The Unrelenting Echoes of Summer

The ‘hood battles are raging and the summer days are stretching onwards and upwards. No one is immune to the reaching fingertips of ire and impatience emanating from cranky neighbours who refuse to admit their age is getting the better of them. If one is to listen to them, the kids are running amok flailing wildly among heathens and hoodlums destined to dethrone the king of badness. Nothing good happens past nine- thirty peeps, and children left to pillage and plunder the village into the abyss of indifference and permissive dismissal are future adults destined for the Presidency of an American nation. Alas how are we to survive the madness?!Calm down, peeps.

The children are children playing in the backyards of responsible professional adults paying their taxes, abiding the laws of society and contributing to the well-being of community and ‘hood alike.

There is no crime here, only that of youth being restless and young on summer nights that have magically become windless and warm. The days where summer seems to last forever, where any kid of any age can dream of digging for buried treasure, swim in the depths of a backyard pool and savour the taste of s’mores and burnt marshmallows on a backyard campfire. Tents, giggles, sleeping bags, practical jokes, stolen garden gnomes (oh, my poor Norman where art thou?) all a big part of childhood and growing up in a safe environment surrounded by loving parents and committed neighbours to raising a generation of well-adjusted, educated, intelligent, compassionate and community minded young people.

That’s what my idea of a neighbourhood is.

Watching out for each other against the rallies of the occasional late-night thievery, lost dogs, wayward cats, and kids out past the boundaries of the park at the end of the street. Local spring clean-ups, bottle drives for hockey trips, Mummering Christmases, barbeques and the fence raising- shed building- deck erecting- construction that brings friends and neighbours together.

We connect to support each other in times of confusion and debt reduction, lost jobs, raised taxes, sky-high grocery bills and illness and heart attacks and even the death of someone’s parent or relative. It’s what they mean when a neighbourhood becomes a small village.

We become each other’s indirect relative.

A communal leaning post.

Friends. Allies. Fellow compatriots in a world where we embrace differences and stand up for the underdog. Where we denounce bullies, raise up kindness and understanding and assist at all costs.

It’s in the DNA of every Newfoundlander to have this innate sense of community; to feel responsible for each other because, hey, don’t I know yer father? At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Let’s see more of that. Community. Fellowship. Understanding.

AND FUN.

Hey kids! Your loudness behooves me!

The kids running around playing spotlight after dark, the fires in the backyard pits, the barbeques, the late night dog walking, the chatting…

There is no room for fear of being loud or obnoxious. The sounds of laughter and squealing from children should be a sign of a healthy happy environment fraught with joy and the unending bounds of childhood activity.

It should be lauded as the epitome of strength of home and family; not sullied as unnecessary and appalling.

As the summer progresses, let the children play in the streets and wreak havoc in the backyards. Soon enough they will be grown and gone and our yards will echo with their lost squeals of fun-fueled delight from summers past. Youth is fleeting.

Let’s not wish it away.

 What?! I can’t hear you! Whispering sucks. 

 

 

Summer Days Can Be Noisy. Bring Your Headphones. And Gas Ovens. 

The summer is spinning on and I’m trying desperately to hang on without randomly sticking my in the oven…It just occurred to me that even that wouldn’t be effective, as I have an electric oven. I guess when you see the old lady-with-her-head-in-the-oven gag, she actually owns a gas operated appliance, which obviously would do one in. An electric one would only be harmful if it was simultaneously touching water…or plugged in whilst out in the rain. But then, why would you have an oven OUTSIDE IN THE RAIN. No one would need to bake a cake outside during a monsoon. Unless you wanted to have a baked goods sale on the side of the road instead of the usual lemonade stand and having the oven outside is both convenient and a sales pitch, and people would be too excited and cause mass riots in the ‘hood since, BAKED GOODS.    Then some people would think y0u are trying to sell the oven instead of the baked goods, which would cause more discussion and chaos.

No oven outside is what I’m saying. Totally useless and makes too much noise in the ‘hood which apparently, is an issue what with all of the children home from school because ITS SUMMER HOLIDAYS AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SUMMER.

And no need to stick one’s head inside it, since it would also be pointless. And kinda creepy looking. Unless, cleaning. Ugh.    

What was I saying?

Right. Summer.  

It’s happening and really I just want to sit outside in the sun. It’s the best.  

Unfortunately, there are people in the universe who are not happy well-adjusted human beings who, for some unknown reason, decide that living in a neighbourhood full of children and families is a great idea until the children decide to, God forbid, laugh and play then it’s all STOP THOSE CHILDREN FROM HAVING FUN I’M TRYING TO BE QUIET HERE! And we’re all like YOU LIVE IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH FAMILIES. And they’re all WELL THAT’S NOT MY FAULT. GET THOSE CHILDREN TO BE QUIET. JEOPARDY IS ON AND I CAN’T HEAR ALEX’S QUESTION! And I’m all like IT’S ACUTALLY THE ANSWER, YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH THE QUESTION GAWD DO YOU NOT WATCH JEOPARDY ON A REGULAR BASIS?! And they’re like NO BECAUSE I CAN’T FREAKIN’ HEAR IT WITH ALL THE FRIVOLITY AND FUN GOING ON!  

Hence, the oven.

Maybe I will have a baked goods sale with ovens and children and lemonade stands and garage sales and carnivals in the streets. Mags can be outside and bark at all the joyous crowds gathering then we could have firetrucks and police cars sounding their sirens and in the evening have fireworks and a bonfire and…

DID SOMEBODY SAY BLOCKPARTY??!!  

 THIS LOOKS AWESOME.  AND SCARY.  HANG ON KID! But don’t scream. That’s way too much noise.  

Let’s Pretend Reality is Really Real

As I get older, I find it harder to keep up. Keep up with the ‘kids’, keep up with the work around the house, keep up with the bills, keep up with exercising, keep up with the ever moving ever changing world we live in. I suppose that’s normal and something everybody has to deal with, but that’s not the image people play out on social media.
If one was to believe everything according to Facebook, everybody is living a perfect well-balanced, harmonious life void of any pressures of keeping up, or staying fit or feeling great or being successful. Life According to Facebook is a veritable wonderland of rainbows and unicorns. The happiness meter is on bust and the world is one great big giant playground where all the kids are having fun and playing nice and laughing hysterically…not maniacally. That would be creepy and Facebook doesn’t do creepy. Does it? 

 Well, kinda when you think about it. That’s the premise of Facebook. We gander and peruse others’ lives. We look at the pictures. We see the posts. “I had a great time eating my lunch today.” REALLY?! How is eating lunch equal to having a good time? UNLESS, there was alcohol and a lot of friends thrown in there where you didn’t have to go back to work and the food was free and the sun was shining and….see, there are parameters about how having fun eating lunch can actually occur. Who am I to judge whether someone had fun simply by eating his/her lunch? I’m not. But if somebody puts it out there for the world to see, the world will invariably judge because, duh, that’s what human beings do.  

We judge.

We compare.

We analyse.

We decide what is good, what is bad, what is tasteful, what isn’t. It’s in our nature to simply make decisions on first impressions, be all judgey about it then move on.  

Or, like me, make fun. It’s how I roll, but then I expect the same in return.  

The perfectionist in all of us wants to post the BEST of us on Facebook for the world to dissect and analyse and examine in some sort of twisted voyeuristic play, but that’s not real life.

Nothing on there is real. Really. Not EXACTLY reality, sort of a mixed-up “let’s pretend” kind of thing.  

Image is what is being projected. Someone’s likeness to the real human underneath the pouty smile or the posed stance next to the car. No one’s life is a perfect sequence of magical events all coming together in one symphonic interlude.  

But we sure as hell like to think it does. “Hey, I got a smile from my dog. Post that!” I have done that. I do that all of the damned time and then think, “Why the fuck did I just post a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once and not ready to tear the head off some random kid walking by our house?” WELL, BECAUSE MY SNARLY GROWLY TYRANNICAL DOG ACUTALLY LOOKED LIKE SHE’S SMILING FOR ONCE AND NOT READY TO TEAR THE HEAD OFF SOME RANDOM KID WALKING BY OUR HOUSE! That’s why. Because it made me happy to think she was actually happy and I wanted the world to think my dog was happy and in turn, I was happy.

Because happy is good.

AND WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE HAPPY?!

So post happy!

As long as everyone is under the general anesthetic knowledge that NOTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS REALLY REAL, only kinda sorta real then we’re all good.

So, Truman on folks.*  

Fake is the new reality. Not to be confused with the ever-nauseating phrase ‘fake news’. Pleeeeeeaaasssse. No.

Here is a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once.


I hope it makes you happy.

*[For those of you old enough, this is a movie reference to the Truman Show. Jim Carrey. Ring a bell? No? Ugh. Nevermind….]

Namaste, Bitches

Daughter and I have decided to give Yoga a try.  She signed us up last week and tonight is our second class.  It was a little disconcerting to be walking into someone’s private home as a Yoga studio, but we decided to keep an open mind and give it a go.

Our Yogi is a slightly-more-than-middle-aged woman who has cleared away the front room of her house to use as a space for practicing.  It was spacious and warm, a perfect spot, really.   There are only 8 people to a class, and to say Daughter is the youngest is akin to stating that an elephant is big.  EVERYONE is my age or older.  She seemed undaunted by this, but I was a bit concerned.  I mean, hey it’s all good for me sista, but she’s just a youngin’…not the class I think she had in mind when she went on Google to find a studio.  Yep.  Googled ‘Yoga Studios’ in our area and this is the one she chose…huh.

yoga

Yeah, we don’t look quite like this

I was unfazed by the older man with the ZZ Top beard and the ragged faded jeans, but the dude who placed his mat beside me (I think his name was Brian) was a heavy breather.  Yep.  Like a bad Seinfeld episode, this guy sounded like he had just run a marathon in under four minutes.  Good thing he wasn’t a close-talker or I really would have had an issue…

seinfeld-close-talker

Close Talkers and Heavy Breathers back up and turn over, please

There were more men than I expected, but I think they were part of couples since the ladies they joined seemed to be very supportive and insightful in the ways of Yoga.   “Bob, YOU WON’T NEED THAT BIG CABLE KNIT SWEATER DURING CLASS.  UGH”.     “Jim YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”    “Frank, for GOD’S SAKE JUST BREATHE!”

I did not hear any of that, but it would have been AWESOME if I had.

Couples Yoga should provide counselling services after class.

Hello, business idea for the psychiatrically inclined…

By the way, ‘psychiatrically’ is probably not a word and I’m not about to look it up.  I just spent waaaay too much time re-watching Seinfeld episodes looking for a Heavy Breather gag…

The class was a wee bit longer than I thought and when she pulled out the bolsters and dimmed the lights, I thought ‘couples yoga’ is about to get weeeirrrrrd, but it was more like nap time in Kindergarten.  Sorry, ‘relaxing time’…

Her voice suddenly dropped a few octaves as she went around the room to make sure we were ‘relaxed’…mkay.   I suppressed my urge to laugh and made it through relaxation time unscathed…. except for Heavy Breather Dude who I think almost went into cardiac arrest when it was time to come back to reality and this plane of existence…and stand up.

Poor Bob had to put on his sweater lest he got a chill….tonight is about to get awesome with Geriatric Couples Yoga….

yoga-posing

Lose the sweater, Bob.  It’s about to get real up in here…

I CAN’T WAIT!!

Namaste, Bitches.

 

 

12 Days With No Added Sugar and Still Alive To Tell About It

I’m finished my 12 days in the 14 Day Challenge the Land of No Added Sugar, and I have to say it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  I figured by now, I’d be hoarding little sugar packets and chugging back their sweet goodness in a bathroom stall. (I didn’t do this)  Or licking the remnants of a latent brownie or cookie crumb off of the kitchen counter, ( I SO WANTED TO DO THIS) or sucking back the remains of wine from the recycled wine bottles still downstairs. (NO, I DIDN’T DO THIS EITHER, EVEN THOUGH I SEE YOU EYEING ME AND THINKING THAT I REALLY DID…OKAY, I THOUGHT ABOUT IT… GAWD)   Or even sneaking mouthfuls of chocolate chips straight from the bag. (Somebody beat me to it)   I haven’t done any of that.  No, really.  I haven’t.

Oh, sure the first few days were like The Hunger Games around here.  I could have easily made one of my kids a human sacrifice for a piece of chocolate cake…or cookie…or crumb of a cookie.  Seriously.   Hubby wouldn’t even drink a glass of wine in my presence lest he endure a death stare of epic proportions.  He still hasn’t had any wine…maybe he’s been visiting the recycling bottles downstairs…

I’m better now.  I don’t feel the need to stab a baby for its juice nor take down some random person in the street for drinking a can of Diet Coke.

Most days.

All that being said, I feel well.  My cravings have diminished.  I have found a coffee that isn’t like drinking the bottom of a sink hole filled with sludge and I’ve lost a few pounds along the way.  All good.

I have noticed a few other things since embarking on this journey of sugarless magnificence:

I’m not craving sweets as much as I used to. Not even chocolate, which is surprising since it’s as close to my heart as cute puppies and Christmas

My eyesight has NOT improved.   WTF sugar?!  Not that I thought it would, but I thought if I was clouded with sugar-induced haziness, it may improve to the point of me not having to squint.    Still read today’s bootcamp exercise as ‘Stripping’ instead of ‘skipping’….and just so you know, the Canadian government weather website tab says ‘Taxes’ not ‘Texas’…I remember thinking “WTF has Texas got to do with Canadian weather?”   Or Taxes for that matter…MAGOO TOAST

I still want a glass of wine. That hasn’t gone away and next Tuesday, I will possibly indulge in a glass…TUESDAY IS NOW MY FAVOURITE DAY.

Sorry to the fellow bootcamp ladies. I must apologize for my epic under-my-breath swearing ( I only said ‘Fuck off’ a few times…yeah.  A mere few times…)  at your effortless perfection in the kitchen in posting all those wonderful looking recipes whilst I slob over on the couch watching Leah Remini take down Scientology and then  cry over the next FUCKING AWESOME EPISODE OF SHERLOCK EVER.  (I think that’s the new title, by the way.  Look it up.  It’s on PBS.  Even THEY can be a wee bit sweary when they want to.)     Anyways,   I would post an epic pic of my unflavoured oatmeal drowned in Cinnamon, but I feel it would cower in comparison to all of your blah blah wonderful soup-stuffed-something-or-other with kale and fucking AVOCADO dishes.    Not a wee bit edgy….

I eat more often. I eat better food every couple of hours so I’m not ravenous when I get home.  Seems to do the trick

I drink more water…probably because there’s nothing else to drink, but it has helped.

It doesn’t bother me too much when my co-workers plop down in front of me with their tea and Oreo cookies and eat them in front of me without offering one or putting them away out of sensitivity for my plight with sugar and all it’s evilness. Oh, you’d think they’d care, but apparently they are as empathetic as an abandoned indifferent stagnant rock with no care or compassion for others who are working their asses off at improving their health and fitness and becoming an overall well-rounded individual, so piss off!  Nope, doesn’t bother me ONE BIT.

So, there you have it.  I’m rocking the sugarless thing with all the raw emotion of a person on a runaway roller coaster with a death wish.

ONLY TWO MORE DAYS TO GO AND EVERYONE MAY SURVIVE THIS SHIT.

Maybe….

karen

Me on Tuesday

 

Day Two of the 14 Day Challenge

I started my day with a workout, so blah coffee before said workout was a must.  Even if there was no sugar, I needed the caffeine to get me on the go.  Good thing too.  That workout was tough…

After the third cup of sugarless tasteless coffee, I can honestly say it still tastes shitty…maybe I need to switch coffee brands.  Or go to tea…HA!  Had you there for a minute, didn’t I?  TEA?!  That may send me over the edge, so I’ll stick to the duller-than-watching-grandma-knit-blankets coffee until I “get used to it”.  Which is going to happen any day now according to those ‘in the know’…ie, people who have given up sugar in the coffee like eons ago and say there’s nothing to it…the same people/person/daughter who then says ‘buy me a cookie at Tim’s okay?’

I did manage to eat some eggs with almonds for breakfast, so that was good.   I just read that sentence.  The almonds weren’t IN the eggs.  They were a side.  Like avocado is a side for some people…apparently, I’m supposed to like that.  I like guacamole, does that count?

I’m really not complaining about the whole ordeal, I just like verbally expressing my distaste for anything non-sweet, like celery and cold coffee and that lady who hates Christmas.  She probably hates babies and little puppies too….Maybe she had a bad week, or maybe she’s trying the ‘no sugar’ thing too, in which case, she should definitely eat that big ole chocolate bar and get over it.  WE NEED CHRISTMAS. AND BABIES. AND CUTE PUPPIES MAULING BABIES.

Can I have withdrawals from chocolate?  Because I think I’m going to need a similar thing to a methadone clinic for my chocolate addiction…”I’ll need an injection of the caramel centred Pot O’Gold, please”.

I’m faring better than I thought I would, although, it may not sound like it.   Some wonderful people are posting great recipes on Facebook that I can actually try out, like a one pot chicken breast with beans thing that looks good and easy to make.  Which is excellent for me.  They must know me well.  Or feel sorry for me after my post yesterday.  Either way, it’s awesome.   I’m not in the crowd of great ladies who cook up shit a week in advance and have all their veggies chopped and organized in the refrigerator by colour and size and crispness…I CAN’T DO THAT.  They cook up pots of stuff that I can’t pronounce and make food that rhymes with avocado…NOTHING RHYMES WITH AVOCADO.

I operate on a different plane.  It’s more like ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-and-hope-shit-works-out’.  Yeah.  That’s more me.  In saying that, I DID manage to prepare my lunches in advance (by this I mean an hour before I leave for work )  and have snacks at the ready so I don’t steal somebody’s cookies off their desk…or chocolate bar…Not that I’ve been scoping out people’s offices for snacks…STOP JUDGING.

All in all, day two has been…meh.  Not BAD, but doable.  If tomorrow goes like today and so forth, I got this.  Just gotta learn how to organize my veggies…so green goes before orange, then red, then yellow…I`m thinking alphabetical.  Are they chopped or sliced?  I’m going to have to get new containers…and labels.  AND SUPPORT STAFF TO HELP ME WITH THIS SHIT.

refrigerator_full_veggies

My refrigerator does NOT look like this.  Where’s all the wine? 

Who knew organizing vegetables could be so complicated?  OBVIOUSLY THE PEOPLE WHO DO THIS ALL OF THE TIME.  They must have the global market on Tupperware.  It’s all in the lids.  Those damned things get lost and reappear in the strangest places…years later.  At least in my house. Do people still buy Tupperware?  Is that still a thing?  Huh.

tupperware

Maybe I’ll just get pre-cut veggies and store in Ziplocs…hey….see?  I got this.

At least until Friday…Friday is wine night.

WWWWIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEEE…..

wine and cookies

 

The 14 Day Eating Challenge (Yet Another Way to Make Me Cranky)

food-meme

The challenge title is misleading.  It’s not challenging one to eat, which would totally be a challenge I would GLADLY take on.  It’s challenging one to eat RIGHT.  A group of us ladies have decided to follow our fearless leader into the depths of healthiness (and despair) by accepting her carefully laid out plan for healthy eating…and Gawd knows what else, because we are supportive. And awesome. And probably a little drunk from the holidays to really think this through.

Anyways, like any carefully strategic plan for world domination, there are rules…quid pro quos…stuff that’s listed that’s forbidden to eat/drink/consume… stuff I ate in large quantities over the holidays that apparently are BAD for me.  Pffft… We are to read the list, memorize the list…basically, BE ONE WITH THE LIST.  Ugh…here we go….

My thoughts are in the parentheses…

This is the list of NO’s:

  1. No chips (dat’s okay, don’t mind’em anyways)
    2. No white potatoes (don’t mind ‘dat either.)
    3. No Ice cream   (so far this is easy….)
    4. No fast food   (Okay, so no Micky D’s for a while)
    5. No fried food   (Nudding? Hmmm)
    6. No chocolate   (WHAT?!  But…not ONE BITE?! I may die)
    7. No white bread (fine.  No homemade bread )
    8. No soda or juice   (done)
    9. No cakes, cookies, donuts, etc.  (I’m thinking the “etc” part includes everything I love)
    10. No added sugar of any kind (Sweet Jesus, lady WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!…okay, I’ll need to breathe for a while…)

Sugars – Avoid all added sugars for this challenge.  (ugh…sooooo gonna die)
Substitute Sugars – Avoid all substitute sugars, including stevia. While it’s not a sugar, the idea of the challenge is not only to get sugar out of your diet, but also to get you away from the need for something sweet.  ( and away from eating stuff that tastes better than the cardboard boxes those sweet donuts from heaven came packed in)
Alcohol – Avoid alcohol because it can make your cravings worse.  (but if you’re drunk, you won’t notice the cravings, will ‘ya? )   

I started a day earlier, just because I wanted to be able to focus and ease myself into this 14 day hell ride we call HEALTHY EATING.   Whatever…

Things I discovered today, Day One:

I drank my first cup of coffee EVER with nothing in it but a bit o’milk.  Tasted like crap, but I’m willing to try it again…not sure why…I guess I can be convinced of anything.  Next I’ll be signing up for Scientology classes and Leah Remini will be trying to save me…

I like sugar.  EVERYTHING has added sugar, so I’m focusing on fresh fruit and veggies and almonds.  Boring as hell, but it gets me through my morning….but I still want to stab somebody in the throat for no sugar in my morning coffee…

By 11:30 I needed another coffee.  Usually by this time, I have had 2 or 3 cups.  I only had the one since I wasn’t relishing the taste without the sugar.  So some may say “another benefit” while I’m saying “I WANNA KILL SOMEBODY SO I’LL STAY IN MY OFFICE, THANKS”

I found I drank more water out of desperation. Desperation will make you do crazy things…who has Tom Cruise’s number?

Why does it seem to be more water exiting my body, than entering it?  Seriously.  The bathroom at work is going to get my name plate plastered on it.

Did you know that salad dressing has added sugar in it?  WORK WITH ME PEOPLE.  I’M EATING A GODDAMNED SALAD.  THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS PROVIDE A DECENT –TASTING- SAUCY- LOVELINESS TO MAKE IT TASTE BETTER THAN STALE CARROTS AND GRASS FROM LAST SPRING’S THAW!!

See?  A wee bit stabby.

DAY 2 SHOULD BE AWESOME….

koala-eating-salad