Category Archives: Holy Grail

Toast

toast-blog

Today I bought a sandwich for a homeless kid.

I wasn’t going to. To be honest, I usually avoid anything to do with people asking for money. It’s pretty much inherent. Part of living on the West Coast I think. I am immune to begging…

On the West Coast, homeless people have cats and dogs that they guilt you into feeling sorry for. Who, seriously, can resist giving money to help someone feed their dog. That is the hardest thing in the world for me. Poor animals.

West Coast homeless people also try to ‘jolly’ you out of spare change. Or insult you…. one or the other…

Case in point:

Once, my mother and I were ‘accosted’ by a young man who swore we were so beautiful that he had immediately, on the spot, made up a poem, just for us. He was so charming, that of course we said yes. And then he charged us a dollar. And my Mum, being the lovely person she was, gave it to him.

And then we watched him do the same thing to someone else.

It was funny though. $1 equals funny experience that I remember 10 years later. I guess it was worth the price…

There is a well known man who sits outside a church in downtown Victoria that chimes “Spaaaaaare a little chaaaaange…” He is elderly, white-bearded. Practically has become part of the landscape. I hardly notice him when I am back home.

One day, walking past the Eaton’s Center (that would be ‘The Bay Center’ to all of you young ones in Victoria), I was yelled at for ignoring a request for change. I am sorry. But, to be honest, I can only handle that request so many times… Once I hit 4 or 5, I have reached my limit. It is hard for me to avoid the pleading eyes, but after years of experience I have become a skilled professional.

Living in the South is a little bit different.

There is no real downtown core, so you are not slammed with the exposure that you would be in my hometown of Victoria, or even Vancouver.

M and I were checking out Orlando’s ‘downtown’ area one day, back when I had first moved here when we were approached by the skinniest, dirtiest black man you have ever seen.

He proclaimed “You are in LOVE. I can feel it”.

“I can feel you love, it’s so strong. I know you love this gorgeous woman. You love her. I can feel it…. let me dedicate a song to her beauty…”

And then he proceeded to sing, with a glorious smokey voice, an amazing, jazzy, 1920’s made-up song about my beauty and how it had M wrapped around my finger. For surely no man had ever resisted a woman such as I…

Oh god, how I was both embarrassed and flattered. We gave him $5 and he went on his way, down the deserted street that he had crossed to reach us.

This young man that I saw today was the skinniest boy you have ever seen. Clad in dirty jeans and a black tank top… those shoulders of his popped right out of his torso, they were so sharp and narrow. He asked me very politely “Ma’am, spare any change?” And unfortunately I had none….

So I bought him a turkey sandwich and a bottle of water instead. And apologized to him on my way out of the restaurant for not having any money to give him. I hoped he would like this sandwich instead. He thanked me, and gave me a shy happy smile.

Just look what motherhood has done to me….

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Filed under atlantic, awkward, destiny, discovery, dream, epic, Florida, glorious, happy, Holy Grail, holy mother, Love, Orlando, poetry, public, The South, West Coast

No Ghetto No More

ghetto-blog

Can I just say that I am a home-owner?

I figure if I write it here, that will help make it a little bit more of a reality. Right?

M and I like to play that game where you think back to when you met that person you married… and then you mentally trace all of the steps that you took to reach the place where you are now.

It never gets old, all of that retracing. I know you play the game too.

So we start back in Japan circa 2002 when we were both young and supple. All fresh-faced and wide-eyed at living abroad.

Flash-forward to 2005, M and I getting married in Florida lake-side (possible gator-sighting in back-drop).

Skip one more year (that year where we were apart as I couldn’t legally reside in the States as I didn’t have my citizenship sorted out) until we hit 2006.

Now that’s where things start to happen.

The first year I moved to Florida, we lived in a teeny one-bedroom apartment in MetroWest. At that time, it was still a nice neighbourhood. And just what out-of-staters think Florida should look like. Right on a golf course, palm trees everywhere, a pool. Ideal.

So small. Although, compared to what we had lived in in Japan, it was a palace. A PALACE. That same year we got Chewie, the needy, love-driven, attention seeking, ‘I hate everyone but you’, angry, super-licky, pain in the ass Chihuahua. That we love.

I still remember the first night we took him for a walk. He was extra little then. We walked him around the complex and just happened to walk near a storm grate.

M said to me, “Do you think he knows not to walk over that?? He won’t fall in, right?”

Me: “Of course he knows and he totally won’t”.

And then he totally fell through the grate. Those little chihuahua legs are not meant to be walking over things like that.

Suddenly that area of town became a hot-bed of crime. Drugs and prostitutes, man… and Jimmy Dime-Bags, our neighbour, smoking pot on the stairs every morning.

And I wanted a baby, an apartment with a hallway (or at least one other room) and somewhere that wasn’t full of prostitutes. And on we moved to Hunters Creek.

Such a good move. Much closer to the parents. And clearly my biological clock liked it too, as I instantly became pregnant the moment we moved in.

And we have been in this apartment for 2 years. And now have a one year old son plus our dog-child as well…

Now is the time for first time homeowners to make a move. And so we did. And are heading over to Lake Nona…

So as we drove to our new townhouse after closing this morning, these are things that ran through my head. We pulled up in front of our building, the birds of paradise were beautiful at our front steps and it was raining lightly.

M and I stepped out of his car, got out our new key on its orange puffer-fish key chain and opened that door. We stepped in to glorious uncirculated air and flesh coloured walls. A few carpet stains, a lack of blinds, some ceiling fans from 1987 and a few other little things to fix. It was gorgeous.

From a one-room Japanese flat, to ghetto prostitute-filled neighbourhood to country bliss in Lake Nona…

How amazing our travels through life have been.

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Filed under amazing!, awesomeness, chihuahua, cloud nine, dream, dusty, epic, family, fancy, fate, Florida, glorious, happy, havoc, Holy Grail, holy mother, house, house hunting, Japan, Lake Nona, neighbours, Nihon, Orlando, over the moon, tired

Memories…

motherhood-blog

I can’t remember a damn thing.

Now. Partially this is genetic. And partially it’s a ‘I’m getting older’ thing. Although, since I am in my early thirties, that excuse might not fly as high as I would like it too.

Lately (and by lately, I mean the last 4 or 5 months), I have been noticing my memory¬† is severely lacking. Not in the “I am living in this house with….. who?” kind of department, but more like a “Where did this pen that I am holding come from… I swear I wasn’t holding it 5 seconds ago..”.

Now I had been falling back on that old ‘I have mom-nesia’ thing. BUT. THEN. I read an article in a parenting mag that states that there was a ‘study’ done, indicating that parenthood/mothering is not related to memory loss… or something to that effect. I always believe what I read in magazines. Or, at least I do for about 30 minutes, then get annoyed…
And so I was like “WHAT?!?! It’s not?!?! Huh. Wonder why I can’t remember anything?…… wait a minute… Parenting magazine does not speak the truth all the time… Bastards. “(Bastards is my current favorite word)

Anyways, so for about 30 minutes there I wondered what really was wrong with me. Then at the 31 minute mark, I decided it really was just parenthood. Oh, and combined with first-time home-buying as well. The nastiest of all nasty concoctions. Yuck.

So it is ok that I am holding things in my hand and I am not sure where they came from.

Also it is ok if, at work, I pick up and put down things at a dizzying rate all over the office. And then suddenly run out of pens (that’s what I pick up and put down). Or buy fish and then forget it in the fridge at work. Or day after day walk out of the office, drive half way home and then realize that I forgot all of those boxes that my co-workers have been saving for me at the back door.

And there are a million things more. I just can’t seem to keep my head on straight. I drop things. I knock things over. I enter rooms. Stop. Wonder what I am doing, walk out of them and then 1 minute later walk back in and grab my cell phone.

It is a truly sad state of affairs right now. Punctuated by a continued lack of caffeine (for health purposes).

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Filed under annoying, awesomeness, bed-time, busy, epic, fancy, glorious, happy, health, Holy Grail, holy mother, house, house hunting, Lake Nona, late night, Orlando, parenting, sanity, The South, tired, Toddlers, Uncategorized, what the?

Tabloids (and motherhood)

tabloids-blog

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. M is actually home all day (he works Friday and Saturday nights… as well as full-time Monday through Friday) and I am well rested and eager for errands etc.

This morning, V slept in until 7:30. Holy God, was I ever happy! I spent all day yesterday at Epcot and was totally exhausted last night. How people come to Florida and spend days at the parks, I will never know…

Good sleep, check! V sleeping in, check! And a planned trip to Whole Foods (which is pretty much my Mecca). How could it get any better! Not only that, but at Whole Foods, I found Gluten-free chicken nuggets by my favorite kids food brand Happy Baby. Totally organic, wheat-free and not only that, but it doesn’t taste like crap. Bliss. I practically skipped through the checkout and drove home on a cloud, sort of ala Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

M was awake when I got home, happily taking V from my arms and leaving me free to go to the gym. My other favorite thing about Sundays. For some reason, Saturdays never work for that. Too many things going on, I guess.

Shorts and headband on, ipod clipped to tank-top and Melissa’s latest podcast uploaded, I happily tra-la-la’ed off to the gym to spend some quality time with my favorite treadmill.

About halfway through my treadmill routine, someone else entered the gym, asked me if it was OK if they put on the TV and hopped on the elliptical trainer. She skipped around until she found one of those ‘Forbes 15 Hottest Celebrity Moms’ and about 30 seconds into the program, I was seriously annoyed.

Let me see if I can explain why… or perhaps you already know?

I hate seeing motherhood displayed like this on national TV. I hate even more pairing it up with Forbes, as if to say “very clever people who are associated with Forbes clearly think hot celebrity mums are headline worthy’. And most importantly, I hate that they continuously ‘show’ regular mums how easy it is!

Parenthood is a piece of cake! No problem! You can easily have 3 kids, lose that post-preggo weight instantaneously. Head back to work 6 weeks postpartum… no problem! Because you love your job that much…

Puh-lease…

30 minutes of watching all about these hawt celebrity mums and I was ready to throw up. Personal chefs, 1-3 nannies a household, chauffeurs, personal trainers…. how on earth can us regular mums complete with that?

It is pretty much all that is in the tabloids, on the entertainment news shows and screaming out at you from every magazine cover.

“How Sarah-Jessica manages 3 kids”

“A peek inside Brangelina’s crazy household”

Ah! I can’t even continue to think of examples. So annoying.

If I could also have a personal chef, trainer, a few nannies, an extremely rewarding job that puts me pleasantly in the public eye (like, oh, famous museum curator, award winning blogger, novelist….) I am sure that I would not be that concerned about how much sleep I was getting.

Or about how to handle V’s wheat and peanut allergies by yourself without consulting with a nutritionist, allergist or personal chef. Or how to afford it as well.

And other exciting things like how to manage working full-time and still finding time to look for new daycare, since the in-home daycare that you used went into foreclosure and the owners are not returning your call (V was home with Daddy all summer, since M is a teacher and our attempts to return to the facility we were using before has been met with, well, with resistance, random hang-ups when calls are attempted and some gibberish from husband about how his wife will call us right back. Right)

I bet J.Lo isn’t worrying about that. And neither is Victoria Beckham. Bastards.

I am sure that these women work hard at whatever their jobs are. I don’t care. At all.

I am both fascinated and tired by seeing them in magazines. Mostly tired though. It makes it too easy for women to look at themselves while reading these ‘stories’, compare themselves and, well, maybe feel like they should be doing things different. Or losing more weight. Or having a fancier nursery. Or be happier about returning to work (and let me remind my fellow Canadians that we only get 12 weeks down here in the ‘Sauth’). It never is a happy thing to head back to work while your first born is 10 weeks old (like mine was). Especially when you hand him off to someone that now, a year later, turns out to be the worst choice ever. And maybe someone who is a lying, Jesus-obsessed psycho… This might be a bit of an exaggeration. But since I now hate the daycare lady….. don’t care…

Oh how marvelous it would be to pick and choose your work hours and schedule. Personal chef/trainer. Nanny. Ahhh.

Magazines, can you please give us regular women a break?! We frankly have neither the time, energy or fortune to compete with the women you feature. Or the inclination. We are too tired from lack of sleep and busy toddlers…

We have no time to read your magazines… we are too busy chasing our kids around, multitasking clever and healthy meals (without a personal chef) and trying to find time to fit in the gym.

Like we are apparently supposed to… Ah..bastards…

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Filed under annoying, celebrity, cloud nine, cooking, epic, glorious, happy, havoc, health, Holy Grail, holy mother, Love, Orlando, parenting, peanuts, public, The South, Toddlers, Uncategorized, West Coast, what the?, wheat, whole foods

Japan

DH000025

I had the oddest dream last night.

I dreamt M and I were back in Japan, teaching at the new NEW school our boss had opened up…. and let me explain why this was strange…

When I moved to Japan in 2001, the school that I taught at for 2 months was the smallest building you have ever seen. Approximately 2 one-car garages stacked on top of each other, with an exterior stair-case to reach the second level. The walls of the building were so thin they bent when you pressed them. It might have been a temporary structure, I can’t remember all of the details…

The new structure was about 100 feet away, a gorgeous 2 story building that was officially to open in January of 2002. Think 2 2-car garages stacked upon each other. With running water, flush toilets and proper airconditoning. So what was weird about my dream was that the new NEW school was 3 stories high, huge and was well, a school. And not a garage.

When I came back from winter holiday in Canada, entering that new building was structural bliss from my teaching point of view. Especially compared to what I had experienced the 2 months before. That same day, I met my future husband.

The morning after I flew back in from Christmas holiday in Canada, I banged on my only neighbour’s (on the 2nd floor… the 2nd floor of our apartment that was basically 2 2-car garages stacked on top… wonder where they got the inspiration for the school!) door… M answered looking rather disheveled…. Untucked plaid shirt (that he might still have somewhere), wife-beater, glasses….I invited him out for coffee. I like to be friendly and am hard pressed to take no for an answer. Unless it’s my answer, then I say it all the time.

Anyways, the door was slammed in my face.

And there might have been some mumbling. ‘Wait…’ might have been one of the words I could have made out. I waited. The door opened again, M looked less-disheveled and off we went. We rode our awesome bicycles with baskets to the only Starbucks in town. We met up with some other Gaijins, drank some coffee, smoked our faces off and then rode our awesome bikes back to teach some English.

Who would know that approximately 6 months later we would be attached at the hip….but not ‘dating’. Just ‘good friends’. ‘Good friends’ whose other good friends wondered what on earth was going on between us. Nothing was. Nothing at all.

Not until M’s Dad visited, and that visit seemed to cement things. I was the only person that he introduced him to. And invited to join the 2 of them. And once his Dad headed back to the USA (plus one steamy night on that awful twin-bed…. steamy in an innocent way. Really!) that was it.

So sometimes when I think about the path my life has taken, wonder if I have made the best decisions, did I take the best direction I could have… I look at what I have right now:

Gorgeous son.

Handsome and utterly adoring husband that worships me.

Lovely new home we are about to move into.

Comfortable and happy life full of love, laughter, laughter and the best of memories that we have made together.

So even though I sometimes wish I had chosen a different direction education-wise, I am so glad that I went in the direction that I did. Everything I have done in my past…. especially including the unpleasant things, has led to where I am now.

Thank you fate. And destiny.

Thank you both.

xoxo a.m.

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Filed under amazing!, destiny, discovery, family, fancy, fate, gaijin, Holy Grail, holy mother, Love, M, neighbours, Nihon

Discovery

discovery-blog

Things V can do:

If you ask him to clap his hands, he will happily oblige.

Shake his head no.

Point his pointer finger at airplanes.

Say “Daa-do!” excitedly when he sees the dog.

He used to just say “Uh!”, the first part of ‘uh-oh’, but has since progressed ahead to the complete phrase, which he say repeatedly to our great excitement.

This evening while I was at the In-laws picking him up, we were getting ready to leave when we all started to say goodbye. “Bye, bye Vincent! Bye-bye!” and to our great delight he said “Bye-bye!” right back at me. And just to make sure that it wasn’t just some random baby-babble (which I equally enjoy), we asked him again.

“Bye-bye Vincent!”

“Bye-bye!”

You wouldn’t have believed the amount of smiling and clapping that went on afterwards. We were all lit up with the biggest grins.

As the Summer of Dad begins to wind down, I can’t even believe how much V has changed in the last few months. I say months, but really I think its been about 6 weeks or so. I am good at exaggerating. M can tell you that for sure.

It seems like he has turned into a opinionated person in the last few weeks. There is a lot of head shaking, shrieking and throwing of things happening over in this apartment.

Oh good lord I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Sometimes I try to imagine what life would be like without him…. and I can’t. Well, I can, but it seems such a dull and colourless existence that it is a complete waste of time for my imagination. Why even bother attempting? Might as well just enjoy the moment(s) and path that my life is on…. every second of every day just gets more and more interesting.

Parenthood is kinda like being Indiana Jones. Really! Ah, the joys of discovery that lies around every corner these days. And I mean actual corners. As in I walked in the house this afternoon and rounded the corner with V on my hip, I encountered a lovely pile of dog-poop. Thanks Chewie! I love discovering poop. It is my favorite.

There is a lot of discovery involved. I have discovered that V doesn’t like brussel sprouts (M chimes in ‘Of course he doesn’t! He isn’t crazy!’ whatever…. they are delicious). I have discovered that at every opportunity, those little hands will do down those pants…. usually right after I have removed a wet diaper. I have discovered that grapes will fit up his nose (actually M discovered that one. And really, V was the one that discovered that first). I discovered that our dog will really eat anything. And even if he doesn’t want to, he will carry it around the house and hide it…. which is why I find gluten-free waffles, corn-muffins and cheese biscuits everywhere, tucked away in corners of our apartment.

Hence, this is why discovery is Parenthood’s Indiana Jones-like theme. The joys of finding things in ears (blood) and noses (grapes). And of course in diapers (hands and poop). And also around every hour of the day…. cognitive skills are a fast paced thing, I can barely keep up with it all.

Why am I still awake again?

xoxo a.m.

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Filed under amazing!, baby, biohazard, boys, clapping, dog, epic, family, happy, Holy Grail, holy mother, Love, Mad skills, Mummy, parenting, random, Summer of Dad

Tattoo

cherry-muse-blog

Tattooed. Awesome.

Spending time in a tattoo studio is interesting. I’ve been in one several times before…. but this was the first time that I’ve been in one with someone that has been in one on a regular basis. She’s pretty colourful. And pretty. And pretty and colourful at the same time.

As was my experience….

Colourful.

And Pretty!!

But colourful.

I learned.

I learned things maybe I shouldn’t share with the public.

Things about going to Greece and France…. that aren’t really involved with travel. At all. Who knew. But in retrospect, it made lots of sense.

I also didn’t know that blow-jobs and chicken go hand-in-hand… Apparently they do. But that it also stops after marriage. So don’t get married or those two will no longer go hand in hand…. If they ever did. Except in the realm of imagination and tattoo parlours.

I had many conversations about drugs, chicken, foreign countries, sex, sex, sex, sex and sex. And penises. I didn’t even know how to pluralize that word. Thank god for spell-check.

Mostly I just listened and absorbed. Absorbed what? I couldn’t really say. It’s been absorbed already. It’s in there though, floating around. I am sure that it will all resurface at some point… Most likely on my next trip. Once C and I work out the kinks to my cap sleeve.

Did you know that she is my tattoo muse?

If you are looking for ideas, let me know…. she might consult, for a fee that is… I’ll make sure you get a family rate. No worries….

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Bats in the cave

booger-blog

Such a charming expression I picked up in Japan from an Englishman…. it always made me laugh. Right now it aptly describes V’s ongoing condition and my latest obsession…. and obsession is the best way I know how to describe it.

Currently we are embroiled in the midst of a nasty cold. So on top of the wheat and peanut issues, we are now dealing with mild asthma and the introduction of a nebulizer. V is on a course of antibiotics for his ear infection and some steroids for the asthma.

The fun never stops at the ‘perfect health’ bus-stop over here!

For those of you not familiar with this phrase, it refers to boogers (visible ones, that is). I am not going to mince words here. And my following details might be a little graphic….mostly about baby boogers, so I think you all (y’all) can handle it.

V’s little nose is so congested and runny right now that the booges are forming a booge barrier just inside his nose. It’s like a beaver dam or something. Stacks and stacks of boogies, drying up and piling on top of each other. And it seems to happen in a matter of minutes. It feels like I just clean up this icky nose, when it happens again.

Clearly the boogers are ganging up on me.

Hence my obsession. And, of course, like all babies, V hates anyone fussing with his nose. And so I have to pin his head in one place while I use a wet wash-cloth (as this is the only way to knock down that beaver-dam) and scrub and scrub and scrub at his boogie nose.

There is crying and hitting (him hitting me, that is), some shrieking as well. It’s so unpleasant. But once it’s done, it’s done. And all is right in the world. V immediately forgets about it, and life is good.

It reached a point this afternoon that was rather ridiculous.

There I was, scrubbing away, V shrieking, me desperately trying to get that last boogie. Finally, I went right in with my fingers and pried that sticky huge thing away from his face.

“Aha!!!”, I exclaimed, “Gotcha!” and I held it triumphantly up in the air in our dining-room, like it was the Holy Grail or the Sword in the Stone or some other monstrously important artifact.

Yes, that’s right, I am indeed a booger archeologist.

Going where no man (but plenty of mummies, I imagine) has gone before.

M mumbled “Good job” from the living-room while he played wrestling on our PS3. Clearly he was not impressed by my ‘score’.

Anyways, then I realized that I had a booger on my finger (and one that wasn’t mine) and quickly went over to the sink and washed it off.

Again, ahhh motherhood…..

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Filed under boogers, health, Holy Grail, parenting, V

Bits (seriously)


V is currently a bath time fanatic…. And I just remembered what happened while I was giving him his bath yesterday.

He was splashing happily away, when he happened to glance down and spot something he hadn’t really noticed before.

His bits. And I am pretty sure I don’t need to elaborate on what that means. You are all smart, right?

He was fascinated. There was a lot of poking and prodding and tugging on little bits. I tried to distract him, but really it was like he had just discovered the Holy Grail, or like that scene from The Goonies where they actually find the pirate treasure.

It’s so neat when they make these little discoveries. Like “Wow, this hand will do what I tell it to!” or “I can put this foot in my mouth!”. In this case, I think it was something like “Hey! These bits are all stretchy! Look at how stretchy they are! Awesome!”. The look on his face was wonderful, so innocent….

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