An Open Letter to my Daughter

There is so much that I want to say about the election results. So, so much. I’m not even American, and yet I feel the shock waves so deeply, and fear what this outcome will mean for our world. I feel for the parents who have to explain to their children that an under-qualified and hateful individual now is in a position of power, and especially for the parents who now have to be concerned for their child’s safety based on the color of their skin, the religion they choose to practice, or how they identify their sexuality. I feel for the educators today, who will have to go into classrooms and answer questions from children who are scared for what this means. I feel for the people in the States who are not white males, because real talk? Unless you are a white male in the United States right now, it is clear that your new President does not have your best interests at heart.

The election is over, and we cannot change the results. What we CAN do, is offer love, acceptance and kindness to all those who need it. So today, as you wait for the bus, or wait in line for your coffee, or call customer service to complain about your recent purchase – remember that what our world needs now, is love. Smile at the person who takes your order, say hello to those waiting with you, speak with compassion and not anger, build connections, spread love, and be the change that you want to see in this world.

There is so much more to be said… but right now… right now my focus is on how this impacts the most important people in my life. Specifically, my daughter.

Dear  Little One,

My hope is that I can help shape a world in which you are safe to express your opinions, in which you are not held back due to your sex, and in which people of all race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation are treated with the same level of respect as a human being. I hope that my generation can have a positive impact on important issues such as climate control, and that I can leave this world a better place than I entered it. I am most concerned that I raise you to be a kind, loving, accepting person who cares for those around you and who actively works to have a positive impact on our world. I pray that you know your worth in this world, that your opinion is just as valid as any male, that you deserve to have your own space in this world, and that your body is your own and no one can tell you what to do with it.

Today, the world was shocked when we found out that someone who embodies the exact OPPOSITE of all of those sentiments was elected into the White House, and now holds the highest office of one of the most influential countries in our developed world. As scary as that is, what is even more paralyzing is the sheer number of individuals who put him there, and the commentary that makes on the majority of society as a whole.

My job as a parent just got harder. I will have to be diligent in my efforts to actively SHOW you, and all those around you, kindness, love, and acceptance as we move through life together. I will have to ensure that I teach you that despite the ugliness of the world, there is good, and that good will prevail. I will teach you that no matter how grim something may seem, there is always hope, and to never compromise your values or your convictions. I will have to double my efforts to create an environment for you where you know love and encouragement, where I push you to grow and learn, where I hopefully help you develop confidence and bravery to unabashedly be your true self.

I will also have to teach you that sometimes… sometimes my girl, the bad guy wins the fight. But they do not win the war. That is a promise that God made to all of us, and all I can do is do my best to protect you from the ugliness in the world, while equipping you with the tools you will need to protect yourself when I am no longer able to do it for you.

Many people in our world are scared today, and you are too young to understand why. One day, students will learn about this election in their history classes, and my most fervent hope for the world is that the lesson they take away from this, is that our country – our WORLD – is stronger together than divided, that hatred, racism and sexism are not tolerable, and that all humans were meant to be EQUAL.

The world may have gotten a little bit scarier today, but I will never stop trying to make it a better place for you to grow up in.

I love you

Mama

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Hello Again! Plus an open letter to women.

Hello Internet! I’m back!

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I was recently asked if I would post a guest blog on a friends site, which I was happy to do. I had no idea what to write, so I sat down and thought for about a minute, and then wrote passionately from the heart about something I feel EXTREMELY vocal on. And I published it. And then I thought “man Sara, you need your own blog.” So I came to WordPress to start my own blog.

Only it turns out.. I already had. Fancy that!

I re-read the few blog posts I had made, and hoo boy, have I changed. I am in an entirely different place in my life right now. The girl below that could not use her oven can now not only use it, but use it with EASE people. I have conquered the oven.

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Thank you Kanye. I will be voting for you for President in 2020. #keepingupwiththewhitehouse

(Just kidding. I’m Canadian and can’t vote for the President which should NOT be Kanye)

Anyway Internets. I am going to be blogging again. Prepare yourself. And because I am going to be blogging again, I am going to re-post what I guest posted on the other blog. So here we go:

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I want to thank Miranda for allowing me to take over guest post on her blog. My name is Sara, and I am a 29 (gasp) year old mother to one amazing tiny human, with an equally amazing partner in life.

We like to party, we like, we like to party match our outfits from time to time because what says I love you more than matching PJs?

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Accidentally being so in tune that you all wear stripes. That’s what. (no I did not pick out these outfits and stage a photo op. This actually happened. By accident. And my child loves us, she is just a very serious individual. We call her “Blue” as in Steel. Is this possibly the longest use of parentheses ever? Discuss.)

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I am a dancer, a studio owner, an accountant, and writer wannabe who always has something to say, and grateful for this platform to be able to say it. (Incoming shameless self promotion. Motion Dance Centre is awesome, go check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/motiondancecentre)

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Without further adieu, I am about to get long winded and mildly rant-y.

I have a wise, wise friend. Several of us were having a discussion about changing bodies and about not always being happy with those changes. She had this to say, and I just LOVE it:

“Your body is an amazing thing. The size you were when you were 3 is not the size you will be at 7, 9, 14, 19, or (God help me) 40. Your body does amazing things. It had to go through puberty, bearing children, and now it is trying to find itself. Who will it be??? There is nothing wrong with curves. Curves on curves make for a beautiful & unique creation. Finding the beauty in the new curves is the challenge. Part of your challenge today is to look at one part of you… be it your eyes, your ears, your legs, your boobs. Just look at it and focus on it. Look at your inner self and say “I love my right boob”. Or maybe its your left. Or your ear lobe. Are you smiling yet? Good. You are beautiful. You are loved. And you are you.”

Excuse me while I go cry all the tears, and write this down and save it to show to my kid one day when she inevitably hates her body. Society has women everywhere hating their body, hating their shape, wishing they could change it to look more like *insert photoshopped image here (and no I will not insert a photoshopped image of a perfect body because they are all unrealistic and rarely attainable through healthy means)* and try as we might to celebrate who we are and what each individual looks like, we STILL sit around and complain that we aren’t where we want to be. Because despite campaigns by Dove and skinny fit celebrities telling us they love cheeseburgers while wearing a bikini with 0% body fat, women are not buying it. Women are saying that yes, I love myself, and then STILL saying to their friends “oh I hate my thighs/legs/butt/stomach/insert body part here”.

I went searching for pictures to add here because y’all, I love a good picture. Here is one from 5 years ago:

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I really do love this human. He cannot make a normal face in a picture for the life of him and it is insanely attractive to me. We hiked Cape Split in and back and we didn’t die and so we were so. freaking. HAPPY.

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Here is pregnant me 4 years later. Note the uncomfortable smile. It could be the 70 pound weight gain pregnancy brought me. It could be the fact that there was a small life form kicking my bladder like a kid with a soccer ball. Lots of reasons to be uncomfortable during pregnancy, most justified, because uncomfortable comes with the territory of being blessed to grow a life inside you.

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Here I am just over a year from the pregnancy photo, hiding behind my daughter. Like literally, hiding. And trying to hide slightly behind my handsome partner and his adorable crooked smile. (Can you tell I love this man?)

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Uncomfortable. Hiding behind my kid. Refusing to have the lower portion of my body photographed. (I swear she’s a happy baby!)

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Told ya.

Back to my point.

I am a work in progress. I am doing the 21 day fix, I am finding new workouts to add into the mix, I am experimenting with what I eat and when I eat and how that affects how I look and feel. I am working towards a goal, and am excited by my progress. But my life is not a before and after shot. I do not want to be ashamed of my “during” phase any longer. I do not want to hide while I am working on me, and I refuse to sit around while friends of mine do the same.

SO HI THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW (actually it’s me 3 weeks ago, but right now I am at a desk writing and working and that doesn’t make for a very effective picture)

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Women, STOP beating yourself up. STOP focusing on what is wrong and START focusing on what is right. Find that part of your body that you love, and tell yourself you are beautiful. You are unique. You are wonderful. Because you ARE! Whether you are a size 2 or a size 20, I don’t care. You are beautiful. If the issue is that you don’t feel healthy then guess what, there are tons of ways to fix that – ask me about how I got to a healthier place, and I am happy to share! But please. My fellow women. Lets love ourselves. Lets tell ourselves that we are enough, that right now, we are beautiful, and we are wonderful. It is ok to want to change your body and to get healthy, but it is not ok to hate yourself and say negative things about your body. If you want to change, lets change. But do it because you love your body, not because you hate it.

Love yourself. Today.

Until next time,
S

Hello Matt Bomer.

I did not blog yesterday. There are two reasons for that.

#1. I came down with the flu. And 1-b, I am a huge baby when I am sick, and wish to only lay on the couch and watch crappy television until I feel better.

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#2. While looking for crappy television to watch, I discovered the show White Collar. And more importantly, I discovered that the hot guy from Magic Mike who played the Ken doll in one scene – don’t pretend you don’t know exactly who I mean – is the star of White Collar, and gets shirtless often.

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I won’t tell you how many episodes I watched, because you will likely judge. Seasons one through three. Shhhh

And yes, I did just spend an extraordinarily long time on Google trying to find the perfect shirtless image of him to put up. You’re welcome

Anyway. When you are sick, and when Boyfriend is still away, the cooking and the cleaning can wait a day. Everyone needs a day to just relax and stare at Matt Bomer. So.. go ahead. Here he is.

Matt Bomer in The New Normal Episode 1.12

Today, I decided to try out a relatively easy task. Bread in the breadmaker. Boyfriend bought it for me forever ago, and I remember as a kid I used to love the smell of homemade bread baking in the kitchen. And then when it comes out, all hot and fresh, smelling delicious.. well that’s when I forget that carbs are evil, and I eat a bunch of slices of bread.

SO. My breadmaker came with a recipe booklet, with specific instructions. Yay!

I put everything in, in exactly the order it suggested. I even played some music, and sang encouraging songs to the ingredients and the machine in hopes that it wouldn’t turn against me and burn my house down, a la Bagel-gate 2012.

I waited a few hours, as the machine thwock-thwock-thwocked away, creating something delicious for me to eat for lunch. It dinged off, and I ran to open it, eager for some delicious fresh made bread, all made by ME!

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Alas, it looked like this.

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What. The. Fudge.

If anyone has any ideas of what I did wrong here, help a sister out in the comments section please? I’ll just go enjoy some store made bread while I wait.

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My morning routine before work used to be shower, get presentable, get on the bus where I would read notes, try and get a jump start on emails or sometimes sleep. Once I got off the bus, I would buy a coffee at either Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, and head to work. At work, I would drink another cup or two from the Keurig machine.

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Today I have an interview (YAY!) I am getting ready for so I figured I should try and stick to the routine in order to be in the mindset of an employed person. Because honestly, mind of matter, and if you put your mind to it you can do anything, and all that other stuff your parents tell you. Right? But with no income, I don’t exactly want to start spending Boyfriend’s money to buy expensive coffees, especially when we have stuff to make coffee here.

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By stuff, I mean a fancy French press, and coffee grinds that Boyfriend brought home from Columbia on his last work trip there. He came in with them like he was Juan Valdez, all proud to be giving me authentic Columbian coffee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but I never really bothered to figure out how to make it. If he was making some, he’d make me a cup too, but mostly I bought my coffee or used a k cup.

The point of my rambles, my dear blogosphere, is to take a minute and marvel at the fact that even something like coffee is not in my repertoire. I sometimes wonder how I made it this far without either dying of starvation or becoming really fat. I think I owe Boyfriend a big thank you for all the years of cooking.

So the lesson of the morning is: when using a French press, put in the coffee and water before you put in the smushy thing. Otherwise, you end up with a cup full of water and coffee grinds. And a really big mess when you take it apart to clean it.

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Baking, burning. Same difference.

So today I had two tasks. Bake a cake for my Dad’s birthday, and clean the bathroom.

Ok, three tasks. Figure out how to work the oven, then bake a cake for my Dad’s birthday, and clean the bathroom. First step, assemble the ingredients.

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Second step, realize you need eggs. And vegetable oil. And because you never cook or bake, realize these are two things you just do not have. So get in your car, go to the grocery store, buy required add-ins, and come back home feeling mildly inconvenienced.

Third step, add all cake ingredients to the one mixing bowl you own. Look for beaters. Realize you have no idea where Boyfriend keeps them, so instead grab a really big wooden spoon and start stirring.

Question. Is cake mix supposed to look clumpy?!

Fourth step, preheat the oven. The package gives so many options for dark pans, light pans, muffin tins. Wait. Muffins?! I’m not prepared for this. Start to panic when you realize that not only do you not know what sort of cake pan you are using because YOU DON’T OWN A CAKE PAN but also that you don’t know why pressing 3-5-0 and the ON button isn’t working.

So yes. This is when you start texting friends, who are used to your crazy requests, and who are not phased by getting a text saying “Is my oven broken? It won’t turn on”. Someone suggests you read the instruction manual, which of course you don’t have. Finally, you find a button that says PREHEAT. Hallelujah! Preheat the oven, and feel mighty accomplished with yourself for making it this far.

What step are we on now? Five. Put cake into cake pan, and put in oven once it is preheated. But of course, you don’t own a cake pan. And you do not want to take another trip to the grocery store to get one.

Side bar: Do grocery stores actually sell cake pans? Discuss.

Anyway, step five. This step has been modified to search the damn house for anything suitable to bake a cake in. Remember you have cousins who hilariously give you cookie sheets and bread tins every Christmas, and go on a manhunt for a bread tin. Find it, wash it out, and grease it.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

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Even the oven is getting annoyed by my lack of cake pan. Put the stupid lumpy batter into the bread tin, shove it in the oven, hope for the best.

I figured while it was baking, I would clean the bathroom. So of course, I take to Pinterest and type in “best way to clean a bathroom” because you know someone has a pin for that. That, and I can’t admit to Boyfriend that I have no idea what he does when he cleans the bathroom, because for three years that has been HIS job.

Side bar: Am I the only one who didn’t know that you can use Bounce sheets for just about anything?!

So I find an awesome pin about all the things you should be cleaning, but probably aren’t. I’m now sufficiently grossed out. I won’t go into details, but I’m now convinced I’m going to get cholera from my TV remote. Anyway, started to scrub out the bathroom, and used a Bounce sheet to clean all of the trim. Pinterest didn’t lie, it worked amazingly.

Here’s another life tip for the blogosphere. When baking, always set a timer. At least my bathroom sparkled as my cake burned. I bought two boxes of cake mix in case this happened.

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By this point, I’m muttering under my breath about how much Dad better LOVE this cake. When I was a kid, I used to make him mud pies and he pretended to eat them and pretended to love them.. I’m just hoping he plans to do that this time around, because I don’t have high hopes.

In the end, version two came out without burning, without sticking to the pan, and without setting the kitchen on fire. I’m going to call that a win.

Oh and in case you are wondering, when Dad came over he very much enjoyed the cake. I also made him go into the bathroom and admire how clean it was. I then proudly announced that *I* did that.

So to wrap up todays lessons: a Bounce sheet cleans almost anything, there is likely no way to escape all of the germs hiding in your home, and always set a timer when baking.

Oh. And a note to self: go buy an actual cake pan.

How it all began

“Hi Sara. We need to have a meeting to discuss your goals and objectives for the upcoming year. Are you free at 4:30?”

First lesson, kids. When Human Resources calls you and requests a meeting at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what crap reason they give you. It is not a good thing.

“Yes, I should be able to meet you then.”

“Ok, let me give you an address.”

Woah. A meeting off-site? Yep. The proverbial shit is about to hit the fan.

Of course, being the trusting individual I was, I went to the meeting with a smile on my face. I get there, after having a stressful day, my bag jam packed with my computer, notebooks, and lots of work I would be doing from home once I got this quick little objectives meeting over. My jacket wasn’t even off when the lovely human resources advisor – who, incidentally, was a very sweet woman I had plans to have wine and sushi with later that week – tells me “this isn’t actually a goals and objectives meeting. I have to let you go.”

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I was both shocked, pissed, and vaguely aware that if they had done this three days ago, they could have saved me from buying a month long bus pass to get to the stupid job. Which, as it happens, was the only thought I could articulate in my confused state. Also, she cancelled our sushi date.

I left, after 45 minutes of trying to discern WHY I was being let go. I’ll spare you the gory details. I have made enough people in my life listen to the whining, I won’t bore you my dear reader. But in a nutshell: “It’s not because of your work. No one can deny you are great at your job and have a really good work ethic. It comes down to a phone call **name removed to protect her identity EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN’T DESERVE IT** made, letting us know you have been gossiping about the president, and the treasurer”. Yes. Because THAT seems legit.

Well, it turns out that during your probationary period at a job, even if it is a ridiculously long six month probation, they can fire you because some douchenozzle made up a lie one day.

I emailed my boyfriend, because he had gone away for work two days earlier. I told him what happened, and he responded with two lines that affirmed every reason I love him. “Don’t stress about it. You worked with bitches anyway and it’s better not to be there. I’ll take care of the bills, you just take care of yourself and the house. Another job will come up”.

And enter the reason for this blog.

This happened two weeks ago. But for the three years that Boyfriend and I have been together the majority (ie: all) of the cooking has been on him. Most of the cleaning too. I have always been too busy working late nights in various finance jobs, to be bothered to come home and do all that domestic crap that my mother never taught me anyway. My family used to joke with Boyfriend that he better love cooking and cleaning, because he was choosing to settle down with a girl who can’t even make instant mashed potatoes correctly.

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True story by the way. I tried once while living alone, before Boyfriend moved in. Somehow, the pot of instant mashed potatoes exploded, and most of it ended up on the ceiling. He thought it was a funny anecdote I made up to tell at parties. It’s not y’all. It happened. But let’s keep that between you and I, shall we?

So, Boyfriend is away for another three weeks. And in between my constant refresh on job search websites, I am attempting to learn how to actually cook and clean. I figure there have to be bloggers out there who can help me learn. Or at the very least, when the police find my house burnt to the ground and are suspecting arson, someone from the blogosphere can tell them “No, actually I believe she was just trying to make a bagel. Something must have gone wrong.”

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Because yes. I also once started a fire while making an everything bagel in my mother’s toaster. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. She still has the scorch marks on her wall, and the distrust in my ability to toast bread products to prove it.

Task #1 on my road to domesticity. Bake birthday cake for father’s birthday. Now can someone please tell me how to turn my oven on?!