Take a look at my recent post on HockeyNow about taking a break from hockey!
I hate being asked “what’s for dinner?” almost as much as I hate being asked,”where do babies come from?” I have a solution for the first question (sorry, there’s no solution for the second question).
Check out my latest Hockey Mom Mondays post at HockeyNow. http://hockeynow.ca/blog/mom-mondays-compliments-to-the-chef-chef-hockey-mom-that-is-
Check out my recent post at HockeyNow.ca on the life and times of the Den Mom! http://hockeynow.ca/minor-hockey/mom-mondays-it-s-a-tough-job-but-someone-s-got-to-do-it-my-life-as-a-den-mom #hockeymom
One of my biggest pet peeves is paying for parking mostly because I rarely carry cash with me anymore. Yet I know there are some places where paid parking just a given: sporting events, the airport, train stations, and most downtown hotels or public parking garages.
As I pull into this parking lot however, in front of the medical office I am about to enter, I am struck by a great injustice that is “parking”. I see the parking signs “Pay for Parking Here”. Right in front of a medical office. Everywhere else on this busy, primarily retail road in Ottawa the parking is free. And given that this is a medical imaging centre and a physiotherapy office, the irony is crueler than the inconvenience of digging for coins in the depths of my purse.
Across the street is ample free parking in front of Home Outfitters, Future Shop and ToysRUs and all the usual big box outlets. I think to myself, “I could just park over there, and cross this busy four lane road, and just show them, that I am NOT going to pay for parking.” But I’m in a hurry, barely on time to my medical appointment, and have to get back to the office as quickly as I can. So, I do what everyone else seems to do when visiting this office: I pay for the parking.
I half expect to be asked to pay for the elegant blue booties I’m asked to don so that no one in the office is inconvenienced by my winter slush trail. Maybe that receptionist who shows me to the physician’s office is expecting a tip? I can assure you that ultrasound technician isn’t getting one from me after she had the gall to serve up that jelly to me (on me) stone cold! And what? No customer feedback card? Clearly, no one here is too concerned about repeat business.
What strikes me unreasonable about being forced to pay for parking here is thinking of all those who are coming to this clinic, though, because they are not so able-bodied. They’re here to improve their not-so-able body. It’s offensive that they’re being taken advantage of and being forced to pay for parking in sea of free parking lots that they really cannot access without a great deal of effort.
I think back to the days I dragged my 2 and 3-year old boys to my medical appointments when pregnant with their sister. I came across the same situation: want to eat or shop here? Your parking is free. Have a medical issue? That will be $5 an hour, please.
Clearly, our socialized healthcare does not spill over into the parking lot. Ah well. Guess I should be grateful. I can still walk; therefore, I can still dance … and still pay for parking.
A video I saw recently on Facebook called, “Sh%t Southern Woman Say”, filled with bless-her-heart after bless-her-heart, had me thinking of all the Canadian colloquialisms I use (bless my heart). I thought of making a really excellent video called “Sh%t Canadian Women Say” that I’m sure would go viral, but let’s just say I prefer the modest medium of writing medium to – you know – filming myself!
Without even mentioning any proclivity to anything hockey, you know you’re a Canadian when –
- There’s more to a case of beer than the beer! I swear to God a good part of my husband’s wardrobe came with a case of beer – or rather a 2-4. His nieces refer to him as that uncle. And speaking of beer, when someone tells me the beer store is kitty-corner from the liquor store, I know exactly where that liquor store is. (Though I honestly cannot remember the last time I had to ask anyone where the liquor store was!)
- Canadianisms in gastronomy are pretty universal now thanks to the internet. But I do think finding a proper poutine, tourtière, beavertails, Lay’s ketchup chips, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, and Kraft Dinner (or KD) outside our borders is not an easy achievement.
- Tim Horton’s coffee shops have their own lexicon entirely. You simply don’t live in this country if you don’t know what a double-double is. And of course this time of year with their Rrrrroll up the Rrrrrim to win campaign, dumpster-diving takes on entirely new meaning – for that’s what you do when you realize you’ve thrown out your Timmie’s without Rrrrolling up the Rrrrim to check out your prize (which is usually a message of pure hope: Please Play Again)!
- It’s funny enough that the Canadian one dollar coin is called a loonie (because most in circulation have the common loon on them) but what gives with calling the two dollar coin a toonie (that’s right – it’s spelled toonie not twonie)? Most toonies have a picture of a polar bear on them (because while there might be real loons around Canada, the toon is rather rare and endangered, I guess). Are we that lazy? Could we not have called it the polar coin? “Got any polar bears on ya?”
- When I was a teenager I never snuck a fifth of rum into a hockey game. Never! Now a mickey of rum? That’s a different story! (I just don’t remember it.)
- And when we got married, our friends planned my husband’s ‘stag’ and my ‘doe’ – not our bachelor and bachelorette parties. CBC should consider getting in on this Bachelor TV viewing crowd with a new show. Seriously! Who wouldn’t tune into a show called The Stag! Americans would be buying satellite TV by the millions!
- And I know I said I wouldn’t mention hockey but my kids all knew the local rink rat by his first name. In fact, they knew a few rink rats by their first names!
- And because it’s February, and it’s minus stupid cold outside, and people are making plans for March Break (not ‘spring’ break), here’s one more final iconic Canadian activity: you don’t need to bring your tuque on your trip to Cuba!
Bless your Oh Canada, bless your heart!
My daughter and I were hockey implants this past weekend.
It’s not what you think.
Technically, she was the implant, I was the transplant.
She was invited by another team to a hockey tournament in Jay Peak, Vermont (uh huh, so skiing was also involved too!) as a pick-up player. Several players from a team in her association were unable to attend this tournament so they get to pick up players from another team, hence their invitation to us – I mean, my daughter. It was her job to play hockey for this team; it was my job to get her there (well, my husband’s. Given there was skiing involved, we made this a ski-hockey-waterpark weekend).
It seems a lot of parents of recreational hockey won’t travel to out-of-town tournaments. Cost, time, winter roads, whatever. But out-of-town hockey tournaments is what I love about being a hockey mom (in fact, they may even be why I tolerate minor hockey).
And I’m not the only one. When our hockey years are behind us, I can guarantee you that all three of my kids will look back on their minor hockey careers and the out-of-town tournaments as being the bomb dot com. (I learned that phrase from my daughter and I can’t stop using it.)
Out-of-town hockey tournaments offer an opportunity to play teams from other cities (heck, from other countries, as was the case this past weekend!) and is like a mini-vacation (despite a typically busy game schedule particularly if your team advances beyond round robin play). It offers a brief but reliable antidote to the ho-hum doldrums of the cold, Canadian winter. It offers families the chance to dispense with normal routine of school and work – and to travel and sleep in close quarters (the only form of winter camping I’ll agree to). It offers the potential of a new town or city or food or folklore to explore and who can deny the enriched learning experience kids derive from hotel swimming pools, mini stick hockey in the lobby and terrorizing hotel security guards after quiet hour (despite me having signed numerous waivers over the years promising precisely not to do so!)??
Some of the teams my kids have been on have had six tournaments a season (when playing competitive hockey) and some of our teams have only been to two. Regardless of the number or the timing (except for maybe The Great Hockey Weekend of 2012, which we do not speak of in our household), I will never vote down a hockey tournament weekend.
I like hockey tournaments. I know my kids love hockey tournaments.
I liked being a hockey implant and I’m certain my daughter enjoyed being a hockey implant too.
And I think we make the perkiest of hockey implants out there!
Two guys run into each other in the doorway of a Tim Horton’s coffee shop; one leaving and one arriving. One guy says, “After you…” to which the first responds, “No, after you …”
And there ensues The Great Canadian Stand-Off where our national proclivity to politeness and addiction to Tim Horton’s coffee, collide. You know this could go on long enough that the required twenty minutes sitting time of Timmies coffee would expire and I would have to wait for a fresh pot to brew. Someone would have to break the stalemate.
Might as well be me.
Between my thirst for a Double-Double Dark (not to mention my need to go pee after my last Double-Double Dark) and my son’s yearning for a maple dip (do you need Eh dictionary yet?), we were not above trampling Canadian ideals and pitching forth through these blocked doors.
We waited a respectable thirty seconds and one more round of “No, I insist …” and “No, really … you go first” before I barged in between them and scurried to the ladies room.
But not without voicing a quick, “’Scuse me! Sorry!” over my shoulder, of course!
What can you do, eh?
It is early morning and still dark in my makeshift yoga studio with only the dim light of a lone streetlamp streaming through my living room shutters. This sliver of light settles on my yoga mat stretched out and beckons my stiff and aching aging body. I’m a two-faced practitioner: there are mornings I love waking up early and allowing myself an hour of stillness, breathing and asana and there are other mornings where yoga and the fact that it’s 530AM just suck and I pull the covers over my head and hit the snooze for the tenth time.
This morning was of the “this sucks” variety, when I think all my yoga teachers are conspiring to convert me to kale smoothies with chia seeds. No amount of blissful shavasana will inspire me to give up pinot grigio and poutine.
I have managed to get myself onto my mat with open heart and mind even if neither of my eyes are. I do this because I know from experience that if I leave my yoga to the evening, that battle will be won by Facebook, laundry and my daughter’s Elizabethan-era food project (damn you, Grade 9 English curriculum).
I’m about halfway through this morning’s yoga routine and starting to finally feel my mind and body slowly cooperating. I open my eyes after one pose and notice a tiny fluff off to my left in the foyer. I close my eyes again and curse the shedding hairy dog mess, but when I open my eyes I notice that my “fluff” is no longer there. In fact, it’s moved an entire foot! Believe me, I am not generating enough kinetic energy here to make a feather move so I interrupt my practice and crawl on my hands and knees over to the foyer. I then realize that this is nothing close to a dust bunny dog hair fluff but is instead a frog!
A little frog the size of my thumb has somehow found its way into my home, more remarkably into my living room and even most astonishingly – uninvited – into my yoga practice! Not what I would call a Zen moment.
We stare at each other for a moment but I know I have to do something with this yoga intruder before my dogs find him and eat him – or my daughter finds him and decides to make a pet of him (which would actually be worse, I think).
I return Riberto to the wild outdoors using a soup ladle and kitchen towel. After which I think it was only fitting that I finished off my morning with bhekasana, or frog pose. I suppose Riberto was simply an emissary send to help me get it right!
The aspiring yogini and helpful frogini… Hand in hand – or hand in webbed appendage, as the case may be.
And that is my story about the day a frog came to yoga.
Winter is coming but I’m not talking about freezing those buns.
I read recently that several major US companies have added coverage for fertility preservation procedures to their employee benefit plans. Basically, this involves extracting a woman’s eggs from her ovaries and freezing them until she is ready to have a family. Get it? You’re freezing your buns before they’re in the oven! Given the opportunity, there are so many other parts of my body that I would have frozen at a younger age had I the chance before I would even consider freezing my eggs!
Of course freezing eggs and sperm has long been medical procedures available to people –many choose to undertake the procedure before undergoing serious medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation. Another reason for undergoing such a procedure of course is because a woman’s ‘younger self’ eggs are more viable and healthier than her eggs at an advance maternal age, thereby leading to a healthier pregnancy and baby, all the while allowing a woman to focus on her career before having a family. Many women I know did that anyway, but I guess now there’s medical intervention available to take some of the worry out of advanced maternal conception and pregnancy. Of course, there’s no procedure available to take the worry about raising those children … other than perhaps that other cure-all that’s also pretty decent when frozen (margaritas).
We know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but it would appear that all play and no work might get Jane fired. Perhaps this all just a little too paternalistic. Companies like Apple and Facebook are taking care of your ovaries so you can take care of the Apple and Facebook? We don’t want you having babies while you’re young and upwardly mobile so please freeze them and have your babies when you’re past your prime and no longer worth much to your organization. Just pop those eggs in the freezer next to the leftover chili – or better yet where you’ll soon be storing your pumped breast milk.
Please lets lobby for a little more gender reciprocity here too, while we’re at it. Maybe I would have liked it if my husband’s hair follicles could have been frozen and preserved for later use too.
Pretty soon we won’t have the need for the political debate over extended maternity benefits because women will just delay having their babies until their retirement – when they have nothing but time on their hands.
Think of it … mother and daughter, father and son in matching bibs … matching walkers … sharing in mushy food dinner conversations. I sense a bonding – and business – opportunity here!
I just want you to know I’m not one of those hockey moms
But sometimes I wish I was.
My daughter’s team was in a hockey tournament recently in Cornwall and alongside the usual pre-game superstitions (mostly her), chips and wine in bed (mostly me) and juicing up the Jambox (both of us), her team made it to the semi-finals of the tournament – a game that they , the Hungry Hippos, sadly lost to hometown rivals, The Ugly Pucklings (the nicknames girls’ hockey teams give themselves is an entirely different blog post).
One of her round robin games saw them play a team from the Outaouais region just across Quebec border from Ottawa. It was not a pretty game. We tied 1-1 but not before our trainer had to tend to two Hippos who’d been checked by girls on this team (girls hockey is non-contact by rule but not always in practice), and saw the opposing team accumulate 8 minor penalties in one game. I’m don’t think my daughter’s team accumulated 8 minor penalties in the entire season last year. To make matters worse, one of their team members accumulated 5 of those penalties, and the coach then saw it fit to nominate her for player of the game. Not only is that bad coaching and parenting, but let’s agree that that is bad everything.
It was one of those games that gives hockey a bad reputation. Thankfully, the game finished with no real havoc and no serious injury.
The havoc started when we got home from the weekend – when I get to talk about my stellar parenting.
I should have just let it go, but I was irked, and the game became the subject of our family dinner conversation on Monday evening.
“You would not believe this team,” I shared with the boys. “Eight penalties in one game! Five to one player! And the coach gives her Player of the Game. Can you believe it?”
My son asked, “ Did you yell at the ref? Did you and another hockey mom go at it?”
That’s when it happened. I faked it. I faked the bad ass hockey mom.
“You bet I did! The refs were totally useless! And then you know what else I did? I stood up and yelled at the other parents. Oh yeah. I gave them a piece of my mind – and a piece of my hot dog. That’s when it really got going. I stood up and screamed “what kind of a goon show is this?” and one of the other hockey moms told me to shut up and then the coach of their team told me to shut up. Then, this other hockey mom and I got into it in the stands. Then you know what I did? I spit on her. Oh yeah. I spit on her. That b!tch was asking for it, you know it!”
They stared at me.
They know I did nothing like that at all. *Sigh*
“Well … well,” I stammered, “I wanted to do!” I said. “I’m totally going to do it next time.”
I’m such a rebel … in my dreams ….
“Ice cream, anyone?”
Is it just me, or does that title make you giggle too?
CBC recently reported that Air Canada pilots were leaving pornographic material in the cockpit. Apparently the airline’s chief pilot and director of fleet operations expressed his disappointment that he has to warn pilots again against doing so.
Again?! The airline’s chief pilot had to express his disappointment … again?! I can’t believe this is actually a recurring issue within our national airline!
Some sources say that the pilots doing so are just trying to upset their female colleagues for infiltrating what has been primarily a male-dominated role.
I’m not sure what upsets me more: knowing that the pilots may be considerably distracted while piloting the plane I’m on (and we all know the judgement of men is seriously impaired when “distracted”) or the fact that they chose the most ridiculously juvenile tactic possible to upset Air Canada’s female pilots! What are they? Twelve?! Hopefully some of the smarter Air Canada pilots are comforting their male colleagues by telling them they’re going to get fired long before any female pilot quits over finding a porn mag!
May I also just say that this interesting journalist material contrasts sharply to the En Route magazine left for the rest of us in the cabin (not that I’m complaining).
Between this and the Jian Gomeshi debacle, Canadians are seriously getting a bad rep of late (a beaver as our national mascot certainly doesn’t help). Just to make it even juicier, the internet porn site Brazzers recently offered free membership to Air Canada pilots. Yes, Virginia, there are internet porn sites. All the Air Canada pilot new members have to do is tweet out the porn site. Hmmm, and just how many pilots will stupid enough to take them up on that offer? Then again, if they were stupid enough to leave porn in the cockpit …
Maybe the motto per ardua ad astra (“through adversity to the stars”) needs to be modified a bit for Air Canada to per ardua cum astra (“through adversity with the stars” … the porn stars…). It’s almost too perfect.
I for one sincerely hope that those pilots get back to the serious business of flying a plane, and leave the gender discrimination to fashion designers and household cleaning product ads. And I, for one, will be referring to it as a flight deck from now on!
Please ensure your seat belts are securely fastened, folks!
An unsanctioned event organized by students at one of our local high schools has raised the ire of its principal. So much so that emails have been sent home warning parents of this event and its imminent danger. Parents have been urged to ask their children NOT to participate in this wasteful and harmful event and have been cautioned that local police have been asked to provide additional officers to enforce safety, should the event take place.
What is this undesirable event that parents should be so anxious about?
Is it an illegal swim party at a local quarry? Is it an unchaperoned bush party at one of the many local farm fields? Is it the private post-prom party across the border at a local ski resort (where most of the students will be of legal drinking age)?
No. In fact, these events (which have taken place or are about to take place on my son’s social calendar) have not been deemed sufficiently objectionable by anyone such that parents should be alerted to potential unsafe and/or illegal activity. The low-down on the street is how we get savvy to these events.
The appalling event that I am being warned about is the annual senior student-organized milk chugging contest.
This will be one of the most uncomfortably awkward and sensitive discussions I will have with my teenagers yet. There’s no way all those conversations about safe sex, drugs, alcohol, academic challenges, work and money chats will serve me for this one.
I’m not sure how to handle this one. Should I go the sour milk is bad for you-route? Or, that unpasteurized milk may make you sick-schtick? How about, milk that comes from cows who’ve been injected hormones have been fed is unacceptable-deal (oh, but that’s illegal in Canada, so will probably not be too effective). Or the time-tested, waste-not-want-not talk? No, I think I better stick to the fear tactic that always works best: “Do you have any idea how easy it is to get addicted to milk?”
This isn’t the first time we’ll be talking about milk-chugging contests, and I can assure you, it won’t be the last.
(Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. I hope I don’t get my son suspended).
You can tell an awful lot about a woman by the contents of her freezer.
I have a friend who, despite having three kids, has a truly immaculate home, unlike my own home with three kids which seems to be rife with kid clutter and dog dirt. Whenever I come home from her place, I am inspired to tidy up just a little. If nothing else, to at least wipe the dogs’ drool off the patio door. Well, this time I went for broke: I cleaned out my bottom-drawer kitchen freezer!
There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about my kitchen freezer. In fact, a freezerful of je ne sais quoi. As I was cleaning it out, I was not at all surprised by the number of containers with unidentifiable contents, or the amount of food with freezer burn beyond rehabilitation. I was, however, a little grossed out with the amount of dog hair I cleaned out of my freezer – which seems to be immune from freezer burn. Pretty sure this explains the string of declines for any dinner invites I extend.
Delighted with my Saturday morning’s accomplishment, I gathered the family (except the dogs) around the kitchen frig and presented them with my handiwork. “Ta da!” I announced, to a primarily indifferent audience.
“What’s that?” asked my husband, pointing to a little square Tupperware container amongst the ice cube trays and frozen treats. “It’s Fishy” I whispered. “It’s fishy?” he asked. “Why does fish get its own corner of your freezer?” which would be a very good question in a normal household. “Shhh! Not fish,” I corrected, “Fishy.”
“Fishy’s alive?!” screamed my daughter jumping up and down. Sigh.
“No honey, Fishy is not alive. He is still very much dead. He just happens to be still very dead in our freezer.” A now thoroughly confused husband then said, “I’m going to regret asking this, but what is a dead Fishy doing in our freezy?”
“Well, when he died, we were on our way out the door and didn’t have time to give him a proper funeral.”
“Sooo, when exactly did Fishy die?” asked my husband, glancing over at the fish bowl on the kitchen counter that contained a very much alive Beta fish.
“Three years ago.” I answered “Give or take …”
Needless to say, after having her dead fish replaced with a new alive one, the urgency surrounding a proper pet burial had diminished, and we all sort of forgot about the whole thing – until today.
Despite the wasted food and a long-overdue funeral, I truly feel like I accomplished something that morning.
The patio door, however, is still covered with dog drool.
This essay was written for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. It didn’t win but was great fun to write. I put on my best “Erma”. As many of you know, I learned so much from the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop held every other year in Dayton, Ohio, its faculty and most importantly its attendees. You can read the winning entries here.
Hockey parents have this reputation for excessive drinking which I believe is unwarranted. The truth is, hockey parents do like to drink a lot but, come on, it’s not because we’re hockey parents, it’s because we’re parents. Period. I can assure you that I was drinking long before my kids strapped on their first pair of skates! For some reason, that does not seem to surprise anyone.
So you know who I think started this nasty rumour about hockey parents and their drinking? I think it was that it was those crazy little hockey kids who drove us to drinking in the first place – they’re the work of the devil.
My daughter asks me stuff like, “Oh, do you really need alcohol to have fun?” I pondered that this weekend as I looked around what passed for a hotel room smaller than my university dorm room and I answered, “Yes. Yes I do. It is way more fun to be stuck in a little run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere with a glass of chardonnay than being stuck in a little run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere without a glass of chardonnay. In fact, I think you’re having way more fun yourself when I’m here with my little glass of chardonnay, because you’re out there doing God knows what and I don’t even know where you are until I need another little glass of chardonnay and I find you in some random hallway with all your friends eating popcorn” and thankfully not my chardonnay (not yet anyway; I’ll give that a few more years).” She should know that hockey weekend would be way less fun for the both of us if I was without chardonnay.
How about this one: “I don’t know how you drink that stuff … it tastes terrible!” I don’t believe it has ever been – nor will it ever be – about the taste. Wait until you have kids – especially hockey kids – and I assure you that little glass of chardonnay will NOT taste terrible, it will be medicinal magic –so will the second glass. And so on …
And when she tells me that I don’t need my wine to have fun, I tell her she doesn’t need the $12 buffet to have fun either. What’s so fun about paying $12 to witness a couple hundred screaming little girls waiting half an hour for the one single waffle iron that every single one of them seems to “need” at 9:00AM on a Sunday morning?
I’d say we’re even.
Note: This is not a sponsored post, meaning , I was not offered any free booze to write this post. I had to buy it myself. And for you hockey parents, please rink dresponsibly.
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in Yesterday.
Yesterday was not a good day for me. Yesterday was the day she broke up with me. Yesterday was the day she uttered a simple, “I think we’re done here …” and just like that, it was all over. I couldn’t believe it! What had I done wrong? Nothing; I had done nothing wrong. The truth was – and she even admitted it –I had done everything right.
My Achilles tendonosis is healed, and my physiotherapist discharged me from further treatments.
Obviously, our furtive lunch time meetings over the past three months meant much more to me than they did to her. I thought we had something. Apparently all we had was a case of tendonosis and now that was gone. I saw her as a saviour of my soul (and sole) but she saw me as just another Achilles – and not a very special Achilles at that.
Time with her passed so quickly and I shared so much more with her than with anyone else in my life. She’s the only one who seen my legs since last summer (well, my left leg for sure).
She was twenty years my junior, married to an elite Triathlete and they had a six-month old baby girl together. Despite these obstacles, it’s not surprising that I fell do hard for her – she made me feel young again. I worshipped her special brand of “love” (acupuncture, dry needling, deep tissue massage, joint adjustments) because they were just what I’d been aching for.
I should have known it would come to this. The signs were there. The most obvious sign being that my insurance only covers $500 of physiotherapy and I’ll already given her $460. Still, my Monday and Wednesday lunch hours are going to be just a little darker now, without me being able to see her and her bright yellow safe needle disposal box. She fixed the broken parts of me. She fixed the broken parts of me that I didn’t even know were broken. But apparently now the broken parts are fixed and I now have to venture out in the world, and run!
All I have left of my time with her is a memory – and post-treatment exercises. She said, “Run!” (she actually said, “you should try some running now” but whatever, it cut me to the core – which is another body part altogether).
And “run” I will. Baby steps at first but I will get over this – and her. She said I would and I will. But the ‘what if’ still lingers. She left me with one ‘what if’ – a glimmer of hope that perhaps not all was over between us. She said, “I’ll leave your file open for three months – call me if your Achilles flairs up again”
So a rebound (or recurrence) was still possible!
Oh, I believe in Yesterday.
My kids are 19, 17 and 14 and I just unsubscribed from Crayola. #PeterPanSyndrome or what? #motherhood