Fooooooood Fight! Us vs. WW

Wagon Wheels: yummy, gummy, marshmallow, chocolatey, graham wafer, individually wrapped in gleaming plastic with slogans promising unworldly glee—Stop it already, you had me at Wagon! And you had my kids at the plastic wrap. 

 

Those rascals see a wrapper and know that inside that thin petro-clear housing is something delectable, plump full of sugar, preserved fat and former-food-products so utterly refined they’re unrecognizable (i.e. wheat grain). Damn, they good.

So what’s the problem? The problem is they’re crap. Now it would be ok if the only issue here was that there exists no nutritional value in a Wagon Wheel. Like paper: "just gonna pass right through ya mam." However, that’s not the case. Not only is there zero of anything of value in a wagon wheel, it is actually harmful, and your liver will be working serious OT to get the crap out of you. 

Who eats wagon wheels? Kids. And who hands them out? Hair-brained soccer moms. Juuuuust kidding. There’s nothing wrong with their brains, just their label-reading abilities. Spank spank! Earth to moms: orange slices, any kind of fruit or veggy, a home-baked muffin, or perhaps an organic power bar, are really the only appropriate food-items to hand out to kids running their rumps off on a soccer field. Don't even get me started on the plague of treats & candies given as a prize every time kids do anything other than play a video game. 

The first ingredient in a Wagon Wheel is chocolate coating, then in brackets next to sugar (which I'll wager is genetically modified) is “hydrogenated modified palm kernel oil.” Look no further. It is the second ingredient! That means MOST of the wheel is made up of this fractured, rancid, toxic oil that wreaks havoc in your cell membranes. It's a TRANS fat. A little further down, at number five, is sorbitan tristearate. How you say? It's synthetic wax. I'll pass. Let's not forget that sugar came first. The average North American eats 32 teaspoons of sugar a day, 300 pounds per year. Can you say insulin spike? Can you say Type 2 diabetes? Or any of the other chronic diseases ailing our once vital population?

WagonWheel.png

Then Dare has the cajones to write "made better" on the package. Really now. How so? Their answer under the "Made Better Facts" reads: peanut free facility, made in Quebec, source of iron. Let me get this straight, Dare DIDN'T use a common allergen so that's "made better"? Hi, we didn't use strychnine, isn't that great of us? Then Dare lists a location: Quebec. Ha. Yah. Ok. Because Quebec is the last untouched swath of pristine temperate forest on the planet. Dear God if that were true please don't put a wagon wheel factory there! But I'll give it to them for this: Quebec is infinitely better than China. Pfew. I would not buy anything edible from China -- especially "treats" -- research this and prepare to be horrified.

Big deal. They did play soccer. It’s just one Wagon Wheel after all. If only that were true. I see WW-type "goodies" handed out every weekend or at every birthday party or any time there is a kiddy celebration of any sort. Which is often -- kids graduate from Kindergarden and grade 3 and they graduate from taking a course and passing a swim class. “The kids deserve it! So fun. Look how they gobble it up and his cute purple lips from O.D.'ing on Nerds.” I get it. Back in the day candies, cakes and cookies were treats. But now they're so ubiquitous they're staples, like bread, daily, sometimes hourly indulgences. People forget that. It's not just ONE, it's a ton. These seemingly innocuous pseudo-foods are everywhere. If you think that's ok, read: safe for young growing bodies, then my food fight is with you! MIT found a 25% difference in IQ scores of children who consumed the most refined carbs compared to those who had the least. Twenty-five-per-cent!

I could call Dare Foods and take it up with them. But I can tell you what will happen. NOTHING. Read the book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat” – hopeless. So what will hurt them? Poor sales. That’s all. Consumers making good choices. Simple. Let’s do it!

I love my fellow moms and their kids, and we all have the best of intentions. However, this fake-food is not ok. Moms today did not grow up with the litany of preservatives, colourings, trans-fats, toxins and cheap ingredients that our kids are growing up with now. They used real SUGAR back in our day, genetically modified anything was science fiction. Let’s make change now. Shop smart! Make healthy choices & just say NO to the magical wheel.

Handel’s Mess-I-ahhh-ugghhh!

((A happy belated Xmas message, should have resolutions by February. 2014 and only one month behind!))

Handel’s Messiah – a work of beauty and perfection – played in churches and concert halls around the globe, one of the best known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music and also the number one thing to do with young, rambunctious and painfully curious children… shoot me!

The performance today began innocently enough. We had the boys (6 and 8) in collared shirts and corduroy pants, I in my scarf, and Pa in his blazer, looking sharp, prepping them with, “it’s a time to listen” and “I have gum if you’re good” and “there are treats for good boys after.” We were good to go. Then, a pleasant surprise, we ran into friends from the neighborhood, a family with three boys (4, 7 and 9). I thought to myself, “Great, other boys, role models perhaps, to join us in our culturalization of the boys.”

The pews were packed with coiffed heads of mostly blue, gray and white, with the occasional brunette or blonde noggin littered between. This was to be an experience the boys rarely have, learning to sit quietly, amongst elders, in a church, and listen to one of history’s greatest oratorios.

Ah hell, enough set up, by the second half, my six year old was driving a car up the back of a church pillar, flopping onto his spine when we shushed him, barking full bore during the soprano’s solo, “when’s this over!” (insert cute lisp) and slamming plastic cars with his four year old buddy like it was a casual day in the playground. And quite honestly, given they were mostly quiet for the first half, I was not even that upset about it. Until, the Cracken in front of us, with the burgundy pillowed jacket and thinning black and silver hair, turned around for the 10th time. Only this time, she spat venomously – wait for it, “Leave! You’re ruining this!”

Myriad responses ran through my head as the choir belted hallelujah and the audience leapt to their feet to share the joy, the triumph, of Handel’s most revered work. The first being a fairly famous four-letter word finished off with “you!” The second being, “You leave, b#@$&ch, and prepare to be visited by three ghosts Scroogy McScrooge!” But my best response, and the response that mattered, was this (feel free to substitute your deity of preference), “God is testing you today lady, and you failed.”

And there I waited, patiently – my six year old in a head-lock with a mouthful of gum, licking my mood ring (hoping it would change color), sensing the gravity of it all – as I waited for her next head turn, the one she would regret for the rest of her nasty-old sea-hag years. When it hit me, “What would Handel want?” As I pondered that, watching my husband hold his breath (men get very protective when they sense a predator), attempting to enjoy the last few minutes of this fine musical masterpiece, the lady behind tapped me. “Your kids have been great,” she whispered.

After five minutes of clapping for the symphony, the tenor, the soprano, the alto, the mezzo, the conductor and the choir, it was finally over and everyone could breathe again. Still poised to confront the Cracken, this time with a “Merry Christmas, I hope you find some peace this holiday season,” when the lady behind tapped me again, “Your kids were so good and so quiet. What a wonderful thing you have done bringing them to this performance. More parents should do this.” Her husband and lovely friend chimed in with more accolades and it couldn’t have felt better. I didn’t even see the Cracken leave.

What would Handel do?

He would have children, elders, parents, teenagers, and people from all walks of life listen and rejoice to his music in whatever way they see fit – including driving a plastic dump-truck up the walls of a church as they enjoy his melodic passages. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people…”

Merry Christmas to kids, parents and folks and Crackens all over!

WHY I WORK IN REALITY TV

I think I’m one of the few veterans of reality TV who would say they were destined for it. Newcomers to the biz say it because they were raised with it, not so us oldies. We didn’t see it coming. Or did we?

I did a documentary in my 20s that was a reality TV precursor (though there was no such label to pull from). I filmed my girlfriends (and I) on a road-trip looking to find a soul mate (one per girl, not one for all of us :-). I thought I was clever, looking for answers to a difficult question, interviewing experts and lovers along the way: “why is it so hard to find a soul mate folks? Does he exist? And where’s mine?” But better than that, I filmed my girls: partying, talking to dudes, mixing in the singles scene, being flawed and being magnificent, getting along and breaking down. Critics (or ubiquitous creepers, as I like to call them) thought I was looking to write off a month of partying with best friends. Truthfully, it was a bit of both.

At the time, I was a journalist, but I was constantly pushed into the fluff: “come be our lifestyle reporter” … “screw city hall, you’d make a great entertainment host.” Ah, why fight it. So I indulged this and the ‘soul mate quest’ doc was the capper. Three years and many serendipitous twists and turns later, I found myself in LA courted as a producer for reality shows. Try as I did, serious journalism was not in the cards. Now I’m a veteran, in the trenches as an established director/ producer in what is embarrassingly known as “trash TV” and it all seems to make sense why I’m here.

…Because it’s fascinating. It’s human nature in the raw. And I love crazy-people-stuff. Aside from becoming a psychologist (PhD? nahhhh), what better way to make a study of human interaction at its most basic, than reality TV. Reality cast are often stripped of their comforts (home, friends, family) and placed with a group of strangers, usually opposites in tastes/passions, and larger than life, unafraid to speak their unfiltered thoughts. This tests them to the core. We all want to be loved, but how far will we go? Is one million dollars more important than your integrity? Is speaking your truth, being understood, more important than getting along and being accepted into the pack? As a peer once said: “it’s reminiscent of the courts of Europe… the plotting, the drama, the alliances, narcissism, inflated egos…” oh, so juicy, oh so real and oh so human.

It’s also highly unpredictable. I’m never bored. In 14 seasons of the same show, and with a new cast every season, there are infinite scenarios/story-lines that can play out. Truth is stranger than fiction and who the hell knows what these 6/10/15 people are going to do with each other. It’s always new.

Ultimately, I do this because it challenges me. A director makes a thousand decisions a day, and when I’m not making creative decisions, I’m quietly asking myself, “what would I do in her shoes?” I’m living the moment with these people, defining and redefining my moral code as they reveal theirs. I’m feeling their pain and sharing their triumph. I get the unique opportunity to intimately and actively watch other humans compete for whatever it might be: limelight or cash, being right or being compassionate. I see them argue, manipulate, survive, save face and just do their best (or worst) to get along and get through it. Then I get to ask them… why? Why do you behave the way you do? And they, via contract, have agreed to answer me in a fancily lit interview with many other crew listening and recording their every move.

Then, we get to shape and mold hours of raw footage into compelling story, via what strikes us as most amazing, shocking and interesting. Is it biased? Yes. Do humans generally agree on what’s compelling? Yes. This is why people like REALITY TV. It is the nectar of life, real, live, human relationships, the best of human nature and the worst of it. Once we’ve satisfied food, shelter, water, what is left?

Through our interactions with others we are defined: good, bad, villain, hero, slut, virgin, vacuous, brilliant and everything in the middle. What’s not to like? Actually, don’t answer that. It’s deserving of its own column and though I’ve just espoused the virtues of this cultural phenomenon, it has a sharp downside. And despite the great insights into humanity I’ve glimpsed, there’s also been a lot of garbage…

So fellow reality TV peeps, enjoy it without apologizing, as I will continue to work on it, no regrets. As we forge this merry path, let’s not forget that by the very shows we choose to watch and engage in, we are shaping our brains and the world around us. Choose wisely.

Check out Prime Time Ottawa – “Keeping it Real” Reality TV Conference – I am on the panel with some RTV muckity mucks, telling it like it is. This is to be streamed live (I believe), and available on their website, Thursday March 7, 2013.

http://www.primetimeinottawa.ca/thursday-march-7/

GOOD GIRL SYNDROME

 I’ve had a bit of a week, make that a bit of a three weeks. It began with my son’s 8th birthday and 28 kids (25 boys!) in the local village hall, with a post-party sleepover for five. It was “fun” (thank God for helpful mom-friends), but ultimately a lot of work when you toss in home stuff, career stuff and husband stuff that fills every other waking minute.

The next week I had my own birthday to contend with, plus a couple days directing (freelance hours mean could be an 8-hour or a 14-hr day, usually the latter), a screening/premiere party for work (a must attend), a major meeting to get a new show off the ground (a colossal misfire, save for another column), hosting my own b-day party (go big or go home), expectations (and hopefully the wisdom to lower one’s expectations) and a few more expectations (haven’t I learned yet?).

Now let me just say, my girlfriends did not disappoint. In fact, they surprised me with sweet sentiments and gifts when I specifically said, “please don’t” and even my husband tried to let me sleep-in while he clumsily attempted my kids-to-school-morning-sprint-routine and the perfect bedside latte. So far so fine, but I was admittedly tired.

As I made my way into crazy-busy week three, my desk-a-clutter with mail, papers to file, taxes to do, to do lists to do, and four days in the field ahead of me (cue 10-12 hour days out of the house), I decided to take none of that to work with me and showed up ready to deliver another round of brilliant TV-making … until, an over-zealous person proceeded to unwittingly (or maybe wittingly, I’ll never know) badger me into a deep, dark hole.

I will spare you the details, as I really do need to move on, but let’s just say, every once in a blue moon an expert weevil burrows under my skin and lays a few scorpion eggs (never-mind the cross species reference, just go with it – btw, heard a really scary stat about cockroaches crawling into ears while asleep… one more thing to add to my huck-it list (as in opposite of a bucket list). Anyhoo, it worked. She got me. I lost sleep over some seriously ridiculous demands and my fear of not doing as asked, i.e./ not being a GOOD GIRL.

Imagine that, early 40’s and worried about being a good girl! WTF!?

Never-mind that I totally delivered as a director/producer (my expertise for well over a decade, and the job I was hired for). Never-mind the person pulling the strings was probably in grade three when I started my career (so why sweat it?). Never-mind that I vowed long ago to not get mired in petty differences (rise above, I swore). I still got sucked into age-old (as in totally adolescent) ideals of gold star approval from the teacher, no matter how deserving the authority figure may be.

Now this dilemma creates a paradox (read: mind-F*&*#) that makes me rebel. My rational mind says, “Are you bloody serious? This is unnecessary. Walk away.” If only it were that easy. My rebel side says, “This means war. Put that skid in her place!”

And here’s where I digress, but only for a moment.

My husband asked me why I like watching “The Real Housewives of Vancouver” the other day (with a not so subtle tone of guy’ish repugnance), and my answer surprised me. Especially given I had never considered it before and always thought it, quite simply, a guilty pleasure – plus I was a director on the show, so naturally I’m curious to see how they package our raw footage to make this wonderfully glib and glossy series.

My answer: I like watching it because these women say the things we (sometimes) want to say but would never dream of saying because normal people have a filter, and if we said our dark thoughts, we would have no friends, no job, no life. Yet they get away with it because the very franchise they grace (the “Housewives” franchise), is built on it. It’s not just acceptable, it’s a directive, and there would be no show without it (God forbid this “no filter” style of communicating makes it mainstream, let’s just keep it on the telly where it belongs, and in the lives of over-the-top, uber-rich women). Suffice to say, I (sometimes) LIKE IT (at least a little bit)!

I like it because I get satisfaction in seeing their “war” play out, when I have my own occasional “mini wars” that I “think” I would love to play out. This isn’t schadenfreude, btw, it’s bigger and more basic than that. It’s fight or flight—our most basic instinct, to run or punch. When someone upsets you, the alpha-warrior inside wants to eat them. Okay, maybe not “eat” but at the very least scream from a mountain top and blow off some serious adrenalin in the process – but wouldn’t dare in a civilized society, for fear of no friends, no job, no life… for fear of not being a good girl! The Real Housewives don’t play the good girl game, and like ‘em or leave ‘em, you’ve got to love the shunting of the mores of society (we’re so PC it hurts), or at least, watching someone else do it.

See that? Full circle.

Of course (cue the violins), I know that speaking your unfiltered thoughts can be hurtful and that’s the real reason we don’t do it. Not because of good girl mores, but because it hurts. It doesn’t just hurt the target, because many targets will hit you back just as hard or even harder, it hurts you and it hurts the race (as in the human race – yes, I’m going there) and it creates regret. Because the person on the receiving end is a human, and maybe by most accounts a decent human and you’re just having a good old fashioned misunderstanding – one person may be more wrong than the other (usually the case) but we’re all limited to our own unique paradigm and no ONE paradigm is perfect, except maybe the Dalai Lama’s, but he’s an island and the rest of us are not on it. Lest we forget, misunderstandings have started actual wars, the deadly soldier kind. Very bad.

Is vehemently defending our paradigm really worth it? Usually not. Is the satisfaction of venting that adrenalin really worth it? Uhhhhhh, not really… nope, no it’s not (convincing myself here).

So, aside from the Real Housewives of whatever rich county (God bless ‘em and their painful brutish “honesty”), most of us are good girls, just trying to make it work, who wouldn’t dream of telling those gnarly mosquito types where to shove it. And if we did, we’d just be apologizing five minutes later anyway, because that’s how we do. The crappy thing is we do lose the satisfaction of a good swat (childish, yes, but there must be some middle ground here). So where to find some satisfaction?

…Truth. Find your truth, reflect on it, make sure you’re sure, then speak it and don’t apologize. There’s no need to be housewife mean about it, just be straight, and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty, and don’t apologize for being honest when something is wrong. Then, go for a run – get the adrenalin out and flowing so it doesn’t get stopped up in a mammary gland or an artery or your armpit. Just run.

Aaaaaaand scene! Cue end of rant.

So after three crazy busy weeks that were capped with a difficult situation that was like a record skip that skipped for days and just kept skipping, over and over (yes I’m 100 years old, we call it the phonograph deary), that’s just what I did. Emailed my truth. Am I satisfied? No, not lion-catching-cavewoman, scream-it-from-the-mountaintops satisfied, but it’s the best I’ve got whilst remaining mostly civilized. I suspect after a few days of rest and catching up on paperwork, this matter will fall into its rightful place of totally meaningless chatter in the big scheme of things, and I’ll be glad no wars were fought for something so petty.

Carry on good girls of the world! I’m (mostly) one of you. Let’s save the drama for my favorite guilty pleasure, the “housewives”!

APOLOGY BLOG re: New Years Resolution Rehab

(2nd 2013 blog and already apologizing, tsk, tsk.)

As a freshly minted, newly committed blog writer, I decided my approach would be quick and painless. Write it up, spit it out (Jack Kerouac free-flow style), attach a pic, send it hyper-speed, and get’er done. I don’t plan to change this style as it suits me (I also love parentheses, in case you missed that), however, I suspect I’ll have a few regrets. Like right now: 

I--apologize--for--my--very--first--blog--on--New--Year’s--Resolutions. Why?

1)   Those were not resolutions—they were gripes.

2)   Even as “gripes” they sucked. They are horribly shallow, predictable (bordering on cliché) and pretty much meaningless.

First of all, in 2013, who (besides perhaps legions of 16 year old girls) makes resolutions to lose weight? Really, by 40, have we not figured it out yet? LAME. I very much would love to lose five more pounds, but that’s only because I see myself naked. Most people don’t. Truth is, in clothes, who cares? I have two perfectly good, strong legs, and everything else works just fine too. Enough already.

Second, patience is a great thing to strive for, but it is not a resolution. It is a character trait or even a philosophy, but not a resolution. Counting to 10 before I bark at my children is a resolution. Deciding to stop my big-yap mid-F-bomb whilst driving behind some putter-head is a resolution. Breathing deeply when my husband routinely screws up my three-item grocery list is a resolution. BTW: all three of the aforementioned resolutions would serve me. Noted.

Third, hitting it out of the park is not a resolution. It is a fantasy, and according to all the greats, not something to strive for. Strive for excellence. Strive for knowledge. Strive for the career you love (…talk about cliché). But do not strive for a windfall. That’s like saying, “this year I plan to win the lottery.” Ridiculous. Childish.

Meditate more, and moderate sugar/coffee/wine intake, are both resolutions; but, they’re sloppy at best. I can do better.

Thus, I apologize for my former crap resolutions that, I’m quite certain, were inspiring to no one. I also apologize for wasting three minutes of your time (for slow readers, five). Now that I have actually given this some thought, I stand a much better chance of making the improvements I seek and maybe even sticking to my NY's rezos. Who are we if we’re not growing and striving? Lemme answer that, BORING. Pass on that.

Because we do it all for them.

Without further ado, here are my newly revised, carefully considered, New Year’s Resolutions. Just in the knick of time, as January is coming to a close and it is time to get cracking. Fingers crossed this shit works.

     Because we do it all for them.

     Because we do it all for them.

1)   Meditate 5 minutes every night before bed—seated so as not to fall asleep.

2)   Do my morning notes (re: Artist’s Way given to me by a dear friend) every single day but Sunday, maybe skip Saturday too, but that’s it!

3)   Apres notes, ask the universe for what I want, ex/ an answer to a question, clarity, direction, motivation, whatevs.

4)   Apres request, offer the universe a present: today I will … something relevant/ doable that makes life better/easier for everyone.

5)   Do the above 3 rezos in 30-40 minutes max. Wake up earlier to do this (vs. getting my kids to school 30 minutes late J duh!)

6)   Give myself 10 extra minutes Mon—Fri to spend in a.m. with kids. Actually spend that 10 minutes w/ kids vs. on email.

7)   Stop over-analyzing. Let things go quickly. How? Replace useless head-speak loop with something useful. End the suffering. Figure out what that useful mantra is via #3.

8)   I was going to say “stop gossiping”, but I actually get paid to gossip—I am a reality TV producer after all. Soooooo, outside work: 'think it, don’t say it' (bad people are fair game, however) and don’t think it for long. Just look at it and let it pass. Who cares?!

9)   Laugh really really loud (as in shockingly loud) when my kids do something innocently wrong that would normally aggravate me (the shock-laugh will jolt my system out of bad habits). Proceed to lighten up with kids, discipline and the whole mother dynamic.

10) Smile and wave boys, smile and wave. Be more like the Madagascar penguins. They’re cool.

339 days and counting…

STOP THE PRESS! Just watched “The Last Text” a 10 minute documentary-short (sponsored by AT&T), bawled my damn eyes out and have one final resolution: TO NEVER EVER TEXT AND DRIVE OR READ MY PHONE WHILE DRIVING! Watch it!

RESOLUTION REHAB

 I have a love hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. They haven't worked out for me lately. So I told myself this past December, “This year, don’t bother. Don’t even think about it!” But as New Year's Eve tick-tock-tick’ed to its climax, I could hear my resolutions tapping on my brain like the incessant scratching of rats in the attic: “Let me in! You know you want me! Open this door!”

You see, every year I make New Year’s resolutions like it’s my religion. And, every year I break New Year’s resolutions like it’s my religion. And this has been going on for, well, years. But… Dammit! It’s January 22nd and they’re still scratching. I can no longer deny these hairy little bitches.

Here goes. I’m writing them down. I’m doing it. But be warned, I’m scared, very, very scared:

1) Meditate daily, and actually become the health/yoga guru I pretend to be. Shh, don’t tell my yoga students I don’t meditate.

2) Lose the last five pounds, or is it 10?, whatever, get there, walk the talk.

3) Kick my sugar habit and drink less coffee/wine (and actually be the health/yoga guru I pretend to be). Pretty much #2.

4) Practice patience (and actually be the…). Seeing a pattern?

5) Hit it out of the park (apply to whatever idea du jour I’ve cooked up, i.e./ a novel, a salad dressing, a sock puppet, a multi-national cosmetic company)

6) Be a better mom (begin by mastering #4). And yes, I recognize this should be #1, but this is me time!

 7) Figure out what I actually need to do to 'hit it it out of the park'.

8) Master crow pose. Should someone who can’t do crow even teach yoga?

9) DO (do!) the things I need to do to hit that damn ball out of the park. I.E./ simply solve that hugely elusive algorithm that anyone with a grain of ambition seeks to solve. Easy Peasy.

10) Smile and wave boys, smile and wave. Gleaned from the penguins.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. So what does it mean when you WANT to do something over and over again, but never actually “do” it. Is that insane too? Or is it hopeless? Would I be better off insane? Because at least I’d be doing it? And will I finally do it this year? Will waiting 22 days and making a stink about it be some strange karmic catalyst? And what does waiting 22 days have to do with karma? Does karma believe in pity?

I’m sounding a little pathetic. I’m not actually. But I’ve had a bit of a year (not 2013, 2012. Geez, not that redonk, haven’t destroyed 2013… yet). And though I actually do “do” things, get them done, I wonder if I’m actually improving as a human being. Am I happier? Am I learning, getting better, figuring it out (it = life), and making my way toward bliss? Maybe my resolutions would be solved if I could just evolve. Or maybe it’s just a big fat who cares, F#$@%# the stupid resolutions and just be.

As Dr. Shapoopra (Deepak Chopra) says (and I call him Shapoopra because the good doctor did not return my request for an interview last year, and it was for CBC, I thank you Mr. Big League), anyhoo, I’ll still quote him, he says, “we’re human beings not human doings.” Could have fooled me big guy. You’re quite the dooer, Shapoopra! But seriously, maybe he’s right? His advice may not be good enough for him, but it’s gotta be good enough for me? BE you schlep, just be!

At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m even writing this article/blog because I clearly have no answers. I need a New Year’s Resolution Rehab Centre and I need it quick, or maybe just a good life coach – and not one of those got-my-life-coach-cert-online-after-a-month’s-training coaches, the other kind, the ones who got it in two months. That's the real deal.

Anyway, Chopra’s wrong: “just be!” Meh. I'm not so good at that. I like to strive and I like to try and I’ll get bored just being. How do you even do that? Besides, it took me 22 days to figure out I actually NEED my New Years Resolutions; there's no turning back now.

So, this year I crank it to 11. I’m going to try a little harder or maybe just try a little different. And, I’m going to try not to be insane by doing the same thing over and over and thinking the same thing over and over. I have a whole new approach. I don’t know what it is yet, but when I do, I’ll tell you. In fact, here’s the deal I’ll make with myself, and Dr. Shapoopra (because I know he cares somewhere deep in that I’m-too-busy-for-CBC-enlightened-soul-of-his), that if I don’t reach the above mentioned resolutions by December 31st, 2013, I will drop these precious goals like Frodo’s beloved ring and toss them to the conflagration. That is the deal. 343 days and counting. Tick-tock-tick-tock. 

LIFE BALANCE

***Go to my "appearances" page under PRESS -- cool stuff coming up!***

Okay, I know the journey is all about finding balance, like the Enjoli hair commercial from the 70’s: I can bring home the bacon, da-daaaa-da-da! Fry it up in a pan, da-daaaa-da-da! Cue hair whip from a granny bun (sexy bitch, def’ly has never had kids) eyes that say ‘I’m about to f*$%^ hubby’s brains silly’ while the soufflé settles, kids are already in bed…

The message? I can do it all. Women can do it all! Reality? Not.

             Ommmmm

             Ommmmm

Life B.M. (before marriage, ironically, same acronym as bowel movement), things happened in stages. You might have spent months busy on a project, rarely getting out, late nights at the office, little time for play. If this were your life all the time, it would suck. But you knew it was just until you got the project done. Balanced? Only if you saw the big picture.

You then finish the big project and begin a fluff phase. The load at work has lightened, you party more, go to Mexico, have an affair (say, for example ;), spend a lot of time with cabana boy, have a lot of sex, whatevs. Fluff, fluff, fluff.

Finished with your three-month cotton-candy phase, you settle into a relationship new dude, but you live separately, so you have plenty of time for yoga and your friends and this new course you’re taking. Again, the balance shifts.

Next month, things get busy at work again, you’re taking a cooking class on the side, have less time for the dude and vacations, and here begins another cycle.

Thus, in the period of six months, it’s been a full life. But you weren’t expected to have this “full life” in one week, every week, all the time!

This is my problem: as a mom, on any given day (read: every frickin day) I’m expected to cook an amazing dinner, be lovely to my kids, teach the ABC’s/counting/piano, get a work out in, do a little real work (of the career kind), make some money, shower and at some point, put out for Ranch Ranger.

Don’t get me wrong, Ranch Ranger is hot and desirable (the two don’t always go hand in hand). And I’m sure lots of women would be more than happy to “put out” for the big cowboy. But, I—like my former self, and many single women—go through phases. And even though I’m married, I still go through the “I’m sick of my boyfriend and need a little me time” phase. When I say phase, I don’t mean “one day”, like I’m not in the mood tonight, more like, “I’m not in the mood this month!”

Seriously, it doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It just means, this month is about my career. Or, this month is about the kids and their extra-curricular stuff. Next month it’s all about yoga or dehydrating fruit or something. And yes, there is some balance there, like I might feel like sex in the midst of my canning renaissance, but it might be few and far between for the next little while. Why? Because my head is somewhere else? And it’s not just somewhere else for an hour or two, I need time to focus!

My mother, interesting and creative woman she is, actually gave herself decades to “focus” on certain topics: her 40’s were all about her music, her 50’s were about education/knowledge and obtaining her PhD, her 60’s were about studying religion, and though I don’t know what her 70’s is officially about –she’s playing (as a musician) on a cruise ship and seeing the world. Maybe travel? Point is, she’s looking at the big picture with big topics that she wanted to tackle in her lifetime and finding balance amongst knowledge, spirituality, adventure. She seems to have figured out her life’s arc and all the balance a good story (life) should have!

In the meantime, I don’t have the answer to this grand question of finding balance on any given day! I know that for moms, we sacrifice so much and most of our daily action is for our children, husband and home, even when we’re working out of the house. I used to run to Costco on my lunch breaks and drag my freezer items to the company fridge (up two flights of stairs) until end of day, then haul it all out to the car, then get home in time to cook dinner, play with the kids, read books, brush teeth and get ‘em into bed. Good thing it was only 3 days/week.

So, to quote a great line: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Maybe the intense years of motherhood aren't meant to be balanced. Maybe there’s balance in imbalance. Maybe, the sacrifices of motherhood are a necessary balance for being all about “me” for the first 20-30 years of life. And maybe, soon enough I’ll have lots of time for me and long for the chaos. Hmmmmmm.

Super Sandies (sandwiches) on CTV Morning Live

MaMas -- don't you hate the no-nut rule schools are posting? Well, maybe not if you're child is allergic, then I sympathize. But I also got creative. Check out my CTV link above (under MaMaGoGo) to see me on CTV Morning Live gabbing about the yummiest alternatives to PB&J this side of the Pacific.

Super Sandies... deeeeeelish!

 

 

1)    Sunflower Seed butter and Jam – easy peasy alternative

2)    Tahini and Pumpkin butter, with dried fruit – raisins, dates, apricots

3)    Cream Cheese and Marmalade

4)    Almond butter and Banana

5)    Chocolate Avocado Spread – w/ mashed banana on lightly toasted wholegrain bread

6)    Hummus and Cheese – w/ a thick slice of tomato

7)    Apple butter and Cashew butter

8)    Garbanzo Cream Cheese and Celery

9)    The Hawaiian: pineapple, turkey slice, tomato spread and cheese

Interesting Bread:

--multigrain and sprouted grain always best

--flying saucers with English muffins

--cube it or make shapes

--wrap toasted sandwich in paper towel then tin foil to keep it warm.

Once you’ve packed the sandwich, add any of the following to make a full course lunch:

--fruit and veggies: sliced apple, cucumber, carrots, snap peas, etc.

--seaweed treat, dried kale, etc.

--fruit/veggie bars

--pistachios, high in protein/good fat, fun to eat and rarely on the banned list

--organic cheese sticks

TIPS:

--many alternatives to peanut butter these days. Here’s a list of some of these “butters” and combo butters: tahini (sesame seed), sunflower seed, almond, cashew, almond/cashew, hazelnut, almond/flax, almond/pecan, cashew/pistachio/brazil nut, pumpkin butter, apple butter

--if it’s a nut-free school, ask about the exceptions and if alternative eating arrangements can be made

--put butter on before jelly to keep bread from getting soggy from wetter ingredients like jam, and to add a little extra sustenance for picky eaters (plus it adds flavor)

--many sandwiches can be frozen in advance, but don’t freeze veggies

--cut into fun shapes or cubes for ‘pop in your mouth’ fun

--for dairy butter it’s important to use organic. The Pesticide Action Network of North America says non-organic butter is ranked first as the food most contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (“POP”), a class of some of the most dangerous toxic chemicals. The chemicals enter the loop when a cow eats chemical laden feed, it then becomes concentrated in the milk and concentrated further when milk is manufactured into butter. 

Eat up kidlets!

I Wanna Go the F to Sleep!

 THE WORLD’S STILL SPINNING -- YO -- I’M NOT ON IT!

Nothing says tired like a crashed-out kid. To bad its not me!

Nothing says tired like a crashed-out kid. To bad its not me!

Not again! I got up this morning and realized that for the last month, while the earth loops around the sun on its plucky little axis, it has proceeded to do its remarkably reliable 24-hour rotation and taken all seven-something billion of us with it, with no concern for whether or not I’m actually getting up and participating in it.

It doesn’t seem to care that 7:45 a.m. rolls around and I’m still in bed, clinging to the sheets like my life depends on it, my bored-to-teary-eyed kids have nudged me for the umpteenth time begging for cereal, the phone’s rung off the hook with perky mom-friends wondering if we’re on for an after-school play-date (try me at noon), even my lazy-ass dog is looking at me from her mangy doggy-throne with a disgusted “you suck Oscar Madison” as though I don’t even do slothful well. They can all kiss my… lily white a$$, because I don’t FEEEEEEEEL like it. I wanna stay the F asleep!

Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I signed up for a 20 year sentence of early mornings ev-er-y-sing-le-day, endless 3:00 a.m. wake-ups (can I have a cough candy? can I sleep with you? I peed the bed… again), shuttle-bussing to-fro school/ lessons/ playdates/ birthdays, tyrannical meal-prep – three square ones a day – chock full of vitamins, made from mold-free ingredients, and wait, they better taste better than a molten chocolate lava cake OR I AIN’T EATING IT. And make it in the shape of a happy face, or a manta ray, no, I want my breaded chicken stick to look like an all-i-ga-tor, so there! I SAID PUH-LEASE, YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME, WAAAAAAAAA! Pass the plum sauce.

Don’t talk to me about the upside and the beauty/innocence/sweetness and the blah-blah-blah what would life be like without children, and imagine yourself at 60, and who’s going to take care of you, and this is what life’s all about and snooooooore. I know all this. And I agree. But I just want to bitch… ok? Is that so bad? Am I the only one? Sometimes it feels that way. Like when I pull up to the school without even bothering with a comb, or a toothbrush, or a bra. My now signature crown-top pony-tail loose from a fractured sleep, and not a sexy JFL loose pony-tail, but rather a sticky with dry-shampoo, finger-combed, dark-rooted, bleached out pony-tail that doesn’t even look real because the end of the “tail” is so divergent in tone from the base of the hair connected to my dry, tired, begging-for-sun epidermis, that it’s just plain sad.

And if I even sniff the D-word, with its faux I-care-I-really-really-care, I will eat my right elbow. I’m not D-pressed, I’m pressed… like every single button pressed, and I’m tired. And if you knew me you’d know I’m busy, like really busy. But sometimes I get not-busy, as in not-working for a pay-check and not urgently needing to fulfill kids needs, or household needs, or pay-bills, or stop the house from burning down. On those rare occasions when there isn’t anything urgent to do, which is not all that often, then I find myself stymied. Yes, stymied. “Duh, what do I do next George?” Because, once all the urgent and ever-so-detailed details of my world (and the five other souls living in it, if you don’t think dogs have a soul, then four, yes I included my au pair) are taken care of, then I’m simply left with a really long to-do list that consists of not-so-urgent things, but things nonetheless that really shouldn’t be ignored:

--turn the compost pile --clean the closets --rat-proof the garage

--change summer clothes out for winter clothes before April, or maybe don’t, summer’s just around the corner

--clean the house/windows/carpets/car/dog/clothes…

--print the photos, do the photo-book, Christmas card, now Valentine’s, scratch that Easter, ah forget it, thank you cards

--call my mother/sister/brother/friend-s-s-s (do I have any?)

Maybe I’m wrong, but I see this list as things that many moms get a chance to tackle, without being so damn exhausted by the time they get to tackle it, that they actually DO it and don’t feel like they just want to sleep for a month. I know everyone’s busy and I’m not trying to win the “exhausted mom” award (although I bet I’d rank), but I just wish that when I’m tired, everyone else could be tired too, maybe sleep when I sleep, or just sleep in once in awhile so I don’t feel so guilty when I need to do it for two weeks straight.

Half the time, if I don’t volunteer for a decent rest, or some stillness in my life, then my body will just plain force it: “F-U lady, I’m going down. If you’re not taking me down, I’m taking YOU down… here’s a nice sore throat for yah, how do you like that? How about a snotty nose? No, not going to slow you down? Ok, yeast infection it is. Now go get some anti-fungal and a good night’s sleep bitch!”

Do I get any rest from this? No, now I’m tired and itchy. Thank you very much. And I cap all this fun off with a visit to my favorite web-site: worldometers.info to watch the current world population tally grow exponentially as we confirm the rumors, “humans are a scourge!” There’s some morbid satisfaction here, where I say, “I told you we’re all screwed.” You know we hit seven billion on October 31st 2011? Check out the CO2 emissions number in tons as the meter runs faster than the eye can follow. Did you know there’s a car produced every second and there are well over five million cell phones sold a DAY? And the ‘days to the end of oil’ figure will put a lump in your gullet the size of a pick-up, no, a Hemmy. Told you it was fuuuuuun, like yeast infection fun.

World, go to sleep. Chuck the roids! Take a rest with me. Instead of pajama day for kids, make pajama day for kids AND moms, and do it once a week. Instead of asking for more parent volunteers, pull back the ceaseless projects and tell moms they’re off the hook for a stint. Un-super-mom-ify the community and maybe we’ll un-super-man-ify the world. Let’s just hang, nap, and check into BE-hab. Screw making things better—rehabilitating this and that—turn off the treadmill and be. BE!

It wouldn’t kill us, especially when you see those numbers on the worldometer. Going, doing, rushing, making, dressing, talking, working, moving, progress can be depressing, and scary. But then I remember the quote: “Go placidly amid the noise and haste… no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should” and find some comfort in Max Ehrmann’s view of the world.

Que sera sera… Whether I like it or not, whether I’m tired or not, the earth will just keep spinning. Standing on the equator the earth spins at about 1000 miles an hour, and if it stopped, like for me or for any other reason, the atmosphere would still keep zipping along at the same break-neck speed. Anything not attached to bedrock, i.e. most things, would pretty much be scoured clean—including me. Nice. Truth is, I don’t really want that, and, despite my bitchy rant, I really do love my life (most of the time) and would prefer to not get sucked into a space vortex any time soon. So world, keep on spinning and moving and shaking, I’m going the F to sleep…