Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Check it Out! I'm Funny!

I am so excited about this that I very rudely haven't even read the other winner's posts yet, I just had to share with you guys first.

As you know I recently guest posted for Momma Be Thy Name's 12 Days of Christmas which was a big thrill as well as a lot of fun.  Got to discover some great blogs and very funny ladies in the process.  What I didn't know was that Momma (aka Stephanie) submitted my post to all.things.fadra and Fadra (clearly an intelligent and discerning woman) liked it!  I shit all over one of her favourite holidays and she thought it was funny!  I want to be all modest and "aw shucks" right now but fuck it:  They think I'm funny!  Woo hoo!

So, I'm going to go do my happy dance and read the other posts on all.things.fadra and I highly recommend you do the same, because obviously you already read my post.  It just goes to show that if you're a good girl, and work really hard and use profanity indiscriminately you will be richly rewarded. 

Thanks again, ladies.  Seriously, THANK YOU!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

8 Reasons I Like Hanukkah Better Than Christmas

They have cookies, too!
Every year around this time the Rotten family observes Hanukkah.  It's a tradition started by my mother in-law who, although not raised in the Jewish religion, was born to non-practising Jewish parents in a Jewish neighbourhood.  It's kind of a nice way to commemorate their Jewish roots and it's a tradition we keep alive in our house, too.  Although I'm pretty sure we're doing it all wrong and making a mess of the whole thing, my Jewish friends tell me that as long as we're trying our best God is cool with it.

With each passing year I grow more annoyed with Christmas and find more to appreciate about Hanukkah.  Sometimes I wish we could dispense with Christmas altogether and only do Hanukkah.  If you grew up with Christmas you're probably thinking what I used to think about Hanukkah: it just doesn't measure up.  There's no sparkle, no Santa.  Well now that you're all grown up I think you will be able to appreciate why I think Hanukkah rocks and Christmas can suck it.

1) No Hype.  Nobody says shit about Hanukkah until it's Hanukkah.  Do you know what would happen if just before Halloween they started playing Hanukkah commercials?  Nothing, because that would never happen.  There is just nothing to be gained commercially from Hanukkah because it's an uplifting yet serious holy event, some might even call a series of holy days or "holidays".  Also, because of reason number 2:

2)  No Presents.  It's not traditional to exchange gifts at Hanukkah unless you are trying to placate small children who got shafted out of the whole Santa business.  But the presents are the best part!  No.  No they are not.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy giving and receiving presents but Christmas takes the joy out of all that and turns it into a terrible ordeal that everyone must participate in or suffer the (unknown) consequences.

I'm sure there are people who thrive on all the shopping and the bustle but for someone like myself, who suffers from social anxiety disorder, Christmas seems like an experiment dreamed up by evil scientists to see just how many small panic attacks I can endure before I have a nervous breakdown.  Or maybe baby Jesus is punishing me for that time I ate all the heads off of the angel cookies Mummy Dearest made that Christmas when I was four.  From December 1st to the 25th my brain is occupied with this litany:

"Did I get everyone on my list?  Did I get everyone stuff they would like?  What if they already have it?  I got it on sale, will they be able to return it?  If they return it will they find out how much I cheaped out on their gift because I found it on sale and then think bad thoughts about me?  Oh God, what if I forgot someone?  What if I forgot someone but they didn't forget me?  If I fail to get everyone the perfect gift then the world will surely come to a horrifying end and it will be all my fault!"

With Hanukkah, as far as I can tell, all you need to do is pray and eat.  You just know there's something wrong with Christmas when you're wishing you were Jewish just so you could be less neurotic.

3)  The Food.  Daddy thought I was crazy for saying this because he thinks Jewish food sucks and he loves turkey.  But when he thinks of Jewish food he generally thinks of a Passover meal he went to once where the food wasn't so great.  But Hanukkah, the celebration of the miracle of the oil burning for eight days, is the holiday of foods fried in oil.  For eight days!  Have you ever had freshly fried, jelly filled doughnut (sufganiot)?  Me neither, but that's mostly because I  can't be bothered filling them with jelly.  I have however made fresh fried doughnuts without the jelly and they would easily put Krispy Kreme out of business.

What does one day of Christmas have over eight days of fried food?  A turkey?  I'm sorry but isn't that just Thanksgiving Part Deux?  And it's very likely that turkey is on the menu for Easter dinner unless you're lucky enough to have in-laws who raise sheep.  (Mmmmm, spring lamb....aghaghaghagh.)

4)  No Shopping.  That thing with no gift exchange translates into no shopping.  To the best of my knowledge, no Jewish person has ever been trampled to death on Black Friday in a frenzy to fight with some old lady for the last XBox (or whatever the hell it is the kids want these days) on the shelf.  There is absolutely no reason for me to set foot in a Walmart when making my Hanukkah preparations.  The only special shopping I really need to do is get groceries for all the food we'll be eating and then spending about 5-10 minutes chatting with the lady who runs the kosher deli where I buy candles for our menorah.

5) No Music.  Or at least very little of it.  Other than the Dreidel Song I really don't know any Hanukkah carols.  It's not that I don't like Christmas music.  I just don't like bad Christmas music.  Or, as I like to call it, Christmas Muzak.  I prefer the music of the big band era or the classical religious music.  Give me some Sinatra, Handel or Bach.

But that's not usually the stuff they inflict on you while you're trapped in some store, hot and cranky and tired, with a million things you need to buy and no money to buy it with and your kids are whining and fighting with each other and you're wondering why the hell it is that you have to go to Christmas dinner with two inches of uncoloured roots just so you can buy these little ingrates some more useless pieces of plastic they don't need and that will be lost or broken before the new year.

No, right at that moment where you would cheerfully stuff an elf down Santa's throat for forcing you to participate in this madness, this is what is drilling a hole into your brain:

                           "Sim-ply ha-a-v-ing a WONderful Christmastime..."

And that, my friends, is the song I will be singing the year I put on a Santa suit and go postal at the local Walmart, right before they tranq me into oblivion.

6)  It's Less Offensive.   I know you're probably asking, "But what is offensive about Christmas?"  It's not so much the Holiday itself as its capacity to make people identify themselves loudly and proudly as narrow minded bigots.  And of course they express this in my newsfeed which typically goes as follows:

"Hey, all you CHRISTmas haters, I love JESUS and I show my love for JESUS by putting pagan symbols in my home, imposing the unknown date of HIS birth on a pagan holiday and then SCREAMING to EVERYONE that JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON.  I will begrudgingly acknowledge whatever pitiful little holiday YOU celebrate but ONLY after you call CHRISTmas 'UNCLE'.  Because that is totally what JESUS was ALL ABOUT.  HA HA, CHRISTmas RULES!"

Yikes!  It's a fine thing if you want to take this time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  He was a pretty cool dude.  But this is a sad and misinformed way of doing it, n'est ce pas?  Do these people really think that this is an appropriate way to pay tribute to the guy who commanded you to love everyone, do kindness to everyone and be humble before your Lord?  To do unto those as you would have done to yourself?  You just never see people getting all foamy at the mouth like this about Hanukkah.  Hanukkah is nice and quiet.

7)  Family.  My whole life the very best thing about Christmas for me was to be with my extended family.  And of course that still happens but since I've adopted the role of Mrs. Claus I've been too tired and stressed out to enjoy it.  There's a lot of pressure and excitement building up to one day and then it's all over. This year I haven't been able to visit with my family or friends because I'm too busy getting ready for Christmas and the day it comes I will be running on about four hours of sleep because the kids got me up at the ass crack of dawn after I was up all night wrapping presents and stuffing stockings.  Hanukkah brings eight days of opportunities to be with family without all the chaos.  That means a more well rested you which means you are way less likely to resort to violence when that nosy relative of yours starts criticizing the way you're raising your kids.

8)  No Santa.  And if you haven't read my guest post for Momma Be Thy Name, this might be confusing.  Santa is supposed to be the whole selling point of Christmas!  Okay, if you're still confused go, read it now.  OMG do I hate that fat bastard!  For years he's been taking credit for all my hard work, for all the best presents, for all the "magic" and my kids think I'm this huge bitch because making all of that happen also makes me crazy.  I'm sure Santa must have seemed like a good idea back in Little House on the Prairie times when kids were happy to get a tin cup because it meant that they didn't have to share a cup with their sister any more.  But Christmas these days looks a lot less like the Ingalls family and a lot more like the Who's of Whoville.  Santa is something I could do very well without.

I guess that kind of makes me the Grinch.  Oh well.  L'chaim!

*I apologize right now for any misspellings or cultural misunderstandings. I'm not Jewish.  If there are any corrections I should make feel free to let me know.*

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Does This Make Me a REAL Blogger Now?

There are certain landmarks I aim to hit in order to chart my progress as a blogger.  It was very lonely in the beginning when I got almost no pageviews at all.  Then my friends and family started catching on.  I was super happy when I had evidence that people who were complete strangers were reading my blog and even coming back for more!  Then I got my first comment.  Bliss!  I'm still looking forward to my first negative comment and my first troll and if I'm lucky those two things will be wrapped up in one.  But today I hit a new landmark!  Yay!

I'm actually working on a post about Hanukkah right now but I took a moment to check my email and saw that someone was approaching me as a guest blogger.  At first I was excited that someone wants to put their stuff on my blog, but then I read the whole message.  So, being the snarky bitch that I am I took the time not only to reply, but to post it here on my blog.  Hopefully you will find it funny because I'm pretty sure that people guilty of these shenanigans will totally miss the post as well as the point.  Enjoy.


I was just wondering if you ever consider accepting guest posts on your site, ? I have written a few articles on a number of early childhood education topics and thought you may be interested in reading one with hopes that you will post it.  December is "Read a New Book Month", so I thought you might be interested in posting an article about teaching children to read, but I could also write about a variety of other topics, like cooking with children, teaching children table manners, etc.  If you would like to take a look at an article just let me know.  Please feel free to get back to me with any questions or concerns!  I look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your site.

Emily Patterson
Marketing Support Coordinator
Primrose Schools

Dear Emily,

I'm not sure that my blog is really a good place for the kinds of posts you are looking to put here.  First of all, I frequently advise my readers to swear at their children.  I even go further and advise them to teach their children all the swear words and combinations of swear words so that their kids will know what not to say (or repeat from their parents).  In fact most of my stuff is about how to raise children while avoiding them as much as possible to preserve your sanity.  Plus, my favourite word in the world is "fuck" so I'm not sure my blog is the place people are going to when they want to teach their children good manners.

I want to feel bad about this because I am very interested in supporting fellow writers but I am prevented from feeling any guilt by the fact that you clearly haven't even read my blog yet you expect me to read your stuff so you can profit from my audience.  I hope you appreciate the irony here, considering the fact that you are trying to get people to read and all.  Does that make you a hypocrite?  It might, Rabbit.  It might.

Mommy Rotten

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Beauty on a Budget: Look Like a Celebrity, Save Like Scrooge

It's the Holidays!  That time of year when we find ourselves invited to all kinds of fun and fancy social events. But it's also the time of year when we have the least amount of cash to spend on ourselves and how we look.  And let's face it: with all the holiday stress and highly sugared treats available we need all the help we can get!  What's a girl to do?

Well, fortunately for you I have been living on a student's budget for the last 15 years (even though I graduated 10 years ago) which went a long way towards helping me develop some MacGuyver-esque beauty solutions that are easy on the wallet.  And because I'm an awesome Mommy who knows that sharing is good I will tell you how to look like a celebrity while saving like Scrooge.

1)  It's almost officially winter and all that cold dry air is wreaking havoc on your hair.  If you want to look glamorous you could do what the stars do and visit a salon/spa where they will wash your hair with truffles and caviar for the humble price of $400 (not including tip).  Can't afford that?  Head out to your local drugstore and you can buy any number of deep conditioning products and hair masques that will only cost between $5-$20 depending on the product.  But you know what?  Mommy can do better.  If you really want soft, smooth shiny hair look no further than your local Asian market.

It's "natural"!
For only $3.99 you can buy a jar of Mr. Goudas' coconut oil.  I swear this man is the next Vidal Sassoon.    All you need is a tiny, tiny amount.  (Seriously, less is more with this stuff or else you will just be greasy instead of shiny.)  This jar of coconut oil will last forever.  Only it won't because it will go rancid before you're able to use it all up.  Solution?  Make popcorn!  Apparently some movie theatres use coconut oil to make their popcorn because it enhances that popcorny smell that makes you want to spend $6 on $0.30 worth of popcorn.  I swear by Mr. Goudas because using it makes my crispy, goat-pelt hair feel like silk.  Also great on skin!  Some women swear that it will diminish scars.  Obviously a beauty must-have.

2)  You've had a couple of kids and the girls, they just aren't hanging the way they used to.  In other words they hang far too much.  You could do what the stars do and get yourself a boob lift which will set you back $4000-$6000.  You could go out to Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond and get one of those Strap Perfect gadgets that go on your bra to hold the straps together for only $5.  But Mommy is a cheap ass and know you can buy another stocking stuffer with that $5.  The solution?

Also doubles as a cat toy.
How about a piece of string?  Why shell out $5 when you can find a piece of string just lying around the house.  Sure it's not "invisible" like the Perfect Strap model but you can make it festive by using a red or green piece of string.  I had some pieces of silk ribbon in a drawer that I had saved from Christmas gifts Past and so my piece of string feels like it's sexy lingerie.  Just use piece of string to tie your bra straps together and voila!  Instant boob lift.  Yes, you can rock your cleave on Christmas Eve for absolutely nothing with a simple piece of string.

3)  You want to look your best for that fancy dress Christmas party you have to go to but those kids that messed with your boobs left their mark on your belly and butt, too.  You could go and get a tummy tuck and butt lift which will cost about $6000 each.  You could do what Tina Fey and Beyonce do and wear Spanx.  But a decent Spanx undergarment fetches about $100!  And Mommy knows from experience that the knockoffs are garbage.  How do we get Spanx control without Spanx prices?

It's a Canadian thang.
Why not take a page from Red Green's book and solve all your problems with duct tape?  Duct tape is fucking awesome as any good Canadian, having grown up on The Red Green Show, will tell you.  If you haven't had the benefit of enjoying the the comedy of Red Green just read this Wikipedia article where you'll find the many, many uses of duct tape.  This stuff is literally the glue of the US military and NASA!  Duct tape saves lives!  So it's certainly up to the task of holding up your ass for a couple of hours.  Duct tape also comes in a variety of colours all for the low, low price of $7.17 a roll!  And it doubles as an incredibly effective exfoliating and hair removal system.  You can't go wrong!  The only thing it can't do is cure your hangover the next day.  So please, drink responsibly.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Evil Elf

Some families are able to decorate their homes for Christmas sometime in November.  Some families are able to expect that the ever watchful eyes of Santa will ensure the good behaviour of their offspring.  Some may even call it the "most wonderful time of the year".  Not the Rottens!  In our house all that flashy tinsel and coloured lights cause our ADHD to go into maximum overdrive.  And I say "our" ADHD because when you live in a house with ADHD it is everyone's ADHD.

It would begin right around the time stores started decorating for the Holidays.  There would be more commercials on TV and music on the radio and sugarplum fairies would begin buzzing chaotically inside Frick's head.  Right around the same time his typical symptomatic behaviours would intensify.  That would mean more interruptions, more incessant chatter, more knee-jerk lies*, more "forgetting", and more of the stuff that got notes sent home from teachers.  (In fact my favourite all time parent teacher meeting took place right before the Christmas break.)

(*Note: A "knee-jerk lie" is a term I made up to describe Frick's almost knee-jerk response to just about any question ever.  I had to develop an entire new system of inquiry in an elaborate effort to avoid his need to lie about everything.  It is imperfect at best.)  

But it wasn't until we invited the Christmas Spirit directly into our homes via Christmas trees and hot chocolate (a Devil's Liquor!) that a demonic presence I nick-named "The Evil Elf" would enter and take possession of my exasperatingly wonderful little boy.

It was under his influence that Frick took up finger-painting in a most questionable medium one frosty December morning.  It was under his influence that Frick got up before us one Christmas and opened every single present (his only sign of restraint being that he only opened the ones with his name on them.)  It is under his influence that Frick occasionally cracks and throws grand-mal toddler-style tantrums that can last for roughly three days at a time.  And if I so much as dare to ask for the odd chore around the house I can be sure that I will pay for it in some kind of passive aggressive act of vandalism instigated by this little fiend.

I think the best year we had before we got wise to the Evil Elf, was the year Frick was sick with the flu and therefore too listless to really do anything other than spew purple, grape-flavoured cough syrup into Daddy's face and all over the shirt he wanted to wear to Christmas Dinner because he "didn't like the taste".

It took us a while but we finally clued in: Christmas has adverse effects on ADHD.  Frick knows he can't possibly live up to the expectation of "being good" and so he lets go of all self-control in an act of self-defeat.  He is set up to fail in this environment because of Christmas music and cartoons and cookies and egg nog and the promise of presents and the constant talk about Christmas and presents and Santa and Omigod it's coming I'm so excited Yay Christmas!  It's probably a lot like trying to write a thesis in the middle of a rave.

On meth.

I developed a few coping mechanisms that helped.  1) Lots of wine.  2) Tell Frick that he'll get a present from Santa no matter what he does and 3) Delay decorating as long as humanly possible.  In fact try not to mention Christmas at all.  And the last couple of years this worked reasonably well.

I should have stuck to the plan.  I really fucked it up this year.

There's a Christmas party we go to every year as one of our traditions and this year it was early.  Still, it seemed like a good opportunity to decorate for Christmas as a family activity.  I felt safe because 1) Frick knows the truth about Santa this year and 2) He's been remarkably good lately.  He really seems to be maturing a lot which makes handling his ADHD much easier than it used to be.  Also he's been going out of his way to help out around the house without even being asked!  The last two weeks he's been getting up for the early morning dog walk even though that's my time to do it, so I could get a little extra sleep.  Maybe Frick had outgrown the Evil Elf.  I dared to hope.

He was fine at the party but by the time we got home the damage had been done.  The Evil Elf was back.

My efforts to resist the Elf were futile.  I knew that as long as those lights were twinkling in my home every minute of every day was going to be a tearful and frustrating struggle.  There was nothing for it but to take everything down.  I sent Frick out to walk the dog and I was able to swiftly hide all evidence of Christmas before his return.

A few minutes after he entered the Christmas-free environment Frick was back to normal.  He even said he felt much better.  I consoled him with the fact that at least we would have the fun of decorating for Christmas twice this year.  We think we'll all be much happier if we put things on hold for a couple more weeks.