Smoking…definitely life changing

I am a non-smoker…now.  I smoked for 17 years of my life.  I started smoking cigarettes when I was 20.  Yup a late bloomer.  I never tried, tested, nor tasted a cigarette before then.  I hung out with the smokers when I was in high school, but I never had a puff and never had the urge.  However, once at University I was having a hard time as I had never had to study before.  School used to be easy.  I was freaking out.  I needed a solution.  It ended up being lighting up and inhaling that dastardly smog from cigarettes.

I had heard that cigarettes gave you a buzz.  Too true!  After my first inhale of the wicked stick, I coughed, choked, gasped and then felt a weird wooziness in my head.  Mission accomplished.  I found my med to relieve my desire to vomit from stress.  So began, my seventeen years of smoking a variety of ciggies.  However, this is not about being a chain smoker or what brand of smokes I found best…it’s about the life changing experiences.

My sister was a smoker.  I used to visit her all the time after she got married and one day I told her about how stressed I was at University.  I didn’t know to study.  I had so many things to read and so many reports.  I couldn’t sleep at night.  I couldn’t eat (not a problem nowadays).  I had been consuming tablespoons of instant coffee to help me stay awake.  The abuse I was subjecting my body to was criminal.  I asked my sis what it felt like to smoke.  “When you first start you get this buzz,” she said.  She warned me not to start.  Once you start it’s hard to stop.  Well, I was at my wits end and needed something.  So, I “learned” how to smoke.  With much coughing and sputtering and that awful, horrible taste.  My mouth felt like I had licked an ashtray.  So disgusting!  And so began my years of smoking.

At this point in time you could still smoke in buildings.  I remember sitting by myself at a table in front of the library at the U.  I was reading, highlighting, and basically studying.  My nerves were calm and collected.  Thank goodness for smoking.  I met a really nice guy this way too.  He was selling packages of tickets to a comedy club.  I decided to be nice and buy them.  He came back three hours later.  We chatted it up and he asked me out.  What?  That was weird and random.  Why would anyone want to date loser me?  The reason I wondered was because he was tall and handsome and had broad shoulders (that was my achilles heel with guys).  Funny thing…he wasn’t a smoker.  Now, had I not been a smoker I would never have met this wonderful guy.  Had it not been for my parents eavesdropping on my phone conversations and telling him off with an abrupt, “don’t ever talk to my daughter again” who knows what might have been.

I had lost touch with my favourite childhood cousins.  Years later they ended up at the same hall and same dance that I was at.  I was sitting and smoking at my table when I heard, “Well look at Miss Goodie Two-Shoes.”  It was my cousins.  Well, they were smokers too…by golly what luck!  We spent the rest of the night catching up and clearing up the past transgressions and filling up the ashtrays on the table.  We went back to being great cousins/friends and would hook up many times during the week at coffee shops or study halls and sit around and smoke and study together.  And guess what?  We are still hanging out.  Yay to smoking!

I could tell you many wonderful stories of how I had met wonderful people thanks to fag addiction (OMG I seriously love that the British call cigarettes fags..so cool!).  All these people are kind, friendly, and generous.  My piece de resistance is actually that, thanks again to my puff addiction, I met Wiseguy.

I was working at this one company and one of the girls there asked me if I knew this guy.  You see, we are both Croatians and apparently if you are one then you know every single one on this planet.  I smirked and sarcastically said, “Oh sure…probably.”  So, I walked with her to go and check him on her behalf.  Who did I see standing there but the man who had grown up on the same street as my brother-in-law.  The man who’s child was ring boy at my sister’s wedding.  I actually DID know him!  We chatted, reminisced and then he had to go back to work.  Huh…life is funny sometimes.

He worked afternoons and I worked afternoons and when I went out for a ciggy break, he would join me.  This went on for weeks.  Catching up on each other’s life histories and what was going on in our lives now.  This went on for about 3 months.  I met his children.  We hung out.  We got along.  We got along so well in fact, that we moved in together after those three months.  We married the year after.  So here we are 21 years later.  Still together.

So, when people say that smoking can ruin your life, I wouldn’t really say that.  I would be more inclined to say that smoking can ruin your health or your voice or your looks and it especially ruins your taste buds.  In my experience though, I am not advocating smoking, but I would say:

    Smoking…definitely life changing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob the Builder…and other anomalies

In the course of a lifetime  you will meet, greet, seat and basically entertain many types of people.  Some are family, extended family.  Some are childhood friends, high school friends, college/university friends.  Others are from congregations like those from houses of worship.  Then there are the sports colleagues/friends.  The most unique friendships are those that are begun at workplaces.  Are they friends or acquaintances or can you be lucky to find a kindred spirit?

I truly believe that the universe brought me and Bob the Builder together.  I had just started a new position and was requisitioned to find a new maintenance person for our building.  This was Head Office.  Sort of like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.  I had posted a job opening on several websites and waited for the resumes to come flooding in.  After a few days there were numerous resumes and I sifted through them to find someone who would meet our needs.  I emailed Bob for an interview and thus began our future work/crazy-fellow-cohort relationship.

Bob was hired.  Bob….a.k.a. Long Bob (as his license plate read) was ready to rock ‘n’ roll and get our workplace up to snuff.  This meant making sure everything was up to code and in working order.  YIKES!  He meant business!  There were sooooooo many things wrong and poor Bob was told “it was always like this”.  That didn’t make it any better for Bob.  He knew about codes and what fire departments would say and he tried hard to make sure everyone understood the importance of safety.  Poor Bob.  His first few months were difficult, challenging, almost impossible.  Luckily for everyone…Bob survived.

Suddenly there were emergency exits.  No one could park there.  There were new lights in the parking lot so everyone could feel safe going to their cars at night or early mornings.  The snow was cleared early in the morning so that there were no more slip injuries.  Bob listened.  Bob reacted.  Bob worked hard to get everyone happy and safe.

When I left where Bob and I worked, I knew Bob and I could remain friends.   Facebook is my place where I only allowed family and a few close friends to peruse, but Bob had become a close non-family member.  We had joked a lot.  We had laughed a lot.  I did want to keep in contact with him because he lived life like I did…with smiles and laughter.

Bob and I did keep in touch.  He would send me messages via Facebook and I loved his humour.  After 5 months I came to the same company but at a different location and with a different position.  I love my job.  I love being in Customer Care.  I talk to customers.  I talk to my technicians.  I am basically a “yadda yadda” person all day long.  My gift.  haha!  I am no longer at the Head Office.  I am now at a branch location and loving every day.  Too true.  I love working with the people in this office.  The camaraderie, the jokes, the helpfulness.  Yeah…it actually does exist and I am living it.  Boo-yah!

So imagine my surprise when one day Bob (the Builder) shows up at this wonderful new building.  Well, not truly new…more like.. “new-to-you” building.  I know this used to sound like a dirty word, but I will totally disagree on this point.  This building is beautiful!  The colours are neutrals that I love.  There are rubber floor tiles.  The kitchen a.k.a. lunchroom is packed full of cupboards.  There is a new fridge and by-gosh-golly a dishwasher!  There was nothing like that at H.O.  Also our work spaces are not the usual quarantined receptacles.  I can actually look at my colleagues and ask questions.  The partitions are not that high.  It really is like working in a dreamscape.  This is true until Bob the Builder comes around.

Bob is big on safety.  The first week there he ensured that all the emergency stuff was up to par.  Stuff like lights that go on after you have lost power.  There was a list of stuff and Bob the Builder was ready to tackle all challenges.  However, there was one challenge he did not expect.  Me.

Being part of a new main office, everyone was being assigned a name badge that would be assigned to their desk.  Super cool!   Bob the Builder came to our location to facilitate the labeling of each person’s locale.  I seriously thought he was joking when he said he had no name plate for me.  It was true.  So, I cajoled, bickered, laughed, and dared him to get me my name plate.  At the end of the day, he had hung up my name plate holder perfectly.  However, it was empty.  The two other options I had were:  “CONFERENCE ROOM 2” or “PARTS CAGE”.   You can probably guess which one I chose.  However, I got none.

Today, Bob came in for some other work and I kindly inquired about my name plate.  Dear Bob said he had it in the truck.  He came back and slid my name plate into the empty slot.  I was so happy…until I read…STORAGE.  hahahahaha!  Good ol’ Long Bob!  Not only did he find something shorter than PARTS CAGE he explained that it was pronounced in French:  Sto-raw-zh.  I feel special and we are laughing about it at work .  Salut!  Bob the Builder.  You have brought joy and indiscretion and total chaos at work.  I salute you!

 

 

 

 

 

The World is Full of Rings, Dings, Pings, and Beeps…

I was sitting in a restaurant, waiting for my friends and I heard a PING!  I grabbed my purse and pulled out my cell phone.  Nope.  No new message for me.  As I was putting my cell back into the pocket I heard several voices around me say, “Nope, wasn’t my phone.”  I had seen with my own eyes that there had been nothing new on my smart phone.  But…if it wasn’t their phones then….yup, I grabbed my cell again and looked.  Nuthin’.  That got me thinking about how different our society is now thanks(?) to “smart” phones.

Have you ever heard of “classical conditioning” a.k.a. Pavlov’s research with dogs?  Looking around me (and at myself) I see how much we have become like those dogs.  Our phone PINGS and we all grab for our phones.  Commercials on tv that include those text message sounds drive me nuts!  I think it’s my phone and then realize where the sound came from.  How did this happen?

Here is my theory.  When the smart phone first came out it was incredible technology.  The information at your finger tips made us more proficient in our jobs.  We could look up information, share said information, and best of all, we could do this ANYWHERE.  Being capable of doing this at any moment in any place made our lives so much easier…at first.

With such technology in the palm of our hands we were now expected to answer questions immediately.  There was no more leaving a message and saying, “when you get back to the office, can you please send me that info?”  More and more people are now driving and texting.  Why?  There is no such thing as patience.  Everything is about instant gratification.  Everything is needed NOW!  RIGHT NOW!  You can tell people you are driving and they still think they can berate you for not getting them what they want.  This moved on from work to the “fun” stuff as well.  Our phones have become our crutches if we are left waiting somewhere.

Waiting in a restaurant for friends to arrive?  Check out if anything new was posted on Facebook.  There are the gazillion apps so you can play a game.  Doctor’s office?  If you look around you will see the majority of people there are playing on their phones.  If they aren’t, they have given their phones to their kids to play on so that they will behave.  Do you know what used to happen?  Someone would look at you and maybe start talking about the weather or talk about their child’s illness.  There would be this thing called “conversation”.  And there was never any doubt what tone the person was using when they spoke.  Not like text injuries.  You know…the one where you text someone, and you thought you were being smart and funny, and they text back yelling at you because they totally misunderstood your text.  Why?  Text does not do intonation.  I guess that’s why emoticons are used.  Hmmmm, then again, maybe it’s because we have become so lazy in texting that pictures are easier to use.

Ever had this problem?  Your phone has died and you need to call someone.  How do you do it?  You don’t know anyone’s phone number off by heart.  I remember having everyone’s phone number memorized.  Not anymore.

My cell phone pings with texts.  It dings with Facebook and Twitter notifications.  It rings too.  That’s only because Wiseguy prefers to call me instead of texting.  Old school works for us.  We can figure stuff out in seconds rather than texting back and forth.  So, that got me thinking about other sounds that make me react.

My clothes dryer.  I can hear it buzz from anywhere in the house.  No one else does.  But I do.  I have been trained to hear that sound.  My microwave…beep beep beeps when it’s finished rotating and heating my food.  My oven dings 3 times when it has reached my desired temperature.  It dings once when I turn it off.  My car ding ding dings if I leave my lights on or if the keys are in the ignition once I have opened the door.  If you are a pedestrian,  you might have noticed new signal lights at intersections that ding to let you know when you can cross.  When I am grocery shopping, and my items cross over the scanner, each one beeps before being put into my grocery bag.  Those are but a few of the sounds that I am trained on hearing.

It’s true…whenever one of these rings, dings, pings, or beeps sound off I have been trained to react.  Sometimes I love it and oftentimes I hate it.  I hate when I’m otherwise occupied, like watching a movie.  I hear the ping and my body uneasily twitches.  Why?  Because I feel the need to pause my movie and get up and see who has texted me.  One day I decided not to carry my barnacle along with me.   It was liberating!  True, I felt guilty for not responding to my plethora of text messages, but I felt great knowing that I did what I wanted.  I enjoyed my movie.  I didn’t even check my phone afterward.  I waited until the next day.  Crazy?  Maybe.  I also felt…liberated.  I had broken my Pavlovian dog mode and began to decide what I wanted to do and not what my brain had trained me to do.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am addicted to my smart phone.  I try not to pull out my phone when I am waiting somewhere.  I don’t actually talk to people because nowadays people are creeped out when a stranger talks to them.  I WILL say that Wiseguy tried and succeeded in creating a memorable experience by NOT using our cell phones.

We were at a restaurant and Wiseguy and I were discussing something that could have easily been solved by grabbing our cell phones and “Googling” for the answer.  Instead, he asked our server the question.  It became a “conversation”.  A slight debate.  I itched to grab my phone, but no…we waited for our server to come back with an answer.  (It was about colleges and universities in Ontario).  Well, our server came back with the answer.  He admitted he had used his smart phone, BUT….Wiseguy and I did NOT!  We did old-fashioned “question, debate, and final answer” technique.  It felt really good!

This world of ours is full of rings, dings, pings, and beeps, but feel free to unplug sometime.  It’s good to have time for your own thoughts.  It’s good not be “on-call” 24-7.  Take time to enjoy the outdoors without having to take selfies in your environment.  Keep some stuff private so that it feels special just for you.  I love technology and sometimes I regret not taking videos or pictures of events happening around me and then I think how happy I am that I got to see it live and it will live on forever in my memory.  Always vivid…always true…and not documented.  It’s my truth to myself.

P.S.  My phone has not made any noise since I began this article.  The silence is quite deafening, but I think I can used to it.

 

 

 

I Forgot to Say Thank You…

Traffic is horrific. I have been sitting here in my car for over half an hour now, inching my way home.  I hate my job.  The kids drive me crazy.  The price of food is outrageous.   My bills are getting higher. My pay isn’t increasing.  Does this sound like your typical day? If you grew up with a morning devotional prayer, you would warble out your devotion and then search out that much needed cup of coffee.  Remember the old movies and tv shows where there were little kids saying, “…and bless mommy and daddy” etc.  Whatever happened to our gratefulness and thankfulness?

First, let me explain that I am not a practising Catholic. I GREW up in a staunch Catholic family upbringing, but as I got older I started looking at the world around me and doubting many things that are part of the Catholic faith.  I learned more about science and what is believable and what isn’t believable.

As a result of my faith and school knowledge clashing against one another, I decided that I would just agree to believe in God and Jesus, but not actually attend any services or say any prayers.  I would thank them every once in awhile, but otherwise I felt I controlled my own destiny.

Then one day, or evening rather, my life changed forever…

I had quit a very stressful job.  Before starting a new job, I decided to visit my father in Croatia.  I needed some time to decompress and he was happy for me to come visit him.  It took some time for us to get used to each other’s routines.  He was an early riser and I was craving sleep ins (having previously been waking at 4 am to go to work). I was a smoker (at that time).  He hated it.  I didn’t want to go anywhere and he was instructed by mother to take me places to see the tourist hot spots.  In the end, I was becoming more my normal happy yappy self again.

After two weeks, we were sitting down eating dinner and he asked me, “Why are you here?”  I thought that was a strange question.   “I quit my job and needed a vacation,” I replied.  “I thought I would see the house that you built,” I continued.  Again he asked, “Ok, but why are you really here?”  I didn’t know what he was alluding to.  Finally I said, “I have noticed that sometimes I feel like I need to do something, but don’t know why.  Eventually the reason is shown to me.”  It sounded so hokey and nutty, but he nodded his head and then went back to eating his dinner.

During my last week there, my dad ran excitedly into the house and said, “I found bees!” He grabbed the phone and called a neighbour.  A few minutes later, and with many thanks, my father hung up the phone and had a huge grin on his face.  “Get ready!”  he exclaimed.  “We are going to get some bees!”

I was HORRIFIED!  Shaking my head vehemently I said:  “NO WAY!”  He proceeded with his litany:  it was safe and bees in a swarm don’t sting and it will be fine and finally…you can just hold the flashlight.  So, this was how my life was going to end, I thought.

We drove the car through the village and parked at the bottom of a steep cliff.  My dad, carrying a mover’s blanket, and I, carrying the flashlight, started our ascent up the cliff, using the angled rock steps to get to the top.  I could see the swarm hanging off the tree. My dad left me to go back and get something from the car.  I waited.

The sky was so clear.  The stars were so bright, I felt I could almost touch them.  Then something made me say, “Please Jesus, I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but could you please just let me live.  I would really appreciate it.  Thank you.”  I took a deep breath and by then my dad had reappeared.  He motioned for me to get closer to the hive.  “Hold the flashlight,” he whispered.  Then he threw the blanket over the swarm and yelled, “RUN!”  Boy did I run!

I ran in the opposite direction of the tree and then I heard my dad yell, “NOT THAT WAY!” My legs kept moving and suddenly my right foot hit a rock and I fell chin first on the ground.  My glasses flew off.  My knees were scraped. My teeth ached from being knocked in the chin.  My palms smarted from the scratches of the forward sliding motion.  My dad came running over to see if I was ok.  The look in his eyes…was it remorse, hurt, fear, relief?  So many emotions all in one look.  I felt like an idiot for tripping.  I ached physically, but mentally I just felt bad for him.  He looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank God you fell.  If you hadn’t tripped you would be dead.”  My look back at him was clearly wide-eyed with an are-you-kidding-me-look.  Yes, had I not tripped on that rock, in another two feet I would have fallen over the edge of the cliff and  down to my death.

I haven’t told many people this story.  It was a life changing moment for me.  It made me realize that I don’t need to say a plethora of Our Fathers or Hail Mary.  I have my buddy Jesus and I know I have angels who watch over me.  How do I know?  I have done some pretty stupid things and lived.

So, I guess I’m still here to live and learn.  To share and to try and help other people find all the good that is in their lives.  Our society focuses so much on negativity that we have been trained to be sarcastic and demeaning.  We learn to talk about everything that is bad and regurgitate it to others.

It is time to take our happy lives back and look for all the good!  I propose a simple two-step process.  Yup, only two steps.

1.  When you are feeling overwhelmed and you think you can’t cope.  Take a deep breath in through your nose (about 6 seconds), then exhale through your mouth (about 6 seconds).  Do this 3 times and suddenly things don’t seem so overwhelming.  I didn’t believe it until I tried it.  It works.

2. Don’t be the one who forgot to say thank you.  Every morning and every evening, find a couple of things that were actually really good and made you feel happy:  Thanks for getting me safely home.  Thanks for my family.  Thanks for my pets.  Thanks for my home.  Thanks for my food.  Thanks for being there, even if I can’t see you.

3. If you feel like you have time for a 3rd step.  Appreciate it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawl, Walk, Run…CATCH ME!

When did life get so serious?  Why have so many people decided that once they hit a certain age it’s inappropriate to laugh out loud and giggle and snort (ok, only some people snort when they laugh…I’m one of them…and THAT’S totally fine!)  Why can’t we laugh hysterically?  I believe that children have a secret that we have all forgotten about.

Here is the scenario.  Adult sitting and chatting with other adults.  Toddler walks by and yells “CATCH ME!”  Adults continue to discuss the news or politics or something else horribly dull and tedious.  Toddler yells louder “CATCH ME!”  Then toddler picks the “chosen chaser” by whacking them on the back.  That got me thinking?  How did this whole chase start?  I know that I pretend to chase them as soon as they are crawling, but how did this actually start?  Did people do this to teach their children to run away from animals or other threats?  If so, when did it go from being a scary thing to a super fun thing?  (See, there goes my adult brain again).  Let’s get back to the chase.

Toddler starts running.  Now, it is also quite interesting how a child runs.  When they are first introduced to this incredibly fun game, they will start running forward.  However, they will keep turning their head backward to watch the person chasing them and see how close they are.  It’s kind of funny watching them run into walls and doorways or trip over toys.  No, I’m not mean.  You would laugh too.  And they can’t run fast enough to actually do any damage.  The whole time the child is running away they are laughing hysterically, which oftentimes slows them down because there are just too many things on the go:  running forward, constantly looking backward, laughing, and the eventual crash into something.  That’s a lot for a little brain to maintain.

Now, once you catch them there is the obligatory tickling or perhaps even the toss up in the air.  Such an adrenaline rush!  Chaser starts walking away and hears “Catch me!”  Yup, time to do it all over again.  This game goes on for about 15 minutes.  After that the child is too exhausted to run and usually trips over their own feet.  The adult is also tired because it’s hard to run (and not run) fast because you can usually catch up to them in two steps.

Now, think about the actual expenses of a game like this one.  No dollar amount.  It’s cheap…unless you are counting losing 15 minutes of your life which you would probably spend doing something adult-like and boring.  Watching a child laugh and giggle makes you feel like a real superhero too.

When parents (guardians) buy toys for their kids, they try to find something that will make their eyes pop open wide with glee.  I find it interesting that as children grow up they will forget the “special” gifts you got for them.  Sure they might have a favourite teddy or blankie, but all the other toys will be forgotten.  What they will always remember is the time you spent with them.  The fun, goofy things you did with them.  Time is more valuable than monetary gifts.

So, when your grandson says to you, “Grandpa come catch me”, and you look at him and say, “I can’t run.  My knees are bad.”  Then the little 3 year old smarty pants giggles and says, “Grandpa, walk and catch me.”  Ha ha ha!  Genius reply!  He found the loop hole.  There will always be ways to play chase.  There will always be those magical memories that seem so insignificant to older people, but the kidlets will remember them forever.

Your time is valuable.  Do something fun with it.  Remember that if they are crawling, walking, or running you can always play the chasing game and feel like a kid again.  A creaking, arthritic kid, but you’ll appreciate that bit of time spent free-wheeling in KidWorld.

Time to end this short escapade of a story.  I’ve been whacked in the back…time to do some chasing!

 

“Chopped” Chef or…Chef Chopped?

Although I don’t write about it much, I am a foodie.  I loved the Food Network…when it first came out.  It was great watching chefs showing you how to prepare meals.  I learned a lot.  What do I see now on the foodie stations?  Competitions.  I believe I have come up with a new concept that I want to pitch to the “foodie” networks.  (Note:  I should probably copyright this as someone is going to read this and steal my idea.)  A new cooking show that involves:  COMPETITION!  (I know, right?  A very novel and inspiringly new idea).

Before I reveal my superb revelation, think about all the competitive cooking shows on tv right now.  It’s the same trifecta:  1) Judges 2) Chefs 3) Time limit.  Who can bake the greatest cupcake in the shortest time?  Who can use the weirdest ingredients to make meals (again, clock is ticking)?

IMG_3306Which child can create exotic meals and desserts.  As time passes, I see that there are more and more cutthroat culinary shows being created.  I figured, why not jump on the bandwagon and create another show?  My genius idea came to me suddenly while I was watching Chopped

The gem of an idea began brewing in my grey matter whilst observing my toddler grandchildren eat.  An absolutely brilliant idea for a new show.  It follows along the same lines of the other challenging cooking shows so it should be accepted into the fold.  It’s dastardly and degrading and demeaning (the dream “D” formula for television shows).

Here is my idea:  You want belittling?  You want chefs to be tortured?  You want to watch failure to the umpteenth degree?  I give you Chefs Chopped!  Yes the new and exciting show where trained chefs prepare meals for a panel of toddlers.  You want a challenge?  I am throwing down the gauntlet.

Have you ever tried to feed a toddler?  Yes, there are many of you who have.  You know what it’s like.  Well, in the “olden” days it was basically like this:

Parent:  (*Puts pot of grub on table)

Children:  (*snarf / yum / gobble)

Conclusion:  Lack of food makes you eat everything without complaint.

AFTER DEPRESSION / WWI / WWII:

Parent:  (*Puts food in front of child)

Child:  (*through tears) I don’t like it!

Parent:  Whack!  Eat it or I’ll hit you again!

(Ahhh…the fond memories of my childhood)

After the beating era of life, came the more educated era where there were books and papers and magazines and shows FULL of information on how to raise the perfect child.  This included healthy recipes for feeding your perfect child.  After creating one of these wonderful masterpieces, the food would be placed in front of said model child.  After much begging and pleading, ketchup would be doused all over the nifty, fancy food so that Perfect Child would eat SOMETHING…ANYTHING!

Nowadays, it is even more difficult to feed your child.  Allergies, preservatives, organic or non-organic, pesticides, hormones, cholesterol, saturated fats, etc.  What can you feed your child?  Well, if you listen to ALL the stories out there in web-world, your child should eat…nothing.  Yes, it’s true.  There is no good food out there.  Well, there is good food this week…but next week it will be bad so best not to tempt fate.

“Fruits and vegetables are good right?”  Nope.  Fruit is full of pesticides and many children are allergic to certain fruits.  “What about the frozen ones?”  Yeah…well welcome to E Coli.  “My children are vegetarian (or vegan).”  Good for them!  They won’t survive the food devastation either.  I have done the research.  Between E coli, parasites, viruses, bacterias, hormones, pesticides, etc. there will be nothing nutritious left to consume.

fullsizeoutput_228b

I, so far, am very blessed and lucky with the kids and grandkids.  I have a few recipes that seem to generate happy smiles and full bellies:

  •  My homemade soup (with homemade noodles) has not killed or maimed any of them.  It is actually requested.  I get disappointed groans if it’s not on the menu.
  • Crépes – to be filled with whatever they choose (Nutella is winning this week)
  • Broccoli – this brassica appears to be a steamed vegetable they all agree on
  • Green beans – that, surprisingly, made the short list
  • Mozzarella – Sliced (not grated) however it must be made by Salerno
  • ANY pasta – lasagne, macaroni, fusilli, orzo…any pasta!

Now…meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, preferences vary as they get older (or basically, every 2 minutes).  Each week they decide what they like and don’t like.  It goes from the initial “YAY” whoop of joy to the “BOO” 10 minutes later when it’s on their plate.  Example:  “Can I have that apple?”  After two bites:  “I don’t want it,” and the subsequent attempt to put bitten fruit back into fruit bowl.  Next is the obvious grab for a different piece of fruit which eventually leads to cries of woe when they are informed that they must eat the two-bite-scarred apple first and THEN they can try something else.  Ahhhhh…the great adventures of toddler palate.

So, dear foodie channels, think about how fantastic this show would be!  Children smiling, waiting for their food.  Chefs cook and present their culinary masterpieces.  Suddenly, [camera zooms in] child starts deconstructing the plate.  Toddler Rule #1:  Thou shalt not let one type of food toucheth another.

fullsizeoutput_228c

Example of carrot invasion into broccoli territory

That’s why many children’s plates are subdivided.

Next:  Food allergies.  Must remove all fruit(s) that child is allergic to.  The eating finally begins and then the contorted faces of disgust and the “Ewwwwws” and “Yucks” start to be heard.  The Chef with the least amount of ewws and yucks wins!  The others?  Well if they haven’t run away or started convulsively crying…then they get chopped (like a karate chop hand coming down on their picture…haha!)  What an amazing show!  All done in the name of fun and supreme competition!  Yes, I give you Chef Chopped!

P.S.  Dear foodie networks, I am available evenings and weekends for a meeting to discuss my future in the television industry.  You’re welcome!

 

The Terror is Real…

I have told you about my wee (cat) dog Lucy.  Happy Birthday!  She is now 8 years old.  She is my mixed shi-poo (shit-zu/poodle mix) breed.  She is dysfunctional as a dog.  Why?  Lucy was diagnosed with strangles at 3 months.  The cure for this illness was to suppress her immune system.  Being prone to infection, that meant no going out for walks, no meeting other dogs.  I couldn’t give her puppy training like I had with Waldo.  With Waldo I got to take him to puppy classes so he could play with other dogs and meet other people and get to know the world around him.  What happened next?

I thought I came up with a genius plan.  When I would take Waldo out for his walks, I would put Lucy in an insulated lunch bag, which I would carry on my shoulder, and let her head peek out so she could get accustomed to sights and sounds in the neighbourhood.  She would slip her head out and I hoped she would get used to the sounds of cars and buses and airplanes, the noise of other dogs, the noise of people talking.  I wanted her to see bicycles and motorcycles.  She needed to get used to the world like Waldo did.

Well…it didn’t quite work out as I had hoped.  The only dogs she could be exposed to were…well…only Waldo.  She had been on the immune suppressing drugs for over 3 months and my nightly walks did not really help her see the real world.  How do I know this?  A leaf blows by…DANGER!  She barks at it.  A butterfly goes flying by…DANGER!  She barks at it. Wheelchairs.  DANGER!  Birds.  DANGER!  “Well, if she isn’t a good dog, then why is she barking at stuff like a normal dog would?” you may be asking.  Dysfunctional, but observant, is my Lucy.

Being quarantined with Sir Waldo, she learned what to do by imitating him.  She barks at EVERYTHING hoping she will get it right.  She will bark and Waldo will come running.  If it’s a leaf…he won’t bark.  After all these years she still can’t get it right.  Example:  He will bark at a bird.  He is facing the bird and barking at it.  What does Lucy do?   She stands in front of him, facing him and barks at HIM.  Great dog (dripping with sarcasm)!

I told you that whole story to tell you this story:

Today, poor girl needed a haircut.  Sadly her big bro, her protector and guide, had to stay home.  He has an infection.  I put the leash on her.  Normally she barks like crazy, but this time there was only silence.  We got in the car.  Silence.  She shook nervously in the car the whole drive there (8 minutes).  Normally she would be barking up a storm to impress her brother, but he wasn’t there.  I parked and looked to my left and that’s when I saw it.  An abandoned shopping cart.  I debated moving, but then thought I could get her out of the car without noticing.  Nope.  Oh the horror and terror!  Lucy went wild!  She knew it was evil!

 

We got into the store and she barked at every dog she saw (at Petsmart) because that is what her brother had taught her.  We got to the grooming salon.  I had carried her the whole way (all 9 lbs of her) because it was rainy and icky outside.  Well, I put her down so that she could feel like a dog again.  She scampered over to me, she stood on her hind legs and with her front paws scratched at my legs.  I picked her up.  She was still shaking.  Where was Waldo when she needed him?!

Her haircut was actually a trim.  She was there for a total of 20 minutes.  I came back to pick her up and she gave me an earful of complaints.  From the time I picked her up, paid for the cut, drove home, the barking did not subside.  I was evil and she was letting me know it.  Once we got through the front door she went running to find her big brother and tell HIM everything that had happened to her.  After finally exhausting herself with all the barking, she felt safe once again and perched herself up on her lookout chair, looking through the window to make sure she would be the first to bark and protect us from any imminent danger.

IMG_2710

Lucy the “cat” dog. Dogs don’t sit like this.

Here is a list of the most perilous items that she needs to warn us about:  leaves, butterflies, birds, children walking by, adults walking by, teenagers walking by, people walking by carrying groceries, letter carriers, strollers, bicycles, tricycles, buses, cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, weed-whackers, squirrels, birds, people waiting at the bus stop, rabbits, cats, garbage trucks, recycling trucks, garbage blowing by, wheelchairs, scooters, and anything she has never seen before…like a shopping cart in the parking lot.  Yes, that would be the short list.

Now we come to dogs; other dogs.  Barking, walking, running…those, she has learned, are what she really needs to keep her guard up for.  For, when a dog goes walking by, she has learned to bark incessantly and the look around to see when Waldo will come to bark his approval of her house defense.  Then she is so full of pride because her brother, the one who never wants to play with her or be near her, will come and bark too so that they can quell the offender.  Yes, the terror is real…my dogs (dog and half-dog) can confirm that.