What fresh hell is this?

April 6, 2014 | Posted in Childhood, Dog, Family, Harlow, humor, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

dog in raincoat

She’s already throwing some serious shade, so yeah; I think she’s gonna fit in here just fine.

[Other stuff: I'm doing a bit of a blog re-vamp here at highly-irritable. I'm changing stuff up - a spring cleaning of sorts - and I've also changed my comment section to DISQUS because it's easier for non-WordPress users to log into. I think it's working, but if you'd like to leave me a comment to test it out, that'd be great. The only downside so far is that it seems to have eaten all of my previous comments and I have no idea where the hell they've gone. I can still access them on the back-end (heehee...back-end) but all the lovely things you've said to me through the years no longer appear on the posts themselves. So, that sucks hard, but whatcha gonna do? Some people don't have arms, Jeni, Stop crying about lost comments.

I'm also now writing a column at YummyMummyClub.ca called The Panic Button Years, where I talk about teenagers and how they drive us batshit crazy but also how they're awesome at the same time. If you've had a teen or have one now or just want to know what lies ahead in the acne and AXE years, come by and join the fun (and sobbing).]


Man Down

October 1, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Health, humor, Irritation Level: High, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

Box of tissuesOur home is occasionally taken over in the fall and winter by cold and flu viruses. It’s the cold variety here right now, but luckily it’s nothing serious except that it’s me and I’m not bragging, but I kinda run this place single-handedly. But getting sick is what happens when you have kids who go to school, participate in group activities, and play games like “Who Can Lick the Most Doorknobs?”

My fingers are crossed, and so far I’m the only one down with this thing. While I’m lying in bed, surrounded by damp mountains of tissues and empty pill bottles, the kids are as full of youthful energy as ever. At least, I think they are. I haven’t actually seen them for more than just a second or two in the last three days.

When I get sick my kids avoid me like I’ve got my daybook out and the dentist on the line. It’s not so much that they don’t want to catch the bug themselves, but more  that they are completely incapable of showing empathy when it comes to their mother. When I broke my nose playing baseball last year, one of my children requested my still-being-used-bloody towel – to wipe their shoes on.


I’m invisible when I’m not completely healthy, and I have several theories about this. I’m pretty sure it comes down to being afraid of my sudden “fragility,” and them not liking the sudden upset in the household’s balance of power. When I’m not able to function at my usual 65% percent, they hold all the cards and they know it.

But they’re not sociopaths who are incapable of emotion or empathy. I’ve witnessed “Get Better Soon” card making marathons, and one year my daughter gave a huge portion of her Halloween candy to a sick classmate who was unable to go trick or treating. I’ve even dialed the telephone so one of my small children could make a condolence call to a friend whose gerbil had died.


But when mom gets a fever and a cough?

Tumbleweeds, friends. TUMBLEWEEDS.

When my kids are sick, I try to make their convalescence period as comfortable as possible. I serve the perfect room-temperature ginger ale – fizz removed -  and the couch is laid daily with the softest lavender-scented sheets. Cool compresses are changed and refreshed like clockwork. I make sure the television clicker is close at hand and I am available for foot rubs upon request. All I can say about these two is that I am impressed with their ability to launch a Kleenex box from 15 feet away via drop kick. It’s a good thing I’m on the mend, and that I don’t get sick too often, because I am definitely not getting any soup delivered soon. That sort of treatment is reserved for sick friends and dead gerbils.

Other Places Where I Was Welcome This Month:

At MamaPop.com I wrote about The Duggars and dating practices, because that’s always a rational conversation.

At iVillage.ca I wrote about how talking to kids is great, but doesn’t always guarantee they’ll do what as we taught.


Sunday Selfie

February 3, 2013 | Posted in Beauty, humor, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By


This is a test post from my newly downloaded WordPress mobile app, and also a reply to those of you who have emailed to ask if I was dead.

Which I am not. Except I’m not sure because something horrible called “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” is on TV right now so maybe I’m in hell?

That Selfie above is to test the parameters of the mobile picture upload. Hot, right? Sunday is a “no-brush ” day around here, which is a natural segue to “rat’s nest” Monday and then “low self-esteem” Tuesday.


I may not have posted here a lot recently, but I am having a blast writing for MamaPop.com. Here’s what I’ve written in the last few weeks if you are so inclined.

Which you are, right? (Remember low self-esteem Tuesday? DON’T MAKE ME SWITCH DAYS.)

Bradley Cooper Searches for Sole Mate

Guy Fieri Opens Winery, Grapes Everywhere Cry “Oh, The Humanity!”

Conjunction Junction What’s These Neck Wrinkles Function?

Hopefully this works and I can blog on the fly now. Not that I will, mind you; but that I can.


Slow Sunday

December 16, 2012 | Posted in Childhood, Family, humor, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

Snail Kisses

Things are the same here as always for Sunday morning. It’s raining outside, and I can hear the washing machine running. The dual sound of water is comforting and familiar. There is a pork loin marinating in the fridge upstairs for me to ruin later, my daughter is still sleeping and I am letting her, and my son is on the couch watching commercials which will no doubt rot portions of his tender, still developing brain.

I have a list of things to accomplish today and can tell you right now that many of them will go undone. I have articles to write – deadlines loom and I’ve made commitments, so I will work a bit today. But otherwise I am going forward with no expectations. I think we all need a bit of a break this weekend. Whether you find that peace by spending the day window shopping, or wrapping gifts and watching movies, or sobbing silently while a stranger licks caramel sauce off your toes, whatever; I don’t judge.

For instance, later on I will eat an entire box of Toffifee while I make my kids perform a shadow puppet version of Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same,” DVD solely for my amusement.

Just do something that makes you feel good, okay? If you can make someone else feel good while you’re at it, even better. Gold stars for you.

Because YES, the world sometimes is a shit-filled, painful asscrack suckhole of a place.

But sometimes it’s not. And as long as the “not’s” outweigh the “is’s,” we’ll be okay.

Here is something I hope will ease you into a kinder, gentler week. One of my favourite ladies –  Smacksy – shared it, and I want to share it as well. Please visit her, as she has lots of gentle posted this week (and always.)

26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year


On being a hermit

December 9, 2012 | Posted in Family, Home Renovation, humor, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

Hermit Shack

I could easily embrace the hermit lifestyle. I’d be happy with a shack in the woods if the shack was a bungalow in the suburbs with a large grocery retailer and liquor store nearby. And a library. And maybe a doctor; that’s probably important for hermits, what with all the tetanus risk.

But I definitely have hermit-like tendencies. Immediately after I’m extended an invitation I start thinking of ways to get out of doing/going/participating is said activity. I should probably keep a list though, because you can only break a finger or have a bladder infection so many times before people call the authorities on your behalf.

It’s not that I don’t like people; I’d even say that I can be quite extroverted. I have no fear of speaking in public, I’m not generally shy, and I don’t have an issue dealing with others. (Unless they’re assholes. But who can tolerate being surrounded by assholes, besides every single person who works at FOX News?)

Once I actually get to an event, I’m almost always glad I went. I enjoy myself and never once think that I would have been better off had I stuck with my original plan of staying on the couch eating Nutella from the jar with my fingers and crying over “M*A*S*H” reruns.

If I have a project on the go, my hermit tendencies become very strong. Right now I am working on redecorating projects of varying degrees in our living room, kitchen, and my daughter’s bedroom. These projects have become especially difficult because my family isn’t shy about offering helpful comments like: “Well, if you’re aiming for something with a urine undertone, that paint colour DOES work,” or “Our living room is going to look like a tobacco stained bingo hall,” or “Not sure I’m loving the ‘baby-crap’ gone berserk colour theme.” Or my favourite so far, “Oh my God, Mommy! Why are you ruining our lives and destroying our childhoods with your horrible decorating ideas?”

You’d think that with people like this in my house, I’d want to get out more.

But who could help but hermitize (made it up! just now!) when there are things like this on the internet to read from your cluttered but comfortable “Interstate Gas Station Bathroom” coloured office:

McSweeney’s always gots exelllant advice, this time for writers who’d wanna be writin’ more gooder:  “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do.” Check out their “Open Letters” page, too. Bring a drink, and teach your children how to use the toaster oven; because you’ll be there awhile.

One of my favourite blogs is Finslippy; read how Germany made the book Alice and Eden wrote even funnier. This is what happens when you tell Germany to “Let’s Panic about Babies!”

To sum up my week, in two tweets:

@highlyirritable twitter

@highlyirritable twitter

You can also find me at MamaPop.com, where this week I wrote about how Taylor Swift   ruins everything.

Have a great week!


Ugh. Some feelings and stuff.

December 2, 2012 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

I’ve been thinking lately about how happy my son looks when he’s fighting. Not the “punch you in the face” variety of fighting; he’s not like that.

No, this stems more from what I saw at a recent sleep-over playdate. His very special friend was here – a boy he’s known forever. They love to rough-house and tumble around, and they know and respect each other’s limits. No one ever gets hurt, or feels picked on, or cries “uncle” or taps out or whatever.

My son has never struck someone in anger, and while he has given one person a bloody nose, he did it under duress as he was being sat on and later told me he was afraid. And guess what? I am totally cool with that. I don’t believe in violence before peaceful attempts to reconcile, but if someone is quite literally sitting on you and you can’t breathe and they’re not respecting your boundaries or complying with your request to GET OFF ME NOW, then they deserve what they get in the way of a bloody nose.

So, back to the play-fighting. After the giggling and thumping subsided, my son and his friend had this look on their faces that sadly I’ve seen less of since they’ve started using things like iPods and laptops. My son is very physical, and very lean. He’s not at all big for his age, but he is very, very strong. (I like the word “very” very much, it would appear, but I’m in no mood for edits, thank you very much.)

After the tumbling they were both pink and flushed. My son’s eyes were positively sparkling and his hair was sweaty and curling up all along the fringe of his forehead. He was beautfiul and happy.

So this week, thanks to some  advice and recommendations from my friend Kelly at Black Belt Mommy, he started Jiu jitsu. He’s only been to one class, where he spent an hour grappling and rolling and running and being told “when you practice perfection, you achieve perfection,” and “Making someone feel bad is not funny, and not ‘just a joke’ – this is not friendship material so walk away from it.”

I already love it there and I’m signing my 13-year-old daughter up this week.

For a quiet boy who never says a word about his feelings, a quiet boy who’s started and tried and didn’t love hockey and soccer and baseball, I got this response:  ”This – this -is the sport I like.”

Between those words and his smile, my cheeks are a little pinker too. 

Here’s some other stuff to read:

Sarah’s ideas are fantastic. You can find her design and DIY ideas at her blog Sarah Gunn, as well as at Yummy Mummy Club. Carve out some time; you’ll be making a list of things to do.

I spent way too much time watching this “Little Rascals” video, but I couldn’t help myself. It reminds me of when I was small and the Rascals environment didn’t feel so different from mine in the 1970′s. I’m sad that many things in this video are virtually unrecognizable to my own children, just three generations later. I especially love Spanky, and you just know from watching him as a child that he would grow up to be an awesome Grandpa. (If you know otherwise, keep it to yourself. I’m in no mood for shattered dreams this week.)

This past week taught me a few things, as well. Like these:

highly irritable on twitterhighly irritable on twitter

I was also over at MamaPop.com begging for someone to be a hero to Lindsay Lohan, and why it is never, ever a good idea to marry your brother.

Have a great week. A VERY good week.


Sharing is caring

November 25, 2012 | Posted in Family, humor, Parenting, Procrastination tactic, University, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

I found this in his room. I blacked out his name so it doesn’t become null and void.

I have so much to do this coming week that’s it almost become farcical. I’m not even stressed or worried about it, because it’s an amount of stuff so large that it’s now become soft around the edges. If the stuff I had to do was a pile, it’s be so big that it would fill my peripheral vision. When something is so big that it’s all you can see – when it’s the only thing in your sight line - it no longer feels big because it’s all you know.

So of course almost none of it is going to get done.

If you have stuff like that this week ahead and you too are looking for quality procrastination materials, look no further. For while I should be calling the Student Loan office and arranging my tuition for January, maybe you’re supposed to be having a dental filling replaced or ordering a new cheque book.

That reminds me. I need a filling replaced, and I have no cheques. Great. My list just got longer, thankssomuch.

Some things to procrastinate with/for/on:

My friend posted this on Facebook, and I loved it. I’ve participated in many of these “Canadian” activities, except I didn’t see the snippet of teenagers in lumberjack jackets drinking beer in a farmer’s field, or teenagers in lumberjack jackets drinking beer under a railroad trestle, or teenagers in lumberjack jackets drinking beer at a Provincial Park campground.

Canada Shared by Canadians

I want to share what Chantal wrote on her blog, and I related very closely to the sentiment. You can see my comment on her post on peeing the bed if you’re looking for my nocturnal “issue.” (Hint: it’s also possibly why I have had so many short-term relationships.)

Like me, Susan also has an eight-year-old son, and so we are both headed to the same corner of heaven or wherever mothers who once had eight-year-old sons go. I’m less sure about where it is and more sure that it is quiet and comfy and decidedly free of Lego and unexplained urine on the floor. Here’s her beautiful letter to him on his 8th birthday. These lines in particular have stuck with me since I read it:

Although recently your teacher told me that you and one of your besties got into a disagreement — a misunderstanding, really — and that you both cried. “And when she cried,” you told me, your chin wobbling, “I felt like I was responsible for every bad thing that ever happened to her ever.” And I thought, Honey, it’s not like you two have been married for 17 years.

And now, I’m back to bed. I had a bit of a fluey thing going on this last week. I pushed it aside to go out Saturday night with some lovely ladies, and while I had a great time, the truth is my achy bones are reminding me that I was up way past my bedtime. (I haven’t even seen the sun fully set in months which puts my average bedtime at approximately 5:30 pm. AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY.

And here I am at MamaPop.com, where I warn the boys in One Direction about the Yoko Ono powers of Taylor Swift.

Have a great week, everyone!


Anyone got a pet bear?

October 28, 2012 | Posted in humor, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By


I smell misogyny and stupidity around here somewheres…

When I was in grade four, every few weeks our teacher would get the “This bullshit is not what I signed up for” look on her face, and we knew what was coming. Those were the days we’d get an extra long recess, and once inside she’d announce it was “Ketchup Day.”

“Ketchup Day” was actually “catch-up” day. She’d have us correct each other’s spelling errors and finish our chicken-scratch longhand journal entries. We’d complete construction paper art projects that lay fading on the sunny window ledge, and generally do whatever the hell we wanted, provided we left her alone to read the newspaper, and – I’m fairly certain – sob quietly. This post is not that kind of catch-up, although I will understand if you cry after reading it.

So; the week:

I don’t get political on my blog, but it’s probably fairly obvious where I fall on the left/right spectrum if you’ve read here for more than a week or so. But political affiliations aside, there is some Capital N Nutso bullshit going on down there in the States. I’m not much for the MMA Fighting circuit, but I would donate all the hair on my head to see Donald Trump and Ann Coulter fight each other in a Celebrity Death Match. I just do not understand the hatred and vitriol behind their intentions.  I’m not going to make jokes about Donald Trump’s hair, or Ann Coulter’s “pointiness” here. Instead, let’s concentrate on where the ugly really shows: in their words, and in their actions.

As for the nice this week, I found out that my writing portfolio was reviewed and accepted by The School for Writers at Humber in Toronto. It’s a year-long program where writers concentrate on a single piece of their work, while working closely with a writing mentor. It’s a self-paced program, so I won’t need to be in school full-time, thereby meaning we probably won’t starve to death this winter. Probably.

I also wrote in some other places this week. I wrote about Christina Aguilera’s hatred of underwear at MamaPop, and over at iVillage.ca I’m talking about why I’d rather shave my armpits with a grapefruit spoon than take my kids snowsuit shopping.

And The Huffington Post featured me in their round-up of funny parenting tweets. Any time I’m called funny and it’s not in reference to my appearance, I’m happy. If you’re not already on Twitter, you need to be. Come over.

My blog was also featured by WordPress.com as “Freshly Pressed” this last week. It was great for having new visitors, and I have a long list of blogs I’d like to visit back. I was out of town and without my computer when I found out I was going to be featured, otherwise I would have dusted and perhaps put out a cheese and cracker tray.

Have a great week, everyone!

Oh, except you, Donald Trump and Ann Coulter. I also kinda hope you’re both eaten by bears.