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Expert Advice to My Kids – Thank You Medium!

It’s not easy being a mother. I have two kids (aka Kid 1 and Kid 2)and a husband (aka Loverboy) which when I think of it is kind of like having three kids.

There are so many responsibilities and it can be overwhelming at times, especially when I feel that I have a wealth of expert advice to share with Kid 2 who is still trying to find himself.

The problem is that sometimes he isn’t always open to listening and I become one of those “whomp, whomp” voices in his head.

It is at times like these that I have to pull out the “big guns” (figuratively not literally — I am anti-violence all the way) and I have discovered some really “big guns” on Medium.

I am not exactly sure how I stumbled upon the Medium site but finding this great wealth of information has been like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

On a daily basis there are some excellent articles posted that I personally think sound just like me but are actually written by cool twenty/thirty-somethings (who obviously listened to their mothers). It is like these bloggers have read my mind and written down my wisdom in an entertaining, logical and non-judgmental way.

I find the articles I like and that speak to me as a mother, and I share them with Kid 2 via text message, Twitter or private message on Facebook.

I have stopped sharing publicly on his Facebook timeline because he thought it was a bit lame. He also told me it was ruining his sex life and God forbid I get blamed for that, too!

The great miracle of the internet allows me to press “send” instead of calling Kid 2 and sharing my advice orally (aka nagging). Plus he never answers his phone so this is a much better and satisfactory solution.

He gets the information I am certain he needs to help him make those important life decisions and I get the satisfaction of still being able to say mother knows best without actually saying mother knows best. It is the perfect solution!

Here are some of the articles I have shared over the last few weeks and you have to admit from their titles that they are pure gold!

You’re More Powerful Than You Think by The Mission

This is What Stops People From Having the Life They Want by Nicholas Cole

4 Things You Should Do Before It’s Too Late by Nicholas Cole

Don’t Live for the Moment, Live for the Legacy by Brianna Wiest

This is the Process You Go Through When You Decide to Change Yourself by Nicholas Cole

40 Ways to Live a Full Life (And Leave Nothing on the Table) by Age 30 by Ryan Holiday

19 Things You Should Know About Life Before You Turn 29 by Nicholas Cole

Stop Thinking, Start Doing by Ayodeji Awosika

5 Things I Wish I Knew in My Twenties by Scott Tongas

Now my husband, Loverboy, doesn’t really believe that Kid 2 actually reads the articles that I send them but I continue to have hope.

I know that hope is not a strategy, but at the end of the day it makes me feel a whole lot better and helps me sleep at night. I hope that the wisdom Kid 2 gleans from the articles helps him sleep better at night, too.

I am so appreciative of the wealth of information that Medium shares and as a mother, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing my thoughts that others have had the good sense to write down.

Together we are force to be reckoned with!

I Will Only Eat a Few – The Lies I Tell Myself

Oops, I did it again!

Just when I think I’ve learned my lesson, history repeats itself.

I went to the grocery store on an empty stomach. I know this is not a good thing to do because I’ve done it before and the final bill is never pretty.

I was starving and the Christmas candy stocked sky-high in the aisles beckoned and cajoled me. I picked up some of my favorite candy, supposedly to put away for Christmas. At least that was what my brain convinced me was going to happen as I went through the check-out.

When I got to the car, however, my brain did an abrupt reversal and told me to dig in!

What a traitor!

It is Hallowe’en all over again! You would think I would be able to exercise some willpower after that recent fiasco.

As per every year, I bought enough candy for about a hundred little ghosts and goblins.

Loverboy shook his head when I put the candy out and inquired why I bought so much. He pointed out that we usually only get ten little ghosts and goblins.

Since I couldn’t think of a really good reason that he would actually believe, I passed him a couple of bars and they kept him busy, and quiet, for awhile.

That night ten little ghosts and goblins knocked on the door and I was left with a full bowl of treats. (Did I mention that I only buy the treats I like?)

Back in the day, when there were ninety plus treats left over, I ate the remainder with nary a thought to my waistline. I indulged without guilt, or worry about not fitting into my jeans.

I would chow down on the leftovers, in a couple of days they would be gone and nothing about my shape would change.

I was a “treat-metabolizing” machine!

My how times have changed.

This year, I was left with a smorgasbord of my favorite treats and I began my yearly indulgence fest, scarfing them down like there was no tomorrow.

I grabbed a few at a time (they are really really small) and I ate them for breakfast dessert, lunch dessert, dinner dessert and snack dessert.

It was a chocolatey, peanutty, scrumptious, delightful feast!

Unfortunately, those little bite-sized bits caused an immediate weight gain of ten pounds on my hips, my thighs, my belly, and my double chin.

I also got a really bad stomach ache.

It is unbelievable how packages of candy that small can wreak so much havoc. Okay, I admit I did eat a lot of them but this was the first time candy actually made me feel sick!

Now here I am, salivating over my favorite Christmas chocolates and candies that I know I am not supposed to eat until Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, it is more than a month away and I realize that I have zero willpower!

I’ve already opened the Ganong Chicken Bones, those delectable, pink, cinnamon-candy-coated, dark-chocolate-in-the-middle bonbons that can only be purchased around the Christmas holidays. I’ve only eaten two or three but they are calling my name, very loudly I might add!

A box of dark chocolate-covered cherries sits patiently waiting for me to rip open and devour.

I am beside myself!

So I do the only prudent thing a person in my situation can do. I throw the candy in the garbage.

I have double bagged it in ziplock bags in case I change my mind and need to retrieve it but so far, I am okay. I don’t think I will have a do a dumpster dive at this point.

I am also setting a goal for myself and they say that if you want your goals to stick, you need to write them down and then tell someone.

My Goal: I will not purchase any more Christmas candy until just before Christmas.

There, you are my witnesses! I know you will do everything in your power to help me through what I know will be a difficult time.

You probably wondering why didn’t include something about not eating the Christmas candy that I do buy.

That might be taking things a bit too far.

Baby steps, people, baby steps!

I Don’t Do Bright and Early Anymore

I never needed an alarm clock to wake up; I was always told the early bird gets the worm so it was bright and early for me, every day.

It didn’t matter what leisure activities I did at night, (which in my youth consisted of partying til all hours or more recently doing a Netflix binge) what time I went to bed or where I slept.

My internal alarm clock woke me up at 5:00 am, that still dark time when the world is quiet and Loverboy is snoring happily beside me.

Unfortunately, as soon as my eyes popped open I was awake and it didn’t matter if I slept eight hours or three hours.

Some nights I tossed and turned so much, I am surprised Loverboy didn’t give me the heave ho and send me on my way to a spare bedroom.

He can sleep through pretty much anything; that is a real gift!

Now many “experts” say that getting up early is one of the most important habits to form if you want to be successful in life. And although I did enjoy a modicum of success, it was sometimes hard to find the pleasure in it because I was soooo tired!

Things have changed, however.

It happened slowly at first – early bird hours, crack of dawn sort of thing – then gradually I started to notice that the clock beside my bed read 7:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m., then 8:00 a.m. until now I am regularly waking up at 8:30 a.m.

The more surprising thing is that if I do wake up at night, often due to an occasional hot flash or perhaps a stomach ache from eating too much candy (you can read about that here — I Will Only Eat a Few — One of the Little Lies I Tell Myself) I am able to get right back to sleep.

No more tossing and turning!

Well you are probably wondering what my secret is and how I accomplished this feat. I have one word for you —

RETIREMENT

It is the best thing to happen to me!

My life has changed for the better. No longer am I a slave to the 9–5 or in my last role, 5 am to midnight or beyond.

Without work issues rolling around in my head every night, I now get the sleep I need to function and do the things I enjoy.

I am exercising regularly, reading voraciously, writing every day and exploring areas that I really couldn’t even think about because I was so tired and stressed out from working.

There are just not enough hours in the day to do all things you want to do when you actually have the energy to do them.

And so I am refuting the expert’s advice that getting up early is the best way to start your day.

I don’t do bright and early anymore, and I am doing just fine, thank you very much!

Thank You Richard Gere – A Story of Enduring Friendship

The year was 1983, the summer after we graduated from university.

We were grown-up, (or so we thought), joining the workforce and assuming the responsibilities that come with that.

The times we spent together, joined at the hip, laughing and dancing the night away, sharing secrets and crying on each other’s shoulders were now few and far between.

We lived in different locations and we were making new lives for ourselves as we settled into adulthood.

A conversation about how we were moving on in our lives led to the idea of a gathering centered around the films of an actor we thought was one of the sexiest and most compelling of our time.

And so The Richard Gere Film Festival was born.

On a hot summer’s day a group of childhood friends gathered at my parent’s home for the event. We ate, we drank, we watched two Richard Gere movies, (American Gigolo and An Officer and A Gentleman). We laughed, we danced and we sang.

We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.

Then life happened. We went our separate ways, established our careers, got married, had children, and made new friends in the communities where we lived.

We kept in touch sporadically and then more often through the miracle of Facebook.

That was where someone posted the pictures of that summer at our Richard Gere Film Festival. An idea took shape — what if?

And so the 2nd Annual Richard Gere Film Festival Reunion was born.

Thirty three years after our first gathering, we met and we ate, we drank, we laughed, we danced and we sang.

We planned on watching some of Richard Gere’s newest films but we never actually got around to it because there was just too much to say, too many stories to share in the precious time that we had.

The years fell away that night and we had so much fun. But we also realized, with the wisdom that comes with growing older, that we made new memories to hold us until we can gather together again. And we will!

Thank you Richard Gere.

Questions From My Ten Year Old Self – With (Probably) No Easy Answers

I was ten years old the first time a man exposed himself to me.

Grudgingly delivering my sick brother’s newspapers (back in the days when it was supposedly safe for kids to do such a thing), I noticed the same car pass me multiple times. I figured it was somebody who was lost.

As I was making my way down a quiet side street, the car pulled up to the curb. The window was down and the driver leaned over and spoke to me, asking me directions to a local skating arena. His voice was very low and I had to move closer to the car to hear what he said.

That was when I saw IT.

My first thought was

“Why does that guy have a carrot in his hand?”

I was ten, remember.

My next thought was

“Oh. My. God. That is not a carrot!”

I froze for a moment, speechless, and then raised my hand pointing in the general direction of the river and said,

“That way.”

The man laughed and drove off. I was stunned!

I continued delivering the papers, my shock turning first to nervous laughter and then suddenly fear.

What if he came back?

I made the decision to get home quickly and, with the mostly empty newspaper sack flapping behind me, I ran home to tell my mother.

The police were called, a man was apprehended (he had done this a few times that day and there were several witnesses), I identified him through a two-way mirror at the police station (he was fully dressed), and that was the end of that little drama.

But it wasn’t really the end.

I still feel the shock, disgust and fear that my ten-year-old-self experienced that day long ago, when I reminded on a daily basis that this happens to woman and girls (and men and boys), every single day, often by men they know, love and/or work with.

The perpetrators are not always strangers on quiet streets or so-called perverts in back alleys that we were warned about when we were children.

Some are men of power, privilege and fame who use their position to do unthinkable things to people they know.

And they use their power to keep their dirty deeds secret for a long time, allowing them to feel that they are untouchable.

I have to ask the question —

“Why?”

I am sure there are no easy answers, but my ten-year-old-self still wants to know.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Christmas Movie Season

It is the most wonderful time of the year and to celebrate I have a new Christmas pastime.

I have spent the last three weeks, settled in front of the television for far too many hours to even count, watching sappy Christmas movies.

Labeled as the “Biggest Gift” on the W Network, these movies feature a pretty heroine, a handsome hero, lots of Christmas decorations, some snow, virgin egg nog and a problem of some kind to be solved.

I have fallen for these movies hook, line and sinker.

Each evening, I head to my “Woman Cave” where I can watch the movies in peace, away from Loverboy’s critique about the acting, the storylines and the music.

His television viewing includes every sport known to man, mixed in with CNN coverage of Donald Trump and some conspiracy theory documentaries on the History Channel. All of his viewing takes place while listening to hours worth of singing by the Kingston Trio through earphones connected to his computer.

You can see why I have a “Woman Cave”!

I have even found some great sappy Christmas movies on Netflix and have them queued up for when I have watched all the movies on the W Network and need some new material.

Now you might think that this is all a little mindless and I will admit that it probably is.

I have it bad, but not as bad as the fifty three people who have watched Netflix’s The Christmas Prince every day for the last eighteen days!

Yup, that little news tidbit blew up the internet yesterday.

I am sure that many readers of that story pictured one of those viewers as some pathetic fifty-something woman, ensconced in her “Woman Cave” munching on a tray full of M and M Peanuts.

I swear that I have only watched The Christmas Prince once!

I do have a theory on who those fifty three viewers are, though.

They are kids! Duh!

I remember renting movies for Kid 1 and Kid 2 back in the day before Netflix and they would watch them over and over, ad nauseam, and lots of times, I was happy to let them. It gave me a bit of a break to do the things I loved like housework, laundry, yardwork…okay, maybe I read a book or two.

And so, I know there are parents out there who are happy to press replay on The Christmas Prince because of the stress they are under — the stress brought about by that other Christmas staple, Elf on a Shelf.

They need the time provided by plunking their kids down in front of these movies to come up with all those great ideas I keep seeing posted on Instagram and Facebook.

These movies are a dream for these overburdened and stressed out Elf on a Shelfers because there is no violence, no sex and no swearing.

You can barely hire a babysitter these days with those qualifications!

With thirteen days left until Christmas, I have a lot of movie-viewing to look forward to. I have been making a list of upcoming Christmas movies and checking it twice to make sure I have dates and times correct. And so if you need me, you know where to find me-

I will be in my “Woman Cave” eating M and M Peanuts and watching sappy Christmas movies. It is the most wonderful time of the year!

Shoes Glorious Shoes!

Buying shoes is a personal hobby of mine.  To say I love shoes would be an understatement; I absolutely adore shoes and although I am sure there are other less materialistic things that give me great pleasure, I can’t think of them right now.  Actually, the whole footwear spectrum makes my heart sing.  I am not sure when the whole infatuation-with-footwear thing began, but it has taken me down a road that even Imelda Marcos didn’t travel.  Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have purchased a lot of footwear over the last few years and I am sure that habit will continue, as much as my retirement cheques will allow anyway.

I love going into a shoe store at the beginning of each season to see what is on display.  I mark those seasonal changes by purchasing footwear that matches the weather: summer is a time for strappy sandals, slip-on sandals, and open-toe pumps, fall means pulling out the flats and the pumps of many colors that can coordinate with whatever outfit I am wearing, winter means pulling out the boots – snow boots, boots for slush, low boots, high boots – you name it, I probably own them in a cornucopia of colors, materials and heel heights.   Thank goodness we get a great variation in winter weather so that I can purchase all the different kinds of specialty footwear required.

Now Loverboy has a real difficulty with the amount of shoes and boots I own.  He can’t understand why I need more than one or two pairs of shoes.  He usually buys two pairs of shoes at a time and then promptly forgetting that he bought two pairs,  wears one pair exclusively until it is worn out.  Despairing that he might have to go shoe shopping, he rifles around the closet, roughly throwing my precious shoes aside by the way, until he finds the other pair he purchased but never wore.  He dusts them off, tries them on to make sure they are comfortable and then gleefully goes back to the Sports Network.  Crisis averted; he does not have to go shopping for a few more years!  If there is something Loverboy hates worse than the large number of shoes that I own, it is going shopping for anything that can’t be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart or McDonalds!

The only real problem I have with my shoes is how to store them properly.  If I were wealthy and could afford it, I would have a  room dedicated to my shoes.  I  have seen pictures of “shoe closets” in magazines (some are bigger than my own bedroom!) and I will admit I have drooled and fantasized about giving my shoes a fantastic room of their own.  I know they would really appreciate it, too.  Unfortunately, living in house that is almost one hundred years old means that I have many other “useful” things that I have to spend my money on like new sewer pipes, extra insulation, an upgraded electrical system, and the list goes on and on and on.  So a shoe closet, although a very practical idea in my mind, will have to wait until the I win the lotto.  I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one because I just won one hundred and forty four dollars on a Rotary ticket I bought.  If that is not a harbinger of an impending lotto win, I don’t know what is.  Come on Atlantic Lotto, my shoes are depending on you!

I love shoe shopping so much that I have even directed those who know and love me that upon my death they are to bury me at DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse for those not up on the footwear acronyms).  Where else can you find every style and color of shoes, boots, sandals, and sneakers under one roof … well, besides my house, that is?  DSW is really a shoe lover’s fantasy and I am a shoe lover so I think this is the perfect place.  I am not sure about the legalities of this idea so I will leave it to those I leave behind to ensure my wishes are honoured.  In the meantime, I will continue to buy the shoes because, after all, I am still alive and kicking!