Wednesday, December 7, 2016

baby, it's cold outside

Every winter, at the Dabels, there is a war of wills.

If you will.

Every winter for the last 21 years this willful war gets waged and the wrangling for position between husband and wife begins. Despite my best efforts, and wow, have I put in my fair share of effort, I never walk away the victor of this recurring war. My personal arguments do change from year to year, but the man is nothing if not consistent.

Me: I have another bladder infection and I am really freaking cranky about it.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I just graduated from university and I cannot, for the life of me, find a job.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I have so much homework. I am drowning in papers and finals.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I have so much homework. I am drowning in papers and finals.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: University is hard, my brain is mush. Also, we have four kids and two foster kids and that's a lot of laundry and university is hard.

Him: You know I work outside, right?
Me: I am 8 months pregnant with a 10 pound baby and I have walking pneumonia.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I am 8 months pregnant with an almost 10 pound baby and its hard to walk and bend and do things.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I have a three month old baby and a toddler and the baby does. not. ever. sleep. Ever. I want to die from the tired.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: Look at our cute baby that I take care of 24 hours a day. I am a woman of sacrifice.

Him: You know I work outside, right?

Me: I got the car stuck in 3 feet of snow and had to walk all the way home. It took, like, 13 minutes. It is freezing outside.

Him: You know I work outside, right?
Okay, okay okay. We get it, Man. Your struggle is real. I just want to mention that it's cold outside, baby. Real cold-like. And my hands are chilled as I type. The chill is slowing me down.

Talk about a struggle.

Monday, December 5, 2016

honey ham

I swear to you people, I could not make this stuff up if I tried. It's like there's a sign on my back that says "Confuse me. I dare you."

Today I ran into the grocery store to grab a couple of things. I do not like the grocery store. I do believe we have talked about this before. My disdain for the store runneth deep, and it affects the quality of my life. Is that dramatic? I don't care.

Every single time I go in there I lament the fact that food is what sustains us. Why can't we be sustained by air? I can get air anywhere and I don't need to put on a bra to do it.

I see the flaws in this line of questioning, no need to mention it.

Anyway, I literally run through the grocery store because I hate it so much. I once had a cashier comment on how fast I was.

"I saw you come in like ten minutes ago. And now you are here with a full cart. I can't believe it."

"It was 6 minutes ago and I am dead serious about the grocery store. No time to waste in this here house of discontent. In and out, I say. In and out."

Today I approached the deli counter and managed to somehow get the attention of the red lipped, big haired deli gal.

"Can I have 300 grams of the honey ham, please?" Sweet as honey.....ham. That's me.

"Sure," she replied as she reached in and grabbed the giant piece of fake meat. Is ham real meat? I am never quite sure. She held it up to her face, perhaps closer that I would have preferred, but since I don't eat the ham I don't care about whatever it is she might be throwing on it via her nose and mouth. And then she said, "how much is 300 grams?"

Yes she did.

I froze. Never have I ever been asked that before at the deli, where I am not the one standing next to the weigh scale. Because of the freeze of confusion she raised her penciled eyebrows at me and said, "Hello? How much is 300 grams?"

Okay, hold up. So now you've asked me a stupid question and you were rude about it? Game over, sister.

"Well, 300 grams is 300 grams. So you need to slice up the ham and then weigh it. When it gets to 300 grams wrap it up and hand it to me." All said with a passive aggressive smile. Because like I said, I despise the grocery story, and now the cartoon woman has made me stand and ask for unreliable meat more than once.

With a sassy tip of the head she said, "I realize I need to weigh the meat. I'm just asking you to show me with your hands how much 300 grams is because I don't know."

Is this really happening to me right now? I started glancing over my shoulders because surely my husband is standing in the corner giggling at me and this epic joke he has somehow masterminded.

I tilted my head to match hers and reveled in the fact that she was still holding this giant ham up at head level. That cannot be light. The karma was too good.

"I'm sorry. I am not understanding," be nice be nice be nice be nice, I mentally challenged myself. "Do you have a new system in the deli that I am unaware of? Usually I ask for a certain amount and you guys just keep slicing until that amount is reached. Is that not how you do it anymore? Are the customers supposed to ask for their deli meats in inches or centimetres? Like, can I have an inch off your ham, please? I don't really get it, but if that is what you are asking me then I would like you to slice off approximately three centimetres of ham."

"Ugh." She ughed me. She really did. And then she turned around and began slicing the honey ham. Every slice going up on the scale. When she got to 301 grams she stopped, wrapped the erroneous meat and handed it to me.

Just like the good ol' days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

summer reading

I often get emails or facebook  messages asking me what I am reading, or what I might recommend. In that instant I cannot recall a single book I have read and I always, always have to pull out my Goodreads list and check.

I have a poor memory and as soon as I have closed the last page I forget most of what I have read and move straight on to the next one. Sometimes I can't even remember the title one week later.

It's a good thing I am not a surgeon.

I remember once I loaned a book to my mum. She read about 100 pages before she realized she had already read it. I thought she was old when that happened. But I see it coming to fruition in my own world now. 

I would blame sleep deprivation before age, though, so maybe I am further ahead?

I doubt it.

This summer I read a lot, but it has gotten to the point where I will be eating dinner and remembering a scene in a book. I will have no idea the title, or if that scene is from the same book I was remembering 5 minutes prior. It has all become one big jumbled book in my brain with a thousand characters doing a million different things.

I can't say I mind all that much. But again, I don't get enough sleep to mind much of anything these days.

In an effort to aid in my recall, or to eliminate it entirely with an actual list, here is what I read this summer. I will graciously include one of my short, yet truly brilliant, reviews. I am listing in them in the order I liked them, not necessarily read them. I will also include my Goodreads star rating, out of five, just for giggles.

I really am very tired today.  But here we go...

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty ***5 stars***

Product DetailsI have yet to meet a Liane Moriarty book I did not like. She seriously kills me. She is my fluff author, and we all need one of those. Especially during the summer. I loved the characters in this book and some of them were flat out hilarious. I was loving where this book was going and then it totally switched directions and I was so mad I put it in the corner, like a naughty child. Then, out of respect, I finished it and I was very glad I did.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart ***5 stars***

Product DetailsI am not a huge fan of young adult fiction. If I even try to read a YA novel I often can't bring myself to finish it. The drama. I just cannot... But every now and then I find one that tickles my fancy. And this was one. I positively L O V E D this book. And the further I get from it the more I love it. It was funny and sad and the twist knocked my socks off. I try really hard (or not hard at all) to not see twists coming at me. I do a decent job of not thinking too hard as I get through a book. And so when a twist grabs me, it literally knocks me down and steals my socks!

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman *** 5 stars***

Product DetailsAlice Hoffman is my author. Everyone should have one of those. An author who writes just for them. She writes for me and I love love love her books. They are all amazing. I don't know how she does it, but if you can get through one of her books without living it then we cannot be literary friends. This book is about the beginning of a small town and takes place over time as the town grows and changes. It is vivid and fascinating. Funny and tragic. Please read Alice Hoffman. Her books will make you feel alive.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney   ***5 stars***

The Nest by [Sweeney, Cynthia D'Aprix]
The ensemble cast. I adore a good ensemble cast. People everywhere. Doing everything. I plowed through this book. I love to read about how families deal with each other. This book is about siblings trying to regain their share of the family money, the nest, after their delinquent oldest brother loses it because he makes dumb choices. When grown ups make dumb choices, I feel better about myself. This book was simple, yet far fetched, but maybe not? It was just one helluva great read.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  ***5 stars*** 

Product Details

This book takes 20 minutes to read and is a must read for every human. The title says it all. Give it to your daughters when you are done, and then give it to your husband and sons. Women are amazing.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ***5 stars***

Product DetailsThis is a children's book. It teaches us about life and death and sometimes the demons we fight live inside our very selves. It is heartbreaking and lovely and will make you want to be a better, more patient, parent and friend. Read it to your kids, and then when the movie comes out we can all go see it together!

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George  ***4 stars***

Product DetailsThis book was adorable. Some of the characters were laugh out loud funny. It featured the frustrating notion that life can't go on after a tragic loss, which bugs me. But, in the end these guys found their way despite wasting so much time feeling sorry for themselves. And it managed to make me cry. Which actually is not that hard to do. And it involved a book shop. On a boat. In Paris. SOLD!

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh ***3 stars***

Product DetailsThis book had a good story and a killer twist but it was lacking. I don't know where or how, but it was. Which is totally okay. It was gripping and every chapter ending included the hint of a cliffhanger, which is enough to keep me on board. For the most part I enjoyed it. Even though it was about a dead child, which can be tough to read. I may have cried a little. 

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a JK Rowling) ***3 stars***

Product DetailsDetective Fiction is not my favourite genre, but ever since I took a detective fiction class at university I have a new respect for it. Every couple of years I like to indulge in a silly, lumbering detective fiction book, even though they don't always hold my attention and eventually I have no clue what is going one because I spaced out for half of the book. But, I really liked the detective in this one, Carmoran Strike (can you get over that name?) can't seem to get his crap together but despite that, he manages to solve one crazy crime and win the lady. Well, he only half won her. Maybe I'll read another one and see what happens...

Second Life by S.J. Watson ***3 stars***

Product DetailsThis book was mediocre but I will admit the story line kept me intrigued. Even though I didn't like how relaxed some of the characters were about their life altering choices, I was gripped from beginning to end. And there was a twist or two that I may have have been able to predict had I cared more.

A Good House by Bonnie Burnard ***2 stars***

Product Details
I feel bad for not liking this book since my good friend chose it for book club. It is her favourite book of all time. I thought it was a total slog. It took me forever to read and I finally sat myself down and made myself finish it. I did not enjoy most of the characters. The writing was wonky. It was slow and boring and mostly the people were kind of mean and nasty to each other. The only one I really liked died pretty much as soon as the book started. I wanted to smack a couple of the characters because who lives like that? I did not enjoy this book. Sorry, Kathleen.

The Girls by Emma Cline ***2 stars***

Product DetailsYou know that fun feeling you get when you go on social media and in one day 6 people say they are in the throes of an amazing book and so you go out and buy it and finish up all your chores so you can sit and read something you truly believe is going to be awesome? That's a fun day. Until you open the book and five pages in you are convinced the book was written by a grade nine student who just learned what an adjective is. The writing in this book is horrendous. Positively ghastly. The only reason I gave it two stars is because the story had moments of intrigue. None of the characters were likable. N O N E of them. I only finished it because I bought it. I do not recommend.

Phew! If you made it to the end of this post then you deserve a medal.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

F is for F A I L

Well, we've reached that part of the summer where I throw up a white flag and admit defeat. We are at that point where all good intentions declare that they were just that, good intentions. The whole time dangling in front of me like there was actually a chance I was going to do any of them with the kids.

Another summer not done well under our belts. We are the champions. The champions of making lists and pretending like any of us wanted to do any of it. Is it possible to be proud and ashamed at the same time?

I cannot be the only mother out there who feels this, and yet Facebook and Instagram tell me I most probably am. If all those happy summer pictures are telling the truths 1000 words could say, but don't need to, then we had a seriously unusual summer that involved an out of town husband, a teenager who stays out until the wee hours of EVERY SINGLE DAY, video games for Holden, YouTube for Amelia, business website building for me, and me sleeping in until 10am in an attempt to recover from late night teenager abuse.

If I was smart, I would have declared early on that this type of summer is the summer to beat. But I forgot to declare such a thing, and now I am forced to live in missed summertime fun regret.

Or guilt? I don't actually regret any of it.

It used to be that the man worked and I played with the kids all summer. Back in the days where I controlled their every move. I shuffled them around here and there. Calaway Park, the zoo, every splash park that existed back in the day. I even took them camping for days upon days. We had all the fun.

And now half of them work and stay up too late and look at me like my sole intention in life is to torture them. And the other half despise each other.

Three teenagers and a prepubescent 10 year old. This is my life now. It is very different than what it used to be.

Speaking of that, I have a 10 going on 17 year old up for grabs. She used to be the cute one. But this summer she has found her inner antagonist. Sassing the others seems to be what fuels her. She is on fire with it. She is driving me, and all the others batty. Anyway, I thought I'd offer her up here before I list her on Kijiji.

Side note: She made more money than I did this summer and that is no word of a lie. She was employed as a mother's helper. She got paid to play with children. All that money went straight to her head, she got cocky.

A cocky 10 year old is...well...obnoxious.

Anyhoo, there is only a couple weeks left of summer and I think we did 2 of our fun list items. It doesn't help that the 13 year old broke his arm which instantly rendered 77% of our fun list useless. Between the crappy weather, the bickering teen and preteen, my weird sleeping schedule, which I will defend as awesome until my dying day, I lost my zeal for outsidedness. Which apparently, everyone else's zeal is contingent upon.

We failed summer. A giant F. F is for F A I L.

On a happy note, my husband has moved back home, for the most part. He has been working out of town since March. He shows up on occasion for a shower and a cuddle and then poof, he is gone again.

On a sad note (depending on who you ask) despite the happiness we feel at being able to see his handsome mug on a daily basis, I have suffered a tragic realization, and one that will never be fully realized. I have become irrationally accustomed to having the huge bed all to myself. I really really really enjoy sleeping alone.

Like, profoundly enjoy it.

Insert gasping face emoji here.

But, alas, it is not to be because I am a married woman. And also, I am not 73 and bedtime estranged from my husband. Being the optimist I am, however, I try to find the fun in the situation. Boring holes into him with my wide awake eyes in the middle of the night is what I have come up with, so far. And the real kicker? For whatever reason, call it maturity or common sense or whatever,  he does not want to join me in my dysfunctional sleep routine where going to bed by 3am is an "early night".

He is the pooper in this party for two.

Although, I have decided that in the long run, it might be nice to have another adult here modelling good behaviour. Heaven knows, this house full of teens could use that.

Side eye emoji.

But being the gracious and loving man he is, and knowing that sleep is a delicate notion for me, I often wake in the night to find him teetering on the edge of our giant bed, making every possible attempt to give me my space. Add this to the reasons we love him and allow him into our bed. And by our bed, I mean my bed.


I would try to feel bad about his lack of sleeping comfort, but let us remember that 1) he was literally sleeping in a van down by the river and anything has to be more comfortable than that. And 2), I am using all my guilty conscience feelings lamenting about another summer possibly lost to good intentions, even if they were never true ones.

There is only so much human deficiency I can shoulder at any given time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I promised the people I would actually make dinner tonight and they are all staring at me as though I have lied to them. Again. I  know what they are all thinking. Will she yell "fend for yourself", as I have been known to yell, in those last make or break minutes before it becomes too late to begin.

I do believe they are silently challenging me to resurrect this antiquated practice, even if it is only for one day.

Challenge accepted.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


It is August 17, and I have thought about resurrecting my blog (like, for real) about 3267 times this summer. I love it, it's fun. So......

 Don't ask me why I haven't kept it up. My answer would sound something like, "because books and crochet and kids and dishes and confusion and un-organization and crochet and outings and novels and teenagers and business books and novels and crochet and dishes and research about business, oh and laundry and crochet and movies and husband and kids and books and football and thinking and confusion and reunions and crochet and novels and friends and kids and teenagers and novels and insomnia and crochet."

 It has been a very busy summer, can't you see? And did I tell you I am starting a business? Well, I am. I am starting a business because looking for work I don't even want to do is stupid and dumb and stupid. But making work for myself I want to do is awesome and exciting and awesome.

 It was my counselor's idea. She's a genius.

 Did I tell you I am in counselling? No, obviously, we haven't spoken in forever. You know what? Everyone should go into counselling at some point in their life. It's exhilarating to organize the mental chaos that can weigh you down. I've had a lot of changes this past year....


 ...and it was becoming a beast I did not know how to control. It was like KABLAMMIE, all of a sudden I didn't know who I was anymore, yet it was totally expected that I be someone. My soul was bursting with a hankering to be reborn. But into who? I had no clue, and still barely do. I know who I am not and never want to be. But I needed someone to help harness my energy and diffuse the bomb that was about to blow.

 The man looks at me like I have two heads, so it was certainly not going to be him.

 Also, I need to talk about being in therapy because one thing I have learned in therapy it's that when I talk the inner recesses of me sing with delight.

 It's like the hills are alive with the sound of my psychoses music.

 Seriously though, I need to write. It is a whole level of therapy unto itself. But my nails are wet and so this taking forever.

 I told the kids we would do two fun things a week this summer. And when I say 'kids' I mean the youngest two because that's really all I have left. The older two are either working and being all independent-like, or not speaking to me and acting like a really annoying teenager. I'll let you guess which of the older two fill each of those positions. So it's just the younger two and me left, and they can't stand each other. Trying to do fun things with them is really just a test of my patience. Which, as I paid money to find out, I have none of. So really it becomes an exercise in how many people I can offend and roll my eyes at when I take them out in public because they have bickered me into a shell of a human being.

 But, it's been a great summer because I am reinventing myself and therefore my future and that is fun, right? But is it fun for everyone? And at least twice a week? I dare say, YES! And tough beans for you if you aren't having fun with my reinvention.

Today I dragged the youngers to the grocery store and then made them go in without me while I played on my phone because I really despise the store. I bought them lunch. I asked them if they were having fun. They dared look at me like I was kidding. Which was fun-ny so I yelled, "excellent! We have met 50% of the fun quota this week! Congratulations on having fun."

 And the we went home because we are exhausted from all the fun.

So cheers to rebirth, resurgence, and reinvention.

Welcome to my new blog.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

impatience and indecision

In January I learned how to crochet and it has pretty much ruined my life and the lives of my family.

"What's for dinner, mom?"

"Hmmm, I'm not really sure. Unless you want to eat one of these four blankets I have crocheted then I'm not really sure..."

"Do I have any clean laundry, mom?"

"Hmmmm, I do not believe so. But hold up, if you give me a couple days I will crochet you something to wear. It'll be super cool. I promise."

"Mom, can we go do something fun. Maybe outside? Or maybe you could drive us somewhere fun?"

"Hmmmm, no."


"Because crochet."

I just want to crochet all the time. Everything. And anything. And all the bloody things. Everything wants, no needs, to be crocheted. By me.

I am having a love affair with Crochet.

I have come to discover in the last four months, since Crochet moved in, that this particular art comes with a few sets of problems. And these problems don't suit my nature. And by nature, I mean the demons that live inside me which determine whether or not I can accomplish something.

Turns out I have a demon that has been hibernating inside the deep recesses of my crafting soul. And that is the Never-Satisfied-With-My-Yarn-Choices demon. That demon, we will name Indecision, because that's what it is. Plus, it is different than Impatience, which is the demon that has plagued me most of my life.

It is probably quite conceivable that I have been to the yarn store no less than 11 times in the last 9 days due to Indecision. Blast that Indecision. He is a thorn unto me!

But, over the last 21 years, Impatience and I have come to an understanding of sorts. And that understanding is the man. This is how it goes:

I try something for 1 second.
It frustrates me.
I throw an epic temper tantrum.
The man steps in and fixes it.

We really appreciate the man around here.

Impatience has reared its ugly head in exponential proportions as of late, since Crochet has moved in and turned everything all topsy turvy around here.

Yarn is a necessity of crochet. But, yarn is also a product of the devil. Because it tangles. And tangles upset Impatience immensely.  I will now use pictures to show you what has become of my home. Because words alone will not suffice.

Excuse the crappy, night time iPhone shots. We work with what we have around here.

Many hours of The Office was watched while the detangling happened.

Red yarn, grey yarn, variegated yarn. We don't discriminate.


                             He is a good man. A patient man. And clearly one with a disorder.

     His face may indicate that he isn't loving every minute of this but, trust me, that's his happy face.