I am posting everyday in 2011….


 

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting now.  I will be posting on this blog once a day for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Katherine

See You On The Flipside


an old post card

Image via Wikipedia

Just a quick post today wishing all of you in the blogging world a Happy New Year.

For many people I know 2010 was a time of growth and change, for me it was a little more stuck in limbo… there was a lot of change, new beginnings, growth, and endings. There was much happiness, with the birth of my daughter, and a few tears, as there always is with change. There was pain, and there was pleasure, but most importantly there was acceptance, and realization that life doesn’t always go as planned.

For 2011 I have high hopes, I plan to see more of the positive that life has to offer, I plan to write more, and learn about myself, share myself, and grow through that writing. I plan to laugh more, live more, and love more. I plan to enjoy life and get to know myself.

So to all of my friends out there in the blogging community, where ever you may be in the world I wish you all the best on your journey through 2011 and I hope all your dreams and goals come true.

Live, love, laugh and most of all learn.

Happy New Year Everyone…. see you on the flipside!

I Resolve To…..


Dictionary.com defines the word Resolution as;

– the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about my resolutions this year. Usually I stick to the same basic ideas;
  1. Spend more time with my kids, family, and friends
  2. Get organized
  3. Write More/Write Better
  4. Quit smoking

But this year these don’t seem to cut it, they don’t inspire me to change the way my life is, which (I won’t lie) is a situation that desperately needs a change! I thought of hundreds of resolutions, I wrote and re-wrote list after list, some serious, some a little more light-hearted. Among those exterminated from my final list (which will follow at the end of this post) were;

  • I will stop considering other people’s feelings when they so clearly do not consider mine. – although this may be helpful to me, but it may cause more drama than good in the long run!
  • I will not lie ever again – I do want to be more honest, but never lying again can be a real issue in itself, look at the movie Liar, Liar!
  • I will make myself happy, no matter how many bottles of wine it takes – hmmmm…. I don’t think becoming a raging alcoholic will do anyone any good, even if it does make me smile more.
  • I will Quit smoking  (well, I will cut back, I will smoke light cigarettes, I will not smoke while sitting down.) – It is probably in everyone’s best interest that I DON’T attempt to quit smoking this year, perhaps that can wait until 2012!
  • I will start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store – or one from each store within a 30 mile radius, that should at least double my chances of winning!
  • I will not swear – that is just setting myself up for disappointment
  • Eat healthier by adding more lettus to my BLT’s – I better rethink, and expand on this one!!
  • I will clear the clutter from my bank account by taking a trip to Las Vegas

Although some of the above may be beneficial in some way (mostly to me) I doubt that they will provide the changes that I desire in my life at the moment. So I sat down last night, in the dark, quiet comfort of my house and thought, really thought, long and hard about what it is that my life needs at the moment….

I decided that I am sick of goals that just get pushed aside, goals that are for the benefit of everyone but me, I am not worried too much about my health and so working out, or eating healthy are not top priority to me this year, I am generally active, and I don’t eat too badly. I also decided that the number one thing I need to focus on this year is my happiness and my confidence levels. I decided that I need to learn to make myself happy. I have spent much of my life relying on others to do things for me, to make me happy, to make me whole. I need to learn to give ‘myself’ these things. And so…. My final list of resolutions reads as follows;

  1. Be a better mother – Over the last few years I am ashamed to say that I feel as if I have neglected the need of ‘family time’. With the birth of my daughter L (now 10 months old) I think it is time I get back to the groove of having quality time with my children. I want them to grow up with a strong sense of the importance of family. I want them to know that no matter the shape, size, or situation a family means love, time, and happiness. And so… I resolve to spend more time with my children, “real-time” getting to know them, and helping them learn and grow. The same goes for time with my family and friends as well, I have neglected them all beyond all belief in the past few years, and I want to spend 2011 reconnecting with the people who love and support me in spite of, or because of, my mistakes.
  2.  Sort out my issues –  As I said before I have relied on other people for entertainment and fulfilment for a long time, it has become a serious issue in my life. It has been the root cause of many of the mistakes, poor choices, and trouble I have faced. I plan to find the source of my insecurity with myself, find ways to amuse myself, and learn to truly love myself without the needing the constant approval of another person.
  3. Inspire myself more – I have lost the unlimited creativity I once had. I used to see inspiration in everything, I could open my eyes in the morning and be filled with a million wonderful things to be grateful for, a million things I could write about, a million things that I could easily turn into a million more. I want to start writing more, yes, of course I do, but it is more about the “wanting” than it is about the writing. I want to actually ‘want’ to write and feel inspired by my writing for myself, as well as to inspire others if possible.
  4. Laugh more – Life is too short to spend worrying, I want to laugh, love, live and enjoy each and every moment I have. I used to be the person that people came to when they needed to smile, or feel good. I used to enjoy helping people see the bright side of any situation, and although I can still easily speak the words they need to hear I don’t feel those things myself inside. I want to be happy and joyful again.
  5. Procrastinate less – I am the queen of excuses, I can easily list a hundred reasons off the top of my head to not do something I want to, or should do, right now. I never seem to get anything finished, and most of the time I barely get them started. So this year I am making the choice to actually “DO” something, no matter how big or small if I want to do it, or need to do it, I am just going to do it!
  6. Do what makes ME happy – I think this is what ties any and all of the above goals together. I want to do things that make ME happy. I know that in life it is important to consider others feelings, but I also think that too often we neglect ourselves because we are worried about what others think, feel, or how they will react. Well…I am done with all that! Don’t get me wrong, I will not intentionally hurt someone, but I will not hurt myself or neglect my needs either. I am going to make my choices based on how I will feel, or what I will accomplish in the long run, not based on what others will think. I once gave up a great opportunity in life because I was worried about hurting someone close to me… it is now years later and that person is long gone from my life, as is the amazing opportunity I turned down. I chose to put someone else before my dreams, needs, and success, and that person was not worth it. I think that if someone is meant to be a part of my life they will stand by me, support me, and still be there when I am done with whatever I choose to do. I want to do what “I” need to make myself happy, and hopefully through being happier myself, I will be more able to make others happy as well.

 

For some these goals may not seem like true New Year’s resolutions, and sure I could have just written a list of things I will never accomplish and forget it in a week, but that is what got me where I am today! So instead I have chosen goals that will last not only through 2011, but throughout my life. By accomplishing these personal goals I will be able to take on the others with confidence and pride. And who knows maybe these ‘personal’ goals will lead me towards others…. the sky is the limit in 2011 and I am ready to fly!!!

This Year It’s All About Me!!!


With a New Year fast approaching I can not help but reflect on years past, looking back over time can be a very depressing thing to do at times. Each year after Christmas is complete and I discover my sanity still (somewhat) intact, I set out to start my list of New Years resolutions. I am the type that makes big, extravagant, life-changing resolutions. For days I write and re-write my list of goals until it is perfect, until it reads exactly as I desire the next twelve months of my life to play-out. Each year I include important items on that list such as; write more often, complete your book, volunteer, choose a course for, and attend, college, and spend more time with my family. Each year begins with great gusto, I set out to accomplish these goals with the force of a warrior intent on single-handedly saving the world, yet each year this list of goals is quickly pushed aside for more pressing issues that require my attention, like; dishes, laundry, children, and life in general.

This is especially true of the last few years of my life, where I feel I have accomplished ‘nothing’. I know that this is not actually the case; I have moved 3 times, worked, had a baby, started to write more, loved, lost, gained, lost some more, and learned a hell of a lot from my mistakes…. but place my list of accomplishments next to my list of resolutions from the last few years, and it is unimpressive.

Somewhere along the journey of life I have lost my desire to set out and achieve great things, not that I don’t try now, but my achievements are very different at this point. The last few years I aim more to just make it through the day in one piece, rather than make it around the world in one year. I strive to have happy children, rather than make children in Africa happy. I aim for passable, rather than perfection. I still have goals, they are just simple, and often seem un-rewarding in a sense. I don’t jump for joy when I get all the laundry done, the house clean, or the kids to bed without a fight. I don’t celebrate when I manage to cook dinner without starting a small kitchen fire, and I don’t hoot and holler when I spend time doing something that I actually wanted to do. Instead I get things done little by little and force myself through each day. It’s saddening at times, I think back to years ago and often wonder what happened to that young girl with big dreams and even bigger drive? I wonder where the part of me went that wanted to achieve greatness? I know the dreams are still in me, but I excuse them at the drop of a hat… I push them aside with the justification that I have children who need me, a family to support, and responsibilities to tend to, I convince myself that my dreams are unachievable, and that is a terrible thing to do to yourself.

So this year, as I sit down to write my list I am going to remind myself that yes, although I have children who need my care, love and attention to be happy, I also need to be happy as well. I need to remember that the happier I am, the better I will be as a parent. I need to remind myself that sometimes life can wait, and that dreams (no matter how big or small) are worth at least trying to achieve. The worst that can happen is failure, and even failure is a lesson learned, thus success in some sense.

I will post my list once it is completed, and I hope others will share theirs… this year my list will consist of simpler goals, but goals that will fit ‘me’! One of them is definitely going to be “Do what makes me happy, even if it seems hard, or wrong.” The next year is going to be all about me, because I deserve at least one year of attention I think!!!

Holy Crap! You Survived! Well, So Far Anyway…..


If you are reading this post I must congratulate you on surviving Christmas!!!

Way to go!!! Woo Hoo!! You did it!!!

Wether you have a ‘perfect’ family tradition that seems to flow smoothly and freely, with little effort at all (which would mean your name is either Mary Poppins, or Martha Stewart, and you can go straight to hell!) or you were subjected to a ‘less than desirable’ family affair, you know how difficult the holidays can be! So, give yourself a pat on the back, you managed to make it through in one piece! (although for some the hangover you are suffering may be part of a bittersweet accomplishment)

In-laws, and cousins, sisters and step-parents, the gatherings of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times. (to say the least) With deep-fried turkeys, baked, boiled, and burnt. Potatoes, presents, pizza, and pie… you survived, and that is another reason to celebrate!!

Granted, you probably consumed a minimum of 3,000 calories, according to Diet Bites. That is with less than the sites listed amount of food, some of which consists of; 1 cup of stuffing, 1 cup of gravy, 6 ounces of turkey, 1 cup of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of Cranberry sauce, 2 buttered rolls, and 2 glasses of wine. (click the link above to see the entire list of foods and calories)

If the fact that you consumed more calories in one meal than some people do in an entire day is not stress enough, there are often presents that need to be returned. Oh don’t act so innocent… you know you hate that ugly sweater Aunt Betty got you, or that grill from Grandma Genie, you know, the exact-same grill she gave you last Christmas, you also know where they came from, and what you would rather have received. Returning these unwanted, less than thoughtful, gifts means; long lines, tired mothers with candy-high children who are eager to get their spoiled butt home to the plethora of new toys, games, and gadgets Santa left for them under the tree, grumpy, tired, and obnoxious customers arguing over return policies, and even grumpier customer services clerks arguing right back. It means congested roads, stupid drivers, and over packed malls with ‘over priced’ sales. It means not only returning the improper item, but often going out in search of something to replace it with. This also means thinking up a lie for when the ‘gifter’ arrives for a visit and asks, (while suspiciously looking around your home) “Did you like the (snot green,ugly, or useless) crystal bowl we got you for Christmas?” While you sit, sweating on the couch trying to look innocent as you figure out how to hide the new T.V. mounted on your wall in plain sight!

There is always the option of re-gifting those undesirable items that (obviously thoughtless) family members chose to present you with. If you are a re-gifter it is important that you take note, and remember ‘who gave you what gift.’ I once witnessed a very awkward moment where a re-gifter friend of mine, re-gifted a gift to the original gifter!!! Ummm… Awkward!!! With re-gifting you run the risk of looking like the ‘thoughtless gifter’ yourself as well, so it may be best to only re-gift ‘unwanted’ or ‘tasteless’ items to those which you don’t value their opinion. Also be sure you check for, and remove, any old tags from the item you are re-gifting. Another awkward situation can arise if the gift receiver opens their gift to find a tag reading ‘To: Shelly From: Jane’ and their name is Amanda! So be very careful when choosing to re-gift, it can be more tasteless and tacky than the original gift itself.

If all these thoughts don’t cause you to down a very large bottle of wine, very quickly, as you sit crying in the bathroom, door locked, and sappy music blaring, there is also the added stress of the boxing day sales, everywhere!! I could never figure out why anyone thinks shopping on boxing day is a good idea. Sure, you can sometimes find great items at alow price, but the real bargains are often found at the end of the ‘boxing week.’ For me, fighting through the crowds is not worth the couple of bucks I can save on most items. For bigger items you may decide it is worth the savings, and opt to face the fury, if choosing to shop on boxing day it is important that you are prepared for anything, because all that is crazy, out-of-control, and just plain ludicrous, can, and will, be seen while out shopping on boxing day. If you thought Christmas shopping at Walmart was bad, be prepared for the same cart ramming, fist fighting, profanity shouting chaos, times 100!! You must bring your patience when shopping on or around boxing day, it is usually best to hire a babysitter and leave the kids at home if at all possible. Strollers and large crowds are not a good combination, and it will only lead to elevated stress levels in all aspects, on all involved. You must also remember to consider how much of a deal you are actually getting before you purchase an item, be sure you know the regular price of the item, and how much you will save if you are buying it during a boxing week sale. Through years of working, and shopping retail I learned that there are many ways a store can create the illusion of savings that are not actually there. One of the most common ways of doing this is to advertise a large percentage sale (Such as 50% off) and then add the words “the original price.” When you are taking a percentage off a ‘sale’ item (or the lowest ticketed price) you are clearly saving money, but when you remove a percentage off the ‘original price’ often times it turns out that the amount you are saving is very minor, especially after you factor in taxes, and the time you spent awaiting the purchase itself. The other important factors in boxing day shopping are 1) to plan your shopping route ahead of time. There is nothing worse than driving back and forth in boxing day traffic, in the exact fashion that driving in Christmas traffic is terrible, as is driving here-and-there in boxing day traffic (perhaps worse when you factor in all the young drivers who just got cash for Christmas and are now out driving around looking to spend it) and 2) the longer you wait to shop the lower the price will be! Retail stores ‘need’ to move inventory after Christmas to make room for the new seasons items, they will do this by first listing a sale price that seems to be a good deal to quickly sell off as many items as possible on the busiest shopping day which is boxing day itself. They will then proceed to lower this sale price repeatedly until the items are sold out, and there is room for the new stock to hit the sales floor. (This is the sole reason I choose to shop at the end of boxing week. I save more money, and I don’t have the stress of miserable people, long lines, and insane crowds in tight spaces!)

The snowball of stress comes to a peak with the New Year fast approaching. If Christmas with the family, gift returns with disgruntled customer service reps, and boxing day shopping chaos wasn’t enough to drive you mad, you have one last chance of winning an all expenses paid vacation at the local loony bin with New Years Eve’s extravaganza! The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to go anywhere to feel stress unless you choose to. Opting to stay home often effects no one but you! Your friends and family will ‘understand’ that you decided to stay in and enjoy a quiet night, they will still be able to venture out enjoy the party without you… In fact, by staying in you probably provided them with hours of entertainment, and deep discussion on how much of a loner, loser, snob, baby, geek, suck, and/or bitch, you are for not showing up to start the New Year with a bang! If you do decide to go out for the night you will pay too much money for any venue you plan to attend, any daycare you may require, any dress you decide to purchase, and any beverage you choose to drink. If you opt to attend a house party, rather than a orgainized event, it is almost guaranteed that either you, your date, or one of your friends, will get way too drunk, kiss a stranger at midnight, or ring in the new year on the bathroom floor. The stress then increases with the size of your hangover New Years Day, the realisation that you are out of Aspirin and everything is closed, and the number of children who require your care and attention first thing in the morning.  

The good news is, you survived Christmas with all the chaos and the drama it entails! That is a victory you should be proud of, and once you make it through the anarchy that is the beginning of the New Year you will be set and ready for a fresh start…. Then all you have to do is choose, and stick to, those New Years resolutions!

How hard could that be, right?

After all you are a survivor!!!

 

A Family Christmas Tradition…..


Despite my long list of recent complaints, Christmas is my favorite time of year, and now that my shopping is finally done, I’ve accepted all the chaos and disappointment that holiday shopping provides, and I can officially sit down (for a few minutes at least) and relax. I can honestly say I am excited for Santa to come….

Christmas was always a BIG deal in my family. Sure, we all got together for Thanksgiving, Easter, and birthdays, but Christmas was ‘the‘ big event when I was a child.

I remember each, and every year as we got older my parents would earnestly warn us that ‘there would not be a lot of presents this Christmas’, that ‘this year was not going to be as big as last’, and that ‘they did what they could’. Yet each, and every year Christmas got better, and better. Not that it was bigger, just better, we got more useful gifts, more thoughtful gifts, not always what we asked for, but always what we needed.

As children Christmas always seemed so huge, and ours were huge compared to others I have witnessed. I remember our family Christmas tradition in detail, a tradition that  still holds strong to this day. Every Christmas Eve we would go somewhere as a family, when we lived in the city it would be skating at city hall, (or even just out for a walk as we grew a little older) and each year upon arriving home we would find two early presents from Santa, who had clearly stopped by while we were out! (I was always so angry that we had missed his visit) These early presents always held beautiful, comfy pajama’s inside, to this day Santa makes a ‘special’ stop early to deliver my children’s Christmas pajama’s. I remember how amazed and excited I was that Santa would come all that way just to bring me an early present, I felt so special, especially when I discovered that he didn’t do this for every one of my friends as well. We would excitedly adorn ourselves in these extra special PJ‘s and snuggle in as a family to drink hot chocolate, and listen to my dad read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, the same story, from the same book, my entire childhood. The pages were so worn that you probably couldn’t actually see the words anymore, but after years of reading, and re-reading, this story my father knew every word by heart I’m sure.

Sometimes it would take my sister and I hours to fall asleep, we would try our best to stay up and catch jolly old Santa Claus sneaking into our house, when we were very young we lived in an apartment and had no fire-place, we were absolutely sure we could catch him as he crept  through the front door, but year after year we would fall asleep long before he ever arrived.

Christmas day was always the same as well, my sister and I would wake at the crack of dawn and sneak out to see if Santa had come to visit yet. In the early years it was acceptable to wake our parents with excitement at such an ungodly hour, but as we grew older my parents usually prefered not to be woken until 7 a.m. During the agonizing hours before we could officially wake our parents my sister and I would pass the time searching  through our stockings, comparing the little gifts, and guessing what was contained in the larger packages under the tree. Our stockings, which I believe were the same ones year after year, were always stuffed full and bulging with useful little things that we would need; pens, pencils, make-up, hair clips, toys, treats, and always an apple and an orange right down in the toe.

Once my parents were awake the fun really started. Each year my father would attempt to get us to eat breakfast before we started opening gifts, and each year he was unsuccessful in his task. Instead he would make himself a tea and have some home-baked shortbread cookies that my grandfather would send to us. They were the most amazing short bread cookies you have ever eaten, just the thought of them makes my mouth water with anticipation… I wish my grandfather was still here to bake them now!

We would open our presents in an organized fashion, with my father handing out the gifts one at a time, I used to hate this method, patience has never been my strong point, but today, with 7 adults, 7 grandchildren, and various other participants in the house, it is far more effective than the chaos that would ensue if left to our own devices. After all our gifts were open my mother (who had started to cook the turkey at 5 a.m.) would carry on with her cooking as we all prepared for a big family feast. My grandparents would come over in the afternoon, and it would be like Christmas morning all over again.

Late afternoon would always consist of a huge feast, turkey and all the trimmings. There would be turkey, potatoes, ham, and stuffing (much like the cookies my grandfather used to make, my mother has the ability to make the most amazing stuffing you will ever taste!) Along with veggies, gravy, and cakes and cookies for desert. Usually you were so full by the time dinner was done, that you would be unable to even more, it was like a turkey coma, and every year is the same.

Sure there were years when our family would fight, argue, or suffer some other ‘family type’ drama, but my parents put a lot of time and effort in to making Christmas special for everyone.

Even now, with 7 grandchildren to cater to, our tradition lives strong. No longer does my father read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to us, I now own at least three copies of my own that I read to my children. No longer are the presents piled sky-high, and packaged perfectly with care on Christmas morning, at my house they are slightly tattered looking and sort of tossed under the tree haphazardly, but the love, care, and family spirit is always there, even through the stress and the chaos the true meaning of Christmas shines strong in my family, and for that I am thankful!

That’s a Wrap…


I discovered late last night that any hopes or dreams I may have had about ever becoming a professional gift wrapper have now officially been wiped out entirely. Visions of exquisitely wrapped presents, beautiful bows, and perfectly folded ‘army bed sheet type’ edges are not dancing inside my head any longer, at this point I simply want these damn presents covered completely, with as little effort as humanly possible.

You see, my original perfect Christmas gift strategy was to cart all the gifts up to the mall and pay the nice old ladies to wrap them for me! It is a charitable fundraiser that the mall hosts every year. The nice ladies behind a large folding table will charge you $2-$6 per gift. They wrap them beautifully in shiny paper, with sparkling ribbon, delicate bows, and neatly written tags, and all proceeds go to a charity in need. It is a win-win situation! Yet instead of sticking to my original plan, (mostly due to the furrowed eyebrows, and head shake of disapproval I got when I mentioned this idea, you know that “nonsense” head shake people give you when you mention something completely outrageous) I sat on my livingroom floor surrounded by, what I have now decided is a ridiculous amount, of gifts and attempted to reproduce the perfect packages I witnessed the ‘charity ladies’ create with such natural ease.

The end result is shamefulso shameful in fact, that I refuse to even post a picture! Luckily there are two positive points that have saved me from bursting into tears at my total lack of wrapping talent; 1) My children will be so eager to tear the wrapping paper to shreds in order to get at the present inside, that they will not realize the gifts look as if Santa was wrapping while high on Crack!! 2) No one but my children and I will be preset to bear witness to the sad scene that will be our Christmas gifts under the tree… Luckily, most of the gifts that others will receive are going to be gift cards, and the ones that are not will now be placed easily into beautifully created gift bags. (Beautifully created by someone else)

It’s not that my lack of talent in the gift wrapping department comes as a total shock, I have never really been good at ‘hands on’ types of things, I am no good with arts and crafts, objects with small pieces, or the creation physical things in general. I can come up with the ideas, plan the outcome and the design, and they look beautiful inside my head, but unless someone else is doing the ‘physical labour’, something always seems to go terribly wrong. Perhaps it has to do with my complete disregard for paying attention to detail??? Honestly sometimes I wonder how I do anything!! Honestly, this is not an exaggeration, a car could drive itself through my livingroom and I would probably not be able to tell you what colour it was!!! Seriously, I know, it’s sad really!!

Because of this natural lack I have for paying attention to detail I can undoubtedly cross the following career options off my life list as well;

  • Lawyer – I am not a particularly good liar anyway, so it is probably for the best.
  • Scientist – I am sure that option would end very badly!!
  • Teacher – Hmmm.. don’t really care for children anyhow!
  • Accountant – Which, again, is fine because numbers scare the heck out of me!
  • Doctor – Another situation where lack of attention to detail could be a big issue.
  • Crime Scene Investigator – That’s fine because I don’t really think I want to deal with dead bodies anyway, granted they wouldn’t be much of a bother I assume, not like they could distract you from your work! (I know that was a little twisted, sorry!)
  • Baker/Chef – Not only do I not pay attention to detail, I don’t follow directions well either, so this option is also out…

And too many more to list…. (but too depressing to continue) It really is sad when you look at it that way, perhaps I should work on this issue, but I guess that would again require me paying attention to details, and that’s the issue in the first place isn’t it???? Kind of redundant really!

Anyway, so there I am at 11 p.m. sitting on my livingroom floor surrounded by all these gifts (kicking myself in the butt for buying so many awkward shaped items) carelessly attempting to manipulate impossibly thin, and fragile, wrapping paper around crudely shaped gifts with the expectation that the final outcome will in some way resemble a Martha Stewart Holiday Special creation!

My haphazard attempt was unsuccessful, to say the least, the result was a little more ‘trash’ than ‘treasure’ and 3 hours, 6 rolls of wrapping paper and 4 gifts later, I admitted defeat for the evening….  Unhappily lugging unwrapped presents back to the storage closet, cleaning up mountains of shredded paper particles, and picking pieces of scotch tape off my tush, toes, and table top. I decided that next year I would do a good deed and give something back, I would pay those nice ladies at the mall to wrap my presents perfectly, to adorn them with elegant bows, fancy ribbon, and luxurious paper, I don’t care if it costs my life savings (trust me that is not a major splurge) it is worth the piece of mind to give a beautiful gift to someone and say “Didn’t I wrap this beautifully? I must be a natural!” 

A Very Merry? Christmas


I have noticed that I am not the only one who is not in the ‘Christmas spirit‘. It seem that this year people are not feeling the joy of the season.  Yesterday for example; A nice older gentleman held the door open for me while I struggled to carry an armful of christmas purchases, (some of the last purchases I needed to make btw, woo-hoo!!) and as a friendly gesture I said “Thank you, and Merry Christmas.” The man, apparently unimpressed by my display of seasonal joy, replied “Yeah, Happy HOLIDAYS.” in a gruff, somewhat rude tone, and did not hold open the second door for me. (in fact I am pretty sure he made sure it slammed directly in my face!) WTF?????

OK, I know that it is considered “politically incorrect” to say Merry Christmas now a days. (which I think is rather stupid in the first place)  I am not an overly religious Jesus is the reason for the seasonkind of person. I say Merry Christmas, mostly because it is what I have always said. I grew up saying Merry Christmas, we had a Christmas tree, Christmas stocking, and ate Christmas dinner. You on the other hand may be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Atheist for all I know, but unless you are going to strategically place a sign on your body, complete with a giant flashing  arrow that may, or may not, ensure I see this said sign, I am going to say Merry Christmas out of habit… In fact, even if I do see the sign with the giant flashing arrow, I can not promise that I will do the “politically correct” thing and say Happy holidays, Seasons Greetings, or make reference to whatever it is that you celebrate.  Honestly, not only is it too much work, too confusing, and just plan annoying, I celebrate “Christmas” and I am not going to change that just because you are overly sensitive about your religion….. I mean, even the little Chinese man who runs the store down the street (who doesn’t celebrate Christmas and never has) says Merry Christmas to me in reply as I shop for groceries, surely you can suck it up and at least be pleasant.

You don’t have to say “Merry Christmas” back if it is against your religion, or bothers you that much. The response of Happy Holidays was not the issue with this man yesterday, it was the clear indication that he was offended by my “religious like” greeting. You can wish me a Happy Hanukkah for all I care, I will do the same to you in return, but don’t be gruff, rude, or start lecturing me about the secrets and cover-ups of the Catholic Church, the government and the brainwashed citizens of America….. because frankly, I don’t really care. I am simply being polite, get over it!!

So on that Note: Merry Chrismas (a.k.a Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Kwanzaa, or Bah-hum-bug)

 

Behind The Padlocked Door…. a.k.a. Get The Hell Outta My Head!!


OK, it may just be that I am paranoid, but it is starting to be too much of a coincidence. Do you ever get that eerie feeling that someone is watching you? Well it’s a bit like that, but on a whole different (and even creepier) level….

I am convinced that someone is stalking me…. No, no it’s not a secret admirer type of stalking, it’s not even an I am going to follow you home and take pictures of you changing then plaster them all over my walls type of stalking. It’s worse! I really think someone is stalking me, and stealing my ideas!!!!

Wait! Don’t click the back button just yet, hear me out. At first it was just a mere coincidence, perhaps the invention I had thought up was just that great an idea that someone else had come up with it as well. I let it slide the second time, thinking maybe I just was not as creative as I gave myself credit for, but now, multiple ideas and inventions later it has gone way past the point of coincidence…. either someone out there thinks so much like me that it is seriously creepy, or there are people specifically hired by large companies to follow me around waiting for me to get ideas they can use.

I am not crazy! OK, I am crazy, but I am not imagining this. This is not some strange form of paranoia that I have created in my head. I assure you that I have thought long and hard about this situation, and I am sure that these big companies (particularly creators of children’s products) have somehow hired employees whose sole purpose and position it is to stalk me, and outright steal my brilliant ideas!

exhibit A – This is a child locator, the concept is simple, it s like a car alarm that you attach to you child so that if you happen to lose sight of them in a store you can simply push a button and the device will emit a beeping sound, in turn locating your lost child. I created this a long time ago!!! No, I can not prove it (of course) Unless you count babbling away to my family about my brilliant idea as proof. No I did not actually create a physical proto-type, I know nothing about electronics, and would not even know where to start… But I created this product, worked out every detail in my head, and raved about how brilliant I was for days, even weeks! So…HA!

One product is not enough evidence… well then what about another one exhibit B a glow in the dark potty seat. I thought this up years before I even had children!!!! There is also exhibit C the famous cheering potty…also my idea, many years ago!!!

You can see where my suspicion stems from, there are many more examples I could provide. I might sound crazy, but I am not raving about government conspiracies here, I just think that a few companies are going out of their way to hack my brain and ruin my life. That’s not that crazy…. is it?

Perhaps it is that crazy! Maybe I should seek help!?! But surely the evidence shows that I am not ‘all‘ crazy, right? I mean it is a little creepy, isn’t it?

Maybe employees hired specifically to stalk me is a little overboard, I am sure there are others that they spend time monitoring as well, but it’s not completely inconceivable…..

The only solution….. (aside from trying to sue these large corporations, and looking like a complete and utter lunatic in the process due to lack of physical evidence) is to learn to keep my mouth shut when I have a brilliant idea… I think in the mean time I will research the patent process, so that next time one of these über fantastic, huge money-making moments strikes I will be prepared, and able to get the ball rolling in order to protect myself!!!! Until then, I will stick to the back alleys and try to lose the guys that are stalking me before any thing else gets out!!!!

Slumming in the Scums… or Scumming in the Slums????


While heading out on yet another Christmas shopping trip this afternoon, another trip that did not result in me finishing my Christmas shopping, (or even a substantial purchase for that matter) I drove by a run-down apartment building and was reminded of a scary story…

A few years back the bf and I were looking for a place to call home. We had been renting my sisters basement for a few weeks at the time, and needed our own space. (my sister has 5 children, and most of you know how much I love *gag* children)  We had seen literally hundreds of listings, all of which were; too small, too big, too far, too expensive, or too…well, wrong. Just as we were losing all hope I stumbled across an ad for a two bedroom apartment just off the main shopping road in town. It boasted a large bright living space, a secure entrance, two large bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, and a good-size bathroom, all for a very reasonable price….

“This is it babe,” I remember exclaiming. “This is going to be our home, it’s perfect. It is not too far, not too much, and it sounds amazing. We are going to see it tomorrow!” The truth was, in writing, I already had my heart set on it. It was in the perfect area, close to my family, in a great price range, and I was sick of hunting for a home. There was nothing in my mind that would convince me that this was not going to be where we were going to live…..

Well lets just say I discovered very quickly what people mean when they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.’  

We met with the landlord of this unit at 1 pm on Friday afternoon, well it was supposed to be at 1 pm, he was 25 minutes late. Once he arrived he began explaining that the building had both a front, and back, entrance and both were secured by strong  locks. That was important to me, and even though the outside of the building was kind of run-down looking, (which looking back should have been the first red flag that had me heading for the hills) I just assumed that was because it was winter time, (a month before Christmas actually) and they were waiting for the spring before they could do any maintenance. The landlord, a small chinese man who apparently ran the local buffet down the street, was a little hard to understand but he chattered away while he unlocked the front entrance and ushered us inside, I managed to catch a few words here and there and piece them together to form somewhat reasonable sentences. Inside the front entrance is where any, and all, excitement I may have felt began to dwindle away. The entryway of the building was disgusting!!! There were stains on the walls that I swear to this day were blood streaks, rat traps on the filthy floors, (not a good sign) and grime that spread from the floor right up to the ceiling. I was ready to run right then and there, but trying to be positive I thought to myself  ‘well perhaps I could offer to clean the entryway in exchange for a break on the rent??’ (or even just to make it livable) And so we ventured on, up three flights of stairs…hmmmm… and down a dark hallway to the creepy looking, filthy, apartment door.

I think I held my breath as he fiddled to find the right key, all-the-while explaining that the old tenants had moved out over a month ago and he hoped to rent the space a.s.a.p. When the door did finally swing (creek) open, my heart hit the floor with a hefty bang…( I think I almost hit the floor along with it! I would have grabbed on to the wall to steady myself, but I was terrified of the germs that would surely transfer to my hands, and most certainly cause some life threatening disease that would spread like wildfire killing off everyone I know slowly and painfully)

OK, I am going to practice my descriptive writing here, but I don’t think any amount of glorious (gory) detail will truly share just how deeply disappointed I was when I entered this apartment. Stepping into the livingroom I took note of the thick layer of dust caked to every visible surface, there was dirt, food, and what appeared to be feces on the ‘hardwood’ (chipped, scratched, and very-worn, parkay from the early 70’s) floors. The windows were so full of grime you could not see the street 20 feet beyond, and the radiator was hanging loosely off the wall, exposed wires the only thing stopping it from dropping to the ground. (‘OK, just breathe’ I thought to myself, ‘It’s nothing a bottle (or 10) of bleach, and a screw driver wont fix. Besides, with the money I am saving I could hire a professional to come in and do it for me, right??) Pushing aside the cons of the livingroom area, I ventured further into this apartment… at least the ad was correct about one thing thus far, it was large.

Stepping into the kitchen I realised that bleach may not cut it, it was more of a full haz-mat suit kind of job, complete with oxygen tank and hepa filter. The kitchen was eat-in and it was a nice size, but the white paint on the walls had long since faded, and was caked with an unidentifiable crud. There were even dirty dishes in the sink (from tenants that had moved out over a month ago???) Most people would have run for the door by this point, and I probably should have too. I don’t know if it was curiosity that made me do it, or if I was in a state of shock at what I was seeing, but I opened the fridge for God sakes…I know WTF was I thinking. The smell of the rotted food, that sat inside the nonfunctioning appliance for at least a month, was enough to make the most iron of stomachs turn and flop. It was the equivalent, I imagine, to the smell of a dead body that has been left to rot for weeks before being discovered.

And yet still I ventured on…

I have to explain to you that by this point, I imagined that there was nothing left that could shock me any more than what I had already seen, I did not imagine things could get any worse… though I will say the little chinese man did assure me that his wife would come and clean before we moved in….at least I think that is what he was saying, not that it would matter, I would still have to repeatedly bleach every surface before allowing anything, or anyone, to enter the space…

Down a little hallway, with a surprisingly impressive linen closet, (a major factor to me in a home) I came upon the first of two bedrooms. It was small-ish, but a useable size, it was painted a bright shade of blue, (great for C) and had a good size closet. Alright, not too bad, a sweep a mop, and a good washing of the walls, and it would work just fine. The next room to the right was the master. It was a large room with a great sized closet, it was fairly clean, (aside from the debris strewn on the floor and the dust bunnies breeding in the corners) and it would easily fit my bed and the baby’s crib, once she came along. (I was 6 months pregnant at the time) So what were the cons of these rooms?? Well, for starters although the first room was painted a nice shade of blue, the paint stopped about a foot before the ceiling, as it also did in the master bedroom, except the master bedroom was painted black!!! Yes, black… and not just black, chalkboard black , flat black, black that was blotchy, full of streaks, and didn’t even go all the way up to the ceiling!!! Ummm….  This would not have been a huge issue except that the little chinese man informed me that they would not be painting it before I moved in, and that he would prefer I didn’t paint it either…. (The was nothing lost in translation there, and just to be sure I made him repeat himself several times) In fact, the little man did not seem to see anything wrong with the fact that this paint was hideous, and it did not even reach the ceiling!! To him this was completely acceptable, and his tone implied  should be ‘thankful’ because it had just been painted before the tenants had left….. WTF???

Oh I wish I could say that was the end of it, but it wasn’t, there was one more room to see. I cautiously stepped across the hall and into the bathroom and I immediately wished I hadn’t…. Close your eyes and picture the worst gas station bathroom you have ever seen, then think even worse, think at least ten times worse, if not more! There was sludge calcified to tub, dirt, grime, and hair solidified to every available surface, mismatched broken tile that was covered in a film of gunk, and there was CRAP in the toilet…. literally CRAP… someone seriously left a big, gross, log of CRAP floating in the toilet, probably for over a month!!! WTF????

That was it for me, I have never been so disgusted in my entire life, and to make matters worse the little chinese man did not seem fazed by any on this!! How many times had he looked at that log without flushing it? How many people had he shown this apartment to before thinking to himself, ‘hmmm…maybe if I cleaned this place someone may actually rent it!’ ????? WTF was wrong with him??? Can we say slum-lord????

Needless to say I didn’t rent the place, but someone did, I saw a sheet over the window a few weeks later, go figure! The house I did find did not turn out to be much better, although it was clean. I ended up with an older house at a great price, that had problems you could never dream of. I just have terrible luck with renting….. but that is another story for another time!!!