Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fuck fuck fuck

There, that title should have scared off anyone who's easily offended.  I'm so pissy today that I kind of wish someone would start with me, just so I'd have an excuse to kick some ass.  And no, I'm not counting the fucking trolls who post inane comments on my blog.  Of course it's nostalgic, dumbass.  What the fuck were you expecting from a linky about cartoons? 

It's days like this that I miss my kickboxing club.  Beating up the heavy bag in my basement just isn't the same.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Princess of Power

 My first cartoon-related memory is really not age appropriate.  We didn't have a TV until I was 14 - my parents didn't believe in them and I kind of think they were right.  I love watching TV now, but I feel progressively stupider every year and I'm pretty sure a constant stream of The Real Housewives of Slutville isn't helping any.  But I digress.

When I was in elementary school, boxes of hand-me-down clothing regularly arrived from my cousins.  I was in second grade when a box arrived with a truly spectacular article of clothing.  The next day at school, I put the message out for all the boys in my class to meet me in the coat closet, because I had something to show them. 

And this was how my teacher ended up opening the coat closet door to find me standing on a chair, holding up my jumper to display my amazing new Wonder Woman underwear to a crowd of awe-struck 7-year old boys.  My parents must be relieved that I became an accountant, not a stripper.

With that auspicious start, let's move on to my top 5 favourite cartoons for a Listography from Kate at Kate Takes 5 - the linky's here if you want to play too.

1)  Thundercats

Can I just say how much I still love this logo?  My two favourite colours, crisp clean lines, and a feline vibe...it's all good. 

Thundercats was all about She-Ra for me.  My little control freak heart thrilled at the idea of being a Princess of Power, red cape and all.

2)  Popples

I don't think I saw the Popples show more than once, but it made an impression and my Popple was one of my favourite toys for years.

3)  Rainbow Brite

Cuz she's just so cute!  And that horse is magnificent.

4)  Inspector Gadget

I still remember the day I realized that Penny was the one who actually solved all the cases.  It just wasn't the same after that.  I felt sorry for Penny having to put up with such a moron, and it took the fun out of the show for me.

5)  Smurfs

La la la la la la, la la la la la....the best cartoon ever!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wishing for an Australian angel

After months of searching for a memorial box for our twin angel babies, I've finally found one that's just right.

Unfortunately, the only place that sells this box is in Australia, and they won't ship to Canada.  I asked them for their manufacturer or wholesaler so I could try to buy it directly, but they haven't replied.

So I'm asking my bloggy friends if you know anywhere else that sells this box.  It's called "Angel Kisses" and is made in Italy.  The alternative would be to find someone in Australia who would be willing to buy this box and then ship it to me in Canada and I'll fully reimburse you through Paypal. 

But I know that's a lot to ask, since you don't know me and whether or not I'm trustworthy.  Still, if there are any Australian angels out there, I'd love to hear from you.

*Update*  I just found another urn that would be perfect (actually better because it's for twins, which I had pretty much given up on) and this one's in the States...but again they don't ship to Canada!  I'm getting so frustrated.  Maybe I should buy one of those $1 U.S. houses online just to get a shipping address. 

Here's the U.S. one (called "Twins in Wings") - anyone know where I can find something like this in Canada?

Monday, November 21, 2011

These boots were made for tripping

The best thing about on-line shopping isn't the thrill of risking identity theft or finding some discontinued item you'd thought was gone forever.  It's the transformation of checking the mail.  Gone are the days of trudging mournfully to the mailbox, knowing that nothing but demands for your hard-earned money await.  Now you never know if a present will be waiting for you, sitting happily on top of all those annoying envelopes.

Especially if you buy something from another country, there can be a delay of several weeks between when you whip out your credit card and when the stuff shows up.  This is good because it takes away all the spending guilt.  By the time your purchases arrive, it feels like you didn't even buy them and some wonderful shopping fairy just came and put them in your mailbox to make you smile.

Last week I was excited to discover a large box on our front porch.  My favourite dark red boots had been scuffed beyond repair, and I had been searching fruitlessly for a year for knee high boots that were a polite enough shade of red that my office mates wouldn't mistake me for a prostitute.  When I found these on ebay, I snapped them up right away:

And they were finally here!  J. brought the box inside and I promptly tried them on.  They fit perfectly and I paraded up and down the living room to J.'s great enjoyment (possibly because I wasn't wearing anything except the boots).  I could hardly wait to wear them outside with a proper outfit.

On Saturday, S. was invited to a birthday party at a butterfly conservatory and I decided this was just the right occasion for my beautiful new boots.  After 10 minutes of wrestling my skinny jeans into the boots, I was ready to go.  When we got to the butterfly conservatory, I grabbed S.'s diaper bag, took her out of her car seat and headed toward the entrance.

Three steps away from the car, I tripped.  I couldn't see my feet because of everything I was carrying, so I just thought I had been my normal clumsy self.  But when I tried to keep going, I tripped again and could feel there was something wrong with my foot.  I put S. and the bags down and was met with the following horrifying sight:

The entire sole of the damn boot had come off.  For a moment I stood in the parking lot wondering why fate was so determined to stop me from ever feeling attractive again.  Then I took the boots off, threw them in the car and went on with the day.  From the butterfly conservatory to the lunch party at McDonald's, S. had a great time, and so did I.  In my socks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's your weird?

This week's Listography is the top 5 random things you like, but they have to be really random.  As Kate (the linky hostess) said, we don't want to hear "I like chocolate."  Since I'm pretty weird, this shouldn't be too difficult.

Here goes:

1)  I get equal enjoyment from a serious philosophical discussion of the themes in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as I do from a Britney Spears concert.  This means I often feel like some kind of cultural double agent, since the types of people I encounter in both situations don't tend to like each other much. 

2)  I love cat shows.  I don't just wander up and down the aisles either - I sit in the front row of the judging and take a great interest in the judge's examination of the cat and description of the breed standards.  Yes, they call me crazy cat lady.

3)  I like reading.  As in, I have 855 books in my house and may need to convert a second room into a library soon.  And I've read most of them and plan to read them all again.

4)  I like to eat potato chips only if they're all curled up, and will search through the whole bag for the ones that are "just right."  My husband thinks this is very odd behaviour, but I recently found a Facebook page called "I Prefer the Potato Chips Curled Up," so obviously I'm not alone.

5)  Speaking of being alone, I'm with Kate.  There's nothing I enjoy more than a solid 24 hours without having to talk to anyone.  I need and crave solitude and quiet to a level that's difficult to explain, and the constant deprivation of both has been the hardest part of motherhood so far.

Your turn - what are your random likes?

Friday, November 11, 2011

You gotta live it to feel it


Woot woot!  I try not to be a follower whore, but it did make me smile today to see that 200 people have chosen to experience my dysfunction up close and personal.  Hurray!  Now let's celebrate with a post that will no doubt offend a number of people and drop that number back down.

I think of myself as very empathetic and have always thought that I could put myself in another's shoes and appreciate what they're dealing with.  The flip side is that I also believed that others could do the same - basically that anyone could understand anyone else if they tried hard enough.  Among many other things, motherhood has taught me this just isn't true.  There's a line in this song where Eminem says "You gotta live it to feel it/you didn't, you wouldn't get it" and he's right.

Here are a few things I've experienced that have to be lived to be understood:

1)  Bullying

"Everyone gets teased on the playground.  They used to call me Stork Knees!" 

No.  You don't get it.  I'm talking about vicious emotional torture that continues for 5 out of every 7 days for years.  A relentless boot kicking your self esteem and sometimes your body into unconsciousness.  I'm talking about not having even one friend and knowing that every human being in sight despises you.

There's a coldness in me and an inability to forge deep friendships as an adult that I attribute to those years. Because how do I know you weren't the one making my life hell under a different name all those years ago?  And yes, I do hold a grudge.  Show me a grown-up "bully victim" who doesn't and I'll show you someone who thinks being called Stork Knees was being bullied.

Here's what I can't understand:

The experience of those who were abused at home.  I was fortunate to have loving parents to go home to and my house was a refuge.  My heart aches for all the children and teenagers around the world who have no safe place at all.

2)  Miscarriage

"The baby was only the size of a grape and a first-trimester miscarriage is like a bad period.  It doesn't really count as a death and you don't need to memorialize it." 

No.  You don't get it.  I'm talking about seeing your baby curled up on the ultrasound with that bright, beautiful heartbeat flashing life on the screen.  And then holding tiny, misshapen pieces of tissue in your hand and realizing those little white bits were your child's spine.  And those dark blobs on that lifeless round piece of jelly on your palm were his or her eyes. 

I'm talking about blood drenching your clothes as if you'd been in a swimming pool, and hunching over the toilet trying to breathe through contractions that you know will bring a corpse instead of an angry, triumphant cry of life.  I'm talking about the baby and placenta falling into the toilet and finding the strength to search through the blood for him or her, because you will not flush your child away.

Here's what I can't understand: 

The unimaginable agony of reaching to wake your 3-month old and receiving no response.  Waiting as the hours tick steadily by for a 10-year old who never makes it those few blocks home from school.  Opening the door at 1:00am, an hour after your 16-year old's curfew, to police officers with grim expressions.  These scenes are the real horror movies of life.

3)  Motherhood

"Why are mothers always whining?  They signed up for this after all!  Why don't they have time for their friends?  If they find it so difficult, maybe they aren't cut out for parenthood."

No.  You don't get it.  It's (sort of) OK - I didn't get it either before I had S.  Even that statement used to make me mad, but it's true.  The grinding day in and day out pressure of parenthood, and the fierce, bone-deep love that goes with it, are not things you can understand without living them. 

One of my dearest childhood friends just gave me a letter of encouragement that lifted my spirits more than I can say.  She told me how brave she thinks I am, and that although I'm struggling and feeling like I'm not getting by, she knows I can do it.  The most beautiful words in the whole letter were:

"I want you to know that you're not alone in this...and I know that your friends and family...cannot understand well enough to be all you need...But we are here."

It was a letter that could only have been written from one mother to another, and I will always treasure it.

Here's what I can't understand: 

The heartbreak of so many women who never get the chance to complain about parenthood.  Miscarrying over and over, with no baby at home to bring hope for the future.  The single mothers and fathers who shoulder all the responsibilities of parenthood without a partner to laugh and cry with.

I wanted to talk about a number of other issues - poverty, depression and other happy thoughts - but this is a post, not a book, so I'll leave those for another time. 

One last thought:

It's Remembrance Day and I've been thinking about what it would be like to be 18 years old in 1917, watching your high school crush march toward fields of blood.  And then 42 in 1942, married to a different man after your fiance never came home, watching your son again march toward fields of blood.  It's something I can't understand - the strength of the generation who went from World War I to the Great Depression to World War II - but I can certainly respect and honour them.

In remembrance of all who have fought for our freedom, past and present:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy awkward and awesome birthday

Yay!!  It's my birthday (go shorty, it's your birthday...) and I'm linking up with a new party for me - it's Awkward and Awesome Thursdays at The Daybook.

Awkward...While fetching coffee for our CFO like a good little 1950's girl, I accidentally terrorized the Starbucks cashier by handing her a piece of paper without saying anything.  She turned pale and then gasped, "Oh, it's your order!" with obvious relief.  Only then did I realize she had thought it was a hold-up note.  Oops.

Awesome...Going to renew my driver's license and health card and encountering the most efficient government worker ever.  I was in and out in five minutes...it was like I'd stepped into some kind of amazing alternative bureaucratic universe.

Awkward...Yesterday I went to visit S. at daycare over my lunch hour and gave her my pretty bracelet to play with.  She promptly ran to the kitchenette side of the room, lifted the bracelet over her head, and triumphantly smashed it on the floor.  All the other toddlers (who had been sitting quietly reading books and playing on the alphabet mats) had to be herded into the sleeping room, so the staff could clean up all the shards of glass.  I was mortified.

Awesome...While grocery shopping, I discovered Zehrs has already put out their Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge Crackle ice cream.  Hallelujah!

Awkward...We sometimes foster kittens for the local humane society and took our 5-week old foster baby in for her spay appointment.  I had been a little concerned that she seemed small for her age, but in the last week she had developed a nice big belly.  She's too young to be pregnant and both of our adult cats are fixed anyway, so I thought she was finally putting on some weight.  Um, no. 

The animal care co-ordinator called me to say 1)  the kitten has a "large worm load" (ew ew eeeewwww!!)  and 2) she can't be spayed after all because she hasn't gained enough actual weight.  I felt like the cat mother equivalent of this:

Awesome...I made it to the gym for 7 days straight Tuesday-Tuesday (including strength training classes) and I can see definition in my arms again.  Now I just need to get my appetite under control.

And that's it...A short list for me today, because I'm heading out for lunch with a good friend, then visiting another with a new baby and maybe hitting up Marble Slab Creamery (with money, don't worry) on the way home.  Yay for not working on my birthday!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Horrible bosses, horrible kids

One of the best things about blogging sort of anonymously is the ability to freely bitch about work, and boy do I need it today.  My crazy coworker has been especially evil lately and even seems to realize it herself, because she's been posting things like "I want to run away" and "Wine is cheaper than therapy" on her Facebook status.  Dear God, please do something before I fucking throttle you.

Today the work bullshit came from a different source...straight from the CFO's ass.  To give you some context, I'm a chartered accountant working as a finance manager in an insurance company.  Getting to this stage in my career took a lot of hard work, tears and relinquishing any semblance of a social life for several years.  I wanted to provide opportunities for my future family that I didn't have growing up, and to know that I was self-sufficient and could make my own way in the world.

All that hard work paid off this afternoon.  I was researching some accounting standards and writing up a memo on value in use methodology for the impairment of goodwill...OK, come back, I promise I'll stop!  Anyway.  I was working on this analysis for my boss when the CFO came in and said "Starbucks?"  "No thanks," I said, to which he replied, "I wasn't asking."  He then told me what he would like in his coffee and directed me to send out an e-mail to the entire department getting their orders and go fetch the coffee.  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.  40 years of feminism and this is still what you think your highly educated female manager should be doing with her time.  FUCK YOU.

this movie is way too close to reality for my liking

Bet you were wondering how kids fit into this, as billed in the title of this post.  The following article is how the parents in my corner of the world have been raising my daughter's future classmates.  I don't know whether to cry or scream.

By Jordan Chittley at The Daily Buzz:

Most children can't wait to collect candy on Halloween night, but when homeowners don't hand out treats some dire consequences can follow.

Some kids calling themselves Children of the Hood wrote a letter to one homeowner in Canada explaining that he missed Halloween and left the letter in his mailbox. They write that the lady who used to own the house handed out candy apples, "but last night there were no candy apples. Come to think of it there was no candy at all from your home!"

The kids explain the mistake and say the homeowner can fix it next year by passing out chocolate bars. They say they will understand he probably can't make candy apples because he is a guy and that they receive too many bags of chips so chocolate bars are the perfect solution. Another way to rectify the issue is for the homeowner to deliver candy to the children on Saturday because they will probably have eaten all of their candy from Halloween by then.

But the homeowner didn't deliver any candy, instead he posted the note on Kijiji saying he is looking for the author.

"Dear Children of Entitlement (and likely their parents)," starts the Kijiji post. "You have gone ahead and reminded me of why I do not want children, and why I weep for the future."

The homeowner says he was not home on Halloween and has bought a huge amount of candy, which he will enjoy with his friends on Saturday.

What.the.fuck.  Please tell me it's a full moon today, because I need to believe this insanity is temporary!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wuv, twue wuv

Today I'm linking up with Kate at Kate Takes 5 for a very fun listography - famous crushes of the past (and present in some cases).  Here are mine, in no particular order:

5)  Cary Elwes (Westley)

The fact The Princess Bride is a satire went completely over my 12 year old head, and instead planted some rather unfortunate expectations of what my true love should wear on a regular basis (further encouraged by Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro, although I was old enough to know better by then). 

Not to mention the sword-fighting skills he should have, immunity to poison and penchant for almost hitting me, but masterfully restraining himself.  Somehow I still love this movie, terrible messages and all.

4)  Michael Schoeffling (Jake Ryan)

In a magical high school universe never seen on earth, the hottest guy ever is sweet, kind and says things like "maybe I'm looking for more than a party" while explaining why he's no longer interested in his busty blonde homecoming queen.  Yeah, right.  Sigh...at least we can dream.

3)  Val Kilmer (Madmartigan)

I don't get this one unless I watch Willow again.  And then I do.  Oh yes, I do.

2)  Luke Perry (Dylan)

Wow Jake, your evil twin is hot too!  Nothing like a little emotional instability to really amp up the sexiness.

1)  Tom Cruise (Maverick, Joseph, every lead he's ever played)

Back before he revealed his craziness to the world, Tom Cruise was one hot tamale.  He picked some great roles and sizzled his way through them, from Top Gun and Risky Business to Far and Away (still my favourite) and Mission Impossible.  Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut and leave us to our fantasies?

Not that craziness would necessarily turn me off (see above).  Boring, preachy craziness does.

Whew - now I need to go take a cold shower.  Right after I watch some of these movies again. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fire in my veins

The world is cold and dreary.  S. is starting the terrible twos early, work is a snarling pressure cooker, and it's been less than 7 weeks since I delivered the second of my twin babies six months early in a rush of blood and horror.  Seemed like as good a time as any to stop taking my anti-depressants.

This is a scary post for me, but I just finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and I'm feeling a little Dauntless.  I don't like talking about the anxiety and depression that has stalked me as far back as I can remember, and for the most part other people don't like hearing about it.  Can I blame them?  It has always seemed self-indulgent and even immoral to be unhappy in the midst of such wealth, living like a queen in my first world country, surrounded by love.

And yet.  Right or wrong, these are the scenes of my life, a steady slide show of panic and exhaustion slapping me brutally and helplessly between them.  Four years ago, I finally sat in my doctor's office shaking and crying as I asked her for a referral to a psychiatrist to find out what the hell had always been wrong with me, and why I was such an ungrateful bitch.  After 2 hours of discussion, I left clutching a prescription like a lifeline, hoping I'd found my saviour at last.

The next few days were euphoric, like the first time I put on glasses and saw the crisp, beautiful world that had belonged to everyone else all this time.  Weeks, months and then years went by in a comfortable, lulling rhythm, the sky always a pleasant shade of light blue with no clouds in sight.  I smiled softly as I ambled along the peaceful corridors of my new life, smoothing my hands over the extra weight that settled like wet sand around my calm body.  It took me a long time to realize something was missing.

I want my soul back.  Edgy and prickly it may be, but it's who I am - that fire pulsing in my veins, the passion surging through me until I throw my head back in the lightning and thunder and shout with the power of it.  Spinning sleekly through the minefields and laughing in the face of it all when I get back up again, wiping that last blow off my cheek. 

So the pills are gone for now and hard-core cardio workouts have taken their place, fueled by excitement and anger and grief and the whole blazing range of emotion.  Because it's never too late to get it back.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chore day

For some reason, I really struggled with this week's Indie Ink prompt.  After a week of imaginative drought, I've resorted to a time-limited "write without thinking or editing moment" to see what comes out.  I haven't done one of these in awhile, so this should be interesting (for me at least!).  The prompt was "Think of the most mundane thing you can and turn it into something everyone would want to do."  Here goes:

*  *  *  *  *

It's chore day, and we stride from room to room in mini whirlwinds, flinging dust and possessions in our wake.  The piles of laundry slowly, steadily melting down until S. jumps into the basket with the cat, chortling in her wild baby way.  I tickle her and she laughs and laughs, then climbs out of the basket and hands me each piece of clothing to hang up, her expression serious now.  Time to get down to business.

J. takes out the vaccuum cleaner and S.'s scared at first, before she decides it's some kind of motorized toy and climbs onto it and kicks the side, like she's trying to jump-start a horse.  We run back and forth across the area rug, singing and shouting over the growling ride.  Carpet cleaned, the stereo goes on and S. dances, flinging her tiny fists in the air and stomping her feet, while J. unloads the dishwasher and fills the sink to rinse the next load.  She's a water baby and she shrieks with laughter when I flick soapy droplets at her hands.

We head into the bathroom and I'm spritzing Windex on the mirror, when I feel something spray my arm.  S. has picked up the damp toilet brush and is waving it triumphantly around her head like a disgusting victory flag.  Making a mental note to throw out the toothbrushes she just anointed with toilet water, I hand her a clean damp cloth instead, which she applies with great vigour to the bathtub faucet and the cat.  J. comes in and hangs up the freshly dried towels with a sigh of relief.  We're done. 

The house is clean and we are happy.  Just another boring chore day, filled with everything I ever wanted.

*  *  *  *  *

Well, this prompt beat me, no doubt about it...I think this is one of the worst things I've written in some time.   I guess they can't all trigger moments of genuis, although it did make me feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about how much I love my little family.

For the Indie Ink writing challenge this week, Head Ant challenged me with "Think of the most mundane thing you can and turn it into something everyone would want to do" and I challenged K. Syrah with "None of this would have happened if it weren't for the onions."