Junction Mess | Tara Leigh Smith | Page 2

Hey, You Look Like A Lady Who Could Use A Hot Dog!

I just had my coffee and read thirty five some internet articles. One was about a woman who sabotaged herself and ruined every trip she’s ever gone on, by not being organized. Wow. She’s got the problems! I can’t imagine living your life like that! Speaking of trips…

I am leaving tomorrow for a much needed one. You know, to give me a break from my job of doing nothing all day long. I fly out at 8 am, so I need to pack today.

I also need to clean my house. My sister is moving in for the week, to help out my children. Knowing that I was flying out on June 6th, I decided from May 6th on not to clean or put anything away. WHY BOTHER. I will just have to do it the day before she comes anyway, because I live with three boys and a giant dog. (Hoarders were like “Naw, this is too much, even for us.”) So the cleaning and packing should commence, NOW. Oh. I also have to wash what I want to pack, since I only own three outfits. None of which are really even appropriate for the trip. What should I wear to tour Alcatraz, PJs or a formal gown? You decide.

This should all be easy enough right? Right. BUT I do need to clean the backyard first. Why you ask? Because today is the day! We have old propane tanks scattered around, broken equipment, toboggans and recycling. SO. MANY. WINE. BOTTLES. Will my sister be in the back yard? NO. But this should only take a few minutes. Let me just load up the car for a quick run to Big Box Land to return all this junk. Easy Peasy. THEN I will clean and pack. Here we go.

GARDEN CENTRE? Ohhhhh. A place for people who care about their yards. (I wish I was one of those people.) Annuals on for .99 cents? Hmmmm. Well, the front of the house does look bare. I can’t imagine weeding a garden and planting a few dozen flowers can take that long, right? I know I need to clean but I still have a few hours before the dog groomer shows up. Yes. I decided my dog needs a haircut before I leave. It only makes sense to spend as much money as possible before a trip. I love to feel anxious about cash flow while on a vacation. I want to make good and sure to keep this whirlwind of chaos going until I board that plane.

At the hardware store, I unload all the propane tanks. Did I mention they aren’t even mine? They were in the yard 6 years ago when we bought our house. So you can totally see the need to return them TODAY. Had to be done. They were crazy heavy, and I struggled all across the parking lot with NO ONE offering to help me. Whatever.

On my way back out, the hot dog cart man called out to me.

“HEY! You look like a lady who could use a hot dog.”

Dude’s not wrong. 99% of the time I pretty much look like a lady who could use a hot dog. I’ll take this as some serious high praise, considering the source!

I wander over.

“If I was allowed to leave my cart, I would have totally helped you carry those tanks!”

See. Chivalry is not dead.

“That’s disgusting the way NO ONE helped you, struggling like that. In YOUR condition. Let me treat you to a hot dog.”

There it is. My condition. Hot dog man thinks I’m pregnant.

I am not.

I am, however, interested in that free hot dog.

“What’ll it be?” he asks.

“Something’s telling me…chicken wiener.” (  I say this in a side talking, high pitched voice. Chiiiken WEEN AHHH)

Let me just say this. At NO point in anyone’s life, should something in their brain or body tell them chicken wiener.

“Coming right up!”

YESSSS. I am totally owning today. I take my free chicken dog and LOAD IT UP with all my favourite unrefrigerated toppings, which are just warming up nicely in the sun. Sauerkraut, corn relish, hot sauce, ketchup. Mmmmm. I thank my Knight in Shining Tin Foil, head to the car, and scarf down my snack.

As I wiped my face up with a bit of leftover bun, I glanced down to see it’s only 10:30am. Hmm. Maybe that was a food mistake before noon. Hmm. Maybe it was a food mistake before a 5 hour flight. But hey! I still have plenty of time to get at that gardening. I crank some Dexy’s Midnight Runners on the radio and I cruise on home.

It’s late afternoon now and NOTHING in the house is done, but I am still super excited for my trip. I am meeting my hubby for a sweet big city rendezvous. He’s been away for a week now, and I miss him. I sent him some sexy boudoir photos to remind him what’s coming his way in two days. I’ll share one with you now, if you promise not to show anyone. I don’t want them leaked like Jennifer Lawrence’s!

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Okay. That’s it. I need to stop wasting time and GET READY.

Just as soon as I finish off that project piece chair I garbage picked two years ago. I really feel like it needs to get done today. Now where’s that sander?

P.S. If you read this, and thought, hey, pregnant ladies shouldn’t eat hot dogs! You are right!! Pat yourself on the back for nailing this parenting thing! We are all doing alright.

Alpha Mom, Emasculation and Helicopter Wife-ing

“I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss.” – Beyoncé. Queen of All Things.

I am the boss of my house. I believe everyone that lives here will agree to that. I am the Alpha Mom.  I am not bossy, but I do tend to steamroll decisions for most things, making them go my way.

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Well, yesterday I was called out by a family friend for “emasculating” my husband. Now, before you go getting your hate on for me, let me explain…

First of all, we are urban city folk, through and through. My son thinks camping is sleeping in his Spiderman tent in the living room. Our hiking is through High Park, ending off at a wine bar to celebrate us getting out there and enjoying nature! Our “backyard” is a 200 square foot area that we fondly refer to as “The Dirt Pit” and right in the middle of this is a cluster of old, rotten tree stumps.

My Husband wandered in from the back, in his “gardening clothes” which consisted of expensive gym shoes and his leather gloves he wears to work, and announced he was going to buy a chainsaw. He said he can’t dig the stumps out, that the roots run too deep, he needs to cut them.

I laughed and said “OH NO YOU’RE NOT.” He then said he could rent one.

“DOUBLE NO.” I laughed even harder.

“NOT EVEN AN AXE!” I yelled as he headed back outside.

So, I ask you, was that emasculating? Maybe.

Want to know what else is? CHOPPING YOUR LEG OFF IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD.

My husband is great at many things. He can hold his own tasting first growth Bordeaux with a Baron in France, and can sing Karaoke backed by a live band. He’s funny and charming, but he has never really used any sort of equipment like this.

So I am straight up saying he’s not allowed to have a chainsaw. Or really any other power tools. My mocking tone was very similar to Ralphie’s mom in a Christmas Story. I won’t let my husband “shoot his eye out.” Moms are right, everyone else is wrong!

I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a Helicopter Parent, but I have been known to make my son get out of the tree, because I’m quite sure he’s going to fall and impale himself on the spiked fence below. I also yell “HOLD THE RAILING” every single time he comes down the stairs, because I am certain one of these times he’s going to fall, knocking out his front teeth. So, maybe I tend to over worry…

You’ve heard of Helicopter Parenting? How these parents won’t let the kids have any fun on their own? How they hover around making sure they don’t fall in the playground, making them wear safety gear to ride their bikes? Never letting them out of their sight, and making sure every activity they do is safe and structured?

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Well, I am Helicopter Wife-ing.

If my husband really wants to use a chainsaw, he will have to take a class. If he wants to throw an axe, he can join the Axe Throwing League. I will only let him do these activities in a safe, controlled environment. I will pick him up after his class, take him out for a drink, and ask all about how it went, just like I do with my kids. Fun right? Problem solved, no more worrying about backyard dismemberment!

Maybe he will be really great at using these types of equipment, take a real shine to it, and will end up being quite the Handyman. But, until then. NO CHAINSAWS!

So maybe this is emasculating. Maybe I tend to hover. Maybe I worry too much, but I just want my family to be safe, including my Husband.

I love him to pieces.

But I do not want him in pieces.

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I Choose to #NotChoose (AKA) #DoveOff

SO, it’s the day before my 44th birthday. My gift to myself was a promise to, from this point on in my life, NOT get fired up over stuff on the internet. Yep. No more fighting. No more tears, no more anxiety, NO SHAMING, no NOTHING. I will NOT INTERNET ENGAGE. From this day forward the only time I will internet cry, is when I watch You Tube videos of War Vets being reunited with family members and pets. Or, if I need a break from that, my new favourite You Tube sensation, people meeting their deceased loved ones’ organ recipients. These things are just feel good, healthy ugly crying clips, not things that make me question my past parenting or life choices. I have plenty of real day to day goings on that I overreact to, so no worries, I will still be able to get my kookoo on just fine!

Well, that promise lasted until 11am, when I stumbled across DOVE’S newest campaign. #ChooseBeautiful

Now, I know, it’s my own fault. I shouldn’t have watched their video. BUT I had to. I couldn’t help it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dove campaigns, here’s how they go. FIRST, they make women, REAL women, make some sort of a choice, which will make them feel bad about themselves. Then they sit them down, show them the video of them making a choice to make themselves feel bad, point out they did this, making them feel bad about feeling bad, and then tell them their products will help correct the damage we women have done to ourselves and to our daughters.

WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO OUR DAUGHTERS!!??!!

You get the point. After some quick internet research, (you know, how I find ONLY the comments I want to find, proving my point, and my point only!) I have found a lot of people are unhappy with this campaign. It seems we are getting wiser to the ways of advertising, and how they totally prey on Women’s insecurities. Advertising will always target women like this, it’s how stuff gets sold. BUT the thing that bugs me the most about Dove, is that they do it in an underhanded way. Choose Average or Beautiful. Wait, you’re ALL Beautiful, can’t you see that? They could have chosen any words in the world, but they chose a negative and a positive, with both choices leaving you feeling bad. (The signs were also installed by men. Did you catch that irritating point??!!??) Yes, they could have chosen other words, like Smart or Funny, but you know what? Women are ALL THOSE THINGS. We don’t need to decide what we are, or how we see ourselves while heading to work or the mall. Everyone has great days, and everyone has bad days. Some days I think I’m Kate Upton, other days I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window and say “WHAT THE FUNKY FUDGECICLES, I LEFT THE HOUSE LIKE THIS!!??” I am super sick and tired of so many media forms making people feel badly about themselves. We all do this without any help. I would sure love it everyone who feels like me would go to their hashtag and let them know what you really think of their #ChooseBeautiful campaign. In case my internet rage isn’t enough to convince you, did you know that Unilever, the company that makes Dove and these ads, also makes Axe for men. In case you’ve forgotten how much Unilever cares for women, and how we see ourselves, watch this:

Well, Happy Birthday to me. I will not engage in internet rage. Starting…TOMORROW.

Dressing Right For Your Body Type AKA Kiss My Sweet A**

Spring is almost here. Beautiful, airy fashions are flooding into stores, and online for shopping. Heavy boots are being tucked away for more fashion friendly footwear. It’s a great time for updating wardrobes!

Around this time of year, I see lots of articles pop up on how to know what sort of clothes suit you, especially if you have a less than perfect body shape. Some even have handy charts, showing whether you are an apple, pear, rectangle, hourglass, or wedge. Tall and skinny, or short and fat? Big boobs, small boobs, no boobs? Someone can fix that! There are all kinds of tips for you, especially for every woman’s favourite thing, bathing suit shopping!

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Well, I thought I’d make up a list, to help get you through the spring and summer wardrobe season. I’ve narrowed it down to three simple rules, hopefully you will find these helpful!

  1. Wear whatever the F*** you like. Do you like something? Then buy it. If it’s tight, loose, short, long, striped, checked, coloured, covers up, let’s it all hang out, in fashion, out of style, boring, outrageous, or anything else you can think of, if you like it, YOU WEAR IT.
  2. Stop buying magazines and reading articles and listening to anyone or anything that makes you feel bad about yourself and your choices. If you feel good in something, then you look good in it too! Don’t spend another summer hating yourself and covering up because you feel less than perfect. It’s too hot for that bulls***!
  3. Be kind to yourself. We are our own worst enemies. Be healthy, take care of your body, but take care of your heart and soul too. Enjoy your life. You will waste so many years putting things off if you wait “until you lose that twenty pounds.” Swim with your children, be in family photos, take a dance class. Your children don’t care how you look, they love you as you are. By accepting and caring for yourself, and trying to be healthy mentally and physically, you are setting such a great example for your family!

Well, there you have it. My shopping tips. Now go buy yourself something you absolutely love and feel great in! My current fav? A cherry print bathing suit. A little spill going on over the top, a little jiggle going on at the bottom, and a whole lotta sexy going on right in the middle!

http://www.blackdaffodil.ca/collections/swimsuits

http://www.yourbigsisterscloset.com/

These are two stores I love, that carry local human sized clothing. Something for everyone!

1980’s Interview

My teenaged son Archie had to interview someone, and discuss the differences between childhood and teen years then and now. He decided to interview me. Below is the interview. I thought you may like to read it.

Careers Interview with Tara Leigh Smith

By: Archie Burton Smith

 

The 80’s were a very different time compared to nowadays. Things were different back then. It was a time of neon, big hair, and Donkey Kong. A time long before Twitter or Facebook, Tumblr or Snapchat, and long before the days of portable computers, and cellphones for Everyone. It was a decade that shaped the technology we have nowadays, and led to a lot of new Innovations. In order to compare one of the greatest decades to our own, I interviewed a person who lived through them. She’s a woman with a lot of insight, anecdotes and strong opinions on the way things used to be and are now. She was able to provide me with a lot of information to work with. Through this report, you’ll hear stories, facts, and a lot of weird things. She’s a woman with a lot to tell, so without further ado, here is my interview with my Mom,

Tara Smith, child of the 80’s.

In today’s society, we live a very sheltered lifestyle. We’re all about keeping an eye out, Stranger Danger; and ensuring the future for our kids. But back in the 80’s, things were a little more lenient when it came to child safety. This story illustrates my mom’s experiences with this.

“People are always talking about the good old days of the 80’s, back before playdate and when parents didn’t need to always be with their kids. But in the 80’s, my brother and I used to play at a place we called the Oil Pond, which we later found out was a dumping ground for a local factory. Years later, people tried to build a condo there, and it took them two years to clean the soil. One time I lost my rubber boot in the oil pond and when I got home, I got a spanking with a wooden spoon. That was also okay in the 80’s. Also on the topic of child safety, when I was 14, my friend and I told our parents that we were staying at each other’s houses. What we really did was sneak on a bus to Toronto, to see Madonna in concert. We just stayed on Yonge St. overnight and took the bus back the next day. This went so well that we went to see Duran Duran a few weeks later. If I was a kid nowadays, I would probably tweet a photo of myself and get busted. ”  I would never be able to go off on my own for more than a couple hours, let alone to another city, but that`s the difference of my generation with my mom`s. Nowadays, you can just check where your friends, kids, family or enemies are at the click of a button, but back then, teens were much more adventurous, and it was way harder to get caught doing something.

In 2015, you can look anywhere and see big TV shows. Expensive, realistic, and often only available on certain networks, TV has been elevated to an art form. But back in the 80`s, all TV needed was a little excitement, and a whole lot of explosions to get the job done right. “TV was a AMAZING. Every show was about private investigators in short shorts with mustaches, who would blow up power boats. And they could KILL people, without any consequences. Every sitcom had an awesome theme song that not only explained the show but was longer than the actual show. Look at the facts of life theme song: You’ll never make it through without the truth, the facts of life are all about you!! That song was sung by Robin Thicke’s mom and written by his dad. Robin Thicke’s parents wrote and sang most of the 80’s theme songs. 80’s shows had everything: Wingmen Gorillas, parentless children moving in with strangers, children that would just be added to the show (Leonardo DiCaprio in growing pains). And every kid had an awesome bedroom.”   TV in the 80’s is a far cry from the TV of today. We have mainly instrumental theme songs, and shows about how every choice had a consequence. I have to say, some of the 80’s shows sound a little more exciting than the things we have today!

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Today, we don’t have too much going on in styles. It’s mainly minimal effort; most people just get up and get ready, but that was very different in the 80’s. There was a lot more effort going into clothes. As my mom puts it: “Clothing used to be outrageous and expensive and took a lot of work. Nowadays it’s minimal and not a lot of effort is put into it. I spent more money on clothes as a teen than I do now. Not having to spend money on shoulder pads alone saves me hundreds of dollars. I spent all my money on clothing and concerts. But it  was the opposite with movies. We went to 2.50 Tuesdays at the movies. It was 2.50 because toonies hadn’t been invented yet. Back in the 80’s I did what I wanted when I wanted… and that’s why I’m not a very productive adult. ”    Compared to the 50 dollar splurge you need nowadays to go the movies, 2.50 Tuesdays sound like heaven. I probably spend more money at the movie theatre than I do on anything else. As for the not being productive thing, kids today are constantly kept in line and taught how to do things properly and to be responsible with their money and savings. Is this for better or worse? Only time will tell.

Being a teenager, I want to be able to be able to make money to do different things. Today, you need to be 16, have a full resume, have volunteering experience, and a bunch of other things just to get a job. My mom didn’t have this problem.    “I probably made more money as a teen than I do now. I always had a part time job and was always babysitting. It was easier to get a job as a teen in the 80’s. I probably had my first job by grade 6.”   Considering the difficulty that some teens face to get jobs, this shows a stark contrast. But kids in the 80’s didn’t have courses like careers to help them out. Today we get more experience out of school than a lot of people would get in the 80’s, so while it’s difficult to start, things may be easier for us in the long run.

Even technology was different in the 80’s. Today, we have smartphones, with games built into them, that can call, text, exchangeagram, tweet and post, whereas in the 80’s, some home phones were innovative.     “The Clock Radio phone was cutting edge technology. The only flaw was that it would stop playing when you picked it up, so you needed to find a way to keep the button pressed. But if you could then you would get awesome music to play over the phone while you called someone.”   She also talks about video games.    “Video games were way better. “Nowadays, there are only first person shooter games. Back in my day you used to fly around and joust on ostriches. There was some honour to it.”      Pixelated and only available at an arcade, video games were very different back then.

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And there you have it. My mom is one of the more interesting people that I know, and it was great to hear everything she had to say, and to hear her say “Back in my day” about a bhundred times. I think it’s important to hear the experiences of people who have lived longer than you and have seen more. Without hearing stories like these, we’d have no idea what shoulder pads were for, or what the heck a Swatch Watch phone was. Without hearing the perspective of people who were there, we’d only know the basic facts. Not the parts that are interesting or important to hear. Most people know about the cold war, but how would we know that Reagan once threatened Russia by telling them “Go ahead, make my day” during it without someone telling us. We also learn that while it’s important to play by the rules and to work hard, that it’s also important to break some of the rules and take a classic day off. Interviewing my mom let me hear some of my favourite of her stories, and also learn some new ones. It was truly a pretty great interview, and I hope you enjoyed my report on it.

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The February Blahs… And Then Some.

I usually do not like February. I get the blahs, I long for summer, I get crabby! But this year, I actually liked the weather. Sure, it’s been record breaking cold, but it has also had record breaking sunshine. Some sweet sun rays sure made climbing over snowbanks in heavy coats and boots a lot more tolerable. Even now I am in the warmth of a window seat, snow coming down, and for the first time in years, not filled with weather rage.

Despite all of this, it was still my least favourite month. My problems, however, were not weather related this year, but race related.

A few things really bothered me this month. The big one was at my son’s school. In a city of 2.8 million people, they did not talk at all about Black History Month. He said someone would read a quote out over the morning announcements, that he thought was maybe something about black history, but he wasn’t 100% sure. To make up for this, I would tell him a historical fact or story every day, which I admit most I had to look up on the internet, because I also never really learned anything in school either for Black History Month. What I have learned through all of this, this year, is it really should just all be “history” and taught throughout the year. To top this off, I found out that February 28th is “National Tooth Fairy Day” to celebrate the “beloved” Tooth Fairy. So, nothing on Canada’s part in The Underground Railway, but on the last day of Black History month a whole day dedicated to a fake thing. WOW. This just did not sit well with me.

Another big problem was The Oscars. I was so moved by John Legend and Common’s acceptance speech, but that feeling was quickly doused when Scarlett Johansson came out, and with a trite sentence, compared Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma to Montgomery March as having the same impact as Beetlemania and The Sound Of Music. Hey, we all love Julie Andrews, but that movie wasn’t life altering for anyone, other than her. The internet also got very upset with Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech. I do think she was trying her best, and yes, what she said ended up being offensive and a little ignorant. My problem was that her clip made the internet rounds, pointing out all things wrong with what she did, when John Legend and Common’s clip should have been making the rounds for all the things they did right.

Which brings me to the last thing wrong with February. The dress. The colour of the dress. Millions and millions of people commenting on, arguing over, posting, forwarding and reposting, all giving attention to someone who doesn’t need any help at all. For three days this stupid dress filled all my newsfeeds. I know things can be light and entertaining, and we can’t be serious all the time, but I can’t help thinking, imagine if all the passion and energy that went into a piece of clothing went in to, I don’t know, ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL.

Imagine if every person who weighed in on the dress, had to give $5 to a charity.

Stuff could have gotten done last week.

But it didn’t.

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Local Loving

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. Every year I say I am going to make something special for my kids, but deep down I know that I am not great at DIY projects. Not only am I not very good, I don’t really like it! Phew, it feels good to admit that out loud to the internet world.

What I am good at doing is buying things. So, this year, I meshed my two ideas together! I tracked down some local moms who have turned their DIY love into full time businesses!

My girlfriend for years would make amazing treats, and I would show up at various get-togethers, and while shoving my mouth full of them mumble “Yewww shoehjsth tototall y shekls thehsseeth.” (This is how “You should TOTALLY sell these” sounds with your mouth full of salted caramel!)

After much hard work and perseverance, she did, and now her treats are the hit of many local markets. So, for my teenaged son, a bag of Twice Spiced Caramel Corn, and a package of salted caramel hearts.

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/All-Mine-Caramel/214623948560739

My next item is from another local mom, who has been making soaps, lip balms, and other skin related products at home, and is also selling them in local stores and markets. For my younger son, some adorable retro Valentine soaps that are all natural, so they are great for his sensitive skin! She even made him a custom one that has his name on it. I think this may have been out of guilt though. One day he did a “Bath Bomb” workshop with her, and was VERY DISAPPOINTED when his bomb didn’t explode, or shoot all the water of the tub. There was waterworks alright, but only the tears of a 6 year old. My neighbour has now changed the name to “Bath Fizzies” just to clear up any child confusion! (I should have realized what was going to happen, when he exclaimed “You’ll REALLY let me take this in the tub??!!??)

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http://soapboxsoapshop.ca/

So for this year, on the official day of Love, I am spreading mine by shopping locally. I have gifts made with love, to give to the people I love, and that is warming my Valentine’s heart on this cold winter day!

PS. Someone should also mention to my husband that we have a lot of local jewellery designers in the area, in case he needs some ideas!!

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What Kind of Parent Doesn’t Vaccinate Their Child??!!??

What kind of person doesn’t vaccinate their child?

This kind.

Now, before you fly into full rage, both my children are vaccinated. We are all good, not spreading any near-eradicated diseases over here.

But, back in 1999, when my first son was born, I chose not to get him vaccinated, and waited until he was around six years old. At the time, I thought I was making an educated choice, and a choice based on what seemed like a lot of factors.  Articles and news stories linking Autism to the MMR vaccine were abundant.  A very famous medical report had come out, claiming to have found a direct link, and even Tony Blair wasn’t vaccinating his child.  A lot of people were concerned, and it was a much heated topic.

I also had a family friend who’s eighteen month old went from seemingly normal to not, shortly after having the vaccine.  A chatty, bubbly little boy suddenly stopped talking, stopped making eye contact, stopped making ANY contact, and went into an internal shell he’s never come out of.  It was heartbreaking and scary.

I had another friend who worked for a “big bad pharmaceutical” company, who are “just in this to make money.” (I still believe that is the case, but make money and save lives.)

I was told by medical professionals, that if my unvaccinated child got something, other children would not get it. So, in the rare event of him catching something, it would be an isolated case. Despite what everyone hears, it was very easy to not vaccinate.  I had no problems registering him for school.  I had a document called “Statement Of Conscience or Religious Belief” form, and that was all I needed.  This was actually must easier to do than it was to register him for a school outside of our catchment area. ( I succeeded at both!)

Another reason, maybe the biggest, was based from nothing scientific, but based on emotion. Now, we all know this is the worst thing to make life altering decisions on, but let’s face it, most decisions are probably made this way, with no science, no rational reason, but emotions. It’s a powerful thing.

I had a very traumatizing birth, and my teeny tiny five pound shining star’s little heart almost stopped. The family beside me in the recovery room lost their little star, and lying in a hospital bed, hearing all of their grief while my baby was in an incubator was too much for me to handle.  A week after being home with my son, my personal life also took a terrible turn. SO, add all of this to the information I had against the vaccines, and a choice was made. I felt with every fibre of my being that my child COULD NOT receive this. He was all I had, and I felt like this was a much bigger risk than a case of the measles.

I read a lot of comments now, how “Anti-vaxxers” love to defy authority, or do this as a sense of entitlement, and I have heard parents brag about their bold choices. Well, I am here to tell you these choices aren’t bold, they are stupid. The medical community, including the Autism community, have tried very hard for the past fifteen years to find any link, but there isn’t one.  IF there were, they’d have found it by now. They wanted to, we all want them to. We all want answers for why so many children are developing Autism and its related disorders. But this isn’t it. What they have done though, is proven (again, with science) that there is no reason to not vaccinate your child, and not doing so is putting your child, and everyone else at a crazy, terrible risk.

So, yes, I didn’t vaccinate my son. Yes, I am really sorry about that. I regret it. I have potentially contributed to bringing back diseases that were almost non-existent, but are now popping up in clusters at Disneyland and the NHL.

Fifteen years ago I made a decision based on facts and science that has since been dis proven. I do not understand what parents are basing their decision on now. If I am basing this on the same smug reason I brag about canning my own beets, then I am making a horrible choice, and need to get my head out of my ass.

Good news is, it’s not too late. You can go today and correct this mistake. Your doctor won’t judge you, won’t scold you, and you don’t even have to admit you’ve made a mistake. Just go get your children vaccinated.  It’s time to put a stop this major medical fuck up.

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PS. There are thousands of hard core facts proving that vaccines save lives. I didn’t get into the details, because if you are pro vaccine, you know this. If you are anti vaccine, you will find all the articles you want to support your claims. NONE of these are by scientists or doctors, but you will find them, and probably argue them. But please stop, people are going to die because we are behaving like spoiled privileged a-holes.

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That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles.

Well, the Holiday season is over. With the whoop-de-do and hickory dock, it’s done.

I have to say I’m glad. I’ve had too much to eat, too much to drink, tired of vacuuming up pine needles. It’s time to get rid of the tree, get rid of the treats, and start prepping for the January Blahs.

As I was standing over the sink, shoving the last six few shortbreads in my mouth, the cookies reminded me about a Christmas a few years ago, where we had a lot more cookies left over…

We had moved to an area of the city that was just not working for me. I missed my friends, my neighbourhood, my coffee shops, my stuff. I was a bit isolated and lonely. Now, I don’t want to scare the young’ins, but this was back in the day before Meetup Groups, and neighbourhood Facebook pages. We had to meet people the old fashioned way, just go out and find a group of women, and then lurk around them until it becomes so obvious and awkward they finally HAVE to talk to you.

When children make new friends, it’s easy. You say hi, announce you’re besties, and then run off somewhere holding hands without a care in the world. Nothing matters. Your new best friend likes you the way you are. Ladies are sometimes different. Sometimes you are judged. Sometimes, what you are wearing matters. Sometimes what your husband does for a living matters. Sometimes what you drive matters. “Yes, that IS my neon green Aztec. Why do you ask?” (Please note, I drove one long before Walter White did. Back when it was making the top 5 on the worst cars in the world lists.)

For those who don’t know, there are two kinds of get-togethers that social ladies have. Book clubs, and the dreaded yearly cookie exchange. I had already been kicked out of a Book Club earlier in the year, so cookies were my last chance. (Yes, kicked out, but that’s another story. An X-rated one at that!)

Looking back, I will now admit I was headed for disaster. Hindsight makes it easy to see these were not the friends I was looking for. (I just said that in my Jedi voice, and did a hand swipe. So, right there tells you I was out of my league.)

After much circling and forcing myself into conversations, I snagged myself an invite to join in their annual exchange. This was going to be my moment to shine! These reluctant ladies couldn’t shun me once they tasted my amazing shortbreads, my cutely decorated cookies, my killer maple icing! This was my in! I spent hours baking, icing, piping, packaging. I was ready to win these bitches over!

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Off I went. I will admit now, even when I first arrived at the house, I knew I was in over my head. Ever have that job interview you know you aren’t qualified for, and you’re dressed all wrong? It was like that, but with everyone drinking wine. All the ladies were super dressed up, like they were going to the Oscars, and I had on tights, a tunic and leg warmers. In my defence, it was a Tuesday night. Plus, this is my outfit, every day of the year. Ten years running.

After some awkward social banter, it was time! Everyone got their boxes of treats, and the exchange was about to begin! I was BURSTING. I could see some of the other’s stuff, and mine was by far THE BEST! The host announced that since I was new, I could go first. YES. Prime position. I would be a tough act to follow! I could already hear these ladies singing my praises, follow up conversations how they tasted as good as they looked. I had finally cracked the code. I was imagining invites to cottages, and summer night cruises around the Toronto harbour. MY TIME TO SHINE!

I went around the room, handing each woman a lovely, hand crafted package of awesomeness. I was trying to contain my smugness, as I took my place back in the circle. (Picture an elite game of duck duck goose.)

The host held my package up, high in front of her, I could almost hear the Lion King music playing, but, then she spoke, and all I heard was a record needle scratch. (The sound that ruins every fantasy moment in every John Hughes film!)

“These are lovely, (super dramatic, maybe a little sarcastic pause) but where is the recipe card?”

I didn’t know what she meant at first. I started looking around, and then I realized that everyone else’s cookie packages had a recipe attached.

I explained I didn’t know we were supposed to give out the recipe, so maybe next time. The host asked if I knew it by heart. Of course I did, I bragged. Oops. She then offered me recipe cards to write it down on.

Oh boy. Panic was setting in. This was my dad’s secret recipe, and my icing and cookies made me stand out in a crowd. If everyone could make them, then mine would no longer be special! Come on Tara, don’t blow this, I thought to myself. I gulped, and then answered.

“No.” I said.

“What do you mean, no?” she asked indignantly.

“I mean, no. This is a secret family recipe and I don’t want to share it.” I said, feeling now more than a little uncomfortable.

“Well, (super duper too long we all get the point dramatic pause AND sigh) that is crazy.” (It was a little crazy, I’ll admit it, now.)

I stood for what felt like hours. She looked me up and down and then finally said,

“If you do not give us all your precious recipe, then you can just take back your cookies and GO.”

She couldn’t be serious!

She was.

I went back around the cookie circle, collecting my packages back from women who now wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I loaded up my goodies, and headed home, defeated and friendless.

Upside, I now had ten dozen shortbread cookies all to myself. So I am going to count that night as an overall win.

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It was shortly after that I decided to move back to the area that I love.

My west end.

My Junction.

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Finally, I was in a neighbourhood where I belonged. Over the years I have made all sorts of friends. I went from being lonely, to be surrounded by women who are cool, funny, funky, inclusive and kind to others. We dance, drink, laugh, cry, and hang out and it’s easy and stress free. I have amazing neighbours, most of the shop owners know me by name, and we have a great school community.

So, as the New Year sets in, I just wanted to give a big love fest shout out to all my Junction Mommas; what a fine group of ladies we are!

Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to more time together in 2015!

And those cookie bitches can suck it! (Just a test to see if anyone really reads to the end of a blog post.)

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