Sunday, January 25, 2015

Some Thoughts

For days I have yearned to sit at my keyboard and pour myself out.

To reach into the sadness and gladness and all the profound and ordinary. To lay it all out and wrap it in words, and move it from churning into sentence and paragraph.

But I've not yet found that sweet release, and with each new try the words look cheap and profane. Too contrived to be authentic.

Let me say this, for sure.

That life is so short (see, how cheap, how ordinary, how tired these words appear?)

That kindness matters.


What doesn't matter, though I sweat and strain as though it does, is that

my kitchen cupboard doors are ugly

and the bathroom vanity is swelling.

I've grown a poochy little belly and

liver spots are cropping up on my face

I didn't pay my credit card in full.

or put the bikes in the garage before the snow.


It won't matter.

It doesn't really matter.


Here's the part where words won't help me say what does matter

because it will sound trite to talk about


It will sound contrived to talk about making sure that people are seen, and valued.

or to speak of sticking up for annoying people (because they usually annoy me, and I wish they would just go away).

It will all sound tired.

I know firsthand how impossible it is to be kind to little children at times, even though it matters.

I know how hard it is to forgive little and medium sized hurts, not to mention massive, horrific, life-altering wrongs.

It's even hard for me to tolerate the girl at McDonalds who puts an "X" in ESPRESSO when there clearly is no x.

So why would it make any sense for me to attempt to wax poetic on being kind, on caring for others, on "keeping the patient comfortable, and handing out tumblers of cool water", as Anne Lamott has been teaching me.

I can't ask you to learn from me, but I can say this. I think this is what it all comes down to- to show up. To care. To keep your patients comfortable and hydrated. To let your heart break. To not get too comfortable with your storing up and hoarding for the future. To say the stuff that's hard to say, but is true and good and Holy in some inexplicable way.

Even as you hate the colour of your bathroom and the laminate is cheap and chipping and the car has a billion thousand kilometers and the driveway isn't even paved.

Even as the kids pee on your kitchen chairs and floors and what you think you really want is for them all to go away.

Little urges and senses will come to you, and they may smell like banana bread or red wine, and you will know that its time to distribute the elements. To get off your pinchy, grumpy little self involved attitude and cut some slices to hand out with glasses of cool water or wine to share. Even if it feels a bit uncomfortable, and you're not sure your people even like banana bread.

Or maybe you'll know to just sit with your tribe and study their eyes and kiss their bald heads and nod while they tell you stories that make no real sense but that pour out of their old bodies like incense or rain.

And although you know that you're mean and self indulgent and grumpy, it will all return to you, your hands and heart overflowing. Your eyes will overflow too, and you'll be glad you always forget about make-up and that kleenex is cheap and you'll remember that life is short and precious. In that overflowing, it will matter less that your cupboards suck and your floor is broken, that you always forget to remind your kids to brush their teeth, and that your boy's room hasn't been vacuumed in a fortnight or twelve, or that your thighs are touching in weirder ways than they did when you were in your thirties.

These, I suspect, are some of the things that do matter. And on good days, it's not so hard to see that the profound is all mixed up with the ordinary, and if you blink, or spend your time sweating over those cupboard doors,

You just might miss it all.


Friday, January 09, 2015

All The New Year's Resolutions

  1. Only Ever wear stretchy pants. Ever. (when it's just barely January, and you're trying really, really hard not to hate yourself for the box of wine and bottles of wine and maybe the spiced rum too. oh- and the chocolates. All the chocolates. And then there was that beer-querita night- oy vay.)
  2. Dance Party, at home in the living room. Always. Someone once coined the phrase: "dance like no one's watching". Pfffft. In your own living room, no one IS watching. And if they happen to pass by to fetch a snack or use the toilet, they scurry with haste back to their bedrooms in shame and humiliation. Yay! alone time.
  3. Consumerism. Because thrift shops, forever.
  4. Bring back spice racks! Spice racks were the best idea ever. What happened?
  5. Learn about tire pressure gauges, so that its possible to put air in tires without being afraid of blowing one's face off. I'm terrified of losing my face right beside the Co-op gas bar, and when I'm found (faceless but identifiable because of my Ugly Legs) people will just laugh and laugh and point and say- "She didn't know how to use a tire pressure gauge?!
  6. Give up on Ideal Parenting, because clearly, I Suck.
  7. Keep redefining your identity. Because, keep 'em guessing.
  8. If you decide that you're a Lulu lemon girl, keep your eyes peeled for the $1.60 sales tags. (Altona MCC thrift shop, last weekend. Sorry you missed it.)
  9. Raise your kids right, even if you're a terrible parent.

(honour her request for a day of thrifting together, even if you'd rather be at a High End Mall with all the Cool Kids.)

10. Never pass a McDonalds without purchasing a medium coffee- one cream, one sugar, one espresso shot. And if the girl or boy who takes your order says "EXpresso" - hit them. Hard. I'm talking- classic bitch slap. Go for it. Trust me, they asked for it. There is no X in espresso.

11. Debunk the mysteries of the freezers.

Every fall, we purchase a whack-load of chickens from a free range farmer that we know. These birds take up a fair piece of space, and keep us in fowl all year. One fall when the chickens were due to die, we had a sore lack of freezer space, so Brian bought another one off of kijiji (my second love). From that day on forward, there were two: The Old Freezer, and The New Freezer. Of course, the New Freezer was not actually new. But.

What happened next may not be a mystery to you seasoned dual freezer owners.

We now have two deep freezers full of stuff, and nothing to eat except frozen dead chickens and some summer sorrel for summa borscht that no one ever makes. So, this long, cold, dark winter, I plan to eat my way through the freezers.

In my stretchy pants.

It's going to be an amazing year like no other, I can just tell. Because- all the resolutions.