Tuesday, August 23, 2016

F is for F A I L

Well, we've reached that part of the summer where I throw up a white flag and admit defeat. We are at that point where all good intentions declare that they were just that, good intentions. The whole time dangling in front of me like there was actually a chance I was going to do any of them with the kids.

Another summer not done well under our belts. We are the champions. The champions of making lists and pretending like any of us wanted to do any of it. Is it possible to be proud and ashamed at the same time?

I cannot be the only mother out there who feels this, and yet Facebook and Instagram tell me I most probably am. If all those happy summer pictures are telling the truths 1000 words could say, but don't need to, then we had a seriously unusual summer that involved an out of town husband, a teenager who stays out until the wee hours of EVERY SINGLE DAY, video games for Holden, YouTube for Amelia, business website building for me, and me sleeping in until 10am in an attempt to recover from late night teenager abuse.

If I was smart, I would have declared early on that this type of summer is the summer to beat. But I forgot to declare such a thing, and now I am forced to live in missed summertime fun regret.

Or guilt? I don't actually regret any of it.

It used to be that the man worked and I played with the kids all summer. Back in the days where I controlled their every move. I shuffled them around here and there. Calaway Park, the zoo, every splash park that existed back in the day. I even took them camping for days upon days. We had all the fun.

And now half of them work and stay up too late and look at me like my sole intention in life is to torture them. And the other half despise each other.

Three teenagers and a prepubescent 10 year old. This is my life now. It is very different than what it used to be.

Speaking of that, I have a 10 going on 17 year old up for grabs. She used to be the cute one. But this summer she has found her inner antagonist. Sassing the others seems to be what fuels her. She is on fire with it. She is driving me, and all the others batty. Anyway, I thought I'd offer her up here before I list her on Kijiji.

Side note: She made more money than I did this summer and that is no word of a lie. She was employed as a mother's helper. She got paid to play with children. All that money went straight to her head, she got cocky.

A cocky 10 year old is...well...obnoxious.

Anyhoo, there is only a couple weeks left of summer and I think we did 2 of our fun list items. It doesn't help that the 13 year old broke his arm which instantly rendered 77% of our fun list useless. Between the crappy weather, the bickering teen and preteen, my weird sleeping schedule, which I will defend as awesome until my dying day, I lost my zeal for outsidedness. Which apparently, everyone else's zeal is contingent upon.

We failed summer. A giant F. F is for F A I L.

On a happy note, my husband has moved back home, for the most part. He has been working out of town since March. He shows up on occasion for a shower and a cuddle and then poof, he is gone again.

On a sad note (depending on who you ask) despite the happiness we feel at being able to see his handsome mug on a daily basis, I have suffered a tragic realization, and one that will never be fully realized. I have become irrationally accustomed to having the huge bed all to myself. I really really really enjoy sleeping alone.

Like, profoundly enjoy it.

Insert gasping face emoji here.

But, alas, it is not to be because I am a married woman. And also, I am not 73 and bedtime estranged from my husband. Being the optimist I am, however, I try to find the fun in the situation. Boring holes into him with my wide awake eyes in the middle of the night is what I have come up with, so far. And the real kicker? For whatever reason, call it maturity or common sense or whatever,  he does not want to join me in my dysfunctional sleep routine where going to bed by 3am is an "early night".

He is the pooper in this party for two.

Although, I have decided that in the long run, it might be nice to have another adult here modelling good behaviour. Heaven knows, this house full of teens could use that.

Side eye emoji.

But being the gracious and loving man he is, and knowing that sleep is a delicate notion for me, I often wake in the night to find him teetering on the edge of our giant bed, making every possible attempt to give me my space. Add this to the reasons we love him and allow him into our bed. And by our bed, I mean my bed.

Obviously.

I would try to feel bad about his lack of sleeping comfort, but let us remember that 1) he was literally sleeping in a van down by the river and anything has to be more comfortable than that. And 2), I am using all my guilty conscience feelings lamenting about another summer possibly lost to good intentions, even if they were never true ones.

There is only so much human deficiency I can shoulder at any given time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I promised the people I would actually make dinner tonight and they are all staring at me as though I have lied to them. Again. I  know what they are all thinking. Will she yell "fend for yourself", as I have been known to yell, in those last make or break minutes before it becomes too late to begin.

I do believe they are silently challenging me to resurrect this antiquated practice, even if it is only for one day.

Challenge accepted.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

resurgence

It is August 17, and I have thought about resurrecting my blog (like, for real) about 3267 times this summer. I love it, it's fun. So......

 Don't ask me why I haven't kept it up. My answer would sound something like, "because books and crochet and kids and dishes and confusion and un-organization and crochet and outings and novels and teenagers and business books and novels and crochet and dishes and research about business, oh and laundry and crochet and movies and husband and kids and books and football and thinking and confusion and reunions and crochet and novels and friends and kids and teenagers and novels and insomnia and crochet."

 It has been a very busy summer, can't you see? And did I tell you I am starting a business? Well, I am. I am starting a business because looking for work I don't even want to do is stupid and dumb and stupid. But making work for myself I want to do is awesome and exciting and awesome.

 It was my counselor's idea. She's a genius.

 Did I tell you I am in counselling? No, obviously, we haven't spoken in forever. You know what? Everyone should go into counselling at some point in their life. It's exhilarating to organize the mental chaos that can weigh you down. I've had a lot of changes this past year....

 A LOT!

 ...and it was becoming a beast I did not know how to control. It was like KABLAMMIE, all of a sudden I didn't know who I was anymore, yet it was totally expected that I be someone. My soul was bursting with a hankering to be reborn. But into who? I had no clue, and still barely do. I know who I am not and never want to be. But I needed someone to help harness my energy and diffuse the bomb that was about to blow.

 The man looks at me like I have two heads, so it was certainly not going to be him.

 Also, I need to talk about being in therapy because one thing I have learned in therapy it's that when I talk the inner recesses of me sing with delight.

 It's like the hills are alive with the sound of my psychoses music.

 Seriously though, I need to write. It is a whole level of therapy unto itself. But my nails are wet and so this taking forever.

 I told the kids we would do two fun things a week this summer. And when I say 'kids' I mean the youngest two because that's really all I have left. The older two are either working and being all independent-like, or not speaking to me and acting like a really annoying teenager. I'll let you guess which of the older two fill each of those positions. So it's just the younger two and me left, and they can't stand each other. Trying to do fun things with them is really just a test of my patience. Which, as I paid money to find out, I have none of. So really it becomes an exercise in how many people I can offend and roll my eyes at when I take them out in public because they have bickered me into a shell of a human being.

 But, it's been a great summer because I am reinventing myself and therefore my future and that is fun, right? But is it fun for everyone? And at least twice a week? I dare say, YES! And tough beans for you if you aren't having fun with my reinvention.

Today I dragged the youngers to the grocery store and then made them go in without me while I played on my phone because I really despise the store. I bought them lunch. I asked them if they were having fun. They dared look at me like I was kidding. Which was fun-ny so I yelled, "excellent! We have met 50% of the fun quota this week! Congratulations on having fun."

 And the we went home because we are exhausted from all the fun.

So cheers to rebirth, resurgence, and reinvention.

Welcome to my new blog.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

impatience and indecision

In January I learned how to crochet and it has pretty much ruined my life and the lives of my family.

"What's for dinner, mom?"

"Hmmm, I'm not really sure. Unless you want to eat one of these four blankets I have crocheted then I'm not really sure..."

"Do I have any clean laundry, mom?"

"Hmmmm, I do not believe so. But hold up, if you give me a couple days I will crochet you something to wear. It'll be super cool. I promise."

"Mom, can we go do something fun. Maybe outside? Or maybe you could drive us somewhere fun?"

"Hmmmm, no."

"Why?"

"Because crochet."

I just want to crochet all the time. Everything. And anything. And all the bloody things. Everything wants, no needs, to be crocheted. By me.

I am having a love affair with Crochet.

I have come to discover in the last four months, since Crochet moved in, that this particular art comes with a few sets of problems. And these problems don't suit my nature. And by nature, I mean the demons that live inside me which determine whether or not I can accomplish something.

Turns out I have a demon that has been hibernating inside the deep recesses of my crafting soul. And that is the Never-Satisfied-With-My-Yarn-Choices demon. That demon, we will name Indecision, because that's what it is. Plus, it is different than Impatience, which is the demon that has plagued me most of my life.

It is probably quite conceivable that I have been to the yarn store no less than 11 times in the last 9 days due to Indecision. Blast that Indecision. He is a thorn unto me!

But, over the last 21 years, Impatience and I have come to an understanding of sorts. And that understanding is the man. This is how it goes:

I try something for 1 second.
It frustrates me.
I throw an epic temper tantrum.
The man steps in and fixes it.

We really appreciate the man around here.

Impatience has reared its ugly head in exponential proportions as of late, since Crochet has moved in and turned everything all topsy turvy around here.

Yarn is a necessity of crochet. But, yarn is also a product of the devil. Because it tangles. And tangles upset Impatience immensely.  I will now use pictures to show you what has become of my home. Because words alone will not suffice.


Excuse the crappy, night time iPhone shots. We work with what we have around here.




Many hours of The Office was watched while the detangling happened.










Red yarn, grey yarn, variegated yarn. We don't discriminate.

                     


                             He is a good man. A patient man. And clearly one with a disorder.



     His face may indicate that he isn't loving every minute of this but, trust me, that's his happy face.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

what do i know?

You know what I think? I think that if I am going to work for free that I may as well clean the house, bake, crochet, read, and blog. And blog often. At least that job is fun.

So why don't I blog more? Don't ask me stuff. I don't know anything about anything.

Apparently.

I recently became an employed person. And then promptly became an unemployed person. I thought I wanted to be employed. I mean, I do. It is what I want. But I don't know that I am quite ready to sell my soul for it. And this is what is happening around here. Of course, I went to university and got a degree. Why would anyone do that unless it is to be employed? I would like to be employed. Eventually. But I would also like to like my job, or at least get paid for a job, because there is a sacrifice that comes with it and so the balance is delicate. Delicate balances need much consideration. Am I right?

What I was not anticipating was that the moment I graduated from University our economy was going to tank.

And tank hard.

I should have anticipated it, because it only makes sense that this would happen to me. These kinds of things happen to me all the time.

The economy tanked so hard that people like me: the smart and (life) experienced (I was naive enough to think that meant something), eager, mature, ambitious and all good things kind of people could not find work. I can't even tell you why I couldn't find work, because out of hundreds of applications in a five month period I got one interview. And then I got that job.

ONE.

One interview. That's it. One. Measly. Interview.

I wasn't thrilled about it either after I met with the Bossman. It was for a small start up that needed a writer.

I write. Right?

So the guy told me what he paid and I think I made a yikes face because he sat straight up and said he could get people to do it for less than that. That was the first moment I caught a whiff of his salesman odour. I replied with a hey, hey. Hold up, big guy. Can I do two projects a month? To which he responded you can do ten a month, I don't care. You go for it.

His first big lie.

But, despite my skepticism, I thought what the heck do I have to lose at this point? I have no other prospects. I'm bored as all get out. Let's give it a go. 

I gave it a big, huge go. And very shortly after I began that go all the red flags raised. I put them off to the side so I couldn't see so them so clearly because I suspected that although this job smelled funny, I was also being a bit of a snob. Plus, what do I know about being a working woman? Not much.

Not much, I say. So I carried on.

A month passed and the scope of work became clear. There was no way on this planet two projects were going to get done a month. Not at the rate Bossman was holding me up and putting me off with his grand vision and potential opportunity speeches.

So, in a fit of frustration, I went to work one day to confront him. I had demands and visions of my own to explain. He beat me to the punch and offered me a raise and a promotion.

Ooooooooh, okay. I wasn't expecting that. I accepted, because like I said before, what do I have to lose at this point? Still nothing to lose since I had nothing anyway. And then Bossman smiled at me and suggested I come "work", for free, until my start date, which was unclear.

Hmmmmmmm................... Let me think about that for a second.

No. Nope. No thank you. No. No siree, Bob. Not gonna happen, Bossman. But....but....but....all the vision......and all the potential.....

I went home to contemplate just how I was going to handle this. I figured if I was going to become venomous I would much prefer doing that via the written word, as my written word is much more beautiful than my raving, lunatic personal performance could ever be.

So I did the classy thing. And by classy I totally mean cowardly. I wrote him an email. It was the most satisfying experience of my life. Well, the second most. Second only to the day Brooklyn came out on DVD and I bought it.

I informed him his charlatan ways don't fly with me. I told him I was onto him and that I'd given him far too much of my free awesome already.

I told him his grand vision and potential opportunity don't pay my bills. I suspect they aren't even paying his bills, but that isn't my problem anymore. I suggested where he might like to stick said vision and opportunity.

So here I sit. In my slippers and pajamas at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon, unemployed and loving it. Don't tell the man I said that last part. The poor dude had to leave us to go work in Vancouver where the building industry apparently adores the bad economy because there is work there. Lots of it.

So he works there. I don't work here.

See how that works?

I don't know much, but I do know that this chasing a career thing is for the birds. I did not care for my first pilgrimage into careerland. It sucked the rotten egg.

Monday, February 1, 2016

ladies of the mountains

This blogging business is tough. First of all, I forget all about it for days and days and 101 days.

It literally has been 101 days. But, who's counting? Surely, not you.

Anyway, I have lists and lists of things I want to say. My life is actually pretty interesting right now. Teenagers, job hunts, religion.... The fun never stops, no wonder I can't find time to blog.

So, here's the thing, some great things do happen on occasion and I get to share that greatness with you because of this here blog and so here I am sharing it because it was great and all great things should be shared, youknowwhatImean?

I went on a little holiday with some pretty great gals. I really love these ladies. They serve all sorts of purposes in my life. One of those purposes is planning getaways in the mountains and then telling me where and when to go and then I go. Because, well, mountains and friends.

Me and the mountains. There never was so great a match made in heaven. Even though, as of late, all my mountaining equals me indoors. It's funny, I'm not a real outdoorsy kind of gal, and yet, I'm all about being in the mountains. Some of these ladies went snowshoeing and cross country skiing and things such as that; whereas, I sat on my butt and read books and crocheted and even took weird mountain air induced naps and things such as that.

That's how I do mountains. I need to learn to stay on point.

Here's what we did.

The first night we stayed at the beautiful and swanky Copper Point Resort, in Invermere. It was lovely, and I got a king sized bed all to myself, which is what happens when you leave the men at home.


I highly recommend that, by the way. I mean, I like my man, but I also love to sleep alone in giant beds with all the pillows every now and then. Don't tell him that, I hate to watch him cry.

The next day we journeyed all the way to Radium, it took minutes. About 12, or something. We got settled into the amazing BigHorn Meadows Resort.



This was my bed, thank you very much.


And this was my VERY OWN bathroom, thank you very much.



And these were my neighbours. They were so polite, their mama's raised them well.
Thank you very much!


We walked about the town and bought stuff and ate all the food at the Blue Dog Cafe. This is where I fail at blogging. I neglected to photograph all that food that I ate so you'll have to take my word for it. We ate it all. We just kept going back and getting more. Worth it, I swear. Eat the grilled cheese and guacamole sandwich and then send me the thank you card you will most definitely want to send me. 


Ice fishing, anyone?

My favourite little consignment store I have ever graced was across the street from the Blue Dog Cafe. I'd show you a picture, but I didn't take one...

But I did buy this because obviously I needed it.

We found a thrift shop where they were selling books for practically free and I forgot for a moment that my 2016 New Year's Resolution (which was a stupid resolution to make and has since been forsaken, thank you Kate Atkinson) was to not buy books so my friend, Merry promptly reminded me ,and when I shed a tear she took the books from my hand and stood in line to buy them for me.
                                         We call this level of friendship and sacrifice - love.

                                                      That reminds me, I owe her $2.50. 

And then one of the best things that has ever happened to me happened. I learned how to crochet.

Again. 

I am pretty sure I learned as a child, because my mother is a very gifted crocheter, but nothing ever came of it so it was like nothing ever happened. The tree, the forest...that sort of thing.

I took this...

...and made this hat.



Which fits no one.

This is neither here nor there. The point is, I made that hat and that is extraordinary. My friend Erin, is very talented, and very patient, and she has created a crochet machine named Catherine that stayed up until 2:30 this morning making this epic blanket that I love so much and isn't even half way done but is giving me a reason to watch Bloodline on the Flix. Again.

As if I need a reason.



I am off topic again.

We ate here for dinner one night. And wow, so excellent. I was really impressed, especially since it was in the Super 8 and we all know about the Super 8...

I recommend the Key Lime Chicken Stack, of which I do not have a picture. 

And then, we hit the hot springs in Radium and I didn't want to go because I am so very lazy, but I got guilted into it by Tiffany from My Dirt because I made her drive to my house and get the swimsuit I forgot and bring it to me and she did because that's what I told her to do and so then she said "you better get in that hot tub" and I did get in.



We won't talk about the time I fell on my butt inside Kicking Horse Coffee. No one got a picture so did it even really happen? It's my word against theirs and I don't even drink coffee, so is it even really fair that I hypothetically fell on my butt inside a coffee shop? 
No. No, it isn't.

And then the next morning we left, because as they say, "all good things must come to an end."



You know, I think it's dangerous letting a bunch of women go away together. There is always the risk they won't come back.

If you would like to take that risk, and I do believe you should. I feel strongly, in fact, that you need to, you can stay at the BigHorn Meadows Resort for 20% off any 2 or more night stay (not valid on long weekends - so don't even try that crap) until June 23, 2016.

Go! Book it! Do it now, but make sure you mention the Blogger Special when you do so they don't look at you funny.

Happy vacationing!



Friday, October 23, 2015

beyond ordinary understanding: a novel

In the summer of 2009 I had a dream. Actually, it was a nightmare. And it left me rattled. I dreamt my husband and I were shopping on the streets of Italy. We went into a shop that interested me, and at some point he decided to go outside and wait for me. When I left the shop I couldn't find him.

I never saw him again.

The feelings this dream invoked in my soul woke me and kept me awake the entire night. Which, if you know me, is no surprise since sleep is not something I excel at. I was entirely distraught, but that is not all. I felt something I have never felt before, a sorrow so deep inside me it affected me physically. I wretched over the toilet that night as I tried to pull from my sleepy stupor what was happening. Was I sick? No, I wasn't. I was sad. Profoundly sad. And all from a dream. I wept for my own imaginary loss. The entire night I wept, and into the next day. I couldn't even describe in words my melancholy.

I still can't. It was a wordless feeling.

I tried to process it, tried to convince myself it was just a dream. There was no way anyone could feel that much despair in real life. But, I knew that wasn't true, people feel that all the time. I had never felt it in real life myself, and I hope I never do. It was a gut wrenching sensation.

I tried to write about it. I sat on occasion and tried journaling this one feeling I couldn't seem to describe. I began entertaining thoughts of writing a story about it. Eventually that story turned into a novel. Something fictitious. Yet real.

Does that make sense? I didn't think so...

Over the course of the next two years I created in my head characters that were not only capable of feeling this type of pain, but also inflicting it. Thoughts on the subject came at random times and in random places. I took notes on paper, napkins, receipts, and in my phone.

One hot day, as I was driving the kids to the Okanagan to see my parents, I was deeply entrenched with the creation of this novel. As I drove I tried to fix into my memory all the thoughts I had when all of sudden we came to a dead halt due to construction. We did not move for over an hour and as we waited I typed madly into my phone. Notes upon notes. The plot thickened and grew and before I knew it I was giddy at the thought of writing this book. I was a woman obsessed with recreating that one emotion I felt inside a dream two years earlier.

For months I added to those notes. In church I would find myself distracted by the characters and their choices. I would take notes on the sides of church bulletins, on my hand, wherever I could find space. I collected these bulletins in my bedside table, next to my notebook and my scraps of paper and all those receipts. It was a hodge podge of crazy. I knew it was going to be a chore to organize, but I didn't care. It was growing into something of its own. Like I had no say in the matter.

Yet somehow I was going to be responsible if it didn't happen.

And then my husband and I went to Mexico. The hot Mexican sun, coupled with the spotty wifi, and its evil Mexican sorcery took my phone and deleted every single thing on it. All my pictures (even the awesome puffer fish I found), all my contacts, and...

...all my notes.

Everything was gone. Pages upon pages, and hours upon hours of thoughts, ideas and character quirks...gone.

I was ill about it.

It was so upsetting to me I had no choice but to put it straight out of my head. I went into total denial. I tried to let it go, like it never happened. But every now and then it crept back in. Little snippets here and there tortured me. Why didn't I email the notes to myself? Back the information up? Why didn't I protect my baby? I have no answers. I just didn't. I could barely look myself in the mirror. What a giant waste of time. I had given so much thought to this project, and through my own negligence it was just gone.

Over the years it has slowly been reborn. If my memory serves me, it is almost identical, minus a few strokes of brilliance here and there. I will make attempts to recreate those as I go.

I find myself at a crossroads in my life. I am done school. And as I look for a job that suits my family I find myself totally consumed by thoughts of this novel.

So it's time.

I mentioned to my friends that I wanted to get it out. I was looking into a weekend away to start writing it in the mountains, for the mountains are where ideas come to life, don't you know? My friends, who are nothing short of amazing, pooled their loose change and their collective genius, and said go go go. Go now! And before I knew it I had three nights booked at the Banff Centre in a self-directed writing residency paid for entirely by them.

And this is where I sit, telling you this story. On the side of a mountain.

These friends of mine are making dreams come true. Do they even know what they are capable of? These ladies are my army, my village. I hope they'll be gentle with me when they read the book. Because this is happening, people.

As we speak, this is happening.