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Category Archives: Women

“Anything to declare?”

ErmaThat’s what he asked me.

“Anything to declare?” asked the Canada customs official.

Such a loaded question! They should really consider rephrasing that standard question asked by border services agents of all international travelers. You’re asking a woman if she has anything to declare?!

Oh, do I ever!  Let’s have a cup of coffee and talk about it! Indeed, I have something to declare!

I’ve taken a few days to reflect upon my experience and learning at a humour writers’ conference I recently attended. I now declare that I was deluged with new inspiration while at the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop held bi-annually at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. By the way, you may not know this but the word deluge is a French term for being word-swarmed. But you know, there are advantages to being deluged, or word-swarmed – in addition to all the mind-blowing quotes I garnered from the speakers, I was able to pick up a few gems from the attendees too. For example:

Boom Boom Boys:
File this under “It’s Not What You Think …”. Please just know that I will be petitioning Drum Corps International to reschedule their 2016 competition not to coincide with the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop.

Beta reader:
This is not the video player predecessor to VHS, but instead an indispensable trusted confidant who will read your work and provide you with much needed feedback before publishing (but not a professional editor, qually indispensable).

The FuckItBucket:*
I-am-so-done-tormenting-myself-over– useless -crap…

The Dayton Dribbler :
Not to be confused with the University of Dayton basketball team’s March Madness success, but rather the highly over-rated Marriott shower pressure.

The Quiet Zone :
Can we not all just agree that sleep is for sissies, retirees, and that man in 14C on UA4461? Also, is probably not the best gathering place for the Boom Boom Boys.

Ermatologist, Bombeckian, Bombie, Ermite, Bombette :
One of a massive throng of several hundred women (and eighteen men) ravishingly beautiful, startling witty and extraordinarily talented writers.

 

“Ma’am, anything to declare?” the customs official repeated.

I have words to declare, sir. Enough words to sustain me through many writing projects. 

And with that, my passport is stamped – a most noteworthy and emphatic endorsement of my efforts –  and I am on my way.

This post was brought to you by a deluge of words and inspired by an amazing coffee cup.

20140415-133632.jpg

* Okay, look. I know I don’t usually swear on my blog, and actually rarely swear at all, but when I heard this phrase, I fell in love with it and can’t seem to stop thinking about it. And since I am now over the age of fifty, I can put ‘restraint’ in my FuckItBucket.

Texting the “Boys” Weekend

I don’t mind when my husband goes away on a boys’ weekend – really – I don’t. I have noticed, however, some fairly significant differences between a boys’ weekend and a girls’ weekend.

golf

For starters, men don’t know how to count.  A boys’ weekend is never forty-eight hours – it’s more like ninety-six hours.  Women have a different word for that – it’s a freakin’ vacation, is what that is. A girls’ weekend on the other hand, starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. It’s. A. Weekend. We’re gone for maybe forty-eight hours, but usually more like thirty-six hours.  That’s ok though, because by my counting, I can plan two girls’ weekends for every one boys’ weekend.

Planning a boys’ weekend is pretty easy too:  pick a date, pack your golf bags and head out the door.  Planning a girls’ weekend involves, um, more.

I’ve noticed most moms, myself included, are exhausted just getting out the door for a girls’ weekend given the Herculean effort involved in organizing a weekend away.  Yet, despite the effortlessness that seems to accompany planning a boys’ weekend, I have noticed that they don’t seem to come home very well rested at all.

During a girls’ weekend, I may text my husband that I arrived safely, ask if he found the casserole in the freezer, and remind him about our son’s baseball game. I would never text my husband asking him, “Can you check on our line of credit?” or better yet, “I talked to the police officer and it’s cool”. There’s not much to text from a girls weekend.  “I ate and I slept” isn’t all that exciting. I could ratchet it up a bit and say, “I laughed so hard that wine came out my nose” but am not sure if anyone at home would be interested in that one either. Or better yet, “spent four hours at the spaspa today – better than sex.” Yeah, I pressed cancel on that one too.

Returning from a boys’ weekend and walking into the house involves the onerous task of dumping the dirty laundry into the hamper and storing the golf clubs in the basement.  Returning from a girls’ weekend and walking into the house, well, it just brings tears to my eyes.

So despite their differences, what happens at a girls’ weekend, stays at a girls’ weekend and for sure, what happens at a boys’ weekend, stays at a boys’ weekend.  Maybe the texts should too.

Soul Sisters Weekend 2014 seems just a little too long away…

Reasons Mommy Drinks – A Book Review

So, there needs to be a reason? Certainly not in my books, but in this hilarious book, Reasons Mommy Drinks, Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson (Three Rivers Press, 2013) give 100 reasons that Mommies drink, along with 100 cocktail recipes (seriously ladies, you couldn’t come up with 365?!) that are almost as funny as the motherhood anecdotes after which they were named. I highly recommend reading it (and copying down the recipes!).  It was a little tough reading a book about drinking during my annual month of detox, but then again, it was refreshing to recall all those ‘new mom’ experiences of new mothers – mostly because I’m well past that stage and can actually laugh at them now.

There is the cocktail aptly named “The Silver Scream” named after mommy’s first foray into humanity after childbirth at a Mommy and Me movie, or a yummy concoction called “A Mudslide” which follows a not so yummy experience with explosive poo.  Well, who hasn’t had an experience with explosive poo and who doesn’t need a drink after it? Of course nothing celebrates baby’s first steps like a drink called the “Walk ‘n’ Roll”, and nothing will restore your sanity after listening to children’s music all day, like the “Raffi-tini”, best served “with Baby Beluga caviar” – bwahahaha! (Oh, yes new mothers, you WILL have that song in your head for the rest of your lives).

The book chronicles the first 18 months of motherhood and though I am now 18 years into motherhood, I still remember all those crazy, sleep-deprived baby days – and how badly I wanted a drink!  Sadly, the book starts off with a series of mock-tails (buzzkill alert) until page 31, beyond the anecdotes of nursing.  And sadly that’s pretty much how motherhood started in real life too, wasn’t it? I wish this book had been around when my first born was 18 months old and my second was already 4 weeks old.  It would have given me great comfort – and great inspiration for cocktails – to know that, a) I wasn’t losing my mind, and b) I actually was losing my mind but I was in very good company!

The only negative I have about the book was the ridiculously small print size.  I don’t know my fonts – all I know is I needed my 1.50 reading glasses to read this book instead of my 1.25’s and that made me feel old. Feeling old sucks.  Feeling old makes me feel like making a cocktail…

The Old Fart Work of Art

Ingredients
Sparkling wine, Prosecco or champagne
Crème de Cassis

Instructions
Pour a small amount of the crème de cassis in a chilled champagne flute
Top with sparkling wine then sit back and wonder where your teenagers are…

reasons mommy drinks

Did I twerk at Blissdom 2013??

blissdomThis past weekend I attended BlissDom Canada 2013’s conference in Mississauga.  I know what you’re thinking – what an awesome name for a sexapalooza show – but it’s not what you’re thinking. For those not in Bliss-know, BlissDom’s aim is to gather together Canadian bloggers and social media experts to celebrate a community through creativity, change and business development.

Oh yeah, and there was lots of socializing with some pretty kickass loot bags too.

As a newcomer, I went there not knowing what to expect but with an open mind and came away with a whole lot more to think about than my aging brain could process in two days. I was serious about exploring what to do with my humour memoir-in-progress and I think the sum of all the advice and collective wisdom from everyone at the conference boiled down to this:  just write the damn book already!

Okay, I get it.

Luckily, in addition to those loot bags, I came away from the weekend with a renewed sense of commitment to my project. What’s to be done about my book can truly wait until the book is actually finished being written.

Now, in addition to the extraordinary sense of community, phenomenal encouragement and inspiring speakers, it was also just kind of fun to be away from the normal routine of kids, jobs, school, hockey and housework for the weekend and meet new people.  Seriously, there’s nothing that can ignite your passion and spirit more than 400 people telling you that you have passion and spirit.

So why am talking about twerking?  Funny you should ask…

“What are you doing?!” asked my 13-year old daughter as I showed her a picture of me dancing at the final party at BlissDom 2013.  I told her I was ‘twerking’. She begged me to tell her I was just kidding.  Begged me.  Truth is, if I was twerking, I probably would be in traction right now, but I’m going to let her think I was twerking.  It’s fun to be away from the kids for a weekend.

I think I’m pretty inspired :)

BlissDom twerk

Believe me, it’s not you, it’s yew!

Seems I’ve been pondering effective communication quite a bit these days, more recently about at what frequency I should target my interaction with my children, and now today about my communication with my other half.

The other day I said to my husband, “Look, we need a new yew.”

And what he heard was, “Look, we need a new ‘you’.”

He stopped in his tracks, dropped the wheelbarrow, and responded, “What did I do this time?!”

Apparently I didn’t make it any better by adding, “Nothing. It’s not a big deal; I’ll just go out and get a new one”.

The look on his face was not entirely one of concern for our landscaping, so I then pointed to the dying perennial in our front garden.  “Look at it!  It’s all brown and disgusting!  I don’t want that to be the first thing people see when they walk up our front walk”.

I can only imagine what he would have thought had I made fun of the absence of green thumbs in his genes.

As I set to pulling out the old ‘yew’ from its roots, I got to thinking about how fewer the misunderstandings there are between my husband when I just text him; no verbal communication whatsoever.  Certainly the mix-up over whose ‘yew’ and who’s ‘you’ would never have happened if I’d just texted, “I’ve gone to the garden centre to pick up a new healthy green yew. Brb!”text talkOur textual relationship is pretty strong for a couple now married 22 years. Actually, it’s great in fact, especially when you consider that we only just got the ‘text talk’ maybe four or five years ago. And from whom did we get the ‘text talk’? Why, our kids, of course. IKR?! We rly nEded 2 b schooled 2 B kewl! We’re just amateurs but we text all the time now.

When we argue, there’s no eye rolling, no door slamming, no hanging up the phone, just a lack of signal (or at least that what we both plead). The texting naysayers will say we’ve lost that loving feeling but honestly it’s the most civilized form of communication we’ve ever experienced, except for the occasional premature autocorrect. If he gets bored with our routine, I don’t really care because I know our online personas are so reliable and faithful. There are just so many fewer misunderstandings. It’s not like one of us is from Mars and one of us is from Venus on this type of communication, we are both equally and joyfully inexperienced and experimenting.

Anyway, all is well now after I fully explained myself and my need for a new yew. I’m not sure if he was relieved or not.  Maybe he was looking for a new yew too.

Just another, average home-brewed natural disaster!

I love my coffee just as much as the next mom, but was recently seriously turned off with the household task of coffee brewing. It’s not because I’ve been bullied by my kids who inundate me with meaningless (to me) statistics about the evils of caffeine, telling me it’s one of the top three most highly addictive drugs in the world (as if my demitasse dealer and I didn’t already know that!).

It’s not because I am growing concerned with the perils of coffee that is not Free Trade and the impact of my addiction on the economies of more than a few small developing nations (I’m on a first name basis with the Costa Rican Minister of Export).

No. I’m considering giving up coffee because I recently de-scaled my coffee machine.

I found this coffee machine de-scaling product in my pantry while cleaning out the stale chips.  And anyone who truly knows me knows that no potato chip has ever gone stale in my household.  Never, ever.  So it my afternoon project took all of 10 seconds and it was not long before I came across this mysterious package, and thought “What the heck? I didn’t know you had to clean out a coffee machine!”

So the adventurous one that I am, I followed the instructions as indicated.

And…

As I poured out that first pot of my Great Canadian De-scaler Brew …

I just about tossed my tostidos in the sink! Holy putrid pot of puke!

From my beloved coffee pot which on any other day serves me my morning elixir of patience and perseverance, now spilled a light brown semi-solid, semi-liquid something interspersed with specks of old coffee grinds and a slimy film that made me think BP was done wreaking havoc on the Gulf of Mexico and now decided to flow unchecked into my white porcelain sink and down into my septic tank. I haven’t seen anything that disgusting since I ripped a Bioré deep cleansing pore strip off my nose! This brew was so repugnant I quickly looked around to make sure that Environment Canada (or the EPA) was not looking over my shoulder (and we know THAT was wishful thinking on my part too, for no one is looking over my should while I’m at the kitchen sink. Never, ever).

As I dabbed a cold compress gently to my forehead and cheeks, I focused on my breathing, and slowly I recovered.

“Are you okay?” my husband asked as he passed through the kitchen.

“Fine! Just fine!” I lied.

Not fine,” I thought to myself, “I’m totally going to have nightmares over this …” and I consulted the bottle once again.

“Repeat if necessary”

As I carried the no longer functioning coffee maker to the end of the driveway in the latest chic HazMat wear, I asked cheerfully to my homebrews, “Anyone for Starbucks?”

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