Binge

I am a binge-er.

I binge on most everything you can think of (except, maybe that…I’m too busy bingeing on dreams of sleep to that to a binge-level).

I binge-watch TV. Netflix? It was made for me. I used to binge-watch Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy and Friends because I had those series on DVD…but NOW?! Now I can binge-watch EVERYTHING. Whole seasons, whole series one show after another after another after another after another – there is NO END to how much I can binge, and all without changing a single disc or getting off the couch. DREAMY.

Truth.

Truth.

I binge-read. Books, blogs, gossip, magazines – I devour the written word. Some of it is escapism, which our dad would get SO mad about when I was younger, and some of it is pure curiosity (hello, how does Brangelina do it??). But most of it is an unadulterated love and comfort with the written word. Bad day? Read. Bad week? Read. Scary thoughts? Read. Lists won’t shut up in my head? Read. Want to be awed and transported and thrilled and moved? READ. And I can read a whole book in one sitting. When I was growing up, our mom would buy me books specifically for vacations at the cottage, telling me not to read any of them until we got there. I’d always have them read before we even got in the van to make the drive. I limit how much I read now, because an adult stuck in a book all day and all night long does not a good parent make.

I also binge-surf, which can lead to trouble with watching children. There have been times I’ve been scrolling through a Pinterest rabbit hole and realized someone has been calling my name for a minute or so. Tricky. Luckily, I hear screaming through all of the project- and recipe-wishing.

But the biggest binge that causes the most problems for me, is binge-eating.

I am the queen of drowning my sorrows, my boredom, my anger, my anything-feeling in food. And more food. And more food.

GET IN MY BELLY.

GET IN MY BELLY.

I can eat 2 1/2 pounds of chicken wings in one sitting…after eating a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of Oreos…after a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of M&M’s…you know, the bowl/party size…in one go. I can totally eat a whole loaf of freshly baked bread, or most of a batch of cookies, or a bag of chips, or 4 chocolate bars (Snickers, Wunderbar, KitKat and Coffee Crisp), without breaking a sweat.

Do I feel like crap afterwards? Absolutely. Am I consumed with guilt and shame when all the food is gone and my belly aches and my head hurts and I know (I KNOW) I’m going to have a sugar/food hangover the next day? Yes. But does that stop me in the moment? When I’m hurting or unhappy or ridiculously craving crap after eating well all day? Nope. Not one bit.

Because I feel like there is something missing inside of me. I feel like there’s an empty cavern, aching to be filled, and so I do. I fill it. With all the food.

Of course, this is why I am chubby. This is why I am overweight. This is why my butt has more jiggle, and not in a Kardashian way, but in a dear-god-think-of-the-chairs kind of way. And it’s the reason that I feel like crap more often than not.

I had it under control after my miscarriage and after Isaac was born – exercise and healthy eating and sleeping and hobbies filled my time and space between parenting and housewife-ing. Not only was there no time or energy for binge-eating, but I filled up that empty hole in my face and brain with endorphins, friendship, and fulfilling activity. I lost 30 pounds. I was fit. I felt fantastic. And I wasn’t tempted as often and when I was, I wasn’t sucked into eating all the food all the time.

But this May I ran a half-marathon…and it was really hard and it took a long time to recover from it mentally and physically. I took a break from running and exercising for about a month…just in time for me to severely roll my ankle…twice…and lead me to be unable to put any weight on it for weeks. Which lead to more laying around, hating life, and wishing I were anywhere but on my couch.

So the hole in me grew…and grew…and the monster inside that wants all the chocolate and crap food started screaming again, demanding to be fed, demanding to be noticed and heeded. To answer the cries, I did what any smart person would do. I caved. I gave in. I fed it all the food in the world.

Now, my pants are tight. And my back has more rolls. And my arms feel flabbier. And the hard as rock calf muscles in my legs have been replaced by marshmallows…literally.

I sank. I’m sinking. I’m drowning in the itch for the binge, for the feeling of being so full I can’t move and something else hurts instead of the hurting that started it all.

I refuse, though, to go down without a fight. Refuse to let the monster and hole consume me. I don’t want to be that person again. I don’t. I want to be strong, and fit, and enjoy food, not look at it like a means to an end. I want treats to be treats and not the regular nighttime ritual. I want sugar and chocolate to be the exception, not the rule. And I want to stop feeling like all the food in the world must be eaten.

So, I’ve started doing things a little differently.

I’ve stopped buying crap. No more chocolate-bar or chip or junk-food runs after the kids are in bed. What we have in the house is what we have in the house, and since I don’t buy all the bad stuff during our regular grocery shop, there is no more crap here.

I’ve replaced eating with drinking…green tea. At night, when the craving to consume the world comes over me, when my stomach is desperately trying to convince my brain that I’m STARVING even though I just ate a good meal, I turn to drinking a cup of tea. Not only is it good for me and calorie-free, but it gets me all warm and sleepy, perfect for going to bed (unlike the sugar and caffeine rush from chocolate and crap I’d get from binge-eating).

And the big one? I’ve started MOVING again. I’m walking in the mornings. I HATE how I feel while I’m doing it – I ran over 21 km, people! A walk shouldn’t kill me. But, I don’t make the twice-daily trek to school anymore (which racks up about 4 km while pushing 25-55 pounds in a stroller), and I don’t go running anymore, so, I’m walking in the morning, with the goal of running again in September (giving my ankle plenty of time to really heal before I start pushing it). I’m resentful of how far I’ve fallen, but I know that getting it back little by little is the only solution.

Now, I need to know – do you binge? Or do you have magical self-control? And if you do binge, what are your tips and tricks for keeping your head above the water? Because I know at some point, I’m going to want to put all of the things in my mouth again…and it will be SO hard to say no.

~ Julia

English rage

I am a snob. I am a highbrow, high standards, high expectations kind of girl…when it comes to the English language.

I was trained that way – it’s not an excuse, it is simply the reason. I have always been in love with language, and good at spelling and grammar (was that grammatically correct???). And I went to university for professional writing…in English. Writing has always come naturally for me and reading has always been my constant companion (I carry a book everywhere I go…and totally did it waaaaay before Rory Gilmore made it hot).

Of course this means that I have a list of things that irk me. Things that make my eye twitch and my skin crawl and my heart weep for the future of the English language. Things I think are unacceptable and inexcusable.

Mispronunciation

It's SO meem. Just so you know.

It’s SO meem. Just so you know. And *it’s…SERIOUSLY. 

In high school, I totally thought melancholy was pronounced melon-sholly. EW. And I, of course, pronounced this word in front of my arch enemy at the time (we were both vying for the affections of our shared very best friend). She took great pleasure in making fun of me…because I was the English guru, for goodness’ sake! DAMMIT. I still burn with shame and embarrassment. It’s melon-kolly. SERIOUSLY. When I hear people pronounce these words incorrectly, I can’t help but feel like they should be burning in shame…but mostly they’re oblivious or, WORSE, they think they’re being cute. Bleh. For me, these words are the worst:

Supposedly – Did you know that there is is no ‘b’ in this word??? And yet people still say supp-oh-ze-Blee. REALLY??? Supposebly. It doesn’t exist. And if you’re over the age of 7, you’re not cute. You sound uneducated. It’s a ‘D’, people.

Specifically – It frustrates me to no end when people pronounce this word without the ‘s’ on the beginning…like pa-sif-fik-lee. Like the ocean. Pacifically. As opposed to Atlantically??? Is it a geographic adverb that you need in your sentence? Or did you just ignore the first letter, like the first step, and now you’re falling UP, which takes an incredible level of clumsiness and anti-skill. It’s spe-sif-fik-lee. And it has nothing inherently to do with oceans. I promise.

Especially – What’s with words with ‘ally’ in them? This one gets an ‘x’ thrown in where the ‘s’ hangs out. Instead of ‘ess’, we get ‘exs’. It’s weird. And wrong. That is all.

Library – This one is just ridiculous. Do not pronounce the place that holds the books, the things that contain the words, improperly. It’s a slap in the face to English. And there’s no reason for it. It’s lye-br-ary. NOT lye-berry. There’s an extra ‘r’ that demands and deserves respect. Please.

Pumpkin – I don’t know what it is about this one, but it is by far my most enraging mispronunciation on the list. I HATE the word ‘punk-in’. There is no ‘n’ there. There is an ‘mp’. And I feel like anyone who says it this way is a twit. There. I said it. You’re a TWIT. I even correct my 6-year old. There’s just no getting over this one. If you say ‘punk-in’ near me, know that although I am polite and will continue our social interactions like I’m supposed to, in my head I’m throwing a tantrum and smacking the ‘punk’ out of you. You’ve been warned.

Not a 'punk' in sight...

Not a ‘punk’ in sight…

Incorrect spelling

I get it. Spell-check is everywhere, no one needs to know how to spell things, and texting and messaging and Facebook-ing makes spelling things out redundant and time-consuming. I KNOW. I still text in full sentences, but I don’t think everyone should. That is NOT what this is about. This is about people not spelling things the right way when they spell them out. You can LOL and BRB all you want, but PLEASE, for the love of all things holy and contained in the OED, avoid these WTF moments:

Congradulations – In a world with everyone’s every milestone being posted on Facebook, this one gets used. And abused. A LOT. Did you know there is no ‘d’ in congratulations? That it’s a ‘t’?? And that when you use the short-form, ‘congrats’, it’s STILL a ‘t’? NOT A ‘D’. Please, please, please stop ‘congradulating’ people and get back to ‘congratulating’ people…because although their daily workout may not be entirely congratulatory, it’s definitely NOT congraDulatory. And, speaking of which…

Such a dumb-ass.

Such a dumb-ass.

Definately – There is no ‘a’ in ‘definitely’. There just isn’t. Do not ‘definately talk to your doctor’ about your kid’s rash, do not ‘definately get together’ with the high school friend you found on FB, do not ‘definately’ confront your neighbour about the crappy way they park their car in front of your driveway. DEFINITELY do any or all of those things. But NEVER ‘definately’.

Your versus You’re – Look. I get it. They sound the same. They practically look the same. But DUDES, they are SO not the same! Your is all about ownership – that’s yours. Your hair. Your new car. Your drama. YOU OWN IT. But you’re??? It’s a contraction, a smashing together, of two words: you + are. And it is used EVERY time someone says ‘thank you’ to you. You’re welcome. As in, YOU ARE welcome. Not, here is YOUR welcome. You own this welcome. But, I’ve done something awesome, you’re (THERE IT IS AGAIN – you are) grateful, and now, I say, you’re welcome! Like, YOU ARE WELCOME to my awesomeness. Bah. Please? Please. Let’s work on this one. It’s almost as cringe-worthy as ‘punk-in’. Almost.

So...which one are you? Feeling up your nuts, or feeling a little crazy?

So…which one are you? Feeling up your nuts, or feeling a little crazy?

And last, but NOT least:

Words that don’t FREAKING exist

There is only one word on this list and it is enough of a blight on the English-speaking world to make up for any other made-up word you can think of.

Irregardless. There. That’s it. There is no such word as ‘irregardless’. There is regardless, which means ‘without regard’, and then that’s it. THERE IS NO ‘irregardless’. There is no word that means ‘without without regard’. The ‘ir’ is redundant and nonsensical. It makes the word a double negative, but it doesn’t make a word that means ‘full of regard,’ it just makes you sound dumb and me lose all respect for you. You are stripped of your credibility. I can’t be friends with you anymore. Go stand over there with the ‘punkin’ users.

And if you're not, man you sure SOUND stupid.

And if you’re not, man you sure SOUND stupid.

***

Okay. English rage rant over. Now, tell me yours. What makes your skin crawl, your hatred level rise uncontrollably and irrationally (that IS a word), and your need to punch people in the face to surface? Tell me – what are the language ticks that make you wanna go BOOM?

~ Julia

Makes my brain bleed

I love television. Much like Jacqui, I love nothing more than to turn on something silly, something insanesomething yummy, something interesting, something crazy, something nostalgic, something intriguing and stop moving for a little while. Because my day is a little nutty. And sometimes, you just want to sit.

What they don’t tell you, is when you have children you lose control over the screens in your house. You lose the ability to watch whatever you want whenever you want. Apparently, there are certain things that are inappropriate for children to watch. WHO KNEW?

This of course means that you get to watch awesome children’s programming…and by awesome, I mean “awesome”.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some absolute wonders, like the Pixar movies, or my childhood favourite that is still running today, Sesame Street, but there are others that MAKE MY BRAIN BLEED. No, seriously.

Here are some of my least favourites that my girls LOVE (so far Isaac doesn’t have an opinion…THANK GOODNESS):

Caillou

MAKE IT STOP.

MAKE IT STOP.

I don’t know which is worse – Caillou’s whiny voice, or his parents’ ridiculousness. Sure, Caillou is four and sure, he’s got a rough time of it with parents who never change their clothes and are creepily nice and sweet all the time, and sure, his sister Rosie can be a bit of a pain, but please. For the love of goodness. PLEASE. Stop whining. Just…stop. I seriously think a voice actor change would make all the difference in the world.

Mike the Knight

Save the people!

Save the people!

This show is nonsense. Not to say that other shows are grounded in solid reality (Oh, hi Octonauts, weird sea creatures that aren’t to scale!), but this show kind of takes the cake. There’s this royal family, with an absent dad (he’s on a crusade…you know, the super kid-friendly kind?), a neglectful mother (she’s NEVER paying attention to her kids…EVER), a boy-knight who terrorizes the town with his dragons and arrogance, and a sister-witch-in-training who is mega smart and deserves her own show. If it weren’t annoying, it would still drive me batty. Poor people of Glendragon.

Bratz

'Nuf said.

‘Nuf said.

If we can get past the ridiculous bodies and make up and name, it might not be such a bad idea to have a strong girl group hanging out together…except, they aren’t. They’re catty and vapid and rude and ignorant and…dumb. And the whole show is a big fight between themselves and another group of girls. It’s girl-on-girl crime, which is just awful. There’s enough female-competition in the world. We don’t need to teach it to our daughters at a young age. This show is actually not allowed in my house anymore. It’s pretty much the only one I really put my foot down about.

Max and Ruby

Mom? Dad?

Mom? Dad?

It’s easy to hate on this show. There is the nagging, Type-A older sister Ruby who won’t let her little brother have any fun. There is the weirdly one-word-at-a-time 3-year old Max, who just keeps repeating the same word over and over and over and over (get a sentence!). And there is the famous mystery: where the heck are their parents? Max and Ruby are a favourite for Lillian…but for me, I wish they’d go back to the bunny hole. Pronto.

And my absolute least favourite of ALL TIME:

Toopy and Binoo

*sob*

*sob*

Toopy is a dimwitted mouse who is full of himself. Binoo is a mute sidekick that is inevitably smarter than Toopy. Patchy-Patch is Binoo’s lovie. And that’s it. That’s the show. Then there’s annoying friends, like the wailing dragon princess whose cries sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the unending adulation Toopy has for himself, and Binoo’s lack of backbone (at this point, I’m grateful for lack of voice). But…

…the girls love them. LOVE them. I don’t know why. The songs are ridiculous. The premise is ridiculous. The education value is nil at best. The annoyance level is high. And yet…they love it.

So this weekend when we were invited to a birthday party where THE voice of Toopy and Binoo, Frank Meschkuleit, would perform a Toopy and Binoo puppet show LIVE…we knew the girls would explode with happiness. And we were right. Frank was awesome, the show was brilliant (he called out every child’s name and made jokes for the adults in the audience, including a fart joke about Ben…no, seriously…), and Sophie and Lillian LOVED it. Sophie thought it was hilarious and awesome and Lillian kept looking back at us to make sure we were seeing what she was seeing. I’m fairly sure her brain exploded a few times.

Lillian and Sophie getting their photo taken with Toopy and Binoo!

Lillian and Sophie getting their photo taken with Toopy and Binoo!

I’m just grateful that Isaac was more excited about the diaper bag strap than Toopy and Binoo. I can still get away with watching The Social while he’s cruising around the floor.

Just hanging out...oblivious to his fangirling sisters.

Just hanging out…oblivious to his fangirling sisters.

~ Julia

Broadcast dependence

I love television…I do. I love coming home after a long day at work, dumping my bags at the door, falling onto the couch and putting on any television show.

When I was younger, the TV was barely on – we were always outside creating our own adventures, climbing trees and scraping knees. Then elementary school happened, and it became more and more important that you watched the same shows as your peers, after all who wanted to be different and not watch that amazing episode of The Simpsons (side note, we had restrictions on what TV we watched, and The Simpsons was definitely not in our repertoire).

My parents did not see the same importance of television that I did, and because I didn’t pay the bills, they weren’t really willing to add cable to the long list of monthly household bills we had. Thus we “managed” with 5 channels: TVO, CBC, CTV, CityTV, and Global. I say we managed because it was not instilled in us the requirement of having cable or satellite. We had a TV – and that was more than what others had.  Those 5 channels – they were all we needed.

TV became a meeting place for my sisters, myself and my mother. Wednesday nights after church we would come home and watch Gilmore Girls – this was our weekly ritual, and regardless of what happened in the day, the homework you had or the projects that were due, we all met around our little TV, which was a raffle prize from when I was 6, and watched Rory and Lorelai go through their ups and downs of life.

.

Thursday nights were when we watched the best, Friends, which to this day is the most amazing television show and is quoted at least daily.

There was also Boston Public, and CSI, and Without A Trace, which Julia and I would never miss – and even when she moved away we would watch it on the phone together.

Without a Trace

The love of TV is not a foreign concept. I laugh as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law plan their evenings and days around their “Shows”, and there are a lot of them – I would be surprised if the number didn’t rise above 10.

I, too, find myself recording a show that I can’t seem to live without. I wake up early to ensure that I am prepared for the conversation around the water cooler the next day. I watch Grey’s Anatomy and Nashville and love both television dramas. I have cried as the characters cried, and laughed as they make their smart ass comments.

Why – why do we love it? Is it because it plays on our human curiosity of wanting to know and understand different situations? Some argue that television has replaced novels, but it’s a natural evolution! We have evolved from telling stories for entertainment to radio, to black and white moving pictures, to smaller daily productions. Now we have 3D and projection screens to make our experience that much better.

The created and imaginative fiction is still present, the delivery has just changed.

For me the answer of why I love television is because it is a break from thinking of the daily struggles. When I watch TV, I am not thinking about the amount of work I have waiting for me the next day – I am thinking about the quirky girl and geeky guy who live across the hall from each other who one day will finally be together as the storyteller has intended.

I love television – I really do. I love telling and listening to stories, and whether the delivery is a blog or a sitcom, there is still an audience willing to listen.

~ Jacqui