Thursday, January 26, 2012

January - A Month of Reflection

For Christmas, I got a 2012 calendar from my mom, titled "A Year of Tranquility". Each month has a different flower with a different thought. I figured, as it is nearing the end of the month, to reflect about the new year so far.

I have been happier over the last few weeks than I have been in many many months. Life is great. Work is fabulous as usual and all the volunteer hours I'm doing are keeping me more than busy. As of right now, I'm assistant coaching a badminton team, teaching badminton, teaching/ running a chess club, working in the french classroom, along with all the trivia related stuff I do.

There are a few badminton tournaments coming up in the next few months so I am getting back into competitive shape. I haven't played in a tournament since 1st year of university and am very anxious about getting back out onto the courts to compete.

I went back to Ottawa last weekend to visit. You don't realize how much you love something until it's gone. Ottawa is my home away from home. I love the city, the people, the location and the comfort I feel when I'm there. Ideally after teachers' college I would get a job there. Ottawa is like a comfy worn-in pair of jeans - it fits me well and is comfortable. I miss the transit system, and the bustle of downtown. I got inked again, got my alumni card from the university, hit up the Lululemon Warehouse sale and saw a handful of friends. I miss it already.

I patched things up with the ex, and now we are civil. I realized that staying pissed at him will accomplish nothing but make me bitter and resentful. Clearly he has moved on, so must I. I'll be seeing him in two weeks at the sectional tournament (him as a player and me as a moderator)...we'll see how that goes. I'm still happily single and actually loving it. It's still kind of a weird scenario for me - with Valentine's Day coming up, this will be the first one in the last 4 years that I'll be single. I haven't gone on POF in over a month and refuse to actively search for anything because things are going awesome and I don't want to screw things up by throwing testosterone into the mix.

I've been keeping up with my photo-blogging without so much as a hitch. You don't realize how much you do in a given day until you're motivated to document it. The only issue I'm having is remembering to keep the batteries charged so that my camera is always ready.

I've been trying to avoid using cosmetics and body products that contain SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) and parabens. Damn those chemicals are in everything! I did manage to find a great smelling brand of shampoo called Bee Natural - the berry one is divine. I also picked up some Organic Orange Blossom toner from P'lovers downtown. My skin looks great! Kiss My Face has a great Vitamin A&E body lotion that I have been using, as well as a Citrus and Wild Mint shower wash that is a great "wake-me-up" in the morning. I also have been using aluminum-free deodorant. Everything I've read leads me to believe that aluminum based deodorants cause breast cancer and I'd like to avoid that at all costs. All these products smell incredible and aren't full of nasty chemicals.

Doing what makes me feel good and not having to factor anyone else into that equation is awesome. It's very liberating. I have always been an independent person, and am only now realizing I don't need a guy in my life to make me happy. I'm quite self-sufficient and resourceful as it turns out :P All of this must seem very cliché to those of you reading. It's very difficult for me to explain how much more aware I am of life in general and trying to live it to the fullest. I have seen the light I suppose haha. There are just so many things to look forward to on a daily basis and am staying motivated to continue on the path I'm on.

I have a to-do list that is constantly evolving and I never have enough time to get everything done. Currently I'm reading 3 books (La bête humaine par Émile Zola, Gerald's Game by Stephen King and House Rules by Jodi Picoult), keeping up with the photo blog, sorting out the remainder of the details regarding the two trivia tournaments next month and trying to finish the second crocheted fingerless glove in the pair. Sigh. And this is on top of everything else. Thank goodness I was blessed with great time management skills.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Plenty of Fish

I have an account on an online dating site and up until about three weeks ago I was on the site regularly. Gasp. Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them that, largely I think because I'm very extroverted and have no problems meeting new people. I guess my issue is that I don't like dating people in my social circles because of the drama and problems it can cause if things end badly. I also like the idea of being able to pre-screen someone before I meet them, as I tend to be on the picky side.

I first joined Plenty of Fish (POF) right before my nineteenth birthday. I had just completed my 1st year of university and I was working full time at a landscaping company for the summer. The very first guy I met off the site I ended up being in a relationship with for nearly two years. I'm not entirely sure what stars aligned that day, but it was very quick and within a couple of weeks we were a couple (Facebook official and everything). Another random tidbit: I have only ever dated one person that I didn't meet online.

I had tried another online dating site,, with minimal success. I wound up meeting Mike, Scott and Stephen off that one, the latter of whom remains a friend. I have met a pile of people off the internet in person.The scary part is that I'm sure I can still name them still (cursed long term memory): Marc-André, Justin, Andrew, Andrew, Kyle, Paul, Tim, Marc, Kevin, Charlie, Shawn, Mike, Greg, Brendan, Clint, Christopher, Rob, Yannick, Ryan, and Michael. I obviously did not end up dating them all (and keep in mind that I met all these people over a three year period). In fact only a handful ever saw a second date. Most of the guys that I have met wound up being duds.

Oh the joys of online (and free) dating. Virtually anyone and their dog can make an account and post pictures. Alot of people also sign into the site with a pile of emotional baggage that you end of finding out about later on. This of course made me head for the hills. There are also guys who come across as interesting via text, and you meet them in person and the food on your plate is more interesting than what they are talking about. I like to consider myself a pretty interesting person - largely because I have alot of interests: I love reading, badminton, tennis, trivia and yoga, but I also have other hobbies like crocheting and blogging and taking pictures. One of the guys I met worked a full time job...and went to the gym - that's it. I was bored senseless.

The idea of meeting new people has never been a daunting one for me, which I suppose is part of the reason I have met so many guys in person after first crossing paths online. Job interviews don't really phase me either - it's like having a conversation with someone. Being an extrovert, I feed off other people's energy and its far more exhausting for me to be alone, than for me to be surrounded by others.

While I acknowledge that online dating isn't for everyone, it is a great medium to meet people who you would have never crossed paths with otherwise. For those of you who are toying with the idea of creating an account and perusing through hundreds of profiles should consider a few things.

1) In the space where you have to write about yourself and your ideal partner be as through as possible. Do you want someone who is the life of the party? Or would you prefer to date someone who is more of a homebody? Someone educated? Athletic? And describe yourself in the same way. Are you a family person? Independent? Love all the creature comforts? Highly religious? All of these things will help guys figure out who you are and what you're about (which also cuts down on morons messaging you).

2) Post only recent photos of yourself (within the last 3 months). Use photos that are well lit and show a bit of your body. There is no point hiding what they will eventually end up seeing in person if you meet.

3) Keep it on a first name basis (aka no adding to Facebook until after you've met.)

4) Meet in a public location (coffee shop, library, restaurant, etc). This is for your personal safety. Every person I've ever met offline was exactly who they said they were, but it never hurts to err on the side of caution.

Happy Dating :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Adventures of Billy Idol the Sock Monkey

As part of my daily photo blog, I will having my sock monkey Billy Idol star in some of the photos. Here he is with me, we are wearing our matching fuzzy green hats :) And yes that is a Salvador Dali painting in the background: "Swans Reflecting Elephants."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Parenthood 101 (Day 8)

Today is my last full day in my role as "mom". Omg. I made it. Wow. That was quite a week. Their mom comes home from Cuba tomorrow and I will be free. I figured tonight I'm gonna order pizza in, as it's my last night here. Nothing else major/crazy planned...just some more of the same old same old.

Wow. Haha, I must say that alot and I apologize. I'm just happy that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. That sounds bad too, but in all seriousness I just miss my own life, and this has been a rude awakening as to what living with children is like. I'm not opposed to being a stay-at-home mom either. The first five years of a child's life are essential to their development and as my mom put it "I'm not paying anyone to raise my children." I wouldn't mind staying at home, until the kids were of school age, but I want to work, I want to teach. I would want to go back to work, and being a teacher, that would work well as far as schedules go. I didn't go to university to stay at home. I enjoy money and want to be out in the workforce earning it.

Just had to avert a nose bleed situation. Was getting dressed and ready for the morning when I head Isla shrieking like a banshee. I dunno what Cyrus did, but he must have popped her good. There was blood trailing from the living room all the way to the bathroom. Thank goodness blood has never revolted me and I was blessed with a very strong stomach. Got all the blood cleaned up off her face and she was good as new.

Just brought the kids back from the park. I wish it wasn't so freaking cold out so I could run more energy off of them. Sigh. They are currently playing with stamps and ink, which is sure to end up messy. Will be ordering a pizza soon for supper and possibly working in a game of Twister afterwards.

In just over 24 hours I will be off mommying duty. I'll be repacking my suitcase tonight and making sure I have everything before getting driven back tomorrow morning. If learned anything from this experience, it's how difficult and isolating being a stay-at-home parent can be...and this was only for 8 days. I can't even imagine having to do that for years on end, I would lose my sanity. While I love kids, I love the fact that my job allows me to be around kids during the day, and in the evenings I can go home to my quiet house and have my own quiet private time. There is no separation of the two once you have kids. This past week in a way has served as a third type of birth control...the reminder of what having a couple of kids is like and how totally unprepared I am for children (at least for several more years). I do want to be a mom eventually but there are alot of other ducks I need to get in a row before that even remotely becomes a possibility.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Parenthood 101 (Day 7)

Wow. Finally. Last night was the first night since I've been here, that Isla didn't cry until 11pm. She cried till maybe 9pm instead and then eventually talked herself to sleep over the next two hours. It was kinda of refreshing to not have to listen to. I've gotten to the point where any sort of crying grates on my nerves like you won't believe.

Woke up this morning in a remarkably better mood considering the events of yesterday, and knowing that I only have two more sleeps before I can get back to my regular life. Sigh. I know that once I leave I'm gonna miss the two of them, but really I know that I'll be relieved to go about my daily schedule and start doing all the things I love again. I haven't been able to go to badminton, go to yoga class, eat any of my regular foods, spend any of my gifts cards that I've gotten for Christmas, or upload any of the pics I took over the holiday. Everything is put on hold. Only two more sleeps. Think I can...I think I can...I think I can...

Today is looking like a relatively low key day. Cyrus got his video game back after behaving yesterday and going to bed when he was supposed to. I get regular updates about the status of Buzz Lightyear and how many soldiers he's been able to out-run. I honestly don't even think he's playing the game right, but it entertains him, so what the heck. Isla's a bit of a grouch this morning, largely I think, due to lack of sleep throughout the week. I just heard her say "I wish I could be a babysitter," referring to caring for her stuffed animals. Sigh. She has no idea of what she speaks.

I'm looking forward to the hour of afternoon quiet time because I can catch an episode of the Intervention marathon going on today on A&E. There are new episodes starting tonight at 9pm too. Woot.

Life is good. And I can't wait to go to my regular yoga class this Thursday. Its kinda difficult to exercise in my current situation. My body and brain are in some serious need of stretching and meditation.

Sigh. Just took the kids to the park. Friggen children. It was Cyrus this time who decided to get all huffy puffy because I asked him to put his mitts on. It's currently -7 here with the windchill, and frankly I'm gonna be the one in trouble if mom comes home and his hands are all chapped. He decided to sit there with his arms crossed and a look of death on his face, claiming that he "wasn't gonna do anything". It's kinda hilarious now to see children attempt to pull nonsense. He was the one who was begging me all afternoon to go to park, and then once we got there claimed he wanted to go home. *pulls hair out*

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Parenthood 101 (Day 6)

Well after the most nightmarish night in a long time, 2012 can only get better. OMFG. I thought things were going pretty hunky dorey once I put the kids to bed around 7:00pm, but of course, once again Isla decided to spend the better part of three hours wailing and sobbing at the top of her lungs which kept her brother from sleeping. Couple that with a toilet that decided to stop functioning (and I couldn't find a plunger for) and a whole pile of emotional crap that decided to resurface, it was a shitty night in both the literal and figurative sense. I went to bed around 11pm, and put my iPod earbuds in and tried to fall asleep. No such luck. The pair of them decided to sneak into the same room and carry on till around midnight. When I shut my music off I could hear them laughing and giggling away. They both threw major tantrums, which didn't help my headache in the slightest. They claimed they wanted to sleep in the same bed, and given their mom has been in Cuba for the last week, I figured what the heck? If it will get them to shut up. But no, of course not. I took away Cyrus' handheld video game that the two of them were watching and squealing about which of course brought on tears from him.

Get me the hell out of here! I feel so isolated in this house. I can't leave, I can't socialize with anyone my own age and my only connection to the outside world is my cell phone and my occasional internet time. It sucks.

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache and no patience what-so-ever. It's hard to be tolerant when the two kids you spent half the night trying to get to bed, decide to wake up around 8am bellowing "Old MacDonald had a Farm" at the top of their lungs. I really need to invest in earplugs. Discovered that Cyrus had drawn all over his sister's face with red marker. Thank god it was washable.

Thank god for parents. My dad drove all the way in with a plunger and fixed the toilet situation. Super Daddy to the rescue! Seeing him was also a nice glimpse of reality; that the last five days are not what my life actually looks like. I started crocheting a scarf/ blanket (I'm not sure yet) with variegated yarn which looks super cool so far. The person I was trying to get ahold of all last night texted me back this morning, and I got to take a long hot shower so things are much better than they were this morning.

I'm so exhausted from the escapade last night that I have spent a good chunk of the day napping. I've gotten up to get the kids meals and tidy up the dishes, etc. but wow. I can't remember being this tired in a long time. I've always been a heavy sleeper but when there are two other people in the household who are relying on you, you tend to sleep with one ear open. Shepherds Pie is in the oven, and I'm stoked. Today is a comfort food kind of day. It's been grey and dreary since this morning, and because it poured all afternoon, I didn't take the kids to the park.

I think they sense that I'm not impressed about what happened last night and (fingers crossed) they will go to bed when they are supposed to. I'm starting to think that I'm too much of a control freak to have children.