I moved.


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So … just so we’re all clear and on the same page: I’ve moved back to Canada.

We found out we’d be leaving Thailand some time back in October and had about 2 months to work it out. It’s been madness and there’s been a great deal of heartache with having to leave my friends there, my scholarship daughter, the wonderful school, and the amazing lifestyle the opportunity had afforded us while in Thailand. … I wonder if I could file a complaint with my husband’s company and tell them I need compensation to keep up the lifestyle with which I’ve grown accustomed to?! 😉 But, in this market, I think it’s just good Husbandy still has work so I shall maybe need to keep my mouth shut.

ANYWAYS, so I’m back in Canada now. Life has been loco for a while but I’m working hard to just take it one day at a time and to roll with the punches and not take things too seriously. I thought I’d write a blog about some of my observations since returning home after a short 3 years away.

1. The people here are huge, both tall and wide.

2. The cars are all the same colours essentially: differing shades of grey, black, and white. So boring.

3. There is  S O   M U C H   S P A C E !!

4. When you even approach the crosswalk, motorists stop. Even if you hadn’t intended to cross the street, motorists stop.

5. Country music. I didn’t miss that.

6. When you phone people, they’re on the same time zone again! But this doesn’t work for your friends you had to leave. 😦

7. It’s easier landing back on this end than moving that way. There’s a cocoon here to catch you and wind you up with love and assistance.

8. You need more stuff in Canada.

9. It’s SO EXPENSIVE in Canada. You want a hamburger in a restaurant? $18.
You want a bottle of water? $3.
I’m in sticker shock for food items, but also for the cost of monthly living: bills, fuel, insurance, kids activities … it adds up quick and it HURTS. (Did I mention I think the company should give us a type of expat alimony?!)

10. Welcome to bagging your own groceries and pumping your own fuel.

11. EVERYONE wants tips.

12. People routinely check and discusses the weather. The weather here can swing by 10+ degrees from day to day, or even morning to afternoon. The forecast can have a nice number but it doesn’t account for potentially bone-chilling winds.

13. I have to clean my own toilets. Having household help in Thailand is pretty common and it’s expected if you’re an expat.

14. (So far) the Thai food isn’t. Yes, that was a complete sentence. It claims to be Thai, but it most certainly is not. It lacks flavour, heat, and even texture. Hey, I get it, we’re in Canada! But, just don’t say it’s Thai food because it feels crumby to surprise my husband by taking him to dinner at a Thai restaurant and have to look at his face fall with disappointment at the first bite.

15. Did I mention we moved back in the middle of winter? There’s a bit of a shock to that. We’re from here and we knew what we were getting into, and Alberta is MUCH milder than Saskatchewan was. BUT, but, but, but, my kiddos’ skin is really suffering. Between the temperature switches of being outside and then inside, having cold and wet cloth touch their skin until the cloth dries if they’ve been playing outside, the incredibly dry air, the very hard water, and the chlorine added to the water supply, they’re covered in angry red patches of painful and itchy skin. I have to chase after them constantly to slather them head to toe with body lotion, and routinely put a thick vaseline-like concoction on their faces multiple times a day to help heal spots that pop up within hours. Everyone here is shriveling up from how dry it is and nobody seems to know about it.

16. My hair. I can straighten it and it stays that way.

17. My kids have discovered the electrostatic. They revel is dragging their socks across the carpet and chasing each other (and often times, me) to deliver a good ZAP!

18. Hockey. Hockey, hockey, hockey. It’s a hockey culture. You probably play. If you do not play, you understand that you are at the mercy of others’ schedules that are at the mercy of hockey practices, games, and tournaments. New friend? Great – but we can’t play until hockey season is over. LOL For real.

19. Vegan food is pretty easy to come by. This is good because it’s convenient but also bad as it’s much easier to be a Fat Vegan. 😉

20. People here maybe aren’t as friendly. I haven’t decided yet. It may have been because I was in an expat community before, but arriving here, nobody cares that we’re new. Nobody wants to know how you’re doing with the move, what they can do to help you integrate into the community, when they can have your family over to visit and have the kids play. So far, except of course from people we already knew and call friends/family, nobody has extended a hand or a welcome. Don’t feel too badly for us though, as I’m obnoxiously nice and friendly when it comes to my kids getting a sense of belonging so I’ll make it happen. Oh they’ll be my friends … whether they like it or not! Hahah!

Alright, I made it to 20. I’m sure there are many more and/or will be more but I’ll stop there for the time being.

Now for me to keep on trucking! Our sea shipment should arrive in Canada this week. We’re still not sure how long it will take to get through customs, to be transported to Alberta, or to set up time with the movers on this end. But I’m sure it will insanity when it happens. Stay tuned …



License to drive … but where PART 2: disappointment.


I didn’t realize how I had left this hanging until this very moment! So the last we chatted on this matter, I had a driver’s exam scheduled …

Now I will precede this next part of our tale with the knowledge that I’m a super-driver. 🙂 Of course, EVERYONE is a super-driver, but I passed my driver’s exam when I was 16 on the first try. I have had several people comment on what a good driver I am. And I honestly think my husband initially fell in love with me while we were in his jeep and slipped out on some ice on a bridge and I brought the vehicle back between the lines like a pro! 😉 So … there’s my cred.

Now, I went to the appointment at the Thai DMV slightly nervous. I didn’t get a minute to practice and I have no car to practice on. Reminder: I drive a left-side (like Canada) golf cart on the left side (opposite Canada) road. I’m VERY accustomed to driving beside the sidewalk, not in the middle of the road! But I digress …  I was nervous and still don’t speak Thai. So I showed up for my exam to find like 30 other people with the same exam time. We were all told to wait outside. Then some numbers were called and we went upstairs for a debriefing of the exam (this was all in Thai). The woman at the front of the room played a video with subtitles on it in English; however, she kept pausing the video and pointing at things on the screen and explaining them in further detail in Thai. I definitly missed out on this.

After the video, we were told something in Thai and everyone left and started going to another room. When I finally figured out that was the line-up for the test (sigh), I’d wasted over an hour. When I got my keys and the card that monitors your progress through the exam (it was all computerized), I was sent downstairs for the test. They said “go down now.” So, I went downstairs and looked around a bit: Nothing. I walked around a bit: Nothing. I asked around a bit: No English. Finally, my driver came up to me in the van and asked how it went. I told him I hadn’t taken the test yet! So he found out where I was supposed to be and got me there. I NEVER would have found it alone. The test could now begin!

Part 1.
Drive the car to the testing area, simply passing a simulated traffic circle. Check.

Part 2.
Drive the car through some pilons forward and then backwards. Check.

Part 3.
Drive the car to a stop sign and stop. Check.

Part 4.
Parrallel park. Check.

And it was done! All this happened in a parking lot so everything was simulated. I went upstairs to collect my license. But wait. They’re shaking their head at me. “No,” she says. No? 😦 What had I don’t wrong? Apparently, the stopping at a stop sign was not stopping at a stop sign, it was pulling over at a stop sign and I had to have less than 20 cm between my tire and the curb. But … the curb (in the simulated area) was painted to show you couldn’t pull over there! And what the hell? The guy at the start of the test had said to me “you go and you stop!” DANG!!!!!

Now this story happened back in early June. It’s now late August so my memory is a touch fuzzy, but I will tell you this: to understand what had even gone wrong was almost impossible. The woman at the desk didn’t know, a random person in the hall that spoke English couldn’t tell what the problem was, my driver didn’t know what I’d done wrong, an English speaker in my husband’s office couldn’t say, and neither could the gentleman who was helping in the office at the beginning of this tale of woe. Each person read the card in thai and told me something different about what went wrong. I bet I didn’t do anything wrong at all! I ended up going back and forth to different buildings, climbing many flights of stairs trying to figure out how I could fix this situation to attain the license before going to Canada for the summer. Did I mention it’s 1000 degrees in Thailand? After visiting Husbandy’s office and having some people make some calls for me, I was able to reschedule the test sooner than later to try to get it before I went to Canada. They were offering me a time 3 weeks away, but I was going to Canada in 7 days. I made my way BACK up to the scheduling office where I was offered Monday afternoon. I left VERY early Tuesday morning. I said no, I’d like to come in Friday please. She said she couldn’t and after a lot of ho-ing and humming, I said mai penrai and took the Monday. Mai (not) penrai (problem).

The following Monday I showed up for another exam. This time, the man from my husband’s office joined me to ensure everything was crystal clear. Only, it got REAL muddy. It turns out that my name wasn’t on the list to take the exam. There was evidently no way that I could sneak in to take the exam (that lasted all of 3 minutes) as the system was computerized (or something like that). This was all very infuriating to me because it was several women glaring at me accusingly and often pointing while they spoke to the man from my husband’s office angrily. Why so angry???!?!?!?! What had I done? He told me that I had been rude to them when I was there last and told them many things that I did not. Now … I had never seen these people before, except one. And THAT one was the most angry. And to add to this, these woman did not speak English. And we’ve already established I don’t speak Thai … so HOW could I have been so offensive?! HOW, I ask!!!! Well, I didn’t win this one. I couldn’t rewrite the test. I didn’t get a Thai license. And I didn’t do a darn thing wrong. It was a MADDENING experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

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But, it’s not all a sad story. I was still able to drive when I went back to Canada as I was able to obtain a new provincial license. And now I can use that CURRENT license to obtain a Thai one. FINALLY. Now, let’s never speak of this again.

Epic confusing fail. 😦

Juice Fast!


So I love documentaries, and recently watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix. But you can also watch it on YouTube apparently, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o0pSnp0Xs8. I enjoyed it and found it fascinating that this man could go without actual food for such an extended period of time (60 days) and how he inspired others to fast, as well.

What caught my attention the most was that he suffered from an autoimmune disease and helped his body so much by fasting. I have a friend who also has an autoimmune disease, though a different one than the man in the film. But she suffers with a lot of the same issues: having to take many medicines, side-effects, constant health issues, and doctors really not being able to help much. So I had discussed the documentary with her a bit and encouraged her to watch it just to see what she thought.

In the mean time, I’m a sugar addict. I’m sure of it. I see things sometimes that are in my mouth before I’ve even considered eating them. Straight up: it’s disgusting. And I feel double-guilty about this sugar thing because as gross as it is, it’s actually quite socially acceptable. But people I love suffer with other addictions that are NOT socially acceptable at all: like smoking and drinking. Thankfully, nobody I’ve known and loved has suffered with drug addiction or anything else too tragic, but I’ve seen (and continue to see) lives and families significantly changed due to alcohol. So, I like to keep on top of my addictions. And on top of that, I’m a vegan. And sometimes, I’m not a very good vegan. 😦 Recently, I brought cupcakes to a party and there was one left and …. there it went, down the hatch! It was filled with eggs, milk, butter, and of course LOTS OF SUGAR. So, I thought that fasting might help me reset my tastebuds and just take a break from EVERYTHING to help me get cleaned up a bit.

My friend and I decided to do a juice fast. We used this company: http://mejuicepress.com. It took a while to decide, but I liked this one because they offer glass bottles and a recylce program. We had considered buying a juicer but they’re quite expensive. For some good tips on choosing one though, see this link: http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/juicing/. Because I’m an expat, I’m reluctant to invest too much in appliances that may or may not work in our next posting, due to electrical outlet and voltage differences. We had also considered borrowing a juicer, but by the time we had purchased many foreign vegetables and fruits, the cost would have been near what the company was charging, and that didn’t even begin to incorporate our precious time. So, we paid someone to make them for us and deliver them! 😀 It cost 3600 baht (about $130 CAD) for 3 days. I know. But it’s for good health, would save me money in food costs, and time in not cooking. Don’t judge me. 😀

We signed up for 3 days of drinking cold-pressed juice 6 times a day. This is what that looks like. They came delivered in a cooler Wednesday night, and here they are in drinking order in the fridge ready to drink Thursday morning. The two small bottles were given at no extra charge: a wheat grass and a turmeric elixir.

And Thursday morning? Bottoms up!

The juice above is called Green #5, I think. It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t down it but took my time. They’re definitely better cold. But it was ok. The ginger in there really helped lighten the flavour a bit. Apparently spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world! I bought some to add to smoothies and then let it expire in my fridge unopened. 😦

This is juice 2. It was good! Basil seeds are like chai seeds, in that they sort of swell up and get gelatinous, but then clean out the intestines on their way through. Cheers!

Here are some other juices from Day 1. You can see that they’ve settled in the first one, so you have to give them a good swirl before each sip. I didn’t like that Red Ruby one very much. Neither did my buddy. But we drank it.

Each juice is different throughout the day, with a couple of the same juices through the 3 days. It turned out that 6 juices was too much to drink each day for the first few days, so I saved 2 a day and planned to fast for 4 days at the cost of 3.

So, I think my fasting journey is different than many because I’m already vegan. I wasn’t shocked by the lack of meat or dairy in my diet. I noticed that I had lost weight (because I checked the scale). I’ve just finished 4 days and lost about 5 and a half pounds. I thought it would be a lot harder than it was. I thought I would be crabby because I was hungry and couldn’t have coffee. That first day I had a terrible headache! I think maybe from lack of caffeine, but I didn’t have the headache on days 2-4, so that was lovely. From what I’d seen on Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, I expected I’d be running to the washroom a lot. But nope, not the case either. Again, I wonder if it’s because I’m already on the vegan diet, but I do recall a bit of that when I initially made the switch. My friend feels amazing! She described the energy and lightness and I remembered that feeling as how I first felt when I made the switch to vegan, which literally happened overnight. I’m secretly hoping she will decide to join me on the vegan side. 😉

I have to say, I’m not really hungry. My stomach has growled, but the feeling has passed. I’m not lightheaded or weak or tired: nothing. I do feel a sense of emptyness, but not hunger. I think the nutrients in the juice are appeasing my body enough. So, I do struggle with things smelling good or looking good and WANTING them, but not NEEDING them. The fast has been a nice reminder for me to enjoy things in moderation. I don’t want to take more than I need in many aspects of life, including eating, drinking, shopping, and all other consumptive behaviours. It’s nice to be in control.

Here are my empties from the 4 days, ready to go back for recycling.


My buddy is doing so well and feeling so healthy and positive that she wanted to go on the fast an additional 3 days so we’ve gotten ourselves all set for that and I’ll start Day 5 in the morning. I think I will stop after Day 7 though, as I’ve gotten what I wanted out of it. And I feel like I’ve been a support and she can continue onward if she’d like. Plus, with our trip coming up, I need to be eating a lot of the stuff in the fridge so it doesn’t go bad when we’re gone! 😀 And it’s nice to share a meal with friends I might not see again before I go!

I’ll maybe report back after Day 7 … or Day 8 if I can’t use all 6 juices in one day again. Though, I think I will. It’s recommended you not exercise too heavily while fasting. I didn’t do much. This week I will encorporate some light weights and cardio so I’m sure I’ll have a larger appetite for the 5th and 6th juices.

I guess I should start shopping around for a nice soup restaurant to treat myself to once I’m eating again. It’s likely a good idea to start a bit slow, even if I was only off food for a week. 😉

License to drive … but WHERE?!


So … I’ve been keeping incredibly productive these past few months making preparations for a plethora of things related to the kids, our family, our day to day, a lot of final this and that parties, and of course our trip to Canada this summer! In one of the conversations I was having with my husband, we realized that my provincial license had expired. At first I thought, that’s a minor annoyance and assured myself it would be just fine.

If you read my past posts, you know I got to drive this one time …

Flash forward: not a minor annoyance, a major deal!

I quickly realized that I cannot renew the license because I gave up my Canadian residency to take advantage of an international tax agreement between Canada and Thailand. I began clamouring for an international license but no dice! You must have a Thai driver’s license a full year before you can apply for the international. At this point, I’ve become set on getting the Thai license in the hopes of finding a loophole when in Canada, and if nothing else, to set the wheels in motion for an international license for when I need it again.

Let me tell you what you need to get a Thai driver’s license:
– a medical
– proof you live here
– take and pass the test

Now let me tell you MY experience!

First off, you need a medical stating you’re in good health. I visited (and paid) and CHECK!

Then I needed proof of residency. I took a copy of my lease agreement and photo ID from my compound, as well as my passport and driver’s license, and went about 1 hour’s drive to the Dept of Land Transportation. I floundered in the main floor for a good 30 minutes wondering where to go. I figured it out! But I didn’t get past the first counter. She asked for my license and I gave it to her “This is expire. No.” Yes, I know, I need a new one. “No. Expire.” At this point, my driver showed up and began speaking in Thai. He turned and told me I needed to go to the Canadian embassy to get a letter that I live here. I showed her the lease agreement and several photos IDs. She repeated, “expire. No.” I knew not to expect it to be too easy, so undeterred, I found the number for the Canadian embassy and asked them what I needed to do to prove I live here. I needed to go to the embassy and get an affidavit made declaring I live here, and to pay for it. Oh – and it’s only open 9-12 and it’s already 11:30 so no way you’re making it there today.

OK! So, I checked the schedule and planned to go the very next day that I could spare several hours at the beginning of the day where my husband didn’t already need our shared vehicle. And then THAT day, I went 90 mins into the embassy. Now I’ll pause here in my DMV story to tell you how cray cray it is to visit the Canadian emabassy. Apparently, they’re all like this, but I had NO idea! First off, I go to a busy office building where the elevators are sort of roped off. I see a sign for the embassy so I greet them and said I’d like to get an affidavit, which floor please? They wave over a security person and that person walks me behind the elevators, outside the building, and back into another entrance where my bag was taken and put through an xray machine (like in an airport). I gave them my license and they gave me a security pass. OH! And they confiscated my Kindle! So then the guard took me back through and went up WITH me in the elevator to the embassy floor where there was another checkpoint. This checkpoint took my security pass and traded it for another security pass and confiscated my cell phone. I was then led into a weird waiting room where the secretary was behind something that appeared to be bullet-proof glass and her voice sounded like it was on a distant radio. I slide her my passport under a dip in the glass and she told me to sit down and wait. The waiting room was small plastic chairs all attached to one another and all facing one way. The rooms you were waiting to enter had doors that slid to one side to open. When it was my turn to go in, I entered the sliding room to find it was me behind bullet-proof glass again! The person on the other side of the desk was behind that glass and I had to slide information under the glass. It was so bizarre! So basically, once there, I wrote my own affidavit and this woman signed and stamped it and I paid $50 and went on my way to retrieve my various electronics and IDs on the way back.

OK. Now by this time, my husband has noticed I don’t have my Thai driver’s license yet. He’s insisted I get some help from his office. Sure. So a nice man is copied on some emails between the two of us stating what the goal and the problems are. He says he can help! I let him know the days I planned to go back to the DMV but they didn’t work for him. We lost a week. Then I lost another week because of a fender bender landing me with some intense vertigo (a story for another time) and my youngest’s birthday. He says he can expediate the process if I can go to the Canadian embassy and explain why the license was expired (because I live here for my husband’s job). GREAT! I’m all about speeding things along. So I chose another day that I could spare a LOT of time first thing in the morning when my husband didn’t need the vehicle, and … we’re off! I spent another 3 hours in traffic and another $50 and got the second affidavit at the recommendation of the gentleman who can help. But this time there was a different guard who shook my hand 4 seperate times, giggled while asking me if I thought Thailand was hot, and giggled some more when he said that Canada was VERY COLD! He was very sweet.

FINALLY the man who said he could help and myself were both able to meet at the same place/time. Only he told me to be at the office for 8:00 and he’s not there. At 8:30, he calls the driver to bring me to the DMV. We arrive at 9:00 (I’ve lost an hour for nothing). Back up to that FIRST desk and she says, “no.” He looks through my paperwork and sees that this process has taken so long that my medical has expired! But no problem because he knows a good doctor! And we leave, get into the van and drive a couple of blocks to a tiny shop with a medic symbol at the top. An older woman is inside at the desk sitting beside an older man. Everyone speaks Thai to one another, then the older man says “passport,” so I give it to him. He then holds up a green marker and asks me what colour, followed by a red marker and the same question. Then he leans in and asks me “how you feeling? Good?” Yes, sir! “OK 100 baht,” (about $3) and that was my medical. BACK to the DMV.

After arriving back on the same day with my new certificate of health, I was told I needed an eye exam. So I stood in a line with 19 others. My turn for each of these exercises took less than 10 seconds.
1. What colour is this? Green, red, red, red, green, green, red, green, red.
2. Make this stick line up with that stick using a sort of atari-type stick.
3. Hit the brake pedal when the colour changes from green to red.
4. Identify yellow, green, and red using peripheral vision.
I passed. To celebrate, I was given an appointment a week later where I could go in for driver training and exam.

Now that was today! So this morning, I drove in the one hour or more for my 8:30 appointment. I went to where I was told to go. I got there and got a nasty look from a woman wearing a short skirt while she pointed to my shorts (midway between thigh and knee) and shook her head. She gave me an elastic waist long skirt to cover the horror that apparently is my legs? My shorts? My skin? I’ll never know. Then I was told to go up one floor. I went up and stood in line there. When it was my turn, I was told “you are very old. The test start 8:00am. Wait in queue.” I think she was either super-mean or she meant late. Either way, I was told 8:30 to the 3rd floor (and had it in writing), not 8:00am for the 4th. I sat and waited until 10:00. At that point a man came and said something in thai. Nobody moved. Then he said “cose in en-ris” (which means course in english, I guessed from experience) and I jumped up. I sat for a 2 hour thai driving video (in an air conditioned room – YAY!!!!) with english subtitles. The video was not the proper ratio for the tv it was played on so you lost the first and last word of each line, but the gist was there. 😉 Then we were told it was lunch time and to come back in one hour. I quietly sat and played my Suduko while eating almonds and pining for that room and the AC that came with it. We watched another 1 hour video in thai, were given books with pictures of signed and translations of them in thai, arabic, chinese, and english. And at 2:30, we were told we could take the test.

Sidebar: Maybe I should also take a motorcycle test so I can take this OUT of my compound for once!

FINALLY! I was given a card to activate a computer terminal that took my photo and given a multiple choice exam in dodgy english, and then it took my photo at the end too. I PASSED. Do you want to take it? Here’s a practice version! http://thaidriving.info If you do it, tell me your score and what surprised you about it! I’m very thankful I passed, as many others did not! They will have to come and retry on another day (but within 90 days of the training). Does this mean I have a thai license? No.

After I passed, I was sent to another desk to schedule a road test! The earliest I can get in is next week. And I’m not exactly well-polished as a driver. Remeber what I drive here, routinely?

It’s a golf cart. I drive it on the left-hand side of the road, but the steering wheel is on the left, too! This means I’m quite accustomed to driving right beside the side-walk. I’m sure that, paired with the 20 years of driving on the right-hand side of the road may be a bit to overcome … oh and with no vehicle to practice on. But hey – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Oh but I hope there isn’t a bridge. :S

So … road test next week. Should be a piece of cake, right? :O

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But will any of this TRULY prepare me for driving in THIS? 😉 Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 9.48.35 PM


He’s in!


We got some great and perhaps not-so-surprising news last week: our homeschooled preschooler was accepted to the private school in our area!

Many people say it’s not a hard task to be accepted, but the fact is that many kids DON’T get accepted for a plethora of reasons. And a lot of those parents are shocked when their kid isn’t accepted. So I didn’t want to be falsely confident.

On top of that, in this area, most kids are in school full-time from the age of 2 years old! That’s right, Folks – TWO. When I was looking at preshool options, I quickly realized that there are no part-time options for a child who is four years of age. For me, preschool means 4 hours twice a week. Here, it means 7 hours a day for 5 days a week. I was nervous that the hyper-educated bambinos would edge my baby out! But thankfully, we’re good.

Another reason I chose to homeschool this past year is that (on top of having my kid gone the bulk of the time), it’d be expensive. Like, really, really expensive. Preschool at the school where he’ll be attending kindgergarden was going to cost $17,000 for the year. And that was without the application fees! Thankfully, my husband’s company foots the bill from Kindergarden up to Grade 12 so the ridiculous fee for next year will be covered.

In any event, it was ultimately MY choice to homeschool. My husband was on board with sending him to school full-time. And it was completely MY responsibility to school him, too. Thus, had he not have been accepted, it would have been entirely MY fault! So this Mama is breathing a long sigh of relief that he was accepted and I can finish up our school year worry-free and solid in the knowledge we’re moving along at an acceptable rate.


We only have 2 more weeks of our homeschool program and I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I’ve really enjoyed this time we’ve had together and watching my little guy grow and learn and to be the one to help make that happen. But I’m also really excited for him to be able to attend his big brother’s school and have experiences with their amazing staff and resources, and for him to make friends with his classmates.

I’m proud he did well in the interview process, but I’m also proud of myself for sticking with the program and following through. AND I’m aware that I saved our family a whopping $17,000 so I may just go get myself a sweet little teacher gift! 😉



As I continue to muddle along through this technolocially amazing time I’m told we’re living in, I have to admit I’m totally overwhelmed and confused most of the time. I still can’t figure out how to do internet searches on my phone, I don’t know why it’s always full (I delete photos constantly), and I am pretty torn up about being a terrible parent who ignores their child because I have Facebook on my phone or being a terrible parent who bends to my child’s every whim because I don’t have Facebook on my phone. I wonder if there are “dumb” phones with excellent cameras? That might be what I need …

Anyways, my latest techno quandry is this: to purchase another computer or not? Two Christmases ago, I got a Sony Vaio as a gift. It was super-fancy but also finicky and delicate. It was broken almost immediatly and took ages to repair. I was extra vigalent about being careful with the computer, though I didn’t really like it much. It pinched my legs when I opened and closed it on my lap, and it had built-in shortcuts that I didn’t understand that would constantly change whatever I was looking at on the internet to football news. If you know me at all, you know I have no use for football news. But I just figured it was me and carried on. The following Christmas I was gifted an Apple laptop, which is what I always wanted! It’s head and shoulders above anything else I’ve ever had. I even took a class on how to use it more effectively … though I can’t say I took much away, actually. (!) I did try to sell the Viao but with no luck at all. Not even a nibble. So the Viao became the kids’ computer. It was used for the occasional Minecraft game, Youtube video, Google search, or Starfall session (the program I use to homeschool my preschooler). Now the stupid thing pretty much broke in half when my kid pulled it toward him to put in his lap (because the little rubber nubs held to the table top) and Sony wanted $1000 to fix it! It cracked the motherboard or whatever that thing is called. Then Sony cracked the screen when it was in their care. And now it mysteriously has no operating system??? It’s a very expensive paperweight. I feel like it would be unwise to put any more money into this thing, but I’m also aware that I do like my kids having a computer that is not mine to use for their purposes. Is it ridiculous to purchase a computer for an 8 and 4 year old?

I feel like it’s ridiculous.

But you know when the BEST time to do something on your own on your computer is? When your kid is busy on the computer. Additionally, the best time to practice your French learning app on the ipad is when your kid is practicing his math skills on the ipad. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind another ipad, as I’m always deleting my stuff to make room for theirs. But how many gadgets does one family need? There are people who don’t own computers at all, and we need several?

And do we really NEED to have kids on the computer at all? No, we absolutely don’t. But at our school, kids begin keyboarding lessons in grade 3 with daily homework. And that same kid has an interest in programming and there are great websites out there to help him learn those for free! And now we’re hearing that programming is like another language children must learn to be employable in the near future. We need to be masters of technology, rather than consumers alone! So won’t this mean they’ll need access?

And with every new technology, we have all this waste with the old technology. Where do all those “outdated” phones go? I have a laundry basket in a room of my house that is full of cords that I don’t know what they power up! There are programming disks I can’t identify. How am I to get a handle on this? I feel like I need Clean Sweep for my technology. And the kicker is that I’m not a techo-savvy person who rushes out to get anything new! I don’t follow any trends of technology or wait for something new to be released. My dad had an iphone before I did! What the hell is all this stuff? Is this going to be the next ecological disaster, right behind plastic bags and bottles and microbeads?

If the one computer would just do SOMETHING, then I could continue on with that and justify that I already had two. I don’t feel like I can, in good conscience, purchase my kids a computer. I will probably end up buying one secretly and then telling everyone it was a hand-me-down to help drown the guilt and embarassment. 😉 But I think before I make that purchase, I need to figure out why everything technological I touch turns to garbage. It’s maddening! I’ve been techno-cursed and I would absolutely surrender, if I only knew how!

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Video games are making my child a jerk.


I know that everyone has their opinions on video games – myself included. Personally, I’m think screen time should be VERY limited and I’m a big advocate for nature-based play, when it’s an option. I know life is varied and busy and different for everyone, but in the interests of self-disclosure, that’s my view.


OK. So, my kid is 8 and likes to play video games. I get that. On the weekend he’s allowed to play for a bit. And even during the week, he gets to play the odd 15 minutes of educational apps. I am the most strict person I know about screen time. I don’t like that. I wish I wasn’t the one taking the only thing these kids seem to care about away from them. It doesn’t make me proud to say I’m the most strict. It’s actually a thorn in my side. I don’t want to be the parent everyone else has to appease at a playdate. I WANT to be the parent that is chill and lax; however, there is a problem with that. The problem is that my son is a jerk when he gets screen time. It’s like night and day.

I keep playing with the variables: which games, which days, length of time, time of day, amount of sleep, something he ate, who is he playing the games with, how do we stop the game time, small chunks of gaming time vs one large chunk, and whichever way it shakes out, it’s just the screen in front of his face. He becomes so dissatisfied with everything around him. Nothing is good enough. Nothing makes him happy. He just wants to lay around. He’s negative. He’s mean. He’s ungrateful. This isn’t my kid without gaming, I swear!

He loves gaming. And I love him. I want him to get to do what he loves, but at what cost? He’s been sent to bed at 6:00 this evening because of a crappy attitude and I’m still (hours later) trying to work out what happened and all I can pin it down to was that stupid PS3 he was playing with his buddy. Sometimes I think I’m delusional and he’s just being a normal kid and I’m building this all up in my head but it’s TOTALLY there. I’ve tried to bring this up with others but I just get blank looks. Bear in mind, though, that these are people whose kids are on screens constantly whether it’s TV, ipad, video games, computer, youtube, or whatever it may be. I can’t help but wonder if they’d notice a difference if the child were to step away from it for an extended amount of time?

But they’re not going to. And that’s none of my business, regardless.

What I’d like to do is get rid of the gaming systems. But I’m accutely aware of how that might impact our relationship. I’m also (sadly) aware of how that might impact his peer relationships. I’ve talked to him about the behaviour switch and he’s aware of what his parents are seeing but still no change in outcome. I know that he likely needs some kind of experience with all these systems just to keep up with what’s going on around him. I want him to be technology savvy. But I’d also like him to be not a jerk.

Is there some kind of research out there that supports this? Or is this a me-specific issue? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! 😦 I can hear myself talking in the past, I can read the words written here, and I will admit that it sounds irrational for this to be such a problem, especially when it’s such a prominent part of our day to day lives. But I can’t deny it. Are other people denying it for the simple reason that it’s easier to have kids in front of a screen than it is otherwise? Is that super-bitchy to even ask? Do other people question themselves this much? :O

Has anyone else had this experience? If so, what was the solution? I’m really flailing here. I am going to poke around and see what I can find. In the mean time – I will continue the good fight in raising a man who is not a jerk.