Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pass the sugar, Sugar.

Oh SUGAR! You don't need to know me well to know that I LOVE SUGAR. When I was little I used to sneak into the cupboard, close the door behind me, and literally eat the brown sugar right out of the bucket. I still love sugar in most forms. Let me expand upon that. In no specific order, here are some of my favorites:

Vanilla ice cream with strawberries, brownies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, mars bars, lifesavers, candy canes, doggy doo doos, chocolate crinkle cookies, moose tracks ice cream, tiger tiger ice cream, Reese's puffs, black licorice toffee, mars bars, skor blizzards, oreo mc flurries, twix bars, sour keys, slurpees, any/ all kinds of cheese cake, 5 cent candies from 7-11, root beer, rice crispy squares, jolly ranchers, peppermints, fruit loops, popsicles, caramel apples, wine gums, hot chocolate, smores, jelly bellies, runts, skittles, hot tamales, mike and ikes ...

You probably get the point. I just wanted to illustrate the fact that I don't discriminate; while most people's tastes mature as they get older, mine haven't. Don't get me wrong- they've expanded. I enjoy a far darker chocolate than I used to, but the truth is that I will still eat that cheap waxy chocolate you get at Easter like there's no tomorrow. And nothing makes my mouth water like a clear little baggie of obscurely shaped gummies slathered in sour sugar.

My relationship with food is a complicated one (or maybe it's not) but we won't get into that right now. Now we will simply discuss the reasons I need to end this love affair that I have with sugar. Immediately... Or as soon as I make, then eat, a delicious something with the pack of skor bits sitting in my pantry, because can't start any sort of cleanse from the vile weed, with such a delightful specimen sitting within reach!

So the cons of sugar are obvious, even to a faithful follower such as myself. But allow me to outline them- perhaps more for my own benefit than for anyone else's.

1. My face is a tell tale sign of my sugar intake. Each bite of sugar I take appears within 12 hours on my face. Too much information? Perhaps. But let me expand further. The more (and the cheaper - NO JOKE!) the sugar I eat, the worse my face breaks out the next day. Each 2 bite brownie can be traded across the board for a zit on my chin. Perhaps due to the fact that it is eaten with less inhibition, or perhaps due to the actual ingredients, but a chocolate with a higher cocoa content does less damage on mon visage.

2. My butt. I am currently about 5 months pregnant. In the first 4 months I didn't gain a single pound. In the last month and a half I have gained close to 10. Oh boy. And the truth is, it's been an active month. Roly and I walk almost every day. We go to the pool at least once/ week. But alas- I eat. a few weeks ago I made a huge batch of cookie dough, and froze it, anticipating company, and different situations in which a fresh batch of cookies may come in handy. Well, it came in really handy on nights where Dave and I were sitting, watching t.v. and wanted some cookie dough. And lets just be honest with ourselves - EVERY situation is the perfect situation for fresh cookies. Several batches were made (and-cough-eaten-cough) that week.

3. My health. This hadn't crossed my mind until tonight, but this darn sugar habit may just be killing me in more ways than one. I have a rock solid immune system. I think that working with kids for years has given me the immune system of an ox, as I've been coughed/sneezed/peed/puked on by more kids than I can count. Dave and Roly catch EVERYTHING that rolls through. They just have to hear about someone being sick, and before you know it these two have it too!
2 or 3 weeks ago Dave and Roly got sick- coughs, runny noses, etc, and I stayed strong for a few days, but then I caught it as well. I put myself on a strict regiment of lemon-ginger tea and I felt better within a few days, while Dave suffered it out for at least another week. Well, it didn't take long until I was feeling it again, and even though it's been a few weeks I just can't KICK it. My cough won't hit the road, and my nose won't stop running.
I had a meeting tonight, and someone asked if I was sick. I guess they could hear it in my voice. I explained that I felt fine, I just had this cough and congestion that I can't get rid of. She offered up the suggestion of pregnancy congestion, which I had to dismiss. I've had/do have that- this is more than that. That's when someone asked if I ate a lot of sugar. I looked at her and bit my lip. She simply said- "That happened to me, where I couldn't get rid of a cold. Just think of the sugar as feeding your cold." The conversation moved on, but my thoughts stayed right there.
Could it be? Could my lovely little friend, Sugar, be causing all this frustration? Could it be the straw that I needed to break this camel's back? To get me over the denial of my addiction, and into a place where I can admit that I need to cut out all this crap I keep putting into my body and feeding to my baby? Maybe this realization is just what I needed.
And maybe, just maybe, it will be enough... and maybe I sat down and ate 3 cookies after that meeting ended, and before I started this blog. Let's be honest. It will take more than a little health scare to keep me away from this mistress.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


First of all, let me introduce the topic of this post with a video. Watch this:

I love this video. It inspires me. The words President Uchtdorf says make my toes tingle, and it feels like everything in my heart and mind click into place. So often in this life I feel like there are conflicting values, ideas and pressures all around me. And the thing about this life is that we are given the opportunity to choose for ourselves what to follow- what to believe.

There are doctrines/values/principles that I have been taught, and that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I truly believe. There are ideas/theories/practices that I was taught in Early Childhood Development, and in Child and Youth Care that I believe, and that I'm passionate about implementing in my own life. There are notions/assumptions/beliefs that I have about mankind that I've acquired through life experience, through working and existing with other human beings, that influence every choice I make. There are moments in my life, where all those notions, those values, those theories click into place, in my mind and in my heart. Those moments would happen, when I'd be sitting in class, the prof would be talking about something, and their words would ring true. The spirit would tell me that what they spoke was right, and that that my knowledge of the significance of our earthly existence, and eternal nature supported that truth. Those moments have happened at home, as I've been seeking personal revelation, through prayer, and scripture study. As I've done so thoughts have crossed my mind that have told me what I've needed to hear. Those thoughts have come in words of scripture, but they have also come in reminders of  experiences that I've had with other people. They have come through words of friends and family. My worlds are often colliding- and it is through those collisions that I feel most at peace. When I realize that the life that I'm striving to live is in line with my heart, and my actions.

Well! This video is a collision of worlds for me. President Uchtdorf speaks about the importance of creating. This is a concept that I hold dear. I know that I am happier when my creative juices are flowing. I know that times when I feel the worst about myself are times where I am stubbornly refusing to put my creative desires into action. There are times when I become frustrated with my own abilities... and to be honest, with the reactions of people around me, and I feel inadequate and incapable. But the truth is, I LOVE TO CREATE. And I love that Pres. U. tells us to do it! I feel closer to God, and most like myself when I am making my surroundings into something that is aesthetically pleasing. It's that worlds colliding feeling all over again- that feeling that "this is good." On all levels.

This one time, 3 years ago, I decided I wanted to paint something. I started painting a tree. Tonight I finished it. Yup. 3 years later. I like it. It has my 2 baby birds in it. It will go on Roly's wall, which after months of brooding, and humming and hawing I've made a decision of what I want to do there. I've decided I'm not holding back anymore- not letting insecurities and feelings of inadequacies interfere with my desire my make things beautiful, and make beautiful things.

I've decided to use this here blog as my platform of creation. To document my creative endeavors. The things I cut, paste, paint, tie, sew, crochet, cook, hang... and give birth to. 

You can choose to follow me on my journey to create, if you so desire!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Deep Thoughts... by Ali

Lesson I learned today:
Being kind of Hungry is a better feeling than being too full.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hobby Horse

Dave and I have been hosting students for almost a year now. We've mostly had students from Japan- ranging in age from 12 - 26. And staying with us for a few days up to a few months. We currently have 2 girls from China, who are 13 years old, staying with us for 2 weeks. It's been an interesting experience, with highs and lows.
Highs have so far consisted of the following:

  • Sweet gifts: handkerchiefs, picture frames, origami, paper, paintings, toys, books, etc. The top shelf of our book shelf is filling up with all sorts of pretty little Asian things. 
  • We have learned interesting phrases and words in other languages. Dave's favorite is probably the Japanese word for McDonald's - "MacanoDanolodo." He likes it so much that sometimes he walks around the house singing it over and over to himself. 
  • We meet and interact with interesting people, who teach us about their cultures and beliefs.
  • We are able to open our home and teach others about who we are and what we believe. We are able to share our own personal values through discussions and simply living our lives.
  • Hearing our student curse in the name of a pop singer when she stepped on a tack. I almost died laughing when I heard her utter the phrase "Oh my Lady Gaga." 
  • Introducing new food to them is great. The looks on their faces when they are trying so hard to be polite, but have no idea what they are about to eat - and then they take a bite and we all relax a bit when they say "It's delicious!"
The lows include the following:
  • When the words "It's delicious" don't come out of their mouths. I always feel so bad, but at the same time so annoyed when students don't like what I've made. Generally all of our students have been great about eating (and at least claiming to enjoy) meals that I've made for them, except for a few exceptions who were less than gracious about our hospitality. 
  • Having to lock the bathroom door.
  • Walking around in my undies isn't an option when we have students. 
  • Attempting to explain complicated words that I've made the mistake of using. Sometimes I just wish I could rewind my words and start conversations over. I tend to dig myself into confusing little pits with my words that Dave has to dig me out of. 
  • Finally, and worst of all: On each application for each new homestay agency they ask several questions, most of which I'm happy to answer. There is one question though, which I can't seem to concoct a reply. The question?

Uurrrrg! I hate that question! 

It's like when people would ask me "What are you up to these days?" right after I had Roly. What do you mean what am I up to? I feed this child 14 times / day. I change his diaper every hour. I'm constantly covered in milk and spit up. I am lucky to get a shower in, let alone, get up to something!

And so, when the question comes up - "What are your hobbies?" Dave, who is usually filling out the form, always writes "crafts," and then he, without fail, says "Ali, What are your hobbies?" And I look at him, with a blank face, and I shrug my shoulders.
I don't know. I don't know what my hobbies are. I've lost all sense of hobbies. I can tell you what I like:

I like the colour green. I like folding laundry when it's fresh out of the dryer. I like icecream... a lot. I like cuddling on the couch. I like to doodle things like leaves and swirls. I like musicals. I like new socks. I like mountains. I like plaid. I like to paint pictures. I like to blog. I like snow. I like it when it's rainy and sunny at the same time. I like puddles. I like table cloths. I like the cello. I like babies. I like going through all the aisles at the grocery store. I like facebook. I like it when Dave giggles. I like to floss my teeth. I like using a straw to drink things. I like to go for bike rides. I like to go for walks along bodies of water. I like to organize things. I like sour cream doughnuts from Tim Hortons. I like cooking new things. I like making the same 3 cookie recipes over and over and over. I like CBC radio. I like paper lanterns. I like maternity jeans. I like it when my car is clean & fuel tank is full. I like earrings. I like chicken noodle soup. I like dancing in the kitchen. I like volleyball. I like to crochet toques. I like to hike up mountains. 

Ok... you get the point. I like things. Also, I do things. I just don't know how to answer the question "What are your hobbies?" Maybe one day I will gain a hobby that's exciting enough to include on a homestay application. Until then I will include "flossing my teeth."