Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shoe Camp

They're SO pretty! Shoe camp should be easier than this. I'm angry at my shoes. They're beautiful, but I'm mad at them. And they ARE beautiful, and they ARE a respected pair of high heeled shoes (Steve Madden made them) however, my feet hurt. 
We should probably back up a bit... I have steadily rejected high heels my entire prepubescent and adult life for lots of good reasons. And then I became a late 30s person and realized this is a skill, walking in heels, that I don't have in my portfolio. It's a thing I can't do. It's ridiculous.  Right? So, I'm learning how to walk in heels and this is how it's all going down...
Generous, beloved neighbour who often donates her kid's clothing to us, gave us some big shoes. BEAUTIFUL, big shoes! Steve Madden shoes! I'm gonna wear these bastards.
If I was writing this by myself, I would introduce beloved cousin Beth, but now, you've already met her because she's typing this for me while sit and drink vodka and water as I dictate this adventure.
Enter cousin Beth into this agreement. 
"We the aforementioned have promised, REALLY promised, each other that we will commit ourselves to the next 72 hours in these high heels excluding showers and sleep." (They're so pretty) So what does that mean? That means that like my job or my children or my husband or the intolerable heat, this is a thing that we have committed to. Oh we will walk in heels! Not because we want to, mind you, not because we think we should, but only because this is a skill that we think a person of our caliber should have in our arsenal.
B - Being taller definitely gives a different perspective on life. I opened my kitchen cupboards and realized that I could see everything that was in there. What a shocker! And reaching down to wash dishes? It seems so far away. Absolutely quizzical. But the pain issue, not really a factor. I think it's the ankle straps. We'll see how things are tomorrow.
A- The last time I stood up, I thought I might pee on my own feet, you know, like when you're stung by a jellyfish or 643 jellyfish right on the balls of your feet. So that's my progress. I'm not giving up. I love Steve Madden and his shoes and I will smile when I think about them. Not today, but maybe tomorrow. I live upstairs. TWO flights. Heels, people. Heels.
Live tall. Live tall, ladies. It's a skill we all need. Men just don't even know what they're missing out on.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dear Other Moms.....

The thing you should know about how you raise your kids is that no one cares. You know, I mean like morally we care if you're violent with them or say starving them or letting them download Jay-Z songs, but generally speaking we don't care. I'm sure that whatever you're doing is fine. Be it actual cow's milk and Oreos after school or raw almond silk dream and gluten/grain free pumpkin seed flower snack doodles with agave frosting, no one cares. 

Maybe if I was raising your kids I would care, because you know, I respect your wishes for them and I am actually paying attention to how you're doing things in case you ever fall to an untimely death having previously chosen me to rear your crunchy offspring but right now I'm seriously not so I seriously don't. Think about that for a second the next time you press your lips into that terse ass smile and avert your enlightened gaze when I tell you I gave my children KD. Parenting is not a contest, well I mean it is between me and my ex-husband but that's a whole other can of endocrine disrupting bisphenol A. What I mean is that I know you're doing the best job you bloody well can to raise your kids, do you know that about me? I'm busy, my BGH loving kids need their BPAs refilled so maybe while I do that you just tossel around on the PVC free play mats with your homeschoolers..... 

Where was I? Right, listen, I got off on the wrong foot with this. I get it, I know there's pure love and wellness in what you do - dishes lose out to spinach smoothies in the tub, laundry takes a rain check while organic cotton blanket forts pull into first place and it's all beautiful, you're doing a bang up job.    Homeschooling, co-sleeping, tandem-nursing and all the other ings that you're up to are spot on for you and your co-parent. I see me in you because we are the same, we're Mothers. Stop for a minute and you'll see you in me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"I was asleep in the tub when I heard the knocking on the garage door...."

In support of the union in the recent labour dispute involving the Rocky Mountaineer in my hometown of Vancouver B.C., I had downloaded some news coverage that a 'locked out' friend suffering through the dispute suggested I watch. Seemed straight forward enough. Download and view. For reasons known only to the technologically literate I couldn't skip ahead to the bit at 18:15 where my friend assured me I would find the coverage I wanted to see. So, I took a welcomed break from what I was doing (calculating grades and percentages for my high schoolers) and nestled in for eighteen minutes and fourteen seconds of local news from a hometown I haven't visited in over 3 years. And so it went....

Up first? An unbelievable tale of rescue involving an average man who claims he 'instinctively' confronted an angry Mother bear by tearing  his beloved dog from its murderous claws. The tendons in Average Man's wrist were torn by the bear, but he assured the camera that this was a 'small price to pay', as Fido was not. Fearless! This was followed by another heartwarming tale of rescue. This time involving a precious cat who had come to be known as 'Fiona'. Fiona was discovered by builders in a ventilation shaft while the roof of an expansion to a local school was being built. The builder who spoke to the camera mentioned several times that he was prepared to 'do whatever it takes' to save 'Fiona'. What it took, was permission from the school board to 'unbuild' said roof, and permission from the contracted building company to pay it's workers overtime to perform the rescue. Fiona, dehydrated and nearing liver failure, was rescued and rehabilitated. The roof was rebuilt. The Builder said that he would have done it on his own time and on his own dime if the building company was unprepared to do so. Fortunately for him, it didn't come to that. Amazing!

Yet another lucky escape....This time involving a local man and his brother in law. The pair were taking in the fresh night air in Local Man's open garage when suddenly a couple appeared out of nowhere asking to 'borrow a cigarette'. Local Man obliged, looking down momentarily as he drew said cigarette from its package. Before he (literally) knew what had hit him, he was on the floor, eyes fixed on his own splattered blood. Local Man was being beaten with his own hammer while Brother in Law ran toward the door that connected the garage to the inside of the home in an attempt to save himself from Couple's unprovoked attack. Local Man's Wife heard the ruckus.

Here is what Local Man's Wife told the camera:

'I heard someone knocking on the garage door. I woke up, got out of the tub and went downstairs to see what was going on. When I opened the door and saw my brother lying there I knew something terrible had happened. I looked around for my husband, but at first I couldn't see him. So I......'

...Wait, what? (Keep in mind I was watching this news clip by myself, and unable to 'rewind' or 'fast forward' the footage because of the a fore mentioned reasons 'known only to the technologically literate'). I waited patiently for Local Man's Wife to clarify that she had actually been taking a bath in said tub and not, as my defected hearing afforded me, been asleep in it. Surely she had been asleep somewhere less.....unexplainable, like a couch or a bed? She continued....

'I guess I didn't hear the screams 'cuz I was asleep in the tub, but when I heard the knocking I got out of the tub and went downstairs right away.....'

Alright. Any confusion or doubt has been eradicated. Local Man's Wife sleeps in her bath tub. Fine. That's what she does. That's her business. I don't even have a tub, so why am I thinking about whether or not I'd sleep in it if I had one? It struck me as incredibly odd that she mentioned then confirmed that she had been asleep in her tub, and neither the reporter nor the newscaster thought it was worth a comment. Generally speaking, I sleep in my bed. I guess I recklessly assumed that my fellow paisanos  in Canada did too, despite their tub loving ways. I mean, typically we don't have bath tubs here in Mexico. Sure, there are tubs, but it's unusual. Very unusual. So I started to explore the why of it.

Suddenly it's 2am, and I'm lying there in bed wondering why we don't have tubs here in Mexico, and if we did, would I sleep in mine? And if I wouldn't, why wouldn't I? AND, what are the benefits to tub sleeping that the people of my homeland have neglected to share with me? I mean, do I have friends and/or relatives that are at this very moment asleep in their respective tubs? Do they keep a blanket under the sink in case they feel chilly whilst a slumber in their tub?.

My first thoughts are obvious: Water is a precious resource here. And then I silently arrive at this: Aside from the previous revelation (duh) Mexicans generally prefer things that have multiple uses. Mexicans like multipurpose things. Take 'Pinol' for example. This is an incredible useful solution. After cleaning your floors, sinks, walls and driveway with this stuff, did you know that you can move into the laundry room and add this awesome stuff to your laundry's rinse cycle to remove stubborn stains? I have kids, I do their laundry, and this stuff is second to none. Multipurpose. Lets talk about 'Zote'. Another great example. This stuff goes from top to tail in the shower, even your teeth, then does overtime in the fregadero washing all your unmentionables, and..... Fido! Sensitive skin? No problem! Now available, Zote: Unscented. I'll bet you didn't know about that last one. Lets move out of the kitchen and into the living room. The Mexican couch, for example. This is no ordinary couch. This baby is as wide as a twin bed when you remove the back cushions and just as comfortable. Coincidence? I think not. The hammock, for another: Great for lying around in, great for getting the baby to sleep in, and great for sleeping in when your esposa locks you out of the house. Coincidence? Nuh-uh. Lets talk about limes: A Mexican staple. These green-meanies are amazing. Out of deodorant? Cut one of these in half and rub it in your nether regions and enjoy the hottest of Manzanillan days odour free. No salad dressing? Squeeze a lime over your greens and voila! Untameable mane? Squeeze some lime up there and sport obedient locks all day, short or long. Pesky flies bothering your dinner invitados? Relax! Rub some lime on the table and those filthy pests are gone! Fabric softener: Curly locks that go haywire in this humidity? No problem, do as my ingenious coworkers do, and comb liquid fabric softener through your wet hair.

I could go on and on, but what I come back to is the tub. I don't believe that sleeping in it is a comfortable option, and aside from that, everything else I think I might use it for, I instead use my fregadero. But I'm concerned. Have I been gone so long from Canada that I don't even know what a tub is being used for these days? Don't laugh, this type of fear is genuine. I rarely get 'home', and when I do, there is always a plethora of things I thought I understood that become glaringly obvious to me that I don't. I'm going to attribute all of it to culture. Because product evolution just doesn't seem to apply to the bath tub...in my humble opinion. It is just a tub, after all. Isn't it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Oh sure, I can give lots of lip service about important topics such as co-parenting, parallel-parenting, single-parenthood, parenthood....The truth is, I'm flying blind. I probably read the same blogs you read. I probably search the same key phrases you search. Like...

'How to tell your kids you're getting a divorce'
'How to raise happy kids after a divorce'
'How to survive a divorce'
'What kind of a family will I have after divorce?'
'How to brutally murder your lying, selfish ex-husband and get away with it'

.....etc. Obviously I jest about the brutal murder bit. Ha ha ha... A girl's bound to make some bad jokes under duress. You see for me, the truth is that Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E is all a massive emotional tangle of pain, humour and grief. I suspect that to an emotionally stable person, who I recklessly assume is unburdened by jealousy, rage, infidelity, abuse and neglect, I probably seem a tad 'bonkers'. I accept this perception, and often times I embrace it.

Hell...Lord knows I'd be a fool to turn down an embrace at this juncture in my emotional career. I suppose that's a positive thing. There's no shortage of hugs in this house. A person needs to stay connected. My wiener dog gets probably more attention than she would sign up for, my kids definitely get more hugs than they'd expect in a day, and you'd be surprised at how rewarding it actually is to hug a turtle. (I love you Lulu!) The DHL Delivery guy was a bit off-put last Monday when he got his hug, (totally his own issue, not mine) and come to think of it, I don't think Jesus the butcher was that receptive to his either. Whatever. I'm not taking that on (throws head back and cackles wickedy at the phony manner in which she humorously regurgitated a famous and acceptable deflective phrase within the Church of Self Help).

I hug more than most, I guess. That's some of the fallout from my separation, it's a truth and I accept it. Among the many truths I accept, a big one is loneliness. I can list off all the things a person can do on their own, and the list is long. There are scads of activities that were specifically created for soloists, lots of them. Kayaking, for example. I live on the ocean, kayaks are for rent all over the place. Just try and fit 2 people in a kayak, ridiculous! Libraries, for another: How many librarians have you encountered that welcomed chit chat and socialization? I'll hazard a guess...none! The gym: Unless you have a trainer, this is definitely a solo activity. Which brings us to our next activity, Masturbation: It's right there in the title, this is a solo activity. Next up? Reading: Unless you're under 5, this is again a solo activity. Lastly? Coffee shops: Always a welcome retreat for the soloist who may or may not choose to multi-task with a secondary activity like reading to accompany  the first: 'drinking coffee'. I could go on and on, but why bother. We all know what to do when we're single, we're doing all the things that our miserable spouses prevented us from doing while we were un-single. Isn't life better now that we can do nothing whenever we want? The obvious answer is yes. And no. And then yes again, and later no, then a resounding 'yes!'  D-I-V-O-R-C-E is all very confusing, Tammy.

I'm a Mum. That's what I've always waited to become. I was born waiting to be Mum, and when my moment arrived, I embraced it, that's what I do, I'm a Mother. I don't have anything figured out, which surprised me some, I thought that would be included in this marriage package somehow, but surprisingly, it's not. I love my kids the best way that I know how. Some days their Daddy is involved, and some days he's not. I'll never shut that door without their permission. But their too little to know about stuff like that. All they know how to do is love, and laugh and hug and imagine and grow. I know that I will work double over time to be the best damn Mum I can be to my tots, and I will pray for nothing but the same from my ex-husband. But along the way, I expect I will be lonely for someone to taste my tomato sauce and see if it needs salt, someone to whom garbage isn't Kryptonite and will take it out, someone to 'Get it off! Get it off!' when I can't, someone to see what the hell that noise is at 4:37 am, someone who doesn't expect a reasonable answer to the question 'Why are you crying?', someone who will see that I'm cold and put a blanket on me, someone that will see that I'm sad and comfort me, someone who will see that I'm impossible but will keep trying, someone who will love me for me, and for no other reason. Surely after surviving the disaster that is divorce there is a pleasantry like...peace at the end of it all?

I'm sure D-I-V-O-R-C-E has mistakenly been underrated....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's like I'm living in a frat house....




Living with my now 3 year old, is just like living with a frat boy.
Normally that wouldn't be such a great thing, but I love it. Not that I love frat boys...that has never been true. 
There's just something so freakin' joyful about Jorge.
She laughs at everything, and makes jokes at the most inappropriate times. She never takes me seriously, has the memory span of a goldfish and refuses to wear anything but gonchies. She thinks showing you a chewed mouthful of food is hilarious. Thinks 'being lazy' is a perfectly good reason for not doing things, and only stares at you confusedly when you don't accept it as such. Drinks milk straight from the carton and draws all over her room mate's body in felt marker 'because it's funny'.

Then there's the physical evidence of her frat boy ways visible all over the house: Half full plastic cups littered everywhere. Under the couch, in the yard, the bed....the shower. DNA stains all over the furniture. Plastic Mardi Gras beads IN MY FREEZER. (?!) You can find party dresses and gonchies strewn throughout my house at any given time. Balloons in the turtle tank?

Jooooorge! Why are there balloons in the turtle tank?!


In the turtle tank?

Yes! In the turtle tank!

Balloons?

Yes Jorge, balloons. Why are there balloons in the turtle tank?


( shrugs shoulders, gives sheepish sideways grin ) Muuuuhhhh-Meeeeee, I loooooove you

I love you too Jorge. And all the nutty things you do. Please take the 'Kinder Surprise' alien out of the salt mill.
Love, Mum.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Bilingual Babes, and their Bilingual Issues

I've never mentioned this, but I'm a native English speaker living full time in Mexico with my native Spanish speaking husband, and 2 bilingual daughters, 3 & 5. I speak almost exclusively in English with them (the occasional word here and there in Spanish) and my husband speaks probably about 60% English and 40% Spanish with them.

My kids go to a 'bilingual' school that teaches half their subjects in English (by non native English speakers) and the other half in Spanish (by native Spanish speakers). The issue I'm having is not so much within our home, as we seem to have finally struck a workable balance here, but rather in their school. Since my kids are truly bilingual, they have begun to dominate in contests and games in English, as well as their share in Spanish. It was agreed recently among the teachers and a couple of parents that when my kids win an event, that they will be praised or awarded, whichever is appropriate, but a tie will be declared between my child and the first place winner among their monolingual classmates. This practice irks me just enough to write about it.

Is it fair to my child to declare her a tie winner with a child who isn't scoring as well as she is? My eldest feels like she studies and practices and should be rewarded fairly for her efforts, and I'm inclined to agree. What about the message being sent to my kids? It's deflating to stand before your teachers a winner, only to receive a ' That's nice dear, we knew you were going to win.' and stand aside while your classmate is doted on for her accomplishment. It diminishes the achievements my kids, and other bilingual kids have reached. No?

*sigh* Am I being 'one of those parents'? Because I guess I just can't quite tell. I'm at a loss, and I don't necessarily like the way I am feeling about this situation, and need to resolve it. I don't expect that there are too many parents of bilingual kids reading this, but I need to sort this out. Advice?