Monday, June 29, 2009

strike out

I'm pissed off at my city. There's always a strike going on: transit (crippling to a city of over 5 million people), the teachers (this only hurts the students and parents), or the taxi drivers (yeah, you're really going to get my sympathy the way most of you drive anyway). It's starting to get old. Right now it's the city workers that are striking... no garbage collection (hello vermin, rats and raccoons.. isn't this how the plague started?), parks are open if you like wading through knee high grass, pools are closed (perfect timing now that school is over), This one bugs me the most: all city-run daycare services are shut down. Now, what are hard-working parents supposed to do now? I say call one of the strikers to babysit... what are they doin anyway? Of course the irorny is the social services available to the drug addicts such as the needle exchange programs are up and running. But the Women's Resource Centre will be closed?

I, myself, am a union gal, But am not allowed to strike since the job I do is considered an essential service. But don't you think transit, garbage collection, and daycare are essential services as well?

Dear city workers, please give your head a shake. We are all struggling through this economy. Do not compromise the general public. If you are mad at the city, go stand and picket in front of the Mayor and his Councillor's lawns. I am sure theirs will be nicely mowed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I cannot believe how full my days are. The days are passing by so quickly that by the time evening comes around I am too pooped to blog. My children, I swear, are a mischievous tag team duo who are plotting to get the better of me. Maiya used to sleep in till 8 am and Jacob while Jacob would be up at 6. Now it is Maiya who is the early bird up at 6 and Jacob will sleep in till 8:30 and sometimes 9.

I lost Maiya last night. We co-sleep in the same bed and usually she is snuggled up right against me but I woke up in the middle of the night to find the bed devoid of my baby. I panicked for a second because I found her crawling around the bedroom floor exploring and having a great ol' time. She must have crawled or fallen out of bed. Luckily our mattress is right on the floor. We are going to be putting her in the crib from now on. Which will be interesting because we haven't even used our crib since it was given to us for Jacob. I suspect she won't love it since she is used to being spooned.

Again, it is bittersweet seeing her move on to this next step. She can pull herself up to stand and crawl lightning fast. Yet can't sit. I think it is because she chooses not to sit because she would rather be crawling to find the next toy to put in her mouth. I can't turn my back on her for a second. Gone are those days where I could put her down, and she would be lying in the exact same place a minute later. Now the challenge begins keeping two little monkeys in check.... I am running off my feet. It feels that as I get older, the kids are getting faster and smarter and naughtier. Thankfully it will be a few years yet before they are teenagers... then the real fun will begin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It is bittersweet watching my children grow up all too quickly. I loved carrying them in my belly and birthing them in our home was gentle and the most profound thing I have ever done. I look back at photos of both Jacob and Maiya when they were mewling newborns and already I cannot believe how much they have come into their own. Jacob continues to amaze me on a daily basis with his wit and reasoning which he must get from my husband. He is a monkey, a prince, an astronaut in training.
He is my son. And my Jacob the Brave. And it blows my mind how much love I can hold for a little boy who is yet three years old. I wish I could live as honestly and simply and in the moment as he does. And after a day full of play and imagination, drift off to a gentle sleep without a worry in the world.

Maiya is already a princess warrior with her feisty personality. Although she is two years younger than her brother, she wants to do everything that he does already. They fight over the same toys which is funny to watch because I don't know who hollers louder... Jacob gets pretty vocal but Maiya sounds like a teradactyl... and I end up having to step in but trying to pry a toy out of Maiya's hands is like untangling something from a python. She can be so dainty yet so tough at the same time. Still, I cannot imagine an easier baby to take care of. I trek her all around town wearing her in a carrier on my back and she takes in the sights with avid curiosity and without complaint. And when she's tired she just dozes back there. She has been cutting more teeth all week but not a peep out of her. I have heard her cry only a handful of times since she's been born. She is my dream girl and the extension of this mother's heart.

Look at her posing and showing off her baby bling... and how can you stand those toes!?

....and she's off and running... well... crawling but she's fast! later gator! xo

the perfect match

I haven't had a pint of stout in almost 4 years. I've either been pregnant or nursing and frankly it would only take 1/4 of a pint to get me plastered it's been so long that I would definitely be a cheap date.

Since I've joined CrossFit I haven't stepped foot into my favourite ice cream parlour. If you've followed my blog about the other man I am in love with, namely Ed, you'll understand my passion and why I have stayed away.

But it's summer here and with this hot humid evening I just couldn't quell my lust for Ed. And what he offered me this evening absolutely blew my mind. He made a new flavour: Guinness ice cream. I know it sounds a bit weird but it was the best ice cream I have ever tasted. A perfect blend of stout and cream and sugar. Perhaps it has been way too long since I've had a pint of stout or ice cream so anything would have tasted great but uh oh.... I'm in so much trouble now.....

I have fallen off the wagon. I have cheated. I've turned my back on Paleo. But for that adulterous moment that lasted a double scoop ice cream cone, it was worth it. ;)

bug bait


My husband just called from work saying that for his summer vacation coming up he would like to go camping. In the past I would have already pulled out all our camping gear and plotted which backwoods trail to take but it's different now. We have children which would mean no day long hike into the forest to find the most secluded camping spot. Instead we would have to car camp at one of those campsites where you're like 2 feet from your neighbour. Now I know the kids would be fine but I am not sure how I'd survive. It would be at least a 2 hour drive with tons of packing and meal planning and how the heck do I wash Maiya's cloth diapers? I know I could buy disposable diapers but if we're out convening with nature isn't it kind of blasphemous to be using a disposable diaper that is already clogging up all our landfills? And I can see Jacob finding the most perfect patch of poison ivy to jump around in and juicy Maiya being the perfect bug bait for black flies and mosquitoes. Or be a tasty snack for a dingo. And I can't risk losing Jacob down an outhouse hole.

I'm going to think about it because I know my husband and Jacob would have a blast playing on the beach, canoeing, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on the campfire, snuggling down into sleeping bags in the tent, counting shooting stars. Hmmmmm... maybe we should go after all... I'll just drop them off and Maiya and I will head to the nearest bed and breakfast and pick them up when they're done.

Monday, June 22, 2009

midnight son

I have mixed feelings about summer.

While I love the fact that I don't have to wrestle the children into winter clothing and parkas and boots, the heat gets to me. I do adore barefoot babies but I get cranky in the humidity and I am not one of those people who likes to lie out in the sun to catch a tan. Who has the time to do that anyway?

My daughter JUST went to sleep twenty minutes ago and Jacob is nodding off. With the longer days my children have adjusted their internal clocks and are staying up later with the sun.... which is fine I suppose except that I want to go to bed before they do. I miss those dark November nights when Jacob would be asleep by 7 pm. But the darkness and the cold is the trade off I guess. And it's a good one for me.... I don't like being a sweaty mess. Maiya is so wiggly these days and is liable to just slide out of my sweaty arms.

My girlfriend lives in Arviat, Nunavut... land of the midnight sun. She has some great photos in her blog. Without children, I could live there in a heartbeat. But I would be fit to be tied with Jacob running around till midnight because my boy does not sit still because the world is one giant place for him to explore. But man oh man I know he would have the time of his life.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

It took quite a bit of convincing on my part to get my husband onto the idea of having children. He didn't want them. Not then, not ever. And although I wanted children, I wasn't sure that I wanted children... our lives were pretty idyllic with downtown loft living, lots of international travel, backwoods camping trips on a whim, fancy restaurants, and most of all, staying up all night reading a book or watching movies and sleeping in as late as we wanted. But then my clock started to tick. And so we had Jacob. And my husband fell in love with his boy. And along came Maiya and of course this little baby girl has her daddy wrapped around his heart strings. And right after she was born I was in maternal bliss and wanted a third baby right away. And my husband agreed. Because he is crazy. Because he loves me. And even though my husband never wanted children, I have to say he makes a great father. He forges ahead patiently with feedings and diaper changes and invents games to play with Jacob and he is the gentlest of souls with Maiya. And he arranges his schedule to give me personal time. Thankfully that urge for a third baby passed and our family feels perfect, complete, and balanced. I may, years from now, wish I had more children but life is for the living now and with two children we can give them all the time and attention they need and still feel like a somewhat normal married couple. So Happy Father's day. Thanks for giving me such happy, beautiful and extraordinary children.
Sorry you couldn't sleep in though... ;)

uh... you're kidding me right?

I just found out that bodybuilders are in the market for pumped breastmilk for the natural human growth hormones and all the antibodies that are in it. Ok. Deep breat. Because I feel a rant coming on.

I am being polite when I say bodybuilding is downright weird to begin with and I don't quite understand the point of it all.... the steroids, the creepy should never, ever EVER wear bikini bottoms.... I am not sure how they call it a sport because they are not athletes. I doubt they could climb a ladder or hop over a fence or even play hopscotch with their kids. To quote Coach Mark Rippetoe: 'Bodybuilding is men on a stage in their underwear wearing brown paint showing other men their muscles. It is training for appearance only, and at the contest level requires a degree of vanity, narcissism, and self-absorption that I find distasteful and odd.' Amen. Shame on you bodybuilders for even entertaining the thought of taking milk out of the mouths of babes. You might be able to bench whatever the heck weight you bench and your biceps might be as big as my waist but your muscle matter is interfering with your grey matter. Dear bodybuilder, your lumbering gorilla walk and fake and bake tan aside, you ain't ever getting my milk.... you'd have to catch me first but I doubt you could outrun this mama bear.

Friday, June 19, 2009

that's my girl

Although Maiya just turned 7 months old, I think she would make a great firefighter one day... because SHE CAN EAT. The boys at work are known for great appetites and squawk when a meal is late hence the fact that Maiya would fit right in. Any food I give her she hoovers it down. I don't like to feed her baby food from a jar because I think it's gross (have you ever tasted it?!) and I have a rule about not feeding anything to my children that I wouldn't eat myself. The exception being is cod liver oil. I hate it but Jacob loves it. But back to Maiya... I usually feed her whatever I happen to be eating except I'll smush it or stick it in a blender. And she'll sit there with her mouth wide open like a baby bird waiting for me to feed her. And she'll savour it with her little lips pursed and then open her mouth again waiting for more. She's tried feeding herself but gets frustrated because she can't shovel it into her mouth fast enough and it ends up everywhere but where she wants it to go. She has yet to refuse anything I've given her... avocado, sweet potato, steamed spinach, steamed carrots, lake trout, salmon, chicken, green beans, prunes, fruit, squash...... CrossFitters, you'd be proud... she's pretty much a Paleo baby... well... except for milk but it's breastmilk so that doesn't count really. And when she's done her meals (as in plural because of the second or third helpings) she lets out a huge burp of satisfaction and gives a grin of thanks.

You're welcome Maiya.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

don't make me give you the finger

I am not sure why it isn't a mandatory question on each and every driver's written exams what to do when you see or hear an emergency vehicle running lights and sirens. From my observations most drivers do this:

They speed up. Uh... you're not supposed to drive faster than us. Unless you have 2000 litres of water and 800 feet of hose in your car, let us get there first.
They slow waaaaaaaaaaaay down so the firetruck is boxed in. Seconds count in heart attacks and emergencies folks.
They don't move at all. Yes. I just love gridlock. And the person whose house is on fire I am sure just loves the delay.
They suddenly brake. Kinda dangerous don't you think?
They follow right behind you thinking they have an open and free lane with a 'pace vehicle'.

And when we're pulled over on the shoulder of a road or a highway, please please please dear drivers don't rubberneck. It causes traffic jams for the commuters and delayed response for the other emergency vehicles such as the ambulance to arrive. And rubbernecking is just plain rude... would you like people to stare at you when you are in an accident? Besides, dear drivers, you should be looking where you are going when you drive. Oh.. and those big bright orange cone things we put out beside the scene... those are called PYLONS. Please don't run over them. And that big big red shiny truck with the red lights flashing. Please please do not run into the back or side of it. Believe me, it has happened. Give us a full lane to work. It might be you one day who needs some help so please give some consideration.

Children in kindergarten already know how to stop, drop and roll. So dear drivers, when an emergency vehicle is running lights and sirens to a call is it too much to remember to pull over to the right and stop? And if you can't, pull over to the left. Make sure you signal. You can even throw your hazard lights on for fun. I have been close to giving the old one finger salute trying to get to a call but I don't because that of course isn't very professional and I was raised me better than that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

getting on the job

When I lived in Los Angeles, you couldn't swing a dead cat (sorry cat lovers, just an expression here) without hitting someone trying to break into the film business. Now I am finding that you can't swing a dead cat without meeting someone who wants to get into the fire business. It's exciting to meet so many people who want to do what I do and I thank my lucky stars everyday that this is what I get to do for a living. It is a sexy job in a way. Kinda like forensic accounting minus the accounting and the forensics. I think the tragic events of 9/11 gave even more awareness to what it means to be a firefighter. I was talking to some of the old-timers on the job and they told me back in the day when they applied one of the big qualifications you had to have was to be able to play a mean game of hockey. It wasn't a great paying job and your bunker gear consisted of long roll up rubber boots and a 3/4 length coat. Air bottles were for sissies and you used your handlebar mustache to help filter out smoke. There was a well-known Captain who would go running into fires whilst smoking a cigar. The oxygen on the trucks wasn't for the medical patients but for the firefighters who happened to suck back too much smoke. You could get on the job straight from graduating high school and it was considered blue collar. And it took a bit of convincing for some people to sign up.

Fast forward to the present.

Getting on the job is intensely competitive where hundreds of applicants are competing for the same job. Most departments insist on post-secondary educations. University and/or some type of pre-fire service education is highly regarded. Additional courses, education or training that is related to fire or emergency services are considered definite assets including trades qualifications, fire pre-service, career preparation or fire protection engineering programs. Skills or experiences such as previous firefighting or emergency service experience, lifeguard qualifications, SCBA or SCUBA certification, health & safety certification, climbing or rope rescue skills, emergency service certification (EMCA, Ski Patrol, etc.), coaching or volunteer work, driving heavy vehicles or the operation of heavy equipment are all considered in the hiring mix.

It used to be if you were a firefighter you fought fires. You still do that now but in addition to that there is Fire Prevention, Public Education, Rescue Operations, Medical Aid, Hazmat, Confined Space and High Angle Rescue. There isn't a day that I go into work that I don't learn something new.

My sincerest best wishes to those of you who are going after your dream. It is one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world. See you all on the fireground.....

Friday, June 12, 2009


Nope. I didn't become a stigmata overnight. I got these nice wounds from a crazy workout called Tabata. My Tabata workout consited of pull ups, push ups, sit ups and squats. I did 50 kipping pull ups which is where the bleeding began. Then I did 61 push ups when the panting began, 89 sit ups when the crying began and 120 full squats when I started to feel like passing out. The entire workout took 16 minutes. Crazy eh? Just the kick in the butt I need to get ready to go back on the trucks and in a sick kind of way I enjoy this type of physical punishment. It's entirely all about me... no kids, no husband, no chores, no worries... just me.

16 minutes. That's all it takes. Give it a try. Dr. Tabata's workouts are tough enough to make grown men cry. I certainly did.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

camp and crossfit

I just wanted to give a big thank you to John and Machiko of CrossFit Toronto for deciding to dedicate all funds raised at their CrossFit Sun Up to Sun Down summer solstice workout marathon to Camp Bucko. There were so many organizations to choose from and I am grateful you picked an organization that is close to my heart. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Camp Bucko, it is a camp for children recovering from burn injuries to meet and bond with other children who have gone through a similar experience. But mostly it is a place for kids just to be kids and have fun without being singled out and just have fun in a camp environment. It is a place for self esteem and compassion and acceptance. From what I know, severe burn injuries are some of the most excruciating injuries to recover from. It can take months of skin grafts and surgeries and multiple rounds of antibiotics and anti rejection medicine. And once the physical wounds are healed, the emotional healing continues. These children are beautifully resilient and the bravest of the brave and this camp provides them with all the fun, love, and acceptance they deserve.

Again, thank you John and Machiko and the extended CrossFit family on the impact you make on people's lives. Keep up the great work and the killer workouts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I see London, I see France

Underwear seems to be a bit of a topic here at home as of late. Ever since Jacob was out of diapers we have made it a point to get him some really cool underwear. We started of course with fire truck and jeep underwear and now he is onto Bob the Builder and Spiderman. He gets picky about which one he'll put on and heaven help us if that particular one is in the wash. Sometimes he'll insist on putting his underwear on backwards because he wants the Spiderman logo that is on the butt part of the underwear on the front where he can see it. The underwear fits kinda weird but who am I to argue?

I understand his pickiness. When I go to work I have a certain set of underwear that I wear. Cotton for sure and it has to be super duper comfy of course. And no weird colours or patterns... because ya never know when you'll get into an accident and the fire department shows up... lol. When I was a rookie I made the mistake of wearing a stupid thong because I hadn't done the laundry and that was all I had left to wear. It was either that or lace but I'd rather deal with buttfloss than lace chafe but neither were a good choice. Believe me, trying to do CPR on someone while dealing with uncomfy gitch is a bit unsettling.... trying to climb a ladder in bunker gear with a charged hoseline on your shoulder is like trying to get an itch you can't scratch. No more thongs for me... on or off the job. I'm a Fruit of the Loom kinda gal.

And now I make sure I do the laundry at least a couple of times a week and I buy my underwear in bulk.

Monday, June 8, 2009

from C to A

My new Platoon Chief called today and it looks like I will be switching platoons (from C shift to A shift) upon my return from mat leave. My neighbour works on A shift so it kinda made sense for me to switch because we are both one car families and we can share in the commute. I am excited which surprises me because normally I am terribly resistant to change. I'll be at the same station so I'll see my old crew some days at shift change. My new A shift crew is super nice and it will be nice to see some new faces on the other trucks. I suppose I should go make a huge batch of fudge brownies for my old shift because they are going to be a bit pissed at me for switching camps but I think it's my baking they will miss more than my smiley face. They have been hopelessly devoid of crepes, oatmeal cookies, brownies and apple crisp since I've been off. But I am sure their waistlines are thankful that I am gone.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

my loves

I've been dealing with some pretty painful family issues regarding my parents and their conditional love. I am trying not to have a pity party for myself. I won't get into the details because rehashing is not going to change anything for me and thinking about it is like pouring salt into and already raw wound... So needless to say I have been feeling a bit blue under my already blue collar. Ha ha... that was a poor attempt at some levity. But hey, at least I'm still trying to have a sense of humour.

On days like today I could just kiss Jacob for being the silliest, funniest and most creative little boy. He decided he wanted to be a robot and with scissor help from my husband Jacob came up with this:

I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. Did you notice the Kleenex box shoes? And oh my goodness Maiya was laughing her head off too and I can barely stand how cute she is and how happy she makes me just to see her smile. I don't know who I would be without my children and my husband and I don't know how I even existed before they came into my life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One thing that I absolutely adore about my husband is that he takes everything that life hands him in stride. I have rarely seen him lose his temper. I am the mercurial one but as I am approaching forty I am finally learning that not every task needs to be attacked with urgency. Having children has been good for us. Some marriages get displaced with the non-stop work and life change of having children but it has made our marriage stronger and we have become a really great team. His dry sense of humour and the children's silliness helps keep it all together.

The children have slowed me down in a lot of ways... in good ways. I am learning to look at the world through Jacob's eyes where every walk outside is a moment of discovery. Maiya, as I type, is playing on the carpet trying to touch all the sunbeams that are around from the evening sun. I am learning to go with the flow as much as possible. On the fireground I have learned from the veteran firefighters (we're talking 20 years plus on the job) that even in a life of death situation, you still go about the task at hand steady and methodically. It is much quicker than running around willy nilly like a chicken with its head cut off. So being middle aged (is that what they call 40?) I am learning from the young and the older. And thankfully my husband's patience and steady demeanor is starting to finally rub off on me. He has seen the worst sides of me in the 8 years we've been together and loves me anyway. And I must remember this when he leaves his socks lying around and doesn't put his dishes away or forgets for the millionth time where he has placed his keys.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

you're what?

It's starting to get a bit old watching and listening to people's reaction when they find out what I do for a living. The 'but you're so tiny' and 'how could you possibly carry me out?' comments are becoming a bit boring. A cop at a call said to me 'they let you drive that truck?' to which I responded 'they let you carry a gun?'. My favourite one this week was from a guy. He told me that the reason I was hired was that I am Chinese and female and he would get discriminated against because he is a white male. Uh... 98% of the firefighters out there are male Caucasians the other 1% are visible minorities and the last 1% are females. And when you write your initial entrance exam you are assigned an ID number. They won't even look at your resume and application unless you score in the top percentile of the exam. The cutoff mark is usually 85 but you need to score in the 90's these days. As far as my size, I am smaller than the average male but I still weigh in at 140 lbs and stand at 5"7. I can dead lift much more than my body weight and drag out a person weighing 250 lbs. My size has its advantages in that I can squeeze into attic openings or breech into confined spaces where others can't get into. I have been able to administer help to trapped persons by fitting through a small window. We all work as a team anyway. And it's amazing what you can do when there is a burning fire licking at your butt and the adrenaline kicks in. I don't normally defend myself when people act all stunned but like I said it's starting to get old so maybe next time when someone asks what I do for a living I will tell them I am Little Miss Susie Homemaker and my job is to serve and worship my husband. I might find people's reaction a bit funnier then.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maiya and big Bro

I have been slow to post these days... Maiya is getting mobile! So I have to keep an eye on her lest she end up somewhere she shouldn't or get some small toy of Jacob's in her mouth. Everything goes in her mouth! She can't sit up on her own but she can get on all fours and leapfrog to where she wants to go. Or she'll shimmy across the floor to get at a sought after toy of Jacob's. She is a ravenous little baby and eating solids like a hungry bird. I cannot believe how much this child can consume. She will squawk if she sees me eating and she isn't getting any food. Her faves are avocado, smushed beans and rice, applesauce, squash, sweet potoatoes... basically anything you give her she'll eat it. All the baby books say you shouldn't feed solids to a baby until they can sit up on their own blah blah but I think that is bull which is why I don't read baby 'guide' books because I think I know my child better than any doctor or expert. I hate growth charts and development charts. I think they just make a lot of mothers paranoid that their babies aren't up to speed if they don't roll over by this date, potty train by this date blah blah...... Babies develop at their own pace and time. There is no race to the finish line. I am really really enjoying my time right now with the kids. Jacob and Maiya are like two peas in a pod and they can spend twenty minutes together playing quiety. He knows not to give her small toys and when she grabs hold of one of his toys he knows to trade it with one of hers. It is so fun and cute to watch. I am really blessed. xo