Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodnight Moon

Friday night was a wolf moon - a full moon when it is at its closest point in orbit to the earth. I was walking through the parking lot at work when I saw it and it was so beautiful that it made me stop in the freezing cold and just stare up at it, so beautiful that I could have cried. It was huge and bright hovering over the buildings in the clear dark winter sky. I felt a bit of wonder, my brain jumping up and down shouting, "Look! Look!". I instantly wanted to share it with someone, not just anyone, but someone I care about.
I really want someone I can share the moon with, who feels that aching beauty in their gut too, who would answer the phone and say, "yes, Dina, I see it, isn't it gorgeous?"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On love

The evening did not start with promise. I picked up my son first, and when I walked into the after school daycare room, he was happy to see me until I told him to put the legos away and get his snow pants on so we could pick up his sister. He yelled that he wanted to play and then threw himself on the floor and screamed. Great. This escalated into harsher words until he finally yelled, "I hate you". Ugh. You know that moods change on a dime when you're six, hell, they're just as bad when you're 40 some days. I fought back the hurt and the anger and just stopped talking, taking the "if you can't say anything" tact and hoping to find my calm voice as he demanded gum over and over and over again. Keep in mind that my son is normally the sweetest boy in the world, I felt like someone had replaced him with an alien pod-boy. Eventually he started to beg me to speak, which is when I almost managed to remain calm and explain why he wouldn't be getting gum, that his behaviour was not acceptable at all, and that he better change his attitude.
Then the wailing started. I was mean, I was unfair, he didn't like me, he wanted daddy. I turned up the radio and managed to get to my daughter's daycare without breaking any traffic laws.
Picked up the girl with only a minor tantrum while getting dressed and a brief panicked frenzy when we left her stuffed giraffe on the bench upstairs. Eventually got everyone back in the car and at that moment, it started snowing. Big fat flakes started falling from the sky, so big and substantial that as they were hitting the road in front of the car, they were being dragged and stretched by gusts of wind across the pavement, like white wiggling ribbons, almost alive.
Everything was silent as we all stopped to watch the show and a calm descended. By the time we got home, the pod-boy was gone and my boy was standing on the sidewalk catching snowflakes on his tongue.
Being six is a complicated thing. Being a parent is a simpler thing when you are patient. It's something I'm working on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ideal imperfection

I've been reading Alain de Botton's book, Essays in Love, in which he shares this little gem:
"Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won't find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults."
I read this five times over, and although I heartily disagree with it, I wondered how much truth there was in it. I mean, there is always that initial time when you meet someone and you think they are perfect- light radiates off them, they say the funniest things, the way they slurp their soup is utterly charming, you idealize them. But my favorite time in a relationship always comes a bit after, when you see the person's "faults" and you still think that he is the greatest person on the planet. It's like you can suddenly take a deep breath and say, "Phew, you're not perfect, that's a relief!".
My point is that I don't think that I want to find someone without my faults and I'm wondering why Alain would. Why is that an ideal for him? Self loathing? Is it because being near someone without his faults will make him a better person? Is it a difference between the way that men and women love? Do men search for perfection because they know they are flawed and want to be better and women search for imperfection because they know that they are flawed and don't want to be judged?
I'll get back to you on this.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning to put down the stick

We are our own worse critics. No one will ever be as judgmental about us as the person staring back in the mirror. Not to say that we are always mean-I can be my best cheerleader too-but it's hard to remember that what we think of ourselves, what we notice, is not seen by others. Friends do not see anything wrong with dishes in your sink, some cat hair on your clothes, a slightly burned cookie, a forgotten name, in other words, being human.
I was talking to a friend recently and we started discussing the stuff that we do that makes us judge ourselves. I'm not talking about knocking over liquor stores or kicking puppies, I'm talking about legal and non-violent actions that when viewed later and scrutinized seem like things that we should know better about. She wisely has decided to stop beating herself up about things like this, and I wish that I could do that more often. When I finally managed to forgive myself for the stuff I did during my marriage, a huge weight lifted. I also realised that I had managed to make myself feel bad about not being happy, which still makes me laugh out loud and shake my head. And again, who was the one who drove me to this? ME!
So how do I stop beating myself up for beating myself up?
It's obviously a slow process.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ikea - check
Run - check (and it was awesome!)
Soup - no check
After my run I seem to have lost a couple of hours when my brain stopped functioning or something. This evening I went over to Maggie's and Andrew made pizza and we watched Bride and Prejudice which is a fun flick and always has me humming the tunes days afterwards.
I'm tired and I'm hoping to sleep. I keep waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about dumb stuff. Feel free to say hi if you're up too ;-)
Yeah, I know, big girl pants......
I had a sleep, and the world is feeling much better. I need a run today, I haven't been running as much in the last couple of weeks and I feel it. I actually had a nice day yesterday, went up to see the folks with the kids and went sledding and hung out. When I got home though, the tired hit me and I turned into a crabby pants. There was also some excellent cuddling time this morning complete with animal sounds and an imitation of a walrus. I must venture out to Ikea, fight the maze, and find another lamp. Then hopefully some soup making!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

whinging

Beyond tired and cranky, feel utterly and desperately pathetic and only want to curl up into a ball and cry. Needing love badly, arms around me and the lightest of kisses on my forehead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I know....

I miss you too, I really do, but work is nuts and I've had a string of crap days and there's all this random stuff I want to write about and reading to do and I'm too exhausted. I promise that I'll make it back.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

singing and dancing in the snow

Woop! Movie tonight!

Feeling a bit hopelessly romantic today - I'm sure it'll pass.....but wouldn't it be great to have something wonderfully outrageous happen - like Gene Kelly grabbing me for a quick dance down the street, or some gorgeous crooner breaking into a song describing how lovely I am?
Why doesn't that stuff happen in real life? Who decided that a musical would appeal to people?
Why am I still here when there's a movie to watch? Bye!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kids slept in, got everyone out the door, work, lunch, work, run, work, chat with a friend, home, read, bake cookies and fudge for bake sale, relax, sit. Dull, eh?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ok, so a hug wouldn't hurt right now.......

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The f word

So last Tuesday I'm sitting at work and all I can think about is..... fudge. I posted it on a status line in Facebook, then there were many other people who suddenly wanted fudge, I told a couple of people at work, and the infection spread. People were cursing me left, right, and centre. What's a girl to do? Go on the Internet of course and find a whole bunch of recipes for fudge, stop at the grocery store on the way home, and voila!

From Food - 2010

This version was named after someone's aunt and was made of milk and semisweet chocolate, evaporated milk, butter, marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and nuts. Getting marshmallow fluff out of the jar is a big pain in the butt. You really can't get it all out and it sticks to everything. It never really got creamy and I had to add more evaporated milk to it to thin it out.

From Food - 2010

I found it a bit gritty, but I took it to work and everyone seemed to like it. I've been nibbling at it too and it's growing on me, but I know I can do much better. Thus begins the great fudge-making endeavour of 2010!
Everyone get out your fat pants......there's gonna be some tasting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stollen

Ok, so the food thoughts are piling up. This year I finally wanted to make stollen again. For so many years I haven't gotten around to it at Christmas, but this year I vowed to make the time. The first one that I tried before Christmas was a disaster! The yeast was dead, and I steadfastly thought it would pull itself together if I just kept at it. I wasted ingredients, I wasted half a day, I ate some of it anyway because it was soooooo good, even flattened and unworthy of photography!
After Christmas was over and I had some free time, I went back into the kitchen and tried again, and this time, success!
From Food - 2010

Stollen that I see everywhere has that log of marzipan in the middle. I hate that, it reminds me of a hard-boiled egg and I find it hard to eat and ugly. Sometimes I don't use marzipan at all, but I found a version where you cut the marzipan up into small pieces and mix it into an almond paste you put together with butter, almond meal, and rum. The results are out of this world: a moist bread with a gooey sweet layer of almondy yum inside the sweet bread dough with citrus peel and cherries - your entire mouth hums when you take a bite.
From Food - 2010

I found myself wondering why I do not make this all the time. Ok, so I would weigh 500 pounds, but that'd be ok, wouldn't it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sometimes you just need to hear it/ Sometimes you've just gotta say it

I heard it today (compiled from a couple of sources), and so should you:

You are an awesome person! You are smart and funny and cute as hell, especially when you're thinking and you get that furrow thing happening. I could not wait another second to tell you this. If you were standing in front of me, I'd give you the biggest hug ever.

I love you.
d

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An excellent end-of-year post.

First concert of 2010

Concert last night, hooray for a half-price special!
Haydn, Strauss, a Canadian composer name Staniland. Staniland kept the percussionists busy with little chimes and dings, not sure if it was supposed to be representative of ice, but bits were quite pretty. The Haydn was so nice I almost drifted off to sleep. The concert featured the OSM Standard Life grand prize winner, Jan Lisiecki on piano performing Chopin. He was remarkable, and he's 14! He walked out on to the stage, gangly and smiling, and blew the audience away. He's already won several competitions and it was incredible to watch his fingers flying over the keys and imagining what his life has in store for him. We are all full of potential, but it always amazes me when I see people who have accomplished so much at so young an age. It makes me wonder that if we were able to find the thing that makes our hearts sing at age 5, would we all be these incredible creatures?
There were two old ladies sitting next to me last night and their commentary and conversation between the music was annoying and amusing. They seem to go to just about every "cultural" event in town, and were both trying to sound so bored about it. They were debating quietly about whether the Strauss was any good, but the orchestra was playing Haydn and hadn't gotten to the Strauss yet. Why would you even go to a concert if you feel like that? You could just stay home and watch American Idol.
I don't know a lot about classical music, but I love watching the orchestra. I love seeing how they sit while they play their instruments, how they carefully put them down and pick them up, how some of them are so animated and others barely move, watching the horns clear their spit valves, and the percussionists! They stand quietly at the back and then explode, and then wait and wait, I don't know how they have the patience. How can you stand there with a cymbal in each hand and not bang them together compulsively like one of those wind-up monkeys?
I think there may be a reason why I was never in band......

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Positive thinking, it's not just for breakfast anymore

So I was reading this excellent book review a couple of days ago and it got me to thinking. The review was of a book by Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. I haven't read it, but the title tells you the subject and stance. The author addresses the mass-mania positive thinking has in our society.
As witnessed, there has been a lot of positive thinking going on on this blog as of late. Most of it stems from the fact that I am generally a pretty happy person, but I also believe that positive things happen to positive people and that sometimes you just have to slap that smile back on your face and keep moving in order to get out of places of pain, ("smile, though your heart is aching, smile, even though it's breaking"). This all comes from the belief that everything happens for a reason and no pain lasts forever - at some point some new pain will come to take its place ;-)
With all that said, I know that sometimes it's just all blah blah blah. The idea that we should be happy all the time is an impossibility. We are all going to have bad stuff happen: heartbreak, loss, failure, disappointment, it's what we do with the bad stuff that matters. When you can take a soul-sucking failure and turn it into a life lesson and move on, that's a good thing - when you refuse to acknowledge your failure and quote something you heard on Oprah, well, that's stupid.

Ehrenreich talks about being shunned when she was being treated for cancer. Apparently failure is not an option, and she was criticized for expressing her feelings because she should have been spending all her time fighting off the cancer with positive energy. In our world of teddy bears and pink ribbons what is a woman to do when she feels mad and sad about her cancer? Is there no room for individual thought? There's a lot to be said on this subject. Let's face it, the ribbons have gotten out of control - they are on lapels, pickup trucks, hanging from houses, and even show up in emails made out of \ and |. They have come to symbolize the insipidness of people to follow blindly in large groups, it's like Mary Kay, only terrible because breast cancer awareness and all the fund raising should be a subject we respect. All too often now, the pink ribbons represent a roll-your-eyes symbol of fat ladies walking in large groups with inspirational music playing in the background. Not to say that this doesn't have its place, but being able to have one's own thoughts about one's illness is important.

So how do we find sincere positive thinking? Well, for starters, it has to be actual thinking, something that comes from the individual. Jumping on the bandwagon to raise money is all fine and good, but to gain anything on a personal level you have to think for yourself. Most of all, you have to be honest with yourself and not dismiss your less-than-positive feelings, they are an important part of the process as long as you learn to let them go.

And when all else fails, ice cream and your girlfriends solve nearly everything....

Friday, January 08, 2010

You say you want a resolution?



I've been working on this post in my head for a while and thinking, and rethinking. My end of year post gave the general outline of what I want to do this year: continue to follow my heart and my interests, appreciate and love my life and the people in it and let the positive stuff in.
I have a few specific goals that are on their way. I have a notebook with a list of things that I am currently writing, researching, or are just floating around in my head. I will focus enough this year to finish a few of them. My biggest stumbling block has never been writing, I write constantly, compulsively, my block has always been in believing that my writing is good enough for other people to read. I'm not talking about the writing I do for work every day, I'm talking about personal writing, the kind that is so hard to hear criticized. It's far from perfect, but a few people have encouraged me this year and I think that I have the confidence to put more of my words out into the world. Some of my hopes and dreams are a bit more lofty and I will keep them under my hat for the moment. I can visualize them, but advertising them seems a bit much even for me.
It always seems to boil down to confidence, and how easily that confidence can ebb and flow. If I have to choose one thing to accomplish within me, I think it will be to believe in myself, to believe in what I think and feel and do and try not to falter.
If possible, I would also like to learn to conduct a rudimentary conversation in Swedish, to swim laps gracefully, and to finally get my brain and body coordinated enough to juggle, but I won't be greedy.
Ok, time to get the party started.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Funny zombie movies and Indian food are the best cure for a down-in-the-dumps week. Ok, not the best, but a close second....
I need a change of scene.....

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What?

Part happy, part amused, part impatient, part crazy, fully and completely engaged.
I know what I want right now, at this moment. I am standing still and my mind is whirling around refusing to wait, moving thoughts, creating scenes, imagining wonderful things, and it's all for me.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Is the trick to stay on vacation or just keep your brain from getting dusty?

I'm suffering from classic back-to-work syndrome. I am resentful of the alarm, highly disorganized during the morning despite prepping everything the night before, my eyes feel permanently weepy, and my brain is full of cotton. I'm going through my work and my head is bombarding me with a constant string of whining: "Let's go read a novel, I wanna write something fun, what's a RADIUS server again? Why are there so many acronyms? I need a nap!"
I'm about ready to strangle my inner voice. Problem is, it echoes that of my children who I have also had to get up and out in the mornings. We have been very late to school and work so far. I figure we'll have the routine back to normal just in time for my ex to take them at the end of the week. My son had a particularly hard day yesterday, his teacher called me last night. Some transitions are very hard for him, and I think that there was just too much of a difference between his vacation time full of play and the sit and learn of school. I feel for him considering that nobody wanted to work yesterday and I spent most of the day listening to holiday recaps.
I got my car back yesterday, it is shiny and the front of the car is gloriously unscratched, which always makes the first one tragic, but for now it's so pretty.
And upon weighing the pros and cons, I have decided to wait until Thursday to take the tree down so that my kids don't make a big fuss (they'll be gone). I'll face the music when they return.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I am exhausted. More reading, then bed.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Life as usual starts again tomorrow. I may be a little crazy by the time I get to work. Anyone want to shovel out my car?