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I saw the text from my mom – just that one single line and my mind started to race. What’s wrong? Who’s hurt? If it was something really bad she would have just called, right? Maybe it’s just sort-of-bad? What could have happened that would fall into the category of sort-of-bad?

I didn’t call her right away. In my heart I knew I should but I wanted to give myself a few more minutes of ‘normal’ before I heard whatever bad news I assumed was coming my way. I wanted to prolong the ‘before’ – to have a bit more time before stepping across the line into the world of ‘after.’

In those few minutes I thought about all of the other phone calls and the news that had come with them: your son is throwing up, or the test is positive, or she passed away.

I tried to remember a time when “call me” meant good news. I’m sure phone calls used to tell of meeting ‘the one,’ news of engagements or new babies, but now they seem to hold only bad news. These days good news comes via e-mail or through Facebook updates but bad news still comes over the phone.

Growing up has changed me from someone who excitedly anticipated good news to someone who nervously dreads the bad.

I finally took a few deep breaths, picked up the phone and dialed. She answered in a normal voice and made some small talk. I tried not to anxiously rush her to the point; tried not to make it seem like I was expecting the worst.

“Hold on, I’ll let you talk to your dad. He has some news.”

Deep breaths. Just breathe. I’m sure it’s fine.
And it was fine. Turns out my dad has a new job. After years of retirement he’s decided to re-enter the workforce and he’s happy about it. So I’m happy about it too.

And I can breathe a little easier. At least until next time.

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I subscribe to a bunch of e-mail newsletters on a variety of topics.  Some of them send me coupons for stores I like to shop at, some send me decorating tips or recipes to try.  To be honest, I mostly look at the pictures for a minute or two and then delete them.  I keep subscribing to them because they allow me to convince myself that I have knowledge in a variety of areas, and it gives me something to pretend to look at on my Blackberry during awkward elevator rides with my coworkers.

Today I received one from a parenting/family magazine and the headline jumped out at me: “10 Health Kid-Friendly Snacks!”  It sounded pretty great to me – I’m always looking for something to give the kids that satisfies my need for something healthy and that my kids will both actually eat.  I clicked on it and waited for the pictures to load.

When I saw the first one I laughed out loud.

A snack to make for your kids when you have an hour with nothing else to do.

I realize that the headline didn’t indicate that these would be “quick” healthy snacks for kids but are you kidding me?  I think this probably took more time to make than was required to conceive each of my children.

I couldn’t help myself, I clicked on the arrow to see what the next snack suggestion was.  I’m a glutton for punishment apparently because just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse than a fruit salad shaped like a peacock, this picture came up on my screen.

If I actually spent the time necessary to make this, I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near it.

Are you kidding me?  Are you seriously telling me that there are parents out there who would actually take the time to make this for a kid’s snack???  My kids’ birthday cakes aren’t this nice.  I should probably feel inadequate because when I give my kids a snack I rip open a granola bar or peel back the lid on a yogurt.  I actually patted myself on the back the other day for getting both of them to eat a pomegranate apple sauce that had no sugar added.  I thought I was a snack rock star.  That was until I saw the picture of the train made from crackers that delivers cut up vegetables.

Wow.

My other question is, even if I decided one day to make one of these snacks (I would obviously have to be highly medicated or something), what are the chances that my kids would ever eat a regular snack after this?  I mean after the peacock what kid is going to accept just a regular bowl of fruit?  I know mine certainly wouldn’t.  I can picture months of whining and screaming over not wanting to eat a regular banana – “I want mine cut up like a monkey swinging in a tree Mama!  Don’t you remember the peacock you made for us that one time???”

No way I’m going to travel down that slippery slope.  I’ll happily keep ripping open the granola bars and leave the snack items made in the shape of types of transportation to someone else.  I’m sure I can find something much more fun to do with those two hours.

“Here kids, come have a yogurt and then go play so mommy can see what the Kardashians are up to these days.”

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‘w’ stands for…

My son is playing baseball for the first time this year. As is the case with most things at his age, so far the most exciting part of the season been getting his uniform.

The uniform consists of a jersey that hangs down around his knees (which he refuses to tuck in because even at the tender age of four he knows that’s not cool) and a baseball hat with a big ‘W’ on the front.

We were getting ready to head out for his team photo the other day when the following conversation took place:

My son: “Mama, how come my hat has a ‘W’ on it? My team is the Dodgers so it should have a ‘D’ for Dodgers.”

Me: “Yes, that would make sense but I think it has a ‘W’ because the city we live in starts with ‘W’.”

Son (looking somewhat perplexed): “Oh.”

Me: “Why? What did you think the ‘W’ was for?”

Son: “I thought the ‘W’ was for wieners.”

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a grammar snob

I don’t know how to do many things.  I can’t sing, I can’t dance (well), I can’t hit a golf ball, can’t braid my own hair, can’t back my car into a parking spot.

Because there is very little that I actually can do, I tend to hold on to those few things tightly and I won’t let them go.  One of those things is grammar.

I know the difference between their, they’re and there and I know how to use each one properly in a sentence.  I know that ‘lose’ is the opposite of win and ‘loose’ is the opposite of tight.  I can read a sentence and know if it’s wrong.  I don’t want to take the time to explain why a sentence is wrong, it just is. Believe me, take my word for it, in this particular area I know what I’m talking about.  There are people who can taste the soup and know it needs more salt; I’m just like that, except with words instead of soup.  You know what I mean.

Grammar can be sexy!

I start sentences with “and” because rules like that are for grammar newbies.  I know the rules well enough to mock them; like taking the training wheels off a bike.  I fully admit that I use punctuation way more than I should but I consider it to be like sprinkles on an ice cream sundae – there’s really no such thing as too much.  If people try to point out my errors (and I do admit that I do make them from time to time) I just tell them it’s the “new” grammar and they’re obviously still on the old system.

I can be kind of mean to people who make grammatical mistakes.  I like nothing better than to point out spelling mistakes to people.  It makes me feel superior.  As noted above, there are very few things in life that make me feel superior so please, just give me this one little thing.

I point out signs with grammatical errors with a gleam in my eye that rivals a kid on Christmas morning.  I don’t think I could be friends with anyone who thinks that irregardless is an actual word.

I am a grammar snob.  Please don’t judge me too harshly; other than this I’m really a very nice person.  That is until you try to use “very unique” in a sentence.  Then watch out; I’ll probably make fun of you until you cry.

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loud and clear

I was out for a walk, all of my doubts and insecurities banging around in my head. And then this song came through my earphones.

Sometimes no one says it better than Jann.

“You’ve gotta learn to let things go,
Start living without fear,
Be willing to fall down,
There’s so much love here.

You’ve gotta learn how to let things be,
Believe in what you feel,
Relax and know that love will set you free my dear.”

(Lyrics from “Willing to Fall Down” – Jann Arden)

I’ve probably heard the song 50 times before but something about those words struck a chord with me today. They cleared my head, lifted the doubt and realigned my priorities.

Sometimes the right song finds you at exactly the right moment.

Thanks Jann, message received.

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autopilot

They are doing construction every where downtown these days, or so it seems. For the last two weeks one such construction project has closed the escalator I normally take to get to my train platform each evening.

Two weeks.

And yet every evening, without fail, I forget this simple fact until I am exactly 6 feet away from said escalator and the caution tape finally becomes too obvious to ignore.

“Oh man!” (Insert picture of me slapping myself in the forehead).

I then add a few choice obscenities under my breath and trudge 20 metres to the closest usable staircase.

For the first week I was upset at the faceless construction workers for the inconvenience. As I near the end of week two I really have no one to blame but myself.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that week three will be the turning point. I’ve heard you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I hope for my own sake that I will eventually figure this one out.

Of course by that point the construction will probably be done.

Doh.

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I spent last Friday morning helping out at my kids’ school. It’s something I like to do from time to time especially when I find myself lost in my own daily happenings, far out of touch with what it is that my kids do for 7 hours a day.

For the past month my son’s class has been experiencing the life cycle of the caterpillar. I use the word experiencing because that’s essentially what they’ve been doing – they had a little house in their classroom that started out as home to 25 larvae. These progressed into 23 caterpillars (two didn’t make it) and the kids named them all-ranging from names of people at the school to their favourite movie and tv characters.

The caterpillars then began shedding their skins and soon formed cocoons, hanging upside down from the roof of the house.

Each day my son would come home with updates on how they were doing.

“There are three cocoons Mama!”

“I saw one of the cocoons wiggle today Mama!”

“Finn McMissile died today Mama.”

I got to go in and see them a couple of weeks ago when they were all in cocoons. I have to say, it was pretty amazing to see. Each of the cocoons had a corresponding number which cross-referenced with a list my son’s teacher had printed and laminated beside the house. She also had pictures of them at all the various stages and a box of books that detailed the change from caterpillar to butterfly. Did I mention that his teacher makes me feel horribly inadequate about how I spend my time?

This past Friday I was in the school helping out in the library and I received a handwritten note asking if I would like to come down and see them let the butterflies go. Needless to say, she didn’t have to ask me twice.

We all gathered outside and after a few instructions to the kids and a couple of quick “butterfly songs” that I swear my son’s teacher made up herself (yep, feeling inadequate again), they opened the door and the butterflies came flying out.

Now I have to tell you, if you’re ever feeling depressed about the state of the world or down in the dumps about something going on in your life, just spend 10 minutes watching a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds running around with a group of butterflies.

Believe me when I tell you that the moment one lands on a little girl’s shoulder and you see the look of pure wonder in her eyes, you will believe, in that instant, that all is right in the world.

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