Friday, September 9, 2011

While I was gone...

I know, I know, blogging is supposed to be a regular thing and I've been about as regular as a donut eater.

My friend, who started up her blog at the same time as me, has put me to shame. She has blogged virtually every day!

So, I'm back. I'm not promising to be prolific. But here I am today. Typing on my new midnight blue bargain laptop, currently set up on my ironing board, because we haven't yet transitioned stuff off the old computer.

I've got two lame excuses, if you're interested. First, the premise of this blog is that doing it all is impossible for me and that even my high-priority tasks, the things I want to do, get shunted down the list from time to time. Second, hey, I've been busy in the last 5ish months with whatnot (in no particular order):
  • made homemade hummus (that tasted like wallpaper paste)
  • drove on the 401, which made me ridiculously proud
  • experimented with a new colour of nailpolish (ie crazy-named OPI grey)  
  • got over my fat toe embarrasment and bought peep-toe Fluevogs
  • painted my bedroom (2nd coat and trim? one day)
  • went blonder
  • got a new job (start Monday - yikes!)
  • bought a hairdryer in the attempt to look stylin' for said new job (no more crazed finger drag through the hair as I shove Weetabix down my throat - no sir)
  • added to Xav's collection of Mo Willems books with Knuffle Bunny Three
  • signed up for spinning classes (it's a start, alright?)

So there!

But now I'm back for now. Booya!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Keeping it clean

I love the daycare I take Xavier to. Great teachers, great kids, great parents. But even in this ideal situation, there are still so many levels of guilt. The big one is leaving my son to be looked after other people. That's such a big one, I try not to think about it. But there are other niggling guilts as I drop off my little guy - messy morning face guilt, odd socks guilt, sticky stroller guilt. I wish I could keep him pristine at all times, but it just never happens!

Make do Mum makes me feel so much better with her Friday post! She clearly has clean challenges too, in her child's nether regions no less. Don't read this if you've got a weak stomach...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Baffled by blogger

My loyal fans (or fan) may notice that I now have a new follower. Myself.

No, I'm not so vain that I need to follow my own blog nor is it part of some post-modernist self-referential experiment. My boyfriend John did it. It's all his fault. I've been bugging him to follow me for ages and he couldn't quite figure it out.

Not only that, I've got 2 comments on one of my past postings, but I can only see one! It's driving me nuts! Where is that comment hiding? What does it say? Who wrote it? I need to know!

Bloggers out there, can you help? Or can you spare a comment?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guilt free bacon!

I'm a bacon lover, as you might have surmised from an earlier excited post about bacon candles. I know I'm not alone in my love for bacon either. Many vegetarians have been defeated by the lure of the porcine product. But while I do love this salty goodess, glistening with grease like a fat man on a hot summer's day, I do feel a little guilty when I indulge.

Enter the ingenious bacon air, a device that allows you to inhale the intoxicating aroma fat free! Sounds like pure nostril heaven...

The comments attached to this article suggest that this may be an April Fool's Day joke, but I can't believe anyone would be so cruel as to joke about bacon. Furthermore, the manufacturers have already several brilliant bacon products on the market, including baconnaise, bacon popcorn and bacon-flavoured lip balm. 

Another stellar contribution to humanity. I am not worthy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A book a week - revisited

Back in January I wrote a post on CBC affiliate David Lamb's quest to read a book a week for a year. It so inspired me, I pledged to read a book a month and each month choose an author of a different nationality. I'm on track so far, having read (US) Franzen's Freedom in January, the old-school racy (UK) Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover in February and (India/Africa/Canada - not sure how to classify yet)Vassanji's The In-Between World of Vikram Lall in March. I bought Freedom for myself as a Christmas present, in hardcover no less. But the other two books were borrowed. I was deliberating this afternoon on what I should read for April.

My boyfriend suggested Don Quixote, but it's crazy long, or Kafka, but I haven't decided yet whether short stories are allowed. Instead, I've settled on The Solitaire Mystery by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder, who wrote Sophie's World. So far so good. It's about a boy on a road trip through Europe with his semi-alcoholic Dad to find his mother who abandoned them years ago. From a midget at the side of a road somewhere in Germany, he's given a homemade magnifying glass which seems to have magical powers, which he tests as his Dad sips alpine brandy....

David Lamb's doing well, having read 10 books so far. But he hasn't posted for nearly a month. Keep it up David!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day!

Every year I want to play the ultimate prank, a real humdinger. But coming up with pranks that are easy to pull off and aren't too horrible is tough! The best I came up with this year was pouring barley into my boyfriend's shoes. Hee hee!

Check out the fake headlines from Sympatico...

Did anyone play any good pranks?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Must be feeling young at heart today

Joy the baker, who writes one of my favourite blogs, is looking for 30 cool little things to do before she's 30. Post your ideas! What a great way to avoid the freak out!

Try some of her recipes too. Her dulce de leche cupcakes are to die for...

Rueing the real world

I still remember how grown up I felt in university. Not six years old "ooh, you're such a big girl now" grown up, but really grown up. I was living on my own, albeit letting my parents pick up the tab, I was making my own meals, albeit many of them involved powdered cheese and creamers, and I was getting educated, when I made it to class.

This Huffpost College post takes me back. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marvelling at my friends

I saw my good friends on the weekend, the ones that inspired this blog, and remembered how awesome they are. One has a hot sex life and even hotter blog. One has the most gorgeous home that she largely reno'd herself - including laying hardwood floors. One has a new job, new husband and is just generally rocking. I don't know how they do it!

Shout out to the girls!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whatever you're doing right now...

... think about what the people of Japan are doing. I find it hard to comprehend what they're going through until I compare it with the most basic things I'm doing in my day-to-day life. Sleeping through my alarm, going to work, drinking coffee at my desk, chatting with my colleagues, eating lunch in the food court, going home and playing with my son. That's not their reality today.

Let's help them how we can.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Professor Soap - Spirit Quest Journey

I found this great blog Noteworthy or not that has such a cool collection of random postings. Where does betty ann find this stuff? She's a great web trawler and has a wonderfully eclectic sensibility. Check out this cute video.

Let's call it a day with Charlie

I was joking around with a colleague today about whether he was following all the craziness that is Charlie Sheen. Instead of laughing at the goddess stories and tigerblood rants, he said that he felt bad for the guy and thought that the media should leave him alone because he was clearly mentally ill.

Made me feel kind of guilty.

Why do we chew these people up and spit them out? Maybe it's because we're jealous. Maybe it's because when we read the ludicrous stories about them in the press they seem more like cartoon characters than people - and it's OK to drop an anvil on a cartoon character's head. Let's leave the guy alone and wish him well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New face of marketing - one-on-one combat

I attended the Art of Marketing conference today and must say I'm inspired. Here was a group of speakers who are brilliant at what they do and clearly love doing it. They've taken risks and failed to conform and they've managed to achieve great success. There was a lot of silly swearing and fist pumping but their enthusiasm was contagious.

There wasn't necessarily a lot of practical advice I gained, keynotes rarely give it, but I certainly captured a zeitgeist. Today's marketing has to be fast, has to be far-reaching and it has to be personal. Gary Vee said it well, with today's social media platform, it's "one-on-one combat." Pushing out print ads, direct mail letters, sales tool and other paper-based products just doesn't cut it. Now companies should - must! - respond to customers directly and truly care about them if they want to penetrate their market. He made it all seem real, stopped being a talking head, when he promised all 1500 of us in the audience that he would respond personally to us if we Tweeted him @garyvee. Try it out! Tell him I sent you.

Here's a list of the speakers and links to their blogs. Enjoy!

Avinash Kaushik
Gary Vaynerchuk
Jeffrey Hayzlett
Dr. Sheena Iyengar
Guy Kawasaki

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Musn't grumble

I had kind of a crappy day today. Weather sucked, everyone was grouchy, house is hella messy, the usual.

When you ask an English person how their day's going, they often say "musn't grumble." This guy legitimately could have, but didn't. I would have gone to town....

Hollywood publicists - not such a glamorous job after all?

In light of the trainwreck that is Charlie Sheen, I don't know how some Hollywood publicists do it. Sheen's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, who finally severed his relationship with Sheen on Monday, had kept a lid on the actor's antics for many years. That must have been a hella job.

Remember Octomom? I think most people found her unsavoury to say the least. But her publicists quit after receiving multiple death threats.

Are these publicists providing a useful service? Are they parasites? Should we feel sorry for them?

What do you think?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Goal setting - the kiss of death?

No sooner than I set myself a goal, I break it. Aaargh!

A few weeks ago I set myself the goal of posting at least 3 times a week, it's now Friday night and I'm just writing my first! If you could see me now though, banging away, slightly drunk, on a keyboard that's sticking on virtually every key, channeling my inner Frankenstein, you'd give me A for effort. I know you would.

Readers, from Canada to Croatia, keep me honest! Send me butt-kicking comments when I start to slack!

Two posts tomorrow, for sure..

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

US - the home of the brave?

Mother Jones has a post right now that pictorially explains "everything that is wrong with America." This diagram is particularly shocking showing the wealth disparity in the U.S. 90% of families have an average income of only $31 k. These families would have to work for more than 36 years to make as much as the top 1% of American families make in one year - and more than 875 years to make as much as the top 0.01% -!! I did the math.

I do grumble sometimes on this site about my little predicaments, but this diagram reminds me of how fortunate I am. I don't know how the families of virtually the entire nation live on this little. Living in the US isn't cheap. Maybe this is why they call America the home of the brave.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saving for a rainy day...

I didn't know how I'd ever find the time to blog on a regular basis, but my friend over at the best part of my day has kept me motivated. It's an honour for her to be guest posting for me today.

I don’t know how people save for the future. I mean, I understand saving RRSPs and locking away money for our retirement. At our age – who’s not doing that? And the tax break helps as well. But we live in one of the most expensive cities in North America. It’s hard to just get by month to month paying all your fixed bills. Feeding yourself, buying the odd new piece of clothing, having a meal out, buying a friend a birthday gift, going away for a weekend, etc. can all add up and leave you feeling like you don’t have anything extra to actually put away and call savings. Some months are worse than others but it’s tight….

I worry sometimes that one of my appliances will conk out and I’ll need to buy a new one. Where the hell will I get like $2000 for that?? I guess my line of credit, where else? The elusive 8 months emergency fund in the case you suddenly lose your job…who the hell has that? I certainly don’t. I don’t know anyone who has that.

Well, I don’t know if I do…never really comes up in conversation with friends. People can be weird about money. What you make, what your mortgage payments are, how much debt you have – uncomfortable topics over drinks. But I know it’s on all of our minds. And so many people are living beyond their means. I can at least say I don’t have that problem. I know what I can afford. The whole “need versus want” really comes into play.

I guess worrying about it won’t get us anywhere. I try to be responsible each day when it comes to money and how I spend it. I’ll deal with the more expensive times as they come….

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Good Giada!

Giada is definitely one tasty morsel, but how has she built her own cooking empire?

On today's episode of her cooking show, she was having a friend over for lunch and wanted to impress her. She mixed jam into ricotta, added some whipped cream and called it mousse. Really?

In case you need help making an omelette, here’s an enlightening tutorial…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The better way

How do some people manage to drive to work every day? It must be crazy stressful. I'm still a new driver, but I've never had to drive anywhere in a hurry, never had to drive in inclement weather, never had to focus before I even got to work.

The TTC is certainly not perfect but it lets me read my book, listen to my iPod or just stare out the window, which is a great way to start the day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

PB & J-eez

I'm trying to bring my lunch to work more often - to cut costs. But trying to find the time and the energy is tough.

Today, I had approximately 30 seconds and one hand to make my lunch. In the whirligig that is my morning, there is little time for perusal. I went for an old stand by - the PB & J sandwich. It was slightly upscale with flax multigrain bread and fancy French blackberry jam, but I still felt like I was 6 years old when I was eating it at my desk at work.

A few of us got to talking about old-school food choices, and my 40-something friend admitted she still ate KD once in a while.  Another friend said she sometimes ate a bag of Swedish Fish for dinner.

We can't always be adults and eat balanced meals, sometimes you need to fuel the kid in you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it as simple as thinking big?

It's very easy to get bogged down with the excrutiating minutiae of everyday life, particularly at work There are so many menial tasks to complete, so many emails to respond to, so many documents to file, to feel like you're on top of things.

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of my day responding to emails. By the end of the day, sure I felt more organized but what had I accomplished? Fewer emails in my inbox and not much more.

This morning I read this post and felt inspired. Want big things to happen? Make big plans.

Maybe that's how some people are doing it. When you aim high, even if you only get halfway to your goal you're ahead of those who didn't try at all. Failure never looked so sweet.

Anyone got any big plans they'd like to share?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day dramas

Some holidays should come with a handbook.

I always thought there were just two camps on Valentine's day: the lovey-doveys and the bah-humbugs. I've fallen into a third camp, unbeknownst to me until a year ago - the mother f#$%$#%ers.

Before I had a child, Valentine's was simple. I could either embrace the day with my then love/like (who is now my eternal love+like) or trash it wholeheartedly with my girlfriends. Either way it was all about me. Now, I've got the pain in the ass of navigating social mores on behalf of my son. And last year, I got it oh so wrong.

I hadn't thought much about Valentine's until a bunch of Montessori Moms at my office had told me that the common practice was to give Valentines and lootbags to every child in the daycare class and gifts to the teachers too. Every Mom did this, they assured me. This seemed crazy, but what did I know? I was still new at this Mom thing.

It was 24 hours before the big day, which was about 2 weeks too late to prepare for the holiday with any sense of dignity or decorum. I had to come up with a plan, any plan, and fast. I did not want to turn Xavier into a social outcast at the tender age of 15 months.

Kids' Valentines and anything remotely festive had sold out throughout the downtown core. The smart shoppers had bought up what was available long ago. So, I hit the seedy Dollarama by my house and bought pretty much anything that was red or pink - and got creative. I made homemade crudely heart-shaped Valentines late into the night - agonizing over whether to write 'from Xavier', which sounded too casual, or 'love Xavier', which sounded too creepy. I wrapped heart-shaped post-its, crayons and animal crackers into little plastic bags. I curled ribbon, lots of ribbon.  The next morning I chucked a card and gift bag in every kid's cubby, seething with resentment. Later, I called John at work to bring a bag for all of Xavier's gifts from his classmates.

The bag proved to be unnecessary.

I had been the only Mom to hand out any Valentines at all! The Montessori Moms had screwed me! And worst of all, I'd inadvertantly become that Mom - the Martha Mom, the one-upper Mom! The Mom I never wanted to be! Parents were sheepishly thanking me for weeks.

This year I got two boxes of Valentine's cookies for the class - which Xavier proudly carried to his teacher - and called it a day. The only problem? I forgot to buy anything for my own Valentine. Oops!

Happy Valentine's Day John! And happy Valentine's to all my readers everywhere!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gasoline queen

So I got gas today for the second time in my life. I'm 36. I just got my licence a couple of years ago and we just bought a car a couple of months ago.

It never even occurred to me that the pump had to be on the same side as the car's gas tank! So of course there was some crazy manoeuvering in a cramped lot with cars going every which way, and the male drivers in those cars rolling their eyes at me. 

Some people seem to instinctively know things like this without being told - and some people don't. D'oh!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Almost two weeks after the wheels fell off the stroller, the new ones have been ordered, arrived and replaced.

In that time, getting to daycare has been hairy. Flimsy umbrella strollers with bald, wonky tires are not designed for Canadian winters. And walking with a toddler in a snowsuit - particularly a toddler in a snowsuit who likes to poke sticks in snow banks every 10 seconds - is slower than molasses.

You know you're struggling when the crossing guard says to you, "you really need snow tires on that thing." You know it's time you got some when you have to stop yourself from smacking that damn stop sign out of his hand and screaming, "DO YOU NOT THINK I KNOW THAT?!"

Tomorrow, snow, give it your best shot! We're ready!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Special Report: Snow in Toronto

So I crapped out on Wednesday and stayed at home, even though the snow storm was overblown. Just couldn't face it.

You know how low you've sunk when even fellow Torontonians think you're a wimp.

Check out this hilarious Rick Mercer video. Feel the pathos!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mo' love for the ladies!

I was listening to a lot of CBC radio this weekend and I guess because it's awards season they had a piece on a different way to rate movies, called the Bechdel Test.

To pass the test a movie's got to:
  • have at least 2 women in it
    • who talk to each other
      • about something besides a man

ALOT of movies don't pass. I don't know how a multi-million dollar industry fails on such a basic level. I don't know how we let it.

There are some who did make the cut this year, but a lot of them are crap. I'd shoot myself in the head before I saw Eat, Pray, Love.

My rant for the day. It's Monday after all.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A book a week

I was listening to Fresh Air on CBC radio this morning and they had one of their news journalists talk about a challenge he'd set himself - to read a book a week for a year.

I don't know how he's going to do it. I'm an avid reader but I go through dry spells when life gets busy. I probably average a book every month or two. I just finished Freedom - a hefty 500+ pages- that I read every chance I got, on the streetcar, on my lunch hour, curled up in bed. It still took me weeks. He read it in 5 days - and has already read 6 books this year.

While I don't think I could realistically get through a book a week, I'm going to aim to read one a month. I've said it here. I'm committed. And just to make it more interesting, each author for each month will be a different nationality. Some will have to be in translation, I certainly don't have time to learn any languages. Russian novels scare me too.

U.S. is covered. Next country, next book - any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just do it

The 20-minute walk to daycare every morning with my son is something I enjoy. We breathe in the fresh(ish) air, chat away while looking for garbage trucks and school buses and we both get some time alone together before we start our day.

But when it's the middle of January and I'm late for work again, I sometimes forget to enjoy this time. And when a wheel fell off the stroller yesterday, I was mightily pissed off. Normally I would have had a full-on meltdown but I had reached my quota for the week and was bored of freaking out. Instead, with uncharacteristic calm, I tested to see how the stroller would work with five wheels instead of six.

There was a weird clunking sound as the axle scraped through snow and ice and the lone wheel on the right side spun around alarmingly to compensate for its lost twin.

I half expected we'd have to abandon the stroller at the side of the road, but with a bit of extra muscle and manoeuvering we made it!

We got where we needed to go and Xavier was as happy as he always was. And when the wheels stopped propelling us forward, I tipped the stroller back and pushed it chariot-style for a while, which Xavi thought was great. It's amazing what you can make work when you need to.

I gave up trying to be a yummy mummy long ago and our broken stroller ain't no Bugaboo. But in the face of stroller adversity, I was able to make it work. It gave me a confidence in my parenting skills that I hadn't had in a while and renewed my wonder in where they came from. 

As I pushed the shaky stroller through the slush and snow, it reminded me of a mother I met when Xavier was only a few months old. We were at a support group getting our babies weighed and she was visibly anxious that hers was underweight. When the public nurse declared the baby's weight acceptable, the new mother broke into a smile and shouted to him, "We're doing it baby". "We're doing it!" Sometimes that's all you can hope for.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Habit of this and habit of that

I don't seem to be much of a habit-former. This has served me well in some aspects of my life. I was able to smoke socially (read: obnoxiously bum smokes at parties when I was drunk) and never get hooked. But it hasn't served me well in other aspects. In terms of setting out to do something and sticking to it, frankly I suck.

When I started blogging a few months ago I intended to post something every day, then I convinced myself that 3 times a week was acceptable. Now more than a month has passed and nothing!

My friend started blogging around about the same time as me and she's posted virtually every day, sometimes more than once. Respect! Check out her blog here.

Half-formed new year's resolutions have since perished but I'm going to try to make blogging a habit that sticks.

Is anyone else trying to form positive habits? Here are a few others I'm working on:
  • judicious and correct use of eye cream (see tutorial below) 
  • keeping the rinse agent dispenser in the dishwasher topped up
  • eating an adequate but not excessive amount of almonds to keep up my healthy fats
  • more rigorous containerizing
To my fans in Croatia, don't worry blogging's top of the list....