Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seth Seems to Say don't Stay in your Stagnant Size Small Sac

Seth MacFarlane IS the next Frank Sinatra.  I’m listening to his new album, No One Ever Tells You and let me tell YOU, old blue eyes is in for some competition.  Yeah.  I just said that.

And yes, the guy behind ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Ted’.  I KNOW, I know.  His humor may be lewd and crude but it’s smart too.  

Know why I really like this guy?  Besides his super dreamy singing voice that makes me want to swing on lamp posts and accidentally bump into him on a street corner in Paris?  “Oh!  Mr MacFarlane, I’m so sorry!  What?  Would I like to sit at a small cafe on the corner and sip expresso and stare at you dreamily while you sing me the blues?  Yes, yes I would.”  

Uh, what was I saying?  Oh!  Why I really like this guy.

He’s smart.  But mostly that he refuses to stay in his little box.  I LOVE that this guy created Family Guy and Ted and a bunch of other stuff but that he started as an animator, doodling on scrap pieces of paper and now he just flipped out a totally surprising and amazing album.  

He reminds me that we don’t have to be just ‘one’ thing.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to pitch the idea.  “Like, you want to sing like a joke right?  Like it’s so bad it’s funny?  What?  You don’t want to sing jokes?  We could make it into a cartoon?  Aren’t you the guy who created the talking teddy bear movie?”

Labels are for LOSERS I tell you. 

I’m a stay at home mom.  LABEL.  Icky, sticky, limiting label.  I’m a WRITER.  (Label) And a comedian.  Comedianne?  Canadian, for sure.  I’m a POET.  And a baker.  An amateur surfer and scuba-diver.  Yogi.  

Label, label, label, label.  

They don’t say anything about me.  They’re all me and none of them are me.  How I love to read and mountain bike.  How I love Taylor Swift and Jai-Jagdeesh.  Just because I’m one thing doesn’t mean I can’t be other, seemingly conflicting, things too.  

Life is ACTIVE.  It isn’t passive.  It isn’t stagnant.  It’s change.  It’s growth.  We may all have a purpose here on earth, something specific we’re meant for but for sure we’re all meant to GROW.  To learn.  To adapt.  To learn new things.  To try new outlets for our creativity.  To stretch our fingers and our wings and just JUMP.

I’ve met people who can’t do this anymore.  They’re stuck and miserable.  They want to try ball room dancing but they’re afraid someone will make fun of them.  Or they can’t give that to themselves unless there’s a practical outcome.  Unless it makes money or serves to make them skinnier or more attractive.  

They have this hidden yearning for something more but they can’t allow themselves to take it.  They can’t just let themselves have that experience just for the sake of enjoying it.  Taking a cooking class or trying Krav Maga.  Attending church service with your mom.  If it feeds your soul I think it’s your responsibility to follow those bread crumbs where they lead.  Even if it’s not to fatten the wallet or thin the tummy if it gives you even a moment of joy and peace it behooves us to allow more of that into our lives.

The world is a beautiful place that needs fulfilled people in it, seeking to serve.  

So go hug a teddy bear.  And buy that book on how to pickle asparagus already.  The world needs you.  And Seth, dear sweetly singing Seth…I’m a married woman and so completely off the table I’m sorry.  But we’ll always have Paris.
Oh and if you're shopping on Amazon anyway, if you shop at the AmazonSmile link below they'll donate $3.00 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with the first purchase.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunshine Farms, a bright spot in organic, sustainable gardening in Texas.

Did you know donkeys can keep deer away?  

It’s true.  We just visited Sunshine Farms out on Jackson Road in Montgomery and let me tell you that was a very interesting place.  It’s run by a sweet older couple, Jim and Lisa Jenkins.

It was what I THINK I want for our family, at least on a smaller scale.  They didn’t need any fences for their gardens because apparently the donkeys keep the deer away!  And raccoons and other pesky animals who like to eat our plants.  I turned to Bill and said PEEERFECT.  All we need is goats to eat the weeds and brush, donkeys to keep the deer away and chickens to give us fresh eggs!  Easy Peasy.  Maybe not cheaper than an eight foot high fence but…waaaaay more fun.

We talked mainly to Jim who showed us around the farm from the organic herbs (did you know Rosemary gets BIG.  Like, good for a hedge big?!) to his compost and water conservation techniques to his new project, the fish-fed aquaponics shed.  

Um, RIDICULOUS cool.  

He uses rainwater collected and filtered through rocks in large bins with CATFISH INSIDE who eat the bacteria and flotsam etc that get filtered through the rocks.  Then the catfish oblige by pooping a lot.  Ewwww.  But no, poop is GOOD in this case.  He filters it through and pumps it up to the shed and it will feed the plants he has suspended in a rock mesh cage above the water.  The roots just lap up that nitrate and nitrite rich water and because they don’t have soil to have to push through they grow about 30% faster.  Very cool.  He had romaine lettuce growing there and basil and different kinds of cabbage.  We can try that with a fish tank and some cabbage, easy peasy.  

Ellie chased chickens, goats, the dog, a kitten (Who I SOOO wanted to take home but Bill went all logical-reasoning argument on me and as usual I lost).  Apparently cuddling the kitten and appealing to his emotional side by saying ‘but she’s sooo cuuute….’ doesn’t win any arguments with this guy.  The real argument was over the who-poo question.  I said I’d do it but if we get lucky and have a Yeh #2 sometime soon, I won’t be able to empty the litter box.  Boooooo.  Anyhoo…

His wife Lisa has a whole shop on the farm full of artisan skin care and home care products made from the organic herbs they have growing outside.  We bought organic soaps and loofahs (yes she grows her OWN loofah!)  I KNOW I also thought loofah’s grew in Walmart bins.  Who knew they were A PLANT!!?  

So I’m trying that loofah-soap blend she created herself (out of her very own BRAIN!) and I bought the all natural dryer spray.  Side note - I stopped using fabric softener and bounce about 4 months ago because of all the chemicals in it.  

Did you know dyer sheets COAT your clothing in a chemical barrier, that’s what keeps them soft!? 

Do I want Ellie’s clothes coated in a  chemical so that they feel softer?  No.  Baby can rough it out.  And, it isn’t even rough.  I’ve got two dryer balls and now with the spray I bought from Lisa I can have them sell nice again too.  Instead of just awesome and clean, which is what they smell like with no softener and no bounce.  Terrible right?  I digress.

Anyway, I was SUPER excited to find this place.  They grow peppers and kale and onions and garlic and tons of different kinds of lettuce and just about every herb you can imagine.  And all organically using sustainable methods for compost and irrigation.  Amazing.  And all this just minutes from our house.  

To be perfectly honest I’m shocked to find something like this south of Virginia.  I mean, to find people FROM TEXAS who not only knew what Kale was but were GROWING it.  And organically!  I’m dumbfounded.  I’m flabbergasted.  I’m relieved.  

I may be in the meat eating, gun packing, yoga-what-what capital of the universe but that doesn’t mean there aren’t like-minded people about.  And sweet ‘ole Lisa and Jim MAY BE exclusively meat-eating, gun packing, yoga what-what people but if they’re working hard to be self-sustained and environmentally clean - we’re at least speaking the same language.  

To be honest what they’re doing out there is so impressive even if Jim had met us out in the yard with a sawed off shot-gun, a piece of goat foot hanging from his mouth and a picture of a yoga mat with a big red line through it, I still would have appreciated what they’ve accomplished.    

It takes a special person to run a farm.  And to run it without the ease of pesticides and big-business irrigation, that’s commendable.  I hope to find more families and places like what we found today here in Texas - but I have a feeling Sunshine Farms is a progressive bright spot in an otherwise dim farm-scape.

Anyway, so donkeys chase deer away.  The real question is…who’s cleaning the donkey poo?  (Not it, not it, not it!)

Monday, November 16, 2015


Ever feel like your life is a roller coaster ride and you’re suspended at the top right before the big plunge?  You have time to take a deep breath, wonder why you’ve agreed to come on this ride in the first place and then your butt drops but your heart stays in your throat?  It’s exhilarating and terrifying and the view is spectacular.  Eventually your heart resumes it’s usual place in your chest and you’re reminded how you were convinced to park your butt in this grimy, plastic thrill bucket after all.  Because it’s fun.  Even when it’s NOT fun it’s rarely boring.  

Sometimes I feel like that’s my life.  

Most of the time my life feels like a Woody Allen screwball comedy where nothing much happens except a lot of fumbling and mumbling and sometimes, sometimes, some interesting chatter.

Lately I feel like my life is slowly picking up speed and I am clatter, clatter, clattering slowly to the top.  Part of the sensation is coming from the two colds I’ve had pretty much back to back lately and my inability to be able to stop and take care of myself.  Like the commercial says, mom’s don’t have sick days.  Being sick always makes me feel a little uneasy, for good reason. But, like a champ, my body took those icky germs my sweet bundle of joy passed to me and beat ‘em back like the hulk in a bad mood.  Yeah immune system!

There’s been a lot going on lately and this time of year always feels like ‘go’ time because of the holidays.  In Canada Thanksgiving is in October which is manageable but here it’s the last week of November, then Christmas 3 weeks later.  It’s a mad house in this country from Oct 30 to Jan 4 and I’m feeling the buzz.  I just read an article saying coffee is good for us again.  So I started drinking coffee again.  I’m a little twitchy.  My shoulders aren’t supposed to be up around my ears, right?  I’m supposed to have a neck, right?

I know my anxiety level is getting a little high when I start to worry about things in the middle of the night I thought of during the day but didn’t bother getting around to.  Last night I woke up at 1am and couldn’t get back to sleep until I totally emptied my night stand.  

Three times.  

I was looking for the left ear plug I had in there from when Bill was snoring so loudly.  (Have I not complained about that yet?)  Ugh...whatapainthatwas!!

Anyhoo....I had taken the right one out and put it on the dresser where Ellie couldn't get it but I couldn’t find the right one.  All day I thought about it but figured if I couldn’t find it right away then neither could Ellie.  (She can reach into my nightstand drawer) Then, at one in the morning, I suddenly KNEW that she had found the other one and had EATEN it when I wasn’t looking.  So.  Now I NEEDED to find that right ear plug or I’d lay awake all night worrying about her tiny colon.  

I emptied the drawer once, twice, finally turned on the light and emptied it all out again carefully.  I found it!  Stuck to the bottom of my dream journal (don’t be impressed it has two entries in it from two years ago..)  So happy!  So I put it on the dresser where the other one was.  And…..


At this point I recognized this for what it was…I was anxious in general and when I don’t take care of that anxiety during the day, it keeps me up at night.  I wasn’t REALLY worried about the ear plug.  The true test is when you wake up the next day, are you as worried?  

Does whatever was keeping you up need your attention right away in the morning?  If not, that wasn’t really what you’re worried about.  It’s just something your brain attached to for whatever reason.  Some deep breathing, some meditating or reading a calming (re: boring) book will do just as much good as ‘dealing’ with that issue at 1am.


I’m a little twitchy.


Angela’s remedies?  Coffee isn’t that good for me.  I’m cutting back.  I’m also going to listen to my body and my heart.  I need some alone time.  I need some yoga.  I’ve cleared the way to do a class a week.  I’m not going to feel bad about asking for some time for me.  Bill doesn’t feel bad about asking for time for himself on the weekend, and he gets 9 hours of adult time every day all week!  I’m at a bit of a disadvantage without close family nearby and I’m not perfect.  I need to acknowledge that.  And, I don’t have to be.  I’m not required to be.  Ellie doesn’t need Mom of the Year, she just needs Mom of the Here.  As in, I’m right here with you in this moment because I made sure I was fulfilled, replenished.  I can give you attention, love, patience, affection, and compassion because I also give those things to myself.  We need to remember even though we're Super Mom's, we're still human.

Namaste everyone and remember to be compassionate to yourself so you can give that compassion to the people you love.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

SuperGirl Wanna-Be

I like to play.  We just got a basketball net and I could’ve stayed out there for hours shooting hoops with Bill, stopping to let Ellie roll it around from time to time.  I like to pray and meditate too.  I like to watch movies in my pajama’s. I like to read and write and paint.  I like to do puzzles.  I like to talk.  Mostly about myself and what I’m going through…hence the blog.  I get to talk all blog and I don’t have to remind myself to be as interested in someone else’s point of view as my own.  I may have just gotten a shade too honest there…la la la.  I’m a little self-absorbed there’s no denying that.  

There ARE times though when something miraculous occurs - in speaking with someone truly interesting I’ve forgotten completely about myself.  It’s on par with blue moons and free cupcake giveaways.  You suddenly find yourself in unusual conversational territory, a twist and a turn and suddenly you’re thinking about big things.  Philosophy. Religion.  Poetry.  The future of mankind.  I get tired of using my head to plan meals when what I really want to be doing is planning how to ensure I’m living my best life.  That I’m using my potential to help make the world a brighter, warmer, (not literally you understand) safer place to be.  That I’m a fulfilled, happy person because how can that not benefit the people around me? 

So I watched SuperGirl a couple nights ago.  Of COURSE I loved it.  I'm a SuperGirl wanna-be.  If I couldn't be Diana Troy running around the Star Trek Universe I wanted to be SuperGirl.  Or, I would have been if I'd been allowed to read those trashy DC comics....Archie and Friends were the sauciest comics I could read.  Lord of the Rings I could read but a comic book featuring a girl who ran around in a mini skirt saving National City that was too much.  (Why am I poking at my parents, they're the only ones that read this regularly?)  My audience to two is shrinking.  Anyhoo.

I used to watch what’s-her-face (Calista Flockhart) in Ally McBeal and I liked that show a lot.  She doesn’t seem to have any eyebrows anymore but she’s still too skinny so there’s that.  Anyhoo.

In the show SuperGirl, (Melissa Benoist) is explaining to her sister how she has all these incredible powers and she feels like she needs to use them for good.  You know where this is headed.  She needs to test her own potential, to push the limits of her powers and help people.  She totally screws it all up and there’s this one scene that seems much more profound than a CBS show is capable of being.  She asks Ally McBeal (her boss) if SHE were SuperGirl, how would she stop making so many mistakes.  I’m paraphrasing here..’Girl needs to CALM DOWN.  You think I got hired twenty years ago and they put me in charge of a major media company?  No.  I started small, I worked my way up.  I fought every step of the way.’

I don’t normally take cues on how to live my life from a Rom-Com but, that seems like pretty good advice.  Start small.  Instead of stopping a robbery or rescuing a pet from a tree I can hold the door for a harried mom.  Pick up a candy wrapper that wasn’t mine and throw it out.  Let someone with less items go in front of me at the grocery store.  Keeping myself open to learning new things, trying new foods, experiencing new situations.  Meditating or praying regularly.  I’ve learned that trying to be MY best self affects others positively too.  It’s a chain reaction of good stuff.  

FYI Deepak and Oprah have these free 21 day meditation challenges from time to time, there’s one right now you can register for and catch the last 14 days.  Ok you made me do math so now you have to at least THINK about checking it out.  

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with an important Ellie update - she’s still ridiculously adorable.  And her top two canine’s are almost all the way through.  Know what that means?  I’ll be gaining my sanity back soon!  Yippie!!  Oh what good things I’ll be able to do once I’m not totally bonkers!! Sky’s the limit people.  (Up, up, and away!)  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dobs of Poo. Or, VOTE ELLIE 2045!!!

She’s crying again, tomp tomp tomp tomp tomp go her tiny feet, her fine black hair standing up in the breeze she’s creating as she’s running.  I kneel down and open my arms.  She runs into them with her own tiny arms open wide.  She snuggles down into the crook of my neck.  I pick her up and rub her back.  She stops crying a little but looks at me with her mouth turned down.  Her teeth are hurting, or she has a tummy ache, or she stubbed her toe.  Pre-verbal expression it’s anyone’s guess and if there are mom’s out there who instinctively know I’m happy for them but that isn’t me.  Right now I’m assuming she’s teething - both because it’s swollen where her eye teeth should be and because the Dr said they were coming in at her 18 month check-up last week.  

She’s miserable all afternoon.  

The tylenol I gave her at 4pm doesn’t seem to be helping much.  She also missed her nap today, Bill and I went to a Buffalo Wings to watch the Saints-Giants game.  (Saints won, Saints won!)  Texan and Titan game was also playing so we were in the minority with our Giant/Saint jerseys on.  We didn’t mind, since we moved here we’ve often felt just a liiiitle out of step with the rest of Texas.  We’ll adjust.  Or they will.  Someone will.

So she’s miserable all afternoon.  

I finally get her some supper (rice, broccoli and salmon.  She loooooves salmon so supper was easy at least).  But then I undressed her beside the tub for her bath and when the diaper dropped a small dob of poo came out with it.  A bonus.  Just for me.  So I scooped it up with the diaper and threw it in her trash and after it hit the can I saw THERE WAS NO BAG IN THE TRASH CAN.  I’d emptied it the other night when I should have been sleeping and forgot to replace the bag.  Ew.  I tried to wipe her off with a wet piece of toilet paper and place it carefully on top of the diaper so it doesn’t touch the sides of the can and then get her in the tub.  Immediately four or five pieces of poop float out from her bottom where I missed them and settled to the bottom of the tub.  I just realized now I bleached the tub when she was done and the toy she had in there and totally forgot to disinfect the floor where the dob of poo fell.

Just a second while I do that…

Ok.  Done.  

Ok you know I didn’t just do it.  But I will, I will.  I PROBABLY won’t forget again.  

So we’re trying to wean her from the pacey too which is not helping her mood.  Pacey’s are now only for nap and bedtime.  They stay in the crib.  The problem?  Nap time when she doesn’t nap and doesn’t understand why mom is taking out the pacey all of a sudden.  Changing the rules on babies SUCKS.  Ugh.

We need to wean her from the nighttime bottle too but momma isn’t ready for that drama yet.  She’s going to be 18 and still need that bottle before bed.  And the psychiatrist will want to speak to me about my inability to let her experience anything negative ever.  I’ll want to speak to me about it too.  Luckily I won’t be far away, I’ll be paying for the psychiatrist myself and be waiting in the waiting room with crackers and a juice box in case she gets hungry or thirsty.  

I can’t imagine a time I won’t be RIGHT THERE ALL THE TIME, waiting to give her what she needs.  This is how crazy-smothering-the-child-with-love-mom starts.  I know it.  I can feel it.  Those wild-eyed beings who sacrifice their whole being in service of their offspring.  And because they love their moms, they don’t spread their wings and fly.  They stay close and let mom cover them with her wings.  Shade from the sun, protection from the rain, shelter from the storm.  A wall between the blue sky and their own wings, a limit to their own dreams, a stopper in the throat of their own song.  I won’t do that.  

But it will be an effort not to.  It will be a conscious decision, every day.  This momma bear roars loud and loves hard but she’s trying to be wise, too.  I know I can’t protect her from everything, all the time.  I’m going to blink and she’s going to be in school and I won’t be there to pick her up if she stumbles.  I won’t be there with open arms to soothe her when she’s upset or hurt.  The best I can hope for is that Bill and I raise her to trust in herself.  To pick herself back up when she falls.  To be confident in her own self, to know she’s never really alone.  That’s she’s loved and protected, shielded and guided even when she can’t see us.  That we trust the world is basically a good and happy place and most people are doing their best with what they’ve been given.  And when they’re not, they’re just giving you a chance to learn how good it feels to let it go, to forgive, and to give second chances.  And if we’re all really lucky, someday thirty years from now, Ellie will be cleaning dobs of poo herself.  While she runs the country as President of the United States of America.  Or Prime Minister of Canada.  Or the first North American Prime-President.  VOTE ELLIE 2045!!!!

The Brothers Cuomo

Recently Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that New York state is a microcosm of America. They’ve got the big city of New York, but also rur...