Everyone’s been noticing the time. It’s flying. I don’t know if it’s a cosmic thing or because we’re all older now. The ratio of my 37 years to a day is obviously much vaster than the Monkey’s 7 years to a day — so, as some have theorized, a day for me is much shorter than it is for my kids.

But there are other factors too. Because of our iPhones and Twitter, Facebook, endless emails, so much entertainment and information, we’re never bored. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? And there’s never a dull moment with so much activity at our fingertips.

When I look around at the parents at camp pickup, and when I take a look at myself as I usher the kids from camp, to the grocery store, home, dinner, bath, bed, we’re always rushing. “Jack, let’s go! We’re going to be late!” “Hurry up, Ella! You can play with that in the car.” “Why are you so slow, Monkey?”

No wonder time’s going so fast.

I don’t want it to go this fast….

So I’ve been watching my kids lately, taking their lead when it comes to time. I’ve been waiting a little more patiently, breathing and observing as my son picks his favourite rock out of a pile on our way to camp. I’ve been letting him take his sweet time climbing onto his massive car seat (he’s not 40 pounds yet, and I’m in no rush…) and proudly fumbling with the seat belt. And I’m consciously being more patient when my kids don’t respond right away — because they’re simply in a different time zone than I am.

And with this realization that there is another time zone — there is more time — I’m losing some of my urgency. Trying to. There’s no need to lose weight tomorrow, or live the perfect lifestyle (us Virgos crave) right now, because life is a process. It’s not a finished product — not until we die, anyway. And it’s so fast-paced these days that so much simply has to be left unfinished. My work will never be done, the 1,068 emails sitting in my inbox will never be fully answered (even read), the house will never be clean, this post will never be perfectly finished. And I won’t ever feel rested. Not at the impossible pace I try to keep.

As my yoga teacher once told me when I was trying to accomplish a difficult pose, “We’ve got time.” We do.

Everything is endless, a process, ongoing, fluctuation. So I’m letting things be, still trying my best, and learning from my kids to watch, not wait, but stop.

Love…

xo Haley-O


Wake up.

Wrestle the dog.

Wrestle the cat.

Let out the dog.

Boil some water.

Let in the dog.

Give her her favourite all-natural, vegan “boney.”

But first, make her sit. Gentle….

Make lemon water: squeeze the hell out of lemon, pour water on top, then the freshly boiled water.

Make cat food with leftover boiled water.

Prepare Maaarge’s meds.

Wait patiently as Maaarge tries to eat her meds.

Feed cats.

Attempt to drink lemon water and pop first herbal med of the day.

Bring lemon water upstairs without spilling.

Turn on all the lights and wake up sleepy heads.

But first! Stare at the Rascal’s adorably large, heavily-blonde-lashed eyelids as he begins to stir (inevitably) in my bed.

Take out clothes for the Monkey, dump them on her bed and savour the cuteness of her sweet morning breath as she dozes, still as a log on her messy pink bed.

Shower.

Yell in the shower, “Wake up, sleepy heads!”

Someone comes in and asks twenty-seven questions: “Is it the weekend?” “Can we have a toy today?” “When is it the weekend?” “Mama, are you going to work today?”

Someone else comes in: “Do we have swimming today?” “I’m tiiiiiired.” “Mama, am I having lunch with Grandma?” “I don’t wanna go to swimming.” “Is this Queen Elizabeth’s necklace?”

“JOSH! Wake up!”

Get out of the shower, brush teeth, floss, attempt skincare regime and get dressed, while drinking lemon juice and not spilling.

Help the Rascal with his socks.

Leave Josh to finish up with the kids and run downstairs.

Make kids’ breakfast.

Fill steel water bottles and insert ice packs into lunch boxes. Place all in backpacks.

Brush the Monkey’s hair.

Make green smoothie.

Write lunch notes.

Pack lunch.

Feed the monkeys.

Give Rascal probiotics, and vitamin D drops to both.

Wash blender and kids’ breakfast dishes.

Put on makeup in the dining room as kids get their coats and shoes on and ask me thirty-four questions.

Kiss Josh goodbye and send him off with the Monkey (if he’s still home).

Take the Rascal to school (or both kids if Josh is away or at early morning meeting).

Chat with teachers.

Avoid Starbucks.

Head to work listening to Cosmo‘s Wake Up with Taylor, drinking green smoothie without spilling.

Avoid Starbucks.

Walk into office and say hello to awesome colleagues.

Check email.

5-hour marathon: Blog, tweet, edit, write, go to meetings, answer emails, LUNCH, blog, tweet, edit, write, publish, etc., etc..

Race home.

Stop for 2-minute grocery run or fresh green juice if there’s time.

Let out the dog.

Run to the school in 5 minutes.

Pick up the Rascal.

Stand, wait, talk to parents, watch the Rascal play.

Pick up the Monkey.

Stand, wait, talk to parents, watch the Monkey play.

Walk home with the kids in 40 minutes.

Go to programs (if have them).

Make dinner.

Ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes while dinner cooks.

Clean up dinner as Josh bathes the kids and reads stories.

Feed cats.

Medicate Maaarge.

Feed Betty White.

Let out Betty White.

Kiss the kids goodnight.

Make the kids lunches and snacks for tomorrow.

Make my lunch.

Finish up days work: blog, tweet, write, edit, answer emails, Facebook, etc., etc.

Soak beans and/or grains and prep dinner for tomorrow.

Watch TV to numb the heck out. If not at an evening event interviewing a celeb, or out celebrating a 40th birthday with a big night out….

Wrestle the dog if she’s not already in bed.

Give kitties cookies and fill bowls with water.

Good night.

Next week: Back to early morning YOGA. Somehow….

Love!

xo Haley-O


Oh gosh. I’m posting this picture of myself for three reasons.

1) Because Ange told me I’m finally looking like myself again after 4 weeks of looking like arse from the ghastly cold/cough/flu/bronchitis I’ve been battling (the dark circles under the eyes are still there, as is that UFO thing in the middle of my head — heh, I wore it shopping this aft, and the Rascal loved it). And Ange has a fabulous British accent.

2) Because my friend Alice, aka “Kittenpie,” said my hair looked “Gorgeous!” when I tweeted it earlier today.

3) Because this is my blog! And one should post photos of oneself on one’s blog, don’t you think? (And it’s really rare that I actually get a good photo of myself, so I thought I better post it and possibly make it my Twitter/Facebook avatar for the next 10 years.)

And one should post photos of one’s kids on one’s blog, don’t you think? And if one (like myself) doesn’t post photos of one’s children’s faces on one’s blog, then one better post a photo of one’s child’s FIRST LOST TOOTH!


Congratulations, MONKEY!

…Or at the very least, one better post lots of photos of one’s seriously unphotogenic dog — to make one’s own photo look more gorj.

Speaking of one…, guess what I did this weekend?! If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I gave a talk (about blogging, community, marketing and me!) at the Rotman School of Management, at University of Toronto.

Because I was so sick, and because the kids kept me up most of the night before, I may or may not have dozed off mid sentence once or twice…. But what a great experience! I wasn’t nervous at all, could have talked all day long, and the students were really lovely. I also learned a lot myself, simply by taking the time to reflect on the pretty crazy career I’ve had so far: from hobby blogging, to Urban Moms, bTrendie (remember that?), to TODAY’S PARENT MAGAZINE.

Here’s the wonderful Professor Bill McEvily (left) and social media expert Matthew Stradiotto, of the Toronto-based social media company Matchstick.ca, who also gave a (fascinating) talk.

And look what Prof. McEvily gave me for showing up to his class….

I love this mug. This mug SAVED me during two extreme, ugly cough attacks at work today and yesterday, so I’m very grateful. Inside, however, was the worst possible gift ever: a gift card to Starbucks. Apparently, the professor did his homework….

One should probably blog more than once a week (or so) if one’s going to have just so much to share, don’t you think? We haven’t even gotten to the diet and yoga stuff I wanted to tell you about. Next time.

UPDATE ON MAAARGE!: As many of you know, Maaarge has been really ill. Well, I’m happy to say the wonderful vets at Laird-Eglinton Pet Hospital have worked miracles: Maaarge’s seizures have stopped! She’s stopped urinating everywhere, and I even got to shower her (for the first time in 15 years). So she actually even smells fantastic! Her back legs aren’t what they used to be — I’m thinking she probably injured them during one of her seizures. She sleeps a lot, and she seems a little more out of it than before all this happened. But she’s comfortable and happy.

I’ve been holding her a lot lately. Putting my ear to her li’l body and listening to her purr. It occurred to me that she’s literally my rock. Sediment upon sediment of emotions, memories, experiences. I’m not ready to lose her, and I know there’s not much time left. But I’m enjoying holding her, appreciating her. My delicate, precious, living relic. For as long as I can.

Love….

xo Haley-O (off to make one’s morning green smoothie!)


I had planned on blogging sooner, but, as those of you who keep up with me on Twitter know, our beloved Maarge has been really ill.

It started last week. All of a sudden, as I was leaving the house to take the kids to school, Maarge flipped over on her side, started foaming at the mouth, and seemed to be struggling over and over again to get up. When she finally got up, she just stared blankly for about 20 – 30 seconds. I dropped the kids off at school and immediately called the vet. They told me to bring her over as soon as possible.

Maarge was happy at the vet, purring too loudly for them to check her heart. So they had to take her to another room. And I sat alone in silence.

When they returned with her, she came right up to me and (this cat-who-doesn’t-kiss) kissed me delicately just below my lower lip.

After that vet visit, which ended optimistically because of Maarge’s happy mood, everything went downhill. What followed was seizure after seizure — each one more aggressive and violent than the last. It was horrific, disturbing and messy. And on top of it all, I was struggling with a brutal cold, Josh was away, my parents were away, and the kids were sick. I can’t believe I got through that madness.

For the next two nights I didn’t sleep because Maarge kept having seizures beside my bed, under my bed, around my bed. I waited patiently through each one to see if she would survive, watching and waiting as she stared, drooled, foamed and urinated.

When I talk to people about this, they often tilt their heads, look at me with sympathy, and ask, “Do you think maybe, I mean, I know it’s hard, but do you think you should maybe put her down?”

And you know, I asked the vet the same question. The morning after that first all-nighter with Maarge, I took her to the vet with the expectation that this might be it for her. But they said no. At her age (almost 16), it’s likely she has a brain tumour. So we could put her through exhaustive tests — MRIs and cat scans (ohh, I just got that terrible pun now…) to get to the bottom of this. But that’s not the goal. If they were to find a tumour, would we operate on her at her age? No. All I want to do is stop the seizures. I want to see her get fat, for once, sleep, purr, and just go in peace.

Yes, my goal right now is to let her die with dignity. It could be a week from now; it could be two years. My meticulous Maarge (it’s really spelled MAAARGE! but I’m so tired…) doesn’t deserve to die a mess like this. Although she’s ravenous and lethargic from the anti-seizure medication I now have to give her around the clock (until her every-12-hour pill kicks in), she’s beginning to clean herself again, she’s started lifting her head and trilling again when I walk by her, and she’s purring. As long as she’s happy, she’s not going anywhere.

Maarge has been my pretty, creepy little shadow for all these years: through university, my engagement, marriage, my crazy pregnancies, my children, new jobs, new homes, new cats, old cats, new dogs. Watching. Witnessing it all. And when I’m away from her, I see her in the shadows, creeping around in my peripheral vision. I hear her purring and trilling.

She’s the first pet I got on my own; I took her with me to university in London, Ontario, the first day I got her. She’s been a key character in this blog from the beginning. So you know, losing her is hard.

For now I’m going to spend any energy I can spare giving back to her for all she’s given me. Which means wiping her down even though she gets uncharacteristically ornery!

And look, she’s looking straight at the camera for the first time, maybe ever (I just took this photo this evening)….

MAAARGE!

Love…
xo Haley-O

 

 


We went to Niagara Falls and Great Wolf Lodge last weekend, and it was amazing. No matter where we are, being with my family is like being wrapped in a warm, adorable, fluffy blanket — even when the kids are running around the house screaming, pinching each other in the backseat of my car, or interrupting me (“Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!”) when I’m on the phone. I can’t get enough of them, and I never take them and their awesome uniqueness for granted.

As the Rascal likes to say…, “SHHHHABAH!” (?)

So the fact that I haven’t gone to my beloved yoga studio in over a week has meant that I’ve had a little more of that early-morning special time with my cheaty little monkeys — when they’re quiet, still, not wreaking havoc, and it’s just love.

The exact same thing happened this time last year. I stopped going to yoga for about three weeks last January/February. And at the time I thought I’d lost my motivation because my teacher was away in India.

But now I know that I’m a bear.


Journey behind the Falls….

I seem to need this time every year. Yoga studios are packed with people resolving to get lean and zen, and it’s so cold and dark out that early in the morning. I just want to be home and quiet. Don’t want to explain anything or make any excuses, or even really to blog about it. Just want to be quiet and contained. Like a bear.

Or like a yogi in a cave, my own silent retreat.

I’ve been having a love affair with yoga for almost thirty years. My mom used to practice yoga (à la Hittleman) on her bedroom floor every morning, and she’d take me to her weekly class at the Yoga Centre of Toronto now and then. I used to laugh when the ladies chanted ohhhhmmm. I did my first splits in that class all those years ago…. My brother and sister could have cared less about the yoga, but I was fascinated. And I haven’t lost any of that fascination.

But yoga and I are on a break, at least until this private, quiet “hibernation” spell ends, and until the dust of all the changes around here begins to settle.

So, my yoga right now has to be sun salutations in my bedroom, drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and eating a salad a day. My yoga is getting the kids to school and to their programs on time. My yoga is witnessing my thoughts as I walk to the store to pick up the toothpaste we ran out of, as I try to wiggle the Monkey’s loose tooth without squirming, as I wipe the Rascal’s ever-flowing fountain of snot, scramble to meet editorial deadlines, avoid Starbucks and get to work on time. My yoga is bathing my dog, cleaning dishes, cooking dinner, making lunches, grocery shopping, and not swearing at Maaarge for meowing for food every time I walk by her (feline hypothyroidism, FTW!).

I’ve gone straight to seventh series, it seems, and I’m hardly halfway through primary. I’m a bad, bad Ashtanga yogi, and it’s OK for now. But it also sucks because, in another sense, I’m exiling myself from people and a place that I love (another bad habit of mine of which I’m well aware; I hope they’ll take me back).

But still….

I’ll return to my dedicated daily yoga practice when I’m ready, when my family’s ready, or when Pattabhi Jois appears in my dreams again, telling me, “You. You practice,” and to go find something “yellow” (?).

In the meantime, I’m OK with failing at a something. And, honestly, that in itself is some kind of achievement for me.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Love….

xo Haley-O

Photos by Haley Overland/Cheatymonkey.com


I should really stop writing blog posts in my head. Because they never actually make it to the blog. I used to write a blog post a day in my head and then transcribe it seamlessly here. But now they come about once a week, and the finished product looks nothing like its mental predecessor.

Yes, these days, since I blog 3-4 times a day over at Today’s Parent, sitting down in the evening to write this blog, I gotta say, takes some effort, extra stamina, and vegan gummy bears. And the only reason I have vegan gummy bears in my pantry is because the Rascal loves them. I personally think they’re disgusting, but I had them here, you know, because he loves them, and one thing led to another and before I knew it SCARF…. Ew, seriously. Fingers crossed the “organic juice” they’re made with has an iota of nutritional value.

Arrgh.

Now I’m trying to blog here, and Josh-O is talking on the phone. If you only knew how loud he talks on the phone. And he takes up the whole house with the pacing. What’s with the pacing?

GO DOWNSTAIRS, I’m mouthing to him, waving my hand ferociously (lots of post-gummy-bear adrenalin pumping through my veins). TOO LOUD. Seriously, I can’t hear myself think. Where was I, even? I guess, then, whatever I write now, I am NOT responsible for. I will say, though, that it’s been harder than ever for me to sit down to write this blog, go to yoga, get up in the morning, divide my attention equally between my dog Betty White and each of my two cats, MAAARGE and Minden. It’s been harder than ever for me to HEAR MYSELF THINK BECAUSE he’s on the damn phone.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm….

He is the loudest phone talker ever in the history of phone talkers.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm….

Better.

I’m fading. More gummy bears. NO. I’m still on that 21-day cleanse. Lemon water in the morning is still going strong. Except for those few days last week when got blasted with a nasty flu, which threw me so off course that I ended up at a Starbucks.

And then Josh pushed me so far off the rickety wagon when he brought me a tall soy-no-water tazo chai latte the other day (ENABLER), that I’m still cleaning the sweet-cinnamony puddle I landed in off my pants, which are getting tighter again already.

But it’s OK. I’m writing a blog post right now, and I made it to yoga this morning (and both Betty White and Minden are curled up on my lap…). I only did half of my practice, but that’s all I planned on doing. No backbends, no twists, no deep adjustments. Josh was leaving early for work again this morning, so I needed to take it really easy. Besides, as one of the designers on Project Runway Allstars said in her thick Australian accent last night, “I feel like I’m in a pressure cookah.” I don’t do yoga to chill out, but a chill practice is definitely what I need for the next little while. Especially if my generous, patiently persistent teacher insists I keep getting on the mat no matter what.

After practice, and after racing to get the kids dressed, fed and to school on time, I ran in to the Macrobiotic Centre of Toronto to pick up some of their Floating Ashtangi Juice and breakfast. For lunch I enjoyed one of their delicious rice triangles at my desk. And for dinner, I filled my canned lentil soup (I was too tired to make the real thing) with oodles of napa cabbage and green and purple kale. And so I had some gummy bears. At least you have something to read today, Gorgeouses, so don’t complain. Heh. Even if that something is gibberish (who even knows).

So back to Josh, and then I’m going to bed.

Josh got a new job. He went from being a work-at-home dad to going to the office early in the morning and coming home late in the evening. We have to get a friggin’ DOG WALKER now, and he’s given me full license to scowl at him when he comes home (ENABLER) for the next month or so.

So I’m tired. I am dog tired.

And I’m asking everyone to bear with me as I make this transition — like, if I babble on too much at the schoolyard, if I don’t respond to emails or your precious comments, if I suddenly start to giggle uncontrollably, wear my shirt inside-out to work, write gibberish, obscenely long blog posts, etc., etc..

It’s just that I was just so used to having him home all the time:

“Josh, can you pick up the kids from school? I am SWAMPED at work today!”

“Josh, can you take the Monkey for lunch today? She seemed sad this morning.”

“Josh, can you pick up some rice milk for me, oh, and ‘goji beans’ for the Rascal? I’m not going to make it to the school in time if I stop on the way.”

“Josh, can you take the Rascal to Karate today? I am BEAT.”

There’s none of that anymore, Gorgeouses. I am on my own. And I have an empty box of gummy bears and a gibberish blog post to show for it.

At least there’s a blog post at all. Right? See you soon.

Ohhhmmmmm….


Savasana….

Good night, Gorgeouses!

Love!

xo Haley-O


I try.

I try to be a good mother.

I try to be a good wife and daughter and friend and relative.

I try to be a good person.

I try to be a good student and employee and coworker.

I try to write well.

I try to entertain and delight.

I try eat well.

I try to practice yoga. Every day.

I try to exercise.

I try to breathe and meditate and be spiritual.

I try to look presentable.

I try to be compassionate.

I try not to eat or wear animal products.

I try to keep a clean house.

I try not to lie, get mad, eat too much sugar, skip meals, spend too much money.

I try to manage anxious thoughts, stave off panic and ride waves of depression without slipping back into the deep.

I try to keep my plants alive and my pets fed.

I try to support and help others.

I try to be green and heal the planet.

I try to keep my family happy and healthy.

I try to set a good example for my kids.

This holiday I stopped trying.

I took a holiday from parenting and everything else at my parents’ cottage. I ate a lot, slept a lot, relaxed, gained weight. I let my kids eat cookies for breakfast, spend the day in their pajamas and watch Star Wars.

We played a lot of Sorry! (the Rascal’s our Sorry! champ!)….

We made a (sorry) snowman….

I slid down a hill on this Spider-man sled over and over again and laughed….

We went snowshoeing….

We danced and did our thing….

And I bought a sparkly pompom hat and scarf, fell in love with Ryan Gosling, baked cookies with the Rascal, read books, coloured and went for fairy walks with the Monkey, played tons of soccer, gazed at the stars, the moon and the nearly-frozen lake….

I’ve quoted this a bunch of times here in this blog and I’ll quote it again. My wonderful former yoga teacher, Monica Voss, said this about an asana (yoga pose) during one of our classes a few years ago: Sometimes we have to collapse the structure so we can gradually rebuild. I’ve never forgotten it.

And I’ve done it again.

I’ve collapsed the structure — The Structure of Trying — in which, like a guinea pig, I try and I try and I try to attain goal after goal and I’m just running and running and time is passing, wheel is spinning, and I’m getting nowhere. And I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, getting heavier. And still anxious. And perpetually tired. Endlessly busy, and buying, and sitting, and doing, and pushing, and giving, and hungry, and full, and struggling.

I’ve collapsed the structure. And I’m very gradually building a new foundation — starting with me.

I’ve found a really gentle guide on holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner’s website called 21 Days to Health. It’s an ebook that involves making small daily changes to your life, like drinking lemon water in the morning (Day 1), flossing every time you brush (Day 2), going to bed 15 minutes earlier (Day 3), and so on. I do a lot of these things already (like flossing!), but I’ve been feeling such a sense of accomplishment, simply because I’ve managed to drink lemon water every morning for the past 5 days — never mind the fact that I haven’t been inside a Starbucks in five days either!(!!)

That easy, daily sense of accomplishment is golden for someone like me.

At the same time, I’ve been energized enough to make all my own meals, feed my family well, eat greens, take a lunch to work, eat lunch, avoid sugar, drink more water, and stay away from Starbucks!(!!)

And, so, for my yogi readers: I haven’t been to yoga. I’ve gone from my daily, trying Ashtanga practice to effectively ZIP. But I feel good. I’ve been taking my practice into my own hands, laying down the necessary foundation of a good diet (and general self-care), on which to gradually build a proper yoga practice — and everything else. The yoga just wasn’t working: I was gaining weight, not sleeping, feeling anxious. But then again it was working. It’s now forcing me to make space for yoga in my life (as my current yoga teacher might say) by cleaning up my diet (but, as you know, he would definitely not condone not practicing to make the space…!). And cleaning up my diet, for me, has meant limiting strenuous exercise. At least for now. I will be in class tomorrow, though, and probably a few times next week. Eventually, I’ll build my practice up to where it was, but I’ll be stronger and healthier and lean enough to progress in it and, finally, to be assisted in twists without shame, crying (or laughing!). It’s worth a try.

So it seems 2012 is starting quietly, calmly, privately (hence the lack of blog posts…), pensively, lightly, (somewhat) effortlessly, deliciously, healthfully, joyfully.

I brought a delicious casserole I made and an orange to work today….

Happy New Year, Gorgeouses…!

Love!

xo Haley-O

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