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Monthly Archives: July 2013

On Shopping for Shoes

I just came back from a couple of days State-side.  The 5 of us, plus 3 more from my side of the clan, all loaded into our modes of transport and headed south of the boarder to celebrate a friend’s nuptials.  Yes, the wedding was lovely, and the weather was great.  The kids did really well on our journey – thank you for asking!

This post however, is not about any of those details.

This post is about shopping for shoes.

We spent some time in a local mall on the day of the wedding, not wanting to be too far from where we needed to be that evening.  And they had a couple of my favourite shoe shopping places.  And really – when does a girl *not* need a pair of shoes?  Exactly.  Never.  So of course, I went in along with my sister, my Mom, my niece and my daughter.

While I was perusing the aisles for the illusive basic, black, everyday shoe that I’ve been looking for on-again, off-again for the past 2 years, I was struck by how my 20 year old self would be dying of embarrassment over the shoes I was looking for.  Actually, that didn’t occur to me until I was pondering whether or not a shoe like this is what I was wanting:

It's nice, right?  I mean, for an older, middle aged woman.  Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

It’s nice, right? I mean, for an older, middle aged woman. Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

Don’t get me wrong: I still think this shoe looks like it would fit the bill perfectly for me.  My 20 year old self though…  well, it’s not like I rocked stilettos or anything in my youth; I surely did not.

This was more my style:

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Okay, that was in my late teens.  You’re right: in my 20’s it was more like this:

This looks almost exactly like mine.  Except my favourite ones were square toe.  LOVED them!

This looks almost exactly like mine. Except my favourite ones were square toe. LOVED them!

I “came of age” in the grunge era.  I wore mismatched flannel shirts with dirty jeans.  I wore long johns and worker socks and baggy sweaters.  And yeah, I had some heels, but they were more like this:

I think I had this exact pair!  Except they were black, of course.

I think I had this exact pair! Except they were black, of course.

Cute, right?  I know.  So anyway, in my 20’s I thought I had style with an edge.  I listened to Oasis, I drank G&T’s or Guinness; some times both on the same night!  I went to bars like Velvet Underground or (s)Lime Light for the retro 80’s night.  I lived in an awesome city and when I met people my age who lived in the surrounding suburbs, I would say to them, “Oh – I’m so sorry!” and laugh and laugh…

Which brings me back to my shoe quest.  Which, it turns out, is probably more about me making peace with being a subrurban-dwelling, mini van-driving, stay-at-home-mom than it is really about the shoe.

I guess the combat boots just kicked the shit outta my urban self when my arches fell?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Randomness

 

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Should Have Known

When I woke up this morning in a neutral mood, and MOMD left the house without saying good bye and I noticed that – before coffee, even – I should have known.

When – at 8:45AM – I was saying to my kids, “I have a very little amount of patience today.  And what you are doing right now has spent almost all of it.  I haven’t been out of bed for 2 hours, and I am all ready at the end of my rope.

“Excellent Behaviour is required today.”  I should have known; they should have known.

When we were traipsing through stores purchasing what we need for next week’s camping foray and I almost bought a metric ton of chocolate in each store, I should have known.

When we got home and I made lunch, and the kids didn’t come when I called them, and I didn’t call them again but rather put it on the table and left, I should have known.

When my (newly) 5yo said, “Ellie’s crying,” and I responded with , “I don’t care,” (yes, I really did. *guilt*) I should have known.  I think the kids knew at that point.

When I started wondering, “Why am I not drunk yet?” at 11AM, I probably had an inkling, but c’mon, I shoulda known!

And when I went to pilfer that same 5yo’s chocolate only to discover the entire bar – the WHOLE THING – was gone and I called MOMD to accuse him of theft and causing “a watershed moment” (my actual words) I was grateful that I had figured it all out.

Because man: these kinds of hormonal swings and shifts are exhausting.  It’s tough being a woman.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Oversharing

 

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Healing through Daughters

So, today as I drove across the city (well above the flood lines, thank you) this amazing song came on. And as so often happens while I’m driving alone, I had time to process some thoughts; specifically around parenting a girl child that have been percolating for some time now.

When E was born, just over a year ago no, a friend said, “Daughters heal you”.  I thought that was an interesting idea; as I thought about it, I determined she meant that having a daughter brings to the front all those things that are issues I have or things I struggle with about my own womanhood, so that I can address them and move forward.

Last month, I had the honour of being invited to a friend’s commencement from Queen’s University.  I was the only member of her “love lines” family; I was seated with her Mom, her Dad and her Aunt Mike.  We had a great time together, watching this right of passage…  the little girl I have known for so long was suddenly – irrevocable – Grown.  After the ceremony we lunched, and then the rest of us left the graduate with her Dad for a few days vacation together.

As we left, I commented on how the father-daughter relationship they have really baffles me.  He speaks to her as though she is a child; he treats her like a delicate treasure, prized over everything else in the world.  She adores him and hangs on his words as though they actually feed her…  Her Mom, my dear, dear friend said, “It’s very special, the Father-Daughter relationship…”

And then today, the song played and tears pricked my eyes.

I’ve been watching how MOMD treats our E since she was born.  Watching their connection blossom, their relationship develop.  Outwardly, there are no differences between his relationship with the boys and the relationship with her.  There is something though, intangible, that is different.  Deeper, more open, more… Just somehow more.

Listening to the lyrics Lenny Kravitz lays out, all of these thoughts and “noticings” came together and crystallized.  “You are my highest high, you make me feel alive, all I can do is smile, when I look in Little Girl’s eyes”.

I’ve heard it said so many times that a girl will marry her father.  I’m sure you’ve heard it too – it’s ancient wisdom.  I for one, did not marry my father.  In fact, the very reason I fell for and chose to change my whole life plan was because MOMD was precisely the opposite of my father.  Because of this, I decided that the ancient wisdom was wrong.

Because of the coalescing of thought from today, I think I understand that statement more now.

The father – in one way or another – teaches the daughter how she deserves to be loved.  He sees her value, and he teaches her what her worth is.  He honours the Godess within her, and calls her to be all she is meant to be.

Now, when I hear in my memory “Daughters heal” what I understand this to mean is this: the way that I see MOMD loves E, is a reflection of how he loves me.  Of what I needed from the primary male in my life.  Knowing how blessed am I that the primary man in my life loves me this way is overwhelming.

And yes, Sebrina: Healing.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Family, Oversharing, Raising Kids

 

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Excitement, Exhaustion and Terror All in One!

This is me these days, people.  Excited because one of my dearest friends in the known Universe is getting married in 4 days (YAY!) in her adopted home of Nyack, New York.  I’m so happy for her, not in the least because I love and adore the person she’s chosen for the honour of sharing her life.  I’m excited too because this is our first “Family Vacation” since becoming a family of 5.

This also exhausts me.

Because: getting ready to leave the country with 5 people for 4 nights is a lot of work!  Thank God we’re travelling with my Mom and sister, because we’ve shared up the work that can be shared between us.  Thanks again, Amanda for sorting our the who-needs-a-passport thingy! (The answer is only people over the age of 18, if you’re entering the U.S. by car, just in case you too need to know.)  MOMD brought up the suitcases this weekend and put them in respective rooms so that the bigger kids could begin packing their belongings (which inevitably means either he or I have to unpack the cases to make sure that everything that’s needed is there, but whatever: they’re excited too).  He’s also made a list of what to pack, and cleaned the van inside and out so that we’re ready to tackle the Open Road like he and his family did.

Did you catch that part?  “…like he and his family did.”  Yeah, that right there, that is critical.

See, MOMD grew up in the heart of “The Big Land” as they like to call it.  I myself call it it the tip of an iceberg surrounded by vast amounts of nothingness.  I’m talking about Labrador City.  And while yes, technically there is another town (Wabush) close by, they are really one city.  And then there’s nothing else for like 750km’s on the Trans Canada Highway.  So while saying he grew up on an iceberg is not technically correct, he did grow up in the heart of nowhere.  What this meant is that he and his family spent a lot of time on the road, driving to places.  They would go back to the Island (what island?  THE Island: Newfoundland!) for vacations, and they’d go to Prince Edward Island, they even came to Toronto once, on a trip that’s best not talked about.  And all of this was done in a car.

Me, on the other hand…  well, I grew up in Toronto.  Unlike many of my friends, my parents had a trailer in the country; near a little town called Roseneath.  So I too spent my summers driving to destination.  The main difference is that my car trips were generally 90-120 minutes in length, where his were 2-3 day adventures.  Sadly, I am not one who enjoys spending endless time in a car.

Which is really funny given the traffic that I face often enough here in the GTA; but I digress.

When MOMD and I met (almost 15 years ago now!  WOW!) the longest I could really stomach to travel in total was 2.5 hours.  Seriously: that was my limit.  I go a little stir crazy, which coupled with my usual crazy is too much crazy.  One day remind me to tell you about our move to Halifax where we spent 2 solid days on the road.  It was…  gah.  I can’t even go there.

The trip to Nyack is just under 800km’s.  It’s certainly true that in the intervening years I have gotten better at longer stretches of travel, I approach the thought of a long car ride with trepidation.

And then you throw in 3 kids – one of whom is totally the poster child for Active Lifestyles – and I go directly to terror.  Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  TERROR!

We’re looking at about a 10 hour trip.  TEN hours, people!  It’s time for the Wizards of the world to share Apparrating with us Muggles.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Family, Raising Kids, Vexations

 

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Missing the Point

So, I’m always reading. Usually, I’m reading stuff that resonates with my beliefs and interests (aren’t we all though?). Most times, what I wind up reading are blogs or articles that get linked to in my facebook feed. In fact, the only way that I really know what’s going on in our world is because of the good people who keep linking to or commenting on political/social/economic/enviromental pieces.

This irritates MOMD to no end since he is a news junkie and a journalist by trade.  My ardent refusal to engage in his penchant for useless information is baffling to him; although I like to think he also secretly finds it endearing.

Anyway. As you well know if your’e a regular reader (bah! Regular! That assumes that I write regularly! hahaha… Sorry. But really: we both know that’s just ludicrous.) my leanings are decidedly socialist with a mighty dash of feminist. So a lot of what I decide to read in my feed are stories in these veins.  This morning I linked to something about women not engaging in political discourse because of the level of debate.

Now that resonated with me.

So I clicked the link.  And I tell you what: it was not well written.  In fact, I think it was written by someone who simply wanted to prove their point because it did nothing to further the discussion, and it actively discouraged my interest.  Which is a shame because honestly, I think the subheader did a great job of luring in readers.  The synopsis hit on an idea that’s been percolating in my head for ages that I just haven’t had the time to formulate.

I do not actively engage in politics because the level of discourse is so low.

A prime example is attack ads.  They do nothing to discuss party platforms, track records, or public engagement.  The sole purpose of these ads is to simply defame a single person.  And while it’s true that often we often vote for an individual rather than specifically a party (Jack Layton, anyone?) ads that vilify the leader of a party are useless.  I remember when Kim Campbell had stepped in as interim leader for the Conservative party back in 1993 and during the election campaign that followed, she was advised to run an ad that criticized – really, made fun of – Jean Chretien’s partially paralyzed face.  The woman I was wanted desperately to love our country’s first female Prime Minister, but the human in me was appalled at that level of insensitivity.  As was most of the country, and the conservatives fell from a majority government to not even holding official party status.

It’s not just attack ads though.  If I look at politics closer to home, a fantastic example of what really turns my engagement to zero is currently holding the title of Mayor in the City of Toronto.  There are so many things that offend me about Mayor Rob Ford, I could seriously go on and on.  If I look at that litany what it all boils down to is that he is belligerent, diametrically opposed to discussion or debate and willfully ignorant.  What I learned in school, when I was politically engaged, is that the heart of politics is discourse.

Remember debating?  I do.  I remember high school debates with so much fondness.  Choosing or being given a stance (defense or opposition) on a statement, and you and your team mate laid out an argument and then you debated the other side.  They were heated, but they were always civilized.  Yes, we kept to our stances while the debate was raging, but we were listening to what the other side was saying.  We had to: we had to be able to refute their arguments.

From my position, today’s politicians are all like Mayor Ford.  They have a position, they have a party line, some communications handler carefully crafts them a statement, and they read it.  Over and over and over again in some cases.  They are not listening, they are not responding, they are not engaged.  When the opposition stands up to speak, they are doing the same thing, except there’s a lot of heavy chest thumping accompanying their stating and restating and restating their opposition.

And really: that’s just so disheartening.  I for one would welcome a conversation where I did not have to prove that sexism is inherent, that rape culture exists, and that listening and responding to comments is an important part of what sets us humans apart from primates.  Maybe, just maybe, if I felt like anyone was listening, if anyone anywhere in our political system was engaged, then perhaps I too would become so myself.

For now though, for now I’ll just stay over here in my media-free bubble.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Opinion, Politics

 

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