Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween and Me: It's Complicated

So, it's Halloween. Boo!

I have a weird relationship with this scariest of days and it all stems back to my childhood.

My parents were/are very devout Christians and as such didn't want their three lovely daughters traipsing about as witches, devils, ghosts and ghouls. We didn't even watch Scooby Doo*. This was serious stuff for my parents. For them, if a person believes in Jesus then they should also believe in the Devil and why would they want their daughters dressing up as his minions.

 At the same time, schools were a lot different back in the day. I remember that as soon as Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October) was done my classrooms went into full on Halloween prep. There were crossword puzzles, history lessons, spelling bees and math questions all involving Halloween in one form or another and all culminating in a huge, all day, Halloween party. Now, my son is in school and his teachers, for the last 4 years, have committed only an afternoon to Halloween. So clearly my parents were unimpressed by this onslaught of Halloweeness from my school. Which is why my sisters and I stayed home for Halloween.

Yup, we boycotted the holiday all together. Instead of Trick or Treating we went to church sponsored "Harvest Carnivals", pool parties or totally unscary costume parties. We stayed home from the school on Halloween and played games, made brownies and did fun stuff with our mom. We still dressed up because dressing up and imaginative play was huge for us growing up, but we dressed up as princesses, cowgirls, ninjas, angels, hippies, etc. We also ate candy. Tons of candy. My mom particularly liked those disgusting Halloween molasses kisses, so there were always lots of those around the house along with Rockets (Smarties for my America peeps.), mini chocolate bars and caramels. So it wasn't like we were deprived or anything my sisters and I just didn't do Halloween.


Which brings me to today. I don't know how to do Halloween as an adult. I don't have the same reservations about Halloween as my parents did and my husband has no reservations about Halloween at all. I mean, I would freak if one of Jacob's teachers brought a Ouija board into class for students to play with as a teacher from my elementary school did, and I also believe in the fact that there are good and bad things in the world both naturally and spiritually, but I want Jacob to have fun too. It's just so awkward. What are the mechanics of effective Trick or Treating? How do I promote imagination and still keep my kid from dressing up as a demon/ghost/ghoul/other undead critter? How much candy is too much candy to steal from your son's stash?

So yeah, I just don't know how to act, I don't what I'm supposed to be doing and I feel conflicted as a parent. It a good thing that there's tons of candy around to help me deal with these feelings. :)

Everyday we're [zombie] shufflin'. Jacob & Mommy at the pumpkin patch.

*I found out later, when I pointed out that all the spooky bad guys in Scooby Doo were fake, that my mom simply didn't like Scooby Doo and that's why we weren't allowed to watch it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Internet & I Are Friends Today

Sometimes, when I'm surfing the Internets (as the kids say) I feel like the whole thing is run through with meanness and drama, kind of like butterscotch ripple ice cream, except the butterscotch is gross and makes you feel bad about yourself or whatever.

Today though, was a good day for the Internet and me. Let me show you...

First, I discovered that you can find all sorts of original Sesame Street videos on Youtube. I spent the better part of my morning fondly reminiscing about sitting in front of the floor model television counting and learning Spanish from super cool puppets and animation with awesome music. Observe...

How about another?

Now, I bet you feel happier and maybe just a bit smarter. I did.

Second,  I sent a mindless Tweet out about my love for Oikos brand Greek yogurt in Key Lime flavour. I do this sometimes, it's nothing major just letting people know if I find something good. This yogurt is good and I totally recommend you buy it. Get Key Lime though, I can't attest for the other flavours.
I digress.
The people at Oikos Tweeted me back (Twitted me?). How cool is that? I mean it's not earth-shattering or really that important but it's fun and it made me smile.

Look! I even got a picture of John Stamos (who looks so much better without the mullet) with some yogurt.
Then, because getting a John Stamos infused shout-out from a yogurt company isn't good enough, I won a contest and got a free book.

Author Jocelynn Drake is one of the authors of an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance anthology and she asked on Twitter for pictures of people's favourite Halloween costumes. This is mine...

I saw this on Pinterest about a month ago. It's called "Slutty Ghosts". Now, considering what most adult Halloween costumes look like I found this hilarious. I submitted the picture as my favourite costume and I won! Woo Hoo!

Cool, right? Right! Free book for me!!

And last, but certainly not least, I saw this...

You're supposed to sing it to the tune of that [obnoxious, but catchy] song "Call Me Maybe" and I intend to, like at least once a month or so. It's kind of lame and not the most intellectual of humour, but it hit me at the right time and made me laugh right out loud, which confused Jacob and made him ask me what I was laughing about. Since I didn't want to explain woman issues to the wee boy, I simply told him that the Internet was making me laugh.

Thanks Internet for a good day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm A Big, Fat Quitter and It's Cool

Yesterday I did something I've been putting off since June. I quit the gym.

Yep, I marched into the gym during the busiest part of the work-out day and boldly looked into the face of the young, lean, guy behind the counter and said, "I need to cancel my membership."

Now, it's not that I don't need the gym, or that it didn't make me feel good or that I wasn't seeing results, it's simply that I was not motivated to go. I'm not blind. I know I need to go to the gym. My genetically passed down pear shape has been growing and morphing into what more closely resembles a butternut squash and I explained this to the gym attendant/fitness Nazi.
It's kind of like a pear, but a lot bigger.

Of course I couldn't just quit, I needed to be reminded that by quitting my gym I was not just giving up I was putting my very life a stake. This was done in the kindest and most condescending of ways all while I stood under a 15 foot (I'm bad with measurements.) sign that read "No Judgement". Seriously. I'm only exaggerating this a little bit.

I kind of thought that this would be a big deal. That as soon as I quit I'd end up walking to the Chinese buffet next door to the gym (no joke!) and easing my sorrow with an all-you-can-eat marathon of epic proportions or that I'd end up face-down in a pie before the night was over, but you know what? It didn't happen.

What I did instead was go to the mall. With my husband and son in tow I had a sensible spanokopita combo at Jimmy the Greek and then bought a pair of skinny jeans and some cute boots.

I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I know I need to exercise and eat better and I'm committed to making those changes but right now I'm more committed to feeling happy, to spending time with my family and doing things I enjoy no matter how sedentary those things are.

So let's raise a glass of whatever suits your fancy, be it a wheat grass shake, tall, cold Dr. Pepper or pomegranate margarita without the salt, to loving the skin we're in. To wearing size 16 skinny jeans or size 0 sweats, to laughter as a way to ab definition and having as much and to working however much junk in your trunk you've got.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back Home.

Recently, I've done some travelling for work. I spent 4 days in beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina and another 3 days in Niagara Falls, Ontario, hawking software at Massage Therapy conventions and I've got to tell you, I loved it. Yes, it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating and yes, I've been to Niagara Falls about a zillion times, but I had a blast. 

Hank Snow, one of Canada's finest country musicians, singing the original I've Been Everywhere (Man). It gets really good at about 39 seconds. This is what I feel like, even if it's not totally true.

North Carolina, Raleigh specifically, was beautiful and smokin' hot. Dude! I was wearing sweaters at home and then I flew into Raleigh and could have been comfortably wearing shorts and a tank top. Again, the people of the South ( I don't know if NC is actually considered The South, but everybody had awesome twangy accents, so I'm just going to lump it in with the South, ok?) once again amazed me with their capacity for kindness and generosity and just general friendliness. 
And the food!! We hadn't even made it out of the airport parking lot and my boss and I being given recommendations on where to get the best BBQ. We ate at a Waffle House, went to IHOP (Jacob, my son,  is convinced this is reason enough to move to North Carolina. Boy loves his pancakes.) and then my boss and I made what might be the greatest discovery since that one guy discovered that one thing that helps everybody and makes the world a better place. We discovered The Golden Corral. A monster sized buffet that dwarfs every buffet I've ever seen and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. I'm pretty sure angels sang as we entered the restaurant and then sang again after we figured out what to do and entered what can only be described as a coliseum of culinary delights. If you've never been to a Golden Corral and you love food, especially Southern food, I suggest you pack your bags and head to the closest one you can find. I also suggest you wear stretchy pants. Just reading the Golden Corral's "About Us" page on their website has me salivating. 
Golden Corral's legendary, endless buffet features an abundant variety of delicious familiar favorites and continuous new menu offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Golden Corral's legendary, endless dinner buffet features an enormous variety with 15 proteins including USDA, grilled to order sirloin steaks, pork, seafood, shrimp, and chicken. We are especially proud to serve USDA sirloin, aged and hand-cut daily by our in-restaurant butchers. The endless lunch buffet features a wide variety of home-style classics like our pot roast simmered for 12-hours, made-from-scratch meatloaf, crispy fried chicken, creamy mac and cheese, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes, beloved Bourbon Street Chicken, so many fresh salad choices and dozens of other items. Our endless breakfast buffet features made-to-order omelettes, fluffy pancakes, hot-off-the griddle sausage and bacon, fruit, French toast, pastries and much more. Our bakery and dessert buffet are filled with freshly baked breads, like our famous yeast rolls, homemade cakes and pies, delicious cookies, brownies, pastries, and ice cream.
I ate black-eyes peas (Fergie was particularly delicious. Heh!), hush puppies, mac and cheese and lots and lots of other stuff. It was fresh and tasted homemade and wonderful. Honestly, I wanted to spin in beautifully choreographed circles throughout the restaurant like some kind of chubby Disney heroine stuffed full of butter, cream based sauces and other yummy vittles. It was also pretty awesome that over 4 different servers came by to "chat" with us. We eventually called them on trying to hear our "funny accents" and they unabashedly admitted to trying to get us to say "aboot". I put on my best hoser voice and spun them a tale of dogsleds, canoes and igloos for their honesty. My meal only cost $14!! It was awesome!
In North Carolina I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some of the ladies from my bookclub. We nearly started a brawl in an Outback Steakhouse over which college basketball team I should root for (I'm picking USC so that nobody hurts me. Plus, I like quoting The Hangover's "wolf pack of one" bit), I was attacked , by some spicy ranch dip, and I nearly upended an entire table of cat-shaped canisters (that's me , bustin' up pussies all over NC - I'm hardcore like that.) at that most glorious of bookstores, B&N where I did, in fact, spin beautifully choreographed circles like some kind of chubby Disney heroine. These ladies rock and made me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants and shot pomegranate margarita out my nose. Thanks Steph and Candace for a great night!

I'm not smiling. That is a look of sheer terror. It just jumped out at me. It was horrible. Curse you spicy ranch dip!
Niagara Falls was pretty cool too. I got to eat awesome food, including some fabulous Indian food, I shopped at all the kitschy, little souvenir shops and had a great time hanging out with some of my co-workers. I ate at a Canadian IHOP (FYI: Their prices in Canada are 4x that in the US. *shakes fist at the sky*), nearly drank Starbucks dry and enjoyed seeing Niagara Falls (the city) from a different point of view.
That being said though, I'm very happy to be home. I missed my menfolk, got behind at my "real job" and I'm really very exhausted. As much as I love this new opportunity to travel and will continue to jump on it as often as I can, home really is where my heart is.