Hi I am The Edmonton Tourist, and I am a bad Mother

Rocotillo pepper (Capsicum baccatum) is a type...
Rocotillo pepper (Capsicum baccatum) is a type of chile pepper originating in Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Apparently I am a bad mom.

 

I am cool with that.

 

I mom sent over some garden treats yesterday. The cherry tomatoes tasted like candy and the tiny red peppers were shiny and beautiful.

 

I popped a red pepper in my mouth thinking they were sweet bell peppers. HA! So wrong. Yes, they were sweet but it did end there. My lips burned for an hour afterwards. These gems will be delish in Fajitas, stir fry or chopped finely and put into pasta. They are lovely, I just wish I knew they were hot.

 

This morning, I was making lunches, ChatterBox was sitting at the counter eating  breakfast. I congratulated her on the terrible job she did cleaning the kitchen after dinner last night. To her credit, she is good at looking sheepish and apologized. She will give it another go tonight after dinner. Enough said, change of topic. I mentioned the peppers her Grandma sent over. I proceeded to rely the story of how hot they were and laughed at myself because of the sheer stupidity of just biting into it KNOWING it was a pepper.

 

In between the story, I would ask lunch questions, “Nectarine?”  She replied, “yes please.” Then the hilarity of events would continue.

 

I placed the nectarine in the pile of food for her lunch when she asked if she could try one now.

 

I opened the fridge and pulled out another nectarine.

 

ChatterBox looked at me like I had two heads.

 

“No, a pepper.”

 

I shrugged and said sure while I passed her the bag of peppers.

 

She pulled out a tiny red shiny bulb and proceeded to pop it into her mouth.

 

“OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD WHY THE HELL DID YOU LET ME DO THAT!!!”

 

I looked at her bewildered because I had told her my experience of the peppers and yet she still wanted to try them.

 

Her rant continued,

 

“WHY do you let me do what ever I want? What kind of mother are you? Other moms tell their children no, but not you! You think its a good idea that I experiment and try new foods. Other moms would say NO. My friend’s mom never lets her do what she wants and is she cocky and arrogant like me? NO SIR! She is nice calm and shy. I, However, am cocky and arrogant because I get to try what ever I want like this pepper that might in fact kill me!”

 

She demanded water and I said milk will work better, but I gave her water because she yelled,

 

“I AM LACTOSE INTOLERANT”

 

I laughed.

 

Whatever…

 

I just kept looking at her, smiling.

 

The ironic part is, I often get lectured about the kind of easy-strict mom I am. I have a dress code my girl must live by, I demand for my children to think in terms of “is that appropriate? Could you share that with your Grandma?” If the answer is no – then they better think twice about doing it.

 

I am not the “my word is law” mom, I am “think for yourself and judge it against your values” mom. Then I become the “suffer your consequences” mom. All of these things circle around actions/consequences. I think it’s the best learning tool on the planet.

 

Mean while, I was still smiling as she left for school with her burning mouth.

 

It’s not like I didn’t warn her.

 

Goodbye, Farewell, The End

In one month it will be the second anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project ( I woke up this morning and realized it is the third anniversary! WOW 3 years!).

I can no longer recognize the girl I use to be.

I began this site as a way to help me become accountable, take risks, heal the hurt and become the person I dreamed I could. I learned the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is a way to realize your dreams and wishes. I have learned the secret to goal achievement and it is satisfying in ways I never thought possible.

I will graduate in December. WOW. I once never dreamed I was smart enough for University. Now I find it mundane and limiting in my learning. Looking forward to having letters after my name. It automatically gets people’s attention when the reality is, I was just as smart before, but now I know how to put it all together. That is progress.

I say yes more often to try things and no more often when I have taken on too much or just really don’t want to do something.

I have traveled solo and figured out where I begin and my family ends. This was also important for me. I needed to learn boundaries.

I have learned and practice great nutrition. I have lost nearly 95lbs in two years. I have  another 90lbs to go, BUT it has become habit. Great food choices made of REAL food have taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when it needs it. Eating gratuitous sugar because it is someones birthday is rarely worth the calories. It has to be OUTSTANDING before I will spend calories on sugar laden food because there are consequences to those actions. I either eat less, work out more or gain some temporary weight. Neither of those options are awesome. So I choose carefully.

I have learned that loving someone doesn’t mean it has to be a married relationship or a parental one. I love my girlfriends, fella friends, and family with a fierce intensity that I didn’t know existed within me. This has given me permission to spend time with those people and the ones I just like…get less time or none because my time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable it just means I am prioritising my life. I come first, then family, then friends, then school, then work. Work is last because it is a means to a lifestyle. However, it made the list so you can be sure work is filled with passion. If it isn’t on the list, it lacks passion. Without passion, I have no desire to put in an effort. That was my problem before the project. I had my priorities mixed up. I need to nurture me so I can nurture my passions.

That makes it simple.

I place me first for the reason listed above, however, I didn’t put into what ME means:

I have learned I am a social introvert. I like socializing but not all the time. Please don’t drop in on me, call first. There is a list of people who are welcome to drop in and that list includes my mom, dad, sister, my best friend and George Clooney. Call first or I get cranky.

I need to include fitness in my life for lots of reasons, but the big one is if I have to face surgery for my brain tumour, then I want to be as fit and healthy as possible. Death does not scare me, but my children still need their mommy for the time being and I intend to be there as they need me. Being THE MOM is a responsibility that I do believe I was created for. I take it seriously and approach it with humor and humility. I have raised amazing humans and can’t wait to see how they shape their future.

I need to read. I need to continue learning and I need to sit in stillness and reflect. This is what defines me. Include fitness in there and those things need to be done alone for me. That is my recharge time. People exhaust me, I love them but I need that space away – and often, like everyday.

I need to set goals to reach new dreams. Goal setting and dream achieving is simply amazeballs.

So does this means I am fixed and no longer need the Edmonton Tourist Project? Well?

I have been think about that a lot while I run. Running has become my focus and passion lately. Writing is my creative outlet. I am writing 2 books right now. They tumble out of me like movies. That leaves me with nothing left to say on the Edmonton Tourist Project. While my growth continues, I no longer feel blogging about it is the right platform.

That must mean this is the end.

I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have supported me all the way along. I have met incredible bloggy friends along the way, some turned into real life friends, some have drifted away and others have died. This tells me that endings do not have to be bad. Happy endings are lovely too.

Is my blogging career over? NO WAY! I am devoting my writing over at my health and fitness blog called Me and MO. Mo is short for momentum. You can find it HERE or http://justmeandmo.wordpress.com/  It is the same me who looks at life slightly skewed with humor in her brain and wit on the tongue.

I get it if all that running and nutrition talk isn’t for you. I do understand that. It isn’t for everybody. For now it is where I need to be.

Soon I will close this site, revamp it and change it into something different. But I am taking the summer off.

This feels right. It is time to say goodbye to old me and embrace the me I really am. It kind of feels like the final episode of M*A*S*H* and I feel like BJ. Not wanting to say it but needing to.

Keep in touch friends.

MASH_4077_Goodbye_thumb

Suffragette’s, book club and wine

Last night as I prepared for my book club (putting on my boots and walking to my neighbour’s house) my daughter ChatterBox asked me the following question, “What do you do at Book Club?” I gave her my best sinister laugh and replied, “What happens at book club, stays at book club.”

English: British suffragette with a poster, gi...
English: British suffragette with a poster, giving out newspapers Русский: Британская суфражетка с плакатом, раздает газеты или листовки на улице. Позади остановился двухъярусный автобус. Снято до 1919 г. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I then received a history lesson from my 14 year old ChatterBox, “Did you know the Suffragette’s movement started with women gathering for a book club?” That’s my girl! Knowing important history that made her a Person under the Law here in Canada! I always drill into her the importance of Canada’s famous five, the women who stood their ground to change the face of history by getting women the vote. Of course this paved the path for many changes, I don’t want ChatterBox to get too comfortable in thinking this is the end. Human rights shouldn’t have to be fought for, they are a right for a reason.

I asked ChatterBox where she had learned this information. She replied, “I learned it in school.” Then she looked at me as if I was nuts. “Didn’t YOU learn about it in school?” I can honestly say, if I did, I have no recollection of it. I DO remember learning about it the knee of my great grandmother. She raised her 5 kids, her sister-in-law and looked after her mother single handedly while working full time as a teacher on the prairies of Saskatchewan. This was long before the days of equal pay – who are we kidding, there still isn’t equal pay in most positions. My Gram talk to me about the importance of education and how it can change the way people see the world.

I never got the message that educating women would change the world, Gram didn’t specify that. It was implied that boy AND girls should be equally educated. It was important for her to see her granddaughters go to university, her grandsons too…but a larger emphasis on the girls. What if… was likely poking around her mind What if the girls have to make it on their own as I had to.

It is implied that educated men will have great careers and do great things, while educated women become great role models for their children.

Why can women just be great? Men get to be great. I think we are nearing that precipice, but we still have to vigilant. I want both my children to experience the joy of higher education. It has literally transformed me into person who knows less and questions more. Before University I knew more but questioned less. I want this gift for my children.

So ChatterBox, that is what we talk about in Book club. We ask questions we give opinions and we come away knowing more or less than we did before. Either way it becomes food for thought and starts conversations. We do this to honor the traditions of the smart women who came before us and the smart women who come after….and there is wine. I forgot that part.

It’s just not what it use to be

English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie.
English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at the university today in search of actual books. The kind made from paper, glue and ink. The kind of book you open up and sniff that distinctive smell of book. 

It has been a very long time since I read a paper book. I have become the new generation of reader – ereader. I have to admit, I love it. I love having 500 books on my shelf that I carry in my purse. I love that my carry on for airplane trips was light and had room to bring stuff back. In my bag for my last trip I had my iPad, charger cord, tissue, hand sanitizer, and a pashmina. My iPad had a couple of movies and tv shows loaded on it, my New York Times Crossword puzzle, pdfs for university, photo editing software and 500 photos before my trip, 682 hours of music and my beloved book collection. I felt like Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All I needed was a towel. I know there are a lot of you who will tell me you love your books and can’t convert. I am not trying to convert you, but I caution you not to close your mind of because books are going the way of the vinyl album, betamax and vhs tapes, cds, typewritters, tube tvs, space shuttles and Concords. This is just the way it is.

I had a hard time at the campus book store finding the required reading material needed for my next class. Seriously, those dudes are USELESS. I left empty handed and went to Tim Horton’s to drown my sorrows in a steeped tea (because Timmy’s coffee is VILE) I had my iPad with me and I started to google. I discovered the chapters I needed were available for download. SWEET! Into my ereader they went and now I have the added benefit of highlighting, adding notes and working right from the tablet. I found the other book I needed available at the campus library and now it also is installed on my ereader. The best part is, I don’t have to lug around a heavy bag filled with text books and note pads. I don’t worry about pens without ink or other crud I don’t need.

This was true of my kids this year as well. Both my kids have some sort of electronic device for school. The oldest has a lap top, the youngest a iPad. The youngest uses apps that connect her with the smart boards at school. The notes are available on-line, so time is spent exploring the topic rather than copying copious amounts of notes. They both email in their assignments, communicate with their teachers via email and have access to on-line learning labs. My youngest understands her need for some hands on work and notes so I bought her pens, pencils, a binder and some paper. The oldest didn’t need anything but his laptop and an ereader. His library has ebooks that he downloads on his reader. When the due date is up, they disappear. This is also possible through the public library. The need for text books is also going by the wayside. This style is perfect for my eldest’s learning style. He reads it, he retains it, he discusses it in chat rooms or clusters with his peers. It’s all very appealing to my children to learn this way. If they have their laptop, they have their homework. Things are saved to clouds and flash drives. Gone are the days of “I forgot to bring it home”.

Don’t bother telling me they way you use to learn is better. Things evolve and change. There is a huge debate on texting versus spelling out the entire word. Let me just say if we always did things they way we use to, I would be writing this blog on the walls with a chisel. Embrace change, maybe even marvel at it. Sure it isn’t the same but it opens up blocks of time for other things that expand the mind. Less time on core details opens up more time for extra curricular creativity. This helps my kids explore things I never had the opportunity to try.

Wednesday I have a class that takes place in my home. I will fire up my laptop, don my headset and microphone, and discuss stuff online, live with a visual of what my classmates look like. Technically I don’t have to change out of my pajama bottoms, shoulders up is all they see, so I’ll brush my hair, wash my face and wear a clean shirt. I can sit on my deck if it’s nice out. That’s right, I will be living my high school dream from 1984. I will have class outside in the sunshine on Wednesday at 5:00 pm and get stuff done. Give me wifi and I could be by the pool.

Who do I thank for this? Steve Jobs? Steve Wozniak? Bill Gates? If you ask me, they are worth their weight in gold because THIS is awesome. I don’t have to drive in rush hour to get to my class. I don’t have to pay for parking. I don’t have to pack a lunch. I don’t have to wear socks.

Now, I cannot WAIT for work to go all electronic so I can do it from my lounge chair while soaking up the sun.