Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"You Look Like Crap"

That's what I hear when people tell me I look tired.  I hear "you look like crap".  Because I know I do.  I just don't need other people to tell me that.  One lady at work tells me every day when I walk in the door.  This morning, I actually told her to stop saying it because I'm always tired and don't need to hear it from her every day. 

I wish I wasn't so tired all the time, but I have a 17 month old baby who, when awake, is moving.  I get up every day at 5:30, get myself ready for work then get Vaughn up and ready to go to dayhome.  I drive 25 minutes to the office, fighting in rush hour traffic.  I work a full day, take 35-40 minutes to get home, pick Vaughn up from dayhome, make dinner, play with Vaughn, bath Vaughn, get him ready for bed and then at 7:30 try to relax for a few hours before I go to bed at 9:30 for what will probably be a crappy night's sleep.  Vaughn may or may not get up in the middle of the night for what I call a "soother rejam".  Regardless of whether he's up for 30 seconds or 30 minutes I still hear him, I still wake up and I still can't get back to sleep.

Now, some, if not most of you, will say "Where's Tim in all of this?  Why doesn't he help?"  Good question.  I have no idea.  I'm sick of asking for help and not getting it.  Why should I even have to ask?  Why shouldn't it just be offered?

Last weekend, I was supposed to get to sleep in both days and ended up getting up both days with Vaughn at 6AM.  At what point do I just let my baby cry until Tim decides to be a father and get up to deal with him?  I can't just let him cry, I'm his mother and it's not right to make him suffer for me to prove a point.

I'm tired.  I look like crap 90% of the time.  And from what I hear, it's common among women - we do most of the work with the kids.  I wouldn't mind so much if I felt like I was appreciated or did a get a chance to sleep in.   That is why I like going on business trips, it forces Tim to take responsibility and do it.  I know he can do it, why he doesn't on a regular basis blows my mind.  If anything, you would think he would do it for me, knowing how tired I am. 

I just wish we as mothers got more recognition for the work we do.  I work full time and am a mother.  Other mothers I know are tired all the time too.  We do it because we love our families.  We do it because we know it needs to be done.  I just wish the men in our lives would appreciate us a little more.

I know some guys reading this are going to say "whoa, I do all that, I'm a big help".  If you are, then you are certainly the minority.  And good for you.  Go help yourself to a cookie.  I'm talking about me and my situation here and it ain't all sunshine and roses.

One step I have taken in what I think is the right direction is that instead of asking if I can go do things, I am telling Tim I'm doing things.  And this weekend, I'm going for a mani/pedi/massage on Saturday afternoon.  Hopefully I'll get to relax a little and won't be such a raging b*tch when I come home.  Happy wife, happy life, yes?

So next time you feel like you want to tell someone they look tired, please don't.  Chances are they know, and chances are they will hear "you look like crap" and nobody wants to hear that.  And before you tell me to make Tim start doing things because you're so perfect and you have such a perfect life, know that it's easier said than done, know that I'm trying but it's 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  He does a lot of things right, but when it comes to raising this child of ours, many days I feel like I'm in it alone. 

Am I complaining?  Yes, today I am.  Because I'm tired.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mommies Gone Wild

Next Saturday is my friend Paula's birthday.  She wanted to celebrate it a little early and go out for dinner with a group of friends.  Turns out most everyone was busy so she and Lorne decided to go out alone and she was going to do a spa day - did I want to come?  Did I?  Does a bear?  Is the Pope?

Tim was excited to take care of Vaughn because that meant he didn't have to leave the house and go out with people he didn't know, I was excited to get out of the house and hang out with Paula sans the children.  Every time we've gotten together over the past year, there's been kids.  We both love our children oh so much, but we were friends before kids came along and promised each other we would have some time to ourselves before we were old and crusty.

So yesterday was that day.

Let me take you back about 10-11 years first.  I had zero people depending on me, I was in my mid-twenties and had just joined a rugby team.  These girls were my life - all I did was work, practice and play rugby and party.  Every weekend we were out at The Rose & Crown, partying it up.  Saturdays and Sundays were spent feeling sorry for myself but we usually mustered up enough energy to go out for dinner at Fiore's or Singapore Sam's on Sunday nights.

Paula and I used to play rugby together.  She was a back, I was a forward, so we didn't see too much of each other at practices, and she was living with Lorne when she joined our team so didn't come out with us all the time.  Here is why Paula is such a dear friend to me - one year at Rugbyfest in Edmonton, I sprained my ankle and was in horrible pain.  There was a big party down at OTS Park and I couldn't go.  Paula stayed back from that party to hang out with me and keep me company.  Then, when we got home, she drove me to the high school I was coaching at every day until I could drive myself so I didn't miss practices with the girls.  I will always remember and cherish her for that.

Paula only lived a few blocks from me, so we saw each other quite a bit.  We had a lot of good times and good memories.

However, I'm no longer even close to that person I was 10 years ago.  Tim hears stories from back then and can't imagine I was ever like that.  Yup, I was.  I'm sure not proud of everything I did, but it was my life and I lived it.  Just like I do today.

I'm also sad to say that a lot of the friendships I had from back then have dwindled.  I moved away, lost touch and grew apart from many of the girls I was once so close to.  I'm not going to lie, it hurt and it still hurts sometimes to know that they could cast me aside so easily.  However, I started to focus on the friendships that do matter and people that want me in their life, and now I'm in a great place.  I'm still very close with a few of the girls from the team, and those girls will be my friends for life. 

Okay, back to the present.  So, Paula has 2 kids, I have 1 and the time we get to spend together is always kid-centric.  Yesterday, it was all about time to ourselves.  We met in Kensington at Purr so Paula could do a little shopping for her birthday dinner.  I've always loved shopping with people - especially ones that will humour me and try things on that I like but would never be able to wear.  It was a lot of fun and Paula got a really nice outfit.

Then, it was lunch at Molly Malone's.  We had lunch at a pub.  We were by ourselves in there - it was glorious!  The food was fantastic and the cider was nice and cold and went down just a little too fast...

We arrived at Riverside Spa - I had a bit of a wait because my appointment wasn't until 3:15 and Paula was getting a massage.  I went in to their eucalyptus steam room for about 20 minutes or so and then had a nap (a nap!  In the middle of the day!!!) until just a few minutes before we had our manicures.  We then each had a mineral pedicure, a good visit and some more laughs before we had to say goodbye to eachother.

As my life has changed, so have my priorities.  Family is so important to me, and I never realized just how much until I have one of my own.  I no longer have the desire to "party til I puke" because that's not me anymore.  I usually have one or two, and then I'm done - I have to get up and be a good mother to my son, and I'm no good to him when I'm tired, impatient and cranky. 

I'm so glad though that I still have friends who knew me back then, can see me for who I am (then and now) and still love me just the same.  Going wild means something completely different now, but I am so happy I got to do what I did yesterday.  There's a saying - if momma ain't happy, nobody's happy.

Well, I'm happy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cooking With Phyllo

Last weekend, we were invited out to our friends' cabin.  They had just finished building a porch and wanted to have some people over to warm it.  I love a good warming party, and everyone knows if there's a potluck, I'll be there.

So, there I was on a Friday afternoon trying to figure out what I was going to take the next day.  I knew I had a half case of pears in the basement so my dish had to incorporate them in somehow.  After much poking around I came up with an idea that seemed doable.  Off to Safeway I went.

I couldn't find puff pastry for the life of me, and the bakery department told me that phyllo was just as good, it was a puff pastry also.  Super!  They only had it in the freezer section but I grabbed it anyway.  I got the rest of my ingredients, and merrily rushed home to transform my pears into a piece-de-resistance.

Turns out the phyllo has to thaw for 5 hours or overnight in the fridge.  It was 7:30 PM and there was no way I was going to attempt baking at 12:30 AM.  Oy vay.  I decided that if I got up at 6:00 I could get everything done before we had to leave for the cabin.

Did I mention that I had agreed to go to a playdate with the kids from our baby group at 9 until 11?  No?  Well, yes, I did.  I wanted to see the kidlets and their moms and wanted Vaughn to play with his little friends so I knew I had to find a way to do both.

Since I am in the logistics business, it shouldn't be too hard to do this right?  Sure, but when you add a little bright-eyed and bushy-tailed toddler in the mix, it kinda throws you for a loop. 

I got up right away, took the phyllo out of the fridge, as the package stated the pastry has to be room temperature.  No worries, I thought, I'll just go have my shower and by the time I get back, it will be ready for me.

I prepared my pears with ginger and lemon juice, took out the ricotta cheese and rubbed my hands in delight.  My first time with phyllo pastry - how exciting!  I took the box apart, quickly scanned the directions, blah blah, wax paper, blah blah de blah, butter, uh huh, do de do, 350 degrees, roll, yup, okay.  Got it.

Wax paper on the cookie sheet?  Check.  Except I don't have a cookie sheet, so the bottom half of the broiler pan will have to do.

Melted butter?  You know it.

Room temperature phyllo pastry?  Not quite.  Turns out they really mean it when they say room temperature.  I discovered at 7:00 on a Saturday morning that if you don't have room temperature phyllo pastry, it will stick to itself, be impossible to peel off the pile, and you might have to throw away 8 sheets of it before you can get one useable one.

I had a big pile of gooey pastry, a hot oven waiting to bake, a needy baby and a clock tick tick ticking away on me.  Focus Kerry! 

I finally got 4 sheets done and buttered, ricotta cheese spread, pears sprinkled over, brushed with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon, drizzled with honey and rolled up.  Brush that with butter, drizzle with honey and ready to go again.

#2 went much better than #1.  Ah ha!  I got the hang of this now.  Wait?  What's that funny smell from the oven?  It smells like when my dad used to wax skis in the garage.  You mean you're not supposed to put the wax paper in the oven?  Oh crap.

Open oven - remove strudel-like pastry items and transfer to a non-stick surface.  Sounds easy in theory, not so easy when they are delightfully warm and gooey but not cooked yet.  One of them split in half, so a repair job was in order.  Having never worked with phyllo pastry before, it didn't go well.  I was hoping that they would taste really good and the appearance wouldn't matter so much.

That's done - back in the oven they go.  Good, on to #3.  Reread directions on box.  Wait.  What?  I'm supposed to slice it before I bake it?  Oh for crying out loud.  Here we go again.  Remove from oven, slice to halfway point and put back in the oven for hopefully the last time.

It is now 8 AM, I have one more left to make and I want to get out of the house by 8:30.  I have yet to dress and feed Vaughn his breakfast.  I can do this.

Deep breath, in, out.  And begin.

#3 went like I had been doing it my whole life.  I buttered, spread and drizzled with panache.  #3 was perfect and I couldn't wait to present it at Julie's cabin. 

While #1 and #2 were almost done, I rushed upstairs and changed Vaughn.  Pulled them out of the oven to cool - they looked so messy, but so delicious.  While #3 was coming to a perfect golden finish I shoved a bowl of cereal and some fruit down Vaughn's throat so fast he didn't know what was coming at him. 

I left #'s 1, 2 & 3 on the stovetop to cool while I was at baby group.  We had a great time, but of course, I felt a little pressured for time because we had to get out to the cabin.  I walked in to our house, ready to see what they looked like, and half of #3 had been eaten.  Yup, the best one.  Half gone.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Tim thought I had made him breakfast. 

Breathe Kerry.  It's only a strudel for Pete's sake.  #1, #2 and the remaining piece of #3 were transferred in to a container for transport.  Pack up the car and away we go.

We had a super fun day at the cabin, great food, great company and by the time it was time for dessert, the stress of the  morning had completely melted away and I was happy to hear people tell me how wonderful my pear strudel was.  Knowing the effort I put in to it was worth it to hear one yum after another.  Yay me!

So why am I writing this?

Well, strudel #4 went in the oven just 25 minutes ago and I wanted to see if I enjoyed phyllo a little more when the pressure was off.  I pulled the pastry out of the fridge this morning so it was the perfect temperature - one sheet after another peeled off the pile like paper - still quite delicate, but not sticky and easy to work with.  I still had pears and ricotta cheese so I knew what I was doing with those. 

I'm here to tell you folks practice makes (almost) perfect.  I'm no longer afraid of phyllo and ready to try different things.  Tomorrow night will be a strawberry and brie concoction and who knows what comes next? 

I, Kerry Rasmussen, conquered phyllo.  Here's the proof: