Friday, September 14, 2018

Short and... Short

I went to bed exhausted and had vivid dreams about the kids being small again (and Matt wearing pink shorts, for some reason), and right now I don't feel like being rational and adult and phlegmatic about the whole thing - I feel like life has played a giant mean prank on me - here, have these tiny people, they're awesome and funny and will make you see whole new worlds, but they're also a giant pain in the ass so you won't be all that sad to see them go. NICE ONE, LIFE.

I've been trying really hard to live in the moment, realize that tomorrow is not promised, embrace the chaos - all your standard clich├ęs. Being at this age where celebrities die and I'm surprised at how old they are and how young they still seem, seeing my parents getting older, feeling more and more mortal - I know how fast things can go if you don't pay attention. The thing is, they go fast even if you DO pay attention. And it's hard to know exactly HOW you're supposed to embrace the moment. I keep looking up from my book, seeing Lucy disappearing into Eve's room and trying to capture that moment - Eve still living here, Lucy still being alive, being halfway through this book instead of through five more - and then what do I do with it? I'm perimenopausal, I can't remember why I walked into this room, how am I going to keep all these moments? And then the moment you've captured the moment, you're into the next moment. It makes me start to feel panicky and weird. And panicky and weird is my default, I don't need to be piling on addition panic and weirdness.

Also, my allergies are turbo-charged and tyrannical right now. Wednesday as I was trying to get ready for my new job, about which I am ecstatic and excited, my right eye was watering so much it was like trying to stick a contact lens on a waterfall. I went through half a box of kleenex before stepping out the door. Is it possible to be mindful and grateful while also being unbelievably snotful? Well, yes - but it's a little less poetic.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sometimes the Universe is a Dick. Occasionally She is Kind.

So my blog post last year on this day was complaining that I was overwhelmed about starting to look for a job and Angus was getting screwed around by the guidance office at school.

This week Eve is getting screwed around by the guidance office at school but today I had a job interview for a job - a very small job, a microscopic job, like a job that can barely be seen by the naked eye, but still, a job - and by the time I got home and texted by reference they had already called her, and then before lunch they called me and offered it to me.

I told Eve I was sorry if I sucked up all the luck this week.

I was determined not to get my hopes up, not because I thought I wasn't qualified, but because the job is so absurdly, stupidly perfect for me at this point in my life that it just seemed impossible that I would actually get it. (I don't mean by this that it pays a whole lot or anything, you get that, right? I mean it's close by, and a few hours in the middle of the week so I can manage it even when my brain is broken, and at a really lovely school where I love all the people I've met so far). I still don't really believe it.

So Eve's situation is that she got both of her easy electives first semester, making her semesters wildly unbalanced. A few of her friends were in the same situation, so guidance told them to make appointments and then we they got to their appointment they were all told that everything was full and nothing could be done. This was doubly disappointing for Eve because she has cooking with Chef V. this semester, and Chef C., who she had last year and adored, is teaching cooking next semester and said he would make room in his class for her, so she would have had better balance and the preferred teacher. It's frustrating, because obviously it's hard to balance a billion courses between a billion students and have everyone be satisfied, but in our experience the school seems to be exceptionally bad at it.

She's handling it really well, though. She made her own guidance appointment, talked to all the teachers, and when she found out it wasn't possible she started looking for positives in leaving the situation the way it is. Also, Chef V. is the 'mean chef', but by the end of the first day she said they were already 'kind of buddies' because she got 'Angus points'.

Matt and I are in an extremely petty battle of seeing who can hold off from texting Angus for the longest, and making fun of each other when we cave. The first day I said I wasn't going to text him at all he texted me first, which made Matt very bitter. Yesterday I said "did you text him?" and Matt said "yes, but I had to get him to--" and I yelled "IT DOESN'T MATTER, YOU FAIL".

And now I'm experiencing extreme adrenaline withdrawal from an early interview and a celebratory happy hour with my parents, and I might need a nap.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Roller Coaster of Emotions

A couple of weeks ago, two friends and I took our younger kids to Canada's Wonderland. We went down to Toronto on Monday, went to Ripley's Aquarium (it was magical, would go back in a heartbeat), walked around, had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, spent the night in a weird hotel in Richmond Hill, and hit CW early on Tuesday. A rainy, rainy Tuesday. Like, the forecast started out rainy and got rainier, with multiple chances for thunderstorms. But we were committed, and, like Eve's friend Rachel said, hey, no lines.

So we marched into the (totally empty) park (every person at every checkpoint kept saying "you know there are no refunds, right?")  got sorted with lockers and rain ponchos, marched up to the Leviathan, filed on immediately (because no lines) and started chugging up the long, long, high hill. This was my thought process: "Hang on. I just got on. I wasn't sure I was going to get on. I'm just here because Eve wanted to come. Do I even like roller coasters? Did I ever like roller coasters? Did I just go on them to impress my boyfriend? Am I just doing this to impress my daughter? Or Collette? Perhaps I could have thought about this BEFORE I SAT DOWN IN THE FRONT ROW OF THE BIGGEST FREAKING ROLLER COASTER IN THE PARK?" Regrets, people. I had so many regrets.

So all summer we were preparing for Angus to move to Elmira New York for college. We washed stuff, we ordered stuff, we packed stuff. We went to all the summer action movies (that new Mission Impossible movie was way better than I expected). We went camping with all our friends and had a really great time. We went out for dinner with my parents. We assembled an assload of paperwork.

Then suddenly, here it was. We packed the van. We drove across the border (fairly smooth process that my husband stressed about for two months. The guy at the next desk with his 'simple assault charge' was having a way worse time). We unpacked and carried a bunch of crap up to the third floor of a residence in incredibly sweaty weather. We bought a bunch of stuff at Target (which has so many more different flavours of Oreos than we do, it's SO not fair).

And then... wait. Now we leave him here? He just lives here now? He doesn't live with us? Am I okay with this? Is this what I agreed to? This is the natural order of things. Right. Fine. It's good. It's right. It sucks a little bit. It's a little bit frightening. It makes your stomach feel a little bit weird. But it's also exciting. And hey, we're on this ride now. Might as well throw our hands in the air and embrace it.

(Metaphorically, I mean. Not on the actual roller coaster. There I was clutching that bar for dear life the entire time. Those things are really, really scary.)

Monday, June 4, 2018

Words and Food and Going Away

Since I started my last post talking about Lynn, why break the streak? I deleted Twitter from my phone on the strong urging of my sweet and wise friend Hannah - she detected that it was both making me angry all the time and giving me another excuse to sit brooding instead of getting off my ass and doing something constructive. It was good - when I felt the need to check Twitter I would remember it wasn`t there, and I would literally force myself to stare into space until I got bored enough to get up and do something. Then Lynn mentioned this game that she saw someone playing on their phone on the bus that involves words and trivia and.... DAMN YOU LYNN.

So I just linked to Lynn`s blog, which naturally led me to read her latest post before coming back here because I am a champion procrastinator, and she mentioned that she made a meal and her family ate all of it. This is a huge deal because she has myriad food allergies and underweight children to deal with, so the exciting thing it reminded me of is much less exciting comparably, but whatever. I don`t have a huge problem feeding my kids - Eve has a texture issue and a lot of things she can`t eat without barfing, and she doesn`t like pork or beef, but she eats many vegetables (some I don`t even like) and you can do a lot with chicken or fish, so it`s cool. But she doesn`t like a lot of casserole type things where everything`s all mixed together, so when I make something in the crock pot I generally do something else for her. Not a big deal. BUT, the other day I made a quiche with spinach and red peppers in it and DUDE - EVERYONE ATE IT. A one-dish meal. With vegetables. Every. Single. Person.

This, of course, reminds me that it would have been good if I`d made this discovery a year ago or more, because there are only three months before all of us don`t live here anymore. Which is a strange feeling. I keep saying that it was always pretty much a given that my sister and I were going to go away for university. Both my parents went far far away from home when they started their schooling. It was a family tradition. I assumed my kids would go away. Then when he was sixteen and only a couple of years from probably going away, I realized how much it sucked.

But I`m okay so far. He was talking to some people from my book club last week and he said he feels ready to be away from home. So that`s good. Of course there are times when I still miss my little boy who ran around in superhero costumes and sat on the stairs fully suited up for three hours before every baseball game and could talk about the dynamics of Pokemon for forty minutes straight (okay, I don`t miss that part so much). But I had that. Now it`s time for this. I`m excited for him. I think.

Okay. None of that was what I meant to blog about today. Maybe that means I`ll blog again tomorrow. ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Still Here, Still a Zombie

I just commented on Lynn's blog, which reminded me that she commented on my last post and made me think I WILL keep posting Lynn, I WILL. And then I didn't.

I'm tired today. This is sort of sucky because I haven't done that much to be tired from. BUT I did go to a play Friday night, a birthday party Saturday night, a dentist appointment Monday morning, a physio appointment Tuesday afternoon and several errand-ish places with Pam yesterday. SO this means I'm tired from doing SOME stuff, whereas for the past several weeks before this one, I was exhausted from doing almost nothing. A tiny, barely-discernible, possibly-invisible-to-the-naked-eye amount of improvement has taken place.

Soooo, what has flitted through my mind recently that I thought I might blog about and then didn't? I worked a little bit. There was a pair of twins in one of the classes at a Glebe school whose names were so wondrously harmonious that I immediately wanted to write a series of books about their madcap adventures. Then the next day I found out that they had an older brother whose name was just as fabulous. I texted Hannah and Nicole, but I probably shouldn't reveal their names in their glorious entirety here, but guys, I REALLY WANT TO.

Matt agreed to give a talk about possible careers in science to some high school teachers on a professional development day. He paced around musing about what level to pitch the talk at, what things to include, and kept saying he felt like he was overthinking it. I said "hon, you sound just like me trying to pick a book for storytime".

I read a French book about octupuses for storytime. Did you know that octupuses have one brain in their head and SMALLER ONES IN EACH ARM? Is this one of those things that everyone knew and I didn't? I would erase it for fear of mockery, but if I can share this with even one person, it will have been worth it.

I revisited my intention to read all the Newbery award winners, realized how few I'd actually gotten to and how very many were left and felt a little discouraged. Then I found three or four on the shelves at one of my schools, borrowed them over the week-end and felt better. Zombie blog - no deadlines. I will review them soon. Probably.

Every few days I go on Twitter and try to go to bat a little for my Twitter friends who are gay or trans and take a lot of shit on social media - not because I really believe I'm going to change anyone's mind, but that whole thing about it being more important for the others who are listening, you know? This invariably results in a few troglodytes calling me unsavoury names. A couple of weeks ago when I objected to someone characterizing trans people as sick and perverted, he retorted "and you are a fat, ugly slob." Isn't that, like... I dunno, almost quaint? I mean, yeah, it's stupid that men especially think that the very worst thing you can call a woman is fat, and the fact that he would think that some Trump-supporting brain-dead red-neck asshole not finding me attractive would be upsetting to me is weird, but I was kind of like, hey, the 1970s called, they want their insult back. What's this weak sauce, man - you can't even bestir yourself to muster up a "bitch" or "cunt"? And then one of my very sweet friends reported him and he got suspended! For fat, ugly slob! I reported someone on Facebook for saying that women soldiers should be used as human shields for male ones and nothing! WHERE IS THE BALANCE?

I finished rereading this book today and it made me cry again. It is a very, very good book.

So. How are you?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Book Review (sort of): Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

So I guess it's true that as my depression goes, so goes my blog. Or maybe it's inversely proportional? Either way, here we are, or are not. In sort-of good news... no, not really, but I guess in sort-of illuminating news that means I won't chuck my antidepressant, my friend Dani (HI DANI) posted something on Facebook that gave me a thundering A-HA moment. Of course, I didn't save it so now I will go hunt-scroll on Facebook for an hour or so to find it. BRB. Oh, here it is.

In short, it talks about peri-menopausal symptoms that aren't widely known, including a pervasive brain fog and memory problems, because "fluctuations in estrogen and testosterone make it hard to concentrate, wreak havoc on your memory, and influence your mood." The thing is, I knew I wasn't concentrating well and my memory was scary bad, and when I read blog posts from a few years ago and compared them to recent ones, they almost seemed to have been written by someone else. I remembered the words flowing faster than I could type them, shaping some small incident into a hilarious anecdote (it's true, read back, I was HILARIOUS), and as I went about my day I was often reworking things into a blog post, not compulsively, not so I would always write it down, but because that was how my brain worked. And now, it wasn't. Working. 

I was worried that this was an effect of my antidepressant, because that seemed the only thing that could have that big an impact on what I thought was my personality. It seemed like changing how my brain worked was too big a price to pay for a stabilized mood, so I dropped my dosage. Then Eve got a mild virus and I stayed awake all night worried she was going to die in her sleep, so clearly that was not a workable solution. So then I just stopped blogging. Then I read this. 

So, it's not a solution, but it means I should keep taking my antidepressant, which is good because my kids don't need me waking them up every two hours every time they get a cold. It means I probably don't have early-onset dementia (probably). It maybe does mean that I should quit blogging, but I don't think I'm quite ready to do that. 

So I've been meaning to read Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere based on nothing sensible - I knew nothing about her or the book, but it kept popping up on lists and I liked the cover, and the title, and her name. But then Nicole (HI NICOLE) recommended Everything I Never Told You, which was also available as an express library e-book, so I read that first instead.

I really, really... thought it was a good book. I didn't exactly love reading it, because it's very, very sad and uncomfortable and sometimes infuriating. It reminded me in many ways of Home by Marilynne Robinson, in the way that it showed that people can love each other very much and try very hard to be kind and do the right things and it can all still go horribly wrong.

Two main things kept gnawing at my brain while reading this book. One was mainly about the book, and one was mainly about me. The one about me was how desperately grateful I should be to have been born now and not fifty or sixty years ago or more. In a world that didn't have antidepressants, machines for treating sleep apnea, orthotics, body positivity... good lord, I would be even more of a weird outcast than I am now. Shit, I don't even know how to say it without joking because it's frankly terrifying to contemplate. Without orthotics I would be in pain every day that I tried to stand or walk. Without my CPAP I would have gained even more weight unrelated to diet or exercise levels. If I had just grown up with my mother who sighed and looked crushed every time I couldn't fit into something she thought I should be able to fit into, and never found groups of people who talked about how that kind of thinking is actually bullshit, I would have felt like a fat failure. Without antidepressants...well, I guess that might have taken care of all of it, honestly. Okay, whew, enough of that, it's creeping me out.

The thing about the book is, Jesus Christ, we talk about communication so much that it's almost become a joke, but if one single person or married couple or sibling pair in this story had had one single honest conversation, how much misery could have been avoided? I'm not saying this judgingly; I understand very well all the reasons that people don't speak up, and it made perfect sense why the characters in this book felt like they couldn't be honest with each other. It's more just a fresh realization that communcation is actually very, very important.

I've been working on this post for weeks, and I feel like I haven't done with it what I wanted to do. But unless I wait for seven to ten years, chances are that's not going to happen, so I'm going to post it as is, because I guess just binge-watching Jessica Jones until my hormones settle the fuck down isn't really an option. If anyone needs me, I'll be here in the fog. Call my name, walk slowly and wave something in front of you.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Kids Being Funny

I'm in sort of a weird place. I spent a few years raising kids and not worrying about getting a job. Then I spent a few years raising kids and working at a slow and meandering pace towards a diploma that would help me get a job. Then I spent a few months looking for a job. Now I have a job, but I'm not working much. So, like, when I'm not working, what's my job? You know?

It's fine. I've been on a very satisfying decluttering and purging tear, hung out with the kids a little during exams, and I'm keeping an eye out for steadier work. I've made it to the gym three weeks in a row, which all on its own is ample evidence that I'm doing better than I usually am in January. It's just all a little weird.

Eve Being Funny About Biscuits:

I was baking biscuits when Eve got home from school the other day, which made her very happy. She perched on the arm of the couch watching me cut out biscuits and place them on a cookie sheet saying "I'm so excited for biscuits!" and then I opened the oven and took out a sheet and she yelled "OMG, there were some in the oven already? WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE!"

Angus Being Funny About Bedrooms:

A few years ago we had the kids switch bedrooms because Angus's was twice the size and Eve spent more time in hers. Angus's small room had a queen loft bed, a single bed and a dresser underneath that, a book case and a little table that he mostly just piled shit on. It was close and cramped, but he really just slept and got dressed there. After a couple of years, he started sleeping in the spare bed downstairs so it was just a closet room. I'd been bugging Matt to get the loft bed out, but you know, life happens, things get put off, we are nothing if not champion procrastinators. Then a couple of weeks ago I found a friend who not only wanted the bed, but her husband wanted to come and take it apart so he would know better how to put it back together. Hello, Awesome! And the room looks SO much better now - we all keep going in and spinning around in circles on the empty floor, and there's so much more light, and Angus can actually stand all the way up and extend his arms while getting dressed.

So then Angus says "the only problem with you cleaning that room up is now I'm spending more time there." And I say "how is that a problem?" And he says "well, I'd committed to the basement before. Now I'm a citizen torn between two countries."