Little Girl Writing


In beginning a memoir project, I decided to dig through my old journals just to get a feel for what fifteen year old me was thinking. Holy cow, I think I should have just closed it up and left it be. Teenaged angst, early views on relationships and the all-important she likes him-he likes someone else drama happening. I didn’t remember writing any of the events that transpired in those pages, but I remember the feelings. The awkwardness. The shyness. The melodramatic events of school dances and hockey games; movie nights and trips to the record store; history classes and failed math tests. How much I missed my Dad.  

I skipped ahead to my second year of college to compare. It seems I grew up a bit in that time. The theatrical expressions were lessened and I spoke more of the transition of becoming my own person from that of a little girl in a confusing world. I loved living in the city. I loved working with the kids in residential treatment. I loved feeling necessary, intelligent and valued. I grew in college. I grew from a little girl writing down her daily activities to a young woman experiencing a life independent of parent, familiarity and routine. My entries were less frequent as I moved through classes and newfound friendships; downtown escapades and girl retreats up to northern Ontario. As I read through my second year the absence of the mention of my brother’s death was surprising. Not a word about one of the most traumatic events of my young life was there.  

The glaringly obvious absence of such an event should not have been a surprise. I must have thought I had outgrown the use of a journal and had no need to write such drama down on pages. I must have been so overwhelmed with emotion, I couldn’t bring myself to record it at all. I wish I had. I wish I would have written every last detail of it. The shattering phone call. The train ride home. The days leading up to the funeral. The Thanksgiving dinner where we laughed until we cried. The devastation of watching my brother grow from an impulsive angry child to a more mature independent young man with his own apartment and a girlfriend, then having it all taken away in an instant. His life was moving forward in a more positive adult direction. We were all breathing sighs of relief. And then it changed.  

It could have been cathartic. I remember thinking as I walked away from those difficult days with my mother and my family and boarded the train back to school that I was returning a different person. I remember thinking I wasn’t the same after his death. I had changed somehow. I had grown.

I have been journal writing these past few months on a more regular basis. It may not be filled with all of the drama and angst of my teenaged years, but I find it soothing to write my thoughts on paper. It may not be cathartic nor reveal a secret hidden meaning of life, but it certainly gives me perspective on my life now and my life then. Perspectives on my changing world as my children grow from kids to adults, embarking on their own journeys and new discoveries; and how I continue to fit in to their ever-evolving lives. Apparently, my main reason for living right now is dinner prep and food organization.  

With all of life’s changes, it’s nice to take a look at where we were and where we strive to be. Maybe keeping a journal is another way of taking stock and reflecting on the journey. If you are a journal writer, take a look back occasionally to see where you were.  

You may be surprised at how far you’ve come.  

 

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I Need One More Day Off To Do Shit I Won’t Do Anyway 

Mondays are tough days to get through especially if it’s the beginning of a work week. Memories of the weekend are still kinda fresh, unless you occupy my mind where I forget to brush my teeth some mornings, then really it’s all kind of a blur. But, for the most part you wish you could have just ONE MORE DAY off to do those million and one things you were supposed to do all weekend, but you never got around to do because people needed insignificant things like food and dinner and a clean toilet. Then, wine. 

 Never mind that you had things PLANNED. Organized shit you were getting done no matter WHO OR WHAT GOT IN YOUR WAY YOU WERE MAKING A STAND. And then you caved and made banana breads and a nice dinner where no one showed up and then oh, wait I have to go for a run because it’s such a nice day and oh, wait that chair outside looks lonely maybe I should sit in it with my fourth cup of coffee that afternoon and oh, look at the dog, she looks like she needs a bath….And on and on it goes.

What were those PLANS AND ALL OF THAT ORGANIZED SHIT YOU WERE GOING TO DO?

Huh.

I forget, but one more day off would be AWESOME so I could finish what I had in my head to do.

If my head would cooperate and remind me what the actual fuck I was going to do.

Probably had something to do with the bathroom needing painting and my car needing a good clean-up and I should really organize the kitchen cupboards…

You know. Useless crap like that.

I’ll make a list next time and keep it by the wine, that way when I go to grab a glass on the weekend I can have a laugh while I pour…

 

Friday, Fall and Garden Gnome Gary

Friday is finally here and the rejoicing has begun. Even the dog is happy….for a change. The sun has finally appeared and all seems to be almost right with the world. Now if we can only get the world to cooperate.Fall is knocking on my front door and I’m thinking I should get my ass in gear this year to be ready for a festive season, unlike previous years where I bought a pumpkin the day of Halloween and made the kids carve it after school. It was an interesting looking pumpkin. Sort of like Quasimodo meets Mickey Mouse.  

This year, I should be preparing early for Halloween by making up some treat bags that have actual treats in them and not pencils or small ghoul-shaped erasers or left over Froot Loops…what? Desperate times….

Or, find some pumpkins and paint them freaky colours so my neighbours think I actually do something besides throw a random pumpkin on the front step and take a sharpie and draw on a weird-ass awkward smile…then blame the kids for not being ‘motivated with the spirit of Halloween’. Damned kids.

I’m thinking of scoping out a local field and thieving a hay stack to throw on my front porch. A) Field? B) Will a haystack fit in my Corolla? I should have asked that ever important question when I bought the car. Note to self, ask next time.

My garden gnome Gary has been hanging out in the front garden all summer. I found him toppled over face first in the dirt. Poor Gary. I stood him upright and vowed to include him in my fall-planning. I’m thinking I could make him more fall-like if I hide him inside a plastic skull and sharpie on some fake blood. He could become Ghoulish Gary by Halloween. I bet I’ll start a trend and the ‘hood will be filled with blood-stained garden gnomes strewn all over front porches…It’ll be like the Walking Dead only we could call it the March of the Garish Gnomes….WHO’S WITH ME??!!  

I love getting out the scented candles and lighting them on crisp fall evenings…yes, I just took that from a Good Housekeeping magazine. HAHAHAHA. So cute. The rest of us just throw on the washing machine and hope the fabric softener makes the house smell clean.  

There are so many DIY sites with awesome ideas for fall decorating, that I should check them out. Or not. I’ll see if any include Sharpies and colouring garden gnomes, otherwise I’m out.

My biggest tip to get ready for fall is stock up on that wine before we have another wine shortage crises and the world comes crashing down around our feet and we have to actually think of something creative to do with our time. Pffft…STOP ME NOW BEFORE I GO TO MICHAELS AND SUCCUMB TO THE SMELL OF THE CRAFT PAINT.

OH THE HUMANITY…..    

 

 

Just NOPE

I’m a big ball of frustrations these past few days with little explanation for it. Not sure if it’s the adults who occupy my world, or if it’s just me. The weather may have some kind of influence on me. It’s a total shitball of crap. 

 The cloudy/rainy/drizzly/foggy/never-gonna-see-the-sun-again weather is getting exhausting, so I would rather be hiding under the covers in my bed with a bottle of Cab and some chocolate, than doing anything that requires my immediate and undivided attention. I don’t want to drive anyone anywhere, pick anyone up, cook anything, clean anything, buy anything or sell anything. I don’t want to order anything, pet anything, feed anyone, pick anything off of the floor, wipe the dog’s arse, clean the toilet, fill up a washing machine or have anything to do with any kind of motorized shitty moving appliance. I don’t want to sprint, run, jump, pull, push, sit up, sit down then stand up again, dance, flail, or otherwise move in an unconventional Gawd-did-not-intend-my-body-to-move-like-this kinda way. I don’t want to hear complaints, idle shitty gossip about the lady that didn’t like her husband’s car so she drove it off the ledge and into the bottom of the lake kind of story that I just made up in my head so don’t go looking for that headline in some newspaper because it doesn’t exist; I don’t want to hear a bad joke, good joke or any kind of humorous anecdote or “OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT” because, no. Nope. I don’t want to be nice, or mean or happy or sad. I don’t want to be excited or surprised; guilty or upset; worried or anxious; gleefully joyous or blissfully ignorant…

Although, I MAY want to be that last one.

That pretty much covers it.

Have a nice day….ugh.  

Blueprints After Irma

Hurricane Irma has everyone’s rapt attention. Her wrath on the state of Florida is consuming my every waking moment. It’s tough to look away when the wind and rain is hurdling debris, trees and parts of buildings down the streets. The newscasters are out in full force attempting to stand upright while the wind and rain try to beat them senseless. It’s all devastating and awful and makes our little bit of rain bearable in comparison. There’s always someone who knows someone who lives in Florida, and even way up here in Newfoundland, the lives of those we know are touched by this storm. The people who chose to take refuge on their boats seem odd and careless to us, seemingly neglectful and much too cavalier for such a huge storm that is barrelling towards them, but that was their choice to make. Cross your fingers and hope for the best.  
Now that the cleanup has begun in several parts of Florida, the devastation of the hurricane is impossible to ignore. Boats are strewn about like miniature toys a child has grown bored with; in places where there should be water there is now only barren mud and soil, and where there should be dry streets, there are floodwaters impersonating rivers. The people who had hunkered down in their boats to ‘wait out’ the storm, are hopefully still alive to tell a terrifying and horrific tale. We still wait to hear about them.
Let’s not forget the first responders who risked their lives to help others who were caught in the midst of a raging storm. Two responders killed while trying to assist a shelter and the other merely trying to get to his job. The storm has taken more than just ‘things’.
The destruction of Irma not only shows us how fleeting our existence really is, but also how vulnerable we are to nature and all of its whims. We have witnessed the decimation of cities and towns across Florida and the Caribbean and the destruction of lives this hurricane has brought. Our survival remains on a precarious ledge between having everything and existing with nothing. How we take advantage of the simplest things like electricity, the ability to shower, clean drinking water and waste management systems. Things we thought we could not live without now seem insignificant in the wake of such destruction. Our cherished belongings seem not so cherished. Our perspective has changed from needing that rare piece of art or that hot pair of shoes, to holding on to our loved ones with fervent desperation. And so it should.
This hurricane, by all accounts, was ferocious and left devastation in its wake that will take time to overcome. It will not be the last ‘monster storm’ or devastating event, on the contrary, it will be one of many. How we choose to respond to such extreme weather events determines our resolve and strength as communities. We rely on each other for kindness, compassion and assistance, not looting, maiming and taking advantage of others when the chips are down.
Pulling together in times of strife and seeking new ways to live with nature in this evolving ever-changing environment has become the new blueprint for our way forward.  
Take care of each other…

 

Mother Teresa Died in 1997 And I Feel Kinda Guilty About That Now

The warm weather is hanging around making me believe summer is not yet over, but I know better.  The Weather Gods are just lulling me into a false sense of security with all of this warmth, only to blast me with cold weather in a few days or so.  Then I’ll be shocked and appalled and lighting the fireplace and lamenting the summer.  I’ll be shaking and quivering with the chill, rummaging through drawers looking for warmer sweaters and the Snuggie I bought daughter for Christmas, one year.

Trying to de-clutter my environment is like trying to set water on fire.  I just get one thing away and two new things pop up.  I have so many things I want to do, that doing one thing at a time seems wasteful and boring and not at all accomplishing anything, when really, it would be so much better than spinning my wheels.

Maybe I should get my attention span checked out.  Can someone do that?  I just don’t think I can sit still long enough to take all the tests that are probably required to determine that shit.  Maybe there’s an online version, but then I would get distracted with the other stuff happening online, then one of the adult/children would need me to rescue them from the new devil-printer that seems to be possessed and prints whatever the hell it wants, or Hubby will need me to figure out the phantom pain he has in the back of his neck that’s really not the back of his neck but more like the back of his head that maybe some bug bit him while he on his walk because it really hurts….

Maybe it’s not my attention span at all.  Huh.

It’s a good thing I have hobbies and you people to walk this journey with me and tolerate all of my nonsense.  And wine.

Ps.  I just wrote this on the front of my agenda because at the time, I thought it was funny but now my Catholic conscience is getting the better of me and I feel guilty about the whole ‘dead’ thing.  I’ll be over here saying ten Hail Marys…

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And hoping my water will turn into wine because, Jesus.

 

Top Ten Ways Busy Moms  Can Carve Out Some Precious ‘Me’ Time

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New moms, toddler moms, moms with tweens, teens, young adults and even moms with baby hippos, finding time for oneself in a non-stop kid-infested world can be downright challenging if not impossible.  There is always SOMETHING that NEEDS our attention or SOMEONE who desperately NEEDS our help.  OH MY GAWD, MOM WE RAN OUT OF TUNA.  You know, that kind of drama is just a pimple on the face of a pre-pubescent girl in the world of scenarios.  Being a SuperMom is downright exhausting!

Feeling the pressure?  Especially with the start of a new school year which brings fundraisers, bake sales, the ever popular candy bar sales and of course, who can forget EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY IN THE WORLD IN THE HISTORY OF EVER BEING HELD ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT.

Been there, done that.

Now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’ I’ve had the luxury of sitting back and taking stock of all the madness that was their childhoods.  Here are some of my fave ways of regaining some sanity,  taking some breathing room and really just savouring a few minutes for that much needed break.  I mean wine.  Much needed wine.

Ask for help – For God’s sake woman, you do not need to rule the world all in one day. Ask Hubby/ spouse/significant other/pet llama to pull some weight and help take one of the little darlings to dance class or gymnastics or cyber crime unit day, or whatever it is those young kids do nowadays.  Remember the old ‘take turns’ you learned in Kindergarten?  Yeah, that still applies.  There is no shame in asking somebody you trust to get Kid A to Place A so you can sit down and have a glass of wine.  NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT STATEMENT.  Do we have to review the whole labour/delivery thing?  Okay….

Read a Book – Remember those? They have covers and pages and words that are not accompanied by little bunnies rolling down hills. They have actual words bigger than ‘the’.  You are able to read said book whilst child is swimming, dueling, wrestling, skating…etc.  You do not need to spend every waking minute watching your kid drown in the pool during swimming lessons.   THAT’S WHY THEY HAVE LIFEGUARDS.    Even if you read ONE SENTENCE, you will feel almost adult-like.  Amazing…

Sign up for some scheduled class- Fun Fact: There are adult classes to learn new and exciting things like yoga, or exercise, or spin class or vibrational cooking…whatever the hell you want! Schedule yourself on your mommy calendar just like you scheduled all of your kids’ activities. That way, you practically guarantee a space for you.  STICK TO IT AND DON’T GIVE IT UP OR YOU WILL DIE.  That’s how you have to approach it.  Your health, mental and physical, may depend on it.

Lunch Break Walk-  I admit this one is kinda lame, especially if you work at job where leaving is like an episode from Prison Break, but it does have its merits if you can swing it.  If you work outside the home, it’s probably one of the only times you get to adult so cling to that and hang out with the co-workers you like and invite her/him/them along.  Could be a fun half hour.  Or lame.  Totally lame.  Crap shoot, really.

Repeat this phrase: “No, that doesn’t work for me” – Seriously, you are allowed to say ‘no’ and not just to all of your offspring. I mean to other parents, especially the snooty moms who have all kinds of time on their hands and sit back and drink wine on their porches and bake REAL HOMEMADE ORGANIC PRESERVATIVE FREE COOKIES AT THE BAKSALES and don’t invite you to sit and drink because you’re too busy RUNNING AROUND CARTING ALL OF THEIR KIDS AND YOURS TO ACTIVITIES.   Yeah.  Stop that.  Practice being a ‘snooty mom’.  And baking is overrated.

Extricate yourself from the situation – Just totally remove yourself from being involved.  In anything.  Be involved with your child, but don’t feel you have to join all the PTA meetings and the council meetings or the Society For Being a Mom Organizational Association…thing.   Pick one committee in which you can participate without overstretching yourself and do that.  There is no rule anywhere saying you have to be involved in EVERY school function, committee, organization or whatever.  ONE THING.

Carpooling is your new best friend – It’s best when everyone can lend a hand and carpooling can be a lifesaver….when it’s not abused. Or your generosity is not taken advantage of.  Fair is fair so outline the rules going in with other parent(s) so everyone is on the same page.  Make sure Johnny is aware who is driving or picking up so he can expect Mr. Jones to be there and not Mrs. Lazynski who wears her hair funny and smells a bit ‘off’.

Chores – When the kiddos are in charge of their own shit, it takes on a whole new meaning. As moms, we tend to think that ‘taking care’ of the kids equates to doing everything for them.  Not so fast.  They need to take SOME responsibility for their stuff, so start doling out things they are capable of handling and EXPECT them to follow through.   For example, if Tuesdays are hockey practice give him/her the responsibility of having their bag packed with ALL of their gear and having it ready at the door by the expected time.  If they get to practice and something is missing – a natural and logical consequence would be to miss practice.  They HAVE to take responsibility for their shit at some point.  They won’t forget next time.  I SWEAR TO GAWD IF YOU GET IN THAT CAR AND DRIVE HOME TO GET THE MISSING GEAR AND THEN BACK TO THE RINK I WILL THROW A GLASS OF WINE AT YOU AND MAKE YOU LICK IT UP.  It’s only practice.  They’ll live.

Lie – Sometimes, in life telling the truth can be downright harmful to everyone’s health. Especially, yours.  In the interest of healthy lifestyles, lying comes in as one of the top things to do when you are desperately seeking wine time.   Oh, sure…don’t get on that high horse, you’ll get a nosebleed.  HOW DO YOU THINK THE SNOOTY MOMS GET TO SIT ON THEIR PORCHES.  That’s right.  That headache has suddenly reappeared and Johnny may have to miss ONE NIGHT of Judo.  The kid has been kicking his sister for years, I think he has that move down pat…

Alcohol? Why yes, please –  Basically, it’s all about the wine, so enjoy!  You’ve earned your glass so kick up your feet and indulge in a glass or five before somebody notices you can no longer drive.

That’s it.  Your list to freedom and some peace among the hectic, no holds barred world of kids, activities and school functions that make being a parent the joyous roller coaster ride it is…Good luck and may the wine be ever in your favour.