Thursday, June 27, 2013

P is for Photos

You thought more posts were getting less and less wordy?

The three of us in a kaleidoscope

lacrosse in small-town Alberta

Can't decide what shoes to wear

Original art by my friend's daughter, Kate

My kitchen without a stove

Affiliating to the Junior team

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

O is for Oragami

You’ve probably noticed that for the last few days, I’ve been kinda phoning it in. It’s cause of the boys. They’re home.  For summer. All the time. They never leave. And the only time they get up from the couch is to walk past me and ask what I’m writing and what I’m doing and looking over my shoulder and though I’m somewhat sure that they’ve found my blog, I’m certainly not advertising it if they haven’t. Anyway, hopefully soon they’ll both have jobs and I’ll have my space back to babble on and on like I do.


I don’t know what it is about little bits of paper but I love folding them. My origami skills are pretty basic so it gets pretty boring making the same things all the time, though. I found a website that shows me how to fold more stuff ( and sometimes I spend far too much time there.


Going to restaurants with me is a treat. Straw and chopstick holders become roses, coasters become boats, paper placemats (sometimes I don’t go to fancy restaurants) become cootie catchers or boxes. If there’s a lull in the conversation, you can just watch me fiddle with tiny bits of paper.


My cousin hates tiny bits of paper. She thinks their dirty. Poor girl had to spend a week in Boston watching me fold gum wrappers into birds.


Why do I do it? What’s it good for? I don’t know and nothing really. But I like it and it gives me something to do sometimes when my hands are bored.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

N is for Netflix

About six months ago, I finally buckled and we got Netflix. Previously to that, our local carrier offered us some movie channels for only $6 a month. Sounded good so we got them and watched a few movies and then suddenly all of the movies on those channels became really lame. Like the Hallmark movies the W channel plays at Christmas kind of lame. I’m not sure what happened there, but I’m guessing it had to do with licensing and other legal-sounding things. But lame is lame so I cancelled them and got Netflix.


I’m a TV watcher. So are my kids. I will never be one of those people standing up there on my soapbox talking about how I rarely watch TV or how I don’t even own a TV. Cause I do own (more than) one and I watch them. Particularly in the evening when I’m settling in and decompressing from my day.


Netflix has been the greatest thing to ever happen to our TV. I’m discovering shows I’ve never even heard of and others that I’ve always thought I might like but didn’t watch from the beginning so it was too late to start.


Right now, because the boys are now on summer holidays, they are watching Top Gear. It’s a British show with these guys that like cars. And they drive them around. I may not be selling this show very well but only because I think it’s stupid. Some shows are just boy shows.


My favourite show so far has been The United States of Tara. It’s about this lady living in the suburbs with her husband and kids…but she has multiple personalities. It is fascinating, not just because she is different than the rest of us but because the actress that plays her plays all these personalities really well. I definitely recommend this one.


Lately I have been watching Being Erica. I started watching this one weekly on TV when it first came out and really enjoyed it, but for some reason didn’t watch the second season. Boy, did I miss out. Yet another recommendation.


The boys and I have been watching Arrested Development together. I’ve seen the first three seasons but it was a while ago and I’m enjoying sharing it with the boys. I cannot wait to get to the new season. And so I leave you with:



Monday, June 24, 2013

M is for Mythology

I took a class in college about Greek Mythology. It was amazing class, not just because the material was interesting but also because…let me back up.


There was this kid in my class. He was youngish, like right out of high school. Turns out he’d actually been homeschooled but that isn’t the point. He was young and awkward and people really wanted to be nice to him but, and I can’t stress this enough, this kid was the most annoying person in the history of time. He was boring and never stopped talking which would have been fine if he had anything interesting to say. When a teacher asked if there were any questions, he always did. And they were stupid questions. Like he’d learned somewhere that if someone asks if you have questions, you’d better find a fucking question to ask. And in his quest to sound intelligent, he often interrupted whomever else was speaking with his own thoughts. It was hard to be nice is what I’m saying.


Anyway, the instructor in Mythology would walk into class, turn out the lights, throw on the projector, talk for the entire class while showing the appropriate slides then leave. She explained everything she needed to explain and left. She never asked if anyone had questions. She never gave him a chance to be annoying. I think he tried once, in the beginning, to engage the teacher in his own conversation but she shut him down. And it was AWESOME!

Friday, June 21, 2013

L is for Letters to Mom, Lost, Lacrosse, Last Names, and Lamp

Remember Friday Fives? And then remember when I was going to bring back Friday Fives but then I posted once and you didn’t hear from me again for a couple of months. Well, I’m not bringing it back or promising anything, but it is Friday and I have five things to say is all I’m saying.


1. Letters to Mom

As discussed previously, Twin B has been practicing his left-handed writing in the Letters to Mom notebook. His writing has gotten a lot better in the last three weeks; it’s impressive really. His left-handed writing is better than many people’s dominant-hand writing (I may or may not be talking directly to Malison here.)


I have learned other things about Twin B over this process too. I’ve learned that he is unflaggingly logical. I’ll ask him questions like if he got to choose an alternate time in history to live, when would it be or where do you see yourself in ten years and he cannot answer. Something in his brain will not let him consider using his imagination to pretend an alternate life. It’s an interesting observation. I’ve also learned that he really dislikes people hurting each other, he’d rather have seasons than one long summer, and he wouldn’t change any action that he’s ever made because he doesn’t have any regrets. Oh, and when I asked him what band he would most like to be the singer for he said “Nirvana, cause they could use one.” Dark humour: the Starlight family way.


2. Lost

I am a champion at getting lost. I could be driving somewhere I’ve driven to a million times before, accidentally take a wrong turn, and end up in a different city. My kids can count on one hand how many times they’ve driven with me that didn’t include an illegal u-turn. I’ve always tried to sell it as an adventure.


And I think I’ve done my kids favour. Most people, when they’re lost, get really stressed and snappy. You can only talk to them in a certain tone of voice (softly but not condescendingly) and only if you’re telling them the right directions otherwise you should just shut the fuck up. I’ve taken the stress out of getting lost. BECAUSE WE’RE NOT STILL LOST. Every single time we’ve taken a wrong turn or driven to an opposite address or couldn’t find the entrance to the parking lot has ended up with us finding our way and then later getting home safely. They know this because they’ve lived it and it has made them better drivers (despite all the illegal u-turns).


Twin B just went to pick up a friend for the first time. She told him she lived behind the 7-Eleven and so that’s where he went. There are four 7-Elevens on that street (it’s a long street, but still a little excessive). He called telling me where he was and the address he was trying to get to and I gave him directions. Then he called again when he took a wrong turn after that. He sounded weary, like he was looking forward to getting to his destination at some point today, but he did not sound stressed.


You’re welcome boys.


3. Lacrosse

It is the time of the year when I cannot wait for this sport to end. I’m tired of showing up at every practice to complaining and being ignored. I’m tired of the inevitable drama that always surrounds a group of parents working towards a common goal. And I’m tired of holding off on making any plans before I know the practice and game schedule. We are in the final stretch; playoffs start this weekend and then a tournament on the Canada Day long weekend. And then that month without sports can begin!


4. Last Names

My boys have a different last name than I do. I used to have their last name but changed it back to my maiden name when I was in school so my degree would use my name, not my ex-husband’s. Occasionally people, usually my kids’ friends, will call me Mrs. X and mostly I just answer to it because it’s easier. But my kids and their friends that know better have a huge problem with this and will tell that kid my last name but that they should call me [Lily] or Your Highness. I have trained those kids well.


They also tell people I’m 27.


5. Lamp



Stay classy, San Francisco

Thursday, June 20, 2013

K is for Kick in the Ass

Summer is finally here. So far the weather hasn’t really participated in the summerish of it all but it can’t stay rainy and humid for months at a time, can it? Summer is marked by the boys being done school. And they’ve finished their last exams and they’re done. Grade 10 is over. Neither of them had their best year academically, but they both enjoyed the new school and neither one dreads going back after a couple of month’s rest.


This year they’re considering getting jobs. But the thing is that neither has ever applied for a job and they’re both a bit nervous to start the process. So they are considering and thinking about it and really mulling it over.


But today their mom said “Enough!” And I personally drove Twin B to the movie theatre and made him practice what he was going to say and told him that the manager will understand that he’s nervous and not think he’s a bumbling idiot and told him to get in there and just do it. Go ask for that application form. And he took a big breath. And he got out of the car. And you could tell as he was walking up to the entrance that his heart was beating a mile and minute. And he reached for the door and pulled. And it was locked. Dammit.


Turns out he can just apply online anyway. Which he will do later today.


As for Twin A: he’s a little tougher. Because he does need money; they have a vehicle after all. And besides paying for gas they also have to pay for where that vehicle takes them…to 7-Eleven for Slurpees, to McDonald’s for grease, to Dairy Queen for ice cream. But Twin A gets one month every year where he is not immersed in a sport. He goes and goes and goes all year and is not so sure about having to spend that one month going some more. But he’s decided if he can get a job that has a lot of flexibility then maybe he could commit to that. So he went on a fast food website to apply and it said something about a career at this fast food place and he gasped “I don’t want a career there!” That’s ok Twin A, you can just have a summer job there.


Soon I will have a couple of employed people living in this house. I hope it’s before my birthday.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

J is for Jingle Jams

It’s game time! I’m going to set my iTunes to shuffle and tell you about the first five songs that come up. (J is a tough one you guys. I just have nothing to say about jogging or jungles so this is what you’re stuck with. You certainly don’t have to read it if you don’t want. Obviously it’s up to you. But maybe you’ll find a new favourite song so maybe you just give it a chance for once. Geez.)


1. We are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

We here in the Starlight family like T. Swift. We like to sing along with all her songs. On our most recent trip to San Francisco for a lacrosse tournament, we spent most of our time with a couple of other families. One of the families brought their 20-year-old daughter who is on summer break from University. One day she turns to me and says “Are you the kind of family that just burst into song at random moments?” Yes, yes we are. I like that about us.


2. Mull of Kintyre by Wings

X loved bagpipes. So do I; my dad used to play them in a marching band. My parents hired a piper to pipe us back up the aisle at our wedding; X cried. When the boys were small and couldn’t get back to sleep, this was his go-to song to sing to them. I don’t always think nice things or have good memories when it comes to X, but he was mostly a good person who loved his kids.


3. Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

In recent years, I have tended toward a more mellow sound for the most part. I also really like to sing along with this song. The song itself is only 17 lines long and six of those are “All we can do is keep breathing” so the memorization of the words didn’t take too terribly long. Plus it reminds me that all we can do is keep breathing, though you really have to read between the lines to find that message.


4. Hurricane by Lisa Loeb

When I was a teenager I listened to a lot of The Cure and The Smiths. I also had my head half-shaved. (It was the 80s though, so one half was shaved and the other half was backcombed and sprayed as big as I could get it.) I tried to give off the illusion that I lived an alternative lifestyle because I didn’t want to look and be like every single other girl in the entire school. It worked, sometimes too well as people often found me intimidating. Behind closed doors, I also had a collection of Corey Hart, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Menudo, Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, LL Cool J, Prince, Twisted Sister, and Def Leppard. I was all over the place.

But Lisa Loeb, her music reminds me of my shaved head and my first boyfriend and my first job and having Mr. Sub every day at lunch and learning to drive and talking on the phone for hours to people I just saw and playing basketball with my brother in the backyard and baggy pants with cinched ankles and coloured mascara.


5. Levitate by Hadouken!

Sometimes I like my music to be loud and fast. There is a drum solo in this song that I find impossible not to take my hands off the steering wheel to air drum.


Did I cheat? Did I just press forward until I found a song I liked? Yep. Sure did. I broke the rules to my own game. It’s only fair though, because a lot of the music on my iTunes is the boys’ music. I have Disney and the Spongebob Squarepants movie soundtrack from when they were young and all kinds of bands I’ve never even heard of from more recently. Children of Bodom? What the hell is that? Does Avenged Sevenfold sound like a band I would listen to? How about Black Veil Brides? My parents banned metal from my house when I was young; I obviously have not done the same.


There is no natural end to this post. It just keeps going on and on. Sorry.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I is for Inkletting

I took a Creative Writing course in college. My teacher was very artsy and unorganised. She’d come into class everyday with three big bags and a suitcase and she would open all of them and just dump everything on the table. I remember that she wore flowy clothes and had frizzy hair and spoke quickly and was totally the cliché of a middle-aged, female fiction writer. Ironically enough because, of course, she hated clichés like the plague.


I liked her though. She was a good teacher (even though she could never find what she was looking for). She had this one exercise called Inkletting. It’s just free writing. Just writing whatever thought hits you for a given period of time. There’s no subject or right thing to write about; it’s just an exercise to kickstart your brain into writing.


And so, on that note, welcome to the randomness of my brain:


I have nothing to say. Of course you have nothing to say, you’re trying too hard. I’m not sure this is supposed to be a conversation with myself. Then stop talking to me. I’m not talking to you; I’m thinking quietly in my brain. Stop it you two; you’re not doing this right. I just said there was no right way to do it. No, you said there’s no right thing to write about. Same thing. Nuh-uh. Yuh-huh.


Oops. Starting again:


Something is hitting my window. It doesn’t sound like a bird. It sounds like a large bug. I wonder how big a baby hummingbird is. I wonder if it’s bigger than a bee. What if I’ve swatted a killed one? Why is that worse than swatting a killing a bug? Cause bugs bug me. To be fair though, so do birds. It’s all thanks to Fred the Dive Bombing Parrot. I really hated that bird. And now I take it out on all other birds. I rudely turn up my nose at them often. Yuck, no more thinking about birds…or bugs.


Starting yet again:


Twin A and his bushy-haired friend are studying for their science final at my kitchen table. And Giles is wandering around eating lint and stuff. Concentrating is hard. I’ve pretty much given up on the work I’m supposed to be doing. It’s not due until tomorrow anyway. I’ll do it then. Plus I have to get ready for lunch. I love lunch. Breakfast always happens too early and dinner has a lot of pressure time-wise surrounding it but lunch is easy. It can take an hour or it can take all afternoon and it’s relaxed and mostly yummy. Yay lunch! The winner of the meals!


Monday, June 17, 2013

H is for Happy

I read quite a few blogs and I’ve found a very obvious similarity amongst many of the writers: they suffer from depression. Often, horrible, debilitating depression that leaves them lying on the couch for days, unshowered and unfed. And I totally feel for them.

I was depressed once. I was at work one day and suddenly I started crying and I couldn’t stop. People kept asking what was wrong and I’d sob, “I don’t know.” Work sent me home and X kept asking what was wrong and was it anything he’d done and I snapped at him with “why does it always have to be about you?” which was totally unfair but I really just wanted him to shut the hell up. And I cried and cried and cried for weeks and weeks.

Eventually, X convinced me to go to the doctor and she told me I was depressed and gave me some drugs. I took the drugs and went from crying to nothing. I felt nothing. I would watch ER (that’s how long ago this was), a show that demanded some feeling, but I’d feel nothing. Friends would tell me of their recent engagement or pregnancy and I’d feel nothing. I’d hear of other friends being in the hospital with spreading cancer and I’d feel nothing. It was awful; I’d take the crying compared to that anytime. So back to the doctor where she changed the prescription and it worked. I went off it when I got pregnant a few months later and since then I’ve been fine.

Some pretty crappy stuff has happened since then and I’ve totally felt unhappy and helpless but I know there’s a reason for these feelings and it’s not random like it was before. So, I feel for those bloggers and those friends that suffer from depression…

And sometimes I feel guilty (maybe guilty is not the right word, but it's a complicated feeling whatever it is) because it’s unfair that these people can’t feel all the happiness and peace that I feel. I’m not judging or saying you’re doing it wrong, I’m just talking about my own experience.

I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to actually feel joy. I used to, in times of happiness, start preparing myself for whatever bad thing I knew was coming. I’d try not to put my joy into words for fear of jinxing it and I’d catalogue all the horrible things that were bound to happen and start feeling those feelings so I wouldn’t be shocked later on.

Bad things are going to happen. There are going to be deaths and divorces and kids doing stupid things and toe-stubbings. And when I hear of those things or experience them for myself, I’ll have all kinds of feelings regarding them, but right now I feel happy. I love my life. I love my kids and my friends and my job and all the people and things and places I surround myself with. I have clothing and shelter and (far too much) food and enough of all Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on every level of the pyramid. I’m good.
I'm not afraid of "jinxing" how great my life is right now because I know that it can't stay like this forever. Eventually, some unhappy thing is going to happen, and I hope I handle it with strength and grace, but until then I'm enjoying the crap out of my joy. So I’m going to feel happy and peace and hope that all those depressed bloggers and friends are able to someday get to this place.

Friday, June 14, 2013

G is for Goals

Since the beginning of the month, I have accomplished a lot of stuff around here.


Twin B and I organized their books (this is the pile that goes to an inner city school library)


I’ve organized all of my yarn. I keep telling myself that I can’t buy more until this is all gone…until I see all the pretty yarn at the store and that resolution goes right out the window.


I organized these drawers. They now hold paper and unfinished knitting projects and pens and scrapbooking stuff. They held all that stuff before but in a less organized fashion.

I finished the Disneyland 2009 scrapbook. The problem with scrapbooking is that once I started displaying my pictures in that fashion, I couldn’t not do that. Unfortunately, I prefer doing other stuff now so the scrapbooking hardly ever gets done. You have to admit though, it looks nicer than a bunch of pictures in a box or uploading 473 pictures of your weekend trip to Saskatchewan on facebook. (Note: if you’re the kind of person that does this: please stop.)


I cleaned my tub. I hate cleaning my tub. It doesn’t get done often (don’t judge.)


And I recovered my old, ugly couch and made some cushions.


I hope I can find stuff to do for the second half of the month.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

F is for Fabric

I have this addiction to fabric where I can’t go into a store that sells it and not walk out with an armful of product. I have stacks and stacks of fabric waiting to be made into something. Often, though, buying it is much more fun than actually turning it into anything.


Today I am going to turn some fabric into pillow cases. It’ll be fun!


I, of course, will be making up my own pattern and whatnot because sometimes following the rules is boring.


Step 1 – Pick out thread to match my project and wind it through the machine. Forget how to thread the bobbin because it’s been a really long time since I’ve used my sewing machine despite the fact that it’s been sitting on the desk for at least two years. Try just doing it without thinking about it. It works. Phew.


Step 2 – Decide that I’d like stripes on my pillows. Start ripping the fabric into strips to sew together. Start sewing together. Realize I’ve sewed a wrong side to a right side instead of right sides together and take out all the stitches.

Step 3 – Sew a bunch more stripes together and iron the seams.


Step 4 – Sew the boring back side on. Realize that I have again sewn a right side to a wrong side. Take out all the stitches and try again.


Step 5 – Realize that I didn’t match up any of the tree branches on the stripey front side. Decide that I don’t really care.


Step 6 – Start sewing shit together in hopes that at some point this will look like a pillow. Make a few wrong stitches but somehow manage to make it look like a pillow cover anyway.


Step 7 – Stuff pillow in newly made case and wonder if I can get away with only having one pillow in the room because it took far too long (two hours!) to make. Leave all the fabric and paraphernalia out in hopes that it inspires me to make the other three.


Step 8 – Look up instructions to see if this could take less time if I followed someone else’s work.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

E is for Emperor

Twin A was driving his bushy-haired friend around one evening going from party to party. The friend was in charge of texting me with their plans.


Him: We are at Dylan’s house.

Me: Thanks. Keep me updated.

Him: Yes ma’am


Later they go to Rachel’s and when it’s Twin A’s curfew, the bushy-haired friend texts to say:


Him: Twin A is dropping me back off at Dylan’s then heading home.

Me: Thanks pal. See you tomorrow.

Him: Yes ma’am.


Him: So we showed up and cops are at Dylan’s. Yikes! So your awesome son is driving me home.

Me: Okay. Then straight home please.

Him: Yes ma’am

Me: Stop “ma’aming” me. Geez.

Him: Yes my Liege.

Me: That’s better. Also “Your Majesty” works.

Him: What about Luscious Hummingbird of Beauty?

Me: I’m not usually a fan of birds, but I’ll make an exception in this case.



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

D is for Disorder

I’ve noticed recently that the word "disorder" can cover a plethora of things. I get that there are real disorders and they can be very serious, but mostly, I’ve noticed, we all make up disorders as excuses for why we behave in a certain way.


A kid on Twin A’s lacrosse team was trying to get out of conditioning the other day by making up all of these “disorders” that he has. His first mistake was telling me that he had a “compulsive liar disorder.” It made it very hard to believe all of the other disorders he came up with:

·       Muscle interruption disorder where his muscles aren’t attached to each other so it makes it hard to run.

·       Explosive vomiting disorder where if he runs too hard he throws up.

·       Left side-right side brain disorder where his brain tells him the wrong side of his body from the actual instructions and it’s very confusing and maybe he should be excused from stretching.


Yesterday I excused him from conditioning because he had done a school triathlon in the afternoon and fell off his bike (triathlon coordination disorder) and then when they were playing catch against a wall with their lacrosse sticks while waiting for conditioning to start, he threw the ball at the wall and it came back and hit him in the private area (unprotected testicle disorder).  I figured he had had enough.


It did get me thinking, though, about my own disorders.


1. I suffer from lazy disorder. I am not a motivated person. I get things done if they need to be done but only at the last minute and never if I don’t have a deadline. I tend to surround myself with go-getters for some reason: people who get stuff done, people who set goals and accomplish them, people who have a deadline but finish their work long before that deadline comes. Those people are crazy.


2. I have perfectionist disorder. I like for everything to be in its place. I admire the people who let their kids play with Lego and all those other toys that have a million little pieces that need to be cleaned up. I think it’s fascinating that people will come into their homes and throw their keys in a different place every day and then spend time later searching for them. I’m a little jealous of those people who can walk right past that picture frame that’s been moved a quarter of an inch to the right and not have to fix it.


The thing is, it’s hard to get anything done. A perfectionist sees the work involved in any project and then gets too overwhelmed to accomplish it. Painting a room can take weeks—first you have to move all the furniture, then wash the walls, remove anything that can be removed from the walls, tape anything that can’t be moved, notice that the tape ripped vertically instead of horizontally, stop to even out the tape, consider whether you are going to paint the closet door frame or leave it white because it is, after all, a frame and shouldn’t that look different than the rest of the wall or should it actually blend in, do some research to see what the rest of the Internet thinks, wonder if now might be a good time to change all the outlet covers, and maybe get a new light switch cover, check Pintrest and Etsy to find some neat ideas, wonder if that’s really the look you want to go for or if it seems too…matchy-matchy and is that really the impression you want to give off…and this doesn’t even discuss the choosing of the paint colour in the first place.


Whereas a non-perfectionist thinks: “This room needs to be painted.” Paints room.


3. So, how then, between lazy disorder and perfectionist disorder do I get anything done ever? I like to call it Massive Procrastination Disorder. Writing this post is something I’d like to get done but doesn’t have any clear deadline. Therefore, so far, while writing, I have taken a few breaks to: fold laundry, go for a run, plan dinner, clean the kitchen, have a shower, organize my bookshelf, make lunch plans. And the funny thing is that I’m writing this post to procrastinate actually doing my real live work.  


It’s a complicated system guys; not everyone can accomplish as much as I do suffering from all these disorders. I’m tough. I’ll soldier through. Please don’t let your compassion for my problems ruin the rest of your day.  


Monday, June 10, 2013

C is for Chart

Twin A is a very motivated person. He wakes up in the morning (long before he needs to) all by himself with no prompting from me. He goes off to school and does his work and brings home his homework and gets it done and prepares for whatever activity he will be participating in that evening. He takes care of his diabetes without any input from me, he does his laundry when it needs to be done, and he turns out his light when he feels tired. He’s like a machine, a very happy, cute, self-sufficient machine.


Twin B is not. Twin B takes after his mama. He won’t get up unless I tell him to, he’ll do his homework but only if he feels like it (thank god he tests well), he sets up camp in his room and watches videos on his laptop until I tell him to get ready for whatever activity he needs to participate in. His laundry gets done when he’s down to too-short track pants and that t-shirt that he hates and he only takes his medication after I ask him too.  He’s like a cliché of a teenager, a very funny, cute, energy-conserving (aka lazy) teenager.


A few years ago, Malison took a course in Sports Psychology. She learned that different people are motivated by different things. Some people need a reward at the end, some people are self-motivated, and some people need to see progress as they work towards their goals. I am one of the latter. I did a 30-day challenge for yoga and went for 30 days because every day I got a sticker on a chart. Once I got the first sticker I needed to complete the chart because any holes would look messy. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just is, ok? Geez.


This month, I decided Twin B should have a chart. He would pick three goals and every day he would get three stickers. It’s an experiment to see if he is motivated the same way I am. He is. And he decided that if he is doing this chart thing than I would have to too.


Twin B’s goals include:

Eight minutes a day writing with his left hand. He feels that when he’s drumming his right hand is doing exactly what he tells it to while his left hand just flops around. He’s decided that if he practices writing with his left hand then he’ll have more control over it. Nobody needs mention that there is a difference between fine and gross motor skills because the way he’s decided to practice is to write in Letters to Mom.


Twenty minutes of studying Social every day. Exams are coming up so this is a great goal. A few days after we made the charts, he realized that after exams there is still half a month left. I told him that he could still study Social well into summer vacation, but he heartily disagreed. He’ll think of something to replace that goal after his exam.


Random chores is the last goal. Some of his chores aren’t so random like garbage and lawn care, but I don’t really care because, for the first time ever, he’s not complaining about doing them. And he’s excited about doing other chores too, like organizing his bookshelf and closet, grocery shopping, and washing their car.


I’m finding that Twin B is a little more present in his life for the last week. That doesn’t mean that he’s stopped hiding in his room with his laptop, but he’s conscious about getting his stickers and plans ahead and it’s fascinating to watch. Every day we have a little contest on who can get all their stickers first (which I totally kick ass at, but I might be cheating a little by being at home while he’s at school).


Fingers crossed that this continues!

Friday, June 7, 2013

B is for Banff

Every year (except one in the last 11 years), BFF and I go to Banff for May Long Weekend. Originally, we went there for a friend’s, let’s call her Red, 30th birthday. Red and some of her other friends and family got there on the Friday and partied very hard, then they took part in what’s called the Slush Cup (which has something to do with skiing at Sunshine on the hill’s last open weekend. We don’t participate because it would get in the way of our plans to nap), so when we got there on Saturday, Red and friends were ready to be mellow. We, however, were not.


This weekend was the first weekend I’d been apart from the boys since X and I split up. I was 29, single, and away from home and responsibility. I was not interested in having a barbeque in someone’s condo. We were there for one night and we were going to sow some oats.


Oh boy, did some oats get sown. We drank, we partied, we met new people, we carried on until all hours. To be perfectly truthful, we did not even make it back to our hotel that night. We went out for dinner, we went to a couple of pubs, and we even went to an actual nightclub. We somehow managed to run into a bunch of guys from our hometown who were on a weekend-long stag. And so we continued to party with them until all hours. And, golly, we had fun!


The next year looked similar. This time we took Red with us and at one point she ended up in an abandoned shopping cart with some guy racing her down the street.


As the years went on we started to skip the nightclub and spend more time at the pubs meeting people and conducting social experiments. Sometimes we’d take little plastic toys (like army men) with us and leave them in odd places. One time we pretended we needed cue-cards in order to talk to men (“Hello” make eye contact, “my name is Alice.” Smile). We were going to pretend we were on a stagette once, but there was only two of us and we thought that would look slightly pathetic.


And we can look back at the people we were and giggle at what good times we had. But now we manage to make it back to our own hotel every single night. And the partying aspect doesn’t hold the same draw that it once did. We much prefer nice wine and fancy dinners to pub food and sugary coolers.


But, even still, I’m not ready to call it a day. I’m not ready to settle down and just be mellow and old. Luckily, after a lovely and relaxing weekend with my BFF, filled with hiking and napping and wine and SO MUCH food, I can come home. To the place where I share the same sense of humour with a couple of sixteen-year-olds. Where, even though I’m their mom and they have total respect for that, we can practice our secret handshakes and giggle together every time someone says “duty” and wrestle around on the living room floor and imitate the characters from Saturday Night Live. Where I’m lucky enough not to have to act my age.


To sum up: BFF and I have fun wherever we go and whatever we do. And it’s always nice to come home.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

A is for Animals

Hi everyone. Let’s just pretend you didn’t notice that I haven’t blogged for a couple of months and I won’t explain why. Cause it’s not very interesting and I don’t want to bore you. Here’s what I’m going to try though: I’m going to alphabet blog. Do you like how I say that like it’s a thing? I have no idea if it’s a thing but that’s what I’m doing. First up: Animals.


I’m sure it’s not secret to any of you that I’m not a fan of animals. They smell, they require attention, and even a five-pound dog can take up an entire king-size bed. She’s just a baby here, but trust me, she grows into a monstrous and lethal combination of an almost-five-pound bundle of neediness and cute.


The boys, then, have had to be creative when it comes to finding non-human friends. Stuffed animals have always had names and personalities. Our vehicles have names and personalities. Our vacuum cleaner has a name and a personality (Giles reminds me a lot of my brother when he was a kid. He’d always crawl into the oddest places and get stuck. My entire childhood is punctuated by my brother’s muffled voice: “Mo-om, I’m stu-uck.”). 
Second time today. Maybe stay out from under there.


Twin A found a new pet the other day. This is Steven. He spent the night sleeping on my couch and then after saying “Top of the morning to ya” in a perfect Irish accent, disappeared. I haven’t seen him since (making him the best pet ever)…I hope Giles doesn’t know anything about that.

One more thing about animals: Twin B can be a little…stubborn in his beliefs. If he KNOWS something to be true, then there is no changing his mind about it. Calamari is going to taste disgusting no matter how many times he hasn’t tried it, the book Angela’s Ashes is about some demon kid burning a girl named Angela cause that’s what it looks like from the cover, and for some reason, fish are not animals.


We used to play this game in restaurants while waiting for our food where one of us would choose a Disney animated character and the other two would have to guess who it was (20 questions with a theme). Is it male? Is he in a princess movie? Is she the main character? Is he an animal? Toy? God? Monster? Car? The game becomes more difficult when you realize that Nemo, Cleo, and Flounder are not considered animals. Geesh.