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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Autobiography of a Face

by Lucy Grealy

(summer reading ;) Let it begin! )

"I used to think truth was eternal, that once I knew, once I saw, it would be with me forever, a constant by which everything else could be measured. I know now that this isn't so, that most truths are inherently unretainable, that we have to work hard all our lives to remember the most basic things. Society is no help. It tells us again and again that we can most be ourselves by acting and looking like someone else......."

Sometimes in this thing called Life, there is nothing so relieving as to read someone else's thoughts as confirmation of one's own. A validation of shared perceptions.

It often frustrates me that I seem to learn something; to see it as a revelation-- only to discover a very short time later that my life has not changed perceptibly to accomodate this new way of seeing things. I've often blamed my inferior intelligence for seemingly needing to learn the very same thing over and over and over again.

inherently unretainable. That made me crave the release of tears of gratitude....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Soccer Wind-Up


No matter how you look at it, soccer is soooo over.





Soooo over.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Got a Pulse? Apply Here.



I've been at this for a long time. In grade six I was a rookie; for sure. By the time I was twenty-four, having lived independently for some years and employed as a respite caregiver for disabled children, I'd like to think that I had already learned a thing or two and could be trusted to function reasonably well with people's children.

It was right about then that an overly involved, overly-attentive-to-details mother instructed me very specifically on how to cook macaroni and cheese straight out of the box.

I believe that my tongue may still carry the imprint of my teeth.

I'm forty-one now, and I've been working on raising four children of my own for almost fifteen years now. Simultaneously, I've wiped and fed a trillion or more of other people's children.

Recently, a mother showed me how to change her offsprig from sweatpants into shorts. That there was no zipper and that they simply slid off or on.

I wonder how I've managed all these years.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dear Ol' Dad


I don't usually get the point of buying a gift for my husband on Father's Day. I figure that I have my own dad, and he's got kids of his own that ought to be honouring him.
This year I reversed things a little. I kind of neglected my own father, and looked after my kid's daddy instead. After our maiden overnighter in the tent trailer (right in the comfort of our own driveway!), I had fun surprising Brian with a fancy schmancy new coffee maker that we immediately put to the test.
The boys had a few things to share with their daddy as well. Sam drew some pictures of favourite things to do with daddy; or things that daddy loves to do.

Golf.
Camping.

Backyard campfires.

Swimming!
Not to be outdone; Micah had also made his respectful father a greeting card fit for the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Heh, heh.....
Loverly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hi-WHAT-is?

.......in time, she discovers that her attempt at balance was sorely misguided and poorly orchestrated. A hiatus was indeed a wise direction; but sadly... she took a break from all the wrong things.

If I had a lick of sense in me, I would have taken a break from dishes, laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, sorting, carrying, stacking, loading, mowing, dusting, and child-rearing. It turns out that those are the things that actually take up all my time, regardless of whether a bag or two hundred get sewn in their midst. Honestly. A woman who spends as much time as I do CLEANING should live in a perfect environment.

I think I'll start auctioning again. The highest bidder by 6:00 pm can take care of all the dishes. I'll need someone around here all day long to sweep- that happens at least six times between dawn and dusk.

If this idea catches on, I could grab a couple hours and maybe head back to the sewing room!

Seriously, folks. Has anybody ever dwelt on the fact that housework is really depressing? So unrewarding? So temporary? I'm guessing they have; judging from the numbers of middle-aged women I've seen around town with wadded up dish cloths permanently rammed between their lips. And that only sort of muffles their screams....

Now, before you inundate my comment box with chides about how my children ought to be decked out in denim and suspenders scrubbing and mopping and submitting and easing my load...I know. Okay?! And the neat thing is that I'm not at all defensive.

Have I mentioned that I hate conflict? And nagging?
And that everyone else's kid within a thousand mile radius is also welcome in my home? (okay, maybe just a little defensive. Sometimes.) AND that there's only one bathroom to service the multitudes?

Anyhoo. Back to the idea of hiatus. I think I was onto the right idea, and I know it's pretty normal for abnormal people to feel depressed after a big project like that winds down. It doesn't mean that I have to like it. I know it's pretty normal to have the repetitive, mundane, endless tasks of home and family wear a gal down. But that doesn't make it any less discouraging.

And you know what else is scarey? All this depressiong stuff has resurrected my
couch obsession. So now I spend waste too much time on usedwinnipeg.com looking for my dream couch. (for pennies, of course).

hmmm... I still think taking a break was the right thing to do. I just wish the yucky in between part would go away now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'd Rather Be Chubby Than Thin and Unhappy

It's a big seller. The idea that if you could just lose that five to five hundred pesky pounds, you would find that gaping empty internal spot plugged and you could finally move on with your life. Your life can't begin while you're hauling that around. And if you try; and even if you succeed; no one will take you seriously because your fat will speak of your failure for you. You'll be given away before you've quite begun.

However.
That's advertising. And they don't really give a darn about your personal happiness- they'd just like you to fund them in pursuits of their own. So, they get pretty good at convincing you that if you'd just be skinny; then you'd be happy. It's just that easy.

Truthfully; people who are unhappy with chub are pretty much exactly the same when they sleek down. Maybe their unhappiness transfers a bit-- no longer is the fat holding them back from a happy and fulfilling life; but now something else has swiftly slid into position to make them yearn for better times and fuel their "if only"s. People can and do change their shape, but you find that the nice ones usually stay pretty nice; and that misery seems to haunt the miserable even in their size what-evahs.

Conversely, (Frighteningly), I still think the thin packaging does makes them more tolerable.

With all the clever marketing we've been subject to, we just expect thin people to be smarter, more pleasant, more worthwhile, more productive, more enviable. We put up with more filler because we're so sure that the really great stuff is just around the corner.

Of course, all that optimism is short-lived because for all the pretty packaging in the world, there's only so much agony we'll subject ourselves to. Still, it's disturbing how we're willing to make allowances for people in more acceptable bodies than for really great people with rolls.

Yeah, I'd rather be a little lumpy, have a few laughs, and enjoy my funny little life than be an anxious bone rack who is beginning to suspect that the great cookie jar (filled with handy 100 calorie snack packets!) at the end of the celery-and-pumpkin-peel-diet isn't all it's cracked up to be.







*You can hold me to absolutely nothing that I just said in this post. By tomorrow by 1:00 or 2:00 or midnight, I might tell you that there is absolutely nothing more important or endorphin boosting than losing some poundage. I may tell you most convincingly that if I could justlosesomeweight I would be soooo much happier! more interesting! successful! thin!

**This is probably also an excellent time to refresh everyone's mind that I am crazy.
Not a little bit; but totally, dangerously crazy.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Why I Am The Biggest Loser Who Ever Walked Planet Earth.

I had to borrow the family vintage-but-not-in-a-good-way farm truck to drive downtown to meet some friends for a fortieth birthday shindig. Not that I wasn't willing to do that for a dear friend. It wasn't any trouble- mostly a pleasure; what with the plywood box built onto the back of the hog-mobile that totally obscured my rear view mirror and the fact that the Delta Hotel inexplicably got moved by several blocks without anyone sending me the memo.

Nothing a quick crank of the steering wheel (yes, quick. It's a half tonne. Those things are spor-- tea.) into a gas station couldn't remedy in a nano second. The guy with the orange mohawk and pierced everypart was surprisingly helpful. I was grateful that he pointed me in the right direction before the large man who had peed himself quite made it to the counter to barter for cigarrettes. Or knife the guy. I didn't stick around long enough to find out.

350 St Mary.
No problem.

No parking.
No problem.
There's the parkade.

Have you ever noticed how big a half-tonne is? They really shouldn't use the word "half" on a vehicle like that. Apparently, I made the height restrictions though, because those plywood side bits on the box held fast. After some savvy sharp underground parkade style turns, I slid into the first available parking stall and made my way into the Delta.

hmmmmm...... The room was reserved under the name "Dianna". I've never actually met Dianna, but we do share a friend. Who turned forty. Who we wanted to mutually celebrate.
But when I failed to produce a surname for the said Dianna, I don't think the hotel attendant cared that I had heard of Dianna, or shared a friend with her, or wanted to eat some cake with anyone of any age whatsoever.

My cell phone?
At home.
Uncharged. (anyone seen my charging cable? Anyone?)

Pay Phone.
No problem.

Employ credit card to telephone town faraway from whence my friend and her friends had driven from. Interrogate her family and make wild promises if they divulge the surname of the mysterious Dianna.

Re-approach the lobby with head held high and necessary information at hand.
Am rewarded with less suspicion and breathe a little easier with hotel room number in reach. Plunge hand into pocket and pull out stub that reads: Place On Dash Of Vehicle.
Begin to suspect that I may be the biggest loser who ever walked the face of the earth.
Choose denial.

Proceed with celebratory measures.
Eat Masawwa.
And Baked Expectations.
Laugh.
Love.

But all the while have poorly repressed phantom thoughts of a farm truck deep in the bowels of a parkade. Convince several friends that accompaniment to this underworld will develop their character, exercise their respiratory capacities, and prove to me their undying devotion. Slip my hand into my pocket to retrieve parking slip. Come up empty.

Put truck in reverse. Successfully maneuver large boxy vehicle out of spot. Find exit. Begin to perspire ever so slightly, remembering the absence of the parking stub, which ought to have been left on the dash if the biggest loser in all the world hadn't been part of this particular story.
Pull up to parkade cashier upright-coffin-like-closet-thingie. Wish I had my parking stubby. Casually glance at the price list: evening rate: $5.00 Day rate: $10.00 Lost Tickets: $25.05.

Oh.
Dang.

Glance up at large red sign in creepy-cashier-box-type-dwelling:
"Attendant Temporarily Unavailable. Back In Five Minutes".

Shut off large rural type vehicle.
With a bill of $25.05 soon to come my way, I'd best save what fuel I could.

Wait five minutes.
Wait another five minutes. (I'm not making any of this up)

Notice the occasional vehicle enter the parkade and speculate on the possibility of squeezing out the "in" door before it folds down on the wooden box, first crushing the truck with a sickening crunch, then closing in on me. Remember that I have left loved ones at home who might miss me, and who might at this very moment be wondering why I've not returned home.

Begin to speculate on dying in a parkade from too much stale air and exhaust.
Consider napping.
Imagine bad guys coming.
Hallucinate a panting and rabid Cujo-esque hound slathering his putrid drool across my windshield and pounding in my passenger side window with his brute strength fueled by a relentless appetite for my blood.

Try to find my confidence.
Engage in a fantasy about making a scene with the cashier when he does indeed arrive. It has been twenty minutes of waiting beside a five minute sign to pay a twenty-five dollar fine. If I threaten to report him for taking more than five minutes to pee, he will have to let me out of the parkade for free, I reason. I try to imagine being assertive and firm in my respectful and intimidating place behind the wheel of a 1981 farm truck. With a wooden box.

The honking of a horn behind me breaks my reverie.
Poor girl in a respectable car behind me can't see the sign and thinks I've passed out behind the wheel.
I hop out of my high horse benchseat, down to the dusty concrete, and with my confident, assertive arm, wave her attention to the "five minute" sign.

She shouts back: "Just drive forward- there's no one there, and the door will open as you approach it!"







Which indeed it did.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Oh. And.

Remember that fascinating story about not finding a basketball game at the University of Manitoba campus?

Kid comes home from school a few days later and makes a wee correction.

University of Winnipeg.


*to protect the innocent, I feel it prudent to mention that she was given the wrong information by some innocent third party. (wouldn't want to make my kid look bad on the world wide web) Apparently some other unhappy mother-of-basketball player was also seen wandering the campus of the U of M. It's a small comfort to know that I could definitely NOT have found said game. And had I known which university to drive to, I would definitely never have made U of W by 5:15. So, it's all good then, eh?