Saturday, October 27, 2012

Parenting Win plus Other Things.

Oh Hallowe'en.  Just because I've been slow on the uptake as far as preparations go, doesn't mean I don't love you as much as I always have.

I usually take this holiday pretty seriously.  My kids take the brunt of it.  The oldest one mostly just humours me but the youngest has taken my enthusiasm for blood and creepiness and run with it.  I dropped her off at a Halloween party at her friend's place today.  At the door we were greeted by a Little Red Riding Hood, and a cute little skeleton and an adorable cowgirl.

And then there's my kid, looking, very much of her own accord, like something coughed up from the very bowels of hell.  Gray, pasty skin, scraggly black hair and blood dripping from her eyes.

I'm so proud.


Back in 2004, I took a road trip to Fort Frances, Ontario which is roughly a 20-hour drive away from where I live.  On the way, I stopped for the night and slept in the back of my car in the back of a Ford dealership outside of Wawa, Ontario.  In the cramped backseat of my 1992 Ford Tempo, I had dreams of my children turning into werewolves.

As of yesterday, a good chunk of that dealership has been washed away with a stretch of the Trans-Canada highway.  It no longer exists.

Yeah.. I was parked right around there.  - Source
I'm thinking that's a metaphor for something, but I don't know what.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Months later, reflecting on an unexpected text message

So, here I am making an honest-to-Gord attempt to be a good blogger with more than one post in a week.  Bear with me as there are bound to be errors since typing on the iPad is a royal pain.  I can't complain too much as the computer is an option.  However the idea of lying in a warm bed to blog was a lot more appealing than sitting at a computer desk.

Better company, too.

Anyway, I've been thinking the last few days about an occurrence that took place back around my birthday.  I had wanted to write about it but I guess I hadn't quite parsed out on my feelings on the whole thing.

I got a text, out of nowhere, from a friend I hadn't spoken to in almost two years.  She had been my best friend for 18 years.  We had a falling-out and well.. Things were said.  Feelings were hurt and then nothing more was said.  That was it.  We weren't friends anymore.
"They say friends don't destroy one another
What do they know about friends?"
 So back in August, I was having a quiet evening with The Guy On The Other Side of The Bed when my cell buzzed.   My stomach had dropped when I read the name and my heart started racing.  I felt vaguely nauseated, nervous, and tears came to my eyes as they are prone to whenever... well... whenever.  The message said only "Hey."  I had never deleted her from my phone, so her name came up immediately.  I thought of a reply that I felt would accurately convey my shock at hearing for her after almost two years.

"Um, hi?"

What ensued was pretty much history's shortest, most awkward small-talk text conversation.  Part of me wanted to engage more, but at that point I was wary.  I couldn't fathom why, after so much time, was she trying to reach me, especially when i had made a couple of attempts to reach out over the past few years with no response or acknowledgement.  When I ran out of small talk, I simply stopped replying.

I found out later from my mother that my dad had run into her at the store.  She was in town with her family, and he suggested she call me.  I guess it's harder for someone to hang up on a text?  I guess if it were me I'd be hesitant to pick up the phone, as well, not knowing what reaction would be waiting on the other end.  I'd considered calling, but I think I was still angry and still felt as though I was owed an apology.  I'm sure she may have felt the same way.  I don't know, I can only speculate.  Truth is, I still miss her but I am still hurt about the way things went down.

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel, at any rate.  I don't regret my part in it, only that my timing could have been better.  I sleep well at night, knowing I've done things on my own terms and at my own pace, in a way I've felt was best for myself and my children.  I don't apologize for these things, or for having times that were difficult to navigate.

I have friends, dear friends and The Guy On The Other Side of The Bed and family, all whom get that I am not perfect, far from it and for that I am eternally grateful.   I guess it still gets to me sometimes.
Such is life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Update... but sadly, not the one with Tina Fey or Norm MacDonald even.

This will be a much shorter post than I had originally anticipated as I have roughly five minutes to throw a quick post up while I finish my coffee before I have to head into the bathroom, pretty myself up a bit and head out for another FUN-filled week at work.

Friday night, after getting the Sunday newsletters to bed, I went for a quick drink with my fellow co-workers.  Fun, and something that should be done more often I think.  Couldn't stick around long as I had a previous engagement to go thrift-store shopping with one of my best friends.  I scavenged for parts to my halloween costume, which came to me through Pinterest at the last second and managed to pick up a winter jacket and some curtains for my front window so I can stop flashing the neighbours.  As per usual, K and I ended up reducing ourself to giggling fits to the amusement of the Goodwill staff with our running commentary regarding some of the more... um... 'unique' and 'vintage' finds.

For dinner we went to a nearby East Side Mario's where my menu had gunk on it and our waiter threw coasters at us and hovered while we tried to decide.  It was disconcerting, this manner.  He was not an incompetent waiter.. all our order arrived in a timely manner and as requested.  But so aggressive! It was like he was waitering AT us.  Not the most impressive restaurant experience I've had.

Saturday was a day of coffee and cuddles and relaxing and not getting much of anything done.  Wouldn't have done it any other way.  That night I travelled to Toronto with Tess to Toronto to see the Mountain Goats in concert.  I have written previously my love for this band so you know this was very exciting for me.

See the excitement? My phone is shit and I don't have a working camera right now, so this is what you get for pictures.
The show was not disappointing (aside from the fact that the Phoenix is sorely lacking in seating of any kind so my legs were not happy the next day).  John Darnielle - with whom I got to meet and speak briefly - comes across on stage as someone who not only is happy with what he does, but genuinely excited... like 'Holy shit I can't believe I get to do this for a living' excited when he performs.

They played a number of newer songs, along with older tracks that I recognized as well.  J.D. also manages to engage the audience, telling stories and interacting and improvising.  There were a few tunes I got the impression had been made up on the spot.  If that's the case... wow.  Just wow.  Amazing.

The night ended with 'No Children' which, anyone who goes to Open Mike night knows, is probably my favorite tune of theirs.  An excellent choice for the end of night sing-along.

Oh dear.  I've gone way past my time limit.  Gotta go throw my face on.

Tootles, all.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've been reading again.

So back when I was in school, I bought and/or procured a shit-load of books, mostly those that had been mentioned in class, with the intention of reading them.  The snag was that while in school, I never had time read anything other than the required texts for my classes.  Once I graduated, my brain went into sleep mode and I wanted nothing more than to immerse myself in comic books, suspense thrillers and Harry Potter.

I was burnt out.

I also starting blogging and reading blogs a lot more in this time so my reading materials mostly consisted of other blogs and my books got sorely neglected.  So five years later I'm getting back into reading some of those more 'meaty' books I picked up in school.

I just finished "The Road To Wigan Pier" and I was struck by how a book that was published over 80 years ago holds relevant in many ways today.  Some of the parallels I found between his descriptions of the unemployed in Britain in the 1930s and prevailing attitudes toward the unemployed and working poor at the time similar to some of the misconceptions the Occupy movement attempted to address this past year.  Namely the idea that the unemployed don't want to work.  Both Orwell and the Occupy movement pointed out that most unemployed are willing to work, were the the work there and available at a living wage.

The book comes from a very pro-Socialism standpoint.  His thesis seems to be that unless a lot of people embrace socialism very soon, the only alternative will be Fascism which, to paraphrase, is basically Socialism without any of the good stuff.  He points out a few reasons that people at the time were hesitant to consider it, despite agreeing with many of the ideals.  One argument, that could easily applied to today and the tendency of lower-middle class to accept the fallacy of trickle-down economics, is that the class-conciousness of the time meant that people who, by upbringing, considered themselves 'middle-class' (described by Orwell as 'those who pronouce their aitches') were being pushed into the working class by way of economics.   One who was raised to think of themselves as a higher class than the working class may, out of fear of 'losing their place', be apt to align themselves with systems that benefit the rich, than systems that are actually more likely to be in their own best interests.

The other issue Orwell brings up is the tendency to avoid Socialism out of a desire not to align oneself with the prevailing ideal of what it means to be a "Socialist".  The caricature of the pistachio-shirted, sandalled, stuffy, boring, intellectual type is similar to the image of the man-hating, hairy-legged butch lesbian who will scream at someone who holds doors that causes many people to say "Yeah, I believe men and women should have the same rights, but I'm not a feminist..."  

(For the record, I fully identify as a feminist, but I am still grateful when someone holds a door for me.. why?  BECAUSE IT'S A NICE THING TO DO, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE.)

Long story short, I found this book a hell of a lot more interesting than I had originally thought I would.  The descriptions of the daily lives of the British coal miners and the living conditions of the unemployed of the working poor at the time made me look around at all I have and thank Gord for what I have.  The later parts of the book where he describes the machine age and its effects on the human population had me nodding in agreement, as many of the passages could easily have been written today.