Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Angry Birds has Taught me...

Some people think I'm a genius.
Bwahahahahahahaha, that is so funny.  I am not a genius, not even close.  I just have a mind that does not stop working, ever.  I probably think like twice as much as most people.  I think I can be thinking of three things at the same time.  This comes in handy when supervising the world and with multitasking.  Of course, I'm a woman, so that also helps with the *multitasking* and the over thinking things, too.  I remember always asking boyfriends, "What are you thinking?" and they'd always say, "Nothing."  And I thought they were lying.  How could you seriously have nothing going on in there?  Nothing?  Ya, right.  Since having a son, I've realized they. were. not. lying.  Men's brains really do go blank.  Me, no such luck.
This gift I have is most troublesome when I'm trying to sleep.  My brain says things like, "Oh...remember how you handled that thing at work today???  How could you have done that differently, with a more positive/faster/effective end result?" or "Let's think of your bank balance, and all your bills for the next two weeks.  Let's plan how to spend/save the money, all of it, right now.  No, no, no, we don't need a calculator, we can do the math" or "Hmmmmm, do you really think you're raising Q the best way possible?  Let's think of examples of your poor parenting since Q was born and disect them one by one."
Seriously, this is how I fall asleep every single night.
Please tell me I'm not the only one.
So, to shut down my brain I play games, it's more fun than counting to a thousand...10 times over.  Suduko, Words with Friends, Chuzzle, the iPhone has literally revolutionized the way I fall asleep.  It helps me shut my brain off by playing mindless games.  Lately, I'm really loving Angry Birds, and as I was playing I thought (see multitasking even when I'm trying specifically to not multitask) of the many lessons we can take from Angry Birds.
1 and 2.  I was reminded as I played level 18-8 (Birdday favourite level...might be the pink) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  I was reminded of this, because I kept making the birds attack the pigs the exact same way every time.  And every time I expected that *this* time it would be different.  It wasn't.  Funny enough, I was consciously doing it the same way every time because I thought all I needed to do was get better at doing it the *same/wrong* way.  Look at this, two lessons in one.  In addition to remembering that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and over again, expecting a different result - I also had the crazy thought that we need to be wise enough to prioritize what's important enough to practice over and over and what is *crazy* enough to be left by the wayside. 
3.  Sometimes you need to walk away...and then walk back.  Gah, doing the same level over and over, shaking things up with the birds and still not getting any results is so frustrating.  And yes, really very alarming that I can easily waste a lunch hour without a second though.  Anyways, out of frustration, I would throw the game to the side, do some work for a bit, and then pick up the phone again during my coffee break.  The break was really all I needed - a fresh outlook and boom! those piggies didn't even know what hit them.  Sometimes you need to take a step back, reassess the situation and then come in with a clear mind. 
4.  Never underestimate the power of a small bird.  You know the small blue ones?  When you hit them mid-air, they burst into three and do the most damage.  They're the small ones.  They're still pretty powerful.  You feel small?  Remember the lil blue birds. 
5.  When all else fails, bring in the big guns.  You get that eagle and wipe out all the suckers in one fell swoop.
Any great lessons you've been taught or reminded by something that seemed otherwise insignificant?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween Past and Present

Homemade costumes for Halloween has become somewhat of a tradition around our home.  I cherish it because I know that soon enough, Q will be too cool for *homemade* and will want store bought.  Of course store bought will mean way less work for me, but I've come to enjoy our new tradition and will miss it once gone.  Q tries to outdo his costumes from the year before and I think he also tries to think of the most difficult costume idea ever. 

This year, I will not lie, I was totally stumped.  I lost sleep trying to figure out how to make Q the Stanley Cup.  I pleaded with him to be a hockey player instead, but he said, "Mommy.  That would be so dumb." He wouldn't even give it a second thought.  My first attempt at the Stanley cup ended up looking like Q was a schizophrenic trying to protect himself from the *voices*.  Not only that, I had made it out of cardboard and it was so fricken heavy the kid was having a hard time carrying it on his tiny frame.  I think it weighed more than he did.  In a panic, I made a trip to Home Depot and found a roll of this stuff you put in your car window to reflect the sun and it worked perfectly!  Light weight and warm.  Foil tape was the perfect way to put it all together and if you look closely, there is even a layer of black weather stripping along the bottom to imitate the plate the cup sits on.  Q wanted me to write all the teams names on the cup to make it more authentic, but  I'm not that crazy.  He beamed the whole day at school (they get to wear them for a parade through the library) and I was pretty darned pleased with my handy work, too!!

The year before that was easy peasy as Q wanted to be a Vampire.  The most fun part of this was seeing him all dressed up in a tie.  The make up was pretty fun too.  He's a good little actor, isn't he though.  He totally looks un-dead.  But not the Twilight kind, because let's face it...they're not real.

And the year before that, he wanted to be a skeleton.  This was so much fun and super easy.  The bones are made out of foam, and then painted with glow-in-the-dark paint.  I hot-glued them all onto a hoodie.  The most tedious part was cutting out foam bones for the fingers and toes.  The toes were glued onto oversized socks and then he wore them over his shoes.  For a template I just enlarged an image from Google.  What did we do before Google?  I don't know.  It knows everything!!

The tradition started when he asked to be a shark and I couldn't find a costume to buy anywhere.   I'm not a seamstress, but I made my own template, got out the sewing machine, poked myself 5 million times with pins, and came out with a pretty realistic looking shark.  Except for the looks more like a whale's tale.  But whatever, he was four and didn't know the difference.  He could see from the *mouth* of the shark, with big felt teeth and plenty of fake blood, as this shark was out for the kill.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Late Fall, early Winter is filled with anniversaries for me.  Whether good or bad, I cannot stop them from coming every year.  They make me who I am and so I guess I should be grateful for them, because I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the person I have become and everything I have been blessed with.

Two years ago, on October 23, I quit smoking.  Probably one of my proudest accomplishments - besides Q, of course - because of how incredibly hard it was to quit.  I watched "Flight" recently and a commiserated with two of the characters who struggled with addiction - knowing how bad something is for you, and yet craving it with all your being.   Two years later, I still miss smoking.  I still crave nicotine.  But the benefits outweigh the cravings.  My circulation is incredible - my hands and feet are almost always warm.  I rarely am short of breath.  I haven't had a cough in ages.  My headaches are down.  I guess the only downside of not smoking is my weight is up.  My biggest mental hurdle with quitting was the idea that I *wasn't allowed* to smoke and that bugged me because, I'm an adult, dammit...if I want to eat ice cream for dinner and then smoke a pack of cigarettes, so be it.  I can do what I want.  A valuable lesson - just because we can, doesn't mean we should...

Six years ago in December, I officially became a single parent.  I say 'officially' because it sure felt like I was one waaaaay before that.  Six years ago, I had a two and a half year old toddler, lived in a one bedroom basement suite, had borrowed $300 from my ex for a security deposit, and had about $10,000 more in debt.  I know it sounds really depressing that we split over Christmas, but really it was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.  The only disappointment is that I'm still single, six years on.  Way back then, I had the hope of a healthy marriage, maybe some more babies.  That hope is dwindling.

Eight years ago in October, I was a new mom diagnosed with post partum depression and went through the most horrible time of my whole entire life.  I know that it was eight years ago, and most people probably would have moved on by now, but I remember because it makes me who I am.  It reminds me to have compassion for others, because you never know their struggles.  It keeps me humble.  It reminds me how fragile our minds are, and how we need to protect ourselves.  It reminds me of how much I have overcome.  It reminds me how blessed I am to have a beautiful child, who is a true treasure in my life.  I truly hope that I never forget where I was eight years ago, because if I do, I might lose who I am today.

Thirty five years ago, in the middle of November I was born.  Thirty five years.  I think we need to pause for a moment of silence as we reflect on all those years...gone.  Just gone...


In years past, I have welcomed my birthday with excitement.  As a child, I wished to be older.  And now it is so.  I am 35 in one week. T-H-I-R-T-Y  F-I-V-E.  It seems so old.  I was talking to a couple of my employees the other day, and age came up...they were 23 and 24.  It might have come up that I was a *cougar*.  The worst part of being thirty five is that nothing I do will stop it.  I can ignore my birthday (which I most definitely will do), I can lie about my age (it's in the plan..), but no matter what I do, I will still be 35.  It literally fills me with fear when I think about it.  I want to puke and I get the chills and my heart rate gets faster.  I literally experience a panic attack when I think about 35.  This might be a midlife crisis. 

It's not even that I'm evaluating my life and I'm disappointed with what I see.  I mean, I did hope to be married by 35, but other than that, I'm quite content with who I am and where I've been.  It's just that....well, if you must know...I'm totally over my mini skirt wearing days.  I'm finding more greys and more wrinkles every day. 

I'm reminded that life is finite.