Monday, July 30, 2012

Picasso... Schmicasso

So... Picasso...  I've now been up close and personal to some of his greatest works at the AGO exhibit.   I can now say with some knowledge - "His Rose Period is my favourite period." 

Boy With a Pipe 1905

Picasso's rose period was 1904-1906 (ish),  in case you too, wanted to pretend you have knowledge of Picasso's periods.  Okay, that just made me smirk.  I am an infant.  The painting above is Boy With a Pipe which wasn't in the exhibit (posters were in the gift shop though) and THIS painting, I adore. At this exhibit, I also discovered that Picasso was this amazing sculptor.  WHO KNEW?!?  Well, I'm sure lots of people knew, but I didn't until I saw his Jester,

The Jester, 1905 (note that it's also in the Rose Period)

and there was this INCREDIBLE Woman's Head.  Not that she was a super-hero called the INCREDIBLE WOMAN or anything, but this sculpture was amazing in person!

Head of a Woman (1909 early cubism)
PLUS, later in his career he did weird-ass shit!  This might possibly have been my favourite! 
Man with Sheep, 1943

Although this one would come a really close second.  The hip bones, the udders... so much to love there!

Goat, 1950


I also saw the below piece, The Acrobat, which made my ovaries hurt.  It made me wiggy.  If it had any colour I could admire, I might have been able to stand it, but because there's no torso and the joints don't make sense...  I mean look at it - there's an ass made out of an arm and a leg.  It creeped me out.  I actually felt nauseated in front of it.  My friend Jon took glee in keeping me in front of it as long as possible.


The Acrobat, 1930

There were really only a couple of his cubist paintings that I liked.  These were the ones where the women actually had some expression to them.  These were the ones that weren't all boobs and crazy eyes and half-severed women bent in half.  Generally, he painted his lovers/wives - of which he had MANY.  Wait, that sounds a bit harsh.  Let me temper that.  To my knowledge, he wasn't a bigamist - I mean the guy wasn't living in Utah or anything.  He just slept with a LOT of women.  There are 8 major relationships, with possibly dozens or hundreds more.  The dude dug the ladies.

While with Eva Gouel (who was succumbing to either cancer or TB), Picasso had an affair with Gaby Lespinasse.  While married to Olga Khoklova he had an affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter.  He had an affair with famed photographer Dora Maar (see below), while involved with Marie-Thérèse Walter.

Dora Maar, 1937

While with Dora Maar - he stepped out with Francoise Gilot - who left him, frustrated by his inability to keep it in his pants - you'd figure by this time, his penchant for the female form would have been well-known.  He'd been sleeping with Genevieve Laporte at the same time he was with Gilot.   Laporte  left him shortly after Gilot did.

The painting below was of his second wife, Jacqueline whom he met in 1953 after having been abandoned by the only women (apparently) who were smart enough to move on with their own lives.

Jacqueline with Crossed Hands, 1954

(Perhaps I'm editorializing, but come on ladies!  Really?  You think he's ever going to change?  REALLY? I  mean REALLY!?! ) He was with Jacqueline for 20 years and painted her more than any other woman.  The representations of Jacqueline have personality and depth that other later paintings don't seem to have. It became clear that, in general, I ain't a big fan of his later stuff.  Hence my attachment to the Rose Period.  The other cubist stuff was mostly in uniform shadow-box frames with glass over top of them and they had no depth - you couldn't see the brush strokes.

Which is probably why I dug the sculptures, because you could see the depth and dimension to them.  Very, very cool to discover that I'm a big fan of Picasso - the sculptor.  PLUS -  I can now speak with intelligence about The Rose Period.  BOO YEAH!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic Porn

When planning your viewing of the 2012 Olympics - you have to be wily.  You want to be able to speak with authority about the big picture.  "Did you catch Branagh at the Opening Ceremonies??  Nice Caliban cover, huh?  How about that Mike Oldfield?"

I will freely admit that my favourite part of the Opening Ceremonies had to be the video segment when Daniel Craig went to Buckingham Palace and they made it look as if the Queen was actually parachuting into the stadium.  Let it not be said that Liz doesn't have a sense of humour.

The Olympics offers you a veritable feast of weird and wonderful sports that no-one would ever watch apart from once every 4 years.  (Well, really, once every 2 years, now that they've staggered the winter and summer Olympics.)  There are so many events out there, that you don't want to laden yourself with those that are too time-consuming with little punch or pizazz.  You've got 36 large events (according to the official site) - with some of those larger categories sub-divided into as many as 48 other events, in say Athletics.  And what do people usually talk about, when it's all said and done?  The Men's 100 metre.

I like to plan my viewing based on a very specific athletic criteria: which events show well-toned men in next to no clothing.  My go-to events are swimming and diving.   One might think that men's beach volleyball would be up there as well, but as I realized yesterday morning, when I tried to watch a game - they make the men wear shirts!  Sure, the women are in what amounts to a sports bra and panties, but the men are in modest shorts and loose tank tops.  Here I was hoping for a flashback to the volleyball scene from Top Gun.  Ladies and gay men, if I can get you to reminisce with me for a moment.  Two words: Rick Rossovich.  I was 18, he was pretty much male perfection.
Rick Rossovich as "Slider" in Top Gun 1986
Plus there's that double high-five slap thingie that Maverick and Goose share.  THAT is men's beach volleyball in all its homoerotic glory.  But nope - not at these Olympics! 

"I am totally being gypped!" I complain to David.
"How so?"
"They are wearing shirts!!  What's the fun in that?  Men can ogle any number of the female beach volleyball players!  And I'm stuck with over-sized tank tops!!"  I snort.
"Do you want me to find you some swimming?" David asks helpfully.
"Yes please."
My husband is a god among men.

 And then I discover...  Ryan Lochte...   To quote Farmer Hoggett: "That'll do Pig.   That'll do."

See?  Swimmers have muscle but not too MUCH muscle.


The guy looks like a model... wait a second - he actually IS a model.  Fair enough.  I mean, sure, why not share that physique with the world and make money off it?  Plus, I heard him in an interview and he used an adverb!  Correctly.  (sigh)

Okay, I'll be honest ...  That's not really my criteria for which sports I watch - it's just that peri-menopause brings out the hormones in a gal and when fast forwarding through the day's events, I might get sidetracked by the men who look like they have a lot of sperm.

My sports are gymnastics and diving.  I used to do both.  Not particularly well, but I did them.  I could do a back walkover on the beam, handsprings on floor - could do reverse and inward dives.  Today, I had a major "Mother Bear" moment while I was watching an Egyptian gymnast - Sherine El-Zein.  This girl had braces on both wrists, both ankles, one knee bandaged and one thigh bandaged - which begs the question - what the hell was she doing competing at all??  I watched as she stumbled at the end of her first tumbling pass and then as she fell on her second one, probably having torn something underneath one of those many braces or bandages.  She saluted the judges and bowed out of the event.  This poor girl, devastated and in pain, was unable to get off the floor on her own steam and there I am, yelling at the TV:

"Where is her coach?!?  Where the HELL is her coach??

If I could have teleported to London and run to her myself - gathering her in my arms, I would have.  This poor kid.  Her Olympic dreams shattered and it was a good 45 seconds before her coach just sort of saunters over to her.  If I ever see this man, I mean EVER - I'm going to punch him in the face and say, "That's for Sherine you lazy coaching bastard!!"   Sure I might not be as proactive for myself, but put a young woman in harm's way - WATCH OUT!!




Saturday, July 28, 2012

They killed Cameron!

My connection to Alan Ruck was stronger than I thought.


This week I had a disproportionate emotional response to televised stimuli.  I watched Bunheads.  First off, I had been under the impression that the show was reality tv aimed at the ballerina set. Rissa is a bit of a dance fiend herself, so we PVR'd it and sat down to watch it together. Imagine my unexpected thrill when I discovered that it was not reality tv, but that Broadway star Sutton Foster (be still my theatre geek heart!) was the lead, and the writing had deliciously sarcastic lines that made me laugh out loud. What happened after the first episode was unforeseen.  (If you don't have a lot of time to read, skip down to the Spoiler Alert part)

I'll catch you up.  Sutton Foster's character, Michelle, is a discouraged Vegas showgirl who has been wooed for the past year by Alan Ruck's geekily-adorable shoe salesman character, Hubbell.  After finally accepting a night out with Hubbell,  Michelle gets more than a little tipsy and decides to accept Hubbell's impromptu marriage proposal and heads back to his sleepy California coastal town.  There she finds out that he still lives with his mother, Fanny, who also happens to be a dance teacher - with a studio in the back yard, and that the entire town is shocked that Hubbell has married a showgirl/stripper/pole dancer.  With me so far?  Naturally, there's conflict  between Michelle and her mother-in-law and throw in, just for kicks, Hubbell's ditzy and sweet ex-girlfriend - but Hubbell is determined to let Michelle know his feelings and says to her in a moment of privacy:

“I know you don’t love me. I’m not an idiot. But I don’t believe you’re not made that way … you wanna love, you just haven’t found the right person yet. Maybe you don’t trust that anybody’s gonna understand you. But I do. I know exactly what you want. You want to laugh, and you want to travel, and you want to be surprised, and challenged. You want to live an unexpected life. And I intend you give you exactly that.” 

After this speech, of course they have great marriage consummation sex and the future seems filled with hope and possibility for our wayward heroine.  Then there's a bit of showdown between Michelle and Fanny, where there's a lot of yelling and storming out of the premises.  (Hubbell tells his mother and the whole town that Michelle is his wife and that they'd better do right by her because he loves her.)  Michelle finds her way to Fanny's dance studio, and choreographs Fanny's students in a "Let's get you prepared for an audition" spontaneous dance routine, which of course Fanny witnesses from a doorway, and then Fanny whisks our heroine away to a bar and an uneasy friendship begins between Michelle and her mother-in-law where they have their own spontaneous dance number together.  Just as everything seems to be wrapping up all tickety boo, they find out that Hubbell has been in a car accident looking for them.  Episode 1 ends.

....SPOILER ALERT!!!!...

They freaking killed off Alan Ruck's character, Hubbell!  He is DEAD.  Charming, sweet and apparently good in the sack, no less - Hubbell is now DEAD.  Alan Ruck is DEAD.  They killed off Cameron!!!   (Please view above pic to remind yourself of Alan Ruck as Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Really look.  LOOK at him.)

I was okay at the beginning of the episode.  It was well-written and quirky, as Fanny tries to subvert her grief through memorial service planning, but as the episode progressed, I began to LOSE it.  Really a lot.   Especially around the actual memorial service part.  I started crying and couldn't stop.  Gut-wrenching sobs.  Multiple Kleenexes.  Rissa looking at me like I'd lost my mind.  It wrecked me - absolutely WRECKED me that Michelle wasn't going to have the possibility of happiness with Hubbell - this charming, lovely man.  No she didn't love him, not right then, but she COULD.   Except she couldn't, because he was now DEAD.

Hiccuping sobs.  I felt nauseated. My angina kicked in.

"Mummy, it's okay.  It's not real," said Rissa patting me gently.
"They killed Cameron!" I wailed.
"Mummy it's just a show," she said.
"But, they KILLED Cameron!!"
"He's not Cameron Mummy, he was Hubbell."
"But they still killed him!"

More wailing, and I think maybe even some gnashing of teeth.  My chest was killing me.  I ran to the alcohol cupboard in our butler's pantry.  I grabbed the rye.

"Don't do this," I said to Rissa as I poured myself a shot, still sobbing madly.  "You should not relieve your stress by (I take my shot) taking a shot of rye."  (A shot of alcohol usually helps the angina.  I could take my nitro spray, but although that takes the pain away, my heart then races madly and the sensation is more than a little disquieting in itself.  I am NOT recommending a shot of rye for everyone with angina - this was a unique situation and it works for me in a pinch.)

"Okay Mummy."  Rissa tried her very best not to laugh at me.  "Come on.  Let's go upstairs and snuggle."
"Okay," I said, still sniffling.  But the emotional pain is still whacking me over the head.  Really hard.  What the hell was going on here?

Rissa lead me upstairs and we settled into the big bed - my bed.  She handed me Kleenexes.

"You know, we never really saw the body of Hubbell, Mummy.  Maybe his ex-girlfriend just kidnapped him and is holding him someplace," Rissa said.

This is how messed up I am.  I actually perked up at the notion.  Maybe Cameron ISN'T dead.  Maybe he's just being held by some psychopath in an undisclosed location, a la Stephen King's Misery.   But then I started crying again.  "No, they killed him.  They killed him to give her EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE!!!"

Then David came home.  I tried to recount the story to him - he did his best to follow, but I could see him exchanging  "She's having a moment" looks with Rissa.  I imagined he must be trying to picture the kitchen calendar in his head to see if my PMS should be kicking in yet.  (It shouldn't - I just HAD my freaking period!!)

"I don't know why this is affecting me so much," I sobbed.  "It's just that he was so sweet.  So nice to her.  They had the possibility of a wonderful future and now... (sob, sob) it's GONE!!!"

"Hey," he said.  "Hey.  It's okay.  It's okay."  He leaned over me in bed, kissed me.
I continued to cry really hard.
"Heather!"  He held my face.  "Look at me!  Look... at... me..."
I looked up at him.
"It's okay," he said.  "I'm here."
"Yes, but Cameron's NOT!!!!!"  There is no reasoning with me.
David got his fierce, in-charge look.  "No.  LISTEN to me Heather.  I'M still here.  I'm not dead."  He looked at me meaningfully.

My head cleared.  I got it.  I grabbed onto David like he was a freaking life preserver and I'm in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912.  My pre-David life associated with Ferris Bueller's Day Off - the death of Alan Ruck's character, a sweet and selfless man who does everything for the woman he loves... BINGO.   This is what happens to me on an average Tuesday night. Just imagine when there's something to cry about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Naked Wombats




Naked wombats.  Without the written content, it simply struck me as an interesting title for a post, but then, when I went looking for pictures, I actually found a mostly naked wombat baby, which has now become my animal of choice.  JUST LOOK AT IT!!!

Yes, this is a naked wombat!

Did you know that wombats are marsupials like kangaroos, koalas, opossums, possums and the Tasmanian Devil - who carry their young in pouches until they are able to fend for themselves?  Imagine if you will, Bugs Bunny's Tasmanian Devil having a fit inside someone's pouch?  What sort of elasticity would that pouch have to have?

Having seen the naked baby wombat, I went looking for other pics and saw that the full grown wombat is THIS big!!!

Much bigger than a naked baby wombat


This makes me want it even more!!! I can just imagine curling up next to it in bed.  I'm sure that I can make David see that this is a good thing - at least in the winter - the wombat would be warm and would cut our electric mattress heating pad costs by half, I'm dead certain.  Plus (but wait there's MORE!) I could put my hands in its pouch and they would then be very warm too!  Way better than putting them in David's armpits when I'm cold!  Really, this is a win-win for David.

And then I discovered that WAY, WAY back before it went extinct 46,000 years ago, there was a GIANT WOMBAT!!!   Like the size of a freaking RHINOCEROS kind of giant.  It was called a Diprotodon and it was part of a group of unusual species dubbed "Australian Megafauna."  How cool is that?  It's like a freaking Prog Rock band! 

Ladies and Gentlemen!  We bring you now....
AUSTRALIAN MEGAFAUNA!!


Giant Wombat!!  Also with a pouch!!!
Scale to human

Other Australian Megafauna include the Zygomaturus - another giant marsupial similar to the modern pygmy hippopatamus - but still a marsupial which means it has a POUCH!!!

Zygomaturus

Then there is the Palorshestes - yet ANOTHER marsupial with a POUCH!!!

Looks like a giant Tapir, but is NOT because it too has a POUCH!!

And LOOK!!!  This is a Procoptodon!  Which was a GIANT KANGAROO - with its own POUCH!!!

I wanted this one to look really big, but in actuality it was only about 10 feet tall

David just looked at me like I was fucking nuts when I showed him what I've done this morning in between answering emails.  Maybe what this all comes down to is that I want my very own pouch.   You know, like to keep my wallet and hair clips in and possibly my emergency Gravol and maybe some hand lotion.  He just asked me "Do you want your own pouch?"  See, we're totally simpatico!  Plus, now with the pictorial evidence for other pouch options, I'm pretty sure that he'll let me have a regular-sized wombat, you know, on account of the fact that he doesn't want me to use prehistoric mammal DNA and wind up going all Jurassic Park. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bad Rhymes at Bed Time


In pre-production for PETER PAN this weekend, so please enjoy this from earlier in the summer...

Sometime in the last couple of years Rissa and I started cracking each other's toes.  It's my friend Shawn's fault.  He cracked my toes while we were in a play together (not actually during the play but rather while we were in the dressing room) and then I did it to Rissa and she giggled like a mad fool about it so it became a thing for us.  David, just in case you were wondering, wants NOTHING to do with the whole toe cracking fad. The whole process hurts, REALLY hurts, but it must be a good pain I guess, because we will beg each other to do it.  Usually at bed time.   "Mummy, will you crack my toes?  Please??"  Then I begin and she shrieks and yodels with the pain and release of the toe cracking.  Then she does mine and I'm even louder than she is.  It's our own twisted version of This Little Piggie and it's all a great way to end the day.

It's Rissa's storm before the calm.  It happens pretty much every night at bedtime.  She loses her mind a wee bit and needs to release energy before she can finally settle down.  It's always with me.  Never with David does she turn into a complete looney bird.  Only with me.   I wonder what that signifies?

Last night was no exception.  Rissa had been off with her GrandMer and GrandEl this weekend while David and I were up at a friend's cottage.  As is usually the case when we have been separated from Rissa for a few days - she needs to tell us absolutely everything when we see her once more - usually right away without breathing as she speaks.  Apparently it's genetic.  I now understand why my parents used to say to me,  "Heather, BREATHE!"

I called Mom one time, hoping for commiseration.  "Mom - she NEVER stops talking."  There was a brief pause before maniacal laughter rang out from my mother's end of the call. 

So last night, Rissa was talking about having overheard a bunch of teenagers using an interesting bad phrase.

"What kind of phrase?" I asked.

"Penis Butt," says Rissa.

"I'm sorry?"

She gave me a look of utter disdain.  "Mummy, I can't SAY it."

Right, because for the most part, my daughter is a rule follower and she's not supposed to use bad language, so she doesn't.

"Penis butt?"  I'm trying to work it out in my head.  "Penis butt?  Do you mean Cock-ass?"

"No Mummy.  Another bad word for penis."

Now there are LOTS of bad words for penis.  I know many of them.  I'm not entirely sure that I should be playing this game with my 12 year old daughter.

"Schlong-Behind?  Dong-Bottom?"

"Mummy."  Again with the disdain.

"Dick-Ass?"

"YES!!" 

Well, that made sense.  Dick-ass.  It's colourful - doesn't rhyme though.  Which then had me trying to make an anatomical phrase that rhymed.  Again (and I fully realize this),  NOT the best thing to be doing with my 12 year old daughter.

"PENIS-ANUS!!"

Whereupon we gales of giggles hit us.  And of course I couldn't just leave it there.  I was in rhyming mode now.

"Vagina Angina!!"

Without a pause, Rissa came back with "Pussy-Stress??"

I gave her a look of utter shock before almost peeing myself and then giving her a high five.

"EXACTLY!!!   But you can't use that with ANY of your friends.  Promise me!!! None of these phrases with friends!  Their parents won't let you near them if they start sounding like dock-workers."

Again, a look of disdain.  "Mummy.  I know that!"

Our is a different Mother-Daughter relationship.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't Mind the White Trash

Everclear's White Trash Hell


I live in an amazing century home.  Built in 1906, by one of the prominent local builders in my town, it is a bonafide grand home...  2.5 stories...  Triple brick... It has a formal front staircase and two, count them, TWO, back staircases.  A butler's pantry, claw-footed bathtub, original stained glass, french doors.  I love it.  Have always loved it.  Can't really afford to live in it.

We are the House Poor.  Those who own century homes/money pits will know whereof I speak.  Every job that needs to be done costs at least $1000.  Last year we replaced the chimney - it was $3000.  You want to make money?   Rebuild freaking chimneys!  Hoping to eliminate our crazy debt load, the house has been on the market a couple of times in the last two years.  Lots of activity.  Many people came to see our house.  Many people LOVED our house.  Never once did we get an offer.  And it has nothing to do with the house.  It's the location. 


You see, across the street a little ways down looks like this:


Shouldn't be a problem right?  Looks fairly tidy, well kept?  What you don't realize is that from May until October, usually there are about 4 guys without shirts on, drinking beer, perhaps in front of a chiminea, possibly playing loud redneck music and more than likely yelling at one of their dogs "PRINCESS - SHUT THE FUCK UP!"


One of our next-door neighbours is a delightful family of three - we occasionally enjoy a beverage or meal with this family.  This is our other next-door neighbour:


There are approximately 8 apartments in this building.  This is an old Google Maps photo - it doesn't show the dingy white plastic lawn furniture that decorates the back entrance and the front doesn't show the near waist-high monster dandelions that are there presently.  Sometimes, for additional colour, there's a No Frills shopping cart left in the parking lot.  When our house was on the market, I would frequently hide the No Frills shopping cart behind the house - thinking to myself "Do you not SEE the for sale sign on our lawn??  Can't you help us out here??"  There's a drunk woman in the front left apartment who sounds like Harvey Fierstein.  She threatens to call the cops when she hears kids with skateboards on the street.  She is also convinced that she can hear all of our phone conversations. "I'm hearing things I shouldn't be hearing.  PERSONAL things,"  and that these personal conversations interfere with her cable.

These are the things that potential buyers sometimes (ALWAYS) notice when they come to view our house.  I say this because our real estate agent called us this week and asked to show our house even though it isn't presently on the market - her buyers were looking for a century home.  So we tidied and vacuumed and went to the library for an hour during the showing.  And sure enough.  They loved the house - hated the neighbourhood.  It's like they don't see the other good houses on the block, they only notice the white trash. 

But you know what?  In the 7 years we've been living in the house?  We really haven't ever had a problem with ANY of our neighbours.  Sure, I've had to call the police when there were fisticuffs - okay, really one guy pulled another guy off of his bike and started beating the crap out of him... but that was down the street - had nothing to do with us.  (A friend was over at the time.  He said "How come you never sit out on our front porch?"  It was quite literally the NEXT minute when the fight broke out.)  There was the time that the drunk lady next door (different one) fell off her bike and knocked her teeth out on the curb and I told Rissa to gather up tea towels while I called 911.  Rissa  learned all about first-aid - so really that was a teachable moment.  Oh, and maybe for a time there were some nice young men selling dope out of the back apartment next door.

The loudest it really gets (apart from the "PRINCESS - SHUT THE FUCK UP!" moments) is when one of the 'good' neighbours' children is having a melt down in the their backyard.   4 year olds have really big lungs.

But all of that is completely inconsequential - we open our back door to this:


A mature maple tree, stunning deck, swing, zip-line, woodsy play structure and marshmallow roasting area. This is where we spend our outdoor time.  This is where we live.  This is our home.  White Trash Neighbourhood or no, we love it.  And when thinking about potential neighbours - please remember - the white trash doesn't live WITH you.  They live NEAR you.  It really does make a difference.  One day, in the oh-so-distant future, we'll be out of debt and will truly be able to call it ours.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Death-Mask Barbie

For the longest time, I wouldn't let Rissa play with Barbies.  I was taking a stand.

We bought her Groovy Girls - the flopsy, cuddly, ethnic, pre-pubescent dolls.  She probaby had 6 of them - all sporting fabulous 60s-inspired fashions.   (One had a faux raspberry suede coat with some sort of shaggy fur-like trim - relax PETA - I said faux!)  Rissa would sit the Groovy Girls onto the bean bag chair and snuggle them in their retro sleeping bags.  Then, it all turned to shit.

When Rissa was 3 1/2, all she wanted was a Barbie.  I just couldn't do it.  I could not buy her one.  I had taken a stand!!  Yet it was all that she wanted.  Rissa never wanted anything.  Never.  It's still the case.  For Christmas, it's like pulling teeth getting her to request anything.  So when all she wanted was a Barbie - I admit it - I caved.  I tried to torpedo this defection in my best passive-aggressive way: I bought her a purple-skinned, purple-haired, purple-winged fairy Barbie.  A Barbie which, in no stretch of anyone's imagination, could be confused for human.  But I soon realized it was all down-hill from there.  Now that she had one Barbie, people assumed that I was okay with her having them.  The next spontaneous gift from someone was a regular ballerina Barbie - all sugar-plum fairy-y, blond, pink and curvaceous.

Then, the next thing I knew, she had a clique of Barbies.  I tried to keep them separate from the Groovy Girls because I knew, deep down, that they would make snide comments about the Groovy Girls and mock their clothing choices.  Soon, Rissa wasn't playing with the Groovy Girls at all.  My soul wept.  I had allowed the ruination of my darling babe.  (That being said, I played with Barbies all the time when I was little, I LOVED Barbies.  And  really, apart from an incredibly unrealistic body image, I turned out okay.)

I asked Rissa one day, "Why don't you like playing with your Groovy Girls sweetie?"  "I like Barbies better Mummy."  (Stabbing pain, deep in my maternal gut.)  I tried not to let it show upon my face.  Must be strong.  Must... be... strong...   "Oh?  Why sweetie?  Why do you like Barbies better?"  (I braced myself... I knew she was going to say they were prettier, had longer legs, bigger boobs...)  "Barbies heads are smaller."  And that, folks, it what it came down to.  Barbies heads were smaller.  When Rissa saw Groovy Girls' heads, they just looked wrong to her.  The Barbie head was more proportionate, in her view.

I should have realized when I really watched Rissa play with her Barbies.  She didn't spend a lot of time 'playing.'  She would cut their hair, put tattoos on them.  If a leg fell off she would make a prosthetic limb with a chop-stick and duct tape.  She would strip them naked and make death masks for them.

Death-Mask Barbie

One of my proudest maternal moments was coming down into the family room on a Saturday morning.  Rissa was watching Myth Busters and had a row of about 7 naked Barbies in front of her.  All 7 Barbies were covered in carefully applied kleenex fragments that she had painted onto their persons with water.  7 Barbies in body casts.  It was a beautiful thing.  I could have just about burst with pride at that moment. It still can bring a tear to this Mama's eye.  Yep.  THAT'S my girl!





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Multi-Breasted Female of Galaxy NGC 1512

Praise be to every deity in the universe!!!  After a week of insomnia - I slept through the night!!  Halle-freakin-lulljah!! (insert angels' chorus here)  

There's been a heat/humidity wave in Southern Ontario.  A direct result of this is my morphing into the biggest belligerent bitchy bitch in several galaxies.  (I think there's a multi-breasted female in Galaxy NGC 1512 that could give me a run for my money, but really with 22 breasts and a fashion history in her neck of the woods that hasn't allowed for brassieres, you could fully understand her bitchiness.)
Home to the Papilla-Multi-Praeclarus People - a shout out to Big Bessie! (From HubbleSite)


My period is due any day as well.  And not to become a cliched 'female' type who blames moods on her hormonal cycle, but WHAT THE POOH DUDE?!?  It's like I'm losing my mind a little bit more every day.  And I KNOW that I am, and I'm freaking helpless to stop the journey into The Hell of Irrationality.

Yesterday, I burst into tears when David asked me to go down to the beach.  I knew that I should get out of our stifling house, but also knew that I would then have to attempt to thrust my clammy sweaty body into a bathing suit.   (sidebar - I'm NOT a beach person to begin with.  I burn very easily, even with sunblock 9000 on, and I don't like getting wet.)

Sniffing back tears, I went upstairs and started the process.  I stripped off my now-sodden cotton clothing and then forced my sticky flesh into my one-piece bathing suit.  In retrospect, I could have put on my impetuously purchased pin-up girl bikini, (Rissa said "Mummy it looks GREAT!) but my mind was WAY skewed to self-loathing at this point, and no way was my fish-belly white stomach going to be put on view for Victoria Beach.  Instead, I opted for the one piece with attending melon-coloured overskirt.  Imagine if you will - a sausage casing trying to accommodate way too many fleshy bits.  Still in too precarious an emotional state, crying behind my half closed door, I could not see the humour in the situation.  NOW - this morning I do, but last evening at 4:42 p.m. NOTHING WAS FUNNY.

Determined not to give in to the hormones, I waded into Lake Ontario.  I was going to be the well-adjusted wife and mother.  I was going to participate in a family activity.  It was cold.  Not just a little bit cold - but the kind of cold where men's testicles crawl back up into their body cavities - or so David told me.  My legs ached from the temperature.  But I persevered.  I was in the water and I was wet and I was almost enjoying myself.  After about 30 seconds in the water, David looked over at me.  "Your lips are blue."  "Probably," I answered.  It was invigorating though.  The surf was all wavy which is a lot fun - even in hypothermic water temperatures.  After about 3.5 minutes David made me leave the water.  I was okay to stay and be wet even, but I guess my colour looked a little off and I was all goose-pimply and shivery and I didn't have the presence of mind to lie when he asked "Are you having chest pain?"  "Just a, uh, little bit."  If I were more petite, he would have scooped me up into his arms in a romantic gesture and carried me to the beach.  As it was, he threw an arm around my waist and dragged me out, wrapped me in a towel and told me to stay put while he went back in to make sure that Rissa and her friend didn't drown in the waves.

There I was on the beach - in 30+ degree heat and sun, clutching my white terry towel around me, teeth chattering.  He had been right.  It was good to get out of the house.  I was no longer hot.   My mood was vastly improved.  A brush with death will do that for a girl.





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Horror... THE HORROR!



So yesterday evening when we went into the basement and gave Rissa the task of going through her cubbies of long-forgotten toys, she discovered this in her dress up box...


The pic really doesn't do it justice.  It's way more fuschia-y in real life.  The sentiment upon the chest of an adult would be enough to bring the bile into the back of one's throat, but this shirt was manufactured for a child.  A small girl child.  Like a 5-7 year-old girl child.

"Mummy, where did I GET this??"  I had no clue.  I can say with absolute certainty that I didn't buy it.  Never in my life would I have purchased a shirt like this.  1 - because of what it says.  And 2 - Rissa was a child who despised pink.  The feminist in me was bound and determined that she would NOT wear pink at all as an infant, until I realized that, when your 4 month old daughter sports a Friar Tuck monk's fringe of dark hair, and baby acne, you want to give folks a clue before they say "Oh, he's adorable!  What's his name?"  Pink ginham it was.  Plus, she looked pretty frickin' amazing in pink.  But, by the time she was 4 - NO pink.  NO princesses.  HER decision.   I kid you not.  And honestly, at this point, having realized how amazing she looked in the pink?  I was pushing it.  She said NO.

But I digress... Back to my point.  Who, I ask you, WHO in their right mind would think that this t-shirt is appropriate for a child?  Shopping Makes Me Happy?!?  REALLY??  This is what our 5-7 year-old daughters should be modeling?  No child, female OR male should be wearing this.

Is there a line of boy's t-shirts that would be equivalent?  Something equally offensive and gender cliched?  Something that makes him seem stupid yet consumerist at the same age?    Creative Writing Is DUMB!  Bacugan Makes Me Happy?   Farting While Playing Pokemon Makes Me Happy?    Sometimes small things can set me off.  But you know what?  This t-shirt is NOT a small thing.  It really isn't.  This fuschia children's t-shirt encourages young girls to think that they're supposed to be made happy through spending.  Not only is is denigrating to young women, it's setting up a ridiculous precedent.   Shopping Makes Me Happy?  How about Reading Makes Me Happy?  How about Improvisation Makes Me Happy?  How about just wearing a t-shirt that has NO WORDS on it.  The more I think about this shirt, the angrier I get.  I'm snorting and swearing while typing this.  For-fu-grr-rutz-er-frutz-blargh-dee-sadan's-aus!!!

I love a good t-shirt.  I do.  Something that is ironic and makes you snicker - usually with a bad pun.  This thing is - most kids don't get irony.  They're not there... yet.  Sarcasm either.   Please - for the love of all that's good in the universe.  Wait until your child chooses a shirt with a message.  And if your 5-7 year old daugther reaches for a shirt like this one on the rack?  TELL.  HER. NO.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

The little grey pill...







 If you knew nothing about me other than the combination of pills I take in the morning, how old would you think I am? 70?  80?  To be fair, most of them are pretty innocuous.   Most of the pills are to up my immune-system so that the colds and flu that I used to suffer from multiple times a year don't happen.  Sure members of my family might shake their heads and think I'm way too crunchy-granola and believing way too much in health shoppe voodoo, but I have NOT been really sick in a LONG time.  (TOUCH WOOD)

The other pills?  Well let's just take a little tour of my supplement trail mix, shall we??  Let's start at the top left and go clock-wise: the big yellowy splotchy pill (that looks kinda like a buttured popcorn Jelly Belly) is a multi-vitamin, the gargantuan blackish one is the Omega-3 supplement (think cod liver oil that our parents used to take), the white one is calcium-magnesium (strong bones and all that), the little grey one at the bottom right is for soothing peri-menopause symtoms (more on this in a moment), the red is my special fancy-dancy iron supplement (that my doctor prescribed because apparently I'm anemic), the orangey one at the bottom left is...  oh sweet caduceus!  What the hell IS that pill?  Frickin' memory loss....  AHA!!   The B stress complex (to aid in warding off colds/flus etc), and the larger grey is Vitex, an herb that helps regulate my period (which means that instead of every 2 weeks I have my period every 24 days).  I know - all you're hearing is blah, blah, blah, red pill, blah, blah, orange pill, blah, blah, blah every 24 days. But trust me - I am not the only one who is glad that my periods are less frequent - David thinks it's a really good thing.  REALLY A LOT.

Until last week I was doing okay with this cocktail.  Then I added the little grey pill - the innocent-looking one that is made of sage and was supposed to help me with my hot flashes one of the 35 attending joys of peri-menopause. (see below)  Since taking it - I have NOT slept through the night.  Apart from the one night when I took a sleeping pill because I'd had a really delicious 2 hour nap in the afternoon and thought - There is no way I'll be able to sleep, I'm feeling too keyed up... By the clock-watching I've been perfecting this week I'm up pretty much ALL freaking night.  1:27 a.m.  1:36 a.m. 1:49 a.m. 1:52 a.m. ... 2:09 a.m. 2:13 a.m.  2:21 a.m. ...  I must get some sleep because I remember really weird-ass dreams.  And I think I might be hallucinating a bit.  Like the towel that hangs on the back of the bedroom door, looked like it might have been an old Italian woman reaching out a hand to curse me.  I also looked at David next to me in bed last night and I was CONVINCED that he was Rissa.  Which means I was probably just dreaming about Rissa and imagining she was there, but it took me a LONG time to realize that it was David.  I may have poked him a couple of times to get him to look at me.  "It's okay sweetie - just checking.  Go back to sleep."


So this is a list of 35 things associated with peri-menopause..  WTF??  Seriously?  Because why??  No REALLYWHY???    And what do men have?  Difficulty peeing and they might lose hair.  I just counted.  18.  I have 18 of these.  Well, it could be worse, I could have all 35.  I think I was just possessed by my mother for a second there.  That's actually a good thing.  Mom says things like, "Turn that frown upside down" and means it.  She will always be the optimist.  I am determined to follow in her footsteps.  My glass wil be 1/2 full!!  Given all my weird-ass medical shit - it's a freaking miracle that I don't have ALL 35 of the symptoms!  PLUS, but wait there's more, I have so much material that I can write about because of this 'time of life.'  AND... I can fix this.  I think.  This morning, I didn't take the little grey pill and tonight, I'm taking a sleeping pill to get a good night's sleep and all will be well in the universe.  And if I'm still having No 5. Sleep Disturbances after NOT taking the sage - I will... deal with it... perhaps with near-hysteria, but I'll deal with it.  Because really?  If you can't laugh about this kind of shit...  you turn into one of those older women who looks like they never learned to smile.  And that? Ain't me!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Don't put that last chocolate-covered pretzel in your mouth!


Why, oh why don't we listen to our bodies?  When they're full, I mean.  Of food.  I either need to throw up or ingest vast quantities of TUMS.  I am smarter than this.

This chipmunk is me.  The peanut is the last chocolate-covered pretzel.  I made a bad choice.

I should just know better. 

Yesterday was my birthday.  David made me my favourite seafood casserole for dinner and my favorite 3-in-1 chocolate cake for dessert.  Shawn & Amber brought chocolate stuffs.  I ate little bits of each, but didn't lose my mind.  I had a wine spritzer with dinner and then drank sparkling water.  I was a good girl.

Today, was an altogether different story.  I opened the fridge this morning and to what did my wondering eyes did appear?  LEFTOVER CAKE!!!  The logic fairy came and visited me.  She said, "You know, it's better to eat cake earlier in the day because you'll have time to burn it off when you exercise."  The Logic Fairy can soon become the Faulty-Logic Fairy if she visits you more than once in a day.  After I ate a piece of 3-in-1 chocolate cake for breakfast with a glass of soy milk for protein - I mean, c'mon, I wasn't going to be dumb about it - she visited me again at about 4:00 p.m. when I needed a snack.  "It's better to eat something sweet now when you'll still have time to burn it off..."  Except that I had already exercised and wasn't planning on exercising again before going over to dinner at my friend Nathalie's place.  My protein with the afternoon snack of cake was a handful of pecans.  I recognize that 2 pieces of chocolate cake in lieu of real food is perhaps a bad idea.

I took over some of the marvellous chocolatey stuffs to Nathalie's, thinking that I could at least share my badness.  Chocolate-covered toffee, Chocolate-covered bready peanut-buttery thingies and chocolate-covered pretzels.  I had a few of each before dinner.  Along with the 3 frozen daiquiris "Your glass is empty, you need a top up."  Today was really hot...  The frozen strawberry daiquiris?  They felt really good in my mouth.  All three of them.

I had an amazing dinner of roast pork with gravy and roasted veggies and SALAD.  I saw that the salad was good, knew that the salad was good, ate the salad and it was good.  I needed to stop then.  But the chocolatey stuffs came outside and then there was blueberry pie with ice cream that had those little tiny dots of real vanilla bean...  and then I morphed into the chipmunk above.  And now I need to have TUMS.

I am DUMB.  Because not only did I overeat, but I ate shit that makes me feel bad - chocolatey-covered wheaty pretzel shit that makes my blood sugar go all wonky, but is all salty and chocolatey and wheaty and tastes so frickin' good.  And I drank 3 daiquiris!!  Which means that in bed tonight I'm going to have night sweats.  Because I'm in PERI-FREAKING-MENOPAUSE and I shouldn't drink more than one of anything.   And I know this... and I am DUMB.   I might have to get David to hide those last two pieces of cake that are still in the fridge so that I don't repeat this cycle of insanity tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

44 and not afraid to admit it!!!!

 

I turned 44 today.  That's right the big DOUBLE 4!!!!  I have lived, breathed, loved, hurt, gasped, screamed, laughed, fallen, jumped, dived, wallowed, basked and enjoyed life for the last 44 years.  Yes, I have wrinkles on my face.  You know why?  Because I smile and raise my eyebrows and I'm 44 freaking years old.  I SHOULD have wrinkles!  I have never been one of those women who is afraid to acknowledge how much time I have spent on this planet. It should be worn as a badge of honour.  I should be standing on the street corner yelling "Look at me!  Look at all I've done in my life!"

I decided I was going to be a world-class gymnast at the age of 8 after seeing Nadia Comăneci at the Montreal Olympics!  I won a public speaking contest for Kingston Elementary School when I was 11 years old with a speech entitled "Our Country Canada is Great"!  At the age of 13 I lived in California  and I survived bullying from a pack of adolescent girls.  I was class valedictorian for my high school!  (Not because I had the best grades, but because I was the best public speaker - see previous accomplishment - who was also an A student!)  I graduated university with a degree in ... THEATRE!!  I have written 4 one-woman shows, several plays, a bad romance novel, three children's books, 1/2 an erotic romance, 1/2 a YA vampire novel, 2 screenplays, articles, letters to the editor and a vampire rock opera.  I have had my heart broken and found love again!  I have an amazing daughter who makes me laugh at least once a day and who makes me weep when I see her dance!  I was a surrogate for another family and have the best in-laws on the planet!  I found a partner  who makes my life as close to perfection as possible - a partner who is there for me, who supports my insanity and who surprises me with the most thoughtful of gifts - not just on my birthday - but nearly everyday.

I have friends who support and love me - who break bread with me and who let me cry on their shoulder when the need arises.  Life can be messy, and sure my body doesn't do what it once did, but I am 44 years old and I'm in better cardio shape now than I have EVER been in my life!  This year has brought incredible adventure and has taught me that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.    I listen to music differently, pay more attention to the way words rhyme and I'm producing a workshop for a vampire rock-opera this summer.  I am 44 years old and life is freaking  GREAT!!