Anything you can do I can do better

Irving Berlin wrote the song for the musical “Annie Get your Gun”, but I find  this video featuring the Chipmunks (courtesy ktCATSbone ) encapsulates the sentiments in a more meaningful, more relevant manner for today’s audiences.

Yes, Anything you can do I can do better has been a way of life for my family as long as  I can remember. Originally my daughter, the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild was the one trying to keep up with her older brother, The Obnoxious One.

Anything you can do I can do better
I can do anything better than you

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No you can’t

She tried to outdo him on everything, like Halloween costumes

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except I clearly won as the Wicked Witch 😉

and then declared she loved Killer, the dog, way more than he did.

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poor Killer doesn’t look too thrilled with either

My kids tried to outdo each other while on a beach vacation for the prize of silliest-looking and the best skin (after the mask).

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three-way tie

 

As they grew older their antics didn’t stop – just morphed into bigger and more ridiculous sibling rivalry.

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They competed to see:

who was the loudest and most obnoxious? – usually my son, The Obnoxious One but sometimes my dear darling hubby, The Original Obnoxious One won the hotly contested battle

who was the weirdest? – definitely my daughter, The HIppie-Dippie Wildchild

who had the better worst tattoo? –  my son’s was totally overshadowed

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The Obnoxious One’s Tattoo

by my daughter’s, much to my dismay as I am SO not a fan of tattoos.  Sorry folks.

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this tattoo was originally just the phrase from “Dear Prudence”, until she added the tiny sun. Sigh.

And food? When The Obnoxious One came home for the summer after his second year of university with severe sensitivities to gluten and dairy, the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild just had to become vegetarian and ultimately vegan to differentiate herself and outdo her brother. Preparing a healthy meal for the four of us became such a Herculean feat that I soon gave up – and cooked only for my hubby and I. After all, we’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s spicy and fresh and flavourful and homemade and …

By the way, after feeling sluggish and generally lousy for many, many months, the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild finally succumbed to eating seafood a couple weeks ago, and even some meat. Hallelujah!! ‘Cause it’s kinda tough being a healthy, energetic vegetarian, let alone vegan, if one doesn’t eat beans or nuts.

At all.

The latest? Years of competition, heated debates and massive arguments have been replaced with a bare-bones tolerance, a delicate truce between The Obnoxious One and the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild.  Almost. Although I never know when it will blow up completely

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and utterly.

But for now they seem to have found a new source of “fun”, a new opportunity to show off.  Now they compete to see who can buy the most ridiculous, most useless present for their dad,  a conservative business lawyer and senior partner with one of the largest law firms in CanadaAs mentioned in Our Very Own Goddess of Green, for Christmas the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild made a generous donation on his behalf to the British Hen Welfare Trust .  The Original Obnoxious One is now the very proud sponsor of Sky and Sparkle, two thankful British hens who are enjoying the great outdoors for the first time ever .british hen stuff

This lovely donation is the gift that won’t stop giving, because every couple of months he receives something quite lovely, such as this beautiful notebook and two charming greeting cards

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and this fascinating update on Sky and Sparkle’s return to health and happiness

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aren’t they handsome hens!

as well as this informative magazine.

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I do have to wonder though if the postage to send these fine items from the UK all the way to Vancouver BC costs more than the original donation amount?!

For Father’s Day not only did my son The Obnoxious One come home for a great 10 day visit from London, England (first time we saw him since Christmas), but he managed to snag a delightful Father’s Day gift for The Original Obnoxious One. This gift was so thoughtful and so relevant that the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild just couldn’t resist checking it out herself.

 

At the end of the day I just can’t imagine why my children are so competitive and try so hard to outdo each other. Perhaps it’s in their genes. Way, way back in the Dark Ages their father and I met at university in a second year Philosophy class in Logic. Every week the prof gave us quizzes and of course we always checked to see who received the better mark.

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I did of course!

Really!

 

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The Devil’s left Georgia, and has gone up to West Vancouver

Where she’s living in my house.

Yep, last September I sent my daughter, the Weird One, off to university in the UK , but the Demon Child returned home in April 2014.

courtesy iclip.art

courtesy iclip.art

How do I know?

She begged and begged and begged me to get her a summer job at the cafe down the hill, even though she had never worked in a restaurant or coffee shop before. And this was my absolute favourite cafe that I frequent a couple times a week.

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courtesy iclipart.com

Somehow the universe and the stars all aligned and I came through for her; the manager of the coffee shop was an old friend and was looking to hire for the summer. And it’s a 15 minute walk down the hill – I didn’t have to drive her. But the manager soon found a new job and moved on. Meanwhile absolutely everything changed at the cafe and the working environment went totally downhill. For example, the new manager:

forced my daughter to work shifts with people she didn’t like or know

and 

scheduled her for three 8 hour shifts in 3 days thus interfering with her extremely busy social life

plus

she wasn’t allowed to wear Lululemon pants or Uggs!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

But this The Terrible Awful Mother told her to suck it up; I shared with her all the lousy summer jobs I’d had over the years and how I frequently worked two or more jobs at the same time so I’d have enough money for university. When those comments didn’t gain any traction, I told her I would cut off her credit card if she quit her job before finding a new one.

In the meantime my sister and I took our parents on a week long cruise to Alaska to celebrate their both turning 80.embarkation
Yes it was fantastic, but that’s the subject of another blog. Halfway through the cruise, in a very weak moment, I sent my daughter a text message inquiring how she was.

I should’ve known better.

She texted me back that she had quit her job, and predictably I SAW RED.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

When I asked what had happened, she told me that she had a panic attack at work because the environment was toxic and she wasn’t going to let me push her around. She called me names (really, really bad ones) and demanded my support (mentally and financially);  I told her to get a grip and figure out a plan to get another job. A few more choice words flew back and forth, culminating in a 1:00 am screaming match on the cell phone. In the middle of the Alaskan Inside Passage. She threatened to leave home and live with friends and I… I said that was fine. She could either stay, apologize and be respectful or go and live elsewhere.

Such a lovely spot of entertainment in the middle of a cruise far from home IMG_2759Although clearly not far enough!

Her parting words to me:

Honestly if something happens to me it’s all on you. And also after this I want NOTHING to do with you. 

But the very next text said: Can you please put the money on my credit card. I have no money to eat!!!  (despite the fact that I did a humongous food shopping trip just before I left)

And: I found a place on Commercial to stay for the month of August for $300. Can you please chip in.

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the Demon Child’s latest obsession which the coffee shop doesn’t sell

In the mean time The Demon Child revoked my friend status on Facebook.  But hey, it’s important to have your priorities right!

Really!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Tough Being Beautiful…

especially if you’re my daughter, the Weird One.532988_10151643727150290_918872487_nLet me give you a recent example.

Just before dropping my daughter off at university in the UK, we spent a few nights in a tiny room at a chic boutique hotel, located in the exclusive Mayfair area of London. 554806_241007492704389_352912053_nOn our last morning, she woke up rather early – at 4:30 am –  but was kind enough to wait until 7 am to wake me, although 8 am would have been kinder! She was eager to get under way, but this Terrible Awful Mother was lethargic and exhausted. You see, the night before (and the night before, etc.), I’d had to resort to reading in the bathroom, because the bedside light was too bright for the Weird One. As was the reading light on the side of my bed. As was the penlight I brought with me. So, it was either the bathroom or the hall, and the hall was a rather dark and scary place for this Terrible Awful Mother to be sitting on the floor and reading in the middle of the night. But, as lovely as the bathroom was, it was a wee bit cold and cramped  –  for some reason, the toilet is just not a comfortable perch for late night reading.

Anyway, by 7 am the Weird One was in desperate need of croissant and tea, so she ventured off all by herself, for the very first time. When she returned, roughly thirty minutes later, she marched into the room, slammed the door and announced in an extremely grumpy tone of voice,

“Mom, the worst thing just happened to me and I’m so disgusted!”

“What, darling ???!”

“Mom, some old guy just asked me if I was single? I didn’t think Britain was full of weird old men!”

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courtesy iclipart.com

 

“Oh, really?” what to say?!

“Yes! First of all, it’s way too early in the morning for a stranger to talk to me on the street.”

“Well dear, he was probably just on his way to work.”

“Then Mom, it was so creepy ’cause he was so old – he must’ve been at least 30!”

At least 30 – trying very hard not to laugh, and to actually take her seriously, I asked the Weird One what he said, exactly.

“Well, he told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and then he asked me if I was single.”  And yes folks, she was mad. Livid, in fact! “But Mom, it was early in the morning, and I had no make-up on and he was really, really old!!!”

“I see. You know, most girls (like me) would take that as a complement.”

“Oh, gross, Mom!  It was way too early in the morning and 30 is just way too old for me!”

On the bright side, I guess I don’t have to worry about her having daddy issues or bringing home older men. For now, anyway.

Really!

A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there were two sisters who were nine years apart in age.  Even though they loved each other very much, they couldn’t be more different from one another.

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One had fine blond hair, while the other had curly dark brown hair.

One was average height, while the other was statuesque.

One excelled at school, particularly in English and Mathematics, while the other excelled at sports, especially in swimming and volleyball.

One was cautious and introverted and found solace in reading fiction, while the other was effervescent and gregarious and loved to hang out with friends.

One maintained virtually the same hair colour and style for over twenty years, while the other changed the colour and style of her hair on a monthly basis.

One pierced her ears as a teenager (just one hole in each lobe), while the other pierced each ear numerous times, and got a small tattoo or her ankle, followed fifteen years later by a larger one on her lower back.

One was determined to pursue a highly successful financial career, and the other set her sights on marrying the love of her life and being a stay-at-home mom.

One embraced a conservative outlook on life, while the other thrived on a seat-of the-pants approach.

One moved across the country to live on the wet West Coast, while the other moved to a subdivision within an hours drive of where they grew up.

Eventually each sister did get married and each sister did pursue a career, one in accounting and one in recreation therapy. Each sister had two children, a girl and a boy. As time went by, however, they traded aspirations, so that the conservative accountant became the stay-at-home mother and the outgoing athlete became the manager of many.

When the older sister’s daughter turned eighteen, and that daughter went to university far, far away, the older sister wondered: had the universe played a joke on the two sisters? After all, her crazy, charismatic, bohemian daughter had long brown hair (before she dyed it pink – yep, the latest!), numerous piercings (including a recent nose stud), a tattoo (still just one – fingers crossed), and desperately wanted to save the world from itself.1097285_10153091960670290_1898675884_o

The younger sister, meanwhile, had a daughter with blond hair, who was cautious and careful, who enjoyed the orderly nature of mathematics, the quiet pleasure of reading, and who lived for dance – jazz, ballet and hip-hop.527614_10151435117720084_1288564314_n

I think someone somewhere is laughing at us, big time. The good thing is …IMG_0933-001

we’re laughing right back. Really!

I’m a survivor but… I’ve had a couple close calls lately

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent the past few weeks, but I really am still in one piece. Yes, I did take my daughter, the Weird One/Demon Child to the UK for some last minute mother/daughter bonding before delivering her to this university.IMG_2196In a timezone eight hours ahead of my own. And yes, it actually was rather traumatic for me.

Beforehand we did have a few grand adventures – walking and hiking and 1272404_10153182640500290_1963781292_oshopping and hanging out.1268644_10153182634665290_1346345177_oAnd glaring and fighting and huffing and puffing.IMG_2148

Yep, we had them all. After a wonderfully busy, entirely rewarding and absolutely infuriating week with her, I headed home to do laundry, clean the house, put it back up forsale once again and then…pack up. Again. For another trip to Europe.

Okay, confession time – this is where I almost, well kind of, feel like one of those decadent and spoiled housewives of Vancouver.  But here’s the thing – 10 months ago my husband, the adorable Captain Dumb Dumb, and I decided that after all the excitement and drama of the past year, we needed a real vacation together, desperately. And I didn’t want to be home alone with Franklinstein,crying my eyes out 1186787_10151796775032492_987179013_nafter turning into an empty nester overnight.

So five days after seeing my daughter off to university, my husband and I headed to Italy for almost three weeks. There, I’ve said it. So that’s why I’ve been rather remiss of late.

But I will tell you this. I did find myself in dire straits several times with the Demon Child and I did fear for my life. And for hers. The worst episode occurred on our very first morning together. After travelling for roughly twenty-four hours, through more time zones than either one of us could count, we finally dragged ourselves into a lovely hotel in Cornwall overlooking the ocean. IMG-20130830-00155Although we were both exhausted, sleep took awhile to claim me, whereas the Demon Child started snoring the moment her head hit the pillow (just like her dad – I really HATE people like that!). So the next morning, when I could have and should have slept until noon, or later, there was one minor glitch: the Demon Child woke me up at 6 am, after a measly 5 hour snooze,  screaming in my ear:

“MOM, you drank my contact lenses! How could you? You PROMISED me last night that you wouldn’t! I HATE you!!!”

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Somewhere in the dim dark recesses of my foggy brain I recalled the fact that the Demon Child had forgotten to pack her contact lens case. She packed everything else – including the kitchen sink – but no contact lense case. SO she carefully placed each of her contacts in a glass of water, in the bathroom, on the sink. I must have gotten up at some point to use the toilet and drink some water.

Should I be blamed for her stupidity? 

But it was the very first morning of our trip together, and she was ultra-nervous about the whole univerity thing – the people, the profs, the school, her classes. So after some swearing and screeching, we made up; I apologized and she accepted  And our trip resumed. Oh,we had quite a few more tense moments – like when she accused me of expecting too much of hotels or of complaining too much or of snoring too much or of being too conservative or too lazy – but at the end of the day we had a great time together.

Sometimes keeping the peace is more important than being right – at least that’s what I tell myself! Really?! What do you think?

You can’t handle the truth!!!

You may remember that we entered a brand new era in my household. A hint that the universe was unfolding as it should. An indication that perhaps, just maybe,this Terrible Awful Mother had done an okay job raising her children. Yes, this summer both of my children friended me on Facebook. This took some trial and error on my part: learning that I should observe but not “like”, that I could read but not “comment”, that I could post photos but not tag. But just when I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it, disaster struck . In a most unlikely and unforeseen manner.

As my daughter , the WeirdOne, (recently the Demon Child) is spending her first year of university in the UK, various hoops needed to be jumped through, numerous forms needed to be filled out and several interviews needed to occur. However, paperwork and busy work and organization are not the Weird Ones forte; as a typical kid with ADHD, she thrives on creative and stimulating circumstances, bizarre friends from every walk of life, music, dancing and of course, chocolate and Nutella.

But give me a situation to analyze, criteria to review, paperwork to plough through….well those are things that this accountant can cope with. I may not thrive on them, but I can certainly handle them.
So it turns out that because the Weird One is spending more than six months in the UK, she needed a special visa. To obtain that, she had to fill out a number of forms and schedule a compulsory interview with the representative of the British consulate. I sent her a text confirming when this was happening.But a better time became available and I may have neglected forgotten to tell text inform her of the change. Maybe that’s one reason they call me the Terrible Awful Mother . The night before, I reminded my daughter and guess what happened: the Demon Child appeared in all her glory. And then some.

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courtesy iclipart.com

Apparently a very good friend of hers planned to get a tattoo at that particular time on that particular day and it was of the utmost importance that my daughter accompany her. The Weird One gave her word after all. My husband and I tried talking to her. We tried rationalizing the situation. We tried bribing her. And yes we yelled at her. Finally I threatened to contact her friend on Facebook and explain the situation. Turns out that was the last straw for the Demon Child.

“You are a Terrible Awful Mother! You can’t handle Facebook! You can’t handle the truth and you certainly can’t handle being my friend!”

And with a quick click that was it. Not only was I defriended but I was also blocked. Banned. Back to square one. Rats!

Half an hour later she informed me that she had spoken with her friend and that the timing of said tattoo had changed and that my daughter could now attend her interview. But I was still defriended and still blocked.

About a week later my status was reinstated and all was well once again.

So here’s the thing. Summer is now over and I am on route to the UK with the Weird One. Just the two of us. No husband, no son, no Franklinstein. We are spending 7 nights and 7 days together before I deliver her to the University. Will there be blood? Will there be casualties?
Only time will tell.

Stay tuned and wish me luck. Lots and lots and lots of luck.

Really!

P.S. I am posting on my iPad rather than my desktop computer, so feel like a total blogging newbie. Please bear with me. 🙂

How to influence people and land the job of your dreams

Wandering the streets San Francisco the past few days while my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, attends a work conference,

courtesy  Paul.h at wikipedia

courtesy Paul.h at wikipedia

I’ve had time to ponder how to influence people and land the job of your dreams.   I thought I knew a thing or ten about this, but I will grudgingly freely admit that the Original Obnoxious One is a master at it – hands are shaken, witty jokes are made and business cards exchanged. Apparently some of this personality and piazzas has rubbed off on our son, the Obnoxious One as he clearly has the gift of the gab and the charm of the Irish. (just not the luck – yet!)

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

The Obnoxious One landed a plum position interning at a very successful property management company for a month and then somehow talked his way into interning for a small law practice. I know, just what the world needs these days is another lawyer, but hey, a guy’s got to pursue his dreams.  And it could’ve been worse – he could have decided to become an accountant like his dear old mom. Really!

As for my daughter, the Weird One, what we did expect? Well, to be honest, I never know what to expect, but don’t you worry – the Demon Child  is never totally out of sight. Back in June, a week before school ended, the Weird One decided she should look for a job. The past several summers she’s worked at a YMCA residential camp,

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

but was determined to do something different this summer. Since she didn’t get her act together until late, I wasn’t very hopeful, but  I thought maybe she could get a job as a barista. After all, in Vancouver we take our coffee very, very seriously, so there are  tons and tons and tons of coffee shops.  While she did apply to a few, she thought she’d have a better chance of getting something at the new local food market as a number of her friends work there.  So she filled out the paper work and lo and behold they set up an interview with her. There was only one problem – the interview was the day after school ended. Not to worry though, as her appointment was set for 2 pm.

So the day of the interview, she set her alarm for 1 pm…and then slept in until 2:00! I ‘d been up and out of the house for hours, not thinking about my darling daughter. Until I heard her scream screech, “MOM!!!”

I advised her to phone and apologize profusely, and then ask politely if they could reschedule her interview.  Somehow my advice went in one ear and out the other, for this is the conversation I heard:

“Hi there, my name is xxx and I have an interview today at 2:30 but unfortunately I slept in because I’m so jet lagged and I’m really sorry but I’m so jet lagged ’cause I just got back from Europe, and yeah, I’m so jet lagged ’cause I was in Paris for a few days…

The Weird One's last visit to Paris in 2008

The Weird One’s most recent visit to Paris was in 2008

 but I’m really interested in your company, but I was just in Paris and still really jet lagged, but now I really want to work as a cashier or shelf – stocker or anything, so do you think I could come see you later today for my interview?”

While the poor person on the other end of the conversation responded to the preposterous story spun but the Weird One, I gaped at my darling daughter in amazement.

“Oh, I see, so today won’t work and you can only see me a week today? Okay, well, I’m really really sorry and I promise I’ll be on time next week and I promise I won’t be jet lagged! And yes, Paris was nice. Thank you very much.”

Darling, it’s one thing to tell a tiny little white lie, but a whopper?! We are not the kind of folks who fly off Paris every other weekend for a couple of days. You do  realize a direct flight from Vancouver, which is tough to get, is at least 10 hours ?!

“Mom, I know…I was just so tired I didn’t know what I was saying.”

Surprisingly enough she did not land the job, so in the end she had to decided to take the summer off. 1040242_10152991537715290_34277843_oReally!