Never say never (except for that one thing)

This past week I purchased two of the unlikeliest pieces of apparel.  These are things that if you’d asked me about as little as 6 months ago, I would have laughed and rolled my eyes.

The first was a football jersey.  The local football team has a rabid following, which has never included me.  I mean, I feel some sort of distant affection for them since they’re local, but it’s football, I could give a crap what the score is.  Sometimes I like to go to a game if it’s sunny and the ticket was free and there’s beer involved, but that’s about it.  Other people, however, have team-themed jerseys and bandannas and sunglasses and license plate covers and photos of themselves with the mascot and green-and-white pedicures, for chrissakes.

I caved and bought the jersey because on game days, practically the entire city wears green.  Dressing to show your support is big around my new office, and I was starting to feel left out.  So I bought it, and I wear it on game days, even though I don’t care what the score is, so I can participate in my new workplace and feel included and omigod, don’t judge me.

The second item was shorts.

I don’t wear shorts.  Ever.  It can be hotter than the 3rd circle of hell, and I’ll wear a mid-length skirt or capris, but you will not find me in shorts.  I have chubby knees and cellulite and a big honking varicose vein that glows through my pasty white skin.  No goddamn shorts.

Except.  It actually IS hotter than the 3rd circle of hell, and while I’m very pleased that summer has decided to put in an appearance this year, it’s not boding well for my running.

(Which I’m still doing.  Aren’t you proud of me?  I’m proud of me.  Rest assured that I am not being smug, however, because I still hate every single second of it, save for the few seconds after I’m done.)

So in the interest of continuing to run without expiring from heatstroke, I made up some justifications in my head – I’ve been running at night, there’s less chance of me scaring small children, I’ll wear knee braces so you can’t see the chub, really, I can rationalize anything – and went off in search of running shorts.  My one requirement was that they have pockets, because I need somewhere to put my phone for tunes, and I absolutely draw the line at wearing a fanny pack.

Well.  Did you know that there’s apparently an embargo on pockets?  In any type of athletic apparel?  What the fuck, clothing manufacturers, do you think we’re all so obsessed with how our ass looks in those yoga pants that we won’t accept a visible pocket?

(I think I blame lululemon for this.)

I looked EVERYWHERE.  My last resort, the actual store dedicated to runners, where I only venture once a year to purchase shoes, where there are lots of very-fit-looking salespeople hawking complex and mysterious-looking “performance enhancing” gear, resulted in a shrug and an apologetic, “No, sorry.”

Shorts with pockets no longer exist.  I’m not sure how this alarming erasure from existence happened, but it did.  Right under our noses.

So I sighed.

And purchased a water bottle holder with a side pocket in it, the kind that buckles around your waist.

BUT IT IS NOT A FANNY PACK.

(Has anybody seen my dignity?  I swear I had it when I was younger.)

This post is mostly about poop.

Yesterday, I thought I was going to die from what appeared to be a horrible stomach flu. Possibly dysentery. But I did some Dr. Google sleuthing and noticed that I seemed to be the only family member afflicted, and with some mental calculations came to the only logical conclusion: that it wasn't stomach flu. In fact, apparently this is me, ovulating.

If my calculations are correct, my child is never going to have a sibling. Because nothing says "Please, knock me up!" like cramping and runny stool.

While I was actively dying, hubby popped his head in and said in a worried tone, "I think the dog ate an avocado pit."

Fucking dog. Pretty much the only thing she WON'T eat is mushrooms*, but an avocado pit? Really?

He didn't actually see her eat the avocado pit, but it was nowhere to be found. We pulled out the stove and everything. A slightly panicky phone call to the veterinarian assured us that yes, indeed, it would require very expensive surgery. Need you even ask?

However, here we are over 24 hours and two dog-meals later and the canine seems fine. The vet also told us that she'd be throwing up or lethargic if the avocado pit was stuck in her intestine. (She's pretty much an ottoman that sheds, so I have to assume that "lethargic" means "won't get up at the sound of crinkly plastic".) No sign of either. Which begs the question - where the hell DID the avocado pit go?

So how's your week going?

*I know, right? Makes you wonder about mushrooms.

4 readily-available beauty products that aren't trying to kill you or the environment, and actually work

I know, that was a long ass title. But that's really what these are. Do you know how much time I spend trying to find eco-friendly, low-toxicity products? And how much money I spend on them only to find out that they don't even fucking WORK? I swear "eco-friendly" is practically synonymous with "stupid and useless".

So here, you get the fruits of my labours. Some stuff I've found that actually works, you can find on your regular shopping trips, and won't make you (or our lovely green planet) die.

(Disclaimer: I mean from cancer or leprosy or something. I'm pretty sure if someone threw one of these at you hard enough, and hit you in the eyeball or groinal region, it might kill you. I'M TALKING REGULAR USAGE HERE, people. It's sad that I even have to write that disclaimer, and even more sad that I just chuckled at the mental image of someone impaled on a shampoo bottle.)

1. Tom's of Maine Lemongrass Deoderant. I'm pretty sure my Mom used to use this stuff, back when SHE was a hippie. So I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. I was afraid I'd smell like an army of Pledge, but it doesn't really smell like anything after you put it on. You still sweat. You just don't stink. Or increase your chances of Alzheimers or cancer.

I found it at Shopper's Drug Mart, but WalMart also carries it.

2. Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm. I'm kinda picky about my lip gloss/balm. At one point I had an entire drawer full (that was, uh, pre-child. Now they're just choking/mess hazards). When I found out what went into a lot of them - YOU PUT THEM ON YOUR MOUTH, FOR THE LUVVA GAWD - I got even pickier. Burt's Bees works, tastes good, and you can find it practically everywhere. Shopper's, WalMart, Target.

3. Live Clean "Clean Air" Shampoo & Conditioner. Okay, I'm not sure how 'readily available' this one actually is to you Yanks. I think it's a Canadian company. But it's organic, vegan, sulfate & paraben free, and it actually cleans your hair. And smells pretty. WalMart carries it here in Canada. They have a baby line, too, which I haven't found or tried yet, and unfortunately the rest of their hair product line (mousse, hairspray) rates a good solid shrug.

4. Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation. This may seem like a no-brainer - it's just minerals! - but it contains things like titanium dioxide that aren't super great to be inhaling, considering its powder form. But, otherwise, it's a freakin' miracle foundation. The infomercials are right. (I hate that.) You can find it at Sephora, or order it online.

That's certainly not all the products I've found that work, but they're in the few I've found at common retailers. So do me a favour, folks, since each and every one of you have touched my life, and I'd be really bummed if you caught The Cancer. Check out your local health food stores, and maybe try out a few of the products. If you find something that won't kill you and actually works, let us all know. Large retailers aren't going to carry that stuff unless we tell them to.

Aaaannnnd, that's me, off my soapbox for at least another month. Back to zombies, comics, and Advil-Robaxacet-red wine cocktails. Happy Friday, y'all.

Conversations with Nana Mouskouri*

These past few days I've been inspired to blog conversations I've recently had with Paul. For the most part I've resisted, lest there be blood and fire and locusts. (In other words, he might be kind of annoyed if I start telling the internets).

But then I realized, holy shit. I've been having conversations. With my husband. That hasn't happened in, oh...about 18 months. A period roughly the shape and size of our son.

You see, our kid isn't in daycare right now - Paul works nights and I work days, and we juggle the jailkeeper duties between the two of us. So I see him for about 5 minutes in the morning when his son punches him in the face to wake him up, and then for about 5 more minutes in the evening when we're all cramming food into our collective maw and Paul is trying to shit and shower and shave at the same time. Our conversations pretty much consist of, "Hehasn'tpooped-YourMomcalled-Henappedforanhour-Pleasetakeoutthetrash-Whatdoyoumeanthedoghasn'tbeenoutallday?"

But for the past week Paul's restaurant has been closed for renovations and he's been at home. So I took a long weekend and we just had happy family time.

(It took about 3 days to adjust to that).

(Which left us one whole day to enjoy it).

And I was all, Oh YEAH. I remember you. You make me laugh and think. You're actually pretty fun to be around. I guess there's a reason I got knocked up in the first place, hey?

And then I thought, um...we're trying to add ANOTHER time suck bundle of joy into the fray? Is that a good idea? I might not even recognize him by the time we emerge. He might be all warty and shrunken. And I might be...all warty and shrunken.

But the conversations that WE have, I want us to have as a family. I want to all sit around the dinner table, all of us, and get opinions and stories and facts from all quarters, and laugh and talk and be friends for at least that one hour. And then dad will burp loudly and mom will roll her eyes and the kids will giggle when he winks at them. And everybody will go off to their busy lives, homework or housework or blogging hobbies, knowing that they're part of a fabulous thing.

I know that this ideal exists, because I had it, growing up. I'm almost positive it's still achievable.

So the chaos will roll back in this week, our conversations will return to their abbreviated state and half of them will end up as texts. But eventually Xander will go to daycare and we might take another vacation, and we'll have at least TEN minutes a day to talk to each other. Maybe X will even contribute more than "Baaall!" and "Woof!".

And my kids can grow up with the ideal, too.

*Nana Mouskouri has nothing, nothing at all, to do with this post. I'm just dying of curiousity to see if anybody remembers she exists and is googling her. So, if that's how you got here, HI! I know nothing about Nana either. Sorry to entangle you in my little experiment. Feel free to go here.

My Beating Heart - not as gory as it sounds, honest

I don't really do reviews, because nobody's ever asked me *sob* that isn't what this blog is about.

(No, I don't know what this blog IS about. But it's not that. Shut up. I'll know it when I see it).

This is just a cool thing that I found and ya'll should know about. Because it's both weird and useful, and what better combination than that?

Unlike me, who can slip instantly and without fuss into a sleep that's just this side of a coma, Paul has issues falling asleep. Combine that with a job where he mostly works nights and a loud toddler that thinks 6am is a reasonable time to wake up, and it makes for a cranky hubby. We try to make it work so that he gets as much sleep as possible, but part of the problem is it takes him an hour just to GET to sleep.

While Christmas shopping online (I do probably 75% of it online now, because hello? Lazy) I came across this little gem at thinkgeek.com. For those of you too lazy to click on the link (you're my kind of people!), it's a "stress relief pillow" shaped like a heart, called - wait for it! - My Beating Heart (ewwwwwwww). It simulates a heartbeat of someone in a deep meditative state. Hugging it makes your own heart want to beat in rhythm, and lo! You're de-stressed.


The geeky yogi in me thought, "Coooooooool", and the practical side of me thought, "If hubby hates it I'll try it on the toddler". So I ordered one. Because it was late and I'd had too much wine.

When it arrived I thought, "What the hell?", followed quickly by, "Oh right. What the hell?". But I'd blown my Xmas budget so I wrapped it up. And explained it for like, 10 minutes to a very skeptical hubby. But he has lots of experience in humouring me, so at the first opportunity, he took it to bed and while holding it gingerly, thought:

"This is stupid. This isn't going to work. Keely is weirder than I thought. This is...sssxzxxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz".

Then he woke up 5 hours later. It's THAT GOOD.

I've tried it myself, though I don't need help getting to sleep, but there is the very rare occasion that I might get stressed. It's a little bizarre. It feels like it's purring. Whatever's in the pillow actually changes every time you turn it on, so you get a different heartbeat every time. It's kind of like it's alive. And purring.

Before I wrote this I asked hubby if he still uses it or if it's just in our bed to humor me (because if you sleep like me, you don't notice quietly purring pillows in your bed at 3am). He said he did, but said it that way that made it obvious there was a "but" attached to the end of the sentence. So I waited.

"Actually, most of the time I don't even turn it on. I just hug it and fall asleep," he admitted finally.

Yes folks, it's THAT GOOD. You don't even have to turn it on.

Or possibly I just outed my husband as someone who essentially sleeps with a teddy bear.

Either way.



PS - It says for ages 3 and up, but I bet it would work REALLY WELL on a toddler. Not that I've tried that, because mine isn't 3 yet. I'm just sayin'. I bet it would.

Someone's gotta know

So in addition to Entrecard, to whore out promote my blog I also use Linkreferral. Although I suck at it, you're supposed to log in and visit other people's pages and then, if you feel compelled, write a review. Apparently it's bad etiquette to write mean reviews (someone could have told me, jeez) and so by all appearances, people actually like this blog. Many of them have even reviewed it and said that they "like the concept of the blog", which I found pretty interesting.

Do you think if I asked them nicely they would tell ME what the concept is? Because I haven't got a fucking clue.

Level up!

Am I showing my advanced age if I remember those "I'd rather be" buttons? You know, the ones you find in kitschy shops (maybe you still do...it's been a while since I did a good kitschy shop tour) that say "I'd rather be Blanking"?

Not that. Pervs. I mean, they said "I'd rather be FISHING", or "I'd rather be GOLFING".

Well, I need one that says "I'd rather be blogging". I didn't even last a week at my non-promise to not blog at work. I've been blogging, card dropping, cruising other people's blogs...the whole enchilada, baby. I can't help it. It's ADDICTIVE.

Apparently I'm the last person to find out about this. I'm like the fat guy wondering why eating McDonalds is keeping him fat, whining, "But nobody told me!".

I think I've figured out why. Blogging is kind of like an MMO...like World of Warcraft, or Evercrackquest, for those of you not down with the lingo. You start out with your little apprentice blog, looking like everyone else's blog in your generic threads. Then you start to get a few comments, and maybe an upgrade to your look. You've gained a few experience points, starting to learn the ropes. Then you discover blogging networks (who knew!) and all of a sudden you've got all kinds of new weapons and skills! And then - and then! - someone like savvysuzie* comes along and gives you a friggin' award. Oh yeah - ding!

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And as if you weren't hooked before - now you're calling in sick to work just so you can blog and network to get better gear, more awards, more comments. And social services is creating a special branch to help addicts just like you.

But I don't answer when they call, because I'm doing what every good addict does, and sucking more people in with me sharing the loot:

Signe Says
Private Eye
10 Things I Hate About Your Site

And, yeah, that's all I have time for, because I have to go join a raiding party.

No, that one isn't a metaphor.

It's not an online gaming thing either. Look, I don't have to explain myself to you.

*Disclaimer: savvysuzie is NOT AN ADDICT, I'm not saying that, don't be silly. She's an awesome blogger and one of those super-organized people who I aspire to be but I'm just too lazy. She's questing to feed her family with only $200, and questing is something I'm totally down with. As well as with awesome recipes, which she also has. Are you still sitting here listening to me? Just go look, already.

Sucking Up...

I really really want a new design for the Un Mom, something super-heroey....and not so, um, BLACK. And I'm too busy/incompetent/lazy (okay, mostly lazy) to do one myself. Restored316Designs, who do some awesome cartoony-brightly coloured-whimsical type designs, is having a giveaway contest for one, so I'm sending some love and entering...crossing all fingies, toes, and velociraptor claws...

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Well I gotta post SOMETHING

I just want to give an extra nudge to all you fellow warped-minded heathens out there - go visit the 'blog of the day', Magick Sandwich.

Especially scroll down to the 'Bad Parents Texas Chainsaw Massacre' video, because that is TOTALLY SOMETHING I WOULD DO. I'd link to it myself, but hello? Lazy.