Monthly Archives: April 2012

Self-Referential Blog: Return of the Blog

Standard

Here’s the thing: I don’t like conflict.

I will cross the street to avoid people. I do not forgive and forget. I’m an olympic-calibre grudgeholder. I sometimes screen my calls. I tell little white lies to avoid hurting the feelings of others. I would be the worst lawyer in the world, because I cringe from arguing and I take everything to heart. I want everyone to behave in an agreeable way, which I usually feel is MY way, although surprisingly enough, people often feel differently about that.

My last two relationships ended partially because I don’t argue, I just clam up, walk away, and never say what’s really hurting me, because I think it will make me too vulnerable. So, my opponents just assume they’re right and have won, when in fact, I checked out a long time ago, and the battle never really started. If they won, they won by default. On the upside, it’s got to be an ego boost for them, always being “right”. My exes generally have quite a healthy ego by the time they’re done with me.

I can argue quite nicely on paper, or in a formal, prepared debate setting, about topics in which I have no vested, emotional interest.

Blogging suits me nicely. When I started, I wasn’t sure what kind of feedback I would get. I just figured I’d moderate comments, and delete the negative ones. Well, that’s not quite right. I don’t care if people disagree with me, as long as they’re mature and respectful about it. But this is The Internet, and it’s no place for thin-skinned weirdos like me. I know that.

Over the last year-and-a-third or so, I’ve been very pleased by the response to this blog. I have a very healthy readership, which kind of amazes me, because I generally just kind of ramble on about whatever stupid shit is going through the brain-grinder. By and large, I love my readers and their comments. I know that there’s some people out there who are just creepers who love to hate me (Hi, Creepers!), but most of my readers are friends, or have become friends, and are both interested and interesting.

I have yet to delete a single comment from this blog. This is my space. This is where I get to say what I think, and no one can argue with me. What surprises me is that no one, so far, really seems to want to.

I love your comments. I value your insights. Thanks for reading this thang.

El Kaboom

Standard

I was up at the Lindsay courthouse the other day, at about 10:30, when my client said “I smell propane or something”. I could smell it too. I stuck my head out the door, and it was stronger in the hallway. Our duty counsel lawyer said she smelled it too, and went to investigate. She came back in a minute and said they were evacuating the building, as the construction crew next door had broken into a major gas line.

So, everyone filed outside, court staff, lawyers, and accused people awaiting trial. The OPP wagon came for the prisoners – apparently it was worst downstairs in the lockup.

And what do people do? I kid you not. LIGHT UP A SMOKE. There were people smoking everywhere! Now, I’ve got my own nicotine addiction problems, I’ve smoked on and off most of my life, although I’ve managed to quit a few times, for long periods, and I’ve got it fairly well controlled at the moment. I know it’s a stress reliever. But – THERE’S A GAS LEAK PEOPLE. Not a subtle gas leak, a HUGE gas leak. There were firetrucks and cops everywhere, and the air was choking thick with it (yes, I know, the gas doesn’t stink, they add stuff to it to make it smell so you know there’s a leak, yadda yadda yadda).

Gas + Flame = KABOOM

Maybe I’m just paranoid. Maybe there was no apparent danger and I’m overreacting. Didn’t seem to really worry anyone else, but I was freakin’ on the inside, believe me.

Eventually the cops got around to telling people to knock it off. I was busy doing outdoor interviews (there’s some street justice for ya). We were then told that Enbridge was on the scene and it was being capped, but that court would not resume until 1:00 p.m. I left at that point to go back to my Peterborough office to do some work, because I’m only supposed to be there until 1:00 anyway.

Apparently the Judge was giving out parking lot remands, and it’s going to be quite busy next week.

Gramma Pat

Standard

There’s someone been on my mind lately, someone I miss, someone who did me a great service.

When I had my first child, I was able to stay home and be a full-time mom for only six weeks, out of economic necessity. I still resent to this day the fact that I couldn’t stay home longer, but it is what it is, and regret is pretty useless. I do envy people who have the luxury of extended maternity leaves. I’m not trying to belittle people who choose to stay home in any way. I know that they make sacrifices too, but it’s pretty hard to leave a six week old baby with someone else and go back to a very demanding job, then come home and do all the household work as well.

So – with whom do you leave that baby?

I think daycare centres have their place, and are wonderful in their own way, and provide social opportunities and intellectual stimuli to older children, but I still think that a baby just needs closer attention than that. I found out that if I went through an agency that employed home daycare workers, that I could get the best of several worlds. I was eligible for subsidized care, the homes had to adhere to the Day Nurseries Act, and I got my low child-to-caregiver ratio.

And that’s when I found Gramma Pat.

Gramma Pat did daycare because she loved little kids. Period. Nobody’s getting rich doing daycare. She joined the agency only because she had a parent whose child she loved who couldn’t afford her private rate, so that parent would be eligible for a subsidy.

All the kids she cared for called her Gramma Pat, and some of the parents, too, including me. She loved those kids beyond words. It’s a little disconcerting when they’re older, and they come home and call you “Gramma” by mistake, tears at your heart, just a little. But it’s really a good thing. She was instrumental in teaching my kids to walk and to talk. She toilet trained them. She was a straight shooter. I think the agency’s home visitor was a little intimidated by her. “Do you want me to look after these little ones, or do you want me to fill out your d*mn forms?”

Those kids were busy all day. Regardless of the agency’s crazy rules, if the weather was crappy, they stayed in and did arts and crafts, but if the weather was good, they were out and at ‘er all day. They went to the park. They grew gardens. Gramma Pat’s triple stroller was well known in the neighbourhood, they even made the front page of the local newspaper once. They had wonderful times, which my older son still remembers fondly.

He was her darling boy, her “Sweet Thang”, and could do no wrong. One night at dinner, I was trying to feed Elliot in the highchair, but he was having none of it, for some reason. “Come on, Ellyooper,” I’d say. “Open wide.” I was carrying on a conversation with Connor at the same time. “That’s what Gramma Pat calls him, isn’t it Connor? And what does Gramma Pat call you?”

I was pretty sure the answer was “Sweet Thang”, after an old country song. I was pretty sure she always called him Sweet Thang. Apparently not always, though.

“Little bugger?” he said. Which at the time, could be quite true, but I didn’t think Gramma realized it.

After I wiped myself off the floor from laughing, I had to call Pat. “I’m glad you think it’s funny, Mother,” she said. “I’m not sure the agency would though!”

She called a spade a spade. Many a coffee I had in her bright little kitchen. Often I’d drop by at lunch to see the kids, and she’d always have a lunch for me, too, and we’d share our joys and our troubles. Best toasted western ever. Connor still remembers peanut butter toast, cut in triangles instead of squares. He still thinks they taste better that way.

She died a long time ago, after my kids had left her nest, from a blood vessel which burst in her brain. I miss her still.

Namaste, Gramma Pat

Yo, Homie

Standard

Back in the olden days (well, the 80s, actually) there was a book which caught a lot of people’s attention for a while called “Home – A Short History of an Idea”. It was part history, part psychology, part architecture. I read it a few times, and I’ve just dug it out to read again.

I’m a home girl, no question, most of the time, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. My home isn’t large, and it’s not particularly tidy. It’s a bit cluttered, with bits and pieces, photos, tchotchkes and art and things I find funny or comforting. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from a co-op student we had years ago, who came to my house to pick something up and declared “I love your house! It’s so homey. It’s just like you. I would know you lived here.”

To me, that’s what a home should be. I’m uncomfortable when someone’s home looks like a page in Sears’ catalog. Where are your photos? Where are your books? Where is your art? Where is your you?

The terminally ill often choose to die at home. When you’re in the hospital, kind as the nurses are, and as much as you are aware that you MUST be there, you still just want to go home. Even when you’re away on a wonderful vacation, after a while, no matter how awesome the trip is, you just want to go home and sleep in your own bed.

Home is safe. Home is real. There’s no pretension at home. Home is where you hang your head. Home is where you can be undoing your pants walking down the hall to the bathroom (although I’ve caught myself starting to do that at work occasionally). Home is scratching your butt, no bra, feet on the coffee table. Home is your weirdo music playing full blast, another pot of coffee, grilled cheese and an afternoon nap. Homeward Bound, Look Homeward Angel, Show Me the Way to Go Home. There’s no place like home, click your heels together. The concept of “home” as an ideal – a Paradise, Nirvana – is a constant theme in art, music and literature. Home is where we are our most true selves, and where we long to be.

My office has always reflected my tastes as well. I spend so much time at work that I always like to put a few of my own things around me; art and some favourite photos of my family. It comforts me, and makes me happier and more relaxed, and hence, I think, a better and more productive employee.

I’m not sure I really understand the concept of hiring an interior decorator. To me, the best decor is achieved by surrounding yourself with things that please you. I suppose the role of the decorator is to discover what those things are, and put an artistic spin on it. What I don’t understand is how you can decorate a space for someone you don’t even know.

It may be beautiful, but it ain’t home.

Geek Love

Standard

Those who talk about it the most, do it the least, right?

Okay. So, I haven’t had any for nearly a year now. A YEAR. Well, ten months, but feels like a year. Feels like ten years. And I’m a big fan, believe me. I’m all about the boot-knockin’.

So, why don’t I just go out and get me some? A little cheap, drunken, one-night-stand stuff? I don’t know. I just can’t. It’s just not in me (no pun intended, but it came out funny, didn’t it?). Sometimes I think that’s what I want, but it’s not.

What I miss is the intimacy, the vulnerability, and the physical closeness. One begets the other. I’m a Romantic, yes I am, believe it or not. The World’s Most Cynical Romantic. I’m starting to think that what I want doesn’t actually exist.

See, I want the whole thing. I want the sex, AND the company. I want the intelligent discourse, and the dirty talk. I want the passion and the caring. Yeah, baby, I want you to respect me in the morning, and ring my bell tonight.

I don’t think my expectations are out of line with my feminism, either. I don’t hate men, quite the opposite. I like them. Maybe too much. I just wish I could find one I can relate to on the same level I can with my close female friends. Not a chick in a dude-body, but someone who thinks like I do.

I’m such a weirdo. I’m a full-fledged, body-mind-spirit weirdo, too. If you’re an incredibly beautiful weirdo, you can usually get away with it, I think. But we don’t get to choose to be incredibly beautiful. We get what we’re dealt. I’m not complaining, mind you, I just am what I yam. I’m just an across-the-board all-purpose weirdo.

This could take a while, kids.

Naptime!

Standard

There’s really nothing better than a good nap.

I’m an excellent napper.  My children were excellent nappers.  In JK, Elliot would go down for a nap after lunch and often not wake up until his sitter came to pick him up at the end of the day.  Meanwhile, a room full of screaming four-year-olds was whirling around him.  Any time we were in the car, even for a short stint, he’d fall asleep.  At 18, he often still does.  When Connor was a baby, we lived in an apartment on Little Lake, home of summer concerts and fireworks.  He slept through all of it.

Prior to my transfer back to Peterborough, I had a bizarrely large office, for some reason.  It looked empty when we moved there.  So, I dragged a futon in.  At lunchtime, often being more tired than hungry, I’d turn out the lights, put in some earplugs, and have a snooze.  I’d awake to my favourite colleague shaking me gently, saying “Lynne…time to get up…we’re havin’ juice and cookies.  We’re gonna colour later…”   I say “my favourite colleague”, because there were several who just weren’t my favourites at all, and napping provided a sweet escape from a poisonous atmosphere.  NO ONE can follow you into a nap.  I’d awake refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for Round 2.  And often if I’ve been wrestling with a problem, the answer will come to me after a little nap.

And what’s better than a Saturday afternoon snooze on the couch, with a half-finished book open on your chest, and a little CBC radio in the background?  Nuthin’.  That’s as good as it gets.

Excellent naps can also be had with little people.  Snuggling on the couch with toddlers is good times indeed. 

For all that I’m an excellent napper, I am and always have been a very poor sleeper.  I haven’t slept through the night in many years.  I get up to pee, I turn over, I find the cool side of the pillow.  I get another blanket, I put on socks.  I’m too hot.  I’m too cold.  I write things down, I read, I check my e-mail.  I toss and turn, my brain won’t shut off, and usually when I do get up, my bed looks like a couple of Mexican wrestlers spent the night getting it on.  I’m good in bed, yeah, but not THAT way…

When I posted on facebook that I was going to blog about napping, a friend commented that she can always spot “napface”, that look that someone has when they just get up.  People who wear glasses are doubly adorable when they wake up, because they’re even more bleary than most, until they refocus and get back to reality. It’s a good look, napface. It’s contented, a little bleary, relaxed. It’s sweet and vulnerable.  We’re very vulnerable when we’re asleep and coming across a napper in the act gives me a feeling of peace and trustfulness.

Napping is a sweet and blessed release from existence.  It restores us physically, and brings us back to the centre. 

“We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

I bet T.S. Elliot was a napper.

Plan B

Standard

I am not any more than marginally better, but I DO have a plan. If I can’t turn it around on my own in the next two weeks, I’m going back to the doc to get back on the pills. I feel defeated, because I thought that finally, FINALLY I had this licked through disciplined diet and exercise. But that big ol’ black dog licked me instead, stuck his stinkin’ slobbery tongue right in my ear.

Concrete plans for the next two weeks:

1. Keep on working. Talking to people whose lives are truly desperate puts a little perspective on things. But STOP taking the misery home. I don’t take actual work home, just the associated misery. I need to leave it on my desk. It bottles up, because for reasons of confidentiality, I really can’t vent about my clientele, but just trust me, I hear horrible, horrible things sometimes, which disturb me on all kinds of levels.

2. Don’t skip ANY social engagements, including knitting, tea with Leesa and church. I may not have the energy to seek out anything new, but I MUST continue with the social engagements I have already prearranged. Regardless of how hard it is to interact with people, I have to believe that people are inherently good and are NOT, in fact, laughing at me. They are laughing WITH me.

3. Don’t stay in bed all day on the weekend. It helps not at all, regardless of how pleasant and safe it is. Nothing can hurt me in bed. Unless I stick my foot out from under the covers, then I’m fair game for closet monsters.

4. Continue with the Eulogy Project. Continue to find and appreciate the good in people. If it’s there in so many other people, there must be some in me I can find.

5. Amp up my workouts. As my weight plateaued, so, I suspect, did my endorphin load. Started this in earnest this morning. It was getting a bit too easy.

6. Eat mindfully and healthfully. I’m also very seriously considering vegetarianism, but I think that will have to wait until the fall when Boy Number Two moves out. I eat less and less meat, and I don’t think it would be terribly difficult at this point to cut it out entirely, which makes sense to me from an environmental perspective as well as health-wise.

7. Spend a few minutes a day in silent meditation. Clear out the cobwebs, let the mind rest.

Thanks all for your words of encouragement.

Namaste

PS – Is there anything the Ramones DON’T know?