Would you rather be a Demi-God or a mortal?

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On Sunday my son and I (boisterous being number one) embarked on our third crack at the Vancouver Sun Run. For those of you not in rain city, the Sun Run is one of the largest 10kms run/walks in the world. Before I go any further, let it be known that old Yifof is not much of a runner. I’m more of a happy shuffler. The Sun Run is right up my alley, because it welcomes people from all walks of life and abilities to lace up their runners and get involved. This annual tradition that me and my boy started is something that I look forward to year-round. Not only is it a splendid run, taking in the beauty of Vancouver, but for ten kilometres, running, walking and wheezing amongst thousands of other people, my son and I get to chat.

One on one.

The banter we share keeps our momentum and spirits up, and as a mother who can get bogged down with the day-to-day minutiae, I get to focus on my son. This year as we ran and walked, stopping only for water breaks and to high-five supporters lining the road, our topic of conversation was the Greek Gods. I have to say, not my first choice, simply because I know naff all about them, but as we pounded the pavement, I got a blow by blow account of these legends. The vast volume of information that my son has on these Gods, Demi-Gods and their offspring is staggering. For 10 kilometres he regaled me with tales of Poseidon and Athena and every other mythological being in between. Hearing about the Gods high-jinks From the unique perspective of a ten year-old kid is enthralling and hilarious all at the same time. This, all whilst soaking up the marvellous atmosphere of a collective experience.

What I love about the Sun Run is that it not only gives you a great view of our city, it also brings people together. All to often Vancouver gets a bad rap for being snobby, clicky and filled with pockets of communities that don’t mix. Some might say that as a city, it operates like an overgrown high school, where each group keeps to themselves. But on Sun Run day, all guards are dropped and every one gets into the spirit of a shared experience. All kinds of people line the roads to cheer-lead the participants. My boy and I saw some fabulous sights. People sitting in lawn chairs, sipping mimosas and encouraging the runners on with “Cheers!” and champagne. The sheer number of people who rise early on a Sunday morning to hold signs, offer support and soak up the vibe of a shared human experience, uplifted my soul in a way that is hard to put into words. Such moments are hard to come by. So I’d like to give a shout out to the people from all over the Lower Mainland who took the time to create this little slice of magic: The runners, the walkers, the cheering crew, the volunteers.  We really enjoyed the signs. We couldn’t take pictures of all of them, but here’s a couple:
 

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Of course this next sign was totally up Yifof’s alley:

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And when we crossed the finish line, how about this for a sight for sore legs:

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These fellas from Resource Works Society had the genius idea of cleverly marketing their cause in a cute package (pun intended).  Smart move. Get sweaty housewives falling into your arms, then alert them of your cause. Because they’re the ones who have the kids, and they are really the ones who have any bloody chance of saving our planet. So today on  World Earth Day, I salute the Natural Runners and their quest to get people talking  about how to use BC’s natural resources sustainably.  Check out their website for more information here: http://www.resourceworks.com/

On Monday an article was published on Buzzfeed that says a recent Stats Canada survey found Vancouver to be the unhappiest city in Canada. I disagree. After taking part in the Sun Run I know this city is so much more than melancholy hipsters. Maybe the naysayers, and indeed  all of us should try and put a little bit more sun-run spirit into our everyday lives.

A Celebrity TP Delivery and friendship pride

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On Friday night I went to a party at Michael Buble’s house. That’s right, THE Michael Buble. Whilst I was at the party, my friend and I went to the bathroom, but there was no toilet paper.
Who do you think came to our TP aid?
That’s right, Mr. Michael Buble himself. He delivery a fresh stash of loo roll to us, personally.
So now I guess, my claim to fame is that Michael Buble helped wipe my arse.
Metaphorically speaking of course, because otherwise….Ewwwww.
But being at Michael Buble’s house and the TP Incident was not the highlight of my evening.
The reason why I was attending this great party is because it was the book launch for Michael’s little sister, Brandee. She just released her first children’s book, ‘O’Shae the Octopus’.

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I gotta tell you, I couldn’t be more proud to know this fabulous and talented lady.
I first met Brandee, seven years ago when our oldest kids were in pre-school and our first conversation is forever etched in my brain.
At the time, I was pregnant with boisterous being number three (the other two were only three and one years-old and yes, before you ask, I was fucking busy).
Our family had just recently moved to a new neighbourhood and so I was isolated and lonely.
So one day as I was going to collect my son from pre-school, (pregnant, pushing a stroller and feeling sorry for myself) I bumped into Brandee.
We struck up a conversation. As we walked along, chatting away, I thought to myself “fuck it, I’m just gonna be myself….I am going to say…the ‘F’ word”.
So I did.
And guess what happened?
In the very next sentence Brandee dropped an ‘F’ bomb too!
She also told me that her brother was Michael Buble. But to be honest, I was just so happy that she took the ‘F’ bomb baton and ran with it, I couldn’t have given two hoots that her brother was an international music superstar. And suddenly, after that walk I didn’t feel so alone in my new neighbourhood.
Over the past seven years I have watched Brandee’s journey unfold. I have watched how she has never stopped believing in her special and unique children’s stories, striving to get them just right. So to see her publish her first book is a wonderful thing indeed.

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O’Shae the Octopus is a great little book for kids. It’s all about O’Shae (named after Brandee’s son), an octopus who instead of having eight arms, has been blessed with ten.
It’s a beautifully illustrated book and has the most wonderful message.
It is so cool to see Brandee get her dream come to life, because, she is just such a great person.
Cos if you’re uber talented AND don’t flinch around the odd ‘F’ bomb, then you’re a legend in my world. If you have any boisterous beings in your life, be sure to pick them up a copy.
So while it was nice to be gifted TP by a celebrity so that I wasn’t forced to drip-dry, it was a far bigger triumph to watch Brandee bask in her much-deserved glory.
Well done Brandee! I wish you, your book and this amazing author journey you’re on every success…Cos, you know what?…You fucking deserve it all x

Don’t teach my kids the ffing D word

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Brace yourselves.
The following post might be a litte ranty.
So this weekend I took to the streets of my ‘hood with ‘Boisterous Being Two’, a.k.a my fabulous eight-year-old daughter.
We pounded the streets selling her girl guide cookies. Here is a letter that I’d like to send to one of the neighbours who spoke to my child. Since I’m not really allowed to send it, what better way to get this shit off my chest than by writing it down here?

Dear Neighbour,

Hi there.
You don’t know me, but you might remember the cute little girl that came to your house on Sunday, selling her cookies.
You didn’t want them, and that’s O.K. Because let’s be honest here: five bucks for a box of shite tasting cookies is a fucking rip-off. And I have to tell you, I feel a bit like Fagin from Oliver Twist, making these kids walk around the neighbourhood, peddling crap biscuits. But whatever. It raises money and it’s for the greater good of the girls.
When you didn’t want the cookies you told my daughter in a sad voice “Oh I’m sorry dear, I’d love to buy a box, but I just can’t. They would ruin my diet.”
My daughter smiled and wished you a nice day.
You closed your door and probably didn’t give a second thought the to can of shit-storm that you’d just opened.
“Mummy, what’s a diet?”.
In one sentence you aged my daughter.
Do you know how hard I have worked to try and shield my kids from that nasty fucking word?
Diet.
It’s only two syllables, but all over the world men and women are slaves to that b’stard. Calories are counted more religiously than prayers and stomachs are sucked in, stapled and tucked, all in the name of chasing what we perceive as beauty.
Diet.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that word didn’t even exist?
I bet, dear neighbour, that you didn’t know this word when you were a kid. I mean, what kid should count calories or worry about the size of their barge arse? Hopefully none.
Because you know what? Diet is a grown-up word like porn or cancer that kids just shouldn’t have to hear.
So because of you, I’ve spent the last four days fielding questions from my puzzled daughter about ‘diet’.
Up until you opened your mouth, my daughter was oblivious to the societal pressures we place on each other as women. I never discuss people’s weight, my weight or that word around my kids. We never view food as the enemy.
I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. I want her to have an astounding body image. I want her to use her insatiable energy for life actually living it, not starving herself or comparing herself to airbrushed bullshit in magazines, thinking she’ll never measure up.
Diet.
Sure, I know she was gonna hear it eventually. But I didn’t expect to give her pep talk on this subject so soon.
As women, we need to think about the next generation of girls growing up. I don’t have a single female friend that hasn’t at some stage been on a diet. I don’t know a single woman that, when asked, couldn’t give you a shopping list full of the things she despises about her body.
We give food the power. But wouldn’t it be nice if we took that power back?
What if we raised the next generation of women to see food as fuel? That food exists not as an enemy, but as something to nourish your body and soul.
What if we never used that word again?
Wouldn’t you like to be free of that word?
So neighbour, you’ll be happy to know that I dealt with the can of shit-storm.
I think for now I satisfied my daughter’s curiosity. I explained the ‘D’ word without getting into any negative connotations. I kept it lighthearted and left her feeling so like it was nothing she had to worry about.
Because an eight-year-old shouldn’t be worrying about that word.
Of course I know she’s gonna come across it again eventually. I know I won’t be able to shield her from the world at large forever. But hopefully by them, she’ll be strong and secure in her own mind and body image, that she’ll be free to live a life untainted by that miserable adjective.
For now my daughter is back to her bouncy eight-year-old self and the world is as it should be.
But you should have bought a box, lady. Life is too short to feel miserable about food.
But if you won’t eat the cookies, perhaps you’d like to watch this clip from the movie, “Mickey Blue Eyes.”
It’s called “Eat fucking Cookie”. How appropriate. Enjoy.

Facebook is the new valium and other wild ranty declarations

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One of the reason why I fucked off Facebook in the first place is how it made me feel.

But first, let’s back-up a little.
When I became a stay at home Mum of three boisterous beings (all born within four years. Shut-up. Keep your ‘sausage-up-an-alley jokes to yourselves) one of the things that drove me insane was the monotony.
Don’t get me wrong.
Not the monotony of the kids. Kids are anything but dull. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they switch gears, leaving you scrambling to catch up.
Being a Mum rocks. And I should know, I’ve had a few jobs in my time. I’ve been everything from a Carnie, roaming California, sleeping under the stars, to working at a private bank, where the minimum balance for an account was 10 million.
Yet none of the jobs I’ve ever done have even come close to the trip of motherhood.
There ‘ain’t nothing like it.
But the staying at home part, when the kids are really little, is the epitome of humdrum city.
It’s the groundhog day shit like laundry, dirty dishes, and the incessant fucking housework, that no matter how hard you try and keep up, swamps you.
And before you know it, the isolation, the lack of communication with any one other than your children, beautiful as they are, becomes overwhelming.
You need contact. Human contact.
For many mothers (or indeed any one caring for small children on a twenty-four hour basis), it can stifle their soul.
Heck, it’s why in the 1950s, many housewives got hooked on a glass of wine, or valium, a.k.a “mother’s little helper” in order to deal with the tedium:

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But in the new millennium, we don’t just have pills to placate us. We have social media. Social media is the new valium. I’m not the first one to think so. Mom blogger, Mary Tyler Mom even wrote a post “Facebook is the New Valium” back in May 2013:
http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2013/03/facebook-is-the-new-valium/
In our modern age, instead of turning to a little bottle of pills to chill us out, mothers across the globe turn to our screens. We log on and check in to see how many people responded to our status updates on mundane days.
But the truth of the matter is this: the internet is not real company.
Sure, you may get a rush when you see that a whole bunch of your friends ‘liked’ your photo, or commented on something you wrote, but that feeling doesn’t last. It’s no comparison to sharing a conversation in real time with a good friend; swapping stories from the Mummy trenches, accompanied by a good belly laugh.
That realization that the internet is NOT real company was my epiphany this week.
The husband has been away for almost three weeks and so the day-to-day running of our loud, busy and rambunctious family has rested solely on my shoulders. The hardest part is not having someone at the end of the day to reflect with, to vent with, to laugh with at the fuck-ups.
So one evening this week I logged into my Facebook account. I was feeling lonely and craving company.
All those pictures of my family and friends a world away, did only one thing.
They made me feel even worse.
But guess what, I’m not alone. In fact, according to a Fox news report, many people find that looking at Facebook makes them feel depressed:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/24/addicted-to-facebook-study-shows-users-are-lonelier/

Cos’ let’s be honest, most Facebook posts are all about the big brag, the dream vacay, the new promotion, the skydiving trip.
No one ever writes about the shit bits, or posts pictures of themselves looking like a member of the zombie apocalypse.
But the good news is, since I’ve had this Facebook hiatus, I could recognize the ‘symptoms’ immediately.
So instead of drowning in a Facebook fear-of-missing-out and self-loathing creep fest, I did something about it.
I called my friends. I saw them. I laughed raucously and made rude jokes. And the truth is, the rush of endorphins from being with others is the best mother’s little helper.
It doesn’t compare to peering at a screen, passively watching the edited snapshots of peoples lives.
I’m so pleased that I began this journey, abandoning my computer screen and trying to get more out of life.
Sure Facebook is a way of connecting, but so is meeting in person, firing off a letter or picking up the phone.
Yifof is the way forward, for me at least…would you try it?

February Day 24

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Do you clutter, or are you a cleaner? That is the question.
Me, I cannot tell a lie. I’m a horrific hoarder. Not a real hoarder. Not one of those scarey people you see on TV, with 47 cats and an astonishing, yet disgusting collection of every sanitary towel they’ve ever used – I’m not like that. But my family and I are still busting out of our abode. And I know I have to take a lot of the responsibility for that. I’ve always been an untidy fucker and it sucks. Even when I was a back packer, traversing the world, with what was supposed to be a mere bag on my back, I still ended up with more baggage than an airport carousel. I wish I were more ruthless at letting go of objects. Possessions. Stuff. If I were, I reckon my little house in the mountains would seem positively palatial by comparison. Actually my next Yifof venture is to purge 30 percent of the shit invading my house. It’s the Yifof challenge for March. Of course, I will also be carrying February’s challenge forward. Making sure I blog everyday. Well, I can’t let my readers down! The three people who read this blog faithfully, everyday, now can I? So in March, one way that I’ll be getting all zen with my objects, is by following this Auzzie blogger. She reckons one way to cleanse the clutter chaos is to give away one thing a day. You can find her blog here:     http://www.365lessthings.com/     I’ll keep you posted on what ‘gems’ I dish out. I promise I won’t just offload the crap I don’t want. I’ll also be spending 10 minutes each day chucking shit out. Even I can manage ten minutes. It’s baffling how my family and I have accumulated so much stuff. Especially considering that when I arrived in Canada 13 years ago, I really did have an empty back-pack; with about three t-shirts and a pair of jeans. But I know why it’s happened. I’m a sentimental, silly sod. I place far too much attachment to things. Things that remind me of a time and place that has long since passed. For instance, right now, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, typing away furiously on my lap-top. I kid myself that the view here is better than the view from my office. Although, to be fair it is. The mountains are absofuckinglutely stunning from this vantage point. While in my office, the only view is my neighbours house and her scarey bamboo tree, so wild and out of control, it looks like it might pull a “Day of the Triffids”. But even if I did have a million dollar view in my office, I wouldn’t be able to work there. For a kick off, my desk is piled high with all manner of writing projects. Half written articles. Snippets of stories. Comedy routines, some formed, some just nuggets of an idea, scribbled on scraps of whatever. There are also three pots. All overflowing with pens and pencils. Although ironically, when I need to write something important, none of the buggers seem to work. There’s a dancing flower that I bought for 15 quid ($25) when I was just fifteen years old, bought with hard earned money from my crappy Saturday job. Then there’s the stack of notes and letters from the three boisterous beings. Notes that say “I love you Mummy”. Notes with hearts with happy faces. Squiggly notes brimming with love. To a tidy person, my desk probably looks horrific. I know my Mum (tidy person extraordinaire) would take one look at my office and shut the door. If I had a door. Because my house is deliciously ‘open plan’. A great idea in theory, but the huge downside to this open concept malarkey (for us untidy fuckers), is that if you get unexpected visitors, your slovenly ways are left hanging out, for all the world to see…And step over. But I quite like my untidy desk. It tells a story. One of a creative mind at work. It holds the promise of stories to be written. That ideas are fermenting. And that surely can only be a good thing.

February Day 14

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Well today is Valentines Day. Happy Valentine’s, y’all.  I hope you’re feeling the love, where ever you are. I like Valentines day. After all, what’s not to like about showing love and affection? I’m definitely not one of those sour grape fuckers who moan it’s a waste of time, money and all a big commercial rip off. Mind you, a few people in China took there bah humbuggery (if that wasn’t a word before, it is now) to a whole new level. A group of singles took it upon themselves to buy every other seat, in a Shanghai cinema, for tonight’s show of a soppy romantic movie. This means if couples want to go, they will have to sit alone. You can read the full cupid-foiled article here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/14/valentines-day-odd-numbered-cinema-seats-china

Anyway love it or hate it, Valentine’s is here. And in honour of the day I’m celebrating the small things in life that I love. It’s the simple pleasures, after all.

 

Things I love

 

 

    1.     New socks.

There is something heavenly about slipping on a brand new pair of socks that does more than make your tootsie tingle; it makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

2.       Clean bed sheets.

        Apparently, Oprah Winfrey loves fresh bed sheets so much that she changes her’s every other day. Hmmm. I don’t quite manage to change my own covers with such clockwork regularity, but when I do go to the effort of stripping the bed and putting new sheets on, slipping under those covers is magic.

3.     The smell of fresh baking

Mmmmm…just thinking about how a fresh batch of cookies makes the house smell, makes my mouth water. The only trouble I have, is not devouring the lot instantly. Then I don’t feel so good…bleurghhhh!

4.      A good book

There is nothing like a riveting read to make you feel at one with the world.

A book that grips you from the very first page. It has you, right there, with all the action. Magic.

 

5. A good laugh

Something about a good laugh seems to be able to cure just about anything. The Irish even have a proverb about it. And the Paddy’s should know; they can have the craic better than anyone.

 

6.      A good cup of tea/coffee

In my case, this is especially true; because making a decent cuppa is very hit and miss…more often miss. So when I do manage to make a brew that tastes exquisite, it makes my whole day.

 

7.     Snuggles and movies

Picture the scene: Rainy afternoon. Snuggling on the couch, swathed in blankets,  treats at hand,  watching a  bloody good movie. What could be better than that?

 

8.      A really good tune on the radio

A record you haven’t heard in forever suddenly comes on the radio. Out of nowhere you’re singing and dancing. Music has the power to lift you up. Bargain.

 

9.      Listening to children

The little people are underestimated in this world, and they shouldn’t be, cos’ they are the purest souls of them all.  Hanging out with kids is one of the best ways to spend your time. They are honest, innocence and not bogged down with the minutiae of life’s ridiculous rules. Their company rocks.

 

10. A sunny day at the beach

Maybe I’m pining for a sunny day with the sand between my toes because right now, it’s the middle of winter and everywhere around the world seems to be up to their eyeballs in snow, rain or cold. But dammit, I can’t ever remember a day at the beach where I was like “Hmmm, well that was shit, wasn’t it?”

There are so many simple pleasures in life, so much to love. And you don’t need a card to declare them, or a bunch of ridiculously priced blooms to show it…You don’t even have to piss someone else off by buying all the odd seats at the cinema. You just have to dive in and find the little things that make you grin.

Just check out this link to the start of the film Amelie, if you need reminding: