Monday, July 31, 2006

The Perfect Balance

Balance. It is something that I have forever longed for. Growing up I was taught to overachieve. I had a grueling schedule. It started with my parents enrolling me into activities: figure skating, music lessons, dance lessons, swimming lessons, the list goes on. I was lucky to be exposed to many activities. I was encouraged to bring home a report card filled with A's and B's. I participated in numerous after school activities: school newspaper, drama, social committee, cheerleading. (Oh God, did I just admit that?) I had a part time job to bring in some extra money. All the while, I maintained a social life.

By the time I graduated from high school I was burnt out. Even with my scholarship, I just couldn't bring myself to start more education for a career I wasn't completely sure about. I escaped to a bigger city and threw myself into music retail. I was headhunted by the competitor's chain and given huge responsibility in setting up and running a store. I loved it! I hired the best staff and it felt like my moment as a female version of High Fidelity. The store was my life. I often worked seven days a week sometimes covering both opening and closing shifts. The perks included free tickets to concerts. One particularly hectic week I fell asleep at a bar. The lead singer of the band was so offended that she decided to stand on my table to perform a little wake up routine. Good times.

Once that challenge wore off, I longed to move to a city that never sleeps. I sold my belongings and hopped on a plane for Toronto with my silverware in my carry on luggage. Can you imagine? A twenty year old girl with butter knives allowed on an airplane! I was moving to a city where I knew a grand total of two people.

I thrust myself into finding living arrangements, every necessary household item, a job that gave me the connections to quickly land into a career, as well as making new friends. I was cementing the building blocks of my life. Establishing myself. Working hard to get promotion after promotion. Networking. This was during my twenties and it goes without saying that I was having buckets of fun along the way. Big buckets!

My thirties arrived and I felt the desire to bring my lifestyle down a notch. I wanted to stay home a couple more nights a week. I valued time spent alone with my significant other. I longed for a family. Like everything else in my life, I set about on a mission to achieve my desires. Being damn lucky, a month after we were married we were expecting our first daughter. Our second daughter arrived twenty six months later.

I somehow expected that I could continue on overachieving, pushing the limits of my life so that I could have it all. I've been met with opposition that says my role now is strictly to be a mother. I don't limit myself so how dare they decide what is right for me! Who are they to know? I want to be a super version of myself. I want to do everything right, not just for me but also for my family. I have been given the opportunity to step back and reevaluate. I found that personally I need my career to be a better mother but now I'm left searching for the ultimate balance.

Balance is a trait that I know very little about. How can I start this quest successfully when I'm this far in?

Reading the words over at
The Silent K stopped me in my tracks. Krista's philosophy is striking. I knew that she deserved to be awarded A Perfect Post. Her thoughts are expressed beautifully and the image that she shares is stunning. This post is the conclusion of her previous post so you may wish to start there.

A Perfect Post

There were many others worthy of such praise. You can find them listed at Petroville and Suburban Turmoil.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Virtual Stalker

I've been a tad obsessed with all the reports coming in from BlogHer '06. It was like something had possessed me. I couldn't get enough stories and pictures. The bonding, the groping, the beautiful smiles. It's so apparent in their photos that it was an incredible weekend. Alien life force could probably feel the synergy from San Jose.

In my surfing, I discovered Beth's Blog where she reveals the Shoes and Bags from the event. As most women can attest, we live for viewing fashion accessory style.

Christina divulged the details for next year. Windy City here I come. Who's with me?

Hopefully a year is a long enough time frame to forget what a creepy stalker I've been to the Goddesses that were painting the blogoshere red.

They call me cowboy S'Berry. I rule the pool. My mom's got nuthin on my madness!

Friday, July 28, 2006


I look at the quaint shops near the house that we first bid on and imagine my life if our offer would have gone through. I can picture taking the girls to the cozy café, stopping to pick up some sunflowers from the market before we stroll back home. Every time I pass through this area, my thoughts always go in this direction. Today these thoughts started to multiply.

Imagine if I chose a different career path. How things would be different if Colin had been ready to settle down earlier in our relationship. What if I had ended up with someone else? If I had moved to the west coast instead of heading east at the ripe age of twenty. Those were my big choices.

But then I wonder about the little things that bring about fate. If I drove a different way to work. If I decided to eat a salad instead of fast food. If I talked to that person while waiting in line. If I coloured my hair blonde instead of auburn. Would I be happier?

My mind ventures off in endless infinity in wondering if I had been born in a different country; given a different name; lived during another era. Would I be the same person in my heart and mind?

I have always told myself to live without regrets. I just hate when the decisions seem to be made for me. Other people's decisions will of course play a big part of our lives because we don't live in a bubble. When life feels out of my hands and I have no control, a series of these outcomes can leave me in a slump. I become aware of a desperate desire to regroup and make a big decision to realign the course of my life. The problem is that I need to make a few big decisions and I feel rather overwhelmed. It is easier to keep coasting hoping that the butterfly effect will right every wrong. However that is just not my style. I think I've reached the point where I have to take action so I must try to start somewhere and stop imagining.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A day for the history books

It has officially begun. Today marks the start of The Clothes War between sisters.

Until now, Strawberry did not recognize that she had previously worn most of Buttercup’s attire. Strawberry can still fit into a size 2 while Buttercup is already wearing clothes labeled 18 months. There are certain items that currently fit both of them.

I dressed Buttercup in Strawberry's plaid shorts and ladybug tank top.

"Mom, that's mine," she protested pointing to the coveted items.

Being in a rush to get out the door, I was too distracted to think of anything to nip the feud in the bud. I didn't see foresee the war starting in 2006. I understand that every generation tends to progress a little faster but I thought the stage wouldn't be set for battleground for at least a decade. I have not received my badge in peacekeeping yet. I'm so ill prepared.

Strawberry blurts out "I eat boys!" with a wicked grin.

"Oh you do?"

"Yes Mommy."

"Hmmm, what do they taste like?"


I couldn't help but laugh, which was exactly what she wanted because in the world of toddlers, banana is a funny word. Think punch line "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" Well my darling, you did say banana so I'm afraid that I have to ground you until you are nineteen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BlogMe Interview: Mamatulip

This weekend a majority of us Canadian girls will not be sipping cocktails, in cute shoes and hoping that the DJ will soon spin some Journey. Okay we probably will be, but just not in San Jose. Oh yes, we women of the north know how to have fun so when we spotted these cool interviews circulating, we jumped on it, thanks to Her Bad Mother.

I have the pleasure of exposing a little piece of Mamatulip. She has a way with words, writing masterful pieces as well as recounting hilarious moments. Her two gorgeous children keep her busy when she's not entertaining us. She's brilliant but don't take my word for it. See for yourself!


What is the quality you most admire in a blogger?
I admire those who can take a weighted subject and write about it with eloquence, and who are open to the thoughts and opinions of others. Also, the bloggers who have me hooked; whose writing keeps me comin’ back for more.

What is your most marked blogging characteristic?
I swear frequently and am prone to leaving stupid comments on other blogs.

What do you most like about your blog?
It’s mine. I created it, I write it and I maintain it. It’s an outlet, a place where I can be me.

What do you regard as the principle defect of your blog?
It can be so easily and quickly edited. I can write about something and if I don’t like it or want to change it, I can edit it. And that takes away from my initial feelings and diminishes the rawness of my original draft. It’s a form of censoring, I guess, and I think it goes hand-in-hand with blogs being on the World Wide Web. It’s a thought that crosses my mind before I post an entry: ‘This is going on the Internet.’

What character of fiction do you most wish had a blog?
I think a blog written by
Holden Caulfield would be pretty bitchin’.

What historical or real life person do you most wish had a blog?
I would have loved it if blogs were around when John Lennon was alive.

What is your present state of mind as a blogger?
Right now I’m working out some things in my head and in my heart – the various snippets that make up who I am and coming into my own since my mom died, as well as watching my children grow up and trying to, in the midst of that, find time for myself, to nurture my soul. That’s what I’ve been musing about in several of my recent posts.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To be content in what you are doing with your life; to find happiness within the choices you’ve made, the person you are and the family you have. To live with no regrets and, when looking back, to be fulfilled with the life you’ve lived.

Where would you like to live?
I love Canada. I doubt I would ever live anywhere else. However, whenever we watch House Hunters International and they’re filming in Spain, I think to myself that it would be pretty fucking amazing to live there.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, loyalty and trust. The friends I have are friends to the end. I trust them and in turn, they can trust me.

Who are your favorite painters?
My favourite is Kilmt. I absolutely love his work; I have coffee table books of his paintings and I get lost staring at them. I’m also in awe of Van Gogh, Edgar Degas and Wassily Kandinsky.

What is it you most dislike?
The fact that so many people around the world are suffering.


Thank you for letting me share that! Be sure to stop by Mamatulip's home for a piece of Kittenpie. I hope you have time to visit all the Canadian chicks as we play along. You can find out a little bit more about me when you visit penelopeto at penelope and bumblebee.

To all the lucky ones heading to celebrate together, have the best time!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Venting can be as necessary as breathing

This weekend Colin was off gallivanting around cottage land with The Boys. He was on a mission to test the levels of testosterone in a small town bar after one too many drinks. Why is it that their version of the story is sometimes a little hard to believe? I'm trying to convince him to become a contributor to this blog so that he can share his stories here.

Mess with my daddy and I'll take ya!

For the first time I was left to my own devices for 29.5 hours straight with the two purely innocent looking hell raisers. It was great if you minus being trapped inside due to the rain and that Buttercup took this opportunity to push out two new teeth. My weekend plans of writing and getting caught up on commenting around the blogoshere were quickly pushed aside. I didn't get the opportunity to watch anything other than toddler TV. The Dinosaur DVD we rented wouldn't play past chapter nine and I was utterly too involved in this children's tale. I didn't even treat myself to some delivered Thai cuisine.

I have become desperately seeking sleep. I crave it. I start to blame my lack of sanity on not having more than four hours of unconsciousness in a row. I used to dream vivid, colourful, wild adventures. I don't get around to dreaming at all now. I just crash until I am bolted awake by the sound of a child stirring or my senile cat howling and scratching the walls. Monty this is not an endearing trait. Don't make me feed you to the raccoons.

In the good 'ole days when my weekend consisted of having a serious social life, I would get home from a night on the town around 3 A.M., easily sleep until 4 P.M. the next afternoon, lounge around my apartment for a few hours until I dolled myself up for another night out. I gave up that lifestyle as the numbers started to creep on but it's fun to compare it to say this particular weekend.

Now my idea of a good time is waiting for Colin to return home so that I can steal away to the laundry room to sort clothes. Oh, man... it was a moment for me. It was the most relaxing ten minutes I've had in a long time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No words

This crazy sore throat, coughing, knock you down flat virus has made its way to me. I had moments of delirious grandeur today after I dropped the girls off at daycare and spent the entire day on my couch. I feel for stay at home moms who don't get the luxury of being drop dead sick.

Until later, I leave you with some highlights from Buttercup's Big Day!

I like to party party!

I need just a little taste. You know to make sure it's ok for the rest of you.

The party is not over until someone passes out.

Visions of chocolate and pink icing dance through her head.

Cake - Round 2! I love it this much!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Our little girl

A year ago, you came into our world, making it a better place. I remember being in the car on the way to the hospital filled with anticipation and happiness. The world seemed to be blanketed with a cool calmness. In a way, everything about that morning describes you.

We adore you. Love Mommy, Daddy and your big sister... xoxo

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Going Down?

Thirteen Things About Elevators

1. As I was leaving the office I got into the elevator to find another person there but she had not pressed any floor destination. It left me puzzled. Can't make up your mind? Nothing better to do than to joyride on the elevator? Don't know how this thing functions? I wonder if she ever got to where she was going?

2. Today I also got on an elevator going down at the same time as another person who immediately chose a higher floor than we were currently on. Plus this person had waited for this elevator when multiple other elevators had arrived taking other passengers on their way up. Once again I questioned if I had stumbled upon a person with extreme lack of knowledge on elevators. Or perhaps she knew that this is the BEST elevator in the building and she always waits to ride on this one.

3. People who go one floor make me want to let loose the rage of the universe and throttle them senseless. There are these fantastic things called stairs people. They won't kill you!

4. Avoid getting on elevators with sweaty, bike couriers.

5. Unless, of course, he is really hot and you can fantasize about hot elevator action for the entire ride.

6. What's with people asking me for information about other floors? Do they think that I'm the information building tenant expert? Is that dirty look necessary because I don't have the answer?

7. I want to turn to someone one day and wide eyed ask them "But how do I get to the thirteenth floor?"

8. I think I'm so smart when crowds of people cram into the elevator and I alone wait for the next one that takes me express style up to my destination! Wahoo victory dance!

9. I've caught myself grooving to a song in my head alone in an elevator only to realize that of course I'm on camera and someone is probably laughing at me right now. At least I didn't pull my underwear out of my butt.

10. What's with that woman who travels to our floor to only use the washroom?

11. I enjoy catching some brief snippets of conversations and people watching. In the past, I know that my previous co-workers and I took great delight in making innocent bystanders bewildered.

12. I have found myself counting the people, estimating the current weight load and looking for the maximum limit sign.

13. I have no real fear and yet I can't help imagining the elevator plunging down to the bottom due to malfunctions on at least eighty percent of the time spent enclosed. Do other people have an obsession with this predicament?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The right thing to do

I have recently found myself struggling with the first birthday party dilemma. I rationalize theories such as no one remembers turning one; that it is more for the parents than the child; I don’t want to milk the occasion for gifts and most of the people that we'd invite wouldn't come.

On the other hand, I do want to make every effort to give the same things to my second child as I have given to my first. I am already failing miserably. She wears hand me downs and plays with the same toys. I have filmed a miniscule amount of video footage as what I did with Strawberry. (Here's Strawberry sleeping, oh look another angle of her sleeping, now a close up of her sleeping… Endless hours of entertainment that only a mother or a grandmother could sit through.) I pushed for and celebrated every milestone but have now adapted a more relaxed parenting style.

All this led me to conclude that I could not pass up the opportunity to create some special birthday photos for Buttercup, as that is where the memories hide. Who doesn't love looking at photos of their first birthday? I've cherished the smiling picture of me in my crib that my mother took first thing on the morning that I turned one. I love looking at the two special birthday cakes that marked the big occasion. I note how my relatives made the extra long road trip to another province with my young cousins in tow. Ah, the first birthday!

I know to take pictures of the cake before the baby puts her fingers in the icing. To delight in the moment when she discovers the sweet goodness. I know balloons are mesmerizing and that colourful wrapping paper on the outside beats the present on the inside. As I have tried to learn from my mistakes, I now know the importance of the birthday card to a child that cannot read.

It's at special occasions like birthdays and holidays that I miss my family with an extreme intensity. They know how to celebrate, to come together as a family to create lasting memories. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays were a time of laughter and food. If I could magically cut and rearrange the map of our magnificent country to place my prairie hometown within a couple hours driving time to Toronto, that would be perfection.

Of course the days just seem to disappear and time is escaping me. I realized that I needed to do something fast. Quick: Order me up some super cool parents with children. Consider yourself officially invited thanks to Mama Blogs Toronto and HBM. That is, of course if you can easily find your way to this section of the real world. If it is easier to virtual travel, expect some photos of babies smooshing cake next week.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Occupying valuable space

Sometimes I look at people and I am curious to know what they are thinking. What makes them tick. My brain works as an infinite pit of randomness. I thought it might be interesting to share a glimpse inside. Without further adieu, I would like to introduce a new segment entitled:

Divulging the hidden
mumbo jumbo

50% less diapers makes me 100% over the moon! Yes as of last week, Strawberry is a big kid now. Going back to daycare, gave her the mindset that panties are the way to go. You've got to love peer pressure!

As I get a lot of hits because of my
gum post, I thought I'd mention that I'm currently chewing Trident Watermelon Twist Trio Melon with the great fruit fusion of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Why does every gum have to be sugar free, flavoured with aspartame? I was under the impression that aspartame is not a good thing to digest.

Buttercup is getting extremely frustrated that she is not more mobile. She's got the bum scooch down pat. I've seen her go from one room to another with this method. She'll be turning one in a matter of days and she is desperate to stand, walk and run. I'm sure she is imagining all kinds of new dance moves that she'll be able to do with the skills that elude her.

If Lisa Loeb can't get a date is there any hope for the single thirty something woman?

The level of excitement that the FIFA World Cup generates is enthralling. When Strawberry hears cars honking or sees people waving flags, she thinks that she has discovered a parade. On the rare occasion when I have had to pick the girls up from daycare, the traffic's been as slow as molasses with the police rerouting travelers due to a game in progress. It will be complete mayhem in Little Italy on Sunday when everything wraps up.

My groovy girls are developing a fine taste in music. Strawberry asks me to turn up the radio when "Dani California" comes on and Buttercup does her trademark shoulder shake to "Steady, As She Goes." This makes me so proud.

If I were a scientist, I would be working on biogenetically creating a money tree. Send $29.99 now to get your very own Money Tree. Guaranteed to yield you 500 times your return or your money back. Hurry now this is a limited time offer. But wait that's not all! With your Money Tree you will also receive a lovely Rose bush with no thorns.

I want to know what crazy thought ran through your mind today. Let me know that I'm not officially crazy. Please?

Saturday, July 01, 2006


They had gathered in a cluster laughing and being exclusive. I approached my friends eager to join in on the fun.


"Oh she's here," said the ringleader to the group. She held out a bag. "Everyone take one."

"What's going on? Can I have one?" I asked.

"Who got the short straw?" She commanded the others. There was relief on a couple of my friend’s faces. "Oh it's you. Remember you've got to do it," she urged the winner of the game pushing her a step closer in my direction.

One of my sweetest friends clenched the short straw in her fingers. "Umm... we've all decided, that..." she quietly paused while looking at the ground, "that you can't hang out with us anymore."

I recall the leader of the pack's smug, satisfied expression.

At that point I don't remember what I said. It was too shocking. Too horrifying. Too devastating.

I was feeling the world crush the spirit of my eleven year old self. However it was not the first time my circle of friends had pushed me to the outskirts so I hope that I reacted by putting on a brave face and saying a brilliant comeback line that made them feel at least an ounce of my pain. It is more likely that tears sprung to my eyes and I quickly scooted away to the washroom to compose myself for the remaining classes of the day.

What followed were many sad days that turned into weeks. A couple of my friends secretly hid that they chatted with me. It was the leader's loyal sidekick that somehow convinced her that I should be allowed back in. A little piece of my innocence was washed away. A life lesson about trust was learned the hard way. I began building those invisible walls for self-preservation.

I have long forgiven these girls who grew up to become lifelong friends. It was a childish incident but it's not something that can be forgotten. It hides in the back of my brain and when I'm nervous about social settings it springs forward. I become that eleven year old girl again.

Yesterday armed with the protective layer of Buttercup and Strawberry I entered a room that had some of the best women of the blogworld. We later regrouped sans children over adult beverages. They were exactly as I've come to know them through their words. Amazing. They were just as wonderful as I had imagined. I look forward to getting to know these women and hopefully others as there really are some intelligent, thoughtful and kind women out there. There are more gin and tonics to be drunk and more conversations to be shared. I wasn't even anxious looking down at my short straw.