When you’re a blogger, you really notice how fast time flies. I used to post here once a day, and then once a week, and then twice a month. But the time between posting kept flying by so fast, so posting once a month felt the same as posting every day. I’d have that initial feeling upon posting of, ahhh, I’ve accomplished something here, and with the blink of an eye a month had passed, and it was time to post something again. Doesn’t it seem this way for everything, though? Friday’s here, and then before you know it, it’s Monday again, then Wednesday — almost there! — and finally, Friday again. Didn’t we just go to ballet class, like, yesterday? Karate time already?

They say time goes faster as you get older, and that it’s based on a ratio — something like your age to the time period. So the length of a day is minuscule to me at my ripe old age, but long to my six-year-old:

1 day : 30+ years vs. 1 day : 6 years

Makes sense. Either that, or time is, as my daughter would say, literally speeding up.

The same thing happens between my yoga practices. (Sidenote: I’m all excited this morning because it’s Saturday, and we don’t traditionally practise on Saturdays — and after a holiday week of practising alone on my mat in the cold hall here, my body is aching and I need the break; but, Sunday fast approacheth….) Six days a week, I go to the yoga shala, sweat it out on the mat like a crazed wannabe contortionist, and it’s done, and I’m relieved and proud of myself, and before you know it, it’s 6 a.m. again, and I’m giving my friend Sergio the thumbs up before rolling out my mat again. And again. It’s sooo Groundhog Day.

For 2014, I want to slow things down a bit. As a busy, Ashtangi, working mom, it’s really tempting to just get through the week, get to Saturday — when I can rest, read novels, eat take-out, Staaaarbucks, stay in bed a bit longer. I’m not sure exactly how to slow down all the in-between, but I know it’ll involve more savouring — moments, cuddles, steps taken from the car to the schoolyard, mouthfuls, breaths.

“Betty has a yellow tooth,” R says, as he wakes poor Betty White from her slumber. Grrrr… J rubs her toes along the frame of my computer screen, watching as I type. My dad’s here. Saturday morning Power Rangers is on. “Don’t put that in your mouth, R.”

Thanks to social media, we’re all bloggers now. Many of you used to look at me like I was nuts when you learned I was a “mom blogger” back in 2006. But you’re all blogging now. It’s a bit much to sit down and craft an entire blog post; many of us old-school bloggers realize that now with the advent of microblogging, so we post way less on our blogs and blend in with the masses on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram, texting, emailing. We’re all documenting our lives now and reading others’ documentations, but is this savouring — or is it impulse?

I’m not sure. At the same time, though, weren’t our parents documenting as much as they could in their own way? Whipping out the video cam whenever the chance came? We can’t even view all those old video tapes anymore.

Me in my Olive Oyl tee and pigtails hugging Minnie Mouse, waving, “Hi, Mama!”

It’s human nature to tell stories. We’ve been doing it since the daaaawn of tiiiime. The stories, and the way they’re told, are what most define civilizations. Technology (aka Apple) has tapped into that innate human drive and exposed it, exploited it, monetized it. And it’s awesome! But, like resisting that Starbucks grande-soy-no-water-tazo-chai (see how it rolls off the tongue?), we/I/Josh-O have to exercise conscious control around it.

That’s also why I don’t blog here so much. I practically live on the Internet, Twitter, Facebook all day as Writer/Editor/”Social Media Queen” at Today’s Parent. It’s my job. Storytelling, editing stories, tweeting, Facebooking stories. I need to unplug at the end of the day.

Still, as postmodern literature so expertly shows us, it’s always about the storytelling. But, we need story, too. Life can’t all just be about the telling.

There are two blue jays outside. We’re wondering how they’re surviving in the 20-below weather… “Mama! This snow looks like ice cream.”

Six days a week (not including Saturday’s, New Moon and Full Moon days — according to the tradition), I practise Ashtanga yoga. That’s 1.5 hours of being, barefoot on a mat: no stories; no storytelling. I do this every morning like clockwork. Among other things, it preps me to be more present and aware throughout the day, to be here now, seeing through my own eyes, not those of prospective readers.

Maybe you get the same rewards jogging, meditating, drawing, playing hockey, reading poetry, birdwatching. It’s important, I think.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the storytelling. Am obsessed. But compulsive storytelling is so 2008! We need to be conscious storytellers, and above all, to live the story, too — savour the little moments… and be together without story.

Though I’m happy it’s Saturday, my Sunday practice and back-to-work Monday loom on the horizon. But my daughter wants to sit with me — just be with me — and I’m going to savour it now.

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 9.48.30 AM

Happy, healthy, savour-y 2014!

Love!
xo Haley-O

 


I can’t believe I’m blogging this evening. It feels like I was just here. But I counted the days (on my fingers), and it’s almost been two weeks. Remember when I used to blog here every day? Time just goes so fast now. And as I mentioned in my last post, I’m determined to slow it down. And I’m determined to write here tonight even though I’m simultaneously battling my cat Minden as he attempts avidly, feverishly to kiss me or, well, seriously, to stick his slimy tongue down my throat. BATTLING HERE. Sorry for that visual, but HELP ME seriously…!

So this is me at eTalk TV again….

It’s not the best picture of me. I’m super grin-y. Mostly because I was happy it was over. We were talking about some intense stuff — like celebrities and extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and placenta eating. Not easy topics to talk about on behalf of a national brand. But I did love doing it, and I think I did OK! It’s airing next week. So keep an eye on my Twitter feed AND Facebook page (which I implore you to LIKE to stay updated on my celeb news and lots of other fun stuff), for the exact date.

Can someone please get this cat off of me? Or at least just don’t get upset if I can’t get a coherent sentence going here, OK? And, by the way, he does this at 3 a.m. every night too. Just when the Rascal starts sleeping through the night (still barely, at 4.5 years old), my cat starts waking me up? Am I never meant to sleep through the night again? I’m tired over here. I saw bags under my eyes in my car window reflection this morning. BAGS. Big ones.

And, alas, even the eye mask, with which I’ve been obsessed lately (melatonin, FTW!) isn’t helping….

Anyway, last night we took the kids to see Canada’s Got Talent — yet another perk of working at Today’s Parent. And we had a great time. Do you watch the show? Are you, like everyone else who watches, voting for Rally the Dog? We were. Check out our fancy signs….

Raahhhhh! Go Rally! Hee. So ‘dorable.

So, this wasn’t so bad, Gorgeouses. Didn’t take that long. Hmm…, maybe I could drop by here more often and update you some more on the goings on around these parts? Or is time going by so fast for you too, that you didn’t even notice it’s been two weeks already since we last chatted?

In the meantime, I did go to yoga last week. Just once. But it was a start. And I meant to go this morning, but time flew right out from under me as I was working last night, and I decided getting that extra hour and a half of sleep was more important than making it to yoga. But an hour and a half later, I wasn’t so sure.

See you soon….

Love!

xo Haley-O

Some more stuff I’ve been working on and am really proud of: Carson Kressley’s hot fashion tips for moms, Natural makeup and skincare products we love (ALL MY BEAUTY SECRETS!), 6 delicious vegan recipes, and a big spread in June’s issue of Today’s Parent Magazine (on stands mid May!). I’ve also updated my CV again, if you want to have a look at all of my recent publications. THANKS!


Well, I never made it to yoga that week. And, as you can see, I hardly have time to do another thing I love anymore — blog here at Cheaty Monkey.

Things are busier than ever at work, so by the end of the day, after the kids are in bed and I’m done working some more, I just want to get offline, play with my animals and read a book.

A couple of weeks ago, Josh and I went on our trip to Mont Tremblant alone, i.e., without kids. I still can’t believe we went on a plane together without them. I was a little anxious, of course, because the Monkey kept asking things like, “Mama, will I ever be an orphan?” (The kid has impeccable timing.) But the flight was nothing, and it made us feel like we were farther away than we really were.

Want to see some pictures I took of beautiful Mont Tremblant (click to enlarge)?


The Skier.


The pole I would crash into if I attempted to ski.


Selves-portrait on snowy gondola ride.


Snowy gondola ride.


Sunglasses only a skier could love.


A new little black vegan purse.


Hotel room with a view….


If the kids were here, this wouldn’t be so quiet.

Ahhh, what could be better than peace and quiet and good old selfish indulgence. For three days we walked, worked out together, walked some more, watched the skiers, went for dinner, read our books, saw The Hunger Games (and had to switch seats because the French kids behind us kept saying “Quoi?” “qu’est-ce_que_c’est?”). It was amazing — and the perfect 40th birthday gift for Josh.

Of course, things returned to chaos and busyness as soon as we got home and it’sgrandma returned the kids to our doorstep. Sighhh, that’s why I know I need to find a way to get back to yoga.

It’s one thing to practise with the kids running around me at home, but quite another to go to the calm and peaceful yoga shala, sweat it out and breathe deeply.

But Josh is away again, so I’m not going anywhere. And I’m running on empty.

When he comes back, I’m making yoga and my well-being a priority. That’s a promise. Even if it means I have to cut another hour of sleep. Because, as I learned from our trip, life is too short to just run all the time.

Love!
xo Haley-O

P.S. When I say busier than ever at work, I mean it. Here are some things I’ve been working on lately: creating Today’s Parent‘s Earth Day page (my baby!); 20 Great Canadian Getaways; Postcards from Niagara Falls (originally printed in the May issue of Today’s Parent Magazine); Mark Wahlberg gallery; Celebrity kid hair inspiration gallery; and lots more, including editing articles, creating more galleries, tweeting for Today’s Parent, multiple daily posts at my Celebrity Candy blog, etc., etc., etc.. See? Just a little busy. But it’s LOVE! xo


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


Happy Holidays, Gorgeouses!

I have nothing to say. Mostly because I’ve been eating way too much sugar. So now, as I sit down and attempt to craft a brilliant Happy-Holidays blog post, all I hear in my mind is this: bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Eventually the sugar buzz will go away, and I’ll probably have to eat some more sugar. UGH, there are just so many sugary goodies in my house. IT’S SO UNFAAAAAAAIR! How am I supposed to eat healthy when, for example, our amazing Todaysparent.com General Manager, Elana, leaves THIS on my desk….

Of course, it’s vegan and fair trade, so there were no excuses for me NOT to devour this chocolate-mint DREAM….

Well, anyway, I managed not to eat the whole bar. But it sat just like that on my desk all day, staring at me and calling my name. “Haaaaaaley! Haaaaaaaaley! Eeeeeeeat meeeee! Noowwwwwww! I’m yuuuuuuummy and will make your world preeeeeeeeeeetty!” So as soon as work ended and I got in my car to pick up the kids, I tore open the luscious green wrapper and scarfed a good chunk of it down like an ancient, ancient Neanderthal man in winter. I probably shouldn’t bother with the metaphors, huh? Bzzzzzzzzzzz…..

Despite my extreme sugar consumption, I have been going to yoga every day — except for those two days when, A, I had a rare migraine headache and couldn’t see anything (AND I still practiced blindly in my bedroom while the kids pointed at me and laughed) and, B, my alarm didn’t go off (I swear, it didn’t go off! Why won’t anybody believe me!?). In the New Year, I’m committing to a full 6-days-a-week practice…. And I’m going to really try to lose weight. No, really. REALLY.

I’m not going to go crazy and say I’m quitting sugar and wheat and chai lattes. As my friend Alice suggested, I’m just going to keep it simple and limit sugary and salty extremes: I’m going to eat grains and vegetables at every meal (lunch and dinner, anyway), and one soup; and I’m going to enjoy a fresh juice, fruit and/or tea in the morning instead of grabbing a chai latte.

In the meantime, I’m high on sugar. Bzzzzzz….. And I have to wake up early for yoga.

Oh gosh. I need water….

In the New Year, there will definitely be fewer sugar rushes. I’ve been feeling tired from all the sweet gluttony, and I haven’t been eating lunch. And due to protruding sugar gut, my yoga twists are awful again — like the books I’ve been collecting on my shelf at work, only not as HILARIOUS….

And bzzzzzzzz…. Nothing.

As I vowed on Today’s Parent‘s Facebook page earlier this evening, next week I’m going to take a “parenting holiday.” I’m not exactly sure how this is going to go down because I still have to feed the Monkey and Rascal, bathe them and break up the fights! But I’m going to try enjoy my family and relax this holiday without worrying so much about outcomes. “C’we have cookies for breakfast, Mama?” Sure! “Mama? C’we watch ANOTHER movie?” Sure! And just maybe I’ll take a little better care of me for once, instead.

Josh and the kids say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Betty White says HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Minden says HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Maaaarge came out of hiding to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Happy Holidays, Gorgeouses! All the best to you and your families!

Love!

xo Haley-O

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