Rhubarb – It’s Time to End the Conspiracy

It’s almost that time of year – summer! Strawberries, asparagus, corn on the cob, peaches, oh, and of course, their awkward cousin, (you know, who makes everyone laugh a little uncomfortably while avoiding eye contact): rhubarb.

Seems innocuous enough - don't be fooled.
Seems innocuous enough – don’t be fooled.

Before this time of seasonal enticement begins, I’d like to get ahead of the inevitable propaganda that comes along with it. Why are we all still pretending that rhubarb is delicious? I have a theory. Someone put it in a pie by accident and no one wanted to hurt their feelings. Kind of like The Emperor’s New Clothes, but with dessert.

Rhubarb can’t stand on its own. Somewhere along the line someone thought, “Hey, strawberries are just too sweet and delicious, let’s add just a smidge of bitter and stringy stalk bits – oh, perfect!” Rhubarb is Strawberry’s longstanding friend that poor Strawberry just can’t shake. They both know it’s time to move their separate ways, but clingy Rhubarb just doesn’t take the hint. Strawberry knows he’d be better off solo, but doesn’t know how to break it to Rhubarb.

The enemy within
The enemy within

This cover-up in modern cuisine is everywhere and social media is the biggest tool in this propaganda machine. Yes, Facebook, I’m talking about you.

“I just made the YUMMIEST rhubarb muffins.” Nope, ‘rhubarb’ and ‘yummiest’ are mutually exclusive.

“Check out this strawberry rhubarb cookies – SO good.” Stop dragging strawberry into this.

“Oooh, rhubarb coffee cake for dessert – can’t wait!” Liar.

Deception in a jar
Deception in a jar

Now, you might be thinking that I have it out for rhubarb, and you’re right, I do. But let me close with these two indisputable facts and then you can decide which side to support.

1.  Rhubarb is a vegetable. (yup, I looked it up)

2.  Rhubarb is a result of the fall:  “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles and rhubarb for you.”  Genesis 3:17b-18

 I rest my case.

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Le Dentiste

Every six months I get to visit the dentist for what they call a “Check Up”, but we all know it is much more than that.images-2

They start off with the chit chat. How was your day? How are the boys? Are you back to work this year? Oh, kindergarten? How nice. This is all just to put you at ease before they ask about their hidden agenda. The answer to “How many cups of coffee do you drink”  is, “Mind your own business”. 

I’m quite certain that dental teams attend a workshop in “mhmmm”. There are many different meanings behind all those little “mhmmms” and it is up to those of us on the receiving end to interpret them:

Option A: “not too bad, just a little plaque, well it has been six months”

Option B: “more tartar than I’d like to see, but it’s on those back teeth, that’s tricky”

Option C: “ok, no flossing has been happening here”

Option D: “The horror! I will be using every sharp tool I have on this tray”

We know, dental hygienists, we know.

Dentists and hygienists have also mastered the art of shaming:

“I’m sorry I have to keep going back to this spot, but there is just SO MUCH plaque.”

“Do you floss? Ever?”

“Here, hold this mirror and watch while I show you how you are supposed to floss, *dummy.”

Next comes the polishing stage which is almost the worst (fluoride rinse is the worst, and needs no further discussion). She’s polishing and rinsing and polishing and rinsing and I do my best to be a good patient, but all I can think is: “DON’T YOU SEE I AM DROWNING ON MY OWN SALIVA?! THAT SPIT SUCKER THING IS NOT A DECORATION – GET THE SPIT! GET THE SPIT!”

Okay, the worst is mostly over, but this visit I noticed a new tool. No, not the tiny instruments of torture they use for plaque removal, a Sales Tool. I’m guessing our dentist office recently bought shares in SonicCare’s parent company because as I’m getting poked, prodded, and scraped, she keeps reminding me that an electric toothbrush would considerably reduce all that plaque and make cleaning easier. When I don’t grunt agreement, she seems to find a little extra something that needs scraping on my already tender baby tooth (I still have 3 of them). Well, played, hygienist.

But the dental team is not the only one with a plan. I’m pretty wily myself (comes with being the youngest of four). You can’t just floss the night before, that’s no good. Floss once or twice a few days beforehand. Then you can truthfully say, “Well, I don’t floss EVERY day…” and trail off, just like that (take a second and practice, I’ll wait). Also, flossing a few days ahead of time will reduce the bleeding and toughen up those gums a bit. It builds stamina, trust me.

If you’re lucky and don’t have any cavities or abnormalities, don’t cheer or say “really?!” that just tips your hand. Maintain a cool veneer like you fully expected the appointment to go that way, because you are a flosser who drinks just the right amount of coffee and does not eat Sweet Tarts or Zingy Zaps before bed. Ever.

(*Dummy is said with the eyes, pay attention.)

So, what’s your deal? How often do you floss? (nevermind, no matter what, I’m going to assume you are lying).

Exercise: It’s Hard

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Exercise is hard.

That’s obvious, I know. But really, it’s hard.

Finding the time is hard. Wanting to find the time is harder.

I plan to work out, but then there is a super funny post on Facebook with these animals saying hilarious things with British accents.  Can’t pass that up, and doubtful I’ll remember to watch it later.

Ok, I’ll get out for a morning run. I’m a firm believer that you really need to have that first cup of coffee to start the day right. And you can’t run on an empty stomach, so better eat some breakfast first. The 3 year old has all his Little People set up waiting to play with me. I can’t say “no” to him. Maybe later.

Riding the bike tonight could work. Well, the things is, I really want to eat my M&Ms in peace while I instant message with people I just spoke with 3 hours earlier.  Coworker friends matter.

I’d have more time to exercise if my library book wasn’t due tomorrow. Gotta avoid those fines, I’ve already racked up quite a few.

I could just do that 20 minute DVD workout. Twenty minutes is manageable. Oh! But I need to call my sister back before she thinks I’m avoiding her. And then there’s a candy crushing game I need to play, wouldn’t want to let my fellow gamers down.

Alright, I can do a sprint around the neighbourhood right after dinner. Wait! Canadian Tire has asked me to fill out this survey and I might win an iPod. Think of the great things I could do with that iPod. It’s for the boys. Let’s think of the boys.

Exercise is important and good for me. Then again, so is quality time with my husband. I know! We could workout together! Yes! But he’s in better shape than I am. I don’t want to hold him back.

Alright, alright. Guess I just have to make the time. And I will. Tomorrow.

Gloomus the Sketchy Cat

Gloomus the Sketchy Cat

Hey. Yeah, I see you there, looking at me. What’s up?

I know I don’t live here. You’ve made your anti-pet policy perfectly clear, but you know what? I like your porch and on your porch I will stay.

About that policy. What’s wrong with a pet or two? Word in the neighbourhood is that you already have like 10 kids living here, so what’s one little cat added to the mix?

Oh, you’re “allergic”. Got it. Ever heard of antihistamines? They were made just for that ailment. Start stocking up, they’re on sale at Walmart this week.

Don’t even try using the “we can’t afford to feed a cat” excuse. Do you see how scrawny I am? I’ll just eat whatever falls on the floor. We both know your kids are messy eaters.

I know your not-so-secret fear of mice. I’m sure we can come up with a mutally beneficial arrangement.

Come on, everyone gets a little itchy now and then. YOU scratch behind your ear, but that doesn’t mean YOU have fleas. Give a cat a chance.

The bald patch on my tail is nothing to concern yourself with, and frankly, I’d rather not talk about it. Let’s just say that sometimes a cat has to take a stand and we’ll leave it at that.

What? This? Oh, this catnip isn’t mine – I’m just holding it for a friend.

Now, let’s talk accommodations…

Quality Time

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This picture could be the catalyst for one of two posts.

The first option is one where I write about how life is so busy and it’s important to let things like basic housekeeping slide sometimes in order to spend more quality time with your kids. It’s all about priorities. They are only young once, you’ll never get this time back. Really, what’s more important: a clean living room or playing Lego with your boys? We moms have to sacrifice our own pride in our homes in order to nurture these little people placed in our care.

This is not that post.

I’m going with the second option, or what I call “The Truth”.

It was Friday night, I had some shows to catch up on the PVR. Chips were consumed. M&Ms may or may not have been involved. I did a lot of socializing via my phone. It was too late to wake up the boys to get them to do it (something I intend to remedy today).

It really is all about priorities.

What I Learned from Ron the Auto Shop Guy

Today I faced one of my biggest fears. Okay, two. Alright a lot. A lot of fears.

I had to ride with Ron the Auto Shop Guy to pick up my car from the mechanic.

First of all, just going to any type of repair or auto body shop raises many stress-inducing questions:

  • Where do I park? Right at the bay? In the courtesy area? (It’s NOT obvious)
  • Do I take the keys with me or leave them in the ignition?
  • Will they ask a lot of questions? (my answers are limited to: “It just started going click click click-click” or “I swear I didn’t leave the lights on”).

And don’t start throwing around fancy mechanic terms like “switch” or “hood”. My eyes will glaze over and I will just nod (and it’s not a nod of understanding).

Even just paying the invoice causes my stomach to tighten. Do I wait for someone to come to the till or should I cough loudly? There is no sign outlining proper procedure. And once he takes out the pen to start going through the itemized list I just go to my happy place (it’s M&Ms, always M&Ms).

Second, I detest awkward silences. Riding in my own car with a stranger at the wheel is quite possibly the longest 12 minutes of my life. If it hadn’t been raining today, we would have had 11 minutes of silence instead of 10 due to lack of subject matter.

But today I had a realization. Silence does not always need to be filled. I KNOW. Complete mind shift. I was raised to chat up hairdressers, grocery clerks, bank tellers, and strangers waiting in line along with me. All it takes are a few generic questions and a friendly smile.

Maybe it’s because Ron had the heat a bit high, or the rain was particularly soothing streaming down the window, or it might have been that the wiper blades were especially hypnotic, I don’t know, but about 3 minutes into the drive I was feeling mellow and I realized a few things:

  1. I don’t care if Ron is from here originally or moved here as a youth
  2. I don’t care how long Ron has been a mechanic
  3. I don’t need to know his thoughts on the rain or the forecast for the week

This new found sense of calm was quickly replaced, however, with some very real questions and concerns:

  1. What if I get gassy?
  2. What if RON gets gassy?

Today’s real life lesson: just talk to Ron, keep that chit-chat going at all costs.

The Origin

A monumental day arrived recently. I knew it was coming, but not so soon. A day that confirmed my long-standing suspicions.

I am, indeed, turning into my mom.

Now, this is not a complete transformation. I look eerily similar to my dad and have some striking personality traits in common with him. However, I am most definitely taking on many things “Mom”. 

Unbeknownst to me, this transformation has been underway for years. It wasn’t sudden or obvious, like when we brought our firstborn home. Nope. It snuck up on me gradually as the toddler years hit.

Perhaps it was the day I realized just how many times I had swept the kitchen floor and I heard her whispering from my teen years, “You think helping me clean on Saturday is rough? When you were young I had to vacuum every other day to keep up with the mess!”  “Chin over your plate” took on a whole new meaning that day. 

As we began toilet training our second born, I couldn’t really recall what we did with the firstborn and her words from two years earlier came rushing back, “Toilet training? I don’t know, you just learned.” Oh, so true.

I snap my fingers for the boys to be quiet when I’m on the phone. Mom

I tell them to make their beds because “we take pride in our home”. Mom

I threaten to keep all the unclaimed stuff lying around the house. Mom

Several months ago, one of the boys was complaining about some injustice or injury and felt he was quite hard done by. Without missing a beat, I ushered in my most Mom-inspired moment to date when I uttered these two words:

“Tough Bananas”.

Thanks, Mom.