as well as several creative ways to store and organize and ideas of how to upcycle old junk. i have rediscovered many things i thought i had forgotten about from my childhood. pinterest is also pretty inspiring and helpful when it comes to cooking. i often get into the routine of cooking the same things over and over. i am a creature of habit, and i know what i am best at making, so i stick to that. but pinterest has definitely guided me into the culinary unknown and instead of eating taco's 3 times a week, i've managed to try out a couple new things. one thing i still rarely do is bake. however, Claire's birthday, which we celebrated this weekend was an occasion that i felt clearly called for cupcakes. so this is what pinterest inspired me to create. they are kind of messy and i am not totally satisfied with them. but whatever, i still think they are awfully cute.

do you know how heart breaking it is to eat a teddy in a hot tub? well now you can find out too! have a good day!