Dear Homework, Bite Me

Dear Homework,

You frustrate me.

There are days where you support me and make me feel special and smart. Those days I love you. I love how you make me think, look for the secret ingredient or challenge me in a positive way. I love it when you are easy and I can finish you in a snap. I love it when you help me learn something that enhances my job my work performance or make my relationships better. But lately you really piss me off.

I am frustrated that you do not respect my short comings. I am not a logical thinker. I am intuitive. Yet you force me to step outside my comfort zone, ask people for help, and generally make me feel like an idiot. I do not like it when you tease me with a possible short evening and here I sit night after night re-reading chapters trying to better understand them, but the information is freaking boring it flies out the window as I dream about places I’d rather be.

I also do not appreciate how you laugh at my schedule. You know darn well I am currently walking around, sleeping with my eyes open and yet you demand more. I have reached my limit. How do I know this? Chicken Hawk has come to work to fill in for Looby Loo. Her enthusiasm and energy put me to shame. I WANT TO BE LIKE THAT AGAIN!!! I think I have taken on too much. I dream of the day where I will only be busy and not bogged down. I want to play homework but you make me stay home. I can’t even go on a family picnic tomorrow because you are mean to me homework. NOT COOL!

How would YOU like it if I made you draw and paint, or blog and go to the Art Gallery or worse a MOVIE. You wouldn’t like THAT very much, would you? I should say not. Homework, you have even prevented me from laying on  my lounger on the back deck. Homework, my legs are PASTEY WHITE homework, white like that paste that weird kid in grade one ate. Again, NOT COOL! You are mean to me homework, plain old mean.

I do not want to hear it is for my own good, or this is the consequences of my actions. Shut Up Homework! No YOU Shut Up! I will never forgive you for making June suck.

…well… okay, I might forgive you one day.

I can picture that day very clearly in my head. That is the day I wear a cap and gown, walk across the stage to collect my MBA. I doubt I will be forgiving you that day. I will likely be thanking you.

Until then homework, you suck and you know it.

Yours Truly with No love at all,



Please Don’t Tell Me Anything, My Brain is Already Full.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

Today was one of those “bone weary” days. I know you get them. The kind where your joints and muscles ache, your skin hurts, and your eyes hurt to look at stuff. I brought it all on myself.

I had the intention of going to bed early-ish last night. Early for me is between 10:oo and 11:00 pm. I am a night owl. I feel recharged after dark and do not understand the need for early-risers to be so chipper ( yes honey this means you). Life got in the way last night, between writing letters to political members and watching Craig Ferguson, I procrastinated long enough that I went to bed 15 minutes before the pumpkin hour.

The stress is starting to build in my new Tourist Life. You know how I can tell? I cannot remember a single thing I am supposed to do. My brain fell out. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I have pregnancy brain. I don’t, there is no way I am pregnant. If I was I would give the baby to my sister for Christmas. No, that is not the problem, but I think I know what is.

My Brain is Full.

Who knew there was a capacity? I thought there was a potential for infinite learning! So the question now is, how do I let go of the stuff I don’t need? My dad calls it a fountain of useless knowledge. I know a lot of crazy and obscure facts. Like…Who holds the record for the longest Goal Scoring streak on the Edmonton Oilers?

A> Wayne Gretzky?

B> Dave Lumely?

C>Ryan Smythe?

D> Paul Coffee?

Nope you are wrong – except my friend from Jr. High who knows this stuff too. B> Dave Lumely. Or this one, It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Or did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. If you are playing trivial pursuit, you want me on your team. I caution you, I am very competitive and wont let you answer a thing, but we will win.

I use to remember everything from all the data reports I needed for team meetings, my kids schedules, my husbands schedule, school volunteer events and dates, every birthday of every person I know, my telephone number and bank money transactions. Now I can’t even tell you what my favorite colour is! I thank Steve Jobs everyday that I have an iPhone and I know how to use it! It is so simple to use, I don’t need to remember how, it just happens. PHEW! Because without the calendar,  notes, email and contact list I would be curled up in the corner weeping uncontrollably. A friend and colleague at work today said the brain works differently with a hormone fluctuation. Well, I AM getting old, and hormones work differently, but I don’t think that is it. My Brain is full and I need to do something about it because school work and day work needs to fit in there. Hopefully one day my brain will be back in top-notch shape

So here is the plan, I am not going to take responsibility for non-essentials anymore. If you need to get to volleyball practice, set your alarm or tell your dad. If you need to plan a baby shower for a friend, email me what I need to bring. If you don’t, I won’t remember and you will be disappointed. If you are unsure how to operate the data bases at work , look it up in the manual on the black shelf, everything you need to know is in that book , no in the white one. If you need me to buy groceries, sorry I can’t. I walk in and just stand there looking at the pretty colours and forget why I am there. Email me if you need something. If I have it in my phone, I can do it.

Other wise, forget it, my brain is full.

Hi I’m Julie McCoy, and I’ll be your Ship’s Cruise Director!

The Love Boat
Image via Wikipedia

I have spent the better part of my Sunday engaged in homework for my University Course. I was at work long before the offspring decided to emerge from their warm cozy beds at the first sign of breakfast. By time Offspring #2 said good morning, I had completed 2 of 4 minor assignments,with research and reading still needing to be done for the day. The first thing out of her mouth was “So, what are we doing today?” I almost growled “homework” but the sound was much more civil than a growl. A large sigh emerged from her lips and she sat down to visit her friends via Facebook.

Flashes of my youth appeared before my eyes. The ages of One to Four of my life are remembered as “shhhh your dad is studying”. I remember Dad hiding away in the deep dungeon of a basement, surrounded by concrete walls, one insignificant window and the smell of damp basement. In the corner opposite the stairs, sat his desk, comfortable office chair and a desk lamp,with a view of the washer and dryer. Those were the days of typewriters, pens and paper. After dinner, I would sneak to the top of the stairs and peer through the railing to spy on my dad. Mostly to see if he was actually busy, but perfectly happy just to get a glimpse of him. On days that he was at the library, my brother and I would sneak down and sit in THE CHAIR. We would take turns spinning each other and giggling ourselves into dizzy oblivion. We could not imagine our Dad to be so lucky as to have this chair to sit in for hours on end.

In contrast, I am luckier I suppose. I am also located in the basement but my walls are dry-walled and painted White Chocolate. The light streaming in is from large windows in a “walk-out” basement. The floors are cork and possess in-floor heating. Over my work space is a rather large map of Disneyland that I look at from time to time to gain inspiration from all those creative spirits before me. I am thankful for the good fortunes that have afforded me these luxuries compared to my father’s study hall.

Friday Nights were designated as Family Night. Dad would emerge from the dungeon ready for a break. Our family would go in search of inexpensive and free things to do. I often remember going for drives through Millcreek with the final destination being Dairy Queen. My brother and I would be bathed and dressed in our pajamas. We would pile into the car either with my Grandparents or just are small family. Off to our destination we would go leaving the ‘burbs headed for the city. In those days, the Dairy Queen was just an ice cream stand. It was a seasonal shop where you waited in line outside. My brother and I would order a soft serve dipped cone, my mom would often get a small marshmallow sundae and my father, without fail, would order a butterscotch milkshake. We would take the scenic route home, driving around looking at people’s homes or beautiful gardens. Usually we were asleep before the car was parked for the night with mom and dad carrying us up to bed. Sleeping or not, we would fake it to get the lift to our rooms.

I loved the undivided attention of my parents. So does the Chatterbox. She often is seeking parental attention of some form. You can often hear her say “So, what are we doing today?” As if I am the Omnipotent Being responsible for her personal entertainment. She often makes me feel like I should have been born Julie McCoy, Love Boat’s Cruise Director.

Yesterday, the Chatterbox and I went in search of clothing specific to our impending trip to Europe. We spent the better part of the afternoon laughing and looking for items that would make our stay more comfortable. While walking through Edmonton’s historical district of Old Strathcona, we stumbled upon The Walterdale Playhouse Open House. Immediately she led me through the doors knowing I would follow. We were given a tour of the main-stage and back stage. Shown how they magically transform plain people into characters that fill your imagination. Shown how they use paint and light to create elaborate illusions of grandeur. The Walterdale Playhouse is located in the old fire hall and still maintains the bell tower. 10 minutes before each production the bell is rung, signaling the need for patrons to find their seats. Chatterbox was given the opportunity to ring the bell high above Old Strathcona, telling the community that she was indeed ready to be an actress. We left armed with information of upcoming auditions, tips and a sense that we really enjoyed our time spent there as well as with each other. Our day was far from over, but the Walterdale Playhouse did enhance the rest of our experience together. We found shoes, drank ice tea at Starbucks, took crazy self-portraits together. The moments that were memorable, were unplanned. Just like Friday nights to Dairy Queen when Dad would burst into song and sing the Tennessee Bird Walk, or my brother would tell a funny story about the trouble he got into that day.

I need to remember the importance of Julie McCoy. I need to keep scheduling family time together so we can create more memorable moments as a family. I can do that. I can take a night or a day off every week to have family time. Lesson learned Mom and Dad! Thank you again for being spectacular role models that taught me everything I needed to know about being a great mom.

You can always find time to do what matters most.

But I Don’t Want to do My Homework!!

Island Lake, Alberta 2010
Image by Gord McKenna via Flickr

Have you ever had an Angel Intervention? You know what I mean. Oprah talks about them all the time. It is when someone slips into your life or a part of your day for just a moment, but their presence is life altering. That happened to me today at 7:15 PM MST.

Everyone has little or big Angel moments. Think about it.

When I was 4, my grandparents took me up to the cottage at Island Lake near Athabasca most weekends. They always brought me without my siblings because A) my brother was a handful and a half – maybe he was several handfuls and B) My sister wasn’t even a glint in my mother’s eye when I was 4. My aunt/sister/best-friend, who is 5 years and 8 months older than me, always was stuck with me for a playmate by default. She was the youngest, I was the oldest and together we ruled the world! One particular weekend, a friend of the family came with us. His parents were going through a divorce and my Grandma brought him with us for a vacation from his life. My Aunt had a serious crush on him, and I thought he was cute. Keep in mind, I was 4, she was almost 10 and he was 12. The rule was no going down to the lake without a life jacket. It didn’t matter if you were on the beach, the pier, a boat or the grass in front of the cottages. NO LIFE-JACKET, NO BUSINESS BEING THERE. Period. No exceptions.

Well, somehow it was decided that the two older bad influences should take the boat out on the lake and just cruise around. I had to go because I was the chaperone. So away we went with the 12-year-old in charge because he was so manly. Straight to the middle of the lake we went, and promptly ran out of gas. The boat had a small leak, so it was my job to bail with a bean can. Somehow only one paddle was in the boat and around in circles we went trying in vain to reach the shore. There were no life-jackets on any of us. If we took the time to wear a life-jacket, then Grandpa would know we were at the beach. We didn’t want him to know, because the boat was off-limits and rightly so.

So there was me sobbing my little heart out because I could not keep up with the water coming into the boat. There was Thing One and Thing Two, trying in vain to get us to shore. I was crying so hard it became hysterical screams. I never heard the rescue boat pull up beside us. All I remember is two giant arms of steel lifting me out of the boat and hold me tight. My Grandpa Saved me.

He always said that God gave us Angels so we wouldn’t die before the age of 5 because kids are always looking for trouble. Something or someone whispered in his ear that day to come to the middle of the lake to rescue us. That was a BIG Angel moment.

I have had smaller moments, like when my oldest offspring ran away from home at the age of 2. He pushed on every fence board until he found the way out. He went to the garage sale around the corner and a woman walked with him until he showed her where he lived. Clearly an Angel told him. Or the time when  my youngest was paralyzed with serum sickness and no one knew what it was until the BEST DOCTOR IN THE WORLD said, he was just reading about this rare but deadly illness. An Angel Moment.

Well another Angel moment happened for me at 7:15 PM MST. I was eating dinner with my family when the doorbell rang, my dear sweet friend was at the door with an envelope for me. We spoke briefly, then I went back to dinner. Tonight when I was doubting why I was back at school with a work load that depresses me, thinking I will never get through the homework and reading assignments, I looked at the envelope and opened it. Inside was a simple yet beautiful note telling me what a great role model I am to my offspring, showing them that the power of education, dedication and self fulfillment is an amazing thing. So while I read my reading assignment and made notes, answered the assigned questions, I had this lovely note cheering me on. It was EXACTLY what this tourist need tonight. So Thank You to the Angel who whispered in my friend’s ear to write that note. To my friend, Thank You for listening to the whisper in your ear. I love you for it and for many many other reasons.

I would love to hear your Angel stories. If you are to shy to post them to the world, please think about emailing me