Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sleep...or Lack Thereof

I have a problem. I never thought it would happen in a million years. I swore up and down that it wouldn't. But, here I am turning into my mother. At night, anyway.

Until recently, insomnia was a foreign idea to me. I could sleep anytime, anywhere, as soon as my drowsy head hit the pillow. Enjoying eight or nine hours a night in a semi coma-like state was the norm. Once, in my younger, single days, I even slept through an attempted break-in to my apartment. Cops showed up and everything, and I didn't so much as stir. When my roommate told me about it the next day, I refused to beleive her until she showed me where the screen door had been smashed in.

But lately, something has shifted. It feels like a hormonal thing. Not every night, but during certain times of the month, I lay awake for hours, my mind racing, my body totally exhausted but unable to get the rest it needs. I've tried a number of things. Herbal pills, and teas, and a recent prescription for Adavan my doctor suggested I take. Sometimes they work, but not always. Not on the really bad nights, when I feel like running a marathon at three in the morning. I probably could too, but I know I'd be even more of a basket case at work the next day. So I keep laying there, trying desperately to make my brain shut down and catch a couple of zzz's. And hoping it won't get worse like it did with my mother.

My mother has suffered from sleep deprivation for years, usually getting no more than four or five hours of sleep a night, and very often, only an hour or two at a time. When she still worked, she would then get up and put in a full day, sometimes doing 12 hour shifts.

It explains a lot now. I can understand her annoyance with us, which at the time I couldn't. And it was hard. There was a lot of internalizing and self-blaming. But as the saying goes, "You'll understand when you get older",  I suppose I finally do. I understand the irritable sighs and impatient, sometimes biting remarks were not my fault. I wasn't the cause, at least not directly, of her frustration.

I also understand being exhausted to the point of feeling nauseous, so dazed and out of it that it's probably not wise to be driving around the city, especially with a little boy in the backseat. A boy who likes to ask questions and talk and laugh and doesn't deserve to be ignored or snarled at because Mommy's too tired to answer. I also know I'm not the only sleep-deprived Mom out there on the loose.

So, I try to keep it together, at least until he's home, safe in bed and I curl up with a book and some warm milk and pray to the sleep gods to please just let me have a decent night's rest...

What do you do when you can't sleep? If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know - I'll try anything right now!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Libra Spin on Summer

Now that summer is officially upon us, (okay, I'm a few days late, but I'm on Pamela Time - always a little behind schedule),  I thought I'd share some of my favorite things about the season and some stuff I don't particularly care for. Because, you know, I just have to balance everything out in that annoying Libra way of mine.

What I love:

  • Heat. When I first moved to Toronto from the East Coast, I couldn't bear the sticky humidity of the city. Over the years, I've learned to love, well, tolerate it at least. Now, I laugh at all my East Coast kin when they complain about 30C-including-humidity-temperatures. I've earned that right seeing I'm now a know-it-all Toronto snob, haven't I?  
  • Sun. What's not to love about it? It shines, brightens everything up, makes the flowers bloom and the birds chirp. People all over the world have composed soulful melodies inspired by the wonder of it's rising and setting. Others worship it. Yes, the sun definitely rocks.
  • Summer wardrobe. There's nothing better than kicking off those heavy winter socks (after a nice manicure, of course) and schlepping around in some cute summer sandals. It's so freeing to leave the house sans jackets, boots & other cold weather gear, not to mention how much easier it is getting the boy out the door for daycare in the mornings.
  • Summer beverages. Ahhh, Margaritas, Sangria, Pina Coladas, Mojitos - take your pick. These exotic and tropical drinks not only sound divine, they go down so much smoother on  those sweltering summer evenings on the patio.

What I don't like:

  • The oily greasiness that is my skin. Seriously? By this age, I thought I'd be well beyond the teen acne that seems to plague my face not only year-round, but on a exacerbated level come summertime. Even armed with facial blotting papers and a compact, it's a losing battle this time of the year. 
  • The Sun. I know, I know, I just said the sun rocks. But it also keeps my kid up until almost 9:30 at night and wakes him up much earlier than I'd like to get out of bed. Same thing for the birds. Their damn chirping has roused me awake far too many mornings before 6:00 a.m. Go squawk somewhere else you annoying feathered freaks. 
  • Bickering over the AC. I'm talking about the bickering between hubby and I about when to turn the air conditioning on and off. If it were up to him, we'd never turn the blasted thing on. He's always going on about how expensive it is to keep it running and that I turn it up too high. He forgets how I threatened to leave him back when we didn't have it a few years ago. (In my defense, I was pregnant and highly emotional.) I am very cranky when it's too hot. I refuse to cook. I become easily frustrated. He shouldn't mess with me then. It's dangerous, I tell you.
  • The frizzies. Yes, ladies, many of you know what I'm talking about. The big hair. The no-matter-how-much-product-you-use-can't-avoid-the-afro-do. It's so far beyond a "bad hair day" you might as well just give up and chop it all off. This is my ultimate least favorite thing about the summer. And for all you silky, straight-haired bitches babes who never have to fuss to tame your locks, I have only one thing to say to you - Bite Me!!

No amount of anti-frizz serum, or hats, hair bands, etc. can control it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Monkey See Monkey Do

I wanted to post these photos for Father's Day, but was without Internet connection in our new place. (Really bad planning on our part). I honestly don't know how I survived without my computer or TV for the past 5 days, but it was just one of the many things that slipped our minds in the course of the move!

Anyway, to keep it brief, Ciaran has shifted from being a total Mama's boy and wanting nothing to do with Dad, to being Daddy's little shadow. It seems the tables have turned and I have to admit, I'm feeling a little left out. Damn fickle kids.

I took these photos last week at the old place - Ciaran goes completely apesh*t whenever he hears, sees or thinks about a lawnmower. He begged me for his own toy toy version & follows his Dad around - anyway it's pretty self-explanatory - so I'll shut up now. Happy WW!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Funny - Yet another hilarious Canadian, Jeremy Hotz

I'd never heard of this guy until the first time my husband and I visited Yuk Yuk's(a Canadian-based comedy club, for my American friends:) I think I actually peed my pants laughing, pretty impressive considering I hadn't yet given birth at that point in time.

We went there obviously expecting a few laughs, but never imagined just how hard we'd be clutching our sides and howling like idiots. But that's ok, because everyone else in the audience was too! The entire line-up that night was amazing, but when a comedian by the name of Jeremy Hotz came on we laughed from the minute he set foot on stage until well after his set was done. We even reminisced about his jokes all the way home and for days afterwards. If you have six and a half minutes here's a pretty funny clip of one of his skits on being Canadian (Oh, there's some swearing, of course, like what comedian worth watching doesn't cuss?):

Happy FF everyone! I've been away from the FF link-up over at Crazy Town for a couple of weeks now, but I'm heading there now to check for some more great laughs!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Time to Get Down & Dirty

 I thought I'd try a little something different today - something...naughty! That's right, Stefanie over at The Dirty Mommy Club has invited yours truly over for a little rendezvous to take part in what she likes to call Threesome Thursdays.

Now before you get all hot under the collar, let me just backtrack a bit. Stefanie has kindly offered to feature My Life as a Libra along with one other sexy mama blog, Heligirl on today's Threesome Thursday post. Go on over and check us out and if you like what you see show us some love. (Comments, cheeky monkeys, I was talking about comment love). Now get your minds out of the gutter and get on over to the DMC. I'm sure you'll love Stefanie's take on the "dirty side" of motherhood as much as I do:)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because Some Wackos are the People in My Neighborhood

Thirteen years. It's a long time to dislike where you live. To never quite feel like a part of the community. To not be able to join in the conversation because so few people speak either one of your two (okay, one-and-a-half) spoken languages. To share a driveway with a psychotic man who has never so much as uttered "hello" the entire 13 years. And whose discarded cigarette butts flickered across my drive and lawn greet me each morning. Thirteen years is long enough to get out of this hell hole!

A Brief History Lesson on Shantytown

The neighborhood is old but not charming-old, run down and depressing. A few years back we had an Asian beetle infestation and the city came and cut down almost every tree on our block, leaving it even more barren and desolate-looking, the houses shabbier. I took to calling this place "Shantytown". I mean, people use old rusted garage doors as fences in their backyards - not the kind of place you'd be proud to invite your friends over to visit. It's just a couple of notches up from the slums, if you ask me.

I'm not trying to mock poverty or anything. The people here are not poor - in fact, I know some of them are actually quite well off. They're just, shall we say, very frugal. Many are retired and just don't see the point in spending good money on things like fences or patio furniture when they can recycle old doors and hang out in their garages to peer at passerby.

And peer they certainly do. It still baffles my mind that 13 years later I can't drive (or certainly walk) down my street without several pairs of eyes blatantly staring me down as I drive past. It is seriously to the point where I fear the bolder ones will jump into the passenger seat, they get that close to the car. It's unnerving, I tell you!

So, how did I end up here? 

After enjoying a number of years as a single urban girl in the big city, I met a guy at the trendy downtown loft office where we both worked. We fell in love, and after a whirlwind 9-month courtship got engaged during happy hour in a New Orleans bar. True story. Anywho, I moved from my tiny basement apartment in Toronto to a sprawling semi-detached home just north of the city. Although secretly horrified by the neighborhood's left-in-the-70's appearance, I convinced myself it would be okay. We were still in the 416 area code. I wasn't an official suburbanite. On a good day I could be in the city in like, 15 minutes.

Little did I know how quickly my soul would start to wither away!

Yes, the house needed some TLC. I tried to ignore the parquet floors, stuccoed ceilings and hideous fixtures all installed in 1972. We couldn't fix everything all at once. Over the years, we chipped away and actually did a decent job renovating the place.  But with every new thing we fixed, we stuck out like sore thumbs in our largely senior-citizen-populated neighborhood. Why are you painting your garage a different color than the house next door? Why don't you leave the railing white, like everyone else has? they'd ask us. Tony would answer patiently in his mother tongue while I tried to control my inner rage. Really? Was it any of their business?

To deal with my dislike of some of the neighbors, I started giving them nicknames. For instance, the biggest neighborhood gossip is known as "The Crazy Sweeper". She sweeps her driveway several times a day with such vigor that no leaves, grass or specs of dirt stand a chance. She's equally as fastidious in the winter. No snow shall sully her drive, even if she has to spend all day battling it out with her shovel. The craziest thing is - neither she nor her husband drives anymore.

The phenomenon seems to be spreading (or sweeping the neighborhood, if you will!). "Crazier Sweeper", just a few doors down from the original Sweeper, has also taken to obsessively cleaning her driveway and the surrounding sidewalk. It's slightly more impressive, as she sweeps while chain-smoking and screaming "Paul John!" at her kid every 30 seconds. Her secondary nickname is "Insane Mullet Lady", for self-explanatory reasons.

Jack, or as I call him, "Jackass" lives across the street and is in the construction business. How do I know this, never having had a conversation with him? Well, my first clue was when he used this massive cherry picker machine to put up his Christmas lights. It's quite the production. It's not like it's such a huge house that he needs this contraption. Everyone else manages just fine with a ladder. But Jack likes to put on a show and even lets his kids go up in the machine. One time it scared the crap out of me, because they were like 10 feet away from my living room, looking right inside my balcony window.

 And then there are the fireworks!

For some reason the residents of Shantytown like to shoot off fireworks every couple of weeks or so, and not just on holidays. I'm not just talking a couple of kids with sparklers. No, there's a full-blown Magical World of  Disney type show going on on a regular basis (obviously without all the nice palaces and such). I've never figured out what the occasions are - they always vary and seem pretty random.  At first it was pretty cool - I could just open up my balcony curtains, pop some popcorn and enjoy the show, but after a while the novelty wore off and it doesn't help that they tend to start this spectacles late at night when we're trying to sleep.

Picture this over a much more ghetto type neighborhood!

There are many other reasons why I'm happy to be leaving this place, including a recent visit to a house down the street from the SWAT team, as if that's not reason enough. But, deep down inside there are also things and people I'll miss. Like Chicken Man, the neighbor who left us a funny surprise in our backyard a few years back. And also? I'll be a little sad to leave the first place my little boy called home. The place where we brought him after leaving the hospital when he was born. Where he learned to smile and laugh, took his first steps, and learned his first words. But on the other hand, he's already cussing in Italian, so now's probably a good time to leave...

Ciaran's first day home

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - I'm stressed, tired & kind of feel like puking. But hey, I finally own a home!

Ok, so it's been a crazy couple of weeks, getting the mortgage and house stuff all sorted out. Being a first time home buyer, I'm in a bit of a panic seeing my life savings drained in a matter of minutes. These cartoons pretty much sum it all up. Well, since the closing is in 2 days, guess I should get packing, huh?

Happy WW everyone!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I've been Tagged!

Remember playing tag back in grade school? I was such an introverted, geeky kid that I always despised being "it" and I was usually the last one tagged, which suited me just fine. But now I'm (semi) grown-up and it's been (never mind how many) years since I've been subjected to that kind of school yard humiliation. And fortunately I haven't been too traumatized by those childish games to reject participating in a nice, friendly, sitting-down-at-my-computer tag right now. In fact, I have to say I rather like this civilized version of the game.

I've been tagged by Tracy of The Daily Mom Diaries and instead of getting that old familiar feeling of being somehow contaminated, I'm proud to accept my tag & seek out a fellow blogger to spread the love around.

The only conditions of my tagging are that I list a few things that make me grumpy, which believe me, is not a difficult task for me. I will, however, cap it off at 5, and spare you all my irritable grumblings. So, here's my top 5 pet peeves (for today, anyway):

  1.  Cranky people. I know, it's supposed to be things that make me cranky, but there's nothing that bothers me more than when I wake up in a decent mood, only to be surrounded by moody, sullen folks. It ruins what could have been a perfectly good day, and therefore makes me just as cranky.
  2. Leaving my son in hubby's care for an hour or two and returning home to find my just-cleaned house in a shambles. 
  3. Not enough sleep. I love to sleep. I used to be able to sleep anytime, anyplace. Not so now. Last night I got about 4 hours. *Sigh*.
  4. Stupid drivers. In the city that I live in, there seem to be many. I have terrible road rage that I need to get under control. 
  5. Crappy music. One thing I love about my job is I can listen to my fave tunes on my headphones pretty much all day. I'm very particular about what I listen to and have zero tolerance for bad music. I guess you could say I'm a music snob.
So, there you have the top 5 things that turn me into a Grumpy Gus. And now it's time to turn things over and tag a fellow blogger - Stefanie at The Blue Zoo - you're it! 

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Something I Learned from an Annoying Turtle

    We needed a break, my little boy and I. From the house, the T.V., the never-ending chores and errands and also from each other. But since we were stuck together in the midst of yet another weekend during which Daddy had to work, we made our escape.

    It had to be done; I was heading down that panicky road I start spiraling towards when I'm trying so hard to be perfect and keep up with everything. Like when I spend all of Saturday morning cleaning, only to have to pick up every single toy ten times over, mop up spilled juice from a freshly-scrubbed kitchen floor, or get interrupted every 30 seconds with some question, request or other constant demand for attention.

    And, in a moment of sheer exhaustion and weakness, I took out my frustration on my son, screaming at him for something he didn't deserve to be screamed at over. I hadn't meant to sound so harsh. But there they were, my words like a stinging slap across his fragile feelings, silencing his innocent questions.

    His happy little face became downtrodden and those big, beautiful blue eyes turned so sad.

    That constant lingering guilt kicked into overdrive as I knelt down to hug and kiss him, but his next question floored me.

    "Mom, how come no one likes me?"

    "What do you mean, honey?" I now felt like a total piece of crap. "Everyone loves you. I love you, Daddy loves you...."

    "But you yell at me, Daddy yells at me, Nona yells at me..."

    My heart sank. I needed to right my wrong. So, walking away from the pile of dishes in the sink and the endless baskets of laundry, I tried to make up for my mommy inadequacies.

    And off we went to spend a summery afternoon at the splash park, followed by a visit to the local ice cream parlor. I started to curse myself for leaving the camera at home but that's okay. For once I lived in the moment and just enjoyed it. Enjoyed hanging out with my water-logged little boy in all his chocolate-covered bliss.

    Then, just the other night as Ciaran was getting his nightly bedtime Franklin fix, something about this certain episode sounded very familiar. Franklin's parents had been reprimanding him for something or other (can you tell I totally blank out during these shows?). Anyway, this caused Franklin to think they hated him and he got all sulky and kept asking why no one liked him.

    Stupid whiny turtle putting things in my kid's head. Parents - beware. Kids pick this stuff up and use it against it us in some kind of ploy to add to the already overwhelming daily guilt we feel. But, just like Franklin always seems to, I learned my lesson too. Dishes, laundry & all the rest will always be there. But a little boy is only four once.

    Brainwashing little bastard.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday - Summer Fun, Circa 2007

    *Sigh* I kind of miss those baby days. Life seemed so much simpler when I didn't have a back-talkin' 4 year old running around!

    Happy WW!
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