The Motherfunk

To say that there has been a lot going on in our lives would be something of a massive understatement. It’s unlikely I’ll be posting with any regularity until June, so my apologies. In the meanwhile, I have something fun to share, just in time for Mother’s Day. Friends, particularly Toronto friends, let me introduce you to The Motherfunk!

Oonagh Duncan is a key soldier in my Army of Amazing Women, and she’s a personal trainer and fitness goddess who can now be seen regularly on the Steven and Chris Show. Here’s a clip of the Motherfunk in action. I laughed so hard watching this, that I can only assume the actual workout would be a total riot:

Now, Oonagh is shifting her MOTHERFUNK! program to a monthly charity event for Sick Kids and she wants to get a huge turn out and raise a shit ton of money. It’s a noble cause, a whole lot of fun, and a great way for new moms to get moving. Here’s why Sick Kids is so near and dear to Oonagh’s heart:
Some of you have already heard my story about why I’m so passionate about this cause. When I was pregnant with my first son, it was a crazy hot summer and my friend had a backyard pool (I know, right?) She was also pregnant and feeling the heat so she extended a broad invitation to anyone she had ever met who was pregnant to come and float in her pool on Tuesday afternoons and eat ice cream sandwiches. Best. A regular group of women started to show up and we shared way too much information about our bodies with each other, as one does during a first pregnancy. We called ourselves The Whales and, five years later, we have been through two rounds of babies, two trips, a near-divorce and two miscarriages. What started out with ice cream sandwiches has become what I’m sure will be a lifelong bond. Unfortunately, the Whales have proven a statistic anomaly as two of our babies were born with very serious congenital defects. William (now 4)  was born with serious heart problems and Oliver (now 2) was born with half of one lung. They were pretty scary times. In both cases, the staff at Sick Kids Hospital probably saved their lives…and their parents’ sanity. Which is why I want to raise a ton of money for the Hospital. 
Here are the details:
What: THE MOTHERFUNK! Toronto’s best dance party…that involves wearing a baby. Featured on the Steven and Chris show and named one of  Top 10 Fitness Trends by SHAPE Magazine
Who: Oonagh Duncan, pre and post natal fitness specialist and canfitpro Pro Trainer of the Year
When: Every second Thursday of the month, starting may 14th (right after Mother’s Day)
Where: Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Ave in Toronto
What time: 11:15am-12pm
How much: Pay what you can, suggested donation $15…100% of the proceeds go to the Sick Kids Foundation
 
Here’s an image and a link to the page on Oonagh’s site: http://fitfeelsgood.ca/parent-baby-groove/
If you like me, you’ll love Oonagh. She radiates positive energy, she’s tonnes of fun, and every day I wish she had a You Tube channel so I could enjoy her work outs long distance. (Oonagh, get a damn You Tube channel already!)

Due Diligence, Disclosure, and Determination

So, our latest addition to the family, the adorable puppy I mentioned in my last post, is utterly and completely deaf. How do we know? Among many other tests designed to give off as little vibration as possible, we smashed the metal bottoms of two chafing dishes together over her head while she was sleeping and she didn’t even stir. Now I know why she barely ever barks. In honor of this unexpected wrench, today’s post is about due diligence, disclosure, and determination.

Determination

Sending Shanti back to the rescue wasn’t really an option. Deafness, though not ideal for a first-time family puppy, isn’t a deal-breaker in our books. In fact, I’m finding it kind of amazing to push beyond my voice to train this pup, and I think she’s teaching me to access parts of my senses that could really use a work out. My initial response, upon learning that our dog can’t hear, was to be really annoyed by the rescue organization that we adopted her from.

Due Diligence

Nekky called them to share our discovery and to ask for a reimbursement of enough of the adoption fee to cover the cost of a vibrating collar. To be clear, this isn’t a shock collar, it’s a collar that vibrates (like a cell phone) to grab the dog’s attention. Kind of a must-have in our circumstances. I was beyond satisfied when the contact at the rescue agreed to refund half the adoption fee and issue a tax receipt for the remaining half. She also said she would alert the other families who adopted Shanti’s sisters, in case the deafness was something they brought to the party too.

I couldn’t understand how the vet check the rescue claimed to have conducted (we got a receipt from this vet, and I wondered if it was real) could miss something so major. It seemed like a basic thing to check for. My own vet, our next-door neighbor, assured me it could be a very easy mistake, especially if the vet had all three puppies at once. We missed it ourselves, as the sleepiness of our puppy and the adorable chaos of her sister and the toddler at the foster home made things a bit distracting.

Disclosure

Would we have chosen this particular dog if we knew she was deaf? No way. I will freely admit to wanting our first puppy to be as simple as possible. I’m going to believe the rescue org when they say they had no idea that our dog was deaf, because I think most responsible rescues would be up front about such a thing to ensure that the dog finds a suitable home. Days after picking her up, we are already in love with her, bonded with her, and invested in her. We didn’t want to teach the kids that an issue like deafness meant that the dog had to go. Blindness, maybe, because I don’t even know how you would train a blind dog, but deafness is a highly workable dog training scenario. Dogs smell, see, and then hear. People hear, see and then smell. So, despite this surprise, we carry on as planned. We have an awesome trainer who we will work with once Shanti has her next round of shots, and in the meanwhile I’m grateful for the epic amount of information available.

We’ve already taught her how to sit, and come. Now we just need to get those puppy teeth under control!

Have you had a deaf dog? Know anyone who has? We’d love any tips or tidbits from you.

Resistance Is Fertile

There’s a thing I do in relationships which has been making relationships of all kinds incredibly difficult for most of my life. I take everything very, very personally. I can’t hear emotional criticism without falling deep into a black hole of self loathing, where the only thing that makes sense is leaving the relationship to spare everyone the awful reality of me. As I type this, from a well-rested, un-triggered and objective perspective this sentiment is totally ridiculous, but in those bleak moments it feels very, very real. On Tuesday, therapy day, I arrived at a new reality where I finally learned that resistance is fertile.

I sat in our therapist’s office with both of my partners and listened to feedback directly linked to my parenting shortcomings and for the first time I was able to talk myself down from the ledge. As I teetered on the lip of that black well of self loathing my inner voice said “hey, don’t do that. You’ve made some mistakes, some big ones, but you’re working really hard, and growing and all of the wonderful change you are making will be bigger and more memorable than any pain you’ve caused because you’re waking up now, and that is awesome.”

It wasn’t easy. I don’t want to mislead anyone here. As I realized my inner narrative was shifting, sounding so cheerily unlike me, my gut was to scoff at this, to dismiss it as cheesy and foolish but somehow I pushed through. I don’t know how I did it. I resisted the urge to go to that bleak place, and a bounty of open listening and present attention was waiting. Instead of having a shitty post-therapy day I enjoyed a yummy lunch with my partners at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and then got some good work done.

Here’s what I’ve been doing, and I think my success is thanks to these combined efforts:

Taking my vitamins regularly

Making careful, less carb-intense food choices and ‘treating’ myself with fruit and good chocolate instead of whatever crap I can grab from the candy shelf. (In our new house, the candy shelf will be eliminated.)

Exercising every day with at least twenty minutes of yoga

Going to bed earlier to make sure I can get eight hours of sleep and still wake up at 5:30 for my quiet, meditative yoga time

Tackling home organizing projects

Approaching work and money with care and organization

Taking self-imposed time outs when I need to, adjusting plans to reflect my level of anxiety (I love you, and I’ll see you soon, when I am more able to be present in your company!)

My internal/emotional process is finally slowing down, especially when I am triggered. There is time and space to be objective, and more empathetic. I can take better care of myself, and those around me. I’m resisting the old normal, and even in the moments when I slip, when I can’t catch myself before falling into negative behavior, I can bounce back more quickly and make apologies and amends with humility and grace.

I am good. I am a child of the Universe. I can change and grow and be deserving of the abundance of love in my life, and so can you.

 

Listen to Your Body

I’m in the eye of yet another cold, and I’ve been sick so many times this season, I’m starting to worry about larger issues. Have I mentioned that I’m a bit of a worrier when it comes to my health? We eat well – generally low carb, no processed foods, LOTS of vegetables and greens. I’ve been trying to do a bit of exercise each day, and take my vitamins, but here we go again with the runny nose business. My body is trying to tell me something, but I have no idea what that something is. I sleep just fine. I’m not particularly over-extending myself, at least I don’t think I am. If stress is an immune suppressor, I suppose that might be the problem. At any rate, I’m trying to listen to the messages I’m getting, and I’m choosing to slow down over the next few days.

Which means no Feminist Porn Awards. Boo. We need a grown up date, and I thought this would be an awesome experience for all of us to enjoy, and for me to share with you, but I suppose you’ll just have to go see for yourselves and send me a report.

There’s a screening event tonight with Filmmaker Erika Lust that I was particularly looking forward to. If any of you are curious about exploring porn, she’s an excellent place to start. I find her work beautiful, exciting, and incredibly accessible. EXPLICIT CONTENT ALERT: You can find her website here, and a link to her awesome X-confessions project here, where she turns the steamiest user-submitted sex secrets into short films.

The mother of two daughters decided to become a filmmaker to change the landscape of erotic film, and to celebrate sex from a female perspective. “I don’t want to get women out of porn, I want to get women INTO porn!” Porn isn’t going away, and it’s now the way most kids are getting their sex education. Ten minutes on Erika’s site made me feel excited and inspired to tuck myself away with her film collection and a box of Kleenex. For my cold, you little perverts! Maybe my body is telling me to stay home and have my own Feminist Porn Awards?

Check our Erika’s amazing TedX Talk here:

Here are the deets for the Feminist Porn Awards event with Erika Lust tonight. Please someone, go for me and tell her that I love her.

Royal Cinema

608 College St.

Phone: (416) 466-4400

Event at 7pm

Tickets $12 in advance/$15 at the door (cash only at the door)/Premium Tickets $115 in advance/$140 at the door. Get tickets here or in person at Good For Her in Toronto . Sliding scale tickets available at Good For Her.

Premium tickets include preferential reserved seating to all three FPA events, VIP cocktail party with the stars on April 17th and gift bag of toys and treats courtesy of Lelo, Pjur Lubricant, Wicked Sensuals, Good Releasing DVDs, Tenga, VIP tickets to the Everything to do with Sex Show.

The Royal is wheelchair accessible event space. The bathroom unfortunately is not wheelchair accessible. Any attendees who require an attendant can gain access for their PSW free of charge by emailing us for a free ticket or by speaking with a staff person at the event.

How Being Fluid Got Me Off My Ass

Happy Monday Lovers!

Today I want to chat about how being fluid got me off my ass this weekend.

It’s time for another true confession. I’m a control freak. This is one of the big issues I try to recognize and move through every single day. There was a time when my need to have everything go exactly the way I wanted it to was so all-encompassing that it would fill me with frustration and anxiety when even the tiniest of things would fall out of place. I’m sure you can imagine how fun I was to be around, especially with the added unpredictability of my newly acquired young step daughters.

Now, when a wrench gets thrown into the works, which is actually a daily occurrence in my world, I am able to pause, breathe and relax into the change, redirecting and re-evaluating what my needs and the needs of the day require. Most of the time.

For example, Sarah cut my hair at home. She’s done incredible work on the kids’ heads, but I will freely admit I’m a hair diva. I bond for life with a good hair dresser, but I want to be as frugal as we can be now. I wasn’t sure I was up for the risks involved with letting someone I love, who has learned hair dressing on the internet, come at me with a pair of scissors, but I finally relented and let her have a go. I have very thick, weirdly wavy hair. It’s kind of a beast to tame, but I think Sarah’s first go was pretty darned good. It wasn’t salon perfect though, and I could see the difference, which drove me nuts. And subsequently drove other people nuts because I wouldn’t stop talking about it. We tried to fix it, but it still wasn’t right. What did I do? Saturday night, two tequila in, I tried to fix it myself. Secretly, in the bathroom. No surprise, it didn’t work. What happened was a huge lesson in ‘leave well enough alone’. Now, drastic measures would be required to repair the damage I’d done.

Past me would have cried. I would have been furious with myself for being so impulsive and stupid. I would have tried to blame Sarah for not getting the hair cut right in the first place. (See? I told you I could be an asshole!) Instead, I laughed, had a shower and then when Nekky came to bed, I shared the disaster of my hair with him and prepared him for the reality of my pending short hair. Then I turned to You Tube and found an amazing tutorial of the hair cut I would need to fix my lid. In the morning, I dragged Sarah upstairs, (after she’d had breakfast of course) and asked her to help. We took it slow, we followed directions, we made a few modifications because I currently have bangs. It was fun, and even when I feared we had cut too much bang, and that I looked like a medieval squire, I continued to breathe. Then I dried and styled my hair, and it was just fine. It’s better than fine, even. Sarah is a fiercely talented lady. I’m still not convinced that my bangs aren’t a bit too gigantic, but I’m going to stop obsessing about it, because there are more important things in the world than my hair.

My need to control my physical body has been illuminated through this hair saga. From where I stand now, I can see why I need to exert myself so extremely sometimes – everything from hair obsession all the way to the need to conquer my anxiety and depression by feeding myself shitty food that I’m convinced makes me feel better. This need for control is likely attached to the trauma I’m working through. I can do something to my body that has an immediate and gratifying effect. I do feel better. But then I feel worse. Not just physically worse, either. Guilt and shame come flooding in, regret over too many cookies. Yesterday, rather than sitting and ruminating, I engaged in physical actions that made me feel good. I was already in a great mood, and the weather was glorious, so I’m sure that helped shift from staying in my head to being in my body and pushing through. It’s not always easy to put things in motion, so I’m going to make a little list of those activities to refer to them when I need them again. You can use them too if you like!

Physical Activities that I Can Immediately Access to Feel Better

Housekeeping – major spring organizing and purging, and major elbow-grease required scrubbing

Shifting plans to spend more time with the kids

An hour long walk in the woods with Noah

Pretty decent food choices all day long

A DIY manicure – I never do this kind of thing, but it felt so nice to just focus on making my hands look good

Yoga – though it became more like Aussie Rules Yoga as Noah tried to climb on me and turn me into both a bridge and a tunnel

Early bed time – not sure this would have been a choice, but I was so sleepy from all the fresh air and exercise that I tucked in with Noah and was asleep before I could even consider some bed time reading

Early wake up for more Yoga – I’m feeling really tired now, but I’m hoping I can adjust to this because I love how much time it leaves me with in the morning.

Why this particular rambling today? I guess I’m trying to let you know that if you can relax through change, try to hold on to the positive, and just keep breathing, you’ll see at least one great lesson. On the surface, I thought the lesson was “Don’t try to cut your own hair after drinking tequila” which is not without merit, but I see now that there was a deeper opportunity there. I could connect to a bigger issue and actually experience the ways I could make changes.

What hiccup in your current life has thrown you for a loop? What is the surface lesson there? What do you think the deeper lesson(s) could be? How can you do something today to embrace that lesson and make at lest one positive change?

Let us know your own physical tricks for dealing with your own little idiosyncrasies in the comments below.

Oh, and here are the hair tutorials Sarah followed: