Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Year

1) What did you do in 2016 that you have never done before?

- Visited St. Maarten.

- Began the process of KonMari-ing our home.

- Went away to Sparks camp with my daughter.

- Started a bonefide skin care regime. Finally.

- Became certified in First Aid / CPR.

- Took both kids to Hide'n'Seek Indoor Playground BY MYSELF...... But will never, ever do that on my own again, given that it was a parental nightmare trying to keep track of my toddler.

2) Where did you travel?

Cruised the Caribbean again, sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale and then visiting Haiti (2nd time), Puerto Rico (2nd time), St. Kitts (2nd time), and St. Maarten (1st time to both the Dutch and French sides).

Also attended a family wedding in Banff this summer.

3) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving four straight months where my husband was only home one weeknight a week, thus leaving me to handle all child- and home-care responsibilities on my own.

(Related: Single parents everywhere -- I salute you, as it sure ain't for the faint of heart.)

4) What was your biggest failure?

Everything about this year has been a constant struggle. I've spent the entire year just trying to keep my head above water to make it through one day at a time.

5) Did you suffer illness or injury?

Pneumonia wiped me out this fall. I was too busy taking care of everyone else, and something in me had to give.

6) What things / people disappointed you the most?

Same as always - just people in general, myself included.

And also the American citizens who voted for Trump.

7) Where did most of your money go?

- Mortgage
- Renovations
- Daycare / School

8) What did you really get excited about?

After several sessions with an Early Intervention Specialist, my boy is finally talking!

(And now it's nothing but non-stop talking and singing and repeating every little thing he hears.)

9) What song will always remind you of 2016?

Humble and Kind, by Tim McGraw

Burning House, by Cam

My Church, by Maren Morris

Honorable mention goes out to Eric Church. His entire album (Mr. Misunderstood) is fabulous. It's a mix of country-rock-blues, and I've been listening to it on repeat for hours while at work. Certainly worthy of all the awards and accolades it has received.

1) What do you wish you'd done more of?

Been more physically active.

11) What do you wish you'd done less of?

Obsessing over things I can't change.

12) Favourite film this year?

Don't really have a favourite film for this year, but my new favourite show is American Housewife.

13) What was the one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Good health for me and the people I care about, including my Zio and Zia, who are my mom's last remaining siblings.

My Zio is 87 and was admitted to hospital last month for various ailments. I took time off work and spent days with him there, in addition to going back in the evening. Mercifully, he's back at home now, but it breaks my heart to know that this may be the beginning of the end.

His older sister, my Zia, is 90 and was diagnosed with cancer in July. She's currently waiting for a bed to open up so she can receive palliative care.

The final days of life can be so cruel.

14) What kept you sane?

Re-creating some of my mom's best Italian recipes.

This is a photo of the final jar I had left of my mom's homemade sauce, made from the tomatoes that she and my Zio grew in the garden.

The realization that this was the end of that legacy completely broke me. And the thought of having my kids grow up not knowing the delicacies of their Italian heritage was disheartening.

So, with the help of An Italian-Canadian Life, which features some true Calabrian dishes, I embarked on a journey to re-create some of the meals my mom used to prepare for me each day.

I only wish I had started doing this alongside her when she was still alive.

15) Which celebrity / public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy the least?

Still respect everything that Michelle Obama and Andrew Ference represent.

And still loathe (with every passion of my being) everything that Donald Trump represents.

16) What news story fascinated you the most?

The only good thing to come out of the recent US Presidential Election was all the "Jobama" bromance memes between Obama and Biden.

I admit I laughed a little too long over this one.

17) What sports moment did you like the most? 

The fact that this was an Olympic year was enough in itself to make me happy.

18) Who do you miss?

My mom, still, and always.

19) What do you look forward to in 2017?

More sleep, less stress, and a happier household.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Favourite Things

If I had Oprah's disposable income, I'd go crazy making people happy with all sorts of purchases.

Maybe not so much with material items -- as I find that most people already have more than they know what to do with -- but moreso with things that they actually need.

For example, I, myself, would love it if Oprah could come along and pay off my mortgage. (It would involve just petty cash for her really.)

That being said, I most certainly do not have Oprah's disposable income, and I'm not about to go off on any spending sprees in the near future.

Rather, all I have to give is some unsolicited advice with the hopes of improving the lives of those around me.

So here is one of my new favourite things: the TV show American Housewife.

Everybody needs to check out this show on Tuesday nights. It stars Katy Mixon (best known for her roles on Eastbound and Down and Mike & Molly) as well as Diedrich Bader (who has seemingly appeared on everything but is best known as Oswald from The Drew Carey Show.)

Watch this trailer and tell me it isn't fantastic:

This woman is my spririt animal, and this 30 minutes of TV is what I most look forward to on Tuesday nights.

And, like with me, your lives will be better off for having watched this series each week. Especially if you choose to watch this tomorrow night instead of that other thing that's going on in America all day tomorrow.

You're welcome, America. You're welcome.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I don't always get sick, but when I do.......

Guess who has pneumonia.

That's right. THIS GIRL.

And it's kicked my ass, considering my bronchitis-like cough began in August and hasn't let up since.

(Related: I think I have abs again beneath my kegger.)

Being sick for the last few months has completely wiped me out. It escalated over the weekend to full-blown pneumonia, so my doctor took me off work this week, which has been a real blessing.

For starters, I've been completely stress-free in that my colleagues are having to deal with my workload instead. And, for once, I don't feel guilty about it at all. (I needed this rest, yo.)

And, secondly, since I've been home alone during the day, I've finally found the time to clean up the laundry room -- a task that I've been asking my husband to do for months. MONTHS.

Yes, even with pneumonia, this woman was able to accomplish something in 1.5 hours that an ordinary man couldn't accomplish all year.

Ahem. Draw from that what you will.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Busting the Bully

I always knew my children would eventually encounter bullies while in school, but I didn't think it would be happening so soon.

Two weeks into the new school year, and I've already had to contact my daughter's teacher about a bullying situation in her class.

My daughter usually enjoys school, but the other day she asked if she could change to a different school because of something that happened with another student in her 1st grade class.

She mentioned that a boy who sits at her table had been bothering her a lot (making mean comments, drawing on her things, etc). And apparently the other day he said, "My entire family is going to kill you."

He also told her that he could call 911 and have the police come to our house to shoot her.

I know that these are young kids, and young kids say all sorts of things without really understanding the consequences, but this was obviously really scary to my daughter.

I'm convinced that something must be going on with this boy outside of school. This is probably his way of lashing out, and I do truly feel bad for him. But, at the same time, I don't want my daughter to be sad or scared at school.

She said that she didn't do or say anything to provoke these comments from him, and I of course believe her. Regardless, his comments were threatening, so the teacher immediately had this boy moved to a different table.

This has solved the problem in the short term, but it's obvious to me that this boy needs help. He may be small and relatively harmless now, but he won't stay this way for long.

What happens when he's in 5th grade and becomes a physically intimidating presence as well? Or when he's in junior high and has upped his game to involve cyber bullying? The future frightens me.

With regards to my daughter, I've advised her to go to her teachers immediately if he bothers her again -- but, beyond this, I'm not really sure what to tell her.

On the one hand, I do want her to speak up and let him know that his comments are not okay..... but I don't want things to escalate with him. And I don't think that just having her ignore this boy is the right answer either.

Essentially, I don't know how to handle this, and I'm open to suggestions. Has anyone else had to battle the classroom bully with their kids?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Shoulda, woulda, coulda

It's true. Aside from the paid writing assignments I've had to submit, I've been negligent in the writing-just-for-me department.

But my husband's been working four nights a week, plus every other Saturday, for the last four months, thus leaving me do the whole kid-rearin' thing on my own for much of the time. As such, free time for just me has been non-existent.

For this week, though, he's home during the evenings, which means I can go back to ignoring housework and meal times for the kids.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Watching X-Files with no lights on... I hope the Smoking Man's in this one."

This is the show that saw me through high school and university.

It inspired me to continue studying the sciences when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and believe that I wasn't smart enough.

My husband and I have spent the last year binge-watching every episode of every season, including both big-screen movies, all in anticipation of this event.

Tonight, The X-Files returns for the first of six precious episodes.

And it feels like the return of an old friend, picking up where we last left off.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Small victories

My son, once again, spent the night in the ER last night.

My poor little man has had a rough go of it in his first 19 months, which, of course, has also taken a toll on our household.

And so I'm home from work today, trying to care for my boy while also attempting to catch up on some sleep.

It's no secret that I'm a stress-eater, regularly turning to comfort foods when I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I admit that I was THIS CLOSE to hitting the McDonald's drive-thru for a breakfast meal this morning.

But I've sworn off of fast-food for at least this first month of the new year, and so I stopped myself. I realized I wasn't even hungry and was instead turning to food because, well, that's what I always do.

And so this time I didn't indulge.

While this may sound ridiculous, for me this was the first small victory I've experienced in a while.

Here's hoping I can ride this momentum through to the next challenge that life will undoubtedly toss my way.