Friday, December 18, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

Just when I thought I was ahead of the Christmas rush, I find myself ridiculously behind.

Changing jobs provided me with a window of opportunity to get 90% of my shopping done. Nothing like a week in October to get the Christmas juices flowing. So by the first of December, I was calm as far as the shopping was concerned.

But I'm one of those crazy broads who still HAVE to do Christmas cards. Couldn't find a card I like after hunting high and low. While I don't consider myself a "Bible Thumper" I do like the idea of having a card that has some idea of the reason of the season - either angels, animals, nature etc. I'll pass on the flashy art deco cards - and unless the humor is particularly cutting and meaningful, I'll overlook funny cards.

With pen in hand, I sign each card for the entire family. No family shot this year - wasn't that organized between the health crisis and job change and bullying issues. And decided NOT to do a newsletter because although I think they have their place when you've actually had an eventful year "Suzy is doing just SUPER DUPER in Home Ec. class. We have high hopes for her!" the kind of news we've had this year really isn't uplifting. I've received the Debbie Downer Christmas Newsletters and I WON'T do that to others. If I care enough to give you a card, I'm not going to depress you.

"2009 was pretty much a crap year, starting with career strife in February, hockey issues that spilled over from 2008 and culminating in medical nightmares for The Big Guy and First Born Son."

Doesn't really scream MERRY CHRISTMAS now, does it.

I finally get them all sealed, including school photos for those who require them and leave them for The Big Guy to mail.

Then, I wait for it to begin.

Cuz really, the ONLY point in doing Christmas cards is to get them back. Like a perverse game of marbles - the more you get, the better you feel. And they slowly trickle in. My mother is traditionally the first one - hand delivered, usually at Second Born Son's birthday. We see or speak to each other regularly, so I don't expect a verse in her card.

But I must say, most of the other card senders must be suffering from what I'm afflicted with, because there aren't too many notes in these mailings. The odd "Hope to see you in the New Year!" but the majority are simply names under the preprinted verse. A couple don't even bother to write OUR names in the cards. Which really defeats the purpose entirely. If you don't want to acknowledge who we are, for God's Sake, save the tree they slaughtered to make the card.

This is the first year my sister hasn't sent me a card, and I will forgive her. After all, you can't expect someone who is starting their own business, just moved into a new home and planning a wedding in four months to actually think about greeting cards. Next year, entirely different matter..... :)

I also bake. Right now I only have three squares made, but in the past I made far too many, and we were eating soggy, freezer burnt squares until Valentines Day. My guys like them, but after a while the novelty wears off - you can only each so much marshmallow and graham crackers!

Perhaps all this Christmas expectation I have on myself and others is what has effectively killed my Christmas Spirit this year. I look at our tree - a real one, so the kids could experience it - and it's beautiful, but all I see is the haste we were in to put it up. The frustration with the new flooring not being installed for the Christmas Dinner we are hosting, and the lack of presents under it, because only half of them are wrapped.

It's only 7 days away, so Santa, please bring me some Christmas Warm Fuzzies!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How many days until Christmas?

Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Where's the Tylenol? ~ National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Thursday, December 10, 2009

God Bless Us, Every One

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas! No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here! We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f**king Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of a**holes this side of the nuthouse!

-- Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Know your limitations

This week the matriarch of the Duggar Family was rushed to hospital with a gallbladder attack during her 19th pregnancy.

Yup, you read it right NINETEENTH.

Now the Duggars have come under a lot of scrutiny for their ability to procreate. Ironically, this latest bundle of joy with only be months older than it's neice or nephew, as the eldest Duggar and his wife are expecting their first child later on in the year.

While some people critisize the logic of having so many children for a variety of reasons from impact on the environment to the mother's health, I come from a completely different place.

How do they stay sane?

I have two and thank God just about every day for them. But honestly, I would be bound and locked in a padded cell if I had to look after more than say 5 in a given day and it would be the end of the world as we know if it I had to care for them every day.

You see, I feel I have reached my limit. Baby factory closed at 2. Always wanted a pair, and was blessed to get two healthy ones, so we're going to leave it at that.

This fact was acentuated for me last week during Second Born Son's hockey team's Float Building Party. Half way through the festivities, I was barking orders like a drill sargeant as I couldn't contain myself any more. Watching the variety of antics and near miss opportunities for trips to emerg resulted in my overwhelming urge to provide some structure to the chaos.

Ironically, there were parents all around. No one was speaking up. Do I really care that I now have the label of Manager/Mommy from Hell? Not overly. No one got hurt. A couple of kids who needed to slow down a pace or two, did. We avoided any unnecessary nastiness and even managed to distribute some karma.

On the way home I envisioned myself as a mother of six kids, or even four. And my mind went blank. Not because I was thinking of menu options - but simply because the idea of being responsible for all those little lives is completely overwhelming.

So while in the Duggar household each little life is a "blessing". I will stick with the two I have.

And feel more than blessed enough!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

That Helpless Feeling

I wish there was something we could do. Something we could say, something that we could go back and change or give forward to prevent what has happened.

There are very few times we are unable to take the simple step of helping someone in need - and when that happens, it is truly a horrible feeling.

Know that we are with you, supporting you and defending you. Keep fighting the good fight - you have a legion with you.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Great Debate of Our Time - Team Edward or Team Jacob??

Count me in amongst the hoards of people clamouring to see New Moon. I finished reading the second book in the Twilight series last spring and have been holding off to see the movie before moving on to the next installment.

It's funny to see the reaction to this flick. So many people want to put it down, write it off as fluff, and there there are the legions of young girls who are reacting with Beatlemania enthusiasm.

And my 13-year-old niece is one of them.

She called me last night to say she had just seen New Moon and with a breath that seemed to last forever sheproceededtotellmejusthowmuchshelovedthemovieandshewouldpickJacoboverEdwardanyday,whatdoyouthinkAuntieSarah???

I paused and thought - boy, are we screwing up a entire generation of women...

These girls are going to grow up thinking boys are SUPPOSED to want you with such a deep burning desire that they are willing to fore sake their own needs and desires, just to be with you.

Shee-ya. Good luck with that sister!

These young men will also have the unrealistic expectation thrust upon them that they need to put up with all kinds of drama, mind games and attitude, and then - they should LIKE it! If you love a girl, you will be OK with your feelings being tested, your relationship strained and your hormones tightly and securely in check.

Do you see a problem here, because the last time I was of an age to worry about dating, not too many of the guys were that tuned into a girl's innermost thoughts and feelings - so unless something serious has changed in the past two decades....

Right - I didn't think so!

So is it a double standard for "older" women such as myself to enjoy these flicks? Honestly, I think it's a case of looking at what many of us idealize as the perfect relationship and to put it in context with our own views of love.

In short - a girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cry Baby!

I don't apologize for protecting my kids.

Most parents don't have that problem when faced with the obvious - strangers, killer plagues, running with scissors.

It gets a little more complicated when it comes to the social mores with bullying. A complex, twisted existence, the Bully manages to isolate the victim with an intricate web of lies, half truths and intimidation, backed up by the promise of violence, or even worse, embarrassment.

My son has suffered at the hands of a bully, or two. One has made his existence a miserable one and it wasn't until this year that he has been able to handle the torment.

So who enables the bully? The collection of victims who operate at his beck and call in the vain effort to avoid becoming the next subject of humiliation. The variety of adults who turn the other way, avoid taking responsibility and offer excuses for his behavior.

I charge you all with guilt by association. Feel proud that you are now no better than a pre-pubescent punk who has nothing more going for him than his bad attitude.


Mother of a Momma's Boy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tales from the First Table Beside the Dance Floor

We haven't had the opportunity to go to a lot of weddings lately - mostly because we are in that dry spell between all of our friends finishing getting hitched, and none of our kids old enough to say "I do".

So when the invite to K's wedding came mid summer, The Big Guy and I were thrilled. K & J were married last weekend - and it was a beautiful ceremony, followed by a fun reception. But as I took in the festivities, it occurred to me that there needs to be a handbook on how to be a Wedding Guest.

1. Thou Shall be in the Church well before the Bride.
While it's easy to lose track of time, the day of a wedding is not the day to do it. At my wedding, guests tried to wave at me in the car waiting outside the church - only to receive a snarky response from the bride. I mean, after all, I waited years to get to this moment, and NOW you want to have a chat?? Get you ass in a seat people - we have the whole night to catch up!!!

2. Thou Shalt Not give service Play by Play.
It doesn't matter what's going on, a pew is no place to give play by play of the service. "What is he wearing??" "They aren't bad singers." or commentary on the drama involving the groom's aunt the week before the wedding are not suitable topics. The respect the rest of the guests are offering by staying silent makes your commentary about as subtle as mortar fire. Save it for the car ride to the reception.

3. Speak No Evil.
If you are honored enough to be asked to participate in the wedding party, you have to obey the rules of the Wedding Party. The first rule is NEVER EMBARASS THE BRIDE. Awkward stories of the the bride's first intoxicated encounter with the groom aren't likely the best option - considering her beloved grandfather is sitting at the front table and having a difficult time chewing on the notion that his little "Kitten" sucks down beer bongs like nobody's business.

4. Know Your Limit, Drink Within It.
The point of a wedding is to celebrate the joining of two lives. This includes good food, good drink and good company. When Good Drink comes before the rest, you get a couple of interesting side shows. The newlyweds should be the talk of the night, not the drunk co-worker who blacked out on the way to the washroom.

5. Dance like Everyone is Watching.
Let's face it, we all like to cut a rug at a wedding. Even fun ditties like The Chicken Dance have a certain charm that get guests on the floor. While it's great fun to get lost in Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody, one shouldn't forget that your are basically on a stage. This is not the time to bump and grind with your date. It is, however, a good time to spot check your ensemble. Slipping pants, creeping skirts and glimpses of Spanx have no place on a dance floor.

Just doin' my bit to ensure the Bride and Groom are the centre of attention!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Miss Manners

There are few times when I am caught with my mouth agape.

This was one of those times.

Not only was she being rude and disrespectful, she was doing so in public.

I was raised that if you needed to have a moment with someone that was less than civil, you removed yourself from the public forum and relocated to a more private locale. This worked particularly well for me, because I don't like witnesses when I'm verbally murdering someone. Ask either of my sons, the cornerstone of my parenting has been, "If you embarrass me, I'll embarrass you!" Incredibly effective.

So here I was faced with a woman who had gone from pleasant and civil to hostile and abrasive, and not only did it happen in less than two minutes, but I had no idea what had transpired between us to ignite such a response. We were talking about (ironically enough) how to communicate with each other. I'm the manager of Second Born Son's hockey team. In this position I'm responsible for ensuring the parents are in the know about developments such as tournaments, game schedules, practices and changes to that schedule.

Out of 16 kids, this woman is the mother of the only child who lives in a household without internet. I agreed to do this job, provided I wouldn't have to be on the phone all night, every night, so my preferred method of communication is email. After a week of failing to locate this mother, (she's a door dropper - leave the kid and come back when he's done....or 20 minutes after that....whatever) I finally ran into her at the first exhibition game of the season. She was annoyed that other parents were "in the loop" and she wasn't. I pointed out that I have tried to reach her at practises, but not seen here. Then she drops the bomb that she actually does have email, but only checks it once a week (what the hell....?) I suggest that I give the child the printed off copies of emails (so she knows EXACTLY what everyone else does)if she would check his bag for them. Keep in mind, these are young children. If she's incapable of stopping in at the area, what makes me think her child will feel onus enough to give his mother the emails?

She snapped the information out of my hands (strike one) spun on her heel (strike two) and walked away while I was in mid convo (strike THREE).

The incident was obvious enough to the people around us that it was commented on. Fortunately, this woman has made enough of a reputation for herself with this type of behavior in the past, that I shouldn't have to worry about what others saw. This is de rigour for this Hockey Mom.

Since last week I've heard a number of anecdotes regarding her antics. I've also experienced a bizarre logic coming from another Hockey Mom who wears the badge of "Single Mom" like a crown. In every conversation had, her situation is the worst, as a Single Mom. I have to bite my tongue from pointing out that she has had the fortunate option of being able to live with her parents in relative security. While her day to day finances are none of my business, she made it my concern when we were discussing hotel accommodations for an upcoming tournament.

"I can't afford $120 a night," she said. "I'm on the internet now and I see rooms for $85 a night."

I try to point out in a delicate way that NO ONE will want to stay in the hotel she has selected with $85 rooms and that all hotels have upped the room rates due to the tournament.

"Well I just can't afford to spend $120. I'm a single mom you know."


I don't have the energy in me at this point to suggest that $89 with taxes and fees comes bloody close to $120. As I hang up the phone with her, I do chuckle with the memory of her trucking around the arena with her brand new Blackberry and sharing how she's in touch ALL THE TIME and can get my emails about hockey ALL THE TIME. And let's not start the discussion about the funding needed to finance a Blackberry plan.

Great, can you stand near Rude Momma, because apparently she doesn't have the energy to wander across her living room more than once a week to flip on her computer.

Lookin' forward to the season ahead, I must say!

Monday, September 28, 2009

When God closes a Door, He opens a Window

A chapter of my life has closed and another one is about to open.

They say the average worker will change their career five times during their career. I started out as a writer/photographer. I then morphed into design/group tour sales. This was followed by event planning/relationship building/scavenging/sales for a theatre company.

This last position was a bit of a change for me. I never envisioned myself in theatre. From the beginning, I was a bit of an annomoly, but in time I grew to see myself as a valuable part of the company. I was one of the few who did not have an "arts" background.

After 8 years of music and laughter, it became clear that there was no place for me to grow to within the company. It was a frustrating feeling, one which I can imagine was similar to being in a loveless marriage. My passion for the job was gone. I didn't want to be there, had a hard time being myself and found myself looking for greener pastures.

The last time I left a job, it was after First Born Son was born and I realized the life of a community newspaper reporter was not the most conducive for a family life. It was a difficult decision and yet, I found an amazing job with a Group Tour operator that provided me numerous chances to travel and experience new cultures.

I'm hoping the new challenge I'm about to face will be as rewarding. The new hours will be amazing for my family. No more late nights and traveling across Southwestern Ontario in the middle of the night.

That being said, I'm still sad about my previous position. I would like to rewrite history, but barring that, I'm thinking it's about moving upward and onward!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Age is but a Number

I don't have a problem with my age.

Today, I'm 38.

I've never understood the issue some people have with stating how old they are, or in fact, celebrating their birthday. It's an ongoing exchange with my mother when we swing around her birthday in August.

"We'd like to have you in for dinner for your birthday on Sunday," says I.

"OH, you DON'T have to do THAT," says Mom.

"I know I DON'T have to do THAT," I reply. "I WANT to."

"But you are so busy. I don't want you to go to any trouble. It's no big deal." she rationalizes.

Cue crickets.

I have quelled the urge to hand her a peanut butter sandwich and tell her to clean up after herself.

The reason I feel this is important is that kids often have a lot about them. It's great! Christmas, Easter, Halloween, birthdays....etc. But as important as it is for us to celebrate our children, it is equally important for us to show them how to celebrate their elders. Respect those who have gone before. Make them think about giving something to someone else.

So in my family, we celebrate Gramma, Poppa, Cousins, and Aunts and Uncles birthdays. The kids have come to expect it and actually enjoy the idea of marking the occasion.

Is it society's fascination with the young and beautiful that we resist the urge to honor aging? A sad commentary indeed.

I can still remember sitting in the high school gym in my Grade 9 year with the principal on the stage urging the student body to enjoy the next four years (yup - in the OLD days we had a Grade 13!!!) as they would be "best of your life."

I would LOVE to run in to him again. Not only was high school NOT the best four years of my life, but I feel I'm just ramping up into them! Aside from the arrivals of my sons, I do feel that my best days are coming. Time brings more confidence, insight, perspective and intuition that I would have KILLED for in my teens.

So don't hide your age. Celebrate another year here! Enjoy the BIG slice of cake. This acceptance is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wrapping up the Game of Summer

Thanks for you patience! It's amazing how time flies when you have a little drama in your life.

Things are settling down nicely and my little family is switching gears from softball (First Born Son's team won B side - Second Born Son plays his A Championship game tonight) to hockey.

Unfortunately, these sports seem to overlap. While the people I'm involved with in the Ball world are very accommodating and trying to adjust playoff games with hockey tryouts, it would seem getting hockey coaches to be as considerate is vastly more challenging.

I found out the hard way earlier this year as the Asst. Coach for FBS' team that when explaining to parents that ball was to be a competitive sport, they simply didn't see it that way.

To me, this was astonishing. I have always played softball in a competitive manner. That's not to say I'm vicious, but I do take it seriously. I can't see the point of playing any sport if you aren't going to make a solid effort.

However, it was very apparent to me at the end of the day that Hockey is truly the serious sport in my community.

Until this week....

That's when the Squirt Boys were faced off in a 3 out of 5 series. We won the first game, lost the second. Won the third, lost the fourth. This forced us into a sudden death situation in Game 5. Fortunately, the squad came through for us, but it was humourous to see the parents getting almost as emotional as they do in hockey games.

Here's hoping the Mites can do the same tonight in their Game 5!!! GO MITES!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

To Your Health

You never realize how important your health is until it's in jeopardy. I personally want to thank everyone for paying their taxes, as the health care portion has definitely come in handy in the past few days.

We spend so much of our day to day lives concerned with the normal stresses - paying bills, working, taking care of our families, that we don't appreciate our health. The old saying is true, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything!"

It's also remarkable to me to see how people step up to help in times of need. Both family and friends have offered help, extended a hand and offered support. It is appreciated more than you know.

Eat your veggies, take your vitamins and whatever you do - listen to your body. Make sure you push for more answers and don't be afraid to get a second opinion. There is nothing wrong with getting a fresh set of eyes and putting your mind at ease.


Monday, August 31, 2009

In a Time Out

Hello All,

Sorry for the delay in posts. Holidays have created a non-schedule, it would seem and I hope to get back in the saddle in the next day or so. Hold tight and enjoy the last few summer-ish days we have left!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

When it hits home....

Life can be cruel. No more so than when it involves a child....

The recent tornado that tore through southwestern Ontario claimed the life of one child. A boy. Although I did not know the boy, I do know his parents - we went to school together. We road a school bus for years and then graduated through life to meet again in a prenatal class years ago.

We sat across the room from each other, marvelling at how life had changed for all four of us and what we had to look forward to in our first born children.

We had a boy. So did they.

The wonder that is Facebook brought us back together again and we chatted as the interest arose - usually from an interesting photo or status update. Both parents are quiet, intellectual people with brilliant senses of humor. I can only image how wonderful their son was...and their daughter is.....

I have actually had nightmares about not being there for my children when a storm hits. With both The Big Guy and I working a distance from where they were in daycare, I was always aware of weather, both winter and summer. I have anticipated the horror our friends are now living through. I look at First Born Son, think of all that is coming up in his life, from school in a week to a family of his own in the future and imagine it all being gone. With out warning....

I'm not going to share names, or details. That is not how our friends want this very private matter handled. Media can be a slimy monster in cases like this. Looking for the best angle, the edgiest quote, picture..... You will hear enough from "conventional" news sources. I don't want to be a part of that.

In short, take a moment to tell your children how much you love them. Tell your husband, wife, parent, sibling how much they mean to you.

Life is good - but it doesn't come with a guarantee.

Make each moment count. It sounds corny now, but you will cherish every moment when the time comes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fashion Victim.....


Is This the End for CROCS?
BE interactive The company that manufactures CROCS is on the verge of bankruptcy.

CROCS, which was originally founded by Andrew Reddyhoff and Marie-Claude de Billy of Quebec, is in financial crisis.

The American firm that has since bought the brand has been recording significant losses for quite some time. For the second quarter, $30 million in losses was reported and sales were down by 11%.

In 2008, several employees of the company lost their jobs. The third quarter is expected to be much stronger with anticipated sales of $150 million.

CROCS first arrived on the market in 2002. Now, it seems that the shoes are a victim of their own success. Their quality and durability makes them virtually indestructible, leaving no reason for consumers to purchase replacements.

Several stars have also helped to bring the brand's popularity, including Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Teri Hatcher, George W. Bush, and many others.

CROCS management have until late September to settle their debts, otherwise, the company will fold.

OR - people figured out they were butt ugly and stopped buying them...I'm just sayin'!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

So a week after former US President Bill Clinton negotiates the release of two American journalists from China, and is heralded as a hero, his wife, once again getting the short end of the stick.

Shortly after arriving in Congo, Africa, US Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton responded to questions at a press conference. One question was regarding a financial situation and ended with "What does President Clinton think about this?"

Now, the history book has not been kind to Hilliary. From her personal appearance, to her ambition and noteworthy career, there hasn't been a lot of kindness thrown her way. I never really took note until this week, when news broke about this "outburst."

In a nutshell, she states, "My husband is not the Secretary of State, I am. If you want to find out what I think, ask me, but I'm not going to channel my husband." I may have ad libbed a bit - but the point there.

Now she's being raked over the coals for her response....

I ask, Why?

She's worked her entire life for this position and save for a couple of missteps in the election process, the US may well have had their first Female President. So to have the question posed to her in reference to her husband is not only insulting to her, it's a slam to all women. She restated the question as she heard it - no one corrected it - and as far as she could tell, the translator had accurately communicated the student's query.

It's like "So, thanks for coming down honey, but tell us, what does the Big Dog think??"

I'd be more than annoyed too.

Yes, Bill Clinton is a great guy. Fairly popular President. He's a real hit with the ladies too. Hillary has had to endure a lot to ensure his success and, in the long run, her own. I can imagine the conversation in the Clinton kitchen when she decided to for President was that this is the "Hilliary Era".

It likely doesn't help that Bubba gets pulled out for all of the profile events (nothing like saving damsels in distress). But you can't blame a girl for getting her feathers ruffled.

And pointing out the obvious was called for. It's not like she swore at the student or insulted him/her.

Can't say I'd be as diplomatic in the same situation.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ya, About What I Said Earlier, Forget That....

So, after the weeks of tortured deliberating, the endless debate of pros and cons, the struggle to find the answer in this world of unyielding chaos - First Born Son decided he wasn't going to hang up the pads.

Very little drama ensued.

Frig, we were just glad the kid made a decision. I had actually begun to think about all the things I could with the money I wouldn't be spending on new skates, stick, pads, blocker and catcher - because - as mentioned earlier - he wouldn't be needing it. Projects outside, better back to school shopping...maybe even set some aside for a new table and chair set for the dining area!

Focus moved onto Second Born Son. He was still in the game and while softball is still very much at the forefront of our lives, the nature of hockey demands that we start the conversation in August. SBS barely peeped about his brother's drama - as is the norm. He has discovered that when the fur is flying with his brother, duck and cover is the safest option.

So I really felt bad for him when FBS decided he SHOULD be a goalie again this year. To make the long story short - reality set in when people started hearing (and therefore commenting on) that he wasn't going to be a goalie. One person in particular.

Coach Jim, the coach he had the first year he was a goalie, caught drift of this and without saying a word, conveyed through his facial expression to me all he needed to - "I'm Disappointed!" I shared the exchange with FBS.

"He's MAD at me?" he gasped.

"No, he's just disappointed. A lot of people will be surprised or disappointed when they find out you aren't playing," I replied.
"But why?" he demanded.
"Because you are a good goalie - not a superstar, but you worked really hard to become good and now people are going to be surprised or disappointed that you've chosen to stop," I reasoned.

Cue the hamster, FBS is thinking hard!

It took another 24 hours of questioning me, his father and himself but finally he came to me.

"Would it be ok if I played hockey this year?" he asked.

"Of course," I answered, "But you have to tell me why you want to play."

"WHAT?! I thought you'd just be happy if I played?"

"No, I want YOU to be happy with the decision you make." I have found it just has helpful to stop taking as it is to blather my mouth off.

So I did.


Which is exactly why I was afraid he was making the wrong decision in the first place....

So, guess who is going out Friday night and pricing Goalie pads.......

I guess the new table and chairs will have to wait until next year!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh Baby you Try!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “try”. Small word, only three letters. But it has a lot of meaning to me and I think, overall, it is under-rated.

Of course, like many words, if you don’t mean it, it becomes rather frustrating. Try. “I will try to get that done for you” could just as easily mean “The chances of that getting done are as good as a snowball in Hell, but hey, if I say 'I’ll try', at least you’ll get off my back”.

We have always asked our children to Try. “I know you don’t like mushrooms Second Born Son, but Try one this time and see if you have changed your mind.”

It came into dinner conversation during a meaningful exchange about the caliber of an athlete on First Born Son’s baseball team. He was being rather harsh and I felt it was time to rein him in and see the child from a different perspective.

“Actually I think Johnny is doing ok,” I said, much to the dismay of FBS. “At least he is trying.” This was met with much scoffing and eye rolling and who knows what else as I cleared the table.

I had the perfect opportunity to prove my point a mere 72 hours later. FBS was not putting his all into his effort. He kicked at the dirt, he swayed in the breeze. He goofed off and wasn’t being overly attentive when given instruction by his coach. He did have moments of promise, a couple of hits, so he wasn’t a complete waste of a position. But he was not up to his regular standard, though I could tell in his mind he felt he was.

As we left the game (where our butts were not just handed to us, but gift wrapped as well) he asked me how I thought he did. And I told him the truth.

And he did not like it.

“I did better than Johnny did,” he retorted. “At least Johnny tried,” I finished.

Johnny is never going to be a great player. He’s there purely for the social aspect. I think his parents feel it’s a great way for him to get out with his friends, who, for the most part, are fairly athletic. For FBS to compare himself to Johnny wasn’t just unfair to Johnny, it was selling himself short as well. I explained to FBS that if he tried, he would do much better. Johnny tries every time he’s on the field and his efforts don’t go unnoticed.

Before you start thinking that I’m the A+ Mom, please know that I don’t believe in perfection. What I feel is my 100% may not be your 100%. I do know that each of us comes with our own level of skills and ability. We have potential that even we are not fully aware of. If I can teach my sons nothing else, then I want them to know that they will find a level of success as long as they Try.

We all know people who float through life. They are caught in their vacuum of security and insulated by fear. Others rest on their laurels, failing to challenge themselves or inspire others.

“Try” is what gets you through the hard times. “Try” is what created the wheel, it’s what heals broken hearts and what ends wars.

I will Try to be a better mother tomorrow than what I am today. I will Try to have the balance I need to have a happy family. I will try to be the best mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/coach I can be. I will try to vacuum this week….

Saying it is the first part. It’s the doing that will make that three-letter word the most important one in my vocabulary.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Didn't See That One Coming!

It's not too many times that the smaller family members can catch me off my game. But I certainly didn't expect the dinner conversation of about a month ago.

"I've decided I'm not playing hockey this year," announced First Born Son.

What makes this more than just a passing comment is that a) he's played for the past five years and loved every minute of it; b) he's the goalie - a position he fought for; and c) his hockey is paid for the 2009-2010 Season.

I've learned that the best way to handle large sweeping declarations is not to offer too much reaction. So after I digested the information, I asked him what he planned to do for a Winter activity.

"I'm going to downhill skiing!" he stated proudly. (Let's keep in mind that the young man has NEVER skiied downhill before.)

There had been a hint of this last year - but last year was truly an anomaly. Nothing like a combination of bullying from peers, a deteriorating self image and a brutal coach to snowball into the worst year of minor hockey EVER.

The Big Guy and I promised we wouldn't force either of our children into playing hockey. It's far too expensive a sport to put a gun to their heads. This came back to haunt us with Second Born Son, but that's another story for another time.

So we gave FBS a month to think about it. A couple of friends involved with the local hockey association sat down and pointed out the obvious, he will miss out on the social activities that his friends take part in. He won't be able to go skiing every weekend as the cost involved in THAT sport are as much if not more than hockey. He won't be able to take his friends skiing because they will still be involved with their team sport.

As much as we showed him the negative, we encouraged him to make the decision that was right for him. We didn't want him to quit because of last year's antics. When he mentioned he thought hockey was too expensive, we shot down the argument - stating we had no issue with paying for this activity. We said we would support whatever he decided to do. The Big Guy and I were convinced he would decide late, but in the end, he would return to the net. We even suggested that he take a year out of the crease and try playing out.


Just before bed tonight he informed his father and I that he has decided he is not going to play hockey. Granted, there are a couple of weeks before the rubber hits the road, but mark my words, it's going to be one hell of a long winter for this young man!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Fat Lady Sings for her Supper

Be forewarned....this could curdle your cereal....

"In a recent poll of 50,000 people by, 48 per cent of men said they would dump their partner if she became fat.
"We asked men whether they would consider breaking up with their girlfriend, specifically if she gained weight," James Bassil, the editor-in-chief of told CTV's Canada AM on Friday. "And we found that the response was pretty fairly split down the middle. A slim majority said 'no.'"
On the other hand, 70 percent of women surveyed said they would stay with their boyfriend if he became "husky."
"A lot of people would say that guys are more visual, I guess, when it comes to relationships," Bassil said, adding that male respondents said they would see their girlfriend gaining weight as a sign that she didn't care about the relationship as much anymore.
If there is a silver lining for girlfriends, it may be in the pocketbook. Eighty-five per cent of men said they believe they should pay for the majority of dates, at least until a relationship has been established. "

Forgive me for failing to see that silver lining as anything more than tin foil.

All this tells me is that there are a bunch of fat, self absorbed men wandering around out there who are paying the bill until the "little woman" is finally feeling comfortable in the relationship, then he decides "enough's enough of that!" Why bother footing the bill, after all, she's just gonna get FAT!

Women, who are already more critical of their bodies than men, have always had this well kept secret in the back of their minds for centuries. Why do you think the Weight Loss Industry is alive and well after all of these years?

It's no different than a larger woman covering herself up, fearing the exposure of her body at a beach, pool, or other public place, while an overweight man will parade his girth proudly from one end of the water to the other, and in some cases, packing enough ego to fill a second Speedo.

I've been at both ends of the spectrum. Being overweight isn't just about physical health and appearance - it's about your emotional well being. Hopefully we can smack some of these Neanderthals upside the head before another generation of women is damaged.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ivy League Material?

Recent conversation with Second Born Son at Swiss Chalet, enjoying a celebratory dinner for passing swimming lesson.....

Second Born Son: Thanks for dinner Mommy!

Momma Bear: You're welcome Bud. I'm very proud of how hard you worked. You know, it makes me think, I wonder what would happen if you worked that hard at school?

SBS: I'd probably get better marks.

MB: Uh huh.

SBS: ...and then get into better schools....

MB: That's right!

SBS: ...and then I'd be able to get a job at the til!

MB: (stupified - chewing on her chicken)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hang on! It's a wild ride!!!!

Tori is Found

It was with mixed emotions (mostly relief) that I heard the news early Monday morning that Tori Stafford had been found.

My heart dropped when I found out where.

The Woodstock child was found three months after she went missing after school in a rural area on the edge of Mount Forest. I live in Mount Forest. This has been my home for 20 years.

I watched the progression of this case with a mix of sadness, anger, fear and disbelief. But for some reason, I felt they would find her. There would be a conclusion for the Stafford family. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, because I cannot imagine the type of Hell it would be as a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle to think that my child was out there somewhere. Bad enough to know she was gone. Unbearable to think that you don't have closure. No goodbyes...?

Naturally, the national media is playing this out like Mount Forest is the dumping ground for dead bodies. 20 years ago a young girl was murdered by a friend of her family and disposed of outside of town. Once every twenty years for a community the size of Mount Forest isn't unbalanced. As you can see, I find myself defensive of my town.

I am glad Tori was found here for a couple of reasons. One - if my child was murdered and had to be kept somewhere waiting to be found, I would want him/her to be found in a peaceful woodlot, marked by a pile of rocks so that a brave police officer could easily located him/her.

Two - because the families in my community need a wake up call to remember that we are not insulated from the evils of this world. Love your children, hold them close, and teach them how to be safe.

That is Tori's legacy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

....stay tuned for updates on the hour!

You've got to be thinking that Elvis got off relatively easy.

While The King of Rock and Roll's death in 1977 resulted in a massive outpouring of grief by fans throughout the globe, he wasn't subjected to the 24-7 scrutiny afforded The King of Pop. Results of last week's survey show the majority feel the media circus that was Michael Jackson's death week was largely unwarranted.

The sad part is - there is no end in sight.

This week brings allegations of profound drug abuse (which may have contributed to his death) and almost daily announcements from the Jackson family who alternately ask for privacy and then promote their individual projects. Let's not forget the small matter of child custody. Would Debbie Rowe, the biological mother step forward, or would Jackson's choice - his mother, be allowed to raise his brood?

Now that Jackson's children have been unveiled, they are fodder for the less savory tabloids and tabloid websites. A simply statement made by Paris, Jackson's middle child, and only daughter, has given complete strangers insight into her upbringing; allowing them to be experts into the 11 years she's been alive and giving them permission to conclude what her future will be.

Already the Elvis-esque sightings have begun. Whispers of conspiracy theories and murder charges abound. Don't think this is going to change any time soon.

The question is, should we really care?

The idea of giving Michael Jackson all but a state funeral was a little self serving. Yes, he was an icon. Yes, he did do good work through his charitable donations. But let's not forget that there is a cloud over his legacy. Aside from the obvious legal issues he endured, he has his entire life off the stage after 1997 to defend. If he was a private citizen with a penchant for primates, no one would care. But he wasn't

The promoter of his "comeback" will profit greatly by him even in death. Estimates of sales of the DVD, pay per view and downloads of the service at the Staples Centre are through the roof.

Whether Michael Jackson rests in peace isn't the point - it's how long will he stay in the headlines and how much will he make even in death - now THAT'S worth asking.

I have a feeling its going to be a long ride.....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Battle of the Sexes

I am not a girlie girl.

Not a lot of pink in the wardrobe, rather low maintenance in the hair and makeup category. Growing up I was a tomboy and rather enjoyed the less delicate aspects of my existence. Riding horses, helping on the farm, riding bikes, building forts out of bales of hay.

As the eldest of two girls, I fancied myself as a modern woman. I was going to be able to teach a girl how to be independent, strong and hold her own as an equal with any man. Twelve years ago My Hubby - The Big Guy, and I welcomed our first child - A BOY! So much for advancing the Women's Movement! Apparently my lot in life is to teach males how to appreciate the fairer sex.

As surprised as I was the first time, I was thrilled to have my second son. While I seemed to be surrounded by choruses of "Try for a Girl!", it never occurred to me to "try" for either gender. Our little family is complete at two.

The Big Guy and I were thrilled for our little men. Since my sister has two girls - we get our girl fix when we see them - and she gets to buy boy toys for our pair.

Over the course of my motherhood - I have become educated on construction equipment, Bob The Builder, Pirates and Superheroes. I watched friends who had little girls bouncing around in flounces of pink and purple haze and privately realized the grand plan worked out after all!

My boys have occasionally come out with tilted views of men in relation to women, but that's usually rectified with a quick tackle, merciless attack of tickling, followed up by proving them wrong every chance I get.

I will never forget the look on First Born Son's face the first time he saw me hit a softball. Magically I had transformed from being a cheerleader to being a role model. Suddenly Mom is more than just a chauffeur. She knows how to smash the ball! The Big Guy loves it when I prove the boys wrong, and his support helps me in my quest to keep their eyes open!

While my initial plan was geared for female development, I'm glad I'm on the path I'm on now.

I'm going to raise the most enlightened boys I can! Consider it my contribution to The Womens Movement...