Monthly Archives: August 2012

Is the Nest Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Standard

Since I started this personal training thing, an unusual side effect has happened.

I love mornings. LOVE them.

Now, a lot of you are probably groaning and saying, oh, shut up, Lynne – but I do. Here it is, Sunday. It’s 6:45, and I’ve been up for an hour already, hangin’ in my bathrobe. It’s cool, green and quiet (the world, that is, not my bathrobe, although it is, coincidentally, also green). The birds are just getting up, the crickets are just going to sleep. It’s hazy and comfortable. The world is mine. No demands, no noise. This is my time.

I can’t go to the gym yet, they don’t open until 9 on Sundays. So I CAN’T go do-the-things-I-am-responsible-for. House is (relatively) clean, due to the no-kids at home thing. Laundry is caught up. There’s a few dishes in the sink, but not enough to worry about. Kitty litter doesn’t stink. So, really, it’s all about me.

That’s rather an odd feeling after all those years of caregiving. When left to my own devices, when I don’t have to work, what do I do? Well, I go to the gym. I knit. I card fleece, spin yarn. I listen to the radio. I play the guitar and sing a little. I check out the internet. I write letters to my man. I read, watch movies, take wonderful naps. I walk, go shopping, visit friends. I putter around the house, tidying things up, painting, rearranging. Day trips out of town to see my friends and family. I blog – wait, is that a verb? Sure it is.

Does there need to be any more? I don’t think so. It feels pretty full. I know why there’s a biblical “day of rest”. We need it, to know ourselves, whether we are “religious” or not. I tried the church thing, as my regular readers know, and it was not for me. Now, maybe it just wasn’t the right church for me, or the right congregation. I don’t know. I think the Unitarians were my last hope, really. I find my solitary Sunday morning at-home time to be much more spiritually fulfilling.

So, here at the Church of the Lucky Aardvark, the coffee’s on. The cats are prowling. The birds are chirping. There’s granola, raisin bran AND oatmeal. And I think I’m going to take some coffee back upstairs and finish my book.

Empty nest? I think not. It’s quite full indeed.

Pabst and Skinny Jeans

Standard

There’s a trend in the past few years that I don’t really care for.

It’s you crazy hipsters.

Love the fashion, don’t get me wrong. Totally love the fashion, always. The eyeware in particular. But the attitude bugs me. Can’t like anything mainstream. Can’t like anything anyone’s ever heard of. Can’t like anything at all, except in a jaded, ironic way.

There’s an air of smug superiority that galls me. Where’s your joy, kids? What makes you happy? ANYTHING? You’re too young to be so world-weary. If you’re this depressed and miserable now, god help you when you have to go out and actually make a living and pay bills. Because in this particular case, it does NOT, in fact, get better. It’s not all Pabst and skinny jeans, ya know.

I think all y’all need to start loving something, wholeheartedly and unashamedly. Even if it’s not cool. Even if everyone has already heard of it. Big Scooby-Doo fan? Cool. Love KC and the Sunshine Band? Well, okay, your call, but – still cool.

Be who you are. Do what calls to you. Surround yourself with people and things you really love.

Jeez, Lynne, what are ya, some kind of fuckin’ hippie? 🙂

Justice

Standard

Often I want to blog about work, but the nature of my work dictates otherwise. I can’t blog about my clients, because it would be a very serious breach of confidentiality. But my clients are the most interesting part of my work!

I hear new stories every single day. Some of them are heart-wrenching. Some of them are downright disgusting. Sometimes my clients are beaten-down victims. I have a lot of clients who have mental health issues and have been running a treadmill of trouble and despair for years, mostly as a result of systemic failure. Some of my clients are just regular people who have hit a bit of a snag. Some of my clients are career criminals who just don’t give a fuck.

Access to justice. That’s what it’s all about. That’s our bottom line, the purest expression of our mandate. Civil rights aren’t just for people we like, or people who are like us, or people who don’t offend our delicate sensibilities. They are for everyone. Everyone. They’re for the schizophrenic who cycles on and off his meds; they’re for the sixteen year old single mother; they’re for young guys who lose their tempers; they’re for recidivist inmates who tell me I’m a fucking idiot (which quite honestly, some days I am); they’re for women who’ve been stalked, beaten and otherwise abused. Everyone. Everyone.

The day I stop believing that is the day I shouldn’t be doing my job any more.

I love my work. I love being part of something good and noble, a great equalizer. I believe that true justice can’t be bought, and that human rights are worth fighting for. I could never sell things for a living, or do work that I didn’t believe in. I would be miserable, and I know it.

So as it is, I’m always challenged. Some days I’m stressed. Some days leave me depressed. Some days I have to roll my eyes at the sheer stupidity of people.

But every single day is worth it.

Letters

Standard

I write constantly. I write all day at work. I write in my diary in the middle of the night, when things are bugging me, or when I want to capture moments that are too personal for Ye Olde Facebook or the Blog. I’ve blogged before about my weird propensity for making obsessive lists. I blog, period.

I write for self-expression, mostly, as you know. I don’t get paid a dime for this. I’m opinionated, and curious, and I often just don’t understand the way the world works. Even when I put it in writing, sometimes I still don’t get it, but it helps me sort things out.

Lately, though, I’ve been writing in an old, old tradition – the love letter. Well, actually it’s a new spin on an old tradition, the love e-mail. I’ve heard it argued that e-mail is impersonal and cold, and not a patch on the traditional bundle of love letters tied up with ribbon in a shoe box. I beg to differ. I can send thoughts as soon as they occur to me, without waiting to find a stamp or get to the post office before it closes. I get the thrill of multiple daily responses, without having to haunt the mailbox. It’s immediate, and gratifying.

And I’ve found someone who likes writing and receiving them as much as I do.

To anyone else, they’re probably silly, mushy and over-the-top. But, they’re not for anyone else. They’re for us. They’re a way of exchanging our ideas and values, getting to know one another better every day. They’re a beautiful adjunct to our relationship, and gosh, just absolutely dead romantic! Way gobs romantic. They’re a history of how this amazing thing evolved, from shy overtures to more overt declarations of affection. They’re helping me sort it out, this seems-impossible new thing.

So, when I miss him – I tell him so. It’s nice to come home to kind words and thoughts, rather than ads for boob jobs, and such. We have weirdly conflicting work schedules, so sometimes in-person just isn’t an option for too-long stretches. It helps to fill that gap, and it makes me happy. It makes us both happy.

BEEEEEES – or Wasps, I Dunno. Whatevs.

Standard

Okay, so a WEEK ago, I went into my room and found a dozen wasps crawling around. Or maybe they’re bees. I don’t know. So, I got the vacuum cleaner and a wet towel and got rid of them. I taped up the gaps in the screen frame. I called the landlord and left a message. I spoke to my neighbour, and to the guys working on the new siding. Oh, yeah. We took out a huge nest. They should leave soon.

THREE DAYS LATER, my landlord leaves me a message. Yeah, they should leave. Call me if they don’t, maybe we need to get professional pest control.

THEN, next day, there’s four more. More tape, more freaking out. Another call to the landlord. Voicemail AGAIN. Yeah, I think we need that pest control, ‘kay?

Nothing.

Today, I came home, and there’s three MORE. These ones aren’t slow and sleepy though, they’re fucking NUTS.

Two more calls to the landlord’s voicemail, quite freaked out and just a lilllll bit strident. Used words like “extremely distressed” and “completely freaking out”.

My next call’s gonna be to my buddy Lisa at the Community Legal Clinic. Something’s gotta give here, before I get stung in my sleep. That would please me, oh, not at all, really.

One of Us

Standard

Tonight I have plans with friends, two of the smartest, most compassionate women I know.

It’s funny, I don’t really relate to the traditional idea of “Girl’s Night Out”, i.e. let’s go get hammered and diss every man who’s ever done us wrong. Never been a girly-girl. Don’t like going to the hairdresser or the manicurist. My favourite shoes are my purple Chuck Taylors. I’m horribly uncomfortable playing weird games at wedding showers. If I like your baby, I might want to hold him, but don’t try to make me, and no, it DOESN’T make me “want to have another one”. Are you fucking NUTS?

What I DO like is witty conversation, laughing, sharing the insane joy in our lives, supporting each other through our troubles. Talking about ideas, not gossiping about people. What have you read lately, what are you thinking? What’s making you happy right now? What’s pissing you off?

One of these woman I’ve been friends with since the sixth grade. She was my maid of honour at my wedding (not her fault that that didn’t pan out…). We’ve never had an argument. She is one of the most intelligent people I know, and reads stuff for pleasure that you and I struggled with as required reading in university. She’s deep and caring, and gives tirelessly of herself to everyone around her, both in her career and to her family and friends.

The other is a more recent friend, I’m trying to recall how long – less than ten years, at any rate. She’s also incredibly brainy, and compassionate to the point where I think the world is sometimes too painful for her to contemplate. Her heart is on her sleeve, and everyone who knows her loves her, but she doesn’t even know it.

The interesting thing is, they have a lot in common, these two. We had planned a trip together a few months ago, but it turned out that due to a family emergency, only two of us could go, which was a drag. So, they’ve never actually met, these two. It’s one of those “gee, I love them both so much, what if they don’t get along” scenarios.

I just can’t see it happening though. As friend M commented about a mutual new colleague “I LOVE her. She’s one of us, Lynne.” And I know what she means. Not “one of us” in a cliquish, snobbish sense, but quite the opposite. It doesn’t take money, status or beauty to be “one of us”. It just takes a similar, joyful, intelligent worldview.

I have so many female friends who are “one of us”. We gravitate towards each other, and support each other. That’s how the world works, not through pettiness, gossip and jealousy, but through mutual feminine admiration and support. Women, we’re making the world a kinder, fairer, gentler place, all together. No longer divided by our relative “worth” as determined by another gender, we’re much freer now to call the shots and impose our own values on the world around us.

I love being “one of us”. We’re pretty fucking awesome.

Moving Day

Standard

So, it’s kind of a big day around here. Today I’m moving my younger lad to Toronto, so he can start university in September.

Yikes! When did that happen? This is my baby, after all. I just brought him home from the hospital, didn’t I? I just spent countless nights feeding, rocking and changing him. I just got back from endless appointments with the pediatrician, cat scans, seizures, visits to the hospital. He just said his first word, “Batman”. Not “Mum” or even “Dad”, but “Batman”. We still don’t know why. I just picked him up from riding his tricycle off the porch. I just found his stuffed gorilla, Gordon, left out on the playground. I just taught him to talk and walk, and now he’s walking right out the door.

I’m gonna miss that big goofy guy. He makes me laugh. He’s been such a good kid, too. He makes good decisions, but still knows how to have a good time without being stupid. He’s a good student, and an avid volunteer. He’s chosen a career path that I’m exceptionally proud of. This lad has the brains, and he could be anything he wanted to be. He wants to be a social worker, specifically working with youth.

My dad told him “you’re not going to make any money doing that”. He knows. He knows, and he wants to do it anyway. He wants to do something that contributes to society and feeds his soul, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

So, Namaste, Mister Moose. Welcome to adulthood. You’re going to be just fine.

Love you always,

Mo