Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Someone having one of those days?

From the site of our media services provider up here in Calgary.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ignorant bliss

I found a poem, written by my grandmother (unless she plagiarized, which wouldn't entirely shock me), among some dusty old things the other day. Gramma was a fierce Baptist, president of the Christian Women's Temperance Union in Montreal during the war years, a lover of KitKats, an habitual returner of purchased merchandise, and a truly difficult person to be related to much of the time. She was a great gramma, though: always with the marshmallow bananas and the Wink and home-made fries during sleepovers. She wrote fan mail to products--and in return was sent new Hush Puppies, boxes of chocolate bars, hand cream, and dish soap. To her, the word "Christian" was the opposite of the following:
--New Brunswick (long story)
--doing what you want
--sleeping in on Sunday

Just by way of explaining this work of art, is all (click on the image so you can read it):

I have so many reactions to this thing. Pity, pique, amusement, jealousy. I think it's an interesting glimpse of the fear that lots of women--then and now--encounter(ed) when even thinking about how to balance work and family. Will I lose everything that makes me happy? Will I be useful? Will I have half of a career and half of a home life? I'm looking at my desk right now, covered as it is with fish crackers, Lego, a kid's asthma inhaler, WALL-E and handwritten pleas for escape/pardon from the penitent convict in the bedroom next door--as well as invoices, a printer, dictionaries, inspiration decks, three phones, Adobe InDesign CS4 for Dummies. Sometimes when I worry about having it all, I just look at my work space to see that the problem might be having it all in one smallish place.

My office makes me crazy and frustrated--who on EARTH could find anything in here, who could concentrate on a client call with a flatulent coonhound and a snotty-nosed kid standing three feet away the whole time, who could somehow put in an 8-hour day when parents and in-laws think that working at home means "working" at home?

And yet. And yet: what could I give up? None of it. I could no more unplug from this house and its rhythms for a job downtown than I could stop working altogether and retreat to my "sunny kitchen." My gramma wouldn't recognize this woman's life. "Women's lib" has brought us so much that we couldn't have dreamed of, both good and not-so-good. My gramma didn't want to be free of her predetermined role in the world--it scared the bejeezus out of her, although she wouldn't have put it like that. My freedom is a total mess, it falls off bookshelves, stays dirty in the kitchen sink for two days, lurks underfoot, has a Club Penguin screensaver, uses scenarios derived from The Clone Wars in client meetings, stays up late almost every night to meet work deadlines, dresses primarily in soft cotton sweatshirts ad drives a station wagon to meetings that on a hot day reeks of wet dog and melted oreo Blizzard. It's not exactly ignorant, but, you know, it's not far from bliss.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chain Lakes Is For Lovers

Oh, took just the loveliest drive to Chain Lakes on our way to Hailstone Butte (which richly deserves its name, btw). Big sun, big sky, big storm a-brewin'. Very dramatic. Paradise.

And doesn't every Paradise have its resident bad girl? This one did.

While munching on a peanut butter sandwich, the national lunch of Childhood, Kid slowly read aloud the following epigraph etched into the wood right beside where his Superman lunch box was sitting: "Megan Ann was screwed on this table."

And then the questions began. And no answers were forthcoming--I was just so unprepared. I thought I would do the whole "when a mommy loves a daddy" or some such nonsense, or, much more likely, just leave the whole thing to the schools and the Man. So when my angelic child with his pink cheeks and bright eyes wanted to know what had happened to Megan Ann on that table, I was all dry-mouthed and panicky. I actually got up and left, pretending that I just HAD to photograph those wildflowers right that minute, leaving Husband to deal. I am just hung-up enough to have actually cried a little bit.

Sigh. Thanks a LOT, Megan Ann and paramour, for the shards of my baby's babyhood, 7 years on (What? Too soon? Not soon enough? I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!!), that are lying all over the parking lot at the Chain Lakes campground.

I think today is actually the day on which I became fully middle-aged.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle

In response to Ironic Mom's post on makeup at 40 (and beyond. . . .)

I’m 47. This year, I decided that I am now old enough to do what I want, and have begun wearing glittery eyeshadow from Lit (a nice Calgary company). It’s bright and sparkly and sparkly (did I mention sparkly?) and comes in colors like “Farrah.” Its little glowy particles nestle in my eye bags, in my crows’ feet, and sometimes in those puppet-mouth thingies that happen around this time of life. It’s difficult to wash off. It draws attention to my droopy eyelids. It makes me look a bit like Bea Arthur. It is in fact the radical opposite of concealer. And it’s a hoot–it adds a little spring to my step, a little pizzazz to my frumpitudinous work-at-home life, and at the very least it’s a conversation piece. My mom thinks I’m insane, my sisters think I’m having a crisis, and I’ve heard the word “brave’ whispered more than once. But here’s the thing: I was never confident enough as a young woman to wear such warpaint. Now I am. And I shall wear glitter eyeshadow to the library and the foundation garment department of Sears because, as it turns out, that’s the way the nearly 50-year-old me rolls. Waddles. Whatever.

Monday, July 12, 2010

These guys break my heart

So hopeful. So brave. So. . . armed with a giant tooth.
For me, they capture the spirit and intent of boyhood--so much so that I'm going to disappear them from the playroom and into the memory trunk. And THAT captures the spirit and intent of motherhood as I live it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What kind of mother?

Checked in on Kid last night about 20 minutes after I heard the last disgruntled kvetching from his room. I discovered him fast asleep, but with his eyes open about a quarter of an inch. That always creeps me out--right?--so I leaned over him to gently, tenderly, maternally, slide the lids down over those huge blue eyes.

Guess I bobbled a little because I actually woke my sleeping child up by poking him in the eye.

He sat bolt upright in bed, pointed his little finger at me and yelled: "WHAT kind of mother does such a thing?"

Been thinking about that one for a few hours now. . . .