Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I'm a Fashion Catastrophe

Last week I went Christmas shopping. All day. I made appearances at the mall, the streets of Downtown, and various box stores. I wore my new boots and my black coat. I was put together . . . or maybe not so much. I got home and was startled to find this on my sleeve . . .

To be fair, this isn't my first foray into fashion disaster. Yes, there is the usual walk around all day with the sizing strip still attached to the pants trick that happens I think to all of us. But I have to take it a step further.

A couple years ago, I went from one end of the mall to the other looking at various dresses that might work for my daughters graduation. I distinctly remember telling myself that people weren't staring at me - it was just my imagination.  Well, it turns out I'm wrong occasionally. (I KNOW! I was shocked TOO!) They actually WERE staring at me - and for good reason. When I finally went to try a dress on, I discovered my shorts were on inside out - and had been that way since I had arrived.

Last year when we were on vacation, we spent the better part of an afternoon sightseeing in downtown Honolulu. When we returned to the condo, I discovered I'd been wearing my shirt backwards the entire time. It was nice of my family to mention it. On the upside, I probably made a poor mugging target - because someone who can't even dress herself properly likely isn't carrying much money, right?

But my crowning glory had to have been when I was working at the school and had to dress up for the Graduation banquet.  Every so often during the evening I would glance at my sweater and question why the manufacturer would put a button there. Following the banquet, we went out for drinks at a local pub. When I finally returned home later that evening, I discovered that the button wasn't actually a button. No, sadly, it was a Fruit Snack stuck on my lapel. Yup. A fruit snack. Nothing screams 'fashion catastrophe' than a fruit snack stuck to your sweater. I'm sure the graduating students were hoping and praying not to end up like me - an older woman who wears her snacks on her shirt.

I think I need a stylist.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Good Fortune

Tonight we had Chinese Food for dinner. You know what that means. Yup, fortune cookies.

Here's the thing. I always get a crappy fortune. I don't know why. It would seem that there are tons of good ones out there - they just never end up in the cookie I happen to get. Nonetheless, every time I hold out hope that today will be the day - the day I will finally end up with the best fortune of the bunch. Today was no exception.

My daughter opened hers first. It said something to the effect of "Be persistent in pursuing the goals in your life". For her, this means she will fight tooth and nail to get the iPad away from her brothers. Or have a yogurt tube. Depends on the day.

My husband was next. His read "You will have success in a business that you own." Good to know. He'd best get busy on a business plan.

There were two cookies left. Being the martyr, I encouraged my son to pick whichever one he wanted and I would take the one left over.

He opened his cookie and found the following:

Kind of heavy stuff for an 8 year old.

It was my turn. I stared at the cookie, willing it to hide a wonderful fortune within. Finally, I summoned up all my courage and opened it - hoping for words of wisdom to encourage me or tell me I was coming into a lot of money.

Eight. My freaking lucky number is eight. But only for this week. Really. And the streak continues.

Friday, 14 December 2012


As I listen to my daughter singing enthusiastically in my kitchen, I am thankful for her innocence, for her enthusiasm, for her very existence. And my heart is heavy. Because I know that in a State far from where I live, there is a woman (indeed many women) just like me - a mother, a wife, a good person, who will never hear the angelic voice of their child again. She hugged her goodbye this morning, not knowing that there would be no return home later this day. It is a nightmare. She is broken. The pieces will be put back together eventually, but they will never, ever, fit in the same way again. And I weep for her. I weep for her daughter. I weep for Newtown.

I do not understand why. I cannot imagine why. It is senseless. It is horrific. It claws at my heart and makes it bleed, and releases within me an anger that scares me. I want to rail and scream at this man who chose to do this. I want to rip the very fibre of his being from him and wail at his soul, WHY?

I take a step back. I listen to what my heart is telling me. I wonder.

Who knew?

I know somebody did. I guarantee somebody did. Someone always does. It is documented time and time again. There were warnings. There were signs. There were indications that in retrospect will mean much. There are people close to the situation who will live with the guilt of knowing something was going to happen, but were unable, for various reasons, to stop it. I guarantee this 'person' did not just wake up this morning and decide to go on a shooting spree. He'd been thinking about it. For days. Possibly weeks. It was planned. And somebody knew.

And my questions are these. Why, as a society, are we so ill equipped to deal with the red flags? The warning signs? The threats - veiled or otherwise? Is it because we don't know what to do? Because we are so detached from one another that we fail to recognize when someone is falling into crisis? Why do we stand, idly by, and watch - and make no mistake - judge, as someone descends into a madness that defies description? Why do we look at those living with mental illness with disdain or disbelief instead of compassion and understanding?

I look at these questions, and I feel uncomfortable. I can think of times where I've watched and failed to take action because I didn't know what to do. Because I didn't want to get involved. Because I didn't want to believe what was happening was real. I have been complicit. And I know I am not alone. And my heart aches with this realization.

What needs to happen in order for our Mental Health supports to be strengthened? To be structured in a way that will provide the necessary support and assistance when a person is known to be in crisis? What needs to happen for law enforcement and mental health to work together to prevent similar tragedy's from occurring in the future - and let me be clear - this WILL happen again. And again. Until we get it.

What needs to happen within our communities that will enable us to walk with the troubled rather than judge them? When will we stop requiring people to walk around with figurative masks - covering their wounds, hurts, and struggles, so they may in some way shape or form be accepted by others? What do we need to do, as parents - as mentors, to ensure that youth in our community feel safe enough to come forward and ask for help when they so desperately need it? How do we keep them connected?

Yes, we can say that violent video games are the cause. Or certain types of music that glorify rage and killing. We can say that gun control is the answer. We can bemoan the fact that some people are just f'd up. It's a cop out. And a deflection of responsibility.

Cause guess what? Kids play a lot of violent video games - not all of them go on to kill people. 

There are individuals who obsessively listen to music that promotes violence and rage. They don't all go on to kill people.

There are some f'd up people in this world. There is no denying this. How many of them wouldn't be f'd up if we would take the time to help them? If there were appropriate and accessible supports available to them and their families in times of trouble? Instead of being shuffled to this department, and that department, all the while ostracized by their peers and community - what would happen if they were understood and provided with the assistance they so desperately need? Would it make a difference?

What I know is this. There were too many innocent victims today. Too many families torn apart by this senseless tragedy. Children who should be celebrating the upcoming holidays will be trying to make sense of why their friends are dead. Children in schools all over will struggle to understand how something like this could happen. 

Some will persevere and move forward. Others will not. And we need to be concerned.  For the children and families in Newtown. For the children and families in our own communities. Because it can happen here, too.

There have been enough casualties already - as a community, let us gather our children close. Let us listen. Let us be open. Let us be able and willing to help when they ask. Let us look deep into their eyes and be open to what we see. If we see pain, let us talk about it. If we see fear, let us stand protect them. If we see a child's  constant failure to fit in, to be accepted - let us step up to the plate and be a mentor. A friend. Someone who cares. Someone who will keep them safe. And if we can't, let us take the time to find someone who can. 

It starts with us. 

On behalf of my family, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the community of Newtown, and the hundreds of families affected by today's violence. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer

I am trying to clean my house today. With two weapons of mass destruction going off like loose cannons, it makes it hard. Add to that a nasty cold that's giving me a good a$$ kicking, the task becomes nearly impossible.

In desperation, I decide to bribe take the kids to the Dollar Store to pick out a new coloring book that will hopefully occupy them long enough for me to get at least one smallish section of the house complete.

We were greeted with the delightful sounds of Christmas Carols wafting through the street when we got out of the car. The kids were happy and excited, smiling and dancing as we walked into the store. My daughter marvelled at just how wonderful everything smelled. I could only smell exhaust fumes, but to each their own.

We immediately proceeded to the colouring aisle. My daughter found something very quickly. My son - well, he had a harder time making up his mind than I do when I'm PMSing. He wandered the aisle up and down - and then I made my fatal mistake. I allowed him to go look in the toy aisle. Yes, you're right - I should know better. I'm blaming the cold meds, even though I haven't taken any.

From there we proceeded to have a rather heated debate about why I would not buy him handcuffs. I finally dragged him back to the Art aisle and told him he had one minute to pick something otherwise he would be going home with nothing. He continued to whine, so I took our purchases to the front and began to pay.

And then, a most wonderful thing happened.

He started singing a very loud Christmas Carol. Granted, he took some creative license with the words ("I want handcuffs", "I'll be good", "I won't lock you up", "I don't want to colour", "I can't stay in the lines"), and to be honest, the tune was a little on the screachy side - but hey, we can't all the next great vocal talent, can we?

It was the stage show that really knocked your socks off though. He started jumping up and down in time with the beat of his song, then laid on the floor and performed the flail like nobody's business. For a little extra drama, he tried to pants me twice, but both times was denied the prize. Not satisfied with just the Dollar Store audience, he continued to twist and flail out the door and onto the sidewalks of Blackfalds - rolling and groaning all over the square, in the frosty air.

Something tells me I should be investing in coal stock right about now . . .

Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving . . . follow me on Twitter    

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Kids Are Employable!!!

I happened across this gem last night and can hardly contain my excitement.

First - We are moving to China!

Second - Mike and I will never need to work again. It just so happens that we have three 'experts' in the house - and by experts I mean they can sniff one out before it even happens!  It's an easy $150K per year. If we bring our oldest along, we can enhance our lifestyle even more!  Who knew having kids with sensitive sniffers would pay off so royally?

I'm off to write resumes. Have a great day peeps!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Best Decorated Tree EVER

Last year we didn't put up any Christmas decorations as we were on a family holiday in Hawaii. This year, when I opened up the attic to get out the trees et al, I discovered there must have been quite the party going on over the past couple of years because our trees had multiplied. Or I'd simply forgotten that we have an abundance of trees. No matter.

I hauled the big tree down to the main floor, along with the new tree to go in the basement. The three smaller trees were left behind for the moment while we focused on decorating the big ones. It took a few hours, and the kids undecorated and redecorated a couple times, but eventually, the trees were Christmas ready.

By the end of the day we were all tired, and we decided to leave the smaller trees until the next day.

The next morning, Mike and I were surprised to discover that the kids hadn't woken us up at their usual 6 a.m. By now it was 8:30 - and they were still quiet. We crept upstairs, fearful of what might be going on. This is what we discovered:

Three beautifully decorated and personalized trees. My Santa Sleigh silk flower arrangement had been decimated in the process; however at least it had been put to good use instead of strewn all over the yard.

Flash forward a couple of weeks. Today, I went upstairs to make the beds and discovered that the boys had redecorated their tree. I'm not sure it is going to win any awards, but it certainly is one of the most bizarre creative trees I have ever seen.

Yup, dirty socks. It's either a decorating statement or a not so subtle reminder that it's time to do laundry. I think their Dad put them up to it ;)