Monthly Archives: October 2012

My Pyjamas, Not the Cat’s

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pajamas

First off, I spell it “pyjamas”. This post came about as a result of Spell Check. I was sending an e-mail, explaining that I am in fact still in my pyjamas, and got the red underline. In fact, it’s appeared as I’m typing this. So, because I’m an obsessive freak, I googled it. Two spellings. So, leave me alone, Spell Check.

I’m a huge fan. I have multiple pyjamas, cozy flannels, classy silks, cool cottons. Pyjamas are the one garment, in my opinion, that should NOT “fit”. They should be a size or two too big. As a card-carrying grownup, I have to wear clothes that fit me ALL DAY. When I get home, I want pure comfort. I don’t want too-tight waistbands that leave marks around my middle.

One of my beefs with pyjamas is that because I prefer natural fibres, they tend to shrink up in the wash a little, and the legs invariably become too short. That’s why God made socks. Unlike my daytime obsession with pants that are long enough though, I really don’t care when I’m in my pyjamas. Pyjamas are made for not-caring.

That’s not to say that I care little enough to wear them in public. No, although here in Peterborough, they seem to be de rigeur for WalMart wear, I do insist on getting dressed in Big Kid clothes to leave the house. I don’t object so much when I see students out in their flannel bottoms, but I draw the line at people old enough to have Serious Jobs. Really, did you just give up? Or get up? Even so, brush your teeth, comb your hair and put on real pants. And no, sweats don’t count. Real pants. Pyjamas are for at home, sweats are for the gym or for yardwork. All other social interaction requires pants. Or a skirt, whatever, boys and girls.

I have pyjamas that are strictly for nights alone. The sex-appeal factor of red flannels with reindeer is sub-zero. I have much nicer nightwear for “company”, but it’s not as comfortable, and I don’t really consider it “pyjamas”.

Years ago, my then-husband hunted down a pair of footy-pyjamas for me. He even wisely went to Tall Girl for them. Sadly, they still weren’t really long enough, and that strain from crotch-to-shoulder really wasn’t comfortable. This was truly sad, because as a kid, I loved them. Although apparently, there’s nothing more fun than snapping your sister’s drop-seat. Who knew?

I really wish I could get a pair of footies that fit me. Although I’d probably just give up all hope and wind up living under a bridge drinking Aqua-Velva, and someone would have to surgically remove me from them, at some point.

PS – Friend Naomi found me this site – I WANT THESE PYJAMAS!!! 6’1″, size 8.

http://www.pajamacity.com/Hippie-Peace-Love-Adult-Footed-Pajamas-with-Drop-Seat/productinfo/JD1135-HP2/

Homebody

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Astrologically, I’m a Cancer. Among other things, we are purportedly homebodies. I couldn’t agree more – nowhere I’d rather be. I’ve blogged about the importance of home before, of surrounding yourself with things that comfort you and are meaningful to you.

This is a bit of a different spin. See, here’s the thing: I’m a slob.

Ask any grade school teacher I ever had. The girl with the perfectly brushed hair, pristine kneesocks both at her knees, books in a neat stack, copperplate handwriting? Well, see the kid behind HER, with her hairband around her neck, skinned knees, pudding on her shirt, desk looking like a squirrel’s nest? That’s me, frantically scribbling chicken-scratch ideas in a stained, dogeared notebook.

Ask my parents. Well, ask my Dad. My Mum’s not with us anymore, but here’s the thing – she’s not spinning in her grave concerning the state of my digs. No, I come from a long line of lousy housekeepers. You’ve heard me before refer to my Hobo Monkey Clubhouse. Sometimes it gets out of control. Not “call the health department” out of control, but not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, either. My bathroom scares me at times. There’s blue furry things in my fridge. There’s often a largish pile of dishes in the sink. The rugs get a bit crunchy. The sheets bear olfactory evidence of people having slept there. If you’re over, you might want to wear something cat-hair coloured. You cannot eat off my floors. It’s okay, really, I have plates. And perhaps you shouldn’t be at large if you like eating off the floor, dear.

Every once in a while, I can’t stand it anymore, and I do a big cleanup. For a few days, everything is sparkly. I walk into my home and go “Aaaah, so nice”. A dirty, messy house stresses me out, but housekeeping is usually the last thing I want to do with my precious time off. You DO want me to blog, don’t you? Also, there’s things to knit and books to read; naps to take and tea to drink. I’m a busy, busy girl. I can’t clean the bathroom, I’m busy comparing and contrasting the respective wits of Dorothy Parker and Fran Liebowitz. Earl Grey or Chai? Wool or alpaca? So many important things to decide.

But, every once in a while, I just can’t stand it anymore, and I push up my sleeves and do a biiiig cleanup. Today was one of those days. Looks great. Smells nice. Feels wonderful.

I had a major cleaning company in do to a quote on Thursday. Yikes! Expensive! Although I think I could probably get a self-employed entrepreneur to do the job much more reasonably, it was some good motivation to get off my shapely butt and do some work.

So, my career as a lady of leisure who occasionally has to have words with The Help is probably at an end.

Aside

Today I will be driving to Lindsay to take the second day of a two-day course in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.  Yesterday was mostly classroom work.  Apparently today, it gets physical.  My knee has been really wonky this week, so I’m going to wear my brace and bring drugs, and I’m going to make it clear to the instructor that this is an issue.  Hopefully no one decides Big Bird’s goin’ DOWN.  There’s only two old farts in the class of 24 students.  It’s mostly shiny young faces.  Shiny young strong-looking faces.

I signed up for this class at the urging of my man, who was surprised that we’re not required to take it.  Apparently it’s de rigeur for social workers, teachers, security guards, hospital workers, PSWs, etc., etc. – really, anyone who works with people who have the potential to explode.  I approached my supervisor about it, and was encouraged to sign up for it.  They’re going to reimburse me the tuition, although I’m on my own time, and I have to eat the mileage for two days to Lindsay and back, but that’s okay. I’m to speak about it at our next district teleconference to determine whether it’s of value for our front line staff.

After only one day of the two day course, I’ve already determined that this is Stuff We Need to Know.  Every single person I deal with at work is there because they have a problem.  They’re all stressed to some degree.  I often have to tell people things they don’t want to hear.  I’m the messenger.  I try to be a humane, empathetic messenger, but often the message is neither.  It’s hard to deliver bad news, and even harder to accept it, I think.  No matter how nicely you say it, sometimes the answer is still “no”. 

I offer alternatives.  I outline policy.  I apologize.  I try to treat people in the way I’d want to be treated if I was on the other side of the desk.  But I know myself, when I’m stressed, and not getting what I think I need, that if I’m not listened to, I can get pretty irate. 

In past incarnations of my workplace, I’ve sometimes cringed when I’ve overheard staff/client interactions at the counter.  High-handed, bureaucratic dismissal, distinctly lacking in respect. I’m not naming names, but suffice it to say, none of those staff are with the organization anymore.  I’ve spent a lot of years thinking about this, and it all boils down to respect.  I think we all need to feel good about ourselves, yes.  BUT, bolstering your self-esteem by comparing your circumstances to the circumstances of others is not the way to go. 

We’re a little privileged, and I worry about that.  We’re employed.  Many of our clients are not.  We’re educated.  We’re literate.  We don’t suffer from conditions that impair our daily functioning.  We’re (mostly) sound, mentally.  Most significantly, though, Fortune has been in our corners, and nothing has happened to us that has required us to retain the services of a costly lawyer.

YET.

It’s a little trite to say “there but for the grace of God go I”, but it’s so, so true.  I am my client, and my client is me.  And sometimes things overwhelm me, and sometimes I lose control in the face of seeming helpless situations.  Sometimes I need someone to listen to me, and calm me down.

Crisis? What Crisis?

First to See the Water

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I’ve been lax lately, blog people, due mostly to a hectic Thanksgiving weekend with my boys and my man. Yes, I know – enough about the man, Lynne. But, this is still new to me, and I’m still amazed that something this good has come my way at this point in my life. So there, cut me some slack, okay? This weekend I’ll be cleaning up the aftermath of the holiday weekend – this place looks like the hobo monkey clubhouse! Meanwhile, back on the blog…

Every summer when we were kids, we had to take swimming lessons. Now, I truly believe that this is an essential skill; something every child should have. Knowing how to do a grande jete, speak Hebrew, or ride a pony isn’t going to do you a lot of good if you fall in the water. Excellent for kids to have outside interests. But, I think that if you don’t have the resources for any other extra-curricular activity, if you can only choose ONE, that you absolutely must make sure your children can swim.

I’m not a strong swimmer. I’m an EXCELLENT floater, though, and I have no fear of deep water. I figure if I ever fall off a boat, I shall simply lie on my back and float until help comes. That’s my plan. Unless I’m only, like, fifty feet from shore, then I’d probably try to swim for it.

Swimming lessons then were quite different from the days when I’d take my own kids in the car, up to the pool at Trent, with the nice, warm changerooms and showers. Lessons were outdoors, then, regardless of the weather. It was Muskoka, remember, and although it is lovely and balmy by times, there are days which are just rainy, cold and miserable in the summer. My older brother and I would trudge up the road to the bus stop, in our flipflops and bathing suits, towels hung around our necks. There were bigger kids there, kids who used to tease us. It was pretty miserable by times. Eventually, a rickety old yellow bus would come to take us out to Kirby’s Beach. Turning the last corner onto the dirt road leading down to the beach, there’d be a chorus of “First to see the water!!!” Every time. “First to see the water!” Inevitably, I suppose, SOMEone was first to see the water. But if you didn’t call it, it wasn’t legit.

We’d break off into our classes. We never got very far, we usually were long gone camping by the time the test came around, so I did pre-beginner and beginner classes two or three times each, and I never did get any further than that. But I gained a sense of comfort in the water, lost my fear, and learned to float and tread water – all good. All you need, really.

But I can, in fact, swim. Not a strong swimmer, as I said, but I’m relaxed and comfortable in the water. We’d swim all summer, camping at Pancake Bay, in cold, clear Lake Superior. We’d hit the beach as soon as we were allowed, and only come out for meals. We’d swim out past the deep part, onto the sand bar, hundreds of feet out and only up to our knees.

There was always a parent watching us, of course. My parents were very cautious of water safety. Sometimes overcautious – my dad told me there were sea snakes out there, knowing that at the time, I was deathly afraid of snakes. I know now they were bits of driftwood; my dad has admitted that he told me that because I was a little too fearless in the water as a child.

When I was very small, we visited my grandparents’ cottage in Dorset – it was high up a cliff above the water, with rickety stairs going down. I had to wear an orange canvas kapok life vest at all times, with “FRONT” stenciled on it, in big block letters, for fear I’d tumble down the cliff and fall in. My Uncle Phil (my great-uncle, my paternal grandmother’s brother) was visiting as well, from California, and took great delight in calling me “Front”, which absolutely enraged me as a kid. But, I still have that bulky, clunky old life vest. It is totally useless, child-sized, meets absolutely no current safety standards. But it evokes for me a time and place, surrounded by family and loved beyond reason.