General posts.

Who Pays?

Twice over the weekend I had a conversation with two single friends about who pays for meet-ups vs. dates vs. ongoing relationships.

Let’s get this out of the way:

  • I don’t think there is a correct answer
  • I’m a feminist
  • I have money issues (usually with people who have more than I do)

So knowing all this and knowing that dating in 2016 isn’t what it was 30 years ago. We’re meeting online and then meeting in person. We’re not “dating” as “dating” was traditionally known. Women make more money then they ever have. They can pay their own way and some don’t like feeling “bought”. And you never know if there’s going to be a spark until you meet in person.

When you meet someone online you might agree for a coffee or drink or even dinner right off the bat. I think if it’s a coffee or a drink, it’s fair – you can pick up, he can pick up, or you get separate cheques. I don’t think there should be any expectation for anyone to pick-up the bill on a first-meet. It gets a little trickier for dinner, which is why I try and avoid that for a first-meet. My friends agreed that if they weren’t interested in seeing the gentleman again they would insist on splitting the bill or paying for it 100%. I’d be less inclined to pay 100% but would be happy to split evenly – working out to the penny is so tacky.

For second dates and beyond it gets a little trickier. I don’t think that any man in 2016 thinks that if he pays the dinner bill he’s going to get lucky (and I’ll make sure he understands this clearly if its even hinted at). I always expect to pay half when I go out to dinner with someone new, my reach for my wallet is not a coy attempt at him insisting on paying. But if he insists heartfully then I’ll go with it. Often I’ve dated men that make significantly more then I do and for them treating me for dinner is their way of sharing their successfulness. They can’t/won’t go out and slay a deer for me to show they can provide – so they buy me dinner instead. This is where I can get a little uncomfortable – I’m a woman with a great job and my own money… so if they won’t allow me to buy dinner once in a while, then I’ll cook for them – wine, appies, dinner, dessert in my home.

In longer term relationships its always kind of gone in a you pay sometimes, I pay sometimes and it will all equal out in the end. The exception being my last major relationship where I was paying 100% for everything… because he was spending $900 in online gaming and porn… but that’s another story..

One of my friends dates had said he’s got a 60/40 rule – he’ll pay for 60% of drinks/dinner and expects his date to pay 40%… I have no idea where this calculation came from – but it feels offensive!

What are your thoughts on who pays for a first-meet vs. a first date vs. ongoing relationship?


We made it…

I really want to make this one of those beautiful posts full of scenic pictures snapped along the way of a life changing adventure.  This road trip was not that.  It was not a stop at the state lines and take a quick photograph or even stop when the mountains were so breathtakingly lovely in the distance that you had a hard time watching the road, which I would have loved to do.  This was a mission.  One that began each morning by peeling ourselves out of hotel sheets and scrubbing the sleep from our eyes as we tried to locate coffee and not forget anything we unpacked during the twelve hours we lived in that temporary room.  The first few hours of each drive began with Monroe (the youngest of my three grand-kitties) yowling while we drove into the blaring sun on roads we were unfamiliar with.  All while trying not to lose the car that was following me.
You want to really enjoy driving across the country? Caravan.
The first day and a half were at least lowish stress in that we were able to drive on mostly chill highways where the majority of the traffic was semi trucks and vacationing families. It was nice to be able to put on some standup comedy or music and just drive without worrying too much that we would miss an exit or lose the car behind us. When my daughter switched to the car her friend was driving and I was alone, I listened to an audio book by Stephen King called On Writing. In my early twenties I read a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Elkhart told me things about my soul that I didn’t know but knew inside somewhere. It was as though he were speaking directly to my heart. Like hey, here’s some truths you know but have never actually put into words. I’ve reread A New Earth so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve also given away more copies of that book that I can remember.
Fast forward to this week and I felt like Stephen King was talking to that little inner author inside me the same way. The beginning of the book is a lot of him talking about how he came to be an author. The little things that happened in his life that let him know that he loved to read and to write and the tales about short stories written in childhood leading up to his first major book publications. The second part of the book is a lot of do’s and don’ts. It’s good stuff. I still have another hour or two worth of listening, but I am so happy I took the time to load it up for this trip.
By the second half of day two, I couldn’t really listen to anything on the radio because I was concentrating too hard on trying not to die in a car accident. People of New Jersey? I’m talking to you. Pretty much everything from New Jersey until we left New York was just utterly nerve-racking. Add to that the insane amount of traffic between New York and New London, Connecticut and let’s just say I would be perfectly content to never drive anywhere ever again. Ever.
We’ve been here now since Friday and the house is beautiful but holy hell we are up to our eyeballs in furniture assembly and we could probably build a mansion out of cardboard boxes. There are a million of them. Yesterday evening we drove to New Haven and went to Ikea. I am so freaking jealous that they can drive for 45 minutes and be at an Ikea. On the drive in, we saw a bunch of food trucks set up on the opposite side of the highway and decided to grab dinner there. It was pretty funny when we walked down the entire line of food trucks and every single one was Mexican food. Despite the irony, we ordered and enjoyed it. I even had a cup of horchata 🙂
All road trip complaining aside, I have to come clean that being in my daughter’s house is a very weird thing. I am not in charge here. I am a guest. And my Mom Brain isn’t sure how to reconcile that. Added to that fact that I have pretty much been exhausted since Wednesday and it has made me pretty emotionally raw. I have had a few moments where I’ve gotten my feelings hurt for seemingly no reason at all. I miss my other kids and I miss The GingerBeard Man. And I’m not trying to speed any of this along because I know it will be months before I see my kid again. It’s just one of those parenting milestone I guess. And this one is so very far outside of the spectrum of things I’ve already experienced that I am not quite sure how to deal with it. I’ve read a lot of parenting books throughout the years, half the time I think I could write one… but I can tell you right now that there are moments in parenting that you cannot read about, there are no guides. You just have to live them and see how they turn out. Transitioning away from being a “parent” when your kid is an adult and has moved onto their adult life I think is one of those moments. I am here. I am offering to help in any way you need me too, but the I’m in charge that I have become so used to over the last twenty years is not here with me. I’ve taken this baby and turned her into my equal and I have to relinquish that “power” I had and find the place where mom and daughter are simply friends.

He’s engaged.

My ex, he of the Dark Triad (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_triad) is engaged. I found out on Friday. I was devastated… and not for the reasons you think I would be. There’s no jealousy, no “why not me”, no regret. There is only sadness and fear and again not for the reasons you think.

My ex, (let’s call him Moldy), is a Narcissist, Psychopathic, Machiavellian – The Dark Triad. Read up on that. I can give you examples of each and every aspect of the three personality traits, things that would shock and stun you. Some things I knew about while we were together, and some I didn’t know until after we had broken up. When I started talking to people about some of the issues I was asked “how could you stay?” and I would answer honestly – in a 5 year relationship these thing were spread out, he controlled some of the message and I believed him. I thought he was my forever – that’s what he told me, that’s what I believed.

It wasn’t until we had broken up and I had moved out that I fully understood the depth of his depravity.

The tears I cried on Friday weren’t for a lost love, it was for knowing this poor woman he’s now engaged to will be destroyed to a much deeper level then she could ever expect. We were never married, so I was protected by law in his attempts to steal the money I had put into our house… she’s marrying him… and will lose everything… and I’m heart broken for her and her two special needs kids. I know there is nothing I can say or do to help her. I also know I’ll get a phone call in a couple of years asking me what happened and just like Moldy’s first ex was a saviour to me in helping me understand they abuse I suffered at his hands had nothing to do with me, I’ll do the same for her. I just wish there was something I could do for her now.

because sometimes lazy weekends are the best weekends…

I found my fitbit!

In celebration of finding my fitbit, I ate all of the food in the world this weekend.

I still cannot make homemade oven-baked mac and cheese, but I will try again (and again) because that is what we do at our house.

The tree in my backyard is no more. We are going to plant a new tree in her honor.

I now have a twitter account so I can shamelessly follow celebs. (Rob Thomas is adorable, and I’m following OhSheGlows)  Mostly because the amount of ire I feel towards attitudes on FB these days is really not healthy.

I will use the word bae as much as I want.  If my kids say it, I will say it.  It’s the rule of Mom.  It’s the same as when your toddler says a word wrong and you start using it.  You don’t want to do it, you just find yourself doing it because you are so much in love with their little faces.  This doesn’t change when you have teenage children.  I doubt it changes when you have adult children either.

My daughter and I spent a ridiculously large amount of mother daughter bonding watching (and I am not kidding) RuPaul’s Drag Race together until I finally crashed at 1:00 am.

The next day my daughter told me that was the latest she had ever seen me stay up–ever.

I will super love her and her brother’s little face forever.

They are my baes, after all.

On finding out you have been used…

A friend and I got into an argument in September. It was silly, and started with me being angry about being lied to… it escalated through emails and texts and was awful and ugly  and terrible and a perfect example why people should never argue over text and email and save it for in person, because no body would say in person the things they say on text and email. She was wrong. I was wrong. A week after it was over I went over to her place and apologized for my part in the whole thing. She never did. But we moved on… or so I thought.

Another thing happened a few weeks ago and I was really upset, it wasn’t that she had done something to me, but both her husband and BFF had and she didn’t stand up for me. She’s allowing these two people who are extremely close to her to speak badly about me and to me, and it hurt that she’s not defending me. When confronted she defended them both, started throwing things at me that we had never spoken about and finally admitted that she wasn’t over the argument we had in September (remember the one she started by lying… ya that one).

And I’m beyond hurt now. I said sorry – something she never said to me. I thought it was over. And now I know it wasn’t. And I feel so used. Who dislikes someone so much they allow two people close to them to tear them down repeatedly while accepting kindness and generosity from the person they hate so much? Who allows someone to throw them 2 parties, loan them their car, among all the other normal friends things if they dislike you so much? Who does that?

A hard lesson I keep having to learn… kindness is not always repaid with kindness, sometime its taken advantage of and sometimes people are totally okay with using you… I mean me.

My Teeny-Tiny City Balcony

I live in an 800 sf condo just outside of the downtown core. I moved in here about a year ago and LOVE it. The view is kinda incredible (city skyline to the west, and the lake to south) and it completely uninterrupted. When I was looking at condos I knew there was no way I could live anywhere with out outdoor space. So while my balcony is only 30 sf I’ve made the most of it.


I started0237434_PE376790_S5 with the flooring. The floor of the balcony is plain concrete – which is okay, but can be dusty and hard to clean. I went to Ikea and purchased these amazing floor tiles.

The Boy installed them in 15 minutes. There are a few advantages to using a product like this. First is the dust issue, no need to worry about concrete dust in your home! Second is that it just feels nicer on your feet when you walk out barefoot like I often do. Third is the over all look. My condo has dark hardwood floors, visually the floor tiles make it look like the dark hardwood continues to the outside. And lastly if it rains, the water dries off the floor tiles faster then it would off the concrete.





Next up was the furniture. I wanted something I could curl up and read in. Considering the size and the width (only 3 feet) I went with something that was as wide as possible. Mission accomplished with this amazing set that I ordered online at Home Depot and had delivered right to my condo door (wahoo for free delivery!). The set is dark grey, with a lighter grey cushion. It came with a coffee-table cube, that also acts as storage! Double duty furniture is the best for condo living!



0313296_PE514252_S5No outdoor space is complete without plants! And since I like to cook I love to have fresh herbs close by. Again, double duty, looks great and we can eat them too! This year the Boy went with my dad to the garden centre, choose out all the plants and repotted them. The plant stand is from Ikea and it’s brilliant! Its a tiered design with space for 13 pots, and the levels of the plants is adjustable. I’ve got it set up flat at one end of my patio, but you can adjust it so it’s at a 90 degree angle as well. This year I’ve got basil, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, some ivy and a couple of flowers. The pots that you buy from Ikea don’t have holes in the bottom, so the Boy drilled a hole in to the bottom of each to allow for drainage. He added in some pebbles and then some potting soil, then the plants and we’re all set!


Lighting and Accents0880756_1

Bird-Brain-Firepot-Pele-Small-Sepia-Pearl-11504573_LRGNo space is complete without your personal touch! The interior of my condo is all greys and turquoise blue accents. In order to help make the balcony feel like part of the whole space and not a teeny-tiny self-contained space, I continued the colour scheme
to the outdoors as well. The accent pillows are outdoor fabric, safe to leave out in the sun and rain. I actually have three sources of light – first is an old set of filament style string bulbs I bought at Target before they left Canada (sob, sob, sob…), second is the fire-pot and lastly is a set of solar fairy lights. I also have some lanterns for candles if I feel like that’s the right mood.


And Voila! My tiney-tiny balcony space!





Ikea Floor tiles: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/90238111/

Ikea plant stand: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60308209/

Ikea pots: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/10155671/

Conversation Set (no longer available at Home Depot): http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/progarden-progarden-etna-3-piece-outdoor-lounge-set-black-bcf74/10300482.aspx

Lights: http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/solar-string-lights-0526076p.html#.VzZuLqv0UyE

Accent Pillows: http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/canvas-santorini-patio-toss-cushion-0880756p.html#.VzZu_av0UyE

Ikea, Home Depot, Best Buy and Canadian Tire have paid me nothing to promote their goods. I’ve done so out of the goodness of my heart for you to be able to create your own amazing tiny little outdoor space!


Cindy Lou Who’s Got Nothing on Me

dr-seuss-removable-wall-decorations-bx-68063I have a new haircut that I am mostly unhappy with right now. The stylist did not listen to me so she cut my hair too short.  Way too short.  I’ve been dealing with it and trying to make the best of it.  I try very hard to not make a face when someone tells me they like it. (I’m failing. Miserably.) It’s not that I don’t appreciate that people keep telling me they like it–in fact, I want to hug the stuffing out of them because I feel like it looks like I stuck my long hair down the garbage disposal and then powered it on and this is what’s left of it.  So I appreciate it.  I really do.

As with most curly\wavy hair, it can become unmanageable in a hurry.  Today I didn’t have time to flat iron the crap out of it, so instead, I just used the blow dryer and then tried to brush it down.    In some crazy combination of both humidity and static, my hair is–simply put–ridiculous today.  This morning it looked like I had puppy dog ears on both sides of my head.  Later this afternoon, I was debating whether I should just invest in a bunch of hats until it grows out again, or maybe some kind of hooded cloak.

Game of Thrones is really trendy right now, I might be able to pull it off…

Currently, it looks like I have just finished taping a scene in a Dr. Seuss movie as the ends have decided to all flip up crazy-like and the top of it looks like I’m sporting some kind of retro beehive look.

I guess it’s a good thing that one of my very best traits is that I have no problem laughing at myself.

much love,

The Social Chick

omg enough with the head lice already

I was just commenting over on Fosterhood last week, giving my advice on how to get rid of the nasty little shits and thanking my lucky stars that the lice my youngest brought home back in March had long been anhiliated. And then last night, I see the same daughter scratching her head.
“Are you scratching your head?”
“Yeah… I think I had dandruff…”
Dandruff. FFS kid.
I pop up out of my chair, abandoning all hope of eating dinner because I already know. My other two daughters immediately start scooching away from the table. Let me tell you something… my daughters can have conversations about poop at the dinner table, but you mention lice and suddenly the infected child is basically carrying The Plague and no one, and I mean no one, wants to be near them.
It only takes this experienced mother of four daughters about ten seconds to find a nit. I believe there were some curse words muttered there because ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I just dealt with this a month and a half ago. I wanted to call the principal at the school and ask her why the hell they aren’t doing head checks weekly. And I still might.
Resigned, I go and grab the hair dye out of the bathroom cabinet. This is my go to remedy for head lice, dear reader: dye their hair, pick the nits, throw all bedding in the dryer for fifteen minutes a day… Afterwards, daily head checks for the next two to three weeks and bedding at least every other day.
It’s balls.
I checked all three girls who still live at home and the oldest was nit free and like hell yeah, keep those small kids away from me. Middle daughter had a few nits, which I picked and then we did her bedding. Youngest was the worst, as per usual. This is because of two things. The first is that she is the one who is catching it repeatedly from school and the second is because my youngest daughter is hispanic and holy freaking crap she has so. much. hair. It is cut to her shoulders and it still takes me two hours to go through it all.
So today begins the daily head checks. The counting of nits, because if you’ve done your lice homework, you know one louse can lay up to ten eggs per day. So if you have a hundred eggs, there are a butt ton of lice, but if you have like five then you are probably only dealing with one. Find it and kill it and dance on it’s nasty little louse grave. Then make sure you are picking all of the evil eggs and killing anything that might be in the bedding. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And then repeat again until you’ve had like a week of successful head checks where there were no lice and you can start doing weekly checks again. Repeat until all daughters move away to college and then drink lots of wine and be so happy.

How I get to work.

I live across the street from the subway. In total it takes me about 30 minutes door to door from home to work – and for about 20 minutes of that I get to read in silence (no wifi/signal in the tunnels yay!), stare at the walls, sleep or play on my phone. There’s a part of the journey where we pop outside on the underside of a street over a valley. As part of trying to be more mindful I always try and observe this outside part of the journey. Yesterday I was at the front of the train and captured this time-lapse.