lovely Miche Bags. and a hangover.

Before I go on, a big Thank You to all who shared your experiences and support via email, direct messages, and in the comments of yesterday's post. It means a lot. More than I can say. Makes me not feel so alone. And maybe my sharing my efforts to get out of this funk will help those of you struggling with your own. We're all in this together. xoxo

Debbie, one of my super-fun neighbours across the backlane, invited me over to her place on Monday night for a purse party. "No pressure to buy. Just come over. Look at purses. You know, have some wine."

OH, HELL, YEAH! The Universe is totally listening and provides, because let's face it, a relaxing night out sans kids, some red wine, and a whack-load of purses is just what I needed right now.

We got an eye-full of Miche Bags, which I gotta say is pretty high in the cute factor. You can easily change the the 'look' of the bag by changing its outer shell. Very clever.

Alas, I'm not really a bag girl. I don't collect them. I have 3 bags: a small casual/sporty one, a small formal one in basic black, and of course, my favourite faux leather giganto bag. Still, I had a great time with Debbie, her family, and friends. And if I see a Miche shell I like in the future, I may get it.

I did not come away totally empty-handed. Oh, no! Miss Drunky over here staggered home with 4 drinks under her belt, surpassing her usual 1.5 drink limit. I may have still been drunk when I woke up the next morning. And I hurt all day long. Lying on the couch was bliss. My sunglasses were my best friend.

But was it worth it?! Oh, yeah. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was just what the doctor ordered.

the wall - part 1: "hey, it's coming at my face awfully fast".

I grew up in a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" household. My parents didn't ask if I was unhappy, and I didn't tell them when I was unhappy. My mother's mantra was "Ladies are always happy and never complain." Oh, yeah. I would literally get shit for frowning. Good grief, I wish I was kidding. "Look at your face," she'd say disdainfully in Tagalog. "No one can draw that face!" What does that even mean?!!!

As a result, I've adopt an almost unshakable habit of finding ways to hide any kind of negative feelings to focus on the positive almost fanatically. Take the name of this blog: Life Candy -- AKA happiness, joy, sweetness, "Life is freakin' awesome ALL. THE. FREAKIN'. TIME." Even when I complain about stuff here, I try to put a humourous spin to it. Let's laugh at it, and it'll go away. And of course I buy into my own spin.

For most of life's little annoyances, this works. It keeps me from sweatin' the Small Stuff and getting all bitchcakes on my husband when he, for the bazillionth time, puts his garbage right beside the trash can instead of in it.

Unfortunately, I deal with (or don't deal with, as the case may be) the Big Stuff the exact same way. Big Stuff, Small Stuff, it all stays in. Foolish, I know, but that's my modus operandi, mainly because, after all these years of keeping the bad feelings inside, I suck at expressing it.

And the bad is getting worse and worse. I doubt even Roomie knows the extent of how deeply the bad goes. It's not his fault; he's a great listener -- I'm just a terrible talker. Besides, complaining to him about problems I alone can solve is pointless. Right?

Now, this "put on a happy face" mentality is taking its toll. The warning signs have been there all along, but I needed someone to point them out to me for me to realize what they were...
  • extra weight (due to all the emotional eating of sweets, salty, and carbs).
  • anxiety, panic attacks, and mild depression.
  • chronic fatigue.
  • insomnia.
  • changes in "feminine routines".
  • and more crap that I'd rather not go into right now.
Apparently, it's a stress thing. How do I spin this so we can laugh and it can go away? Hmm... Oh, I can't? Crap.

earth hour 2010

Are you excited? I'm excited! We're all SO EXCITED!!! Tomorrow, starting a 8:30pm local time, is Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a big deal in our home. We gather our candles, our crayons and colouring books, pens and notebooks, and get ready to turn our lights off for 60 minutes, enjoy some together-time with our family, and make our stand against climate change.

In 2009, 88 countries turned off all their lights for 60 minutes to demand action for climate change. This year, that number has climbed as 120 countries have now pledged to show support for our environment and participate in the biggest 1-hour voluntary blackout in all history.

My little city on the flood plain will be turning off all non-essential lights for the hour too!

One hour isn't much. And I'm sure you can find something to do for one hour in the dark.

If you're tapped out, here are some ideas...
  • Do what we do and gather around the candlelit table with our family and read/colour/write/draw.
  • Sleep.
  • Tell ghost stories.
  • Have an Earth Hour party and enjoy the hour chatting with friends.
  • Meditate.
  • Dance.
  • Give yourself a manicure.
  • Eat.
  • Knit, crochet, or needlepoint. (I can knit with my eyes closed.)
  • Just enjoy the silence.
  • Have hot, one-hour-long monkey-lovin'.
How about you? Will you be joining us in Earth Hour? If so, what do you plan to do?

recipe: oven-roasted broccoli

I'm writing a book called "OMG, I hate salad." Seriously. Because I do. Okay, "hate" may be too harsh a word because I did in fact have a prawn and papaya salad for our monthly girls' Sushi with Larry nite at Wasabi Sabi on Saturday. Yum.

Anyway, I've come to accept the fact that I'm just not a salad person and, like a true Vata, I feel better consuming veggies that have been cooked.

Broccoli is one of my faves. I've boiled them (yuck), fried them, steamed them, bbq'd them, pureed them into a soup (yum), but by a mile, my favourite way of preparing them is by roasting them in the oven. Roomie and I both think they taste better than fries!

Here's how I do it...


2 heads of broccoli (with stalks)
2 tablespoons of oil
sea salt (or any kind of salt you like to use at home)


Preheat oven to 400F.
Chop the broccoli and put in a big bowl. Throw in the oil and mix until broccoli is evenly coated.
Spread broccoli one layer thick on a cookie sheet.
Roast for 30 minutes, or until broccoli looks like the picture above. (Your oven may be different from mine.)
Sprinkle with salt to taste as soon as you take it out of the oven.

Try it, and let me know what you think!

I give. you give too.

If you've been reading me for a while, you'll know that I've been working my ass off to declutter and simplify my home environment for years. No, that's not hyperbole. I've mentioned it every New Year's Day for the past 3 years.

Throughout our wild goose chase ongoing journey toward minimalism, we've tried to be environmentally and socially conscious, not so wasteful, more giving. Since 2007...
  • the Goodwill truck's been to our house 4 times to pick up no less than 20 boxes and bags of donations in total.
  • Roomie and Lam have delivered 5 large boxes of toys the kids decided to donate to the Children's Hospital.
  • we've donated various clothes and kid furniture, including our beloved playpen, to a woman's shelter.
  • I've bagged up and boxed up outgrown kids' clothes to pass on to village friends with younger kids than my own.
Decluttering has become an excellent way for us to teach our children kindness, consideration, and giving to others.

Like all long-term projects, there are periods of productivity and periods of "I'd rather stuff stinky cheese up my nose than declutter". Believe it or not, I took this picture after a rather productive afternoon...

Yes, it's been MUCH worse than that. "Forest of Boxes" worse.

Oh, but it does get better...

Looks good, eh? Yeah, but that's not the end of it. Because that's just one end of the room. The other end of my livingroom looks like this hot mess...

And it's at this point that I stalled. I was ready to head out and buy some blue cheese for nose stuffing. Very bad news, indeed, as it's been over a year since I've done any clearing in this room. (Yes, there are hot messes in other rooms of my house.)

Now, I'm ready to finish this room once and for all, thanks to AndreAnna. She's given us until April 1st to purge and donate as much of our crap as we can for her 1st Annual Blogger's Spring Giving. This may just be the kick in the pants I need to finally get this room DONE.*

On April 1st, I will post a picture of my livingroom sans clutter. And I'll also share with you the places I've donated to.

I throw down the gauntlet and challenge you to do the same. I know, short notice, but any amount of clearing and donating can benefit at least one person. Your trash could be someone else's treasure!

Are you with me? Just head over to AndreAnna's place, get the details, and join us!

* - Or at least, to the point where I just need to change the area rug and curtains.

happy pi day!

It's the 23rd Annual Pi Day! Now, get out there and eat pie, make pi cubes, enjoy life 3.14 times more, and celebrate the best numerical constant ever!*

(Via Burton MacKenZie)

* - with "c" coming in at a close second.

so long, fort awesome.

Every winter, Roomie and the kids make a quinzhee, a snow shelter or cave, in our back yard. It's a fun and simple activity all the "outdoors folk" in my house (ie. not me) really enjoy doing. Plus, it's a chance for Roomie to impart an important survival skill to his kids -- in case they find themselves stranded in the middle of our Canadian wilderness in the dead of winter with nothing but a shovel and their incredible cuteness.

See? Incredible cuteness.

"Fort Awesome" is in honour of the mansion of our favourite eccentric billionaire, Jimmy James on NewsRadio.

This year, with the crapload of snow shoveled from our walkway and raked from our roof, Roomie was able to throw the biggest snow hill yet. After giving the snow hill some time to settle and harden, he excavated a huge multi-roomed quinzhee so the kids can have a little cave to hang out and play in.
Shovel-shovel-shovel, throw-throw-throw, dig-dig-dig, then BAM! -- a place for survival and tea parties!

Sadly, we have to bid an early "Bye-bye now" to Fort Awesome. With temperatures rising to 10C (50F), we'll have Puddle Awesome before we know it*.

Out go the blanket that kept bums warm, the plastic ninja sword to keep the crazies out, the tea set that refreshed little visiting friends, and the cool light that made Fort Awesome look so very awesome.
For Daddy.
When he'd hide there.
At night.
Like a mole.

So, adieu, Fort Awesome. See you next year! We'll all miss you.

* - Last year, this time, it was -19C (-2F).

the end is NOWHERE NEAR near.

Before you say anything, no, our bathroom isn't done yet. Actually, they haven't even started, and I still have a hot steaming mess of yucky-old-bathroom. But I gotta say, for now, I'm okay with that.

Why, Nenette? Why are you content living with the Disgustington model of bathroom decor?

Actually, it's hard to explain. It has everything to do with the energy in this house. It's all up-in-the-air, in-feng-shui-limbo, the-exact-opposite-of-grounded, and all the other non-one-word synonyms for "unsettled and chaotic".

Frankly, at this point, if I have strangers coming into my house to interfere with my space (yes -- interfere with my space) and stir up the already-frantic energy, the question "What does Nenette look like when she goes totally bitchcakes?" will be unequivocally answered.

And I'm convinced the crazy energy in the house is thanks to the number of unfinished projects* slapping me in the face...
  • Sort toys for the Children's Hospital and Goodwill.
  • Finish sorting other crap for sale, disposal or Goodwill.
  • Finish viewing the last of the VHS tapes (I'm now at the crap-quality Red Dwarf episodes taped from Public TV).
  • Sew the "Olympic fire mitts" for Lam's school play.
  • Sew the box pleat curtains for the livingroom (because the Sears interior designer quoted $1634+tax for custom-made, just about sending Roomie into shock.)
  • Put up the blinds in the kitchen and livingroom.
  • Put up diningroom photo frames.
  • AND ON, AND ON...
And no hyperbole anywhere to be found.

And many of these are not projects you can just stash away until you're ready. No, I have light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, toilets (okay, just one -- but it's in the livingroom), window blinds, cans of paint, bags and boxes of toys, and cans of paint in every corner of the house.
And I see this crap every single minute of every single day, because I'm a STAY-AT-HOME-MOM, and my unfinished house is my frickin' office!!!

It's no wonder really that my stress level is sky high right now. I'd go on about that, but that's a topic for another soon-to-be blog post.

Anyway, don't get me wrong. I'd like to get my bathroom done soon, but I'm not rushing anyone.

Meanwhile, one glorious item has been settled: Our new couch was delivered! On time and assembled... by 2 very cute and competent delivery guys. And the best thing? The kids love it! Slowly, my house is becoming more and more like the warm cozy home I've always hoped for.

Check it out -- oh, btw, the green wall will be painted white this summer, so this isn't the final iteration of the room...

What do you think?!

* - And these don't include the projects on Roomie's list, which he can only tackle on the weekends or holidays.

a winnipeg family needs help.

One of the wonderful things about us humans -- despite our infighting over religion, over territory -- is our tendency to rally around those in our community struck by tragedy outside of their control. Our speedy response to the Haiti and Chile Earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11 are just a few examples.

Now, it's not a habit of mine to post this sort of thing, but I thought I'd put out the word for those of us in Winnipeg willing and in position to lend a hand. I just heard from my friend Sue, and she has friends who need our help. Here's the email she sent me:
Dear friends of mine are in desperate need of help!!

Early Saturday morning at 4am their house started on fire! They got out with just the clothes on their backs and nothing else!! They have lost everything!! Everyone is safe, although Dean, the dad, had to have surgery on his hand as he tore his tendons smashing the windows to save his kids lives. Their 13 year old son, Jack, injured his foot jumping from the second story window.

They had no house insurance.

Now before you judge…these are good people who have been struggling for a while and were just trying to make ends meet. Dean has had two back surgeries in the past and was trying to make a living selling items on Ebay. He is also a tattoo artist by trade and was trying to open a business but lost all his equipment in the fire.

They never imagined that anything like this would happen, and were just trying to make ends meet, so insurance got put on the side burner, which of course they regret deeply now…

And now they are left in desperate need of your help!!!

The 6 children plus a foster daughter are as follows;

14 year old foster daughter (that they took in with no help from anyone)

13 year old son

12 year old daughter

8 year old son

4 year old son

2 year old girl

and nearly one year old girl

They need everything, but immediate needs are diapers (size 3), easy ups (size 4), wipes, toiletries, clothing and food.

They also need help with the demolition of their house, and they somehow need building supplies to be able to rebuild a home for their family.

I know that people of Winnipeg have come together before to help out when families are in need, and once again, here is a really great family in a very bad predicament!!

They are not the type of people to ask for help, but have no choice right now, and they do not want to end up declaring bankruptcy and be on welfare.

Please help my friends rebuild their lives!!!

If you can donate money or items, please email me for further info.

Thanks, folks! Y'all rock!