Monthly Archives: January 2011

Colour Me…Whatever

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“What’s your favourite colour?”  Apparently, blue is far and away the most common answer.  I don’t think it’s that cut and dried.  It’s the kind of question that I obstinately like to answer in the most vague way possible.  “Plaid,” I’ll say, after thinking for a moment.  Or “All of them.”

“No, really,” I’m told.  “You have to choose.”  I usually just say green, I like green, it looks nice on me, but it’s such a difficult question.  For instance, green is not my favourite shade of lipstick.  Normally, I’m not fond of pink, but I contend that it does have a prominent role in the cosmetics world, and also as one valid answer to the question, “What’s a nice healthy colour for cheeks?”  Certainly not green.  Pinkeye, on the other hand, is very unpleasant, unless you’re an albino rabbit.  Green eyes are quiite striking.

My younger son has very strangely coloured eyes.  They change often with the light and the colours around him.  They are ringed with gold or orange, and are teal, green, or hazel near the centre.  They are beautiful and unique.

Gray is a nice, often overlooked colour. Gray eyes, or eyes that sometimes turn gray are beautiful.  We earn our gray hairs as rites of passage and experience.  My cat Grace is all kinds of beautiful shades of gray.  But I can’t imagine sitting down to an appealing meal of gray food.  If you find gray food in the back of the fridge, that’s never good.

I spent weeks trying to find just the right shade of robin-egg blue to paint my bedroom.  I did find it, and it’s perfect, and I love it in every light and three years later it still makes me happy.

I drive a bright red Chevy Cavalier.  When I bought it, years ago when the kids were small, there were two virtually identical cars to choose from.  One was gray, one red.  I leaned toward the gray.  I was outvoted. Red cars, apparently, “are faster”.  Statistically, I know they get pulled over by the police more often than other cars.  That’s not a  good thing.

I just know that one night, middle-aged me with my graying hair, wearing my orange, red and teal patchwork pants from Tibet, got out of my bright red car, and went into the liquor store to buy a bottle of tequila.  And it felt great.  At first I thought “I probably look like a lot more fun than I really am.”

And then I thought, “No, I really am this fun.”  And all the colours are my favourite colour.

Blog Envy

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Wow.  Looking at other blogs makes me feel totally inadequate. People are out there, DOING things, creating things.  All these young moms, blogging about their tree-hugging, totally organic, hand-made yoga clogs.  The things they make!  The adorable tots!  And they write beautifully, too.

I am completely and utterly jealous. 

Don’t they work, or anything?  Is this a new generation of non-working moms that I just am not getting?  They get up early so they can experience the dawn. They meditate for three hours a day and make hand-made wooden toys from cruelty-free deadfall wood.  Their homes are quaint and beautiful, zen-like; reclaimed schoolhouses near rustic New England villages.  They eat homemade food every night, and are eco-friendly.  They give birth in bathtubs.  They homeschool their kids, and run small organic farms.  They make their own clothes, their own candles, their own preserves.

How do they do all that?  I live in a rented townhouse in a medium-sized city.  I drink waaaay too much coffee, and work full-time.  I like to knit and spin a bit, but I don’t really have much time for it.  I don’t have small children, and when I did, I was working full-time.  They watched TV and played video games. I eat a lot of convenience foods, I buy whatever’s on sale cheap.

I like the idea of meditating three hours a day, but it’s not going to happen.  I envy the relaxed, life-affirming, gentle lifestyle, but in reality I have high blood pressure and a tendency towards depression and anxiety.  I don’t even own a bike.  It’s like drooling over decorating magazines – they’re beautiful, but it’s not going to happen to me.

I guess that’s why I read their blogs.

Stuff

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Forget doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles.  These are a few of my favourite (tangible) things:

– my oversized coffee cup  from New York – short and wide and never tips over
– my duvet, and my bed in general
– my ridiculously beautiful calico cat
– my weird little palm tree that is older than both of my kids
– my kitchen table – an old farm table with drop leaves that I refinished myself and serves as the backdrop for most of my knitting photographs
– my kangaroo hat
– my old wooden ironing board
– my leather couch with the nailhead trim
– my great-grandmother’s mirror
– my Fisher-Price lunchbox shaped like a barn that Uncle Bobby sent me (yes, THE Uncle Bobby)
– my grandmother’s locket with a picture of my dad as a baby
– my mum’s Anne of Green Gables books

I don’t know why I’m so attached to stuff.  Well, actually, reviewing that list, I do.  I like comfortable stuff, I like nostalgic stuff, I like stuff that reminds me of people.  I like “olden days” stuff.  Could I live without my stuff?  Sure.  But I don’t have to, and that’s cool.  I don’t like TV shows in which people are coerced into getting rid of all their stuff, or their entire wardrobes, after which their homes/selves are homogenized into complete inoffensive, clutter-free blandness.

One of the nicest compliments I ever got was from a co-op student we had once, who dropped by the house for some reason which I now don’t remember.  “Oh,” she said.  “Your house looks just like you.”

The Road to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

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For the purpose of this post, we have to accept as truth the premise that nobody’s perfect.  If in fact you ARE perfect,  you are reading the wrong blog, bro.

I’d like to be a better person, to be kinder and less sarcastic, to be thinner and healthier and smarter about handling money.  Some days I am all of the above.  Every day, I get up with the intention of being all of those things, but usually by noon I’ve screwed up most of them.

So, here’s the advice I gave someone once who was bewailing the fact that they had, in fact, done some  rather spectacularly rotten things over the course of life, and felt crappy about it and really couldn’t think of any reason to continue.

Start over fresh.  Every single day.  Forgive yourself every morning, and face the day determined to be as perfect as you can be.  If you had a day like I had yesterday, in which you were rude and catty and drowned your sorrows in a bag of thick-cut, cheese flavour potato chips, well, that was yesterday.  It’s over.  Forgive yourself.  Review it, learn from it, and file it away.   Mostly importantly, though, forgive yourself.  Separate the action from the actor.  Yes, it was a mean and stupid thing to do.  No, it does not mean you are mean and stupid.  Let it go.

I don’t think this means that we can just run thoughtlessly through life doing and saying whatever we please and forgiving ourselves the next day.  There’s a word for people like that.  Assholes.  Daily living does take some thought, we have to at least try to be nice.  But  sometimes, the best intentions go astray and we’re just not. 

So, if you tried, and failed to be nice yesterday, try again today.  Sorry about yesterday.  I’m going to try harder today.

I’m Really Done With You

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I’m done with monsters.  Really.  Until I get Rebecca Danger’s new book, I promise not to make any more monsters.  After that, all bets are off.

I realized just today that the Fiddlehead Mittens are by Hello Yarn.  I knit their Pirate Mittens years ago when I had much less knitting experience, so I don’t think they’re going to be as difficult as I had anticipated.  

I had a not-so-great day yesterday; an anxious, nervous, frustrating sort of day.  I have a lot on my mind lately.  Connor is moving back to Toronto, and I’ll miss him.  I worry about him, I’m a Mum, I can’t help it, it’s my JOB.  Also, my doctor’s office called, and they want to see me about my cholesterol.  I suspect it’s not to tell me how awesome it is.  Come on, doc, I quit smoking already.  I can’t do everything all at once, or I crash and burn and fail at everything.  I know that about me, even if you don’t.  Once I’m completely healed, I’m rejoining Goodlife.  I used to go four times a week to the women-only club on Charlotte Street, which I really liked.  They open at 5:30 a.m., which is great for me.  I only stopped going when I got divorced and couldn’t afford childcare, so I’m at the point in my life now where I can start going again.  I would really like to be in the shape I was ten years ago, I felt great.  I felt strong.  I felt like I was looking after myself, and therefore was better able to look after everything else.  I’d like to feel that way again.

Anyway, yesterday,  I couldn’t go out until the VON had been, and I never do know quite when they’re going to come, so I’m entirely at the mercy of their schedules.  Although, I understand it was FREAKIN cold out, and being in was probably for the best anyway, but it still would have been nice.  By the time they came, it was too late to do anything.  I could have been out and back, but it would not have been good if I had missed them.

I try to be very reasonable and agreeable with people.  My chicken’s underdone?  Not the waiter’s fault, be nice, just send it back for a little more cooking.  You have a lot of people to see today?  No rush, no problem, I’m here all day today.  No fuss, no problem, no need to make a big scene.

But what happens is, people get used to it.  They know I won’t make a big fuss, so they slip in the people who WILL make a big fuss ahead of me.  It’s rational behaviour on their part, but it makes me feel invisible after a while.  I know from my own employment that the clients I remember are not the ones who are rational and agreeable.  I try not to be swayed by demanding arrogance, but sometimes it’s impossible not to be.

So – does the squeaky wheel get the grease?  Or do the meek inherit the earth?

The Last Monster

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I’m current knitting the last of the monsters.  I made five before Christmas, and three since.  Admittedly, they are very cute.  I’m just so tired of making them.  Once this one’s done, I’m on the monster wagon, at least until Rebecca Danger’s new book arrives.  In between – Fiddlehead Mittens.

Number One Son has taken up weaving on a tiny hand loom I got him for Christmas. I promised him that if he really takes to it, we’ll clean up his grandma’s old loom for him.   He came over yesterday and we had a Big Bang Theory marathon, with knitting, weaving and a little spinning, all toasty warm while it snowed and blowed outside.  He’s moving back to Toronto shortly.  I’m going to miss him, and of course worry about him, because I’m a Mum and that’s What We Do.  But I can see his point, there’s really not much here for a guy his age.  Not that hanging out with your Mum doing arts ‘n crafts isn’t a blast…

Elliot has discovered a new type of sheep.  Behold:

 You spinners out there might want to jump on this one immediately.  I believe it’s hypo-allergenic, and waterproof!

This is Not a Knitting Blog

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Don’t get me wrong.  I love knitting blogs.  I love knitting.  I love spinning.  I love all fibre-y, fuzzy things.  I have a huge stash of said things, and am always accumulating more than I will probably ever use.  I have a sock yarn blanket on the go.  Also, the wrap sweater from “Big Girl Knits”, which I have been meaning to finish for about 3 years now. 

Also, three monsters and a monkey.  And a ruffled shawl from some purple/blue mohair that made me bring it home from the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  And two pounds of merino roving, one purple/green and one green, also from said Festival.  And some beautiful kid mohair in green and blue and gold (same place).  And various small ends of bamboo roving from Pat LeClair at Dyeing for Colour in Trenton, to spin up to use in that sock blanket, which is going to look AWESOME on my bed at the senior’s residence. 

And the Super Zauberball I bought months ago, and another ball of some pretty awesome self-striping sock yarn, and a whole bunch of recycled sari silk which is going to turn into some kick-ass little bags.  And a basket full of homespun in various shades of brown, gold, taupe and grey for an Incredible Entrelac Argyle Vest, which so far only exists in my head.  And a pile of different little odds, ends and locks of different fibres that I will one day card together into Fabulous Artisnal Batts with my drum carder.  Once I get one.  I haven’t got one at the moment, cuz they’re kind of expensive, but I want one, oh yes I do.  Carding by hand is for the birds, and is very, very good for the upper arms and chest.

Oh!  And lastly the Fiddlehead Mittens.  I thought I had gotten them out of my system, but the Yarn Harlot mentioned them the other day, and I started drooling again, so I had to go see Bridget the Patron Saint of Enabling over at Needles in the Hay (there, there’s a nice plug – go see her and buy some yarn!) and buy the kit for those.  They are the most bee-yoo-tee-ful lined mittens. I’m getting a bit tired of knitting monsters, I need something grownup to knit for a while.  Although I DID order Rebecca Danger’s new book of monster patterns recently.  Cuz I love Rebecca Danger.  Sooooo much…

But, this is NOT a knitting blog.  Lots of people have lovely knitting blogs already, some of which I follow faithfully and enjoy immensely.  I don’t know enough about knitting to blog about it.  I just know that

MY NAME IS LYNNE, AND I HAVE A PROBLEM.

Emily

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This post is NOT about Emily the annoying five-year-old who sat behind me on a four and a half hour flight from Vancouver.  I will never write a post about Annoying Emily.  Yes, you have to wear your seatbelt, I don’t care if you don’t like dinner, eat it anyway, and stop kicking that lady’s seat.  There, Emily’s Mum, problem solved.  Grow a spine.

While I’ve been home, I’ve been glued to the TV every afternoon for “Emily of New Moon”.  It’s a nicely made Canadian drama, based on the books of L.M. Montgomery, but it has a weird, twisty paranormal side that creeps up and breathes in your ear.   It also has Sheila McCarthy playing Aunt Laura, and she gives me the willies in a very delightful way.  Her IRL husband died recently – I can’t remember his name, but he was apparently very big in Stratford, and played her evil sometime-husband, Ian Bowles in the series.

I must admit, I am a fan of Ms. Montgomery’s books.  My mum had all of the “Anne” books from her own childhood in New Zealand.  Interesting, in that that was her first experience of Canada.  I understand that for many years the books were also very popular in Japan. Anyway, I quickly devoured them, and then got the “Emily” books out of the library, but they didn’t appeal to me as a child, and so I have yet to read them.

This is a good thing, Martha!  Often when I get very seriously involved with an author, they have either been dead for years, or die and stop writing books as a result!  Arthur Conan Doyle – dead.  Ellis Peters – dead.  Margaret Lawrence – dead.  So to find that I have yet to enjoy everything a favourite dead author has to offer is seriously wonderful.

So, someone please look after Alexander McCall Smith – please make sure he is wrapped up warmly, taking vitamins, and watching his cholesterol intake.  Amen.

Rating – M for Mature

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I just had a thought.  This blog may not be family-friendly.  I don’t intend for it to be the Blog of Filth, or anything, but sometimes a) I have a dirty mouth and b) I want to talk about things that are not intended for children.  So, be forewarned.  If anyone has children who want to read a middle-aged woman’s menopausal rantings, they might see some fuckin’ shit of which you may not approve.  I’m a grownup and my blog (like my home) isn’t child-proof, so keep an eye on those rascally younguns.

I’ve had a song going through my head today, one of the stupidest songs ever written – “Don’t Sleep in the Subway”.  I don’t know who wrote it, but Petula Clark sang it.  It’s about a woman who worries about her man doing Really Stupid Things.  Like, sleeping in the subway, and standing out in the rain.  My inclination would be to dump the clown, really.  Next thing you know he’ll be french-kissing your dog.

I think it might have been the precursor to television’s notion that men are all just emotionally crippled morons, sneaking behind their woman’s back to indulge in ridiculous behaviour.  Take Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, the dad on any sitcom ever, or any character Charlie Sheen has ever played as examples.  This bothers me.  I know lots of fine, intelligent, caring men.  Would it be okay if women were being portrayed in the media in this way?  I know it sure as hell wouldn’t be okay with me.  Why is it okay to paint men in such a negative light?

I’m not even going to start on my other constant ohrwurm, “Boogie On Reggae Woman”.

Newsflash

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Today, I wore real grownup clothes all day for the first time since I had my surgery December 2.  I don’t think I like them anymore, they’re itchy and stiff and nasty.  My jammies would never treat me like that.

I’m trying to get used to the idea of rejoining the world, getting up at a certain time, going to work and staying until a certain time, eating and drinking and pooping at certain times.  I’m starting to think it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  My natural rhythm seems to be to go to sleep around 11 or 12, wake up at 3 or 4, putter around until 6 and then sleep until around 8:30 or 9.  Maybe a nap in the afternoon, 2-ish.  I don’t think my employer would be willing to accommodate this, nor have I noticed my colleagues wearing their Dr. Dentons around the water cooler.

Before the big restructuring and my transfer to the district office, I had a bizarrely large office space.  So, I moved a futon in and started napping on my lunch hour.  I started doing it because I was getting used to some new medication, and it was making me sleepy, but I continued doing it as an escape from a poisonous work environment and a screaming, loud-mouthed supervisor.  The value of the nap was not so much in its restorative properties as it was in its escapism.  You can’t follow me into my nap, clown.  Although I did have to start locking my door so she didn’t barge in (without knocking, needless to say), turn on the light, and put files and post-it notes on my desk.  Yes, she actually did that.  I also invested in earplugs so I couldn’t hear her clumping up and down the hall and screaming at the other staff.  They worked a little bit. I miss my former wackjob boss not at all.  No one I work with now is certifiable, so far as I can tell.

I need to get back into a workday rhythm, and in some ways I’m looking forward to it, but in others…well…not so much.  There are some aspects of recovery that have been just awful, i.e. pain, social isolation, gross yucky wound unpleasantness, intrusive procedures and machines.  However, I’ve been able to do some clear thinking (well, once I got off the percocets, that is) and have had no pressure of any kind to do anything for several weeks.  The only times in my life that I’ve ever been off work for a significant length of time were maternity leaves, but then there were pressures and responsibilities.  Right now, I’m not supposed to do – anything.   Except get better.  That’s it.  My only responsibility right now is to me.