Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kate Upton Enters Our Lives...

I think my almost 11 year old son has a crush on Kate Upton.

For the last few days, the three youngest children have been obsessed with the website Kahoot (https://kahoot.it)...a site where you can create your own quiz. They make up their own questions (and answers) and then using your smartphone and/or a laptop, the questions can be answered by any number of players.

I encourage them to make up these quizzes. I figure, hey, why not? They're doing research, they're engaging with others, not just playing video games where they smash and burn and do whatever the heck it is they do in their games...

And then last night, Jamie wanted the rest of us to play and answer his latest quiz...and so we did...a quiz that had 41 questions to it, I might add...and I started noticing how many times "Kate Upton" was an answer choice...she wasn't ever the answer, but at least 10 times in the quiz, the lovely Kate's name showed up...

Did I mention that he's not quite 11?

Should I be worried?

Hmm...


Sunday, February 1, 2015

If You Don't Have Something Nice To Say...

My husband is a journalist. One who has a nightly show where he gets to talk about the things that are going on in the world. He gets to spout off about things that annoy him, or amuse him...mainly, though, he talks about politics and politicians and how they're mucking up the world we live in. Some people agree with him, many do not, but they are all entitled to their opinions.

Brian, like most people today, has a Facebook account, is on Twitter and even has an Instagram account, where, in the interest of drumming up a "following", he re-posts and comments about the same things he discusses on his show.

Like I said, a lot of people love him and agree with him and then there are the ones who don't...

Now, I'm not saying that you need to agree with everything my husband says (heck, some days I don't agree with everything he says), and if you don't, he (and I) would encourage you to share your dissent in a thoughtful and polite manner...a healthy debate, if you will...

Which is why I get so angry I can barely see straight when some jackass decides to call my husband all kinds of nasty names and insinuate that he's doing the nasty with our prime minister and every other member of the Conservative caucus...all because they don't agree with Brian's position on something (anything, it seems)...

And the glee at the possible downfall of a man who supports his wife and four children is disgusting...

I get it. You think that because we are conservatives, both socially and fiscally, that we somehow deserve to be spit upon. You proclaim (very loudly, I might add) about how we all need to be treated equally and that we all deserve fairness and kindness.

Unless it's a conservative. Then all bets are off and you show your true colours.

How is our not wanting the government to tell us how to eat, sleep, breathe and raise our children a terrible thing?

Why should my husband, who works his ass off, have to give away almost half his paycheque to pay for social programs that don't work and are really just a chance for our bloated government to get more money out of the taxpayers instead of cutting some of their damned jobs and overspending?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Supposed To Be...All Over Myself...

I'm supposed to be writing.
I'm supposed to be cleaning the house.
I'm supposed to be working out.
I'm supposed to be doing a million little things that don't really matter in the end.
Will the world come to an end if the laundry isn't folded perfectly?
Will the people who love me really think I have suddenly turned into a terrible person if I don't vacuum or dust this place every single day?
Will the world stop turning if I am not perfect? If I don't even attempt perfection anymore?
Because you know, it really is exhausting trying to be Martha-freaking-Stewart all the time.
I tried. I really did. For a long time. I worried about how the pillows looked on the sofa and on the bed. I flipped out if the curtains weren't opened the "right" way. I tried to control every single aspect of my life, because when you feel like you have no control over anything else, you turn to the things you can control.
The problem is when you stop controlling just things and try to control people. People don't like to be controlled. They usually rebel and for some strange reason, won't do what you think they should do. Funny, huh?
Not really.
I wasn't like this a few years ago. Things started getting crazy around here with the birth of the twins. That was nearly 11 years ago. And even in their first few years, things were busy, but not out of control. But in the last few years? In the last few years, my world has gone batshit crazy. And I felt like I had no control at all. So it became easier to focus on the things that could be controlled. Like pillows. Pillows don't talk back when you tell them to stay. Pillows don't throw temper tantrums that destroy walls and rearrange rooms. Pillows don't tell you they hate you, that you're a terrible mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter (insert whatever description fits). Pillows don't make you feel like you're a screw-up beyond all screw-ups.
Until you walk back into the living room and find that somehow the little buggers have ended up on the floor again, and then you stand there and yell at them, "Why the hell can't you just do what you're told?"
And for some reason, the pillows don't answer.
And then you know you've gone off the deep end.

That was the day last summer when I decided that I needed to make a few changes. I didn't tell anyone, not even my husband, that I had made a few important decisions. Like not caring anymore if the house doesn't look absolutely perfect. (I've adopted a friend's saying, "Excuse the mess, we live here.")
I've stopped trying to control every little thing and everyone. I have come to realize that my life is nearly (probably) half over and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste any more time on the pursuit of an ideal that has nothing to do with who I actually am...I am messy and complicated and beautiful...perfectly folded jeans or not...
And the pillows?
Well, they can throw themselves wherever the hell they want...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Other Language Issue...

Apparently, I have a potty mouth.

My husband does not suffer from this condition.

Brian has been trained (that whole journalist thing) to choose his words carefully and to remember that "the mic is always live".

He learned this years ago when we lived in Montreal and he was working for a now-defunct radio station.  One day in the newsroom, the anchor read out the news as he normally did. On this particular afternoon, once the newscast was done, he sat back in his chair, and let out a stream of profanities, at which several of his coworkers laughed (my husband not one of them). Suddenly, the manager's door opened, and out stormed a very unhappy looking man.

"You should always remember," he sternly informed the newsroom. "The mic is always live."

Phone line after phone line lit up with angry listeners who had heard the blue words and the newscaster in question was made to apologize on air for his inappropriate behaviour.

"Bah," I thought, when Brian told me what had happened. "Who cares? Is this really what people are worried about? With everything else going on in the world?"

An attitude I maintained for nearly 13 years...until I heard the same words that I have used repeatedly coming out of my now 14 year old's mouth...

Shocked? Yes.  Should I have been? No, obviously not. But somehow, it did not occur to me that the language that I used (especially when something annoyed me-which, let's face it, is frequently)would come back to bite me in the proverbial butt.

For the last few years, I have been listening to my children point out when someone else (usually in a movie or on a tv show) "takes the name of the Lord in vain"...their words, not mine...and surprisingly, not the curse words I generally choose...and I've been telling them, "yes, they did, try to let it go, not everyone has the same beliefs that we do..."

Ai-yai-yai...is that not the pot calling the kettle black?

My kids hate it when I curse. And yet, I've continued doing it, telling them, as my father always used to say to my brother and sisters and I, "Do as I say, not as I do..."

And then last Saturday, when my in-laws were in town visiting, the adults went out to dinner, leaving the children at home for a couple of hours (we have two kids who are old enough to babysit, so no comments about how-could-you-leave-them-alone please and thank you).  When we came home to find the house still standing and that no blood had been shed, we were pleasantly surprised and grateful that we had been able to enjoy our dinner without incident.

Until the three younger children spilled the beans that the oldest had told them all to go "f*&% themselves" because they didn't want to watch Dr. Who with him.

And then came this kicker: "What? Mama uses the f word all the time!"

Well, no, no I don't, but clearly I have used it far more often than I think...

And so, in the interest of being a better person (and trying to set an example for the little people who are so obviously paying attention to every. single. thing. I. say. or. do.), I am trying not to swear.

 As I have said to the children, I am supposedly highly educated and really should know better and so I will keep trying to be better than I have been when it comes to the English language.

But you know what? It's an effing hard habit to break...like most bad habits...and it's one day at a time...

Is there a 12 step program for this?

I didn't think so...sigh...




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Think You Can't Do These Things, Nemo...

So for those of you who have children, or for those of you who just happend to see the movie, "Finding Nemo", the following might ring a bell...

There is a scene (there may be more than one, it's been awhile since I've seen the movie), where Albert Brooks, who plays Nemo's dad, tells his young son, "You think you can do these things, Nemo, but you can't..." and one of the major points of the movie, is that, yes, in fact, Dad, your son (and all of us) are capable of much more than what others impose on us.

Fine.

Brian and I have had to change the line slightly for our children, who seem to constantly tell us that they can't do something, to the following:

"You think you can't do these things, Nemo, but you can."

Today Emma came home from school with a sore finger...it seems she was trying to catch a basketball today, and the finger in question (third finger, right hand) got hit and is slightly swollen...there is only slight bruising, no bones poking through the skin and she can still bend the finger (slowly, but she can do it), which means that there are no broken bones...

However.

This is the same kind of injury that she sustained about a year ago...an injury that sent us to CHEO (that would be Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario for those of you who are not familiar with the place)...she had an xray, and as I suspected, there were no broken bones...and so today when she came home and told me about what had happened to her finger, I checked to make sure we didn't need to go to the emergency room again (I am not one of those parents who call the doctor and/or head to a clinic or emergency room for every little thing)...we didn't/don't.

Emma, however, is unimpressed with my lack of hand-wringing and screaming, "What happened to my baby?" kind of drama and tried to tell me that there was no way she'd be able to do her homework because she can't hold a pen...

"Sure you can," I told her, picking up a pen.  "Look, you can hold it this way," sticking out my ring finger and showing her that while it might be awkward, there is definitely nothing to prevent her from completing her homework.

She stared disappointedly at me for a second and then walked away saying, "Please excuse me while I go pout for a minute."

I think she'll be fine...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inside the Mind of a Child...

"Mama, are you going to sell me for child labour?"

So asked Emma this afternoon, after she came home from school...

"Wh-a-a-t?" I replied.

"We learned about child labour in school today and I want to know if you're going to sell me so I become a slave and a child labour," she said.  (Pretty sure she meant labourer, but the kid's 9, she still mispronounces things - hell, I'm 45 and I still screw up occasionally)

"No, Emma," I assured her.  "I am not going to sell you into child slavery."

She seemed relieved as she threw her arms around my neck and held on for dear life...

And then there's Ian, who refuses to use a calculator for grade 8 math, because, as he told his teacher, "It's cheating!"

She tried to assure him that she was letting everyone else in the class use one, but it took me, Brian and Miss Kelly to convince him that trying to figure out the square root of numbers like 8.97654 is not exactly easy to do in your head...

The ideas that children get really do boggle the mind some days...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You vs Me vs You vs Me vs...

I'm having a debate...well, not really sure you can call it a "debate", but rather, a discussion, over on Facebook with a young friend of mine...now, she might take exception to being called "young", since to my children she's ancient (and she is married and has a baby), but she is young enough to be my daughter (and in actual fact, I am older than her mother-gulp!), but she is a beautiful young woman who raised an interesting point late last night...she (who shall remain nameless, until or unless she tells me I can use her name) updated her status to read (I'm paraphrasing here) that she is sick and tired of seeing ad campaigns for "real women" as though those women who happen to be without muffin tops are somehow seen as being less real...

Hang on a second here, I thought...I've watched (and been tormented by) image after image of those celebrities who are lauded if they lose weight and are thrown under a bus if they gain even five pounds...are you calling me fat and lazy? 'Cause I can assure you missy that I am not! I work really hard and still will never look like Halle Berry! I...

Whoa, dragon...how 'bout you step back a second Lilley and breathe for a minute?

Now, my friend will interpret those ads based on her own life experiences, and I will judge them based on mine...and the thing is that neither of us should have to feel tormented by them...when are women going to get it together long enough to realize that we are all beautiful?  That we all deserve to be loved, no, make that adored, no matter what we look like? 

I understand and appreciate how some advertisers are finally getting on board with trying to show a realistic view of women's bodies...or more specifically, that most women do not bounce back three weeks after giving birth, despite the vast number of Hollywood starlets who seem to do just that. (I knew a young mother, about 7 years ago, who did in fact look like she'd never been pregnant when she was two weeks postpartum-she chalked it up to genes inherited from her Polish grandmother)

I know that after each of my pregnancies, I was more than a little shocked to discover that despite everything I had been told, breastfeeding did not mean that the pounds simply melted off me...by the time the twins were born, you'd think I'd have learned/remembered, but no, somehow, it still came as a surprise...

The problem with these ads is that they still end up pitting woman against woman in the never-ending debate of who has suffered more in this no-win argument...and that is the really sad part of all of this...because if we, as women, can't stand together to tell the media and advertisers and Hollywood producers to go take a flying leap because we are all beautiful, when will it end?