Friday, April 24, 2015

Squelchy in public...

I should have worn extra protection.   I didn't because it's Day 4 - my feminine mystique slacks off by Day 4.  Plus, my faithful Diva Cup holds a full ounce - I should be good.  And yet... the squelchiness.

I wince when I bend over to grab a paint brush... Oh, that does not feel right... I am decidedly squelchy... And apparently crampy... What the fuck?!?  DAY 4!  This is DAY 4!!  SQUELCH.  Oh dear God, please don't let me bleed out.

Well, there is no washroom - I've gotta let it run its... no... let's not put that out there.  Asking for a lift home, praying that the squelchy feeling is just that, a feeling.  Please don't let me bleed all over her mini van seats, please don't let me bleed all over her mini van seats... 

"I can get out at the light!" I suggest.

"You sure?"

"Oh yeah," I say, opening the door even before we come to the light.  "Thanks!"

No problem, just a block and I'll be home.  I jog a bit, you know, to get home that much faster...  Bad decision.  That is a bad decision. I now feel like I've peed my pants except that I know I haven't.  1/4 of a block to go.  I glance down.  Thank God I am wearing jeans - nothing looks like it has seeped completely through... I lift my arm in a celebratory fist pump... I have spoken too soon.  No worries, with the denim, it just looks like I have wet myself.  I saunter nonchalantly  - I can always take off my spring jacket and wrap it around my waist...  Nobody would notice anything because the entire jacket is already red.  Why are my upper thighs warm?!?  Oh COME ON!!!

By the time I get upstairs to the bathroom and take off my clothes, I look like I've been eviscerated.  Oh no, my cotton panties.  For the love of...  I like these panties!  They're hot pink with green and blue ribbon... These are good ass panties.  The jeans are even worse - how does one clean blood stains by the linear foot?  Now I have to Google whether cold or warm water is best for removing blood stains.  Which, if CSIS is monitoring internet questions, could be a red flag... HAH!  RED FLAG!  I start laughing - the cats give me a look when the laughter takes on a more maniacal edge.

After my impromptu sitz bath, I swaddle myself in a robe, eat popcorn, chocolate and two hotdogs while watching old clips of Britain's Got Talent.

Sniff.  Sniff.  Damn you Janey Cutler!  Damn you, you adorable octogenarian with your adorable Scottish accent, and Piaf-like pipes!!    Now I need a tissue along with the ice cream that I will have emergency delivered.   

Friday, April 17, 2015

Life with a perfectionist.

Rissa may look like me, but she gets her perfectionist streak from David.  David comes from a long line of perfectionists.  On his worst days, David will despair, "I'm not good at anything!!!"  David is on crack when he says this.

"I'm a Jack of all trades and master of none," he huffs.

"Okay, first off, you're a David of all trades and master of most of them."  And then I shoot him an angry eyeball, warning him that he doesn't want me to itemize the myriad of ways he is much, much better than your average bear at almost anything he sets his mind to.  What he is not, is PERFECT at all of them.  But he comes pretty frickin' close.

Rissa, since she began to move, has had the highest of expectations for her performance.  I remember her wailing at Air Zone, at the top of the 30 foot inflatable slide saying, "I want to but I can't."  Which makes sense, because her 3.5 year old gaze was on the 30 foot downward slope of primary-coloured plasticized fabric that I, at the age of 35, would have had to work up my nerve to propel myself down.  I went up and carried her down, but she squared her shoulders and climbed up again and sat there, working herself up to it - all the while crying, as child after child went past her and down the 30 foot drop.  All the parents in Air Zone, looking at me like I had set this Herculean task upon her toddler shoulders, when it was ALL her.

"Rissa, honey, you don't have to do this!"

"I want to but I can't!!!"

Cut to 11 years later...  Dancing.  Rissa has always danced.  We have the obligatory naked baby dancing videos where she bounces to bagpipes and taiko drums from a Cirque du Soleil soundtrack.  Like her father, she understands music and tempo.  It's always served her well.  As she gets taller and taller, her physical centre has shifted and the dance turns she had accomplished so easily last year, are, in her mind, now causing her grief.  Lately, she comes home in near tears, having practiced her turns at the end of an already long day. David brings her home from the dance studio, throws me a sidelong, wide-eyed 'I don't know how to deal with this' look and shakes his head slightly in warning as he brings her into the house.

"I can't turn," says Rissa.  It is obvious that one mislaid comment could send her headlong into hysteria...

"Tonight," I reply.


"You can't turn tonight.  You're probably tired.  Go have a shower."

Her face crumples.

"Okay, let's head upstairs," I say.

We flop onto the bed together.  I smooth the tears off her face.  My heart aches for my perfectionist child.

"I'll never be able to turn!!"

"Well that's patently untrue."

"I won't!"

"You already have.  I've seen you do it.  You can't say that you'll never be able to do it, because you've already done it."

Her breath hitches in with fresh sobs.  We're on the precipice of of true irrationality here...  What I say next could make or break the situation.

"It's times like these," I say, "where you really need a shoulder gnome."

"A..." sniff, sniff...  "What?"

"Shoulder gnome.  It's a little gnome who sits on your shoulder and tells you when you should continue with something... or not."

Rissa's eyebrows meet in a scowl.

"So... you know... if you were... say, attempting to do something physically taxing at the end of a very long day, the shoulder gnome would grab you by the chin and say, 'Dude.  Now. Is. NOT. The. Time.'  And then if you try to ignore the shoulder gnome, it will slap you upside the face and say, 'Seriously.  I'm. NOT. Kidding. Around.  THIS. IS. A. BAD. IDEA.' "

The beginnings of smile touch the corners of her mouth.  Then she frowns again as she glances at the clock.

"It's SO late!  I still have to shower and I need to shave my legs."

"Why do you need to shave your legs tonight?"

"Because it's spring and I'm wearing capris now to school..."

"I can promise you that no one is going to notice your hairy ankles.  Besides, no one should be close enough to your ankles," I give her a pointed look, "to know that they're hairy.  Wait, unless they are the shoulder gnomes who have jumped down, then yes they will notice...They are notorious for noticing leg hair.   'Jerome - you won't believe the undergrowth this gal has on her stems!'  Then they'll come at you with their miniature scythes and cut down your crop of leg hair, carting it off for sale in the local shoulder gnome black market, where all things human go for ridiculous amounts of gold." 

And there it is, a real smile.

"Wait!  How is the shoulder gnome going to hold onto my chin?  They're just little."

I demonstrate with two of my fingers, indicating a shoulder gnome's arm length.  I move her chin from side to side.  "Do not underestimate the grasp of the shoulder gnome."

She laughs.  The tension in my chest eases.  She is back.   My pessimistic perfectionist has retreated.  I hug her, pressing my cheek to hers imparting through osmosis that our love is not dependent upon how well she turns, or whether she has an above 90 average or if her hair is straight  -  I can't say all that right now in case it sends her spiralling once more.  So instead I say,

"Love you hon."

"Love you too Mummy." 

Friday, April 10, 2015

That's why we need brown towels

We thought we'd experienced 'wet dog.'  We'd had a partial autumn with our new furry family member.  But  really?  Present April showers make last November's cold rain seem like puppy play. The wet dog stench, the splattered walls when you don't get to him before he shakes, the muddy footprints...  My grumbling mantra:

"I will not kill this dog, I love this dog, I want this dog, I will not kill this dog, I love this dog, I want this dog."

Torrential rain pour this morning.  Something David said to me as he kissed me during my teeth brushing stuck in my head.."Uh, hon?"

"When you said you'd thrown the dog towel into the dryer to dry...?"


"Did you mean the really muddy one?"

"Yeah..."   He's sensing that something's up, I can tell by his voice.

"I'm just gonna maybe put in on top of an air vent instead," I say as I pull it from the dryer, where is has been tumbling... along with freshly washed tea towels and our kitchen rug...

David's eyes narrow, he'd been proactive, he was helping. "O...kay...?" (pause, two, three...) And then his eyes widen.  "OH...  Right."

I have a premonition:  I see us buying bulk hand towels in a muddy brown colour that we shall then place at every door.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Disney does Dress Porn

The latest live-action retelling of Cinderella allows the viewer to get as up close and personal with red carpet style as one can get without attending the Oscars or Golden Globes.   I watched most of the movie with my mouth slightly open, it was akin to watching silk and taffeta fireworks on Canada Day.  I shouldn't have enjoyed the film - I've been told that by almost all media outlets with any sort of feminist bent.  And I'm definitely not supposed to lust over Sandy Powell's haute couture costume style, especially as it clads the body of the stunning Cate Blanchett.  

My mouth should not salivate at the swish of layers upon layers of princess tulle undulating on a dance floor.

And yet...

Upon watching the Cinderella ballroom scene, bibbidi-bobbidy-freaking-boo if I didn't want to swish across a parquet dance floor in layers upon layers of my own tulle-crinolined dress, in the arms of a man who knows how to truly lead.   I could feel my inner proactive feminist dying and I DIDN'T CARE.   

Sparkly blue princess dress...  Must have sparkly blue princess dress. 

I don't even like  princess dresses, but this dress? It hypnotized me. 

What the fuck???  

It's been drilled into our heads that corsets are bad for women, corset training is akin to binding feet.  Promlem is?   I love the feel of wearing one - I like how it lifts my girls up, gives me a breast-shelf at nearly chin level upon which I could eat.   I enjoy the feeling of containment while in a corset.  I like that my devolved sitting-in-front-of-a-computer posture can be brought back from its near-Neatherthal state while wearing a corset.   I like that my back fat disappears in one.  I don't want to wear one 24-7, but for special occasions?  I adore them.  I'm not saying every woman should wear one - but if they work for you?  If you're not destroying your internal organs when you where them on occasion?  Go for it.

Most of these hand drawn or computer generated fairy tale female characters could never be imagined as human.  There was even speculation that Cinderella's waist in this version was CGI'd.  It wasn't.  In this live-action version (filmed almost shot for shot like the 1950 animated version), Lily James's already tiny real life waist is corseted, thereby shrinking it by another 5 inches, and pushing her boobs up to her armpits.  The dress's voluminous skirt then makes her tiny waist seem even tinier with its yards and yards of fabric floating around her hips.  Lily James did not go on a prolonged liquid diet as most headlines are screaming.

"When [the corset] was on we would be on continuous days so we wouldn't stop for lunch or a lovely tea like this—you'd be sort of eating on the move. In that case, I couldn't untie the corset. So if you ate food it didn't really digest properly and I'd be burping all afternoon in [Richard Madden]'s face, and it was just really sort of unpleasant. I'd have soup so that I could still eat but it wouldn't get stuck."  Source: E-News

This 'diet,' this particular dress, its corset and Lily James's waist have unfortunately smothered the message of the film with talk of too much tulle and boning. 

Cinderella's dying mother tells her to:

"Have courage and be kind."   

This credo, especially in our 2015 of net shaming and cyber bullying, is something to which all children should aspire.  Yes, I still wonder why Cinderella allows herself to be doormatted under the heels of her step-mother and step-sisters and yes, I still prefer the screenplay of  1998's Ever After,  which gives Drew Barrymore's character more... character...  But having courage and being kind?  How can anyone not want to share that notion with the children in our world?  It's a great way to live one's life... whether you dress in a corset or not.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kitty Parkour

In our old house, which had six staircases (two to the basement, two to the 2nd floor, two to the attic), our three cats never laid across them.  They never lolled, never reclined, never became a stair obstacle.

Our new house with one staircase to the 2nd floor?  Is the cat equivalent to the local mall.  Our three beasts loiter for days upon these stairs.  They stretch, they 'downward dog,' they make it their day's work to create peril where once there was none.

  (Can you see three cats in these photos?  Neither could I.)


"What?  What happened?"  Rissa asks.

"Sorry!  Sorry.  I mean HOLY CRAP!!!"

"Why?  What's going on??"

"Cats!  EVERYWHERE!!!  As far as the eye can see - except the eyes CAN'T see them, at least not in the dark, on this staircase.  It's okay for Steve - he's an orange tom, but freakin' Minuit and Lola are black cats!  Do you know how difficult it is to see black cats on a staircase in the LESS THAN ADEQUATE LIGHT?!?"

"I know Mummy.  I know, just the other..."



"Sorry!  Sorry!  CATS!   Why must ALL of the cats lie upon the stairs?"

ps.  This also happens...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Going blind in the Bingo Hall

Those of you who spend thousands of dollars a year so that your child might dance, play hockey, sing in a choir, partake in tae kwon do, horseback ride, be part of a softball, archery or swimming team - might be familiar with Hometown Bingo.  Hometown Bingo is legalized gambling where local groups/charities work each bingo and then the bingo hall distributes a percentage of that cash earned to each group/charity.  Yes, Hometown Bingo - where smoking has been banned for years, yet its lingering stench remains embedded in the DNA of the building and one can find one dozen handicapped parking spots out front. 

David worked a shift one night and upon his return home, immediately donated $50 to a gambling addiction charity.

"This is MESSED UP," he said.  "Those people look like they don't have two loonies to rub together and they are plunking down $50 on Bingo cards."

"I know.  Crazy."

My job at Hometown Bingo?  To run to those who call "BINGO!!!" and then convey the card number on their winning card to the bingo caller, by using my big-ass diaphragm to read them out:


"That is a good bingo.  Any others?  Going once, going twice... this game is now closed."

This bingo runner job is a tad more difficult to do when one has gone blind.  Not 100% blind, mind you, but 50% migraine-induced-travelling-blindness, taking out one's peripheral vision and making the rest of the world seem like Swiss cheese on LSD sort of blindness. This particular bout of blindness hit me unexpectedly,  possibly due to slightly flickering fluorescent lighting in the bingo hall.

I bent down to grab money from my purse and knew when my frontal lobe started feeling funky that I'd better reach for my drugs at the same time.  By the time I came out of my purse with a toonie for a Twix bar and two travel vials of drugs - my vision was abandoning me.  Sucking back some water, I easily swallowed the ibuprofen, but the round, red acetaminophen pills - three of them, I think - were stuck in the bottom of the travel vial.  I banged the container on my hand.  No luck.  I banged it on the desk.  Nope.  I found a plastic knife and tried to dig them out.  What I really needed was a skewer...  Fuck it!  I threw the vial on the floor behind the desk... after four tries, I finally heard the pills rattle loosely inside.  I had just managed to swallow two pills when I heard "BINGO!!!"

I looked up and tried to see where the voice had come from.  I couldn't see anyone's hand up.  Where was she?  Where was... There was a hand... over... there... I thought.  I started walking towards her, hoping that I wouldn't run into a pillar if it suddenly disappeared from my vision.  I walked as quickly as I could without losing my balance and approached the woman.  She proffered a small rectangular piece of paper.  This was not a bingo card, it was a Pick 8 receipt - about 4 x 3 inches.  I'd never had to read this type of card - what the hell was I supposed to do with it?

"Read the date," the woman whispered to me.

The date... the dancing, wobbly date...  "MARCH 23RD!"

"Read the session," she whispered again.

"The session?"

"Here...  evening."


"You have to go over to another player and double check the numbers on the top."

"I have to what?"

The bingo caller  now jumped in, "You have to verify with another player."  Then I think she indicated moving somewhere with her chin - or her shoulder - might have been a breast...

I staggered over to another little old lady.

"You need to read these numbers here," she whispered, pointing.

Right.  Line after line of numbers all dancing before my eyes.   I opened my eyes very wide, hoping that might help.  Okay, I could do this.  The date was up at the top and the numbers were...  "Which numbers?"

"These, dear... 36..."








The little old lady was looking at me like I was on crack.

"13, 26, 35, 42..."

 "13, 26, 35, 42!!!"

"That is a good bingo.  This game is now closed."

 I couldn't see their looks of pity, but I could feel them.  And as I walked back to the desk I heard, "Poor dear, she can't read."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thyroidosaurus vs Perimenopauseratops

WARNING:  Female issues will be discussed.  

You get to be a certain age of woman and you don't put up with as much shit anymore.  You've made it through early parenthood and you're still standing.  You've mostly got it down, you know what works and what doesn't.  You've developed a rhythm and that rhythm generally lets you get through the day, the week, the year.  You are at one with your body, mind and soul... ish.

And then you hit middle age and it all goes to hell.

Used to be that women just kept their mouths shut.  Female 'issues' were not discussed in polite society.  As a result, generation upon generation of women had no one with whom they could commiserate.  We all just kept it bottled inside thinking we were going insane as our medical issues became became conveniently labelled as 'hormonal' and 'things women go through.'  After you've been living in your body for a few decades, you pretty much know how it works.  When things don't seem normal?  They aren't.

You should NOT be losing hair in handfuls.  Take what ends up on the shower wall to the doctor and show exactly how much you lose every time you shower.  Offer up that guinea pig-sized example of 'normal' at eye level and then see what they do.

FYI - you should not be bleeding through three three pads or tampons in an hour.  You should not have to take a towel with you to sit on... anywhere... EVER.

You should not want to go to bed at 7:15 p.m.

In the 50s, women coped by drinking.  In the 80s, it was Valium.  Fast forward to 2015.  Most gals attempt to stay 'natural.'  HRT with its frenetic dance back and forth between between being a Godsend and causing cancer, scares most women off.  And although the conversation about mental health is becoming more public - often we strive to be self-sufficient women who can 'have it all,' remaining stoic in the face of major shifts in personality and health.

I seek and offer COMMISERATION.  My body is one ginormous hormonal cocktail.  Between thyroid disease and peri-menopause, there are times I just want to crawl the 163 feet to the back of my property, cover myself in a blanket of snow and become a cautionary tale for those who make the trek past me.  I exercise and exercise and exercise, I eat sensibly and still find myself  30  pounds overweight with back fat that, in my twisted self-image, I am convinced could feed a family of 12 for a week.  I pass blood clots the size of toonies through my hooha.  Toonies!!  I have days mired down in despair, panic, apathy and bone-crushing exhaustion.

I am one 46 years old woman amongst billions.  There are billions of us.  You know what that means?  You're not alone.  We can be in this together.  Know that we're all doing the best we can, treading water with a medical system that pooh-poohs women issues as something to 'get through.'  So here's my suggestion folks: everyone who has a child out there who is interested in medicine... encourage them become doctors, encourage them to become researchers.  Encourage them to specialize in women's health issues.  Encourage them to find the solutions - to support women's health, to foster a health care system that makes it easier to move through middle age if you sport a vagina.  We exist in a world where our life expectancy allows us to become octogenarians, if not centenarians - wouldn't it be great if the last 30-50 years of ours lives didn't suck??