Who am I and What am I doing here?

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November 30, 2012

Does everyone get into these moods where they want to define themself? Nothing quite seems to fit and you’re not sure why you do what you do.

I’ve been blogging for a long time, and before I was a blogger I wrote in journals. I have always had a space to clarify my feelings about something, whether privately or publicly. It’s been a very important part of my life and almost like therapy.

This month I’ve been posting every day, I’ve been writing every day for #NaNoWriMo (I completed my 50,000 on November 23), and I’ve been going to events and talking to friends more. I’ve been reading more and thinking a lot.

This year is rapidly coming to a close. This year I left my job, I took a few chances, I have done a lot of things, but mostly I have been a stay at home mother, which has been the most challenging thing I have ever, ever done.

This blog is my place. When I talk to other people about what I want my blog to be, I want it to be my place. I love having the words I put here mean something to someone else, I love have conversations about these things that are affecting me with the people who comment.

I am a writer. I love to write. I love to spend my time writing and reading and connecting. I feel very, very lucky that I am living in a time when all of this is available to me.

Not that long ago I was floundering in journalism, I was having trouble getting ideas, my confidence was at an all time low. I have been very lucky over the past little while to have a man who loves me and encourages me, bosses who have pushed me and given me drive, and this space.

I think what I’m figuring out, in all this talk of what I want my blog to be and who I want to be as a blogger, is that I want to be me and I want this blog to represent who I am.

Prompt: When was the last time that you cried? Why?

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November 29, 2012

The last time I cried, as of this writing, was watching the last episode of Doctor Who. My husband and I finally caught up and now we’re where everyone else is, waiting for the Christmas special.

There was sadness in the show for sure (anyone who watched will be well aware of the sad circumstances and I’m not spoiling nothing – ya hear me?).

But the watching of said episode just happened to be the thing that allowed the pressure to come out. I had been feeling stressed and under pressure and sad and a little bit of everything else but I couldn’t force myself into the emotions.

This is why I watch Steel Magnolias. When you need to release that pressure, you need to cry and when you need to cry you need a sad movie. There is nothing like the scene in the graveyard. Nothing. Except, apparently, the circumstances of the episode of Doctor Who entitled The Angels Take Manhattan.

Winner

by , on
November 28, 2012

Joe and I have had an ongoing debate about who made the first move in our relationship. We were coworkers and friends and then suddenly something more and there is no clear line between the two.

Basically we were friends, we enjoyed talking to each other, we didn’t get on each other’s nerves. One night he invited me over to watch a movie, a few days later I invited him over to watch movies. That second night? That was the night we first kissed.

That night he sent me an email – I still have a copy of that email printed out and saved. Ever since that night we have been pretty well inseparable.

When we’re not physically together we talk on the phone and IM and send each other emails. I know what he’s talking about before he finishes his sentence, his hugs are the greatest in the world, though another, smaller human is starting to compete for that title.

We are similar in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways and we make a really great team.

It’s pretty clear we both sort of knew that right away. It wasn’t long after that first kiss that we started talking about moving in together, and seven years later here we are with a dog and a daughter and a house and a life built around our family.

So I’ve decided to take the credit. I knew I was feeling something, I called, I asked him to come over. I’m the winner.

First Snow

by , on
November 27, 2012

We’ve had a few flakes here and there, but yesterday when I woke up there was finally snow sitting on the ground. I’ve been waiting for the first snow because there is something very special about pulling back the curtain to show the kid that it’s finally arrived.

Our kid? She is a winter kid. Her Daddy says she has the spirit of the north. She loves snow, she loves being outside, she loves her sled and building snowmen and skating and everything that has to do with winter. I plan on being the mom who greets her back at the house with hot cocoa.

She was up around 7 but I waited about an hour to show her what had happened because I wanted a little time before the excitement began. I’m glad I waited because in about five minutes we went from this:

Snow! Mom! It’s snowy!

To this:

(It actually only took that long because we had to stop and tell Grandma that it had snowed).

She pranced around the backyard, throwing snow in the air with a huge smile on her face. She made snow angels:

And after a short break to get warmed up, she came out front to help me shovel off the driveway:

I can only hope that her love of shovelling continues as she gets older, though her Daddy actually finds it ‘zen.’

This kid is not going to be bored again until April.

A How To Guide

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November 26, 2012

I started reading Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman this month and I have been really enjoying it. In fact, I’m now reading it over the two other books I have on the go.

It’s the kind of book that I would have been embarrassed for my mother to give to me, but I would have loved to have had when I was a teenager. It’s the kind of book that I will be abashed to give to my daughter, but that I want her to be able to read and talk about with other people.

In the book, Moran talks about all those things that I’ve spent time wondering about and wondering if anyone else thinks about. All the things that made me insecure and alone as a teenage. One of the greatest gifts you can give a teenager is letting them know that other people share their insecurities.

Moran is a feminist, as am I, and she describes feminism in a way that’s perfect for those women who don’t like the term because of the ‘bra-burning’ connotations. She asks two simple questions: 1) Do you have a vagina? and 2) Do you want to be in charge of it?

She puts this definition out there while pointing out that 42 percent of British women in surveys don’t consider themselves feminists. It really doesn’t make sense for a woman to disagree with the idea that women should have a real voice in society.

The further along I get in the book the more I want to recommend it to women that I know, I want to make my husband read it knowing full well that parts of it will make him uncomfortable. I even discussed the chapter on pubic hair with my mother, which should have been weird but wasn’t.

Her main point is that women have never been equal to men, women have never contributed to society the same way men have because we have never had the opportunity. There are people out there who act as though women haven’t been capable of being equal, but the fact is we’ve had a lot of things holding us back, most notably men and pregnancy.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the book making me as thoughtful and uncomfortable as the first half.

 

One month to go

by , on
November 25, 2012

Christmas Day is in one month, which is unbelievable in so many ways. The year is winding down and Christmas is taking over everywhere.

Last year I was sort of into the Christmas spirit, this year I am actually excited. I have downloaded Christmas music (the kid is enamoured with Jingle Bells), I have started my baking (aided by my new stand mixer, a Christmas gift I was allowed to open early), the lights are up despite the fact that Joe doesn’t like doing the decorating before December 1.

I have been all over Pinterest finding crafts we can do to make the house more festive (Melted snowmen, Christmas lights, wreaths). I have done most of my shopping (and if anyone has a suggestion for what to get my Dad, I would love a few).

I’m excited to get the house decorated, get our tree and settle in to our new living room – the living room where we will be spending Christmases for the next few decades – with the tree lights glowing and the fireplace on and a mug full of Ovaltine.

Though based on the fact that the kid already tried to open the box containing her Daddy’s present, we might not put anything under the tree until Christmas Eve after she goes to bed.

NaBloPoMo Prompt: Talk about the opening of your favourite book.

by , on
November 24, 2012

My favourite book is Something Rotten, which is the fourth in a series. The series is by Jasper Fforde and it’s about a woman named Thursday Next who lives in an alternate 1984 – at least, it’s 1984 when the first book starts.

Thursday has a pet dodo, her father doesn’t exist, her brother died in the Crimean War.

Jasper Fforde has a bizarre imagination.

I first found the first two books in the series (The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book) when I was living in Belleville, going to college. The covers, bright red and purple and bright blue and orange, respectively, caught my eye as I was looking around Chapters and when I read the description on the back cover it didn’t make any sense. So, of course, I bought them.

There are now seven books in the series, and Fforde has written three other books for adults as well (he’s also got a YA series on the go). I have read all of them many times (except for the newest one, The Women Who Died A Lot, which only came out a couple of months ago).

The whole Thursday Next series takes place in this alternate reality and in that reality books are actually important. You can also travel into books, which Thursday does, which is how Hamlet ends up as a character in Something Rotten. His response to Thursday’s world outside his play is what makes that book my favourite.

I am a Jasper Fforde evangelist. I encourage everyone I know to read his books. I think he’s hilarious. I will buy anything he writes. I’ve seen him speak three times.

 

Our Boy

by , on
November 23, 2012

Our Henry turns seven today. He’s been with us seven years and it seems totally unbelievable. He was so tiny when we picked him up and brought him home.

Seven years he’s been around to comfort me and cuddle with me. He takes care of us. He’s a character (one I’m trying to write into an actual character).

Two years ago we thought we were losing him, but he came back to us only a little bit worse for wear. He still has problems. One of his legs is a little behind and he’s not always in control of himself. He looks so sad sometimes, like he knows he’s not what he used to be. We take him for a run and he almost forgets that he’s not his old self, until he gets tired and he can’t run any more. Lately he asks to be pick up and placed on the bed rather than jumping up, and sometimes we have to carry him upstairs because he doesn’t think he can make it himself.

One thing no one can take away from him? He’s the best person in this house to take a nap with.

Happy Birthday buddy.

NaBloPoMo Prompt: Are you good at hiding your feelings or is your face an open book?

by , on
November 22, 2012

(I stole this prompt from October).

I am terrible at hiding my feelings. I am not good at stopping myself from crying. I am not good at acting nicely to someone I don’t like. It’s a definite weakness, especially in the working world.

It’s something my husband is very good at, and I wish I were more like him. He’s friendly with everyone while I try to hide a scowl on my face. I get very short with people – especially people that I think are stupid or wasting my time.

I also hold grudges. The other day I thought I saw a woman who, when she was part of my life, drove me absolutely insane with her ineptitude. I have a physical reaction to the sight of her. Except it wasn’t actually her.

I can be a bitch, but I have accepted the Rupaul’s Drag Race definition of the word: Being Totally In Control of Herself.

I’m intelligent, I’m in control, and I don’t really have a lot of patience. It’s actually something that has totally shocked my mother when she watches me with my daughter. The kid is the one person in the world that I will be really patient with.

I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at hiding my feelings as I’ve gotten older but I don’t really know. You’d have to ask someone who has pissed me off.

WANT.

by , on
November 21, 2012

Lately the kid has been all about what she wants and what is hers. I took her to pick out a toy to donate to kids in need at the Help Santa Toy Parade. When we got to the aisle with the dolls that she happens to love, and I explained that I wanted another kid to have the chance to love a baby like she does, she said “I want her to have that one,” pointing at Sleeping Beauty.

I thought it was finally a breakthrough.

And then, after I put the doll into our cart and started walking back through the store she had a complete meltdown. She didn’t want to give the doll away, she wanted to buy something for her. I continued hearing about it as we drove across the city to a play date.

At the parade I handed her the bag and asked if she would hand the toy to the firemen as he approached us and she started to cry. I gave it to him.

Over and over again I have told her that she is a very lucky girl, I have pointed out the toys she has and the bookshelf full of books. I have told her that some kids won’t have anything under their tree at Christmas unless we help.

Her response? “I don’t want them to have anything.”

Her reaction to every ‘no’ is “but I want…” over and over again. I try to explain that I heard her, and I understand what she wants, but the answer right now is no.

And as much as I know that she’s only two and this is probably just a selfish time that she’ll grow out of the way she’s reacting is hurting my heart.

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