Monthly Archives: May 2012

Up Close and Personal

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I’ve read three news stories lately that have completely freaked me out.  First, there was the cokehead who chewed off some hobo’s face, and the police had to shoot and kill the guy to get him to stop.  Then there was the cage fighter who ripped out his sparring partner’s heart, allegedly high on mushrooms.  THEN  I read that someone is sending bloody stumps of feet to Conservative HQ in Ottawa, and I think someone else got a hand as well.  I don’t remember anything like this since the guy on the greyhound bus a couple of years ago who ate part of his victim.

What. The.  Fuck?

What’s with all this gory, up-close and personal hand-to-hand carnage?  I know people are shot and killed every day, but there’s a degree of detached removal in shooting someone, and the more sophisticated the weaponry, the greater that degree of removal becomes.  Killing someone with your hands and teeth takes some kind of crazy cold-blooded savagery.  You’ve got to be pretty blood-mad-enraged to chew someone’s face off.

So, is it just a drug thing?  There’s talk of drug induced psychoses being at play in the first two examples, and I think the greyhound guy was diagnosed with some pretty serious mental illness.  I don’t know, the most extreme thing I ever did under the influence was eat a tin of tomato paste and sleep with someone I probably shouldn’t have.  I’m not a big experimenter with drugs, though.  Cocaine scares the hell out of me.  I’ve dealt with too many aggressive, grandiose cokeheads to ever go down that road.  Peace, man.  I don’t understand wanting to put yourself in a hyper-aggressive state.  Where’s the fun in that?  It can’t be relaxing, that’s for sure.

My son jokes about his plans for the Zombie Apocalypse.  Now, I like a good zombie movie myself, but – really?

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The Awesome Adventures of Barbie and GI Joe

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I grew up in a neighbourhood of mostly boys, with two brothers. Most of the time, my options were to play by myself, or play with the boys. My brother had a GI Joe, complete with fuzzy beard. He spent a lot of time with Barbie. Because I didn’t have a lot of female playmates, I didn’t really know what Barbie’s life was supposed to be like, so she spent a lot of time on spy missions, sliding down ziplines, and jumping out of airplanes. GI Joe fit quite nicely into her clothes, so when he was undercover, he often wore Barbie’s pink gingham dress. We had the completely unfettered use of our wild kid imaginations, until my Dad stepped in. He asked us why GI Joe was wearing a dress. “Cuz he’s a SPY, Dad. He’s in disguise!” It really didn’t sit very well with Dad, but to his credit, he didn’t forbid us to play anymore, and as a result, we continued our blissful imaginary play without any thought to whether it was right or wrong for Joe to be sporting a bridesmaid’s dress. Sadly, her shoes would not fit him, but the combat boots lent the outfit an edgy, punk feel. Message? Kids should just be kids. It’s all okay.

When my own kids were small, McDonald’s offered a “boy toy” (schnort – I’d like one of those RIGHT NOW) or a “girl toy” with their Happy Meals.  Often the “girl toy” was a miniature Barbie doll, and the “boy toy” was a Hot Wheels car.  Neither of my boys had much interest in toy cars when they were small, but Thing One ALWAYS wanted the Barbie.  I’m not sure why.  “Oh, well, he’s gay, that explains it”, you might say, but I don’t think so.  My younger, straight son was equally uninterested in cars.  I think it was because children can’t project their vision of themselves into a model of a car, but they can do so with a tiny person.  I don’t think the issue was whether the doll was male or female, it’s just that it was a tiny person.  “Hey – I’M a person.  THIS is a little person.  I could have adventures!”

You can call them “action figures”, if it makes you feel better about letting your sons play with dolls, but the fact remains – they are tiny representations of humanity.  I think by denying boys the right to play with dolls, we may have done them a great disservice.  We learn a lot by “playing”.  I’m not saying that dolls are the only toys that unleash the imagination.  Give any kid a stick and see what happens.  But there’s something special about having a tiny being in your hand who can do ANYTHING your imagination can come up with, including stuff you’re not allowed to do because you’re too little.

One of our favourite games as kids was to take two lawn chairs, and set them up facing each other.  Rick and I would sit in the chairs, and throw an old wine-coloured bedspread over ourselves.  An old push-broom poked through the hole in the bedspread was the propeller, twirled vigorously and voila – our very own helicopter.  We landed in a lot of very cool places, and had awesome adventures.

Playdoh was also very, very cool.  Our favourite was to make tiny cave villages and cavemen.  It was cool being a caveman.

Clubhouses were the best.  And forts.  Forts were awesome. Having your own place was great.  “Yeah, I’m third box to the left.  The Frigidaire Building.  I’ll buzz you in.”

We had millions of leaves to rakes every fall, and giant piles to jump in, hide in, throw at each other.  We’d take the seed pods from the day lilies and whack them against the side of the house with badminton racquets.

We had the usual games as well, games like Freeze Tag, Redlight-Greenlight, Mother May I, Red Rover and What Time Is It Mister Wolf.  Do kids play these games anymore?  I think kids are more closely monitored now than we were.  We never had “playdates”, we just kind of roamed around the neighbourhood, knocking on our friends’ doors to see who could come out to play.

And what about playing house?  The biggest, most aggressive kid got to be “Mother”.  Mother was the power figure.  Boy or girl, in my hood, you wanted to be Mother.  As one of the younger kids, I usually wound up either being Baby or the Dog.  I’m a good dog.

We might have gotten physically hurt more than kids today.  Remember when Ricky P hit the baseball into the brushpile where the wasps’ nest was?  Remember when I tobogganed headfirst into a tree?  Kevin W putting worms down my back?  When Micheal L decided to show me his junk in our makeshift tent?  That put me right off my dinner.  “But Lynne, you LOVE sausages.”  Not anymore, Mum, sorry.

But nobody died.  Nobody was even seriously injured.  Even though our own Mum might not have known where we were, somebody’s mum did.  Somebody was making koolaid and handing out popsicles.

Down to Both the Wire and the Bone

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I have a major change coming up.  For the first time in my whole life, when Thing 2 heads off for university, I’m going to be living all alone.  I’m both slightly freaked out and quite excited at the same time.

So, there’s some stuff I want to do.  I know I’ve been talking about getting a dog, but that’s on the back burner until I see what my alone-life is going to feel like.  First, I want to go through this place, room by room, and get rid of STUFF.  It’s going to take a long time.  I have waaaaay too much stuff that I don’t want and never use.  Most of it I’ll just donate to charity.  Some of it I’ll try to sell on kijiji.  But a LOT of it needs to go.  I want to go through every drawer, closet and cabinet, including the little shed out back and the basement, the kitchen cupboards and the bathroom cabinets – everything.

Also, I want to clean this place top to bottom, every inch.  Anyone who’s ever spent time here knows that I’m not the world’s greatest housekeeper.  You cannot eat off my floors, and in fact, if you are in the habit of eating off the floor, perhaps you need more help than I do.  I have plates.  It’s all cool, bro, you can have a plate.  Also, although not a contender for “Hoarders” by any means, I have a lot of clutter that I’m sick of trying to keep tidy.  Weirdly enough, I’m completely done with cleaning up after other people.  Any mess I have to clean from here on in will be MY mess (aside from the kitty litter, that’s not mine), and I will clean it joyfully.

Also, I look forward to a more European way of grocery shopping, daily marketing for what’s fresh and good, rather than having great piles of frozen food to satisfy giant marauding teenage boys, and bags of liquid spinach rotting in the crisper.  I’m seriously considering becoming a vegetarian in the fall.  Not a vegan, I could never handle that, but an ovo-lacto.  I eat very little red meat as it is.  Chicken will be the hardest meat for me to leave behind, it’s so versatile, lean and tasty.  But hey, my game, my rules, right?  Maybe I’ll be an ovo-lacto-chickotarian.  Any way you slice it, my grocery bill’s going way down.

I’ve given up the idea of moving.  I was thinking that this place is too big for just me, and that the rent is too expensive, but I’ve been pricing places and honestly, I’m better off here.  It might be too big, but it’s safe and well-managed, and once I’m done my big giant purge, I think it will suit me very well indeed.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting episode, in which I will probably completely change my mind about all of this!  But for now, visions of a clean and tidy, beautiful, zen-like space are dancing in my weird little head.

$1.40 for 8 at Dollarama

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I’m officially all creeped out, and through with online matchmaking, at least for now.

I’ve taken down my profiles.  Also, for the first time ever, I’ve blocked someone’s e-mails.

Honestly, how weird is it to write cheesy love poetry to someone you’ve never met?  I e-mailed back and forth with this dude a couple of times, offering no revealing or sexy personal-type  information.

Red flags:  No questions about me whatsoever, and no comments on anything I provided.  AAAAALLLL about him and how great he is.  Also, he sent me the same weird diatribe twice, which leads me to believe that this is a cut ‘n paste job he sends out in bulk to anyone who’ll respond to him.  He claims to be a highly educated engineer, but he can’t spell worth crap. Also, all about how he wants someone to stand beside HIM and understand HIM – nothing about any kind of reciprocal arrangement at all.

And the poetry?  Well, that’s just weird.  You can’t fall in love with a picture, dude.  Generic declarations of love, obviously not tailored to anyone in particular, are just very, very disturbing.

The dog thing is looking better and better.  I’m gonna call him Joey Ramone.  It should solve almost all my problems, and batteries are cheap.

I’m Not Dead

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Blarg!  I haven’t blogged in days and days.  I’m not dead.  I can’t figure out how to do a photo travelogue thing on here, so here’s a link to the pics from our Ottawa trip:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150817335916892.401597.680396891&type=3&l=a35d9d3568

It was a great trip.  M is a super traveling companion; walks at a good clip, gets hungry at the same time as me, likes the same stores, and knows when it’s time for a damn drink!  Also, knows when it’s time to just give up and get a cab.  We had a super time, and the hotel was great.  Sad that C couldn’t join us as planned.  😦  But, an awesome trip nonetheless.  It just means that we’ll need to – DO IT AGAIN.  I could easily do it again, it was soooo awesome.

Windows

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One of the very best things about my current digs is that there is a lovely window over the kitchen sink, looking across my little yard into a tall cedar hedge.  That hedge is a constant hive of activity.  It houses umpteen squirrels, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees, and the occasional raccoon.  As a result, it also attracts all of the neighbourhood cats.  Never a dull moment in that hedge.  On a sunny day, it’s a real thing of beauty.

I’ve lived in places without a kitchen window before, and I don’t like it.  I don’t have a dishwasher (well, I used to, but I divorced him at the turn of the century.  That’s another story…).  Doing the dishes is tedious indeed staring into a cupboard door.  I don’t mind doing the dishes by hand, actually, I quite enjoy it, and I think dishwashers are a bit wasteful for the small number  of dirty dishes I generate.  I could be wrong on that, I’ve never actually looked into it, but it seems like an awful lot of water and electricity that I really don’t need to use.  For a larger family, it’s probably more cost effective, but for me, it’s too loud, clunky and complicated.  By the time I ‘d rinsed the dishes, stacked them, and got the thing going, I could have done them already.  I wash, Jesus dries.  Easy peasy.

I think I have to leave this place in the fall, when Elliot goes off to university.  It’s a three bedroom townhouse, and my rent increases every year.  Since Elliot turned 18, I stopped receiving the Child Tax Credit, and once he moves out, I won’t be getting child support for him, either.  I don’t really need three bedrooms.  I’d like two, one for me and one as a den/guestroom, but three seems excessive.  Also, I have a full basement, mostly full of junk I neither need nor want, and again, once Elliot is out of the nest, there will be a paring down of stuff.

I worry about having too much stuff.  I worry that one day, I may die, and someone will have to deal with all that STUFF.  Well, one day I inevitably WILL die, I suppose.  I think it would be better to die possessed only of things which are meaningful, useful or beautiful.  There is no reason to keep anything else.  It just becomes a burden for someone else.

I’d like to stay in the complex where I live now, but it’s exclusively three-bedroom units.  It’s well run; the superintendent lives on site.  The staff are friendly and helpful.  It’s safe.  It’s right on the edge of a humungous park.  Someone else cuts my grass and shovels my snow.  My neighbours are pleasant, but not intrusive.  They are quiet adults, for the most part, in my section of the complex, save for two charming little red-headed girls next door, who are never any bother at all.

I’m far enough from downtown to feel safe, yet close enough that I can walk if I want to.

I moved here when Elliot finished public school, as my poor little house was falling down around me and I didn’t have the money to fix it.  I regretted selling that house, in some ways.  My kids grew up there.  It was in a lovely, quiet, older neighbourhood, close to the school.  It was a sweet little one and a half storey built in the 1920’s, with ivy climbing up the front and a lovely porch, like a family of fairytale bears lived there.  I still miss it sometimes, but it was the right thing to do, selling it, and I got out JUST before the market went tits-up.  I paid my debts, and put money away for the boys for school.

The right thing to do now, I think, is to move again, somewhere a little smaller, simpler, more affordable.  I don’t like moving.  I don’t like the slugging involved, and I don’t like the emotional wrenching.  I’m a homebody at heart.

But, when I do move, I know this:  I want a kitchen window.

Reply Hazy

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I’m feeling quite odd again today;  floaty, unsettled, anxious.  I’m flitting from task to task, but not concentrating on any of them.

I feel like there’s something I want, or something my body needs, but I can’t pinpoint what it is.  Tried a snack, a walk, a smoke, a drink of water, a nap, more coffee – nuthin’.

I had the wild shakes this morning, as well.  It took me ten minutes to put in a pair of earrings.  My hands seem to have a mind of their own today.

WHAT IS IT, Universe?  What do you want me to do?  I’m not getting any clear signals.  I’m not feeling any purpose other than just to continue existing for no particular reason.

I think sometimes I just get so busy during the week that I don’t know how NOT to be busy.  I’m not going to make a very good retired person, I think.