Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Is Not A Test

So here it is, the last day of March. I've managed to post each and every day (with a slightly drunken bonus post thrown in for good measure!). The pressure of wrapping up the month has gotten to me, though. I'm drawing a blank here. What to do?

Ha! Easy. Steal someone else's ideas, of course! Megan over at All I Need Is Everything had a good meme on the go...so, I sort of helped myself. Hope she doesn't mind...

***

Hi, my name is:
Just Me.

In all the faerie stories I've ever heard, to know someone's true name is to have power over him or her. I concur, thus the anonymity. However, if I've wandered by your blog and into your comment section, chances are good that I may have given you a little tiny piece of me and signed my real name. A calculated risk...

Never in my life have I been:
Out of this time zone.

The one person who can drive me nuts is:
Myself. Seriously.

High school:
Kind of sucked ass, actually. I am most definitely not the kind of gal who waxes nostalgic on those days. Mostly, I'm just glad to have lived through them, learned from them, and moved beyond them.

When I’m nervous:
I blush. I stutter. I make stupid jokes. Really stupid jokes. Awkward, that's me.

The last song I listened to was:
Save It For Later by The English Beat.

If I were to get married right now my best man/maid of honor:
Ummm...huh. Yeah. Been there, done that. 'Nuf said.

My hair is:
Exactly the same, always.  It's kind of a joke, actually.

When I was 5:
I was a lot shorter than I am now.

Last Christmas:
I gave you my heart. But the very next day, you gave it away...(Ha. Sorry. Couldn't resist...)

I should be..:
At work. But Nathan is a little under the weather today, so I called us in sick.

When I look down I see:
That my floor needs sweeping. I am not much of a housekeeper. Sue me.

The happiest recent event was:
Driving through the sunshine with my windows rolled down and the stereo turned up. Ahhhh! I love springtime.

If I were a character on ‘Friends’ I’d be:
The sofa in the coffee shop. I started to write an explanation, but...nah. I'll let you put your own spin on that one.

By this time next year:
I'll have registered my youngest child for kindergarten. Yikes!

My current gripe is:
My job. But since I've got the day off, I'd rather not think about it. So we'll leave it at that.

I have a hard time understanding:
why people like Nickleback. Seriously, that group blows.

There’s this girl I know that:
...is a forty year old virgin. Swear to god. I've kind of made it my life's mission to rectify the situation. No, you dirty-minded souls. Not like that. I'm just always on the lookout for a sensitive and single man, on her behalf.  So if you know anyone...

If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be:
Everybody. Duh.

Take my advice:
Dream each day like you will live forever. But live each day like it's your last.

The thing I want to buy:
A new camera. But I'm holding off for now, because if I get the new camera and my photos still suck, I'll have to admit that it's actually me and not the equipment that's to blame.

If you visited the place I was born:
You'd be bored to tears. And then you'd leave.

I plan to visit:
but I never do.

If you spent the night at my house:
I'd make you pancakes for breakfast.

I’d stop my wedding if:
Ten years gone, I think it's a little late for that, don't you?

The world could do without:
Intolerance.

I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than:
Stand up in front of a crowd and give a speech.

Most recent thing I’ve bought myself:
A coffee from Tim Hortons.

Most recent thing someone else bought me:
A coffee from Tim Hortons. Hmmm. I sense a theme.

My favorite blonde is:
My son, Nathan.

My favorite brunette is:
My son, Will.

My favorite red head is:
Ronald McDonald. That dude cracks me up. Plus, the fries are awesome.

My middle name is:
Hmmm...see the first point, above. Can't give you too much power now, can I? (And as for you, Miss K: Take it to the grave, I beg you!)

In the morning I:
wake up.

The animals I would like to see flying besides birds are:
Frogs. Why? I don't know. Why not?

Once, at a bar:
I was kicked out, and banned for life. Sometimes, alcohol is not your friend.

Last night I was:
Mad at myself because I forgot to record Lost.

There’s this guy I know who:
Collects Lego. He's thirty-five. Am I the only one who finds this weird?

If I was an animal I’d be:
A cat. Looks good from my perspective: sleeping all day in a sunbeam, ignoring those around you at your whim, and legal stimulants (catnip!)...what's not to love about that?

A better name for me would be:
Hmmm. Why don't you tell me? That could be fun and educational!

Tomorrow I am:
Likely to be fooled, at least once. I am way too gullible. April Fools Day was made for people like me.

Tonight I am:
making pasta for dinner. Mmmmm....pasta.

My birthday is:
no longer the magical day I keep expecting it to be. Strange how that feeling disappears somewhere along the way, isn't it?

***
So there you have it.  March: I kicked your ass.  Thirty-one days, and I posted each and every one of them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Too Late

I always said that I wanted to be finished having babies by the time I was thirty-five.  Early on, everything seemed to be going according to plan, and Nathan was born when I was twenty-seven.  Lots of time to finish my family, right?

Yeah, you'd think so.

But between an indecisive husband and an uncooperative reproductive system, there were times that I wondered if there would ever be another baby.  It was then, at the edge of hopelessness, that we finally produced our Will.  He was born just nine months short of my thirty-fifth birthday.  Phew!

Despite what you might think, there is a lot to be said for having seven years between children.  People often shake their head with pity and tell me how sorry they are when they hear about the age gap, like I've somehow handicapped my children by denying them the ideal 2.5 year spread.  Whatever.  All I can say is that it works for our family, and it works really well...even if it did mean starting all over again after the first one was pretty much trained.  Our kids get along wonderfully, and Nathan is a very loving and protective big brother which never ceases to both amaze me and touch my heart.

The downside of the gap, though, is that it pretty much dictated the size of my family.  The (admittedly, self-imposed) deadline was up: no more babies for me.

J, who had done all but run for the hills at the mere mention of a second child (yes, obviously he came around!), was fully supportive of the decision to cap our family's size before we ended up outnumbered by the children, and when Will was eighteen months old, J had a vasectomy.

Most of the time, I'm okay with this no-more-babies plan.  After all, I'm going to be (gulp!) thirty-seven in the not-too-distant future.  And also?  I like sleeping.  A lot.

But my youngest son, Will, is going to be three years old this August.  He is very quickly becoming a little boy and leaving babyhood behind.  A slightly stupid and mildly masochistic part of me is already missing those baby-days, but mostly, I mourn the loss of possibility.  My family is set, there is no further growth.  I'll never have three children.  I'll never have a little girl, nor will I ever have three sons.

I have to accept the finite.  And that bugs me.

Do I really want to start all over again, with the sleepless nights and the crying with no identifiable source?  Do I really want to give up the small freedoms that I've managed to stake out for myself?  Hmmm....that's a good question.  I know I would do it, if I had to.  And I know that, before the vasectomy, I sometimes found myself halfway wishing that fate would dictate that it be so.

But now...it's done.  It's final.  And it makes me sad.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Loud As Hope

If I were the moon,
I could pull you, unseen. But
your tides don't know me.

If I were a song,
you could sing me to the sky.
But I've lost the words.

I am just me: small.
Telling stories in the dark
for no one, and you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In The Beginning

Jessica.”

Her name, spoken so quietly that it is more breath on her cheek than sound in her ear, pulls her from the sanctity of sleep. It is dark, so dark that opening her eyes has no noticeable effect. The lack of visual cues for her brain to process is disorienting, yes. But there’s nothing new about that feeling.

She doesn’t need to see, anyway. She knows who has come; she was expecting him. The signs were all there, after all.

The signs.

It starts with the clink-clink of a glass catching ice cubes, carelessly tossed. That, quickly followed by the glug-glug of a clear liquid, poured like a prayer from the big bottle brought down from its place on top of the fridge.

No, that’s not true. It really starts with the bottle showing up in the first place. Days and days of no-bottle, even weeks sometimes. Jessica finally begins to relax, begins to breathe. Until one day, her habitual glance cast over the refrigerator catches on the sight of it, stopped cold by the fear in her belly and the sour taste in her mouth.

Her mother moves through the days that follow as if in a dream. First, she very carefully ignores it, that bottle; looking everywhere but there. Then, she starts to peek at it, but sideways and just a little, and only when she thinks that no one’s looking. The ignoring and the peeking, these things can go on for a while. Sometimes even a long while. But nothing lasts forever, and Jessica knows that the time has grown short once her mother starts to drink that bottle with her eyes: looking upon it in a way that, during the no-bottle time, is usually reserved for the picture of Jesus, up on his cross, that hangs in the living room over top of their TV.

The inevitable conclusion to all this, of course, is her mother snoring softly on the sofa. Make-up smeared and clothes askew, and a cigarette burned away to ash in the dish on the table.

She knows, because she has tried, that nothing will wake her mother on these nights. And so does Todd. Obviously.

He doesn't speak, not anymore. What else is there to say, after all? She closes blind eyes, a small defence.

Before she died, her grandmother used to always say "This too shall pass". When she was small, Jessica didn't know just what that phrase might mean. But now that she is older, she thinks she understands, and prays that it is true.

Yes, now that she is twelve, Jessica understands a lot.

***

I have been working on a short story for my writing class, it's about a woman with an abusive husband.  When our class last met, my teacher assigned me the task of working on her backstory, to answer (if only for myself) a little of the how and why this woman might have ended up in the life I had painted for her. 

Class meets tomorrow.  Up until ninety minutes ago, I had nothing.  Oops. 

How to write a blog post and complete my "homework", all in one go?  Cheat, of course.  Two-for-one, baby!

So keep in mind this is a rough draft, stream-of-consciousness kind of thing.  And yes, I know:  Cliche, cliche, cliche.

Chances are, this isn't actually going to end up in my finished piece anyway, but you never know...so I'll be working on tidying it up before class tomorrow.  Comments are welcome....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Take This Longing

Sometimes when I write a post, the title comes first: as my iPod shuffles through my slightly eclectic music collection, a song title or lyric inspires me, and off I go.  Other times, I already know what I want to say; fingertips dance across the keys and words march across the screen.  It's only once I'm finished that I sit back and think about titles.   

The name for yesterday's post, "Everybody Knows", comes from a song by Leonard Cohen.  The rough outline of the post was born on my drive in to work while the dream was still fresh in my mind, the post itself was written in between "real" work while I was at the office (shhhh...don't tell my boss), but it wasn't until my drive home that the title presented itself.  The aha! moment was immediately followed by a quick song change.  I wanted to hear the song itself, for it had been a while, and it's a great song.

Ahhh...Leonard Cohen, Canadian poet and singer.  He's (hold on, gotta look this up here...) seventy-five years old.  Holy crap...the man is pretty much old enough to be my grandfather.  And this is kind of disturbing, because I'm going to tell you a secret.  I am a little bit in love with him.  Wrong, isn't it? 

But that voice?  And that gorgeous, intelligent mind?  Oh my goodness!   When I hear him sing Famous Blue Raincoat or Suzanne, there are times that I'm almost moved to tears by the beautiful poignancy of the song.  And as for Everybody Knows...well, it just completely undoes me.

There are so many definitions of sexy...and I've always found that physical features, taken one by one, are the least important factor when deciding who is and who is not.  It's mostly about the mind and the soul.  And L. Cohen?  Umm, yes.  Sexy. 

I'm so depraved.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Everybody Knows

The dreams that play out during those last few minutes of sleep are always the ones that stick with you for the rest of the day, especially if you are suddently extracted from Mr. Sandman's arms by the insistant and annoying beep-beep-beep of the alarm clock. I normally greet this intrusion with a heartfelt flip of the bird, but not this morning.  Because this morning's dream was one I was glad to be free of. Nightmare? Not exactly. But disconcerting, nonetheless.

In the dream, I was lounging on my bed. My lap top was living up to its name, propped upon my knee. The web browser displayed my blog. There were comments. I was reading them.

The first one, all in caps (is that significant? I don't know), said

HI <edited to remove my real name>,
AN INTERESTING READ.
- DOM

My initial reaction was positive. Oh, that's cool. I thought. Dom found my blog.

This was quickly followed up by another thought: Oh my god! Dom found my blog!

(Perhaps I should take a moment to explain a key fact: Dom is an old friend of my husband's. He was in our wedding party and has known J. since the seventh grade. Yeah, not exactly my ideal reader, huh?)

I scanned through more comments. There was one from my sister! There was one from my dad! I had been outed, I was exposed. In a full-blown panic, I was trying to grasp just what the repercussions of my on-line ramblings might be...trying to recall what I had written that was potentially incriminating, what could be construed as hurtful, and what might just be plain old embarassing.

It was here that the alarm came to my rescue.  Yes, folks - welcome to my life, the cliche: Phew!  It was only a dream! 

I may have left the dream, but it sure hasn't left me.  All the rest of this day, I have found myself looking over my shoulder; a lingering sense of vulnerability has been my constant companion. I put these thoughts and feelings out there for just any old person to see. No, I don't put my name to them. And my kids, in case you weren't aware, aren't actually called Nathan and Will (although sometimes, in my real life, I catch myself thinking of them that way, which leads me to conclude that I might spend just a little too much time in blog-mode, but I digress). So yes, there is some measure of disguise in place, but when you write honestly (and in great detail!) about yourself and your life , I don't think it really matters what names you use. If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's a frickin duck. Right?

Yes, I realize that the chances of someone I know stumbling across me by accident are slim to none. This thought offers some much-needed comfort. Because at 5:21 this morning, I was this close to pulling the plug...and I'm not ready yet.

There have been many times when I've been on the verge of sharing the existance of this blog with people in my real life.  Usually after a few beers.  Okay, always after a few beers.  But I've never done it.  Nobody in my off-line life knows about this blog, or even that I have one (well, okay...there is an old highschool friend.  But she lives hours away and doesn't cross the path of anyone else I know, so we'll leave her out of it for the time being - plus, I trust her.  Completely). 

I admire the daring of every single person who puts their name on their blog, especially when the blog in question is a window into their heart.  That's brave.  And for better or worse, I'm not brave.  If people I knew were wandering by this little blog, I know I'd censor myself, and that would defeat the whole purpose.  I would have to start another, even more secret blog.  And there's barely enough time in the day as it is, so I'd rather not complicate things any further...

So, Stranger: pull up a chair and stay a while.  This wig and dark glasses...they don't bother you, do they?

(And in case you're wondering?  Yes, I am just as neurotic in real life...)



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sinning Hands

So I'm just going to come right out and say it: I've been unfaithful.

Yes, you heard me right. I'm cheating on him, and I know it's not fair.  I know it's wrong.  But I can't help myself. I can't. It's a lust, an obsession, that just can't be denied. I want it, and why shouldn't I have it?

The sneaking around, the secrets...they make me feel dirty. But this is part of the allure, is it not? We always want most that which we are forbidden, so please don't judge. I bet that you're not all that different from me, when you get right down to it.  And who knows? You might even do the same, were you required to walk a while in my shoes.

I have convinced myself that what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Can't hurt him. Because that's the last thing that I'd ever want to do, and that is the honest truth.  But every time I walk that line, I feel the guilt. There's no need for us to debate whether or not I deserve it, okay? Don't think for a minute that I let myself off easy - I doubt that anyone could judge me more harshly than myself. So yes, there's guilt. Lots. Are you happy?

But.

I keep coming back for more. Despite the guilt, despite the fear of getting caught...More, always more. It's just so good.

In fact, I'm almost drooling right now, just thinking about it...

Damn it. Willpower was never my strong suit. I just can't resist, so I won't. I'm going to go sneak into the kitchen, and take down that jar of peanut butter that I keep on the very tip-top shelf. And then I'm going to have me a sandwich.

Sorry, Will. I know you're allergic to peanuts. I know that I shouldn't. But, oh! I do love peanut butter and jelly.

I'm going to hell, I know it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In My Life

Nancy over at f8hasit wrote a great post about the various cars that she has owned, tracing the days of her life by the vehicle that she drove.  She's hardcore, too.  She actually raced.  How cool is that?  

I admire it in others, but as for myself, I'm really not into cars.  It's kind of embarassing to admit this, but aside from driving one, I really don't know very much about them. My automotive skills are limited to pumping gas and refilling the windshield washer fluid. Period.  I drive a 1999 Crapmobile that needs (a lot of) body work. And the "check engine" light has been on for well over a year now. But this vehicle gets me from point A to point B, the insurance isn't bad since I'm only covered for the damage I might inflict on other people, and the payments are $0 a month which, you have to admit, makes it very budget-friendly.

So, no...for me, the days of my life aren't entwined with my vehicle.  But if I had to pick something that my memories are tied to, it would definitely be music. To me, there is no stronger link to the past than what song might have been playing at the time.

I got to thinking about this today, and wondering what would songs might make up The Soundtrack Of My Life.  So here we go...

Childhood memories of sitting on my dad's knee, listening to stuff like Queen and Pink Floyd.  Teaching the kids in my first grade class the chorus to Another Brick In The Wall (part 2).  You know, "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control" ...I'm sure the teachers loved me. 

Being driven to school by my mom, Kenny Rogers belting out The Gambler or Lucille.  Sadly, I bet I could still sing along.

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da by The Police will always remind me of when I got my first transistor radio, and the start of my childhood love affair with AM radio and Top 40.  Our House by Madness and Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant also remind me of those days.

Love Bites by Def Leppard hailed my transition to the FM dial, and although my loyalty to the classic rock station was short-lived, I'll always have a soft spot for this one.

Wasn't that a Party by the Irish Rovers is forever linked in my mind to the days of cutting class to go to the arcade around the corner from my high school.  Jenn and I, playing pool and smoking cigarettes, warbling along with the song blasting through the juke box speakers just about every afternoon...to this day, this is a song that never fails to put a smile on my face.

Here is the House by Depeche Mode takes me (and perhaps one of my readers, hmmm?) back to the days of parties while the folks were away...a house where everything did happen on our path from childhood to semi-grown.  God knows, we sure thought we knew it all back then...

Stigmata by Ministry, for when I embraced my inner freak.

Anything by NWA, for when I thought I was all gangsta.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, for when I finally realized that I wasn't.

The memories that go along with Little Fluffy Clouds by The Orb are a little "fluffy" themselves, perhaps a little more vague than they should be.  I might not be clear on the details, but I do remember smoking a lot of pot and having a lot of laughs. (Ummm...Did I mention that I didn't quite graduate from university...?)

Better Man by Pearl Jam - for when I should have left The Asshole, but I didn't

Everybody Hurts by REM - for when I finally did.

Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers might make you think of the movie "Ghost", but in my life it is the first dance at my wedding, and as one-half of a married couple.

Nine months (almost to the day) of that memory saw me mark another major milestone: I become a mother.  My new baby was a puzzle to me: he was difficult to soothe from the moment of his birth.  The only thing that would reliably put him to sleep was "The Big Chill" soundtrack, and for that reason, whenever I hear I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, I am immediately transported back in my mind to the sleep-deprived days and nights of new motherhood.

Ahhh...but I could go on.  There are so many songs, and so many memories.  But all of a sudden, I have a burning need to go and make me a mixtape....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sweet Child o' Mine

Guitar and amp...$350

Strap and some picks...$20

Various guitar magazines...$50

Weekly lessons...$30

Listening to your nine-year-old son playing Guns n' Roses...PRICELESS

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Don't Like You, But I Love You...

"Do you love me?" he asks.

Doesn't he realize that he's asking the wrong question?  Of course I love him.  Even when he's a raging fricking asshole, I still love him.  Whatever happens, I will never be entirely free of those feelings.  My children - the most precious pieces of my heart and soul - are half him, after all.  To deny him would be like denying fifty percent of those boys, and that will never happen.  There is, and must always be, a connection between us: our hearts are forever bound, even if our bodies do manage to find their own separate paths to walk upon one day.

No, I want to tell him.  Don't ask me about love.  Ask, instead, what is in my heart, what is in my head.

Ask what I wish for.  Ask me what I dream about during the long, lonely nights when you sleep on the couch.  Again.

Ask me what I write about, then ask if you can read it.

Ask me what made me smile today, or just ask me how my day was, and listen when I tell you.

Ask after my hopes and my fears.  Ask about my fantasies. 

Ask me what colour my panties are, or if I'm even wearing any at all...

And while you're at it, maybe you should ask me why the hell I spend so much time on the computer, and why it always looks like I'm just checking my email when you come into the room.

Is it just that you don't know what the right questions are, I want to say to him, or is it (perhaps) that you'd rather not hear the answers?

I guess in the end, I'm no better, am I?  Because I'm telling you all of this instead of him...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Am Running

I am constantly reminded of the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be.  Sure, I might only be thirty-mrphf years old.  But things just aren't what they once were, and at some point I really must acknowledge this fact.

For starters...drinking beers into the wee hours of the morning, like I did this past Friday might have been tons of fun back in the day.  But there were no little people demanding my attention at the ungodly hour of five-thirty a.m.  And hangovers?  They now seem to last for days.  What's up with that?  (And by the way, I do apologize for any drunken blog-commenting that may have occurred.  I did mean well, but I really should lock my computer away before I open my third beer...)

Two weeks ago, my friend Nikki suggested that a few of us meet up at the track Sunday afternoons.  No, not to bet on the horses.  The other kind of track - the one you run on.  The idea was that teaming up would make us accountable, that we'd be more likely to get our lazy asses out and about if someone was counting on us.

So as you know, I often talk to myself.  Today's conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Ohhhhh.  I don't want to go to the track today.  I don't feel so hot.

Myself: Give me a break!  It's the second week, candy-ass.  Of course you're going.

Me: I feel a little dehydrated.  And I'm tiiiiiired.  Plus, my head hurts...

Myself: Suck it up, buttercup.  You promised.  You gonna let Nikki and Barb think you're a quitter?

Me: My back feels a little tender...I did just get my first tattoo yesterday.  Doesn't that count for anything?

Myself: Doesn't count for shit, Princess.  Unless you plan on rolling around the track on your torso, that doesn't cut it.

Me: Well...I don't want to, and you can't make me.  So there!  Nyah!

& I: But don't you remember how good you felt afterward?  Remember: endorphins!  You like endorphins.  Plus, the way your legs felt all tingly and stuff?  You loved that.  You did.

Me: Well, it did feel pretty good, didn't it...?

& I: Of course it did!  And it can be that good again...

Me:...

Myself: bwah ha ha!!

***

Yeah, so I went.  It was a slow start, and there were places I would have rather been (such as sitting on my couch like the lazy ass that I am), but you know what?  I was right.  I felt great afterwards.   

Huh.  I am pretty smart.  I should listen to myself more often.  Well, maybe not Myself, but...oh - you know what I mean!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meet Me On The Equinox

Today is the first day of Spring. It's a day of possibility, a day of new beginnings.

Hmmm...What is it that I will become? What will this new season of growth and renewal mean to me?

***

Not that long ago, I shared my Bucket List with you, those things that I hope to accomplish in my life before I die. 

Item number one on the list?  Check!  The fact that I should do this on such an auspicious day is purely coincidental.  I booked it this past week and only realized the significance of the date this morning.  Synchronicity.  I truly do believe that. 

So it's not much...but it's a start.  A start on following through on dreams.  A start on who I want to be.  When I woke up today, it was still winter and I was still blah.  But tonight when I lay down my head for sleep, it's Spring.  And the possibilities are endless, for me and for everything.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Wishlist

I try and post every day.  Once a day.  So this here?  This is a bonus post.  And...guess what?  Double bonus, because, hey!  I am a little bit drunk...

So - I could write all sorts of embarassing and incriminating things at this juncture.  Yep, sure I could (and some could argue that I already have...).  But instead, I'm going to link to a song on Youtube that is a pretty fair representation of my whole frickin mindset today. 

This song...I know it's a few years old now.   And I know that there are better songs, and smarter songs.  But just recently, this song has found itself back into fairly heavy rotation on my little iPod.  I'm not sure why.  But... 

Something here is talking to me.  I hear this song and I think: Yeah, dude.  Me too.

I And Love And You

Ha.

I just wrote a poem.  It sucked.  Hard.  I'm not going to share it with you, so don't go looking for it.  The fact that it exists is enough for me today.  It's a start, it's something.

The process still feels so awkward, like I'm pretending to be someone that I'm not.  That's okay, I can accept that for now.  If I just keep on lining up those words, if I just keep putting them down on the page, eventually they will cooperate with me, eventually they will dance.

Throughout most of my life, I haven't really done all that much writing.  Instead, I've spent the majority of my time reading what other people have written.  My response to what I read generally falls into two categories:

1.  Wow.  I will never be half that good.  I am in awe of this Wordsmith (and a little jealous, truth be told).

Or...

2.  Wow.  This person is a talentless hack.  I can write way better than this.  I am amazed that this is in print (and a little jealous, truth be told).

Recently, I've tried to spend a lot less time reading and a lot more time writing.

Shit or get off the pot, right? 

So, awkward or not, crappy or crappier, I'm going to keep on keeping on.  And any poor soul that has wandered into my little corner of blogdom is stuck suffering through my warm-ups.  This, right here?  This is me, practicing my scales, so to speak.

Thanks for putting up with me while I figure this stuff out.  No one knows better than me that I'm not setting the world on fire here.  But I love the venue, and I love the discipline that posting every day inspires.

And I love you, if you're still reading this.  The conversation of the blogosphere is a crazy, wonderful thing that I never expected to find back when I started writing to nobody all those months ago.  If even one person responds to something I have to say, it's worth it.  

Here, I don't feel quite so all-alone. 
 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Stand Corrected

Last night, Will and I were looking at an alphabet book together. You know the kind: a letter a page, with pictures of various objects starting with said letter. So as he turned each page, I would identify the letter and he would name each object. All went smoothly until we got to "V".

"Potato," he announced, pointing to a picture of a volcano.

"No sweetie," I gently corrected. "That's not a potato. It's a volcano."

"No, potato!" he insisted.

"Vol-cay-no," I carefully enunciated.

At this point, he gave me the look. I know this look well, but up until now I have only seen it in the eyes of his older brother. It's the exasperated don't-you-know-anything-at-all? look, the one that kids perfect once they become smarter than their parents. For Nathan, I think that was around seven or so. Will is precocious, apparently.

"Nooo, like this: PO-TAY-TO!" he instructed.

Whatever. I'm just the mom. What the hell do I know?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Won't Do What You Tell Me

When I was younger, I wrote all the time.  Poetry, mostly.  I still have pages and pages and pages of the outputs of my youth.  Most of it is pretty bad (teenagers tend to think that they invented melancholy and despair, do they not?), but some of it doesn't totally suck...

My verse was free-form in those days, always.  Meandering half-sentences, words chosen for their sound as much as (more than?) their meaning, punctuation used appropriately...or not.  The only cohesive elements of my work were these: I followed no rules and all my themes were dark.

In retrospect, I guess that this is pretty much a reflection of my life back then.   

And with this realization comes another: somewhere along the way, I forgot how to break rules.  I forgot what it means to just do what feels right, rather than what I'm told to.  And damn it, I miss those experiments.  I want to play with words like that again.  I want to make things.  But...

I crumple up page after page covered with crossed-out disappointments.  I use the delete button more than any other on my keyboard.  Caught up in doing what I'm supposed to, in following the damn rules, I can't write poetry any longer.  I've lost the memory, I've lost the way.

All that comes out is Haiku.  Five - seven - five.  Five - seven - five.  I can no longer write without rules. 

Put it in a box.  Put a label on it.  Everything just so because that is how it is supposed to be.  This is what I have become.  How?  And when?  Ahh, no matter now...

But the sun is shining, the temperature is rising.  I am awakening from my hibernation.  I need to shake things up: walk new paths, try new things.  Remember how to break the rules.

In that, there is poetry.  And I will find it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lady Midnight

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a young girl who was neither a great beauty nor overly talented.  But she did have three small gifts, three things that saved her from utter despair.  The first gift was a sense of humour, the second was the ability to disappear, and the third was the good sense to know when to use which.

In order to protect herself from the hurt that the sad facts of her life could inflict, she grew her skin thick and her heart, hard.  When she overheard her mother laughingly telling her friends that her daughter was going through a "homely" stage, or when she was the last one picked for dodgeball in gym class, she worked hard to convince herself that it didn't matter.  Sometimes she used her sharp tongue to cut first, sometimes she poked fun at herself after the fact.  And sometimes she just blended into the background, chameleon-like.  Whatever it took to stay safe.

It was tiring, this life of hers.  Defence, always defence.  It wears a heart out, all that hardness and all that hurt.  No one can live that sort of existence all the time, not without breaking apart, and this girl was no exception.  She needed an escape, however small.  And she found it...in her mind. 

So at night, when she was all alone, she practiced a new skill: reinvention.  No special equipment was required, all she had to do was close her eyes.

In the moonlight, in her bed, she could be anything.  And she was.  Yes, in the cold light of day, she might have been invisible at best and at worst...well, let's not think about that.  But in the dark, she was beautiful and talented and loved.  Out in the world, she had no more than a walk-on part in her own life, but in the quiet haven of the midnight hour, she was the hero, the star. 

And she was young, there was still time to see her dreams come true...

So this is the part of the story where something magical happens, right?  The ugly duckling becomes a swan and all that.  It's expected, it's the rule.  Because otherwise, there is no story.  Not one worth telling, anyway.

Ahhh...but this girl just grew, nothing magical about that.  Her grown-up daytime life wasn't all that much different than her childhood existence, and her night-time dreams had grown stale.  The words to her stories tasted bitter on her tongue.

One day she realized that the dreams were just that, fantasy and nothing more.  She grew old with the knowledge that she never owned her own story, she was never the main character in her own life.  Yes, a Lady at midnight.  But just a shadow at noon.

And then she died.  Bitter and alone. 

THE END

For her.  The End for her.

But there's still time for me...

...Right?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mind Eraser, No Chaser

My brain still hasn't recovered from the loss of that hour (yes, I am still going on about that.  I needed that hour, damn it.  I miss it terribly!) and I find myself at a loss for something to ramble on write about.  But I swore to myself that I would post every day this month if it killed me, so: here I am.  And presumably, so are you.

So.  What shall I yammer on about, hmm? 

Ummm....

Errr...yeah...uhhh.

Insert ear-splitting, soul-sucking silence here.

I hate these awkward sort of moments, don't you?  Gosh, how embarassing.  Please come back again tomorrow, I promise to do better.

(Couldn't get any worse than this after all now, could it?)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Can Hardly Wait To See You Come of Age

What a momentous weekend for my first-born son!  For this weekend marks his start on the rough road to manhood.  Yes, he may not even be ten yet, but the journey has begun.

For starters, last night's movie selection was not exactly child's play.  On J's recommendation, Nathan and I settled in to watch "National Lampoon's Family Vacation".  I know, I know...National Lampoon's anything should have tipped me off.  But...

"I just watched it last week.  Nathan will love it...it's hilarious,"  J had reported, going further to assure me that no, there was no nudity; and no, there was no serious foul language.  Alrighty then, J.  What movie were you watching last week?!?

Let me tell you about the movie that I experienced with my child: very suggestive jokes, which I could let slide (if he's old enough to get 'em, he's old enough to watch the movie...if he doesn't get the reference, no harm done...I guess).  And there were lots of appearances by the old eff-bomb.  Lots.  But the detail that put this movie out of the league of anything else Nathan has ever watched?  Boobs.  Yes, I sat on the couch beside my preteen son while naked breasts flashed across the screen.  His first.  I wonder if a boy remembers such things when he is grown?

He may have been just a child when he woke up on Saturday morning, but he was an almost-teenager when he went to bed Saturday night.  I guess that's why, when I was jonesing for a Timmies coffee this morning and I was at home alone with my two kiddos, I decided to push him just a little further along the path to independence.

"I'm going to go get a coffee," I said, casually.  "You want to come?"

Nathan, still in his pyjamas and deeply immersed in a video game, certainly did not want to go anywhere, and I knew it.  Obviously a little puzzled by where this conversation was headed but trying to stay cool, he met my gaze. 

"Do I have to?" he asked.

"Nope, not if you don't want to," I replied.

"Well, okay.  I guess I'll stay here then," he said with a barely contained smile.

As I tucked Will into his coat and boots (I sure wasn't leaving him behind!), I issued last minute direction.  "I'll be back in ten minutes.  Don't answer the door, don't answer the phone.  If there's an emergency, you go next door to Betty's.  Okay?  And don't stop to get dressed, if you need help you just go...even if you're in your pyjamas..."

"Duh," he said, rolling his eyes and affecting a very sarcastic tone.  "Ooh, lookA fire.  I better go get dressed!"

We laughed together at this ridiculous image.  And with no further ado, I left.  For the very first time, I left my baby home alone. 

Yes, I was back in about six-point-four minutes.  But that's not the point now, is it? 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When The Day Is Short

The time changes tonight.  Spring ahead.  I hate spring ahead.  Since becoming a mother, I think it would be safe to say that there has never been a time where I haven't been at least a little bit tired, so I look at the whole losing an hour thing as just next door to torture.

So no, I have nothing nice to say about this heartless theft of my precious sleep-time.  Nope, not a one.

But...thinking about it does remind me that I wrote about fall back here in this little blog of mine.  Hmmm...I have marked the change of a few seasons now.  So I go back and check the date of my first post, just because I'm thinking about it: Saturday, August 8, 2009.  I've been blogging for seven months now.  And that little fact?  That makes me very happy indeed.

So - we'll call it a draw then?

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Want You To Want Me

Last Friday, I took part in that Friday Follow thing.  I added my blog to a list, and some new followers materialized.  I was excited: my bitty little corner of the interweb had guests.  My Followers section had finally grown beyond one lonely row of faces.  Look out world...I was on my way!  The Mary Tyler Moore theme song echoed in my ears, and if I had been wearing a beret, for sure it would have been tossed into the air in triumph (haha...I'm a child of the seventies, what can I say?).

So here we are, one week later.  Did I go back for another round of Friday Follow?

Nope.

And I'll tell you why.  As far as I'm aware, none of my new "followers" have been back to my blog since the initial contact.  This tells me that the entire point of the Friday Follow is nothing more than a race to see who can collect the most Followers, and that just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  Sure, seeing big numbers under that particular heading must make you feel good about yourself.  Kind of like the people that have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook probably feel really popular.

But I'll tell you something: I have forty-odd friends on Facebook and contact almost all of them at least sometimes.  I read their status updates and look at their pictures.  I comment and "like" stuff they say and do.  I have a connection with each and every one of them.  Sure, a few might be somewhat tenuous, but they do exist.

Following blogs, at least in my mind, should run along the same lines.  I don't necessarily have to comment and interact with the blogs that I follow, but - and this is sort of key - I do read them. 

It's not that I don't love you, Katherine & Kala, because I do!  You guys are practically the whole reason I keep this blog going (well, that and the fact that I'm kind of addicted to seeing my words all fancy-like on a website...delusions of grandeur, perhaps?).  I would like to add to this little community, though.   

So.  Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Turn My Camera On

I have mentioned this before: I am rather useless when it comes to taking pictures.  I do so wish this weren't the case.  I look out at the world and see so many images that I would love to collect and share.  My eyes glory in the view, but somehow it just doesn't translate through the lens of the camera when it is held in my hands.

Just to illustrate the point, let me tell you about my drive in to work yesterday.  You see, yesterday morning I received the most incredible gift.  As I was driving down the road, a road that I had all to myself, two deer stepped out and casually meandered across my path.  I had more than enough time to slow down and stop, and - lucky me! - my camera phone rested on the passenger seat beside me.

Shot number one - the deer had just stepped off the road to my right.  Ummm...really, I swear.


I pulled up right alongside them.  I lowered my passenger-side window and, even though I forgot to turn off the stereo, the deer didn't run away.  Instead, they turned to look right at me.  That's right, just ten feet away from me, two deer were curious enough hang around and check me out.  Watching me while I watched them.

The moment lasted for just a minute, maybe even two.  When they turned tail and fled deeper into the trees, my eyes prickled with tears. 

"Thank you," I whispered.   Whether I was speaking to God, serendipity, or the deer themselves, I'm really not sure.  I am sure about the gratitude, though.  That filled me right up.

You'll be pleased to hear that while I sat in my idling vehicle, looking out at those beautiful creatures, I thought to pick up my camera phone and take a picture.  And if you look really closely and use your imagination to smooth out some of that blurriness, you can see them...right? 

Good grief.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Smaller

I once knew an elderly man who shared a particular piece of wisdom with me, a Yiddish phrase that translated to "Small children, small problems. BIG children, BIG problems". Cliche?  Oh, sure.  But true?  Hell, yes

It's not just the problems which change in size over the years though; it's a remarkably well-balanced equation!  The bigger they (and their problems!) become, the smaller we (and our influence upon them) turn out to be.  When our children are little, we can fix everything for them. Kiss the boo boo, fix the toy, find the missing piece to the puzzle...Super Mommy to the rescue!  But it seems that our power is short lived.

Take Nathan, for example.  While once I was his everything, the bigger he gets the lesser I become.  Mommy is no longer the Sun in his solar system.  I've not yet been relegated the status of a distant, psuedo-planet (poor Pluto!). I do still have some pull - perhaps I rate as a moon in this awkward analogy.  For a little while, anyway.

A mother's love for her child is such a physical experience.  Unless you are made of steel, you feel it.  Every day.  And kids?  They're so completely oblivious to the anguish we feel on their behalf.  Our presence is simply expected and accepted.  And greedy for the diminishing share I have in Nathan's world, I take it...I take whatever I can get. 

Thank goodness for second children!  The painful and poignant letting-go that Nathan is forcing me to work through is tempered by toddler-sized snuggles.  My light still shines bright in my littlest boy's life. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beautiful Boy

My poor Nathan is suffering from a broken heart, and it's not even a girl at the root of this pain.  At almost-ten-years-old, girls are not even on his radar yet (well, maybe just a slight blip).  Nope, not a girl.  The trouble is much more serious: Nathan's very best friend in the whole wide world, Chris, is moving.  Tomorrow.  To North Bay.  Which might as well be on the other side of the world, as far as Nathan is concerned.

The child just spent half an hour curled up in my arms, sobbing his little heart out.  Phrases like "It's not fair!" and "But he's my best friend!" were wailed with utter despair. 

I held him in my arms, which is something that hasn't happened in a long time now (and when the hell did he get so big?) and told him that it was all right to be sad, that it was okay to cry.  Because losing people hurts.  We talked about how rough this was going to be on Chris (the poor child's life is turning upside down on a dime, after all), and how friends can come and go in life...but true friendships will always live on in our hearts and our memories.

"I remember last year, when my friend Eddie moved.  It sucked, but it didn't feel like this," Nathan said.  "Chris and I were, like, the same.  We like all the same stuff, and he loves to come to our place, and he loves Will, and I'm going to miss sleeping over at his house...and he never made fun of me.  Ever."

Oh, how my own heart aches for my child.  I hugged him tight, as tight as he would let me, willing my love to be enough to drown out his sorrow.

Ah, but he is growing up.  And I am just his mother.  That used to be enough, but no longer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

This Woman's Work

I'm feeling sort of melancholy today.

*** 

I really wanted to resume daily blog postings this month (I must admit that there were a few misses in February), but The Words just aren't cooperating with me today. 

Which came first, the black mood or the white page? 

Hmm...Does it even matter?

***

So, no words...but I will offer you this.  This song is one of my favourites to play when I'm down.  It's beautiful and poignant, yet somehow, still hopeful.  And holy crap, but that woman can sing.




(By the way, there is a proper video for this song.  But it is so 80's-cheesy and totally lessens the emotional impact, in my opinion.  Better to stare at Kate's somewhat sleepy-looking face for the three minutes and thirty-four seconds...or better yet, just close your eyes.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Owner of a Lonely Heart



Even this mistake

Is never all the way wrong...

because I have them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Has anybody noticed how movie ratings have changed through the years?  Case in point: Nathan has seen all of the Shrek movies, and probably started watching them when he was...I don't know, five?  Six?  These films are rated PG.  There's mild violence, I suppose that's the reason.  And there are some pretty good jokes for the grown-ups (some of them mildly off-colour), but I am fairly confident that those go WAY over the heads of any little people that might be watching.

Compare that to a movie that was put out in 1989.  Yikes!  PG has a completely different meaning.

Yesterday, I was at the drug store waiting for a prescription to be filled.  "That will be twenty minutes," the girl tells me.  I think: "Yeah, right.  It'll be thirty seconds, but whatever...you need to leave me time to browse the store and buy a bunch of stuff that I don't actually need."

Okay, I didn't really think that.  But that was, of course, what ended up happening.  Into my shopping basket went some needed toiletries, but also a DVD.  Three John Candy movies in one little $9.99 package.  Didn't seem like a bad deal, and one of them was Uncle Buck - a movie that I remember as being quite funny.  As it was rated - you guessed it - PG, I figured Nathan would enjoy it, too.

So we settled in to watch it last night.  Do you know what I discovered?  That PG back in the 80's seems to have meant that there was no actual nudity and nobody dropped the eff bomb.  But anything else was totally up for grabs.

I lost track of how many times the word shit was uttered.  Even in the first ten minutes, I think I heard it at least four times...and said by little kids, too.

Nathan was mildly scandalized by the swearing.  And during the part where Bug is pressuring a girl (who we assume to be 15-year-old Tia) to get nekkid with him, Nathan said - and I quote - "Are you sure it's appropriate for me to be watching this?"

Yes, the movie was still funny.  And yes, I think that my kid is capable of hearing a few bad words and catching a quick glimpse of a girl's underpants without being corrupted for life.  But wow...how things have changed, huh?

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Will Follow

I have found some pretty cool blogs by accident, but have been wondering as of late: How do you go about finding them on purpose?  I've used the "Next Blog" button on a number of occasions, and sure - they finally have it worked out so that most of the blogs they point me to are actually in English now, but there are still about a gazillion blogs out there in the ether and using the "Next Blog" button to find ones that interest me is kind of like closing my eyes and throwing a dart in the world's biggest library: I might hit something that speaks to me...or, more likely, I won't.  So what's a girl to do? 

I'd like to discover other blogs.  And I'd like them to discover me (hey - I've told you I'm narcistic!), but how do you go about doing such a thing?  Sure, I've been blogging for more than six months (!) now, but I'm still kind of a newbie.  When I woke up this morning, I only had six followers for goodness sake.  And I'll tell you a little secret here: one of my followers, the first one, is actually me.  Yep, back when I started this blog, I couldn't stand seeing the empty "Followers" box, so I signed on to follow my own blog.  Lame, I know.  You don't have to tell me.

Well, this week, for something a little different, I signed on for The Friday Follow, which is a feature that I just discovered this morning by accident.  How much fun!  There are currently (going to check this...holy smokes!  That's a lot...) 790 blogs signed on, but first thing this morning when I shrugged and tossed my hat into the ring, I was number 226.  I checked out one or two blogs quickly before I had to take Will to the pediatrician, then closed down the computer and went about my day.

But now I am home, the kids are in bed and I'm back at my computer once again.  Imagine my surprise when I popped in to my home page and discovered that I now have fourteen followers (well, yes.  Okay...thirteen.  One of them is still me), more than double what I started with today!  And these new followers were kind enough to leave me comments, which are oh-so-wonderful.  Like many others, I love me some comment action. 

Yes, I realize that to some of you, having fourteen followers is nothing to write home about.  Fourteen followers is nothing much at all.  But not around here.  Here in my little corner of the internet, having fourteen followers is pretty cool.  More than cool, actually.  Having fourteen followers is amazing!

So, hey -  if you're new here, welcome!  Feel free to browse around.  Comment at will.  I also love to answer questions, so do click on through to my Formspring page.  Something you'd like to know about me?  Something you think I should tackle on my blog?  Ask away.  Remember, it can be completely anonymous, so don't be shy. 

If you are one of the "original six" (okay, okay...original five.  Sheesh!), welcome back.  I love my ongoing conversations with you, always.  Without you, I would probably have given up this blog months ago.  Originally, I thought that writing to no one would be fine...but along the way, I think I discovered the answer to the age-old question If a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody there to hear it, does it still make a sound? The answer is simple.  Who cares?

Now if you'll excuse me, Friday isn't over yet and I've got some exploring to do...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last Night I Dreamed...

Mornings around here are kind of chaotic.  Anyone with small children and somewhere to be knows what I'm talking about when I say that, during that mad rush to get out the door, there isn't time to think most days.  It's get up, get showered, get your kid(s) dressed, get yourself dressed, get school bags, diaper bags, and lunch bags packed...At least, that's what my morning is like. 

Luckily, J. gets the kids in to daycare, so once all the details are attended to, I hop in the car all on my lonesome and head to work.  Stop number one is COFFEE.  I know, I know.  I should make it at home and put it in a travel mug.  But, guess what?  I love my Tim Hortons.  Sue me.

Sipping on that first coffee of the day, all by myself...this is when I slowly start to come awake.

So it wasn't until I was in the midst of this peaceful ritual that the startling memory of last night's dream came back to me.  Startling, yes.  Because I happened to dream about a man I know, and in this dream - and I swear, this has never happened to me before - he was naked.  Yup, absolutely starkers.  And the image is now burned into my brain, clear as day.  FOREVER.

I'm going to be seeing this man tonight.  And I am a little nervous about it.  How will I be able to look this guy in the eye?  I've seen his everything.  Sure, I know it was just a product of my imagination, but it was pretty darn realistic.  Oh, and by the way...my subconscious?  Very generous, if you know what I mean.

Good grief...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The First Days of Spring

Dear Spring,

Long time no see!

I just flipped the calendar to the March page a couple days ago, and I noticed that you're scheduled to arrive later this month.  Let me tell you, I'm really looking forward to you coming to stay for a little while.  Have I mentioned that you're my favourite season?  Don't tell Summer, okay?  I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings...

Anyway, I just thought I'd drop you a quick note to let you know that Mother Nature seems to be getting everything in order in advance of your visit.  For starters, she's turned the heat up a bit, made the place a little more hospitable.  That's right, the Sun isn't just a source of weak light anymore.  I've actually felt the rays.  Seriously.  It's been wonderful.

She's started decorating, too.  Today on the way home from work, I noticed that many trees seem to be decked out with brand new buds.  Others are wearing the faintest shimmer of green, like an aura or a spring-time blush.

But the surest sign of your impending arrival is the fact that the welcoming committee seems to be assembling.  Every morning this week, it's been impossible to ignore: the smell of skunk.  Some people might look for robins, but I've heard that the migratory patterns of birds aren't as dependable as they once were.  Skunks seem to know what they're about, Spring.  And they're waiting for you!

So I realize that it would be premature of me to put away all of Winter's belongings for the year.  As ever, he is a house guest that has overstayed his welcome and we've likely not seen the end of his tempermental nature.  But know that I'm ready when you are, dear Spring.  And I will welcome you with open arms.

Your loving friend,
Me  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Islands

Have you ever had the Deserted Island conversation?  You know, the one that starts with If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring x, what would it be?

This sort of conversation is well-suited to so many times and places: drunken yammering with the girls, casual lunchtime chatter with some co-workers, or serious sharing with a soul mate.

Bet you didn't know that it's also fun when you're driving home from work all by your lonesome, did you?  Ha!  Here's a little embarassing fact for you: I talk to myself when I'm driving.  This is generally my prime WTF am I going to write about on my blog time, and sometimes I get so into my musings that I start working on things out loud.

Like today, for example.  There I was, driving home from work with my iPod on random and That's What I Get  by Nine Inch Nails came on.  It's off of the album Pretty Hate Machine, released in 1989  (coincidentally, the title of yesterday's post is from another song off of that album).  Anyhoo, as I was saying, the song came on.  It made me happy.  The almost-spring sunshine was burning away the cobwebs in my soul, my windows were open to let in the sort-of warmish air, and here was a fabulous song on the stereo.  Could it get any better than this?

"Oooh!  This album is definitely a Deserted Island album!" I announced to no one in particular.  And since there was no one there to answer and interrupt my chain of thought, I carried it a step further.

"Okay, so I'm stranded on the Deserted Island.  And, just for the sake of argument, let's say that the Professor is there with me and he manages to rig up a CD player out of coconut shells and bamboo canes or whatever.  What five albums do I bring with me?"

The ensuing internal debate entertained me for the rest of the way home.  Doesn't take much, does it?

So, for the record, and in no particular order, this is what I came up with:

- Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails

- Around the Well by Iron and Wine

- The White Album by The Beatles

- Come on Feel the Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens

- The Joshua Tree by U2

This list is, of course, subject to change depending upon my mood.  But that is what I came up with today.

How about you?  What albums would you take with you? 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kinda I Want To

Despite the fact that I frequently find myself wondering just who that old broad is when I look in the mirror because it feels like "just yesterday" that I was nineteen years old and my whole life was still way out in front of me, the sad truth is that I'm actually well on my way to forty.  This little fact scares the crap out of me, to be honest with you.  Sure, there will actually only be 37 candles on my next birthday cake, but at this point in my life three years is nothing.  I lose whole weeks in between blinks, for goodness sake.  Three years will come and go before I know what hits me.  Yep, forty is breathing down my neck, hot and heavy.  I feel its nasty old breath ruffling my collar, and I can't say as I like it.  No, not one bit.

Not so long ago (or maybe it was?  Time has a funny way of messing with me, as I was saying) a movie called The Bucket List came out.  I didn't see it myself (and hear I didn't miss much...), but if I recall correctly, the gist of the film was that people should make a list of things they want to do before they die (or kick the bucket, get it?) and then start crossing them off.  You know, before it's too late.

As I creep ever closer to my own personal midlife crisis, I find myself wondering: what would I put on my bucket list?  And how likely am I to cross 'em off?  So...

The Bucket List - A Promise and a Threat
By Just Me

1. Get a tattoo.  I have wanted a tattoo forever.  But, indecisive soul that I am, I could never settle on a design.  I've always been forced to answer the question When you are eighty years old, will you still like <fill in the blank>with a firm no.  Until recently, that is.  I've finally settled on a design and placement that I don't think I'll ever regret.  Maybe you'll be seeing pictures soon?

2. Swim in the ocean.  Sadly, I've never even seen one in person, let alone swam in one.  I haven't travelled all that much actually, which leads me to my next item...

3. Get in touch with my roots.  My ancestors hail from England, Ireland and Scotland and I have always been drawn to the British Isles.  One day, I hope to explore the lands of my forefathers (and mothers!), to immerse myself in experiencing the people, places and things that they did, with all five senses.  Plus?  I totally love the accents, especially the Irish ones.  Specifically the Irish ones that belong to sexy Irishmen.  Sigh. 

4.  Get published.  And paid for it.  I don't need to make millions, but I sure would love to go to Chapters and see my name on something.

5.  Learn to play an instrument.  We have a piano that no one in our house knows how to play.  The function of this very out-of-tune instrument is solely to serve as a display surface.   In December, it is the home of my Christmas Village set-up.  The rest of the year, it's covered with framed photos of friends and family.  The kids do enjoy banging away on it as well, but it certainly does seem a shame that no one knows how to actually play the thing.  And I do love music.  Wow.  As I type this, I find myself wondering why this even appears on the list...  it really is a no-brainer, isn't it?

6. Donate blood.  I have a pretty rare blood type (B-negative), so I feel kind of guilty that I haven't shared some of it around.  But I also have low blood pressure.  And anxiety issues.  So I am kind of afraid that if I get hooked up and start to feel a little funky, I'll end up panicking and embarassing the hell out of myself.  Lame, huh?

7. Go camping by myself.  I go camping every year: with my kids and my husband and whomever else we can convince to come along.  I even went the year I was pregnant with Will.  At seven and a half months pregnant, I would not give up my family camping trip (and we're hardcore, you know - no air mattresses around here.  We sleep on the ground).  But as much as I enjoy my camping excursions with my peeps, I think it would be a very moving and powerful experience to go all on my own.  And not to some Provincial Park where you are pretty much on top of other people at all times.  I'd like to go somewhere a little off the beaten path.  I'd like go some place where I could wake up and watch the sun rise over a lonely lake and not have to share it with anyone else.

8. Go skinny dipping.  The fact that I've never done this is actually kind of embarassing.  It's a rite of passage, a universal screw you to the world.  How could I have made it this far in life without doing it at least once?

9.  Karaoke.  If I am not actually the world's most insecure person, it would be a safe bet to assume that my name appears on the shortlist.  Sadly, I frequently find myself not doing stuff for fear of what others might think, say or do in response.  What if someone laughs?  What if I make a fool of myself?  You get the idea.  The very thought of standing up in front of a bunch of people and singing - all by myself - freaks the hell out of me.  I truly hope that I find the nerve to do this one day.  I am sure that, if I could get past that paralyzing fear, I would find the experience very liberating.

10. Fall in forever-love.  Yeah, I think this one is fairly self-explanatory.  If not, take a little stroll through my archives...

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So what do you think about my Bucket List?  And what would appear on yours?